Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from December, 2015

Meal Plan 21st December - 27th December 2015

We're off to my parents for lunch on Christmas Day and at the in-laws on Boxing Day so it feels a bit strange this year not to be prepping and buying food for the 'main event' - I'm not complaining mind you and nor is my bank balance! Nevertheless there is still lots of cooking to be done as we are having family over after our village Crib Service on Christmas Eve. I'm doing a Cola glazed gammon that I'm hoping will see us good for sandwiches until New Year...and maybe a ham and leek pie. I'm serving the gammon with mashed potato and lots of veggies. Dessert is going to be a Baked Raspberry Cheesecake with Clotted Cream.

The rest of the week looks something like this....

Monday 21st December
Out with family

Tuesday 22nd December
Baked Meatballs with Pasta

Wednesday 23rd December
BBQ Pulled Pork in Rolls with Coleslaw and Salad

Thursday 24th December
Cola Glazed Gammon, Creamy Mash, Red Cabbage, Peas and Carrots. Baked Raspberry Cheesecake for dessert

Christmas …

Maple Roasted Carrots with Pecans

These Maple Roasted Carrots with Pecans are the perfect side dish to your Christmas lunch. Just pop them into the oven with your potatoes whilst your Turkey is resting - and don't forget you can prep them the night before and stash them in the fridge. I love how the maple syrup makes the carrots go sticky and caramelise.... and the nuts give the dish a lovely contrasting crunch!

I'll let you into a little secret - If you've got any leftover they are really good in a wrap with hummus!



MAPLE ROASTED CARROTS WITH PECANS| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |
Ingredients:1kg Chantenay Carrots, quartered1 TBSP Olive Oil4 TBSP Maple Syrup - I used Amber Maple Syrup from We Love Maple25g Pecans, choppedInstructions:Step 1: Preheat oven to 220c.Step 2: On a baking tray lay the carrots in a single layer, drizzle with oil and cover with a sheet of foil. Bake for 10 minutes in the oven.Step 3: Take off the foil and bake for a further 10 m…

Parsley and Thyme Stuffing for Christmas

There are a few vegetarians and pescatarians in our wider family so I always try and make a vegetarian friendly stuffing on Christmas Day (along with my favourite sausagemeat one of course!). This Thyme and Parsley stuffing recipe has been developed by the chefs at Schwartz and uses mainly store cupboard ingredients you will have to hand. I've put my own twist on it with the addition of some fruity dried cranberries, which add colour and a sweet tang as well as some gently softened onion. These two ingredients work wonderfully with the herbs and ensures a tasty, robust stuffing that goes brilliantly with either turkey or whatever vegetarian option you are serving to your guests.

If you aren't making this recipe specifically for vegetarians you can use it to stuff the turkey itself, otherwise roll the mixture into balls or press into an oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 30 minutes.


THYME AND PARSLEY STUFFING| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | To…

Double Chocolate Cranberry Brownies

These happened by accident but my goodness I'm glad they did. I had a little bit of cranberry sauce leftover in a jar as well as half a packet of dried cranberries, so decided to develop this naughty chocolate brownie recipe full of festive flavour.

The brownies turned out moist and fudgy - helped by the cranberry sauce I'm sure - and were gobbled up by hubby's work colleagues in minutes. I'm going to be making some more for Boxing Day! They really were THAT GOOD.



DOUBLE CHOCOLATE CRANBERRY BROWNIES| Serves: makes 12 squares | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 25 Minutes | Total Time: 35 Minutes |
Ingredients:150g Dark Chooclate200g Butter200g Soft Brown Sugar150g Self Raising Flour40g Cocoa Powder, sifted3 Large Eggs, beaten50g Dried Cranberries100g White Chocolate, broken into small pieces60g Cranberry SauceInstructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180c and line a 20 x 20cm tin with baking paper.Step 2: In a large microwavable bowl melt the chocolate and butter  - I z…

Mincemeat Crumble Slices

I like Mince Pies but I don't love them - I've never been a massive fan of pastry if I'm honest. What I definitely do love however are these Mincemeat Crumble Slices. Moreish, buttery crumble sandwiching moist fruity mincemeat - yum!

You can make the crumble really quickly in a food processor but I prefer to rub in the butter and flour by hand. Once cooked and cooled I pop the whole tin in the fridge overnight to firm up, before cutting into large squares. A dollop of clotted cream on top is lovely, or you could reheat slices in the microwave and serve it as a warm pudding with custard.

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MINCEMEAT SLICE
Add some extra fruit into the mincemeat for added fruitiness - dried cranberries would be nice.Stir some chopped nuts into the crumble mixture for added texture and taste.Serve warm with custard for an easy dessert
OTHER MINCEMEAT RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKEMincemeat and Marzipan Cake from Lucy LovesEasy Mince Pies for the freezer from me Jam and Clotted Cream

Meal Plan 14th - 20th December 2015

Last week of School - Hooray! We're counting down the days until Friday but before we get there we've got the School Christmas Concert, a birthday party, haircuts .... as well as lots of Christmas cooking to do. I've got more festive recipes on the blog this week starting with Mincemeat Crumble Slices tomorrow. Have a good week.

Monday 14th December
Leftover Roast

Tuesday 15th December
Chicken Stir Fry and Noodles

Wednesday 16th December
Macaroni Cheese

Thursday 17th December
Chicken Kievs, Sweet Potato Mash and Veg

Friday 18th December
Panini's, Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 19th December
Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken with Rice

Sunday 20th December
Leftover Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken

Kitchen Design for Small Spaces

We  all covet a large and sociable kitchen diner but the reality is that sometimes it's a case of making the most of what we have. Since we moved house last year I'm now lucky enough to have a fairly big kitchen but for many people space is at a premium. I've recently been helping my Brother in Law design his new compact kitchen and I've learnt a lot in the process! If you are short of space and thinking about redesigning your small kitchen, here are my top tips to make sure diminutive doesn't mean dull.

Tip 1: Plan the layout and accessibility of your space first. U shape designs work particularly well in small kitchens and enables you to achieve the perfect working triangle with cooker, sink and fridge on opposite sides of the U. If your space is narrow and long, a double galley style kitchen will still enable that classic working triangle.

Tip 2: Use light and reflective materials where possible for your cabinets, worktops and shelves. White paint on the walls …

Bake Box Subscription

Bake Box is a brand new subscription gift which provides budding bakers with the tool kit and recipes to develop their baking talents. Bake Box is the first of its kind in the UK with each box containing 6 recipe cards and the tools needed to transform any cake into a show stopper.

Boxes are delivered bi-monthly (the first boxes are due for delivery in January 2016) and subscription gives you automatic access to the Bake Club Live website where you can check out Masterclass video's and bonus recipes. The Bake Box subscription is £14.99 every two months, with each box containing at least £40 of equipment.

I was sent a trial box recently which included a gingerbread mould and we'll be attempting to recreate a fantastic Gingerbread House this weekend. I'll let you know how we get on!

I was sent a trial Bake Box to review, all thoughts are my own.

Festive Chocolate Truffles

The kids and I made these truffles as Christmas presents for their school teachers the other day. We made a big batch of the truffle mixture then rolled them in a variety of different ingredients - cocoa, dessicated coconut and chopped nuts (thank you Whitworths for sending these to us to try) before packaging them up in festive boxes.

I wont lie, the kids will get very messy and this is from a person who absolutely cannot abide mess. In fact I got quite agitated watching the chaos unfold but I somehow managed to contain the urge to keep washing their hands and cleaning up behind them! They had a huge amount of fun though and that's what matters ...although I'm still finding dessicated coconut and chopped nuts in every crevice in my kitchen and probably will be for the next month.


FESTIVE CHOCOLATE TRUFFLES| Serves: makes 50 | Prep Time: 4 hours 10 Minutes (includes chilling) | 
Ingredients:300g Dark Chocolate300ml Double Cream50g Unsalted ButterTo decorate:25g Chopped Nuts25g …

Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage

The festive season is now well and truly upon us and throughout December Waitrose are asking their social followers what #MakesChristmas for them. Whether it be opening presents, seeing family, listening to Christmas songs or eating that first mince pie, they are asking people to post their favourite festive moment on Twitter and Instagram, with one lucky person winning a Christmas Dinner for 12 people.

What #MakesChristmas for me is smelling those lovely heady Christmassy aroma's for the first time. Think cinnamon, clementines, cloves and ginger... and this year Waitrose have rather handily incorporated them into their Signature Spice mix.

Now, you probably already know I love getting ahead with my Christmas food preparations!  My freezer is already stashed with lots of festive treats like homemade mince pies, cheese straws and decadent desserts, but did you know you can make and freeze some of the traditional Christmas side dishes too? Freezing this Christmas Spiced Red Cabbage…

Meal Plan 7th - 13th December 2015

The weeks are motoring along aren't they? Most of the kids after school clubs have either finished or are finishing this week, which makes things a little more relaxed at feeding time. I'm utilising my big slow cooker this week to batch cook a few meals for us. I can't believe there is just 2 more weeks left of term...and 3 weeks until Christmas Day!

Monday 7th December
Slow Cooker Butter Chicken with Rice and Poppadoms

Tuesday 8th December
Christmas Parties

Wednesday 9th December
Slow Cooker Chilli

Thursday 10th December
Leftover Chilli pasta Bake

Friday 11th December
Build a Burger Night

Saturday 12th December
Sweet Potato Tagine

Sunday 13th December
Roast Pork and all the trimmings.

10 Minute Mushroom Stroganoff

The rounds of Christmas disco's, parties and concerts have started this week. After school today we're off to a Christingle service at our local church and then a Brownies party later on for my eldest daughter! In busy times like this I love homecooked meals that can be made quickly and you wont find many meals as quick to make as this creamy mushroom stroganoff. It takes all of 10 minutes but is so tasty that people will genuinely think you've been slaving over a hot stove for hours.

If you wanted to make it more meaty, fry some thin strips of steak with the mushrooms and add another spoon of creme fraiche at the end. A sprinkling of chopped parsley would be a nice garnish but not for my kids!



10 MINUTE MUSHROOM STROGANOFF | Serves: 2 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 5 Minutes | Total Time: 10 Minutes |
Ingredients:1 Onion, chopped2 Garlic Cloves, chopped1 TBSP Smoked Paprika350g Chestnut Mushrooms, slicedRich Beef Stock Pot - I used Knorr4 TBSP Creme FraicheInstructions…