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Meal Plan 1st - 7th February 2016


Meal Plan

It's only 2 weeks until half term apparently... so why does it feel like they've only just gone back to school? We're meant to be going to Disneyland Paris for a few days but the news of the arrest at one of the Disney hotels last week has put the wind up me a bit. I'm not going to cancel, unless we're told not to travel, but that inevitably means I'll be the lady looking uptight and on guard the whole time we're there, much like I was in Egypt a few years ago...and Tunisia too. I'm thinking Portugal for a summer holiday so if I were you I'd avoid it as trouble seems to follow me around....

Onto this weeks meal plan and I'm particularly looking forward to the creamy squash pasta on Monday and slow cooker curry at the end of the week. Tuesday is freezer food  - even food bloggers need a break sometimes.

Monday 1st February
Creamy Butternut Squash Pasta

Tuesday 2nd February
Fish and Chips

Wednesday 3rd February
Cheese, Bacon and Onion Lasagne

Thursday 4th February
Slow Cooker Chinese Chicken Curry

Friday 5th February
Leftover Curry with Naan Breads

Saturday 6th February
Beef Bourguignon, Sweet Potato Mash, Cauliflower and Maple Roast Carrots

Sunday 7th February
Cheesy Courgette and Bacon Pasta

Beth Sachs
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Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups with Degustabox


Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups
Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups
I make sure the kids and I ALWAYS eat Breakfast no matter how much of a rush we're in. Their absolute favourite is Maple and Raisin Slow Cooker Porridge, especially during the Winter months... with toast and marmite coming a close second. Hubby on the other hand rushes out of the door every morning without eating anything. Somewhat inevitably he ends up eating his packed lunch at 10am and spends the rest of the day sat at his desk starving hungry.  So, in an effort to encourage him to eat something in the mornings as he hops in his car, I made these yummy Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups using a couple of products from this month's Degustabox. The cups are a little bit like flapjacks but only take 10 minutes to bake. You can try different types of dried fruit and nuts - I used raisins this time but dried apricots would be nice I think. These little cups are also handy for popping into lunchboxes for snack time at school.

A little bit on Degustabox:

Degustabox is a monthly subscription food box service, where every month you're sent a brand new box of between 9 and 14 goodies to try. I find it's a great way for discovering new brands and products and this month I was drawn to the Jordans Fruit and Nut Crisp and Clarks Carob Fruit Syrup, which I used to make these tasty breakfast treats.

Fruit and Nut Breakfast Cups

FRUIT AND NUT BREAKFAST CUPS

| Serves: makes 12 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 200g Jordans Fruit and Nut Crisp Cereal
  • 100g Porridge Oats
  • 100g Butter, melted
  • 50g Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Carob Syrup (or ordinary syrup)
  • 100g Raisins
  • 1 Egg

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/160Cfan.  Place 12 paper cases in a bun tin.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter in a large pan then add all of the other ingredients.
  • Step 3: Mix together thoroughly then spoon into 12 cupcake cases, pressing down firmly so they are tightly packed. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Step 4: Leave to cool for 1 hour before eating.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 29th January 2016 |


If you fancy trying a box yourself, Degustabox are offering £6 off (RRP 12.99) if you enter the following code at the checkout 9X06ZS.

The full list of products in this months box were as follows:
  • Finn Crisp – Crispbread
  • Fentimans – Lemonade
  • Halewood International – Tsingtao
  • Coldpress – Apple juice
  • Conscious Chocolate – Chocolate bar
  • Jordans Ryvita – Fruit and Nut Country Crisp Cereal
  • Amoy – Taste of Asia Sauce 
  • Calbee – Yushoi Sticks
  • Clarks – Carob Syrop
  • Nah Foods- Slim Noodles
  • Fruitbowl – Blackcurrant
  • Gathr Foods – Crobar
  • AO Foods – Fit Fit bar
Disclosure: I was sent a Degustabox to review. All thoughts are my own.
Beth Sachs
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Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf


Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf
I love the zesty sugary crust on this Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake. Pouring the drizzle mixture onto the cake when it's just out of the oven ramps up it's zingy lemon flavour and ensures the cake stays lovely and moist. It's a forgiving cake in many ways and will happily sit in a cake tin for up to 5 days and it also freezes well too (just wrap it in clingfilm and then foil).

I think it has to be one of my all time favourites, especially when I serve it sliced and spread with homemade lemon curd and a dollop of clotted cream. I've even made french toast with the stale ends before for a little weekend breakfast treat. Make it today - I promise you wont be disappointed.
Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf
Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf

DOUBLE LEMON DRIZZLE LOAF

| Serves: 10 slices | Prep Time: 10 Minutes  | Cook Time: 50 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 225g Butter, softened
  • 225g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 4 Eggs
  • 225g Self Raising Flour
  • Zest 2 Lemons
  • For the Drizzle:
  • 85g Caster Sugar
  • Juice of 2 Lemons
  • Zest of 1 Lemon

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan and line a 2lb Loaf Tin with Baking Paper.
  • Step 2: In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  • Step 3: Gradually beat in the eggs then fold through the flour and lemon zest.
  • Step 4: Pour into the prepared tin and bake for about 50 Minutes until skewer comes out clean.
  • Step 5: In a small bowl mix together the sugar, lemon juice and zest then pour over the still warm cake.
  • Step 6: Leave to cook completely before removing from the tin.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 27th January 2016 |

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Family Favourite Spaghetti Bolognese


Bolognese Sauce for Pasta
This Bolognese recipe, although not entirely authentic, is a real crowd pleaser for young and old alike. If you've got any leftovers it makes a lovely hearty topping to jacket potatoes the next day...or do what my Grandad used to and eat his leftover Bolognese on toast! Not tried that one I have to say but he seemed to really enjoy it.

The big Bolognese debate in this house though is not what you do with the leftovers but whether you serve it spooned on top of the spaghetti, which my kids prefer, or mix it through the spaghetti, which I prefer. I swear it tastes better my way.
Spaghetti Bolognese

SPAGHETTI BOLOGNESE

| Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g Beef Mince
  • 6 Streaky Bacon rashers, chopped
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 1 Carrot, chopped
  • 1 Celery Stalk, chopped
  • 3 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Thyme Leaves
  • 1 TBSP Fresh Basil, chopped
  • 1 TSP Dried Oregano
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 x 400g Tins Chopped Tomatoes with garlic and herbs
  • 1 Rich Beef Stock Pot (or beef stock cube)
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Puree
  • 100ml Whole Milk
  • 1 TSP Sugar
  • 75g Parmesan plus extra to serve

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Heat 1 TBSP of oil in a large casserole. Fry the bacon until cooked then add the onion, celery, carrot, garlic and fresh thyme. Continue to cook for 5 minutes.
  • Step 2: Turn the heat up and brown the minced beef (it will take a couple of minutes).
  • Step 3: Add the chopped tomatoes, beef stock pot, tomato puree, whole milk and sugar and turn down the heat to a low simmer. Cook for about 50 minutes then stir through the grated Parmesan until melted in.
  • Step 4: Serve  the Bolognese with spaghetti and extra grated Parmesan on top.

 | Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 25th January 2016 |


Beth Sachs
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Meal Plan 25th - 31st January 2016


Meal Plan
It almost felt like Spring this weekend - lovely and mild with a bit of sun thrown in too. The kids and I spent a good few hours having a tidy up of the garden - mainly raking up the tonnes of leaves that have fallen over the last few months as well as a bit of pruning. Roll on the lighter and (hopefully) warmer evenings!

In terms of cooking, I'm developing a couple of new recipes this week which I'll share on the blog if they work! Watch out for a Lemony Prawn Risotto and Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake coming soon.

Monday 25th January
Leftover Roast Chicken in a Creamy Tarragon Sauce with Pasta

Tuesday 26th January
Lemony Prawn Risotto

Wednesday 27th January
Smoked Sausage Pasta Bake with peas and sweetcorn

Thursday 28th January
Tangy Trout with Stir Fried Vegetables

Friday 29th January
Fish and Chips

Saturday 30th January
Cheese Toasties with Coleslaw and Salad

Sunday 31st January
Fridge Bottom Frittata
Beth Sachs
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Nice and Spicy Chicken Curry


Spicy Chicken Curry
It's a bit on the chilly side isn't it? I know Cornwall usually gets away with the worse of the cold weather but it's pretty darn freezing here at the moment. Hubby and I are playing the thermostat game on a fairly regular basis. I turn them up, hubby turns them down, I turn them up again....and so it goes on. It's not just us is it?

Anyway, this cold weather definitely calls for hot and spicy food to warm you up and my spicy chicken curry is just about perfect. It's a bit on the hot side for small kids though so this one's probably best reserved for the adults.

For this recipe you need to make the curry sauce the night before so the flavours have 24 hours to develop - it really does make a difference to the finished dish. You can also make the curry sauce and freeze it until needed. Feel free to try different meats too, leftover roast beef would work well I think.
Nice and Spicy Chicken Curry

SPICY CHICKEN CURRY

| Serves: 6  | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 50 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hr 20 |


INGREDIENTS:


  • 4 TBSP Oil
  • 4 Cloves of Garlic, crushed
  • 1 Large Onions, chopped
  • 2 Red Chilli's, chopped
  • 4 TSP Medium Curry paste
  • 1 TBSP Turmeric
  • 2 TBSP Mango Chutney
  • 1 Tin Coconut Cream
  • 1 TBSP Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • Passata (large carton around 600ml
  • Small Bunch of Coriander, chopped
  • 2 TSP Fenugreek
  • 4 heaped TBSP Greek Yogurt
  • 1kg Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breasts, chopped

INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Step 1: In a large pan, heat the oil then fry the garlic, onions and chilli for about 15 minutes stirring regularly.
  • Step 2: Add the curry paste and turmeric and stir in.
  • Step 3: Add the mango chutney, coconut cream, sweet chilli sauce, passata, coriander, fenugreek and greek yogurt and leave in a low heat for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • Step 4: Store the curry sauce in the fridge overnight or freeze until you want it.
  • Step 5: When you are ready to eat, fry the chicken in a little oil until brown then pour over the curry sauce. Cook on a low heat for about 30 minutes.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 21st January 2016 |


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Giveaway - Ahmad Tea Keeper


Ahmad Tea Keeper

Who doesn't love a nice hot cuppa, especially in this cold weather? I'm a herbal tea drinker myself (currently supping a lovely Peppermint and Lemon one) but the rest of my family like a good old fashioned builders brew.

In celebration of our nations favourite drink, I'm pleased to be collaborating with UK based Ahmad Tea, giving you the opportunity to win this fabulous Tea Keeper. The wooden tea keeper caddy contains a selection of their most popular teas including English Breakfast, Earl Grey, Green Tea, Jasmine Tea and Peach and Passionfruit.

All you need to do to enter is fill in the rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Beth Sachs
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Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes


Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes
It's my birthday today - booooo! I think I'm quite unique in that the birthday blues started early for me....when I turned 20 to be exact. I remember being an utterly miserable sod at my birthday meal, which was being held in a lovely little seafood restaurant with close family and friends. My Mum sensed there was something up (she always knows when there is something up) and when I told her the reason for my rather odd behaviour she laughed and told me to 'enjoy the journey and have a glass of wine'. I pondered what she said that night and that little conversation has stuck with me over the years. Although I'm still not keen on big 'do's', I do try and make more of an effort now for the sake of the kids. I'm generally not a miserable introverted sod any other day of the year, just in case you're wondering...and by the way I'm still quite a few years off 40 so I really shouldn't have this mindset at all. Onwards and upwards as they say. Tomorrow is another day...and not my birthday - yay!

In the interests of banishing impending birthday'itis', I allowed myself a nice leisurely perusal of the Waitrose baking aisle at the weekend - which of course made me feel a whole lot better! I spied some freeze dried raspberries alongside the pomegranate molasses (which I also snapped up) and was instantly drawn to their vibrant intense colour.

Sunday evening came and Lowen, not wanting my birthday to pass without a 'cake', helped me rustle up these creamy vanilla cupcakes with vanilla raspberry buttercream icing - purely for the kids of course. I have to say though, these lovely little cakes really did lift my spirits and I shall be duly scoffing them all day in the hope they keep my spirits high. Normal service will resume tomorrow!
Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes
Vanilla Raspberry Cupcakes

VANILLA RASPBERRY CUPCAKES

| Serves: makes 9 | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 12 Minutes  | Total Time: 27 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 110g Butter, softened
  • 110g Caster Sugar
  • 1 TSP Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 110g Self Raising Flour
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 9 Fresh Raspberries
  • For the Buttercream:
  • 140g Butter, softened
  • 280g Icing Sugar, sifted
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 4 TBSP Freeze Dried Raspberries - available from Waitrose or online

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan. Line a Muffin Tin with 9 paper cases.
  • Step 2: In a standing mixer (or by hand) beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract then fold in the flour. Add the milk to loosen.
  • Step 3: Divide the mixture between the cases, pop a fresh raspberry in the middle and lightly push down.  Bake for 12 minutes.
  • Step 4: Whilst the cakes are cooling beat together the icing sugar and butter (use a stand mixer or electric whisk if possible to get the smoothest icing). Beat in the milk.
  • Step 5: Spread the icing onto the cakes with a palette knife and sprinkle each one with some freeze dried raspberries.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 18th January 2016 |

I'm submitting this recipe to Caso Costello #Bakeoftheweek

Casa Costello
Beth Sachs
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Meal Plan 18th - 24th January 2016


Meal Plan
So, it's my birthday tomorrow - and the less said about that the better. We're eating out tonight at a local pub to 'celebrate' with family - and I do always enjoy a meal out, I just don't enjoy my birthday very much! The rest of the week I'm keeping fairly simple, using up some of my New Years Eve bargains I stashed in the freezer. I'm particularly looking forward to a cheesy fish pie, made extra decadent with tiger prawns and smoked salmon as well as a pot roast beef next weekend. On Tuesday it's just me and the baby to feed, so I'm going to indulge in one of my favourite meals that no-one else really likes - Tortellini with homemade Sun Dried Tomato Pesto. I'm hoping to find some time to fill the cake tins too, I'm thinking a lemon drizzle loaf at the moment but I'll see where my mood takes me. It might end up being a dark and moody chocolate cake!

Monday 18th January
Chicken Curry and Rice

Tuesday 19th January
Tortellini with Sun Dried Tomato Pesto

Wednesday 20th January
Cheesy Fish Pie

Thursday 21st January
Leftover Fish Pie

Friday 22nd January
Homemade Pizza's

Saturday 23rd January
Pot Roast Beef with Mustard Yorkies, carrots and broccoli.

Sunday 24th January
Leftover Pot Roast Beef
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Creamy Pork and Dill Meatballs


Swedish Meatballs
I haven't called these Köttbullar (or Swedish meatballs) because I'm sure they're far from authentic. They are REALLY tasty though, which I hope makes up for their lack of authenticity.

Lowen, Rory and even 10 month old Heidi gobbled these down and seemed to really enjoy them, apart from the extra dill I'd scattered on top (oh well...one day they'll appreciate it). The meatballs are quite a lot lighter than my usual beef ones but if you wanted something a bit more 'meaty' replace half the pork mince with beef mince. The kids also seemed to prefer the gravy 'sauce' to my usual tomato based one. So it was a definite thumbs up from them.

If you've come to this page trying to find out how to make the famous Swedish Furniture Store's meatballs, my nearest branch is in Bristol over 2 hours away so I've never had the pleasure! If you do make them, let me know how they compare in the comments section below.
Creamy Pork and Dill Meatballs

CREAMY PORK AND DILL MEATBALLS

| Serves: 5 | Prep Time: 10 minutes plus 30 minutes chilling | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |


INGREDIENTS:


  • 500g Pork Mince
  • 85g Breadcrumbs
  • 1 Egg
  • 1 TBSP Dill, chopped
  • 1 Small Onion, chopped finely
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 TBSP Butter
  • 2 TBSP Plain Flour
  • 400ml Hot Beef Stock
  • 2 TBSP Creme Fraiche

INSTRUCTIONS:


  • Step 1: Make the meatballs by combing the pork mince, breadcrumbs, egg, dill, onion, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Roll into 25 meatballs and pop them on a tray in the fridge for 30 minutes to set (or make them the night before and leave them in the fridge overnight).
  • Step 2: Preheat the oven to 180C/ 160C Fan.
  • Step 3: In a large casserole heat a glug of oil and fry the meatballs in batches until just brown. Transfer the browned meatballs to an ovenproof tray and pop in the oven to continue cooking whilst you make the sauce.
  • Step 4: Melt the butter in the casserole you browned the meatballs then stir in the flour. Cook for 2 minutes before whisking in the hot beef stock. Bring to the boil and let it thicken. To finish the sauce whisk in the creme fraiche then pop the meatballs back in the casserole and spoon the sauce carefully over each one. 
  • Step 5: Serve with rice or mash.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 15th January 2016 |

Beth Sachs
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Easy Mediterranean Pasta Bake with Degustabox


Easy Mediterranean Pasta Bake with Chorizo
Degustabox is a monthly subscription food box service, where every month you're sent a brand new box of between 9 and 14 goodies to try. I find it's a great way for discovering new brands and products and my children this month have been converted to the Happy Monkey Kids Smoothies! Rory declaring them 'the best ever'.
Degustabox
I however, was drawn to the Barilla Wholewheat Pasta and Barilla Vegetable Pasta Sauce and decided to make a filling and hearty pasta bake with them. There's no need to precook the pasta for this either so it's literally mix everything in a bowl, pour into a dish and bung it in the oven kind of meal. I love easy food like this, especially on a busy weeknight.
Easy Mediterranean Pasta Bake

MEDITERRANEAN PASTA BAKE

| Serves: 6 | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour | Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 500g Wholewheat Pasta 
  • 1 Jar Pasta Sauce (about 400g)
  • 1 Tin Chopped Tomatoes
  • 100g Chorizo, sliced
  • 150ml Double Cream
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, crushed
  • 200ml Boiling Water
  • 2 TBSP Chopped Basil Leaves
  • 80g Soft Goats Cheese
  • 100g Parmesan, grated
  • 100g Cheddar, grated

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180C (160C fan) and in a large bowl mix together the pasta, pasta sauce, tomatoes, chorizo, double cream, garlic, basil and boiling water.
  • Step 2: Pour the mixture into a large oven proof dish and bake in the oven for 1 hour. Cover with foil after 20 minutes to prevent the pasta catching on top.
  • Step 3: Serve with a green salad.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 13th January 2016 |


If you fancy trying a box yourself, Degustabox are offering £6 off (RRP 12.99) if you enter the following code at the checkout BLDEG15.

The full list of products in this months box were as follows:

  • DDC Foods - Hip Pops Crips
  • Betavivo - Oats
  • Nothing But - Fruit Snacks
  • Barilla - Whole Wheat Fusilli
  • Barilla - Vegetable sauce
  • Eisberg - Non Alcohol wine
  • Fabulous Bakers - Mango Pineapple Bars
  • Drink Me - Snikky Chai Latte
  • KoKo - Milk
  • Halewood International - Crabbies Light
  • Halewood International - Red Square Toffee
  • Compete - Lemon Bites
  • Happy Monkeys - Kids Smoothies
  • Love Kombucha - Drink
  • Tree Vitalise - Birch Water
  • Nuva - Flavoured Water
Disclosure: I was sent a Degustabox to review. All thoughts are my own.
Beth Sachs
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Sticky Glazed Salmon


Sticky Glazed Salmon
Everyone will love this tasty baked salmon recipe packed with the punchy flavours of chilli, garlic and soy sauce. It's nice and healthy for those of you on January diets, especially when served with stir fried vegetables..... and if you're not low carbing, rice too. It kept us all nice and full until breakfast, and helps stop that pesky evening snacking.

To make sure the kids would eat it, I just left the red chilli garnish off their portions. They are still a bit dubious about stir fried veg though and in hindsight I should have cooked a portion of peas for them. I'll know for next time.
Sticky Glazed Salmon

STICKY GLAZED SALMON

| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 15 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes | 


INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 Boneless Salmon Fillets
  • 2 TBSP Sweet Chilli Sauce
  • 1 TBSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 TBSP Rice Wine
  • 1 Garlic Clove, crushed
  • 2 Red Chilli, 1 chopped finely the other sliced thinly length ways to garnish
  • 2 Spring Onions, sliced length ways to garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200C (180C Fan) and line a baking tin with baking paper, laying the salmon fillets on skin side down.
  • Step 2: In a bowl mix together the marinade ingredients, reserving the thinly sliced red chilli and spring onions for garnish.
  • Step 3: Bake in the oven for 15 minutes then scatter over the chilli and spring onion. Ease the salmon fillets off with a fish slice and the skin should remain on the baking paper. Serve with rice and stir fried vegetables.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 11th January 2016 |

Beth Sachs
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Meal Plan 11th - 17th January 2016


After school clubs resume this week so I've made sure most of the meals on the plan can be prepared in advance. The older two have got their friends over on Friday so I thought they could make their own pizza's..... not looking forward to the washing up on Friday then!

In other news, I've just started the mammoth task of reformatting all of my old blog posts dating back to May 2008. It's hard going and I've come across some real shockers - some of which have caused a few sniggers on Twitter and Facebook. I'm adding every recipe to my new Recipe Index widget in the sidebar and you might also have noticed I've added a Top 10 page to the blog, which contains the 10 most popular recipes of the month. I hope you like the changes and if you have any feedback or questions just shout.

So, here's the plan at Jam and Cream HQ. What's on your own meal plans this week?

Monday 11th January
Leftover Roast Chicken with Creamed Leeks and Sweet Potato Mash 

Tuesday 12th January
Mediterranean Pasta Bake

Wednesday 13th January
Swedish Meatballs

Thursday 14th January
Spaghetti Bolognese

Friday 15th January
Homemade Pizza's

Saturday 16th January
Pot Roast Tarragon Chicken with Veggies

Sunday 17th January
Eating out for my Birthday

Beth Sachs
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Broccoli and Pea Pesto Pasta


Broccoli and Pea Pesto Pasta
I do enjoy sneaking extra vegetables and fruit into my children, although they still wont eat homemade chocolate cookies after the recent avocado episode. I've learnt my lesson and these days I just don't tell them, even after they've finished.

This was just plain, simple and frugal 'pesto pasta' and they gobbled it up without any questions being asked or it being poked and prodded. I think the secret is to put plenty of grana padana in (which is quite a bit cheaper than Parmesan) to make it really cheesy. Heidi who is 9 months loved spoonfuls of the 'pesto' by itself, for everyone else we enjoyed it with homemade garlic bread.
Broccoli and Pea Pesto Pasta

BROCCOLI AND PEA PESTO PASTA

| Serves: 4-5 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 10 minutes | Total Time: 20 minutes |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 Head of Broccoli, broken into florets
  • 3 Handfuls of Frozen Peas
  • Handful of Basil leaves
  • 2 large Handfuls of grated Grana Padana
  • 2 TBSP Creme Fraiche
  • 2 Clove of Garlic, peeled
  • 400g Pasta - I used farfalle

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the broccoli and peas for 7-8 minutes.
  • Step 2: In another pan cook the pasta according to instructions.
  • Step 3: Put the broccoli, peas, parmesan, basil, garlic and creme fraiche in a food processor and blitz until fairly smooth.
  • Step 4: Drain the cooked pasta (reserving a few spoonfuls of the cooking water) and toss into the pesto. If you want to loosen the sauce a little add the reserved pasta cooking water. The adults can add some salt and pepper at the table.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 7th January 2016 |


I'm entering this into a few blogging challenges:
ExtraVeg blog hosted by Helen and co-hosted by Michelle
Meat Free Mondays hosted by Jac
Credit Crunch Munch hosted by FabFood4all and Helen



Beth Sachs
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Heidi's Baby Food Mash-Ups



I wrote a post when my middle child Rory was a baby about weaning (I thought I was a weaning guru I think)...reading it back, it seems quite outdated now, especially if you're following the baby led weaning route. Heidi at 9 months still has no teeth so I've been a little wary (probably too much) about giving her large pieces of food and I have a tendency to panic when I see her gagging.

Whilst she hasn't been eating big chunks of vegetables and fruit by herself yet (apart from really soft things like avocado's, banana's and these very soft Fritters), she hasn't been missing out on family meals thanks to my trusty Potato Ricer from Domu. She eats exactly what we do, I simply pass her portion through the ricer first. I've found it particularly good for slow cooked casseroles and stews as the vegetables are lovely and soft with a nice sauce. Even slow cooked sausages go through OK as long as you don't brown them first.

You could of course use a blender or processor but they are a faff to clean. The potato ricer just goes straight in the dishwasher with the dishes and it's reasonably priced at under £12. You can pass cooked fruits like apple and pear through too, so that's dessert sorted as well!

Baby food mash-ups

Thank-you to Domu who sent me the ricer to try, it's been very useful!
Beth Sachs
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Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole



Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole
Where are the glorious crisp cold days of winter? It's been decidedly wet, mild and murky here in Cornwall for way too long and my garden especially is getting very confused.

Wet weather like this calls for lots of comforting slow cooked food and my own slow cooker has been in overdrive these past few weeks producing lots home cooked meals for the family. This Sausage Casserole recipe was a particular hit after a very blustery walk along the coast path on New Years Day. I served it with creamy mashed potato and broccoli.

If you don't like mushrooms just leave them out and add another sliced onion instead.
Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole

SLOW COOKER SAUSAGE, MUSHROOM AND RED ONION CASSEROLE

| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 minutes | Cook Time: 8 hours in slow cooker| Total Time: 8 hours |


INGREDIENTS:

  • 12 Pork Sausages
  • 250g Mushrooms, sliced
  • 3 Red Onions, sliced
  • 1 TBSP Light Brown Sugar
  • 2 TBSP Plain Flour
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Puree
  • 500ml Beef Stock
  • 2 Bay Leaves

INSTRUCTIONS:

  • Step 1: Brown the sausages in a large frying pan until golden. Lift out the sausages and place in the Slow Cooker.
  • Step 2: In the same frying pan as you cooked the sausages, add the mushrooms, onions and sugar and cook for 5 minutes. Then add the flour, tomato puree, bay leaves and stock, bring to boil then pour over sausages.
  • Step 3: Cook in a slow cooker for 8 hours on the low setting.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 4th January 2016 |


I'm linking this recipe to the January Slow Cooked Challenge hosted by Farmersgirl Kitchen co-hosted by BakingQueen74
Beth Sachs
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Meal Plan 4th - 10th January 2016


Happy New Year everyone! We had intended to have a quiet one but ended up with 10 unexpected guests on New Years Eve. Luckily I ventured to Waitrose earlier in the day on the hunt for bargains so we had plenty to nibble on throughout the evening. What wasn't so good was getting to bed at 1am then being woken up at 3am by middle child and not getting back to sleep. Needless to say I went to bed at 7pm on New Years Day...and slept right through until 6am!

The reduced meats and fish I grabbed (I stalked the reductions lady around the store) are going to form the basis of my meal plans for the next few weeks. I nabbed 3 free range chickens for £2 each (they were priced at £8), 6 portions of salmon for £4, 2 trout fillets for £1, 500g Pork Mince for 80p and 500g Beef Mince for £1. I'm not one for faddy diets these days but January is going to be full of healthy wholesome family meals on the blog after the excesses of Christmas. If you are anything like me you are craving some routine and normality now!

Monday 4th January
Beef Stroganoff made with low fat creme fraiche

Tuesday 5th January
Slow Cooker Sausage Casserole - recipe on the blog this week

Wednesday 6th January
Macaroni Cheese (using up the leftover Christmas cheeses) with Bacon and Peas served with a Green Salad

Thursday 7th January
Prawn and Pea Curry with Naan Breads

Friday 8th January
Glazed Salmon with Stir Fried Vegetables and Noodles

Saturday 9th January
Swedish Meatballs with Rice

Sunday 10th January
Roast Chicken, Sweet Potato Mash, Cauliflower and Broccoli Cheese, Maple Roasted Carrots and Stuffing Balls
Beth Sachs
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