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Showing posts from November, 2016

Brie and Cranberry Tear & Share Christmas Tree Bread

I don't know about you but I do love a bit of festive baking at this time of year to get me into the Christmas spirit. So when the lovely people at Aldi got in contact recently and asked me to come up with a brand new festive recipe to share on my blog, I jumped at the chance. This rather yummy but super easy Brie and Cranberry Tear and Share Christmas Tree Bread is what I came up with and I must say it's very very good and also very moreish. I think I could polish off the lot given the chance.

The dough for this festive savoury tear and share bread is made in the breadmaker using Aldi's strong white bread flour, which takes a lot of the hard work and hassle out of making this recipe. If you don't have a breadmaker though, don't worry, just use this recipe (dough part only) and make it by hand instead.

Flavour combinations are endless but I wanted something quintessentially festive and you can't get much more so than brie and cranberry. Arranging the pinwheels…

Review: Breakfast with Santa at Brewers Fayre

Last Sunday we were kindly invited to a special Breakfast with Santa event at Brewers Fayre, Loggans Moor, Hayle #BFBreakfastWithSanta. This post provides a quick run down of how the morning unfolded!


The kids had a lovely plated cooked breakfast with sausages, bacon, scrambled egg, hash browns and beans, whilst the adults could enjoy a Full English or the Continental breakfast option. There were blueberry muffins, croissants, pain au chocolat, fresh fruit, cereal, pancakes and yogurt (my favourite Yeo Valley Lemon Curd yogurt!). Special dietary requirements or allergies were catered for too.


After breakfast the soft play opened and all three of them ran straight in to burn off some excess energy. I think there will be a lot of excess energy over the next few weeks and this was the perfect way to tire them out a bit.


There was a lovely lady doing face painting too.


Then it was time for the kids to meet Santa...a very realistic one at that. Unfortunately Heidi cried at the very sight …

Meal Plan 28th November - 4th December 2016

It's been a busy busy week here (when don't I say that?!) which culminated with a lovely weekend away exploring the most westerly part of the UK around Lands End. Despite the fact both hubby and I have lived in Cornwall all our lives, rather shockingly we've never been. That's been put right now and we got the obligatory photo to prove it (and paid £10 for the privilege..grrr!!). We then had a very nice overnight stay in Loggans Moor Premier Inn last night before attending the Brewers Fayre Breakfast with Santa event this morning. The kids had a great time and loved meeting Santa ...all apart form Heidi who balled her eyes out and refused to sit on his lap. Can't win em all Santa!



This week was also the week I decided it was time to go back over my oldest blog posts (dating way back to 2008) and re-take the photo's for the recipes. My photography skills, although still far from perfect are A LOT better these days and I think I can make the recipes look a littl…

Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Dauphinoise

This Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Dauphinoise is my most recent sweet potato creation, but definitely one of my best. Decadent and creamy, this vegetarian friendly dish would make a lovely addition to your Christmas lunch, either as a side or as a main dish for the veggie's in your house. I also have it on good authority it's a very 'hygge' dish. Hygge (pronounced 'Hue Gah') is a Danish word (although the Norwegians argue it's originally from them), that's very 'in' at the moment. It basically means creating an elevated state of cosiness....think people close to you, woolly socks, warm fire, candlelight...and most importantly comfort food. This dish most certainly ticks the comfort food box!

The blue cheese and Parmesan contrast so well with the sweetness of the potatoes and the creaminess of the sauce and I would be more than happy to eat a bowlful of this for dinner with nothing else. In fact, I did just that with the leftovers. I used some a…

Meal Plan 21st - 27th November 2016

Well the weeks are really rolling around quickly now. I've been organised this weekend and packed up some Christmas pressies to send to Australia and New Zealand first thing tomorrow. I even contemplated writing my Christmas cards on Saturday afternoon, but the kids didn't let that happen. I might take a stash to bed with me tonight. I'm a bit sad and post mine off on the 1st December every year.

As well as presents and cards I'm also thinking about festive recipes to share with you this Christmas. I've got an amazing Sweet Potato and Blue Cheese Dauphinoise recipe on the blog tomorrow (photo below), which would make a lovely veggie side dish for your Christmas Turkey.  Make sure you keep your eyes peeled for it.

In other festive news the kids are looking forward to our Breakfast with Santa at a local Brewers Fayre next weekend - the review will be on the blog next Sunday. That's when Christmas will really start for us...although I refuse to allow any tree'…

Giveaway: Win a Morton's Traditional Taste Norfolk Black Turkey for Christmas

Morton's Traditional Taste Turkeys are even more succulent this year! Rob Morton and his team have built a Himalayan salt chamber to dry age the birds so they're juicier and more flavoursome when they land on your dinner table on the 25th December!

The salt in the chamber contains negative ions and when it's combined with the right temperature, humidity and UV light those negative ions counteract the positive ions of the turkey which in turn creates a juicier bird with bags of flavour. Long gone are the days when you need to turn to your gravy for rescuing dry turkey meat. The moisture is locked in before you even put it in the oven.

Based at Hall farms in Norfolk, Rob Morton and his family make sure the birds enjoy the best of animal welfare. The award winning free range turkeys are slow grown without any antibiotics or growth promoters...because they just don't need it. They even planted 400 tree's earlier this year to provide more shelter for the birds.

Morton&…

Giveaway: Joseph Joseph BarWise™ Range

BarWise™   is a stylish range of innovative bar tools from Joseph Joseph that revolutionises the way you open bottles. The intuitive design makes opening capped or corked bottles far easier than with conventional openers. I'm lucky enough to be giving away a BarWise™ Bottle Opener Gift Set (RRP £20) including a corkscrew and magnetic bottle opener, along with a Bottle Tops Worktop Saver (RRP £17) and QuickSnap™ Plus Ice Cube Tray (RRP £12) in this BarWise™ themed competition. All you could possibly need for your Christmas drinks party!

Joseph Joseph was launched in 2003 by brothers Anthony and Richard with the goal of creating functional problem-solving household products with a design led focus. From humble beginnings, the business has now grown to become an award winning international houseware brand sold in over 100 countries across the globe.


To be in with a chance of winning this fab prize, all you need to do is fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.


Honey Ale Mac n Cheese

Mac 'n' Cheese is by far and away my favourite comfort food. You only need to look at my weekly meal plan posts to realise how often it features. Recently I've been trying some variations to my usual recipe, including a very tasty Sweet Potato Mac n Cheese and a cauliflower and broccoli one too. I've also spied a yummy looking Chorizo and Butternut Squash version over on Farmersgirl Cooks which has gone on my list to make soon!

I usually use the roux method for making my cheese sauce, cooking the macaroni separately before stirring it in at the end. This recipe however uses a completely different method, with the macaroni pasta cooking in the milk and ale sauce before stirring in the grated cheese and placing under the grill to give it a bit of colour. It's a truly one pan meal, which makes cleaning up afterwards nice and easy!

The ale I used in this was a Hiver Honey Ale and it gave the dish a welsh rarebit kind of flavour. It's really rich (just the way I li…

Meal Plan 14th - 20th November 2016

We've had a pretty relaxing weekend here, enjoying the Rugby on Saturday afternoon with a bit of cooking and baking thrown into the mix too. I made a Double Lemon Drizzle Loaf Cake and Marmalade Loaf for the freezer - you can never have too many cakes stashed away! I also made a Banana Bread with some rather black looking banana's from the fruit bowl, which will be perfect after school snackage this week.




Monday 14th November
Smoked Mackerel and Pea Carbonara

Tuesday 15th November
Slow Cooker Meatballs

Wednesday 16th November
Cashew Prawn Stir Fry with Egg Fried Rice

Thursday 17th November
Fish Fingers, Sweet Potato Wedges and Peas

Friday 18th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 19th November
Cauliflower and Lentil Curry

Sunday 20th November
Pineapple Spiced Pork with Noodles

Smoky Sweet Potato and Butter Bean Stew

The days are most definitely getting colder here in Cornwall and that calls for warming comfort food in my book. This is a lovely hearty vegetarian stew perfect for the colder evenings, with diced sweet potatoes, butter beans and spinach cooked in a tasty smoked paprika and tomato sauce. You can't beat the flavour of smoked paprika for pepping up a dish and I love how it gives the stew a lovely smoky undertone.

I'm happy to eat this in a bowl with no accompaniments, but the kids and hubby always prefer some carbs with their meals. I served the stew up with some fresh crusty bread to mop up the yummy tomatoey juices and some salty crumbled feta to sprinkle on top, but rice or couscous would work well too. I also find it tastes better the next day as it gives the flavours time to develop, so make it up the night before and leave it in the fridge ready to reheat. I think it would work pretty well in a slow cooker as well - just add the butter beans and spinach an hour before ser…

Meal Plan 7th - 13th November 2016

Did you watch any fireworks at the weekend? We wrapped up and watched a public firework display at the local Rugby Club on Friday, then went to a friends bonfire party yesterday evening. My goodness it was SO cold on Saturday night. When we got home I had to have a hot bath to warm up - my feet and hands were completely numb. Winter is most definitely on the way so I've included lots of warming comfort food on this weeks meal plan to help us acclimatise.

We're off out to a local pub with family this evening for a belated birthday meal for my son. Looking forward to not having to cook!

Have a good week!

Monday 7th November 
Sweet Potato and Butterbean Stew - recipe will be on the blog soon

Tuesday 8th November
Spaghetti Bolognese

Wednesday 9th November
Chicken Kievs, Rice and Vegetables

Thursday 10th November
Smoked Mackerel Carbonara

Friday 11th November
Brie and Bacon Panini's, Coleslaw and Salad

Saturday 12th November
Prawn and Cashew Nut Noodles

Sunday 13th November
Fridge Bott…

Chocolate Popcorn Bark

I made a batch of this Chocolate Popcorn Bark to take to a friends Fireworks party tonight...and if you would like to make it for your bonfire party later you still have time! It's super quick to make and after an hour or so in the fridge you have a chocolatey sweet treat just perfect for parties. As long as you've lined your baking tin with baking paper, it can just be popped out onto a chopping board and cut with a sharp knife into shards.

I was recently sent some Pop Works Popcorn to try, so I used the Peanut Butter Caramel flavour (very moreish) on this bark, but any ordinary pocorn would work just as well. I also picked up some Peanut Butter Dragees from Lidl recently so added them on top to give it a double peanut butter hit. If you didn't have any peanut butter dragees then something like M&M's would work too. You can be as creative as you want really and I'm already dreaming up Christmas themed bark to make.

I hope you all have fun at your fireworks pa…

Mini Smoked Salmon Cheesecakes

It's never too early to start planning your Christmas meals....well, not in my book anyway. I've usually pulled Nigella Christmas (and Delia too) off the shelf by early October and drafted a rough plan in my notebook with recipes I'd like to make over the festive season (although to be honest it constantly evolves and changes right up to the big day).  These lovely mini savoury cheesecakes were developed for the Walkers Shortbread Oatcakes Delight Blogger Challenge recently and I was keen to share them with you as I think they would make a fabulous no bake, make ahead starter for your Christmas Day meal. I do know some of you don't do starters on Christmas Day though (lightweights!) so they would make equally good light lunches too with a bit of salad and coleslaw on the side.

If you're a regular reader of this blog you will know I absolutely LOVE cheesecake of any description. My favourite at the moment is this amazing Chocolate Honeycomb Salted Caramel Cheesecak…