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Showing posts from January, 2017

Butternut Squash & Sage Macaroni Cheese

If you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know all about my obsession with macaroni cheese and variations of it. I made a Sweet Potato and Feta Mac n Cheese recently and thought it couldn't get any better than that. Well, I was wrong! This Butternut Squash and Sage Macaroni Cheese is seriously yummy and the ultimate comfort food at this time of year.

I baked a halved butternut squash with a whole unpeeled garlic clove and a handful of sage leaves in a low oven until really soft and tender.  All the lovely baked veggies were then whizzed up in a food processor to a smooth consistency before stirring into the regular cheese sauce I make for Mac 'n' Cheese. It gave the dish a lovely rich colour and the garlic and sage added a beautiful delicate flavour. Obviously the butternut squash adds some nutritional value to the macaroni cheese recipe, but more importantly it gives it this amazing creamy texture too....without the calories. It tastes so good and is most de…

Meal Plan 30th January - 5th February 2017

Its been a bit of a washout here in Cornwall today. Both Lowen and Rory's Netball and Football matches were cancelled, so it's been a day of pottering and watching sport on the box instead. First up was the Aussie Open Men's Single Final (I actually wanted to Rafa to win, but I'm sure he'll have another chance the way he's playing), then there was a bit of FA cup 4th round action whilst (at the same time) listening to the cricket on the radio. We're a bit sport mad here!

Baking wise I had a couple of black banana's to use up so took the opportunity to make some Banana and Coconut Flapjacks for lunchboxes (see pic below) and also some yummy Ham, Cheese and Herb Muffins - recipe will be on the blog on Wednesday!

Monday 30th January
Bacon and Sun Dried Tomato Pasta Bake with Salad

Tuesday 31st January
Chorizo and Pea Risotto

Wednesday 1st February
Fish and Chips

Thursday 2nd February
Frittata and Salad

Friday 3rd February
Slow Coo…

Chinese Chicken & Cashew Nuts

Did you know Chinese New Year - the year of the Rooster-  begins on Saturday? Each Chinese New Year is characterised by one of 12 animals which appear in the Chinese zodiac (I was born in the year of the pig apparently!)..and this year it's the Roosters turn, the 10th animal in the cycle.

If you're celebrating with friends and family this weekend make sure you try this super easy Chinese style Chicken and Cashew Nut dish. Serve with a big bowl of egg fried rice...and don't forget the prawn crackers! It tastes just like my favourite dish from the local Chinese takeaway.

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING CHINESE CHICKEN AND CASHEW NUTSMake sure your frying pan is really hot before frying the chicken.Add more veggies like baby corn, mushrooms or mangetout.Serve the chicken and cashew nuts over some egg fried rice or soft noodles.Make it spicy by adding 1 chopped red chilli at the same time as the onion.Make is vegetarian by replacing the chicken with quorn pieces.

Milk Chocolate & Fudge Cookies

These Milk Chocolate and Fudge Cookies make the perfect after school snack for hungry kids. My lot are usually starving when they get home from school, especially if they've had after school sports clubs (here it's swimming on Mondays, football on Wednesdays, netball on Thursdays and tennis on Fridays!). I usually try and palm them off with some fruit before tea but sometimes they NEED a glass of milk and a homemade cookie to satisfy their hunger pangs....and sometimes Mummy needs one with her cuppa too!

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING CHOCOLATE AND FUDGE COOKIESSwap the milk chocolate for white chocolate or dark chocolate if you prefer.Add a handful of raisins or chopped apricots to the cookie dough for extra goodness.The cookies freeze really well so stash some away in the deep freeze and pull them out the night before you need them.If you don't have Maple Syrup use ordinary Golden Syrup or Honey instead.
OTHER COOKIE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKEChocolate Avocado Cookies from Jam and Clo…

Meal Plan 23rd - 29th January 2017 + The Eden Project

The kids and I had a lovely day at the Eden Project yesterday making the most of the locals go free weekend. Lowen and Rory really enjoyed the Wow Weekend Space exhibition and spent time making and launching rockets in the Mediterranean Biome, watching Professor Johnson of the Squashbox Theatre Company taking us on a journey to the edges of space and time (very funny)... and they even had a go on DIY hoverboards in the Core building. It was a really cold day so we were glad to be able to warm up in the Rainforest Biome and I was pleased to stock up on my favourite Pukka Teas too.

Not so successful was finding something to eat. We really wanted to sample the Med Kitchen Restaurant but having turned up at 12:20 were told there was at least a 30 minute wait for a table. The kids couldn't wait that long so we made our way back up to the visitor centre and had a quick snack there before going home. A real shame but next time I'll make sure we're there at 12 sharp when it opens!

Creamy Caramelised Onion, Grana Padano & Proscuitto Pasta

You can forget the diet with this Creamy Caramelised Onion, Grana Padano and Proscuitto Pasta recipe - but the calories are SO WORTH IT! This is my all time favourite Saturday night dinner in front of the TV with a cheeky glass of dry white wine. Ahhh I'm dreaming about it now!

The onions are cooked for a really long time to bring out their sweetness which contrasts so well with the nutty pine nuts and salty proscuitto. I use marsala in this recipe, which is a fortified wine from Sicily, but ordinary white wine would work OK too. If you did want to try and cut the calories a little bit, you could use half fat creme fraiche instead of the double cream, but I think if you're going to enjoy it, enjoy it in its full glory and go for the double cream! You wont be sorry - just do an extra 20 minutes of exercise the next day if it makes you feel better. That's my tactic.


Vanilla Raspberry Bundt Cake

It's my birthday on Wednesday and I'm trying (and failing) to get excited about it. I used to envy my best friend with a birthday in June as celebrations usually involved garden parties, BBQ's, outdoor games... and when we were older, cider fuelled beach parties. Ah well, I'm stuck with a dreary, cold and wet January birthday (thanks parents) so instead of moping about it, I had to try and make it more cheery!

The kids are always keen that I have a cake on my birthday, but to save my poor kitchen from a baking disaster (hubby + 3 kids = mess), I usually just make my own. I'm really really pleased with how this years Vanilla Raspberry Birthday Bundt Cake turned out. So pretty and bright (thanks to the vibrant freeze dried raspberries) in the darkest depths of winter and it makes my splurge on the tin all the more gratifying.

The vanilla yogurt makes the cake extra vanilla-ry (that's clearly not a proper word but you know what I mean) and also lovely and moist, …

Meal Plan 16th - 22nd January 2017

Week two of #dryjanuary is done and I'm finding it far too easy 😏.  Maybe I'll do a dry February too?  A colleague at work mentioned he is having a 'mildy moist January' which I found quite funny (not quite sure what he means by that?)! I have to say, despite only drinking a few glasses of wine at the weekends I am feeling much better (and A LOT more productive) for not drinking anything at all. I'm sure by the time the 31st January comes around I'll be more than ready for a glass though.

The standard weekly cooking and baking was done over the weekend, including this fab recipe that I first published on the blog back in 2008. The kids LOVE Curried Mince and Peas and it only has 6 ingredients, probably all of which are already in your store cupboard. I usually serve it with rice and naan breads for a filling, frugal and tasty meal. It's definitely one to put on your meal plans if you're looking for new things to try.

In blog related news, you might ha…

Family Favourite Minced Beef Cobbler

An easy, filling and relatively frugal meal that the whole family will enjoy, even the fussiest of children. I love savoury cobblers, there's something very comforting about them, especially when you top the scones with plenty of cheddar cheese like I do in this recipe. This minced beef cobbler features heavily on our meal plans during the winter months and I like to serve it with seasonal veggies, or failing that some peas from the freezer (to be fair it's usually peas from freezer!!). My lot would quite happily gobble a bowl of this on it's own though. It's most definitely a keeper in this house!

TIPS FOR MAKING THE MINCED BEEF COBBLERUp the veggies by adding peppers, mushrooms and courgettes to the mince.Make a veggie version by omitting the bacon and using Quorn mince instead.Double the recipe if you're feeding a crowd.Add a tablespoon of caramelised onion chutney to the mince to give it an extra rich flavour.Serve with seasonal veggies (or peas from the freez…

Peanutty Chicken Curry

Long lists of ingredients often put me off making a curry, especially on busy weeknights when time is precious. However, this Peanutty Chicken Curry is different! The ingredients list is small and most of the items you will already have in your store cupboard (peanut butter being one of them) or fridge. It's a fairly speedy recipe too and you can have it on the table in under 40 minutes (even with three children distracting you), which is always a bonus when you have hungry mouths to feed.

I was sceptical whether peanut butter would work in a curry but it really does and gives the sauce a lovely smooth silky texture, as well as acting as a sauce thickener. This easy curry is now a staple in our house and features on our weekly meal plans regularly. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

TOP TIPS FOR MAKING PEANUTTY CHICKEN CURRYIf you don't like your curry hot omit the chilli from the recipe.Up the goodness by adding some veggies like courgettes, peppers and mushrooms. Just fr…