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John Lewis Christmas Elegance Afternoon Tea Hamper


John Lewis Christmas Elegance Afternoon Tea Hamper

I'm a bit smug. I've wrapped all of the Christmas presents before December...every single last one of them.  This is usually a job I don't particularly enjoy and tend to leave until the last minute, but this year I had a helper. My hubby, who wouldn't normally be seen within a mile of a roll of sellotape was enticed to help with the promise of treats from this wonderful Christmas Elegance Afternoon Tea Hamper.

We waited until the kids were in bed then crept around the house pulling out the presents from their various hiding places - I hope I remembered everything! We opened a bottle of chilled Prosecco from the hamper and sat down in front of the fire, glass in hand, nibbling on lots of lovely edible treats - the Macarons were a particular favourite. It was a lovely evening and helped get us into the Christmas spirit - so much so that I agreed to put the Christmas decorations up today! Wrapping understandably took longer than usual and the last of the wrapping may have been a little bit wonky thanks to the effects of the prosecco but the kids wont notice will they!


The hamper retails at £125 and contains the following products:

Rosato Vino Spumante
Prosecco Alessandro
Belvoir Elderflower and Rose Presse
Cartwright and Butler Strawberry and Raspberry Preserve
Handmade Marshmallows
Chocolate Truffles
Chocolate and Raspberry Biscuits
Honey and Almond Biscuits
Cheese Biscuits
House of Dorchester Milk Chocolate Bar
Macarons
Panettoncino
Genoa Cake
Chococo White Chocolate and Raspberry Slabs
Meringues
Loose Tea

Thank-you to John Lewis who sent the hamper - it made wrapping a whole lot easier this year! #JohnLewisChristmas.
Beth Sachs
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Baked Meatballs in a Rich Tomato and Basil Sauce


Baked Meatballs

Comfort food at its best and a recipe the whole family will love. I cheated and used Lidls Italian style meatballs which were very tasty and beautifully seasoned - they will be going on the shopping list again!

I find meatballs tend to break up if I fry them so in this recipe I oven baked the meatballs separately before adding them to the tomato sauce just before serving. The kids enjoyed the baked meatballs with spaghetti but mashed potatoes or rice would be good as alternatives.

Baked Meatballs


BAKED MEATBALLS IN A TOMATO AND BASIL SAUCE


Baked Beef Meatballs in a Tomato and Basil Sauce
Meatballs
Yield: 4Pin it

Baked Meatballs in a Tomato & Basil Sauce

Oven baked meatballs in a tomato and basil sauce
prep time: 10 minscook time: 50 minstotal time: 60 mins

ingredients:

  • 24 ready made meatballs - I used Lidls Italian Meatballs which have a lovely flavour
  • 1 Onion, chopped
  • 2 Garlic Cloves, chopped
  • 2 x 400g Tins of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Sugar
  • 1 TBSP Tomato Ketchup
  • 1 TBSP Balsamic Vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Handful of Basil, torn

instructions

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°/180°fan. Place the meatballs in an ovenproof dish, drizzle with oil and bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.
  • Step 2: Whilst the meatballs are cooking, gently fry the onion and garlic until soft and golden then add in the tomatoes, sugar, balsamic vinegar and ketchup. Simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes.
  • Step 3: Add the cooked meatballs to the sauce, along with the basil and then continue to cook for 10 minutes. Serve over your favourite pasta.


MORE RECIPES

Take a look at the recipe index for more family friendly recipe ideas.
Beth Sachs
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Microwave Jambalaya


Microwave Jambalaya

Microwave meals are back and this is a fab bung it in the microwave recipe that's a real lifesaver when time is short...or when you don't have the use of an oven! People don't tend to use their microwaves for actually making meals but I've found I can do quite a lot in mine...veggie chilli, risotto's, as well as this really flavourful jambalaya with chorizo and red pepper.

I'll be posting more easy microwave meals in the coming weeks so keep an eye out on the blog.

Microwave Jambalaya


MICROWAVE JAMBALAYA


Microwave Jambalaya
Yield: 4Pin it

Microwave Jambalaya

A jambalaya recipe made in the microwave
prep time: 5 minscook time: 22 minstotal time: 27 mins

ingredients:

  • 400g Can of Chopped Tomatoes (with added chilli if you like it spicy)
  • Canful (empty can of tomatoes) of Easy Cook Long Grain Rice
  • 1 Red Pepper, chopped
  • 120g Chorizo Sausage, cut into chunks
  • 2 TSP Cajun Seasoning
  • Handful of grated cheddar

instructions

  • Step 1: Empty a tin of tomatoes into a large microwaveable bowl. Fill the empty can with rice then add it to the bowl. Now fill the can with water and add this.
  • Step 2: Stir in the other ingredients, cover with clingfilm (pierce a few holes in it) and microwave for 10 minutes.
  • Step 3: Give it a good stir then return to the microwave for another 12 minutes, until the rice is cooked.
  • Step 4: Serve with some grated cheddar on top.



MORE RECIPES


Take a look at the recipe index for more family friendly recipe ideas.
Beth Sachs
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Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto



Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto
There's a cold snap on the way this weekend and I can't think of anything more comforting than tucking into a bowl of this chorizo and cheddar risotto on a cold November evening. I love oven baked risotto's as they can take care of them self, leaving you chance to get on with other stuff like bathing the kids, tidying up the toys and enjoying a nice glass of wine (well it is Friday!).

Enjoy the weekend whatever you are up to! We've got a birthday party, shopping for new school boots and anther trip to the brand new Lidls in Bude on the agenda, as well as lots of Christmas cooking for the freezer.
Oven Baked Chorizo and Cheddar Risotto

OVEN BAKED CHORIZO AND CHEDDAR RISOTTO

| Serves: 4 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |


Ingredients:

  • 1 Onion
  • 150g Chorizo, cut into chunks
  • 300g Risotto Rice
  • Splash of White Wine
  • 700ml Chicken Stock
  • 100g Frozen Peas
  • 150g Cheddar, grated

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Step 2: In an ovenproof lidded casserole gently fry the onion and chorizo in a little oil until softened.
  • Step 3: Stir in the Risotto Rice and make sure every grain gets coated in the oil.
  • Step 4: Add the splash of wine and let it reduce for a minute then pour in the stock. Bring it to the boil then put a lid on the risotto and pop it in the oven.
  • Step 5; After 20 minutes add the peas and cheddar and return (with the lid on) to the oven for another 5-10 minutes. If its looking a little dry add a little boiling water from a kettle.
  • Step 6: Give it a good stir before serving and sprinkle with extra grated cheddar if desired.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 20th November 2015 |

Beth Sachs
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Spicy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry


Spicy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

There's nothing better than a warming curry on a wet and windy evening. This is a lovely robust veggie version that will keep you feeling full until breakfast - and I even convinced hubby, who usually isn't satisfied unless there is meat on his plate (although he's still unconvinced by chickpeas).

*RELATED RECIPE - SWEET POTATO & BUTTER BEAN STEW*

If you wanted a milder curry then use Korma curry paste instead of Rogan Josh. I served this with naan breads and mango chutney but if you wanted to stretch it a bit further then serve some pilau rice alongside.

Spicy Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry


SPICY SWEET POTATO, CHICKPEA & SPINACH CURRY


Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry
Curry, Vegetarian
Yield: 4Pin it

Sweet Potato, Chickpea and Spinach Curry

A tasty and spicy vegetarian curry with Sweet Potato, Chickpeas and Spinach
prep time: 10 minscook time: 45 minstotal time: 55 mins

ingredients:

  • 2 Red Onions, sliced
  • 3 heaped TBSP of Rogan Josh Curry Paste
  • 3cm Piece of Ginger, peeled and chopped
  • 1 Red chilli
  • Bunch of Coriander, leaves removed (to use as garnish later), stalks chopped finely
  • 2 Sweet Potatoes, chopped into 2cm dice
  • 400g Tin of Chickpeas, drained
  • 400g Tin of Chopped Tomatoes
  • 400g Tin Coconut Milk
  • Bag of Spinach

instructions

  • Step 1: Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and add the onion and curry paste. Cook for 10 minutes until the onion is soft.
  • Step 2: Add the ginger, chilli, coriander stalks, sweet potatoes and chickpeas and cook for 5 minutes. Add the tin of tomatoes then cover and cook for 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: Remove the lid and cook for  a further 15 minutes then stir in the coconut milk and bag of spinach.
  • Step 4: Cook for a few minutes to wilt the spinach then serve with warmed naan bread and mango chutney.



Beth Sachs
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Meal Plan 16th - 22nd November 2015


meal plan

I NOW POST MY WEEKLY MEAL PLANS ON THE JAM & CLOTTED CREAM FACEBOOK PAGE.

Horrible horrible weekend, with lots of explaining to a confused 6 and 8 year old. My thoughts go out to all those affected by the tragic events in Paris.

This week I'm still running the cupboards and freezer down ready for Christmas and I'm also looking forward to the long awaited (for me anyway) opening of Lidls in Bude. I'll be there bright and early on Thursday morning as they open their doors for the very first time.

Monday 16th November
Cheesy Tomato Pasta

Tuesday 17th November
Mushroom Omelette's

Wednesday 18th November
Chicken Breasts with Sweet Potato Mash and Frozen Veggies (peas and broccoli)

Thursday 19th November
Panini's with Coleslaw and Salad

Friday 20th November
Oven baked Risotto but with bacon instead of chicken

Saturday 21st November
Pulled Pork (which is a Lidls weekend offer this week) served in rolls with coleslaw

Sunday 22nd November
Leftover Pulled Pork Macaroni Cheese
Beth Sachs
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Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake


Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake

Every year I make a Christmas cake and every year I'm the one that ends up eating the thing. So in a concerted effort to maintain my waistline, this year, instead of a traditional Christmas cake I'll be making an alternative Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake to enjoy. After all, who can resist the quintessentially festive chocolate orange combo?

The beauty of a biscuit cake is that it can be made 3 or 4 days ahead and left in the fridge until you want to serve it (or a cold garage if the fridge is bursting at the seams!). All you need is a dollop of clotted cream and you're sorted. If this is being made for an entirely adult audience I would use all dark chocolate in the topping.

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake: An Alternative Christmas Cake

TIPS FOR MAKING A FESTIVE BISCUIT CAKE

  1. Add some fudge pieces or nuts if that's what your family likes
  2. Decorate with festive sprinkles
  3. If you prefer make in a large square baking tin and cut into slices

OTHER NO BAKE RECIPES YOU MIGHT LIKE

  1. No Bake Malteser Cake from Lucy Loves
  2. Chocolate Honeycomb Mincemeat Squares from Jam and Clotted Cream
  3. Toffee Apple Candy Chocolate Tiffin from me again - Jam and Clotted Cream


CHOCOLATE ORANGE BISCUIT CAKE

no bake, biscuit cake, chocolate, christmas
no bake, chocolate
sweet treats
Yield: 10 slicesPin it

Chocolate Orange Biscuit Cake

A chocolate orange no bake biscuit cake with lots of festive flavour. A great alternative to traditional Christmas cake.
prep time: 20 minscook time: total time: 20 mins

ingredients:


  • 350g Digestives, crushed
  • 100g Ginger Biscuits, crushed
  • 100g Dried Fruit of your choice (raisins, cranberries)
  • 50g Chocolate Candy e.g. smarties
  • Zest 1 Orange
  • 340g Butter
  • 240g Golden Syrup
  • 120g Dark Chocolate
  • 60g Cocoa Powder
  • For the topping:
  • 150g Milk Chocolate
  • 150g Dark Chocolate
  • 50g White Chocolate

instructions


  1. Line a 20cm springform tin with clingfilm so it overhangs the sides.
  2. Place the crushed biscuits, dried fruit, candy and orange zest in a large bowl and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter, syrup ,dark chocolate and cocoa powder either in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave (cook it in 30 second bursts and stir).
  4. Mix the melted butter and chocolate mixture with the dry ingredients and press into the tin. Place in the fridge overnight.
  5. Un-mould the cake from the tin and clingfilm and put the biscuit cake on a serving plate.
  6. For the topping, melt the milk and dark chocolate in the microwave then spread over the top and side of the cake. Place back in the fridge for an hour before drizzling with some melted white chocolate.



PIN THE CHOCOLATE ORANGE BISCUIT CAKE!

Chocolate Orange No Bake Biscuit Cake

MORE RECIPES

For more family friendly recipes visit my recipe index which contains hundreds of frugal recipes divided into handy categories.

Don’t forget to follow Jam & Clotted Cream on Pinterest (it’s a great visual guide of my recipes) then pin my recipes to try.
Want to receive posts by email? Sign up in the sidebar!

Beth Sachs
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Giveaway: Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker


Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker
I've recently been working with Domu, an online kitchen and home shop, developing seasonal warming recipes for their new slow cooker recipe hub. My Slow Cooker Sausage, Mushroom and Red Onion Casserole is currently being featured on their website and was made in a Vonshef 6.5l digital slow cooker like the one in the picture above. Domu have kindly given me a brand new Vonshef 6.5l Digital Slow Cooker from their range to giveaway to one Jam and Clotted Cream reader in a competition.

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

COMPETITION NOW CLOSED

Take a look at my Recipe Index for lots of slow cooker meal inspiration.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Beth Sachs
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Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins



These blueberry and white chocolate muffins take minutes to make...and minutes to eat - they are that good! In fact they are so quick to whip up you could easily make them for a special weekend breakfast or brunch. They are definitely best eaten fresh though so if you have any leftover, pop them into the freezer and reheat in the oven for a few minutes when you next need a mid morning pick me up.

You could substitute the blueberries for raspberries or blackberries, or even dried fruit if you preferred. The white chocolate gives them a wonderful sweet edge without turning them too sickly.

Why don't you give them a try this coming weekend - or let your kids have a go at making them by themselves? I'm pretty confident my 8 and 6 year old could manage these no problem.


BLUEBERRY & WHITE CHOCOLATE MUFFINS


Blueberry and White Chocolate Muffins
Muffins, Baking
Yield: 12Pin it

Blueberry & White Chocolate Muffins

A blueberry and white chocolate muffin recipe
prep time: 15 minscook time: 15 minstotal time: 30 mins

ingredients:

  • 100g Butter, softened
  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 1 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Blueberries
  • 2 Eggs, beaten
  • 150ml Natural Yoghurt
  • 2 TBSP Milk
  • 50g White Chocolate Chunks
  • 2 TSP Light Brown Sugar

instructions

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°c (180° Fan) and line a 12 hole muffin tin with muffin cases.
  • Step 2: Melt the butter in the microwave and set aside to cool.
  • Step 3: In a large mixing bowl stir together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, blueberries and white chocolate.
  • Step 4: In a jug beat the eggs, yoghurt and milk with the cooled melted butter.
  • Step 5: Stir the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients taking care not to over mix.
  • Step 6: Divide the mixture between the 12 muffin cases then sprinkle each one with a little light brown sugar.
  • Step 7: Bake in the oven for 15 minutes until lightly browned on top.
  • Step 8: Cool on a rack before tucking in.



*RELATED RECIPE - CHEESE & HAM MUFFINS*

Beth Sachs
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Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta


Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta

There's nothing better on a cold and wet Autumnal evening than tucking into a bowl of this squash and goats cheese pasta. Simple cooking at its best. The squash is roasted in the oven with a whole bulb of garlic and the creamy goats cheese contrasts the sweetness of the squash and garlic brilliantly. Blue cheese would also work here if you preferred.

*RELATED RECIPE - BUTTERNUT SQUASH MAC N CHEESE*


Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Pasta


BUTTERNUT SQUASH & GOATS CHEESE PASTA


Butternut Squash & Goats Cheese Pasta
Pasta
Yield: 4Pin it

Butternut Squash & Goats Cheese Pasta

An autumnal pasta dish with roast squash and garlic with creamy goats cheese.
prep time: 10 minscook time: 55 minstotal time: 65 mins

ingredients:

  • 1 Bulb of Garlic
  • 1 Butternut Squash, peeled, deseeded and cubed 
  • 350g Spaghetti
  • 150g Goats Cheese, crumbled
  • A few sage leaves

instructions

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200°c/180°fan. Cut the top third off the garlic bulb, drizzle with oil then wrap in foil. Place on a baking tray along with the cubed squash and roast for 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: About 20 minutes in, cook the spaghetti according to instructions and drain. 
  • Step 3: Toss the roasted squash into the spaghetti then squeeze the roasted garlic cloves into the pasta too.
  • Step 4: Add in the chopped sage leaves and half of the goats cheese.
  • Step 5: Serve in bowls with extra goats cheese crumbled on top.



Beth Sachs
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Giveaway: 5 Boxes of Corkers Crisps


I've got five boxes of award winning Corkers Crisps to giveaway in a crispy themed competition. Each Corkers box consists of the following flavours:

Sea Salt
Sea Salt and Cider Vinegar
Pork Sausage and English Mustard
Red Leicester and Caramelised Onion
Sweet Thai Chilli
Sea Salt and Black Pepper
Gressingham Duck and Hoisin Sauce
Vegetable Crisps

Some facts about Corkers Crisps
  • The crisps are made in the fenlands of Cambridgeshire with the potatoes grown on a family run farm.
  • The crisps are made from Naturalo potatoes which have a unique flavour thanks to the rich peaty soils in which they are grown.
  • The crisps are currently stocked at National Trust properties, Longleat, and in Waitrose stores nationwide.
For your chance to win a box of Corkers Crisps just fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. UK entrants only please.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Beth Sachs
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Mini Ham and Cheddar Quiches


Mini Ham and Cheese Quiches

These are fantastic for popping into the kids lunchboxes and are tasty whether eaten straight out of the oven or at room temperature. I happen to prefer them when they have cooled right down but my husband gobbles them up straight out of the oven. The 7 month old has also taken a fancy to them so I make a couple without the ham and onion mixture.

Sweetcorn would be a lovely addition, but I have a fusspot (not the kids btw!) who doesn't like it...apparently it's too sweet.

*RELATED RECIPE - HAM & CHEESE SAVOURY MUFFINS*


MINI HAM AND CHEDDAR QUICHES


Mini Ham & Cheddar Quiches
Picnic, Lunchbox
Yield: 24Pin it

Mini Ham and Cheddar Quiches

Mini Ham and Cheddar Quiches perfect for lunchboxes and picnics
prep time: 20 minscook time: 15 minstotal time: 35 mins

ingredients:

  • For the pastry
  • 280g Plain Flour
  • 140g Cold Butter, cubed
  • 8 TBSP Water
  • For the filling
  • 2 small Onions, chopped
  • 4 Slices Ham, chopped
  • 1 TSP Dried Thyme
  • 4 Eggs, beaten
  • 100ml Double Cream
  • 200ml Milk
  • 200g Grated Cheddar

instructions

  • Step 1: Make the pastry by pulsing the flour and butter in a processor until breadcrumbs form. Add the water a tbsp at a time and pulse until the pastry just comes together - you might not need all of the liquid. Tip out onto a floured surface and form 2 discs. Wrap in clingfilm and place in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Step 2: In a saucepan fry the onion in a little butter until soft then stir in the dried thyme and ham. Set aside.
  • Step 3: In a jug whisk together the eggs, cream and milk. Set aside
  • Step 4: Roll out the pastry and cut into 24 rounds using a round cutter. Place the circles of pastry into 2 x 12 hole bun tins and gently push down.
  • Step 5: Preheat the oven to 190°c then fill each pastry case with a tsp of the onion and ham mixture.
  • Step 6: Pour the egg mixture into each one being careful not to overfill, then sprinkle with the grated cheddar.
  • Step 7 : Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes. Cool on a rack.


Beth Sachs
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