Monday, 12 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 46


Monday
Breakfast for baby S: toast
Lunch or dinner for baby S - carrot, sweetcorn and cheese meal from a packet - baby S wasn't feeling well so I wanted something simple and easy to eat, followed by blueberries
Dinner for us for me, rest of haddock gratin from freezer. For him: chicken chargrills

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S: yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - cucumber, tomatoes, pitta bread, cheese
Dinner for us pork medallions in a mustard sauce for me, chicken pie for him


 
Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - Swede and carrot mash with chicken 
Dinner for us  I’m at a charity quiz so will have dinner before my husband gets home - I fancy a pasta ready meal, he can then have a frozen pizza when he gets home
 
 Thursday
Breakfast for baby S: carrot and courgette cupcake based on this recipe
Lunch or dinner for baby S - pouch of ready made pork casserole
Dinner for us chicken and veg risotto for me, sausage and mash and a bit of risotto for him


 
Friday
Breakfast for baby S: porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S - chicken and veg risotto
Dinner for us spaghetti and meatballs
 
Saturday
Breakfast for baby S: probably just milk as we need to head out early
Lunch for us - not sure where we will be for lunch as we are at baby S’s Waterbabies photo shoot just before midday
Lunch or dinner for baby S - tomato puree puff pastry twists, cucumber, cooked chicken breast
Dinner for us spicy chicken with potato wedges and Nutella pastry twist for dessert
Sunday
Lunch for all of us crumpets
Dinner for baby S - fish pie
Dinner for us roast chicken thighs with chicken breast for him and Yorkshire puddings

Monday, 5 November 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 45

Monday
Lunch for all three of us cheese on toast
Dinner for baby S: chicken casserole from my freezer stash
Dinner for us: pizza - I was going to make something else but the baby was crying and restless and I couldn't start cooking til 7.30 so frozen pizza it was!

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S:  chicken and sweet potato mash
Lunch for me: frittata (ready made) with two leftover hotdogs from the weekend
Dinner for us: fish pie for me, chicken pie for him


Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S: fish pie
Lunch for me: ham sandwich
Dinner for us: For me, broccoli and salmon bake from this recipe I meant to do last week but didn't; beef grillsteak for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S: cheesy pasta with broccoli I didn't do last week
Lunch for me: mini pizza (bought this before we ended up having pizza for dinner on Monday!)
Dinner for us: homemade turkey burger for me, beef burger for him

Friday
Breakfast for baby S Farley's rusk
Lunch or dinner for baby S: jar of 'my first bolognese' with minced turkey
Lunch for me: sandwich
Dinner for us: chicken/ prawn tacos

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch or dinner for baby S:  rest of jar of baby food mixed with mince and pasta
Lunch for me: soup and bread roll
Dinner for us: steak and chips

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch or dinner for baby S: cod mixed with sweet potato puree
Lunch for me: fresh pasta with garlic bread
Dinner for us: toad in the hole

Sunday, 4 November 2018

Easy Vegan Pumpkin Pie to use your leftover pumpkin


I was determined to use up my pumpkins in cooking this year and not just throw them away so as well as this pumpkin and gnocchi gratin I made a pumpkin pie. I've made a pumpkin cheesecake (vegan) before, and this chocolate pumpkin cheesecake, but I've never made an actual pumpkin pie before.

I was spending the weekend with friends so a pie seemed like a nice thing to take; one friend is vegan so I needed to find a vegan recipe. I had a look online and ended up creating my own recipe based on this one from Yummy Mummy Kitchen, but using shop-bought shortcrust pastry, which is vegan, and using my fresh pumpkin rather than canned, coconut milk and cornflour to thicken, and brown sugar and golden syrup to sweeten it. The end result was a soft baked pie filling, almost the consistency of a baked cheesecake, which tasted delicious! It was very popular with my friends, vegan and non-vegan alike.

See below for the full recipe - I also want to mention here the vacuum seal food storage container from Ozeri that I used to transport and store my pie in. You get two large domed containers in the pack, and you simply close the valve at the top and push down to create a vaccum seal; when you want to open the container just open the valve. This keeps the food fresh and there's also a handy dial you turn to show which day you put the food in the container. They are fairly large to store but are a nice sturdy design and I like the fact that the lid is clear plastic so you can see what's inside, so this is also a nice way to serve food for instance when you are outside in the summer and want to keep the insects away!


 

It's currently available on the UK Amazon site but with fairly high shipping costs as it comes from the US, or you can find it on other Amazon sites which are cheaper to ship to the UK.

So here's how I made my pumpkin pie
Serves 10-12

Flesh from one large pumpkin, skin removed, chopped
500g shortcrust pastry block
The cream from the top of a 400ml tin of coconut milk plus some of the milk making up 200ml in total
150ml golden syrup
75g brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground nutmeg
3 tbsp. cornflour

Stew the chopped pumpkin in a pan of boiling water until softened then drain. Allow to cool then pulse in a food processor until you have a smooth puree.


Preheat oven to 180C. Roll out the pastry and use to line either a deep tart tin or a loose bottomed cake tin. Line with greaseproof paper and fill with baking beans and blind bake in a preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until the pastry is starting to turn golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cook while you make the filling.



In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin puree, coconut cream and milk, golden syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg and cornflour and beat until smooth.

Pour into the pie crust and return to the oven for 45 minutes. If the top of the pie starts to brown too much, cover with foil.

 

Remove from the oven and leave to cool then chill overnight in the fridge - this should make the filling set.

I'm sharing this with Baking Crumbs hosted by Jo's Kitchen Larder and CookBlogShare hosted by EasyPeasyFoodie.
 

Thanks to Ozeri for the food storage containers to review.

Thursday, 1 November 2018

Pumpkin and Gnocchi Gratin



Around eight million pumpkins are expected to be thrown away in the UK after Halloween this year - and according to this Guardian article, only a third of consumers will cook and eat any of them.

I didn't get around to carving a pumpkin this year but did buy two, for some photos with my little girl!

I then made use of them in various ways - soup, pie, and this pumpkin and gnocchi gratin. The recipe is from an old issue of Weightwatchers magazine; but I added bacon lardons as well (if you want it without, this makes a nice vegetarian dish). I also used more cheese and allowed more gnocchi per person.
This is really tasty - I'm not a huge fan of gnocchi as it's very doughy and needs more than just a tomato sauce, but it works wonderfully in this recipe - you could also substitute the pumpkin for butternut squash.

Serves 4
400g pumpkin or butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 small red onion, cut into wedges
4 tbsp. chopped fresh sage - I used 4 tsp dried sage to keep the cost down
200g bacon lardons
low fat cooking spray (or oil if you are not following Weightwatchers)
500g gnocchi
250g tomato passata
5 tbsp. grated cheddar


Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with foil and spray with non stick spray or pour in a little oil. Roast the pumpkin, garlic, onion and sage, and sprinkle over some salt and pepper then toss in the oil. Roast for 20-25 minutes until the pumpkin has softened.

Meanwhile fry the bacon lardons in a frying pan.

Cook the gnocchi in boiling water according to the pack instructions - it only takes a few minutes.

Squeeze the garlic out of its skin and mash with a fork, discarding the skin. In a large ovenproof dish mix the garlic, pumpkin and onion, bacon lardons, gnocchi, then pour over the passata and gently mix in. Finally sprinkle over the cheese.

 
Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes; serve with a green veg like broccoli or a salad and garlic bread.

A lovely winter warmer, and a good way to use up pumpkin so it isn't wasted.

 

 And here's my little pumpkin herself!
 


I'm sharing this with Cook Blog Share, hosted by Easy Peasy Foodie.

Monday, 29 October 2018

Slow Cooker Hot Chocolate

Now the clocks have gone back and the nights are drawing in, I'm thinking of cosy warming meals and making more use of the slow cooker.

I kept seeing recipes for hot chocolate made in the slow cooker on the internet and decided to have a go. Be warned - this is a very indulgent recipe and a little goes a long way, but it's really something that should just be an occasional treat - perhaps after an evening of trick or treating or coming back from watching the fireworks.

You need:
397g tin condensed milk
400ml semi-skimmed milk
250g Nutella or chocolate spread
4 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
handful of marshmallows



Whisk the condensed milk, milk, chocolate spread and cocoa powder and pour into the slow cooker dish. Cook on low for 2 hours, adding the marshmallows for the last half an hour.

 
Once the slow cooker is switched off this will stay warm for a while - it's best served with a ladle and you can top your drinks with whipped cream or mini marshmallows but this was rich and sweet enough for me!

I used my new kitchen scales by Ozeri to weigh the ingredients - the Ozeri Touch II digital kitchen scale, which I like because it is so slimline, it takes up so much less space in my cupboard than other scales. It also comes in an attractive teal blue and is easy to wipe clean if you touch it with messy fingers! You can also choose whether you weigh in grams or ounces etc which is handy if you are following a recipe with measurements different to the ones you usually use and don't want to have to keep converting them!

I also enjoyed my hot chocolate in my llama mug, because that's how I roll.

Thanks to Ozeri for the scales to review, all opinions are my own.


 

 

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 44


Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S Leftover chicken with veg
Lunch for me pasta salad
Dinner for us Chicken and pesto pasta to use up chicken from yesterday

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S pancake
Lunch for baby S cheesy pasta with broccoli
Lunch for me sandwich or salad
Dinner for us salmon and broccoli bake from this recipe for me, sausage rolls for him

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S  jar of 'my first bolognese'  mixed with added minced turkey
Lunch for me ploughman's/ sandwich
Dinner for us tuna steak for me or if time rosemary chicken from this recipe https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/8159/rosemary-chicken-with-tomato-sauce, chicken chargrills for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S rest of jar of baby food mixed with turkey
Lunch for me pumpkin soup
Dinner for us mince tacos

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S fishfingers and peas
Lunch for me pumpkin soup
Dinner for us spaghetti Bolognese to use rest of mince

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S Lamb hotpot
Lunch for us cheese toasties
Dinner for us fish pie for me, chicken pie for him

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S pancake
Lunch for baby S fish pie
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for us Toad in the hole

Saturday, 27 October 2018

Ozeri Stone Earth Pan Review

One of my husband's favourite meals is steak and chips, which luckily is very easy to cook - all you need is an oven and a frying pan!

I have a couple of Ozeri frying pans which I really like, and was recently sent another one to review - the Ozeri Stone Earth Frying Pan. I got the 30cm size which is available from the French Amazon site (which delivers to the UK) here.

It's made of durable die-cast aluminium so I was expecting it to be heavier than it was but it's really comfortable to hold and easy to clean. It's called the 'stone' earth frying pan because the non-stick scratch-resistant coating is derived from stone. It also looks very stylish.

I have an induction hob so it heats pans really fast and you have to be careful not to overcook things sometimes. This frying pan heated really evenly and my steak - or rather my husband's steak as I was having something else - was cooked to perfection!


Thanks to Ozeri for the frying pan to review.            

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Restaurant review: JJ Cafe Pie & Mash Carshalton

Not just pie and mash (thankfully) at this pie and mash cafe in Carshalton, Surrey.

On a sunny autumnal Sunday morning I went for a walk around Grove Park in Carshalton with my husband and our baby. It’s a lovely park, bigger than you might think at first, with a playground, mini golf, a restored watermill and squirrels everywhere, plus the adjacent Carshalton pond which always has plenty of wildlife.
 
We decided to get breakfast while we were out and were planning to pick up a pastry from Costa but walking past JJ, a relatively recent addition to Carshalton high street, I suggested we eat there instead.
 
There was plenty of space for the buggy at one of the pavement tables and we appreciated the table service, though you go inside to pay at the end - and be aware they only take cash not cards which I’ve never come across in a cafe before.

My husband had the number 2 JJ breakfast - there were various combinations of full English on offer plus the usual cafe fare, with pie and mash taking up only a small section of the menu. I had a sausage sandwich and was pleased to see it was offered with fried onions, surprisingly unusual in a cafe but it made for a very tasty sandwich. And for a tenner plus change for two of us to have breakfast and a drink it was definitely good value.
 
A Sunday morning stroll around Grove Park and breakfast out might become a bit of a tradition now we have a little girl, and I wouldn’t hesitate to go back to JJ’s - I’d just have to remember to visit the cashpoint first.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 43

Monday
Breakfast for baby S just milk as I had an appointment
Lunch for baby S chicken pieces and veg
Lunch for us (my husband is off as he is looking after baby S during my appointment) hot dogs
Dinner pork fillet with cheat's tonnato from Delicious magazine for me I was going to do last night but didn't, steak for him

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with mashed banana
Lunch for baby S homemade lamb hotpot
Lunch for me any bits and pieces I need to use up from the fridge
Dinner pasta with rest of tonnato sauce for me, pasta with meatballs for him


Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S crumpet
Lunch for baby S some of my haddock gratin from yesterday
Lunch for me macaroni cheese on toast
Dinner smoked haddock and cauliflower gratin from a magazine cutting (You Jan 2017) I was going to make last week but didn't , for him something ready made like chicken kievs


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with apple
Lunch for baby S cheese on toast
Lunch for me cheese on toast
Dinner gnocchi and pumpkin gratin for me from Weightwatchers magazine recipe, chicken chargrills for him

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with mashed banana
Lunch for baby S some of my dinner from yesterday
Lunch for me mini pizzas
Dinner burger and chips

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S homemade beef casserole
Lunch for us Tex Mex sausage rolls from Sainsburys magazine cutting
Dinner Bombay chicken one pot roast from Tesco magazine

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S pancake
Lunch - out at a birthday party
Dinner - not sure when we will be back so might do something from the freezer


Thursday, 18 October 2018

Di Oro Seamless Spatulas Review and Discount Code

How often do you replace your cooking utensils? I'm guessing not often enough - things like wooden spoons and spatulas aren't the sort of thing it ever occurs to me to buy and when I need one I grab one from the drawer or utensil jar without really thinking.

But some of mine are pretty old and at least one of my wooden spoons has a split which means it's destined for the bin. So it was good timing that I was sent a set of three seamless spatulas from Di Oro for review and there is one great USP in particular that means I want to recommend them to you!

As the name implies.. they are seamless. My other spatulas have handles and then the actual spatula end as two pieces melded together, so you can see a join - and it never occurred to me before but it would be easy to get food and therefore bacteria into that very fine line.

Di Oro seamless spatulas don't have this as they are moulded from one piece of silicone but also have a reinforced stainless steel core so they are really sturdy, though the end is flexible enough to scrape out your pan or bowl. Of course the silicone is non-stick and BPA free and what's more the large spatula in this set won a 2017 award from America's Test Kitchen. Heat resistant up to 315C you are not going to melt these easily!

There are three spatulas in this set - a large one for mixing and a large one with a straight edge for scraping out pans, and a small one which you can also use in a pan or use to scrape out a jar.
The set of three comes in either red or black and costs £14.95 from Amazon (you can also buy them individually); but you can currently get 15% off with this special discount code for use on Amazon: DIO15OFF  - this discount is good for all EU readers with access to Amazon so this includes Amazon UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

I'm already making good use of all three spatulas as you can see in this meal below. This is a version of this Santa Fe chicken recipe I made a couple of years ago; as I still can't get hold of Monterey Jack cheese I used a cheddar spiced with chilli from Morrisons which gave it a nice kick, and I made a cheese sauce and topped the chicken with red and green peppers. It was really good and my new Di Oro spatula made stirring the cheese sauce (and not letting it burn) a doddle!

 
 



Thanks to Di Oro for the spatulas for review. All opinions are my own.


 

Monday, 15 October 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 42

Monday
Breakfast for baby S pancakes
Lunch for baby S cheese, tomato, cucumber, mini rice cakes
Lunch for us: ploughmans
Dinner for us for me - smoked haddock and cauliflower gratin from a magazine cutting (You Jan 2017) , for him something ready made

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt and fruit
Lunch for baby S :  some of my haddock gratin from yesterday
Lunch for me: sandwich
Dinner for us fishcake for me, chicken chargrills for him

Wednesday - with my parents
Breakfast for baby S  pancakes
Lunch for baby S homemade chicken dinner
Lunch for us: beans on toast/ macaroni cheese on toast
Dinner for us Mary Berry's sausage dish, from a magazine cutting (You Jan 2017)

Thursday - with my parents
Breakfast for baby S  porridge and fruit
Lunch for baby S  homemade Lancashire hot pot
Lunch for us: cheese and tomato puff pastry twist with salad
Dinner for us baked salmon and gnocci from Delicious magazine

Friday - with my parents
Breakfast for baby S  toast
Lunch for baby S  homemade beef casserole
Lunch for us: hot dogs
Dinner for us tacos - either chicken or mince

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S crumpet
Lunch for us: crumpet pizzas
Dinner for us: takeaway with my mother in law

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S salmon with pasta and peas
Lunch for us: breakfast burritos I didn't do last week
Dinner for us: pork fillet with cheat's tonnato from Delicious magazine for me, steak for him



Saturday, 13 October 2018

Easy Loaf Tin Carrot Cake


 
This is a very easy carrot cake using ingredients you probably already have in the cupboard and fridge that takes very little time to throw together. It was really light and moist and absolutely delicious!

I didn’t actually realise it was a loaf cake until I was part way through the recipe but it makes baking and decorating it much easier. I made this while my baby daughter was having a nap, as my mother in law was having friends over the following day and had invited us to drop in and mentioned not having had time to make a cake so I wanted to help (though in the end she made a fantastic coffee cake as well!).

This recipe comes from the Abel and Cole Cookbook, which I bought (I think on a special offer) back in the days when I had a veg box delivered every week. These days it doesn’t seem worthwhile as my husband is very fussy particularly when it comes to veg and we wouldn’t get through even their smallest box, though now we’ve started weaning our daughter maybe it is something to look into again!

Abel and Cole has a similar recipe on their website where they say they spruced up the recipe from their first cookbook, which is the considerably simpler one that I made.

 
This is what I did:

You need:
185g sugar
180ml vegetable oil
2 eggs
150g self-raising flour
130g grated carrots
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon

for the icing:
175g cream cheese
175g butter at room temperature
225g icing sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla essence

Preheat oven to 180C. Beat the sugar, oil and eggs together until well combined, then fold in the flour. Stir in the grated carrots, the baking powder, bicarb of soda, salt and cinnamon.

Grease a loaf tin - I use PME Release A Cake Spray 600 ml - and pour in the cake mix. Bake for 30 minutes, testing with a skewer, then turn onto a wire rack to cool.





To make the icing beat together the cream cheese, butter, icing sugar and vanilla. Slice the cake through the middle (this wasn't in the original recipe but I decided to do it and loved it) and spread over one half of the cake and sandwich together then use the rest to cover the top of the cake.

 
 I'm sharing this with Baking Crumbs hosted by Only Crumbs Remain and CookBlogShare hosted this time by Monika at Everyday Healthy Recipes.
 
 
 

Monday, 8 October 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 41


Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with apple
Lunch for baby S  finger food of chicken and veg
Lunch for me: smoked salmon leftover from Sunday with bread and butter
Dinner for us: spaghetti bolognese

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S leftover spaghetti Bolognese
Lunch for me: Also leftover spaghetti Bolognese as I always make too much!
Dinner for us: gammon grills/ cauliflower cheese grills

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S Farley's rusk
Lunch for baby S  salmon with sweet potato and broccoli
Lunch for me: toasted sandwich or mini pizzas
Dinner for us: salmon with hollandaise sauce for me, sausages for him


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with peach
Lunch for baby S salmon with tomato and possibly baby pasta- S seems to have a mild egg allergy to am waiting to see if I should try pasta or not
Lunch for me: sandwich
Dinner for us: tacos with potato wedges

Friday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with apple
Lunch for baby S houmous and breadsticks and carrot sticks (cooked)
Lunch for me: houmous and bread sticks and carrot sticks (raw)
Dinner for us: burger and chips

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S  fingerfood - cucumber, cheese, mini rice cakes
Lunch for us: soup and bread
Dinner for us: for me (and to go in the freezer for baby S) slow cooker Lancashire hotpot, something different TBA for him

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S toast with peanut butter
Lunch for baby S pouch of coconut chicken and butternut squash curry
Lunch for us: breakfast burritos
Dinner for us: Santa Fe chicken


Sunday, 7 October 2018

Cake and Bake Show 2018 and Bake with a Legend


This week I made bread with one of the finalists from the Great British Bake Off. It's not every day that you can say that!

I was lucky enough to get a free ticket to the Cake and Bake Show for the Friday, and lucky that my husband offered to take a day off work and look after our seven month old baby. I wasn't gone for the whole day but I did miss my little girl, though she was quite happy with daddy!

The show is a mixture of stalls selling everything from cakes and fudge to cake decorating equipment to kitchen knives, with three demonstration stages and a handful of other things to do - for instance one of the cake decorating stalls had a table where you could sit and be shown how to make a simple sugar flower, or you could get your nails done for free by students from a beauty college (the first time in seven months I've worn nail varnish I think!).


Jane Asher demonstrating at the Cake and Bake Show



Paul Jagger demonstration
 

Bake with a Legend had a stand with none other than Jane Beedle, GBBO 2016 finalist, where you could sign up for a free baking session, so I did. Bake with a Legend allows you to hold an event like a party, hen night or corporate event, where you bake with one of a selection of GBBO participants - or you can sign up to a public session and buy an individual place. It's not cheap - £99 for the public session or £895 for a group of up to 20 in your own home - less than £45 per person if you can get 20 people but I'm not sure how easy that would be, or a group event at £85 per person at one of their locations around the UK for a minimum of 12 people.

It's a great idea as many GBBO fans would love to have a go at baking with their favourite contestant - it's much more than just a meet and greet and doing any sort of baking class usually doesn't come cheap. The company doesn't have any of the actual GBBO winners on their books but there are contestants from different series and whether you were a fan of Howard Middleton or Paul Jagger (who made the amazing lion shaped bread in 2016) you are sure to find someone you like.

At the Cake and Bake Show, I made focaccia with Jane, topped with olives and tomatoes. It was a nice easy recipe - there was even a child taking part who had no trouble with it - but I picked up some useful tips like if your dough is too wet, don't add flour as that changes the ratio of ingredients, but instead add more oil.



Jane was lovely and happy to answer questions about her time on Bake Off, telling us about some of the things she made for her auditions, and that one of her favourite bakes on the show had been Jaffa cakes and the hardest the dampfnudel from one of the technical challenges.

We made the dough and put it in a tin foil tray to take home and bake in the oven. Focaccia only needs a single prove so it did that while I carried it home (it was quite a warm day!) and then I baked the bread later. It was delicious, particularly dipped in a little oil and balsamic vinegar.


I also got to meet Paul from the same series of GBBO who stopped by for a chat.


That was definitely the highlight of my day at the Cake and Bake Show. I realised from looking around the stalls just how much cake decorating equipment I already have! I really must find time to start using it again...

I did buy a few bits and pieces - a set of Lego style moulds that I think I will use for my husband's next birthday cake, some circular cutters (I couldn't remember if I already had any, and they were cheap), a textured mat to roll out icing to make it look like wood, a tiny bow mould and a '40 and fabulous' cake topper which I expect I will get some use out of as I and my school friends all turn 40 next year!




I also had a look at the competition cakes - this is a big part of the Cake and Bake Show. There was a cakes for children section, a wedding cake section, and the main section which had a theme of 'around the world in 80 cakes'. I took a few photos of some of my favourites which you can see below.

If you are interested in cakes and baking and can get to London I recommend the show - I also went to the Cake and Bake Show in 2014 and Cake International in 2012, which were really good as well. A nice day out and of course I couldn't come home without some cake for me and my husband as well!






Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Meal Planning Monday 2018 Week 40

Monday
Breakfast for baby S just milk as we had to go out
Lunch for baby S cottage pie puree from a jar as I had nothing homemade prepared that wasn't frozen as we were away at the weekend
Lunch for me  pizza
Dinner for me and my husband roast chicken

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt with mango puree
Lunch for baby S rest of cottage pie puree with roast chicken and leftover  veg
Lunch for me tinned mackerel in BBQ sauce (not as weird as it sounds - it's John West)
Dinner for me and my husband  curry

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt or porridge with mango puree
Lunch for baby S jar of chicken and pumpkin puree with added chicken and pasta
Lunch for me jacket potato
Dinner for me and my husband chicken, bacon and basil pasta from this recipe


Thursday
Breakfast for baby S yogurt or porridge with mango puree
Lunch for baby S jar of chicken and pumpkin puree with added chicken and veg
Lunch for me toasted sandwich
Dinner for me and my husband cheese and tomato puff pastry twist

Friday
Breakfast for baby S Probably just milk - my husband is looking after her while I go to the Cake and Bake Show and I think getting him to fit in two solid meals will be tricky
Lunch for baby S homemade beef casserole
Lunch for my husband Beans on toast
Dinner for me and my husband Something easy from the freezer (ie chips)

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S Just milk as we are going to an early gym class to make up for one we have to miss on Friday
Lunch for baby S chicken dinner made with leftover roast chicken and veg
Lunch for us  Hot dogs
Afternoon having family over so I will try to make cake of some sort
Dinner for me and my husband rosemary chicken with orange glaze from this recipehttps://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/235165/roasted-orange-rosemary-honey-glazed-chicken/

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with peach puree
Lunch for baby S scrambled egg and toast
Lunch for us scrambled eggs for him, poached egg and smoked salmon for me
Dinner for me and my husband spaghetti Bolognese/ spaghetti and meatballs


Monday, 24 September 2018

Babyled Spreads - baby food review

 
If you've been reading my other blog Mini Moo Life you might have read that I started weaning my little girl at the beginning of this month. I’ve been making my own vegetable purees, and then introduced protein, and am about to start making some proper meals for her.

I’ve also tried out a few ready made packets and jars, as these are often more convenient when out and about – for instance we are about to go to my parents’ for the weekend and I don’t want to take a frozen puree for day two as it will defrost in the car on day one which I don’t think is a good idea. Also, there are times when you don’t have time to cook up a new batch of meals or are not sure about trying out new ingredients and don’t want to buy a whole pack of something you are not going to use (particularly if like me and my husband you are fussy eaters but want your baby to try all sorts of things).
 
I was sent two packs of Babyled Spreads to review, including six jars in total. These are little 34g jars which look pretty small but for my six month old did two meals, and a little does go a long way as you can incorporate them into other recipes or meals.
 
The consistency is a thick paste, thicker than a lot of the jars of baby food I’d tried from other brands. I’ve was using the traditional weaning method rather than baby-led for the first couple of weeks then moving to a combination of the two. So I fed my daughter a couple of mouthfuls of the spread to see what she thought of the flavour, and also mixed them with other things.
 
You can also use them as a sandwich filling, a dip, to mix with pasta or as a pizza topping, and many more besides.
 
It’s a good way for your baby to explore different flavours, as in my relatively limited experience of baby food so far, these have more unusual flavour combinations than other brands.
We tried ricotta and bean; avocado, red pepper and tomato; carrot apple and hummus, and were also sent to try green pea rocket and dill; red lentil and sweet potato, and spicy pumpkin and chickpea, though the latter is only suitable for 12 months and older (the others are all for 6 months+) so we will have to wait a little while for that one.
 
I mixed the ricotta and bean flavour together with some cooked flaked cod, and mixed the avocado, red pepper and tomato with baby rice. The carrot, apple and hummus would go well as a dip with breadsticks and as my daughter starts to get a bit more confident at putting things in her mouth I’m going to try the spreads on toast.
You can buy Babyled Spreads direct from their website; a pack of nine jars costs £6.50 with free postage, making each jar 72p each –  or 18 jars for £12 making them 67p each, so roughly on a par with other ready made baby food and though these jars are smaller than others, they go a long way as they wouldn’t usually be served as a meal in themselves.
The company even donates money from the sale of every pot to Bliss, the charity for babies born premature or sick.


Even though I haven’t been following the baby-led weaning approach I do want my daughter to learn to feed herself and experiment with pieces of food and I think having these spreads would help liven up things like breadsticks and toast. In the meantime I’ll continue using them mixed in with pasta or protein to create a tasty sauce to introduce my daughter to new flavours and textures.
Thanks to Babyled Spreads for the product to review.