Monday, 11 February 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 7

I've got laryngitis at the moment so we had to cancel the visit to my parents last week and plans for this week are a bit up in the air until I get my voice back! So I am going to plan meals as if we were going to be at home every day but hopefully we will get to visit my parents at some point.

Monday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with cinnamon
Lunch for us hotdogs
Dinner for baby S butterbean and veg stew followed by quark and fruit
Dinner for us fish pie for me, chicken wrapped in bacon for him

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S crumpet and soft cheese
Lunch for us soup and bread
Dinner for baby S lentil, coconut milk, butternut squash and chicken curry based on this recipe
Dinner for us rest of fish pie for me, sausages for him

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S cheddar and butterbean bites with bits of finger food
Lunch for us just me as my husband is out - I'll probably have a sandwich
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto from the freezer
Dinner for us chicken goujons and prawns in breadcrumbs and chips

Thursday Valentine's day
Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S  baked beans and toast
Lunch for us full English with heart shaped toast if I can be bothered
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer (I've got lots of batch cooked meals for her)
Dinner for us TBA

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S  puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Lunch for us puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us pasta and meatballs I didn't do last week

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S at a birthday party
Lunch for us at a birthday party
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us  sole with new potatoes for me, chicken mini fillets for him

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for baby S pitta bread, cucumber, her favourite finger foods
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S sole with potato and sweetcorn
Dinner for us chicken mini roast

Sunday, 10 February 2019

Why Iberian ham deserves a place on the British dining table

How much do you know about Iberian ham? I have to admit I was a little hazy - I knew it from restaurants and deli counters as a wafer thin type of cured ham from Spain but that was about it.

In fact it's the pigs that are Iberian. They have dark skin and look black rather than pink, with long slender hind legs. They live in freedom and graze on acorns in certain parts of Spain, which apparently gives the meat a unique taste.

It's quite interesting reading about the process to produce the ham from salting to washing, then the pieces are left for up to three month for the salt to permeate. The really unique bit is the way the hams are cured - hung up and exposed to the natural climate conditions for 18-24 months and after that aged in a cellar for at least another 12 months (usually 18). The secret of curing is passed down in families from generation to generation.

It's also part of the famed Mediterranean diet - Iberian ham is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, zinc and vitamins B1, B3 and B12, according to the information leaflet I received.

I was sent some Iberian ham by Ibeham, a project promoted by the Denomination of Origin Guijuelo (Spain). There are plenty of recipes on their site suggesting how to enjoy the ham but I wanted something fairly pure and simple, so tried it on a piece of fresh bread with some mozzarella and a little olive oil.

The slices are so wafer thin they are almost transparent, separated in the packet by pieces of plastic so you can peel the ham off. Each slice has a ribbon of fat which dissolved on the tongue and the taste and texture were both top notch. There are a lot of recipes you can use this in but I just want to savour the flavour by itself!

If you can get hold of some proper Iberian ham - and you don't have to go to specialist shops, Waitrose has some - then I highly recommend it as a little bit of luxury if you're just having a sandwich, or a platter for guests if you are entertaining.


Thanks to Ibeham for the ham to review

 

Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Review: Thomas Fudge's flatbreads

This time of year I love a bowl of warming soup for lunch with something on the side. Ordinary bread is good but it’s nice to have something a little bit different especially if you are going for a plainer soup like my husband who only ever wants tomato. I used to make my own bread sometimes but the bread maker machine has made way for the steriliser and the Tommee Tippee Perfect Prep machine!

So I was pleased to come across these flatbreads from Thomas Fudge's's - they come in two delicious flavours, chickpea & sesame and cheddar & shallot. 

They are thin and crispy like crackers, so they are better dunked into a thick soup like tomato rather than a thin watery soup. You can also spread soft cheese, houmous or whatever you like on them, or use them in a dip - I’m planning to put these out with some dips at my daughter’s birthday party (for the adults). They also make biscuits for cheese and some flapjacks and Florentines which look very tempting!

 
They also look like quite a premium product both with the packaging and the flatbreads themselves - the chickpea & sesame flavour has linseed, pumpkin and sesame seeds which you can see a lot of on top. The 140g boxes  are only £1.89 and go a long way so I think these are particularly good if you are entertaining.

 
 
Thanks to Thomas Fudge's for sending the flatbreads to review - all opinions are my own.


Monday, 4 February 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 6

I didn't manage to do a meal plan last week as I had very little time and had to just wing it when it came to meals... which isn't that easy when you are trying to prepare healthy nutritious food for a baby, finish feeding her and realise you need to get your own dinner on and have no idea what you are going to cook! My mum is out of hospital and has been for over a week now, and is doing really well; we are going to see her and my dad this week.

Monday
Breakfast for baby S Porridge with red berries
Lunch for baby S Chicken, potato waffles, veg
Lunch for us sausage sandwich
Dinner for baby S  pork with butternut squash and broccoli
Dinner for us steak and chips

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S toast
Lunch for baby S banana pancakes
Lunch for us  pancakes
Dinner for baby S jar of baby food I opened yesterday that she didn't want followed by sugar free jelly
Dinner for us sole with lemon and parsley sauce for me, chicken chargrills for him 

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S quark with fruit or possibly just milk depending on when we leave
Lunch for baby S finger food of cheese, pitta, cucumber etc followed by malt loaf
Lunch for us with my parents
Dinner for baby S sole with veg followed by a fruit pot
Dinner for us McDonalds which I know my husband has been wanting for a while, as we will have had a long drive

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S quark with fruit
Lunch for baby S cheese toastie followed by malt loaf
Lunch for us cheese and ham toasties
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto
Dinner for us  sausage casserole 

Friday
Breakfast for baby S crumpet with Marmite
Lunch for baby S sausage casserole
Lunch for us soup and bread
Dinner for baby S something homemade from the freezer
Dinner for us burger and chips

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S crumpets with soft cheese
Lunch for us crumpets and hot cross buns
Dinner for baby S pasta and meatballs with garlic bread
Dinner for us pasta and meatballs with garlic bread

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S pitta, cheese etc
Lunch for us sausage and egg muffins
Dinner for baby S something homemade from the freezer
Dinner for us TBA

Sunday, 27 January 2019

A Unique Valentine's Day Gift - Engraved Silver Marmite Lid



What do you get for the man who has everything? OK not everything, but if there's something my husband decides he wants, one click of a button and it turns up the next day from Amazon Prime. It takes a lot of thought at birthday and Christmas to come up with something he will like but hasn't already bought himself, and I try hard to find slightly quirky or unusual gifts from independent retailers or online gift companies (one stocking filler I got him this year was a doorstop for his 'man cave' (study) carved with the word 'hodor').

Game of Thrones is all very well but not the most romantic inspiration when it comes to Valentine's day (I don't even watch the show but can tell most relationships on it have met a nasty end). Marmite may also not seem the most romantic of gifts - until you think of the famous advertising strapline: 'Marmite - you either love it or hate it'. Believe it or not, that advert was devised in the mid 90s, and has lasted so long that it's become a metaphor for anything people have strong feelings towards.

People who love Marmite, love Marmite. It is a sign of true love for them to say they love you more than they love Marmite!

So what better way to say I love you this Valentine's day than with a jar of Marmite? Well how about this: a personalised engraved silver Marmite lid that is a beautiful keepsake, and actually fits on top of your jar of Marmite so you can either keep it in the larder or on your bedside table (the engraved lid that is, not the Marmite - unless you really love it).

There are a few different places that sell engraved Marmite lids but this one from The Engravers Guild has a beautiful design of a cupid and hearts and the words 'I love you even more than Marmite' along with the recipient's name. You could even get your own name as a keepsake for yourself!

Made of solid 925 sterling sliver in a UK silversmiths, the lid fits a standard 250g jar of Marmite. The engraving is done with a diamond-tipped machine cutter so it will last a lifetime making this a really lovely keepsake for your valentine. This one, the sterling 925 silver, retails at £79 including the cost of the engraving and a gift box.

The Engravers Guild has some other options as well including a Brexit/Remainer version, a plain silver lid (£59.95) which you could have engraved with a message for a birthday or Christening or anything else, or one finished with 9 carat gold for £140 if you want to treat your love to something even more lavish.


I love the way it has turned out - you can see more of the details on the lid in this close up photo above.
Standard delivery is 3-5 working days but they also offer a next day service if you've left it a bit late - and the lid is of course delivered with a jar of Marmite!

Thanks to The Engravers Guild of London which offers a range of personalised gifts for the complimentary engraved Marmite lid. All opinions are my own and this is not a paid-for post though I was sent an engraved lid free of charge.

 

Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Baby Hand Print Get Well Card - A little bird told me you're not feeling so chirpy


My mum has been in hospital for nearly four weeks after being suddenly struck by a serious illness but she is recovering really well and will hopefully be back home soon - a huge relief for all of us.
 
I live a couple of hours away so in between visits I’ve sent her a few things in the post, including a get well card that I made in haste and forgot to take a photo of.
 
This is the second get well card I made, or rather that my ten month old daughter made. We go to a class occasionally called ‘Baby Picasso’ that is basically hand and foot painting with some messy play as well. There is a theme each week and we have the opportunity to make one picture or card or other item (before Christmas for instance we did tree decorations) using hand prints and one using foot prints.
 
It gets quite messy - you have to put paint on your baby’s hand or foot and then stop them wiping it on themselves or you before you are able to get them to place it flat on a piece of paper! Then the other details and embellishments are added by the parent, as this particular class is for pre-walkers so the babies are too young to do it themselves.
 
The theme this week was birds, and my little girl made a picture of two robins sitting on branches with handprints in paint.
 
I decided to turn it into a card so when we got home I glued the picture onto a blank card and had a think about a suitable sentiment. The phrase ‘a little bird told me’ sprang to mind straight away then the rest followed and seemed perfect for a get well card - ‘you’re not feeling so chirpy’!  I wrote the sentiments on the computer and stuck them on the front of the card and inside printed ‘get well soon’.
 
I gave my mum the card when I went to visit a couple of days later addressed to granny from my daughter - she really liked it and hopefully it helped cheer her up a little bit!
 
I'm sharing this with the following craft blog challenges: The Male Room - nature (this card would work for a man easily!)
Paper Funday - anything goes
Everybody art challenge - anything goes
Unicorn challenge - things with wings
Heart 2 Heart challenges - creative cards
 
 
 

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 4

My mum is still in hospital (this is her 4th week) but she is recovering really well and I think pretty close to being allowed to go home, which is brilliant. I don't really know when I'm going to visit her in advance at the moment as it depends on when she is going home, what help she and my dad will need, and if I get any more job interviews - everything is quite up in the air at the moment really!

I've been winging it so far this week but had an online shop last night and realised if I don't plan meals, food will sit in the fridge until its use by date and I won't get around to cooking it. I also wanted to make some more meals for baby S though I seem to be running out of freezer space with all the little plastic tubs we've got in there now!

So right now it's nearly 10pm and I've got two pans of veg cooking to make some baby meals - this is the first time I've been able to stop all day!

Monday
I went to see my mum in hospital and we had something easy from the freezer for dinner when I got back, I can't even remember what it was!

Tuesday
We had hunter's chicken (ready made) with potato croquettes

Wednesday
Breakfast for baby S - porridge with banana
Lunch for baby S - crumpet with soft cheese
Lunch for us - hot dogs
Dinner for baby S - pasta with tomato sauce, veg and chicken followed by half a fruit pot
Dinner for us - burger and chips - not good when you consider what we had for lunch, this is why I need to plan - the planning starts here!

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S - porridge with fruit if time, just milk otherwise, as we have to go out shortly after 10
Lunch for baby S rest of veg and chicken from yesterday mixed into pasta with a cheese sauce and a tiny bit of bacon for her to try
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S Cod with butternut squash, leek, potato and kale (veg mix cooked in advance and batch frozen) followed by apple and plum crumble
Dinner for us  roast chicken - it's not Sunday but why not, since neither of us is in work at the moment!

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit - I did try her with Cheerios but she found them a bit difficult to manage so it's back to porridge for the moment
Lunch for baby S - chicken pieces with roasted veg from yesterday (finger food)
Lunch for us - cheese and ham toasties
Dinner for baby S - chicken with mixed veg from freezer followed by rest of apple and plum crumble
Dinner for us - chicken curry

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S crumpet
Lunch for baby S banana egg-free pancakes
Lunch for us  pancakes
Dinner for baby S - moussaka
Dinner for us - slow cooked gammon in apple juice

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit or toast as we may be at my MIL's
Lunch for baby S finger food of pitta with fish paste, cucumber, cheese and any interesting fruit or veg I find at my MIL's!
Lunch for us If we are still at my MIL's, probably a bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S - gammon from yesterday with veg
Dinner for us sausage casserole

Saturday, 12 January 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 3

This is the first meal plan I've managed to do so far this year as 2019 didn't start off as expected - my mum was rushed into hospital on December 30th and spent a week in intensive care, most of that unconscious. Thankfully she is now awake and on the mend on a ward where she will be for a couple more weeks; I've been to visit several times already but then had a cold so was asked to stay away while her immune system is still weak. And with a job interview for myself and a meeting with a recruiter for my husband this week I'm not sure if I will be able to visit more than once this week (the hospital is a 2.5 hour journey away at least but last time it took me 4 hours to get back) and I've got a 10 month old baby at home to look after as well. So for the moment I'm planning to visit on Monday and then maybe later in the week again or at the beginning of the week after.

Saturday
Lunch for us beans on toast (in a hurry to take baby S out to a play session)
Lunch for baby S crumpet with houmous
Dinner for us steak and chips
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto (in freezer)

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for us sausage and egg muffins
Lunch for baby S pitta bread with houmous, peanut butter, cucumber sticks, cheese etc
Dinner for us spaghetti and meatballs
Dinner for baby S homemade beef casserole (in freezer) with extra veg

Monday
I'll be away visiting my mum in hospital
Breakfast for baby S porridge or toast, whichever my husband finds easiest
Lunch for us I will be out so whatever is easiest; my husband won't get much time looking after baby S by himself so I will leave him something ready made in the fridge
Lunch for baby S jar of baby food
Dinner for us not sure when I will be back (South Western Railway let me down last time) so something easy from the freezer
Dinner for baby S Depends when I am back but possibly another jar of baby food or something homemade from the freezer

Tuesday
Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for us just me today as my husband is meeting a friend for lunch - I think I will have a jacket potato with a  tuna filling that baby S can also eat
Lunch for baby S tuna pasta from this Annabel Karmel recipe
Dinner for us seabass in watercress sauce with veg and new potatoes for me,
Dinner for baby S chicken and butternut squash Annabel Karmel recipe

Wednesday
I'm in London at a job interview this morning (on top of everything else, I'm at risk of redundancy as my role I'm on maternity leave from doesn't exist any more) so my husband will be holding the fort for breakfast and lunch.
Breakfast for baby S porridge or toast
Lunch for him something ready made he can easily eat
Lunch for baby S something from a jar or the freezer that my husband can easily serve
Dinner for us rest of seabass for me (two portions frozen together) with lemon and garlic sauce; chicken breast with the same sauce for him
Dinner for baby S fish with butternut squash, kale and peas from this Annabel Karmel recipe

Thursday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us mini pizzas
Lunch for baby S mini pizza
Dinner for us sausage casserole
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto from the freezer

Friday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us just me I think today as my husband has a meeting with a recruiter - he is looking for a job as well - I'll have a sandwich
Lunch for baby S selection of finger food
Dinner for us chicken goujons with chips
Dinner for baby S something ready made to save time so we can tidy up before people come tomorrow

Saturday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Lunch for baby S pitta bread with tuna mayo and sweetcorn based on this Annabel Karmel recipe
Dinner for us having friends to stay - TBA
Dinner for baby S something ready made

Sunday
Breakfast for baby S porridge, toast or cereal
Lunch for us very excited today that I am having a proper 'dinner party' even though it's lunch time - you will be able to read more on the blog soon!
Lunch for baby S jar of baby food at her grandmother's house (with daddy as he's not coming to the 'dinner party' - it's just girls!)
Dinner for us  TBA
Dinner for baby S TBA