Sunday, 23 August 2015

Pea and mint soup

large bunch of fresh mint
Medium potato, peeled and cubed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
Yellow split peas
Half a bag of frozen peas
1 litre vegetable stock

Put pan of water on to cook yellow split peas - I didn't weigh mine out but probably used a good handful. Rinse split peas then add to the pan of boiling water.

Spray another pan with fry lite and gently fry off the carrot and potato - regular readers of my blog will know that my Hub is onion phobic - I do normally use them in blended soups but on this occasion forget to buy any, if I was making this again then I'd add an onion!

Chop the fresh mint then add that to the pan with the vegetable stock when the potato and carrots have started to soften. Simmer until the veg is almost cooked then add the peas for the last four mins.

When the split peas are cooked drain the water and rinse again, set aside.

When all the veg is all cooked add the split peas to the pan and blend, blend, blend. If after finishing the blending your soup seems too thick then add more water - I made the mistake of thinking I could leave it thick the first time I made this soup and it ended up tasting like a bowl of minty mushypeas...

I like to add a teaspoon of mint sauce when serving, and can confirm the soup tastes great the next day with some shredded ham thrown in.

Monday, 27 July 2015

Meal Planning Monday

A state of excitement has descended on our household. We're going on holiday on Friday.

Meals are being kept simple this week, and I've even thought of what we'll be eating next week.

My favourite meal this week will be the beef curry, which I'll do in the slow cooker.

We'll need to pop in to our local butchers for some sausages, I've recently started getting a 5 day meat pack from them - which lasts us 2 weeks. You get a medium chicken (3 meals), some stewing beef, mince, sausages and then pork loins. I'll probably also get some tomato sausages from Tadcaster market on a Thursday, sausages being the toddlers favourite.  Shopping this way saves us money, supports local shops and traders and gives us better quality meat.

Do you use a butcher? What are your favourite holiday meals?

Monday, 29 June 2015

Meal Planning Monday

Monday - quiche and salad
Tuesday - pork steaks and rice
Wednesday - mushroom pasta
Thursday - chilli and jackets
Friday - prawn risotto
Saturday - who knows!
Sunday - roast chicken

Baking - Jam tarts, fruit loaf and wholemeal breadcakes

Another simple week for us. I don't think the toddler will eat prawn risotto, she loved it until she hit two then decided it was yucky... I'll still offer her it, but also cook her a couple of homemade fish fingers just so she does eat something...

Linking up with Mrs M and the other meal planners.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Meal planning monday...on Tuesday

Monday - tuna salad
Tuesday -Bolognese
Wednesday - fish, potatoes, peas
Thursday - sausage pasta
Friday - roast chicken and salad
Saturday - pizzas
Sunday - egg, chips and beans

A simple meal plan for this week. I was trying to do at least one exciting meal a week (last week's was lamb Rogan josh) so I left Sunday blank and asked Phil what he'd like for his Fathers day tea - he wants egg, chips and beans!

I made some tarts with the toddler yesterday and I think we'll attempt another lemon meringue cake this weekend.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

Sausage Huevos Rancheros

I was sent some Debbie and Andrews caramelised red onion pork sausages to review, and as my last use of their sausages (with mash and beans) resulted in a snarky comment, I thought I'd better use these in a recipe...

You can read more about the sausages here: 

This take on huevos rancheros used:

2 caramelised red onion sausages
2 eggs
1 tin of tomatoes
Frozen chopped peppers
Splash of Really Nice Food mango and scotch bonnet sauce
Fresh coriander to serve

I oven baked the sausages whilst frying the frozen chopped peppers in frylite then adding the chopped tomatoes. When some of the liquid had cooked off I added a good glug of the mango and scotch bonnet sauce. I left the sauce to reduce, and the sausages to cook, and picked some fresh coriander. 

When the sausages were cooked I chopped two into chunks and added them into the sauce, then made two wells. I cracked the eggs into the wells then popped the frying pan under the grill to cook the eggs.  A sprinkling of coriander finished the dish.


So what did I think of the sausages? 

Sweet, succulent and tasty. 

Too sweet for a sausage sandwich, but would be perfect with red wine gravy. I'll definitely buy these in future.  Sadly they've a high syn value, I think I calculated them at 8 syns each, but they're a treat worthy of the syns.

Monday, 27 April 2015

Cake and Bake show ticket offer

I've been to the Manchester cake and bake show a couple of times, it's always a great day out.  This year they have four on; Manchester, London, Edinburgh and Harrogate. If you like baking then I'd definitely recommend going to one.

The cake and bake show have offered bloggers a discount ticket code to share with their readers, details to follow.

The Cake & Bake Show, in association with NEFF is an experiential live event for baking and cake fanatics. The event is set to turn up the heat with 4 new exciting shows in Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh. These events have capitalised on the popularity of all things baking and host the perfect mix of live demonstrations, expert classes, market stands, live competitions and so much more to develop your home baking hobby! Book yours before 12th June and save £3 on tickets!


PLUS! See and meet renowned baking stars, patisserie experts and the industry's best cake decorators. From demonstrations on the Super Cake & Bake Theatre in association with NEFF, to do-along classroom sessions and book signings - there will be lots of opportunities for you to learn from the best! Tickets are now on sale! Just quote CAKE-BAKE3 when purchasing to receive £3 off tickets!” 

*Offer valid on any full price advance tickets only. Offer ends 12.06.15. Ticket terms and conditions apply. Information correct at time of print.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Eating out with small children

A few years before having children I once had a twitter conversation on why I thought children should eat out in child friendly places, those geared up to cater to families, leaving 'proper' restaurants for grown ups. I didn't like the noise, or mess, I was trying to enjoy my meal, if I wanted child chaos I'd be in my nearest McDonald's.

Now I have my own little people, has my opinion changed?


Although I'm more tolerant of children now, and I understand that noisy, wailing children aren't misbehaving because they're brats, with rubbish parents - it's because they're hungry/tired/bored... But if I go to eat out on an evening then I still prefer there to be no under 5s me. So I can enjoy my meal in peace, undisturbed.

I've mellowed slightly on lunchtimes and early evening - but only really in places that cater to children. 

I often feel that eating out with our kids anywhere can be a waste of money - they don't eat the food, I don't get to eat mine, it's completely stressful trying to keep them entertained before the food comes, a drink is ALWAYS knocked over the table. I don't find it enjoyable at all!  On the rare occasion we've been to somewhere I'd class as not child friendly I've felt very out of place, and quite stressed, worrying we're disrupting other diners.

I understand the argument that children need to learn to behave in different social settings, and learn 'the rules' of eating out, but I don't think they need to do it somewhere that isn't geared up for them. I don't think it's fair to the other diners to inflict my noisy, grumpy, impatient children on them.

I'd like Daisy and Phoebe to eat out with us, but I don't feel like we can go anywhere 'nice' that the pre-child me would have been irritated by children being there, ruining my meal.

So what's the answer, stick to Pizza Hut until they're 7, or rarely eat out? 

In my perfect world, restaurants would have family nights, from 4-8pm, a couple of times each month, where we can go knowing there will only be other families, where people will be tolerant if one of my children has a meltdown when their food hasn't arrived quick enough - or if they have a little wander about. Where it isn't the end of the world if most of it ends up on the floor - and nobody looks at me like I'm a crazy person for picking all the food up myself, on my hands and knees. (I really wish I had a mini dustpan and brush for my handbag).

Oh, and I would like the children's food to arrive lukewarm, so they can eat it straight away, and my food isn't left to go cold while I break apart pieces of theirs, frantically blowing on it, to cool it to a reasonable temperature. I've never understood why places send children's food out with it being as hot as the sun?!

I'd like there to be enough high chairs, I'd like there to be baby changing, and I'd like mini portions of the adult menu, not chicken nuggets!

But it's just a dream, and I'll be eating in Pizza Hut for the next ten years....

I must add that I do have a friend who has eaten out with her little one, and has never felt the need to go a child friendly chain, has never used a children's menu, and her son eats anything and behaves beautifully. So maybe that's the answer? To perseve, never giving in to going to the child friendly chains? To go often enough they learn the 'rules' of eating out from a very early age? 

What do you think?

Would you take an under 5 out to dinner to a 'proper' restaurant?