Tuesday, 8 December 2015

La Gioiosa Prosecco

Phil and I love a drop of prosecco. We normally have a bottle or two of our favourite from Sainsbury's stashed away, but I haven't seen it on offer for a while.

We were given this bottle by my dad, who'd picked it up on Morrison's. It's currently on offer, at £7 down from a tenner.

I wasn't expecting it to be any good, but it surprised us in being quite delicate and very light. Some of the cheaper proseccos can often taste harsh and even bitter.  It's been a very, very long time since I did any wine tasting, so I won't pretend I could taste the different notes in there - particularly because we're suffering with colds!

This is definitely one I'll be adding to our list of wines 'we' like.

Like my facebook page

Over the past few months I've found that I'm clicking to read blog posts that I see promoted in my Facebook feed rather than via Twitter. So I decided it's high time I created a page for Come Dine With Rach.

https://m.facebook.com/comedinewithrach/ please like my page to stay up to date with blog posts and CDWR news.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Blogger challenge: Cooking on a shoestring

I was approached by the PR company of Hammerson, the developer of Victoria Gate in Leeds, to take part in a challenge to promote the importance of food banks and healthy eating - a project that Hammerson have funded. Zest Health for Life created a recipe book to give simple, healthy recipes and tips on eating healthily, the Hammerson project has paid for these books to be reprinted.  These books are being distributed by Leeds East Food Banks.

I was sent a parcel with the ingredients for Falafels, one of the recipes from the book.  Bread, garlic, chickpeas, ground cumin, baking powder and a lemon.  I was also sent a packet of pasta to go with the dish - but who on earth has pasta with falafels?  Surely couscous is better, and so cheap - but perhaps not as widely donated, or trusted to use?  I used a packet of flavoured couscous that's been in my store cupboard for far too long, and also served with a dollop of hummus.  The other half of the lemon could have been used to flavour some plain couscous though.

Following the recipe was very easy, although I was lucky we have a food processor that I could use to blend the ingredients - mashing them wasn't very appealing.  I thought they tasted good, although sadly my husband is not a falafel fan and labelled them "FalAwfuls", thanks for that!  The recipe called for two full cloves of garlic - I thought that was way too much to add, so I just used one, and the garlic was still very strong.

Am I convinced that the clients of the food bank would make these falafels - not really, it was faffy and time consuming to do - but I fully admit to being completely naive about who those clients are, perhaps I'm totally wrong and plenty do make them?  

The only revisions I'd make to this recipe is to use bottled lemon juice, and garlic puree - which might possibly be one of the things given out?  It's certainly useful to have in the store cupboard.  To me these would be cheaper alternatives.

So, the rest of the book.

I like the way the book was written, I like the information on cooking terms, I like the budgeting tips - particularly going to Leeds Market.  Recipe wise I liked the Sausage Casserole recipe, and the basic tomato sauce recipe.  I loved the fruit and vegetable seasons page - so much so I'm going to stick it on my fridge.

I didn't like the number of ingredients in each recipe - take the leek and potato soup for example, their recipe has 9 ingredients - mine has 4 - and that includes using fry lite!   Flicking through the book I'm sceptical that some of the recipes would be used - but I tried to sit and think of what I'd replace them with - and other than a lot more pasta dishes and various soups I don't think I could come up with anything better.

I was going to write about my thoughts on how food banks should operate etc - but I'm not sure I'm qualified to do so, I've never been in one.  My assumptions are based on what I've seen in the news and read in articles.  I'm assuming the people using them aren't all that dissimilar to my family, and although I often order falafels when eating out, it's not something I'd ever thought to make for my family.

After I made my recipe I'm left with half a lemon, the pasta, some garlic and the rest of the jars of baking powder and ground cumin.  I've also got the full loaf of bread in my freezer for emergencies, I had a loaf that needed using that I pinched two slices from.  I'm going to buy another tin of chickpeas, find some oil in my cupboards and then use the garlic, the remaining half lemon and ground cumin to make some hummus, which my girls would happily eat vats of!  

Doing this, and flicking through the book, has brought Food Banks back into my mind.  I'll definitely look out for one of the drop off points for one next time I'm at the supermarket, and pop a few tins in - and a packet of plain couscous.

Monday, 23 November 2015

My twelve weeks on Move it to lose it

I've just completed 12 weeks on a 'lifestyle improvement programme'.  It gave me free membership and weekly weigh ins at Slimming World and free gym membership for the 12 weeks.

Unfortunately I haven't done this during an easy 12 weeks of life.  Right in the first month we went on honeymoon - where there was no way I was going to stress myself out trying to food optimise in Rome, then at least 5 out of the 12 weeks we've existed on an average of 3 hours broken sleep a night, because of teething, sickness, snoring....

Excuses, excuses - I know.

I suppose, having already been doing Slimming World for what seems like an eternity, there was no way I was going to get those great weight losses you do in the first few weeks.  But I fully expected to lose around 2Ibs a week, food optimising and going to the gym.

But I didn't.  I yoyo-ed, up and down, and up and down, and up and down.  My consultant told me I didn't lose a decent amount of weight because I didn't stop to group all the time.  I did stop to at least 8 out of the 12 sessions though - and looking back my weight losses weren't any better the week after I'd stayed to group.  I make no secret of the fact that I don't enjoy the group part of the session - if I'm completely honest I find it utterly tedious.  It felt like an hour and a half waste of my life every week.

So at the end of the 12 weeks I've made the decision I won't return to Slimming World.  I will follow the plan at home though, over the year I've found quite a few 'Slimming World' meals that we will all eat - I don't find eating as a family as stressful now.  My only problem is not having easy access to scales.  We don't have any in the house - it's all too easy to become obsessed with hopping on and off them.  My nearest Boots is either Leeds or York, and I don't go weekly to either.  I'm telling myself that I'll weigh monthly, so we'll see how I get on with that.  I suspect not weighing every week my motivation will drop off.

So the going to the Slimming World classes side of the scheme - not so good.

HOWEVER, the going to the gym element I have absolutely loved.  I look forward to going, especially on a Saturday or Sunday morning.  Having somewhere to go to get out of the house a few times a week and be on my own, or with a friend - has been wonderful for my mental health - particularly during the non-sleeping weeks.  My confidence is slowly building in there, and I'm even running on the treadmill now, and not caring if other people are there to see.  From what I've gathered so far, nobody pays the blindest bit of attention to what anyone else is doing.  Well, apart from me when I'm trying to listen to someone else's conversation that sounds interesting.

Going to the gym has given me a new found happiness, and best of all - that's where the results of the 12 weeks can be seen.

The scales show I've only lost 6Ib in 12 weeks (pitiful) but the tape measure shows much more positive results.

I'm going to sign up to be a member, and I'm even going to try out a few classes - I felt too fat and unfit to go to any before, but I'm going to give a couple a try and hopefully will be OK.  Perhaps not spinning just yet though, the memory of that hell is all too real still....

Although the gym side of things has pleased me, I will admit to feeling like I've failed on the losing weight side.  I desperately want to break into that next stone barrier - so I've just got to keep trying.  And stop eating malteasers...

Friday, 20 November 2015

Pork and rice pot

I've adapted this from a recipe in the Slimming World Extra Easy all in one book.  My version strips the recipe back to basics, making the flavour a bit more palatable for the young children.

4 pork loins, cut into strips
1 carrot, cubed
Half a packet of green beans
200g rice
450ml chicken stock
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
2 tsp Chinese five spice
1 tsp ground cumin

Stir fry the pork for five minutes, with the bay leaf, Chinese five spice and bay leaf.

Add the rice, vegetables, soy sauce and chicken stock.

Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to low, put a lid on and leave to simmer for 15 mins.

Turn the heat off after 15 mins but leave the pan, with the lid still on, for another 15 mins to absorb all the liquid.

Serve after the 15 mins standing time.

Monday, 9 November 2015

Recent Eats - October and early November

I've been concentrating on my Slimming World (not that it's showing on the scales, but that's another post) and haven't eaten out all that much - we can't afford to do so anyway.  I'm not finding it as much of a challenge to find meals we'll all eat this time round.  Apologies for the poor quality of pictures, the camera on my phone is terrible indoors.


At the beginning of October I had a meal at Sonali - no photo, sorry - our local Indian restaurant. I had vegetable samosas to start - surprisingly spicy, and Lamb Multani - which came with melted cheese on top.  I've never had a curry before with melted cheese on top, but I really enjoyed it.  Sonali is very popular locally, I've always found the food to be good, and portion sizes generous.

I popped up to Newcastle to meet my friend and her little girl during half term - we ate at Prezzo, but sadly the food wasn't great, and the service was terrible.  I did think the children's menu was good value though; it's only saving grace.

Last week I went to the Homage2Fromage cheese cafe pop up in the Merrion Centre.  The Yorkshire Rarebit was fantastic - I'll go back just for that.  But my pizza wasn't quite as cheesy as I thought it would be - but still a decent pizza, and good value at £8.  It's an interesting concept and something different for Leeds.  And pulled pork burger free...  I would have liked to have had a slice of cheesecake for dessert, or even a piece of fruitcake with some Wenesleydale cheese - but maybe cheesecake is a bit too pedestrian.  The only criticism I have is the price of the cheeseboard, it seems overly expensive - but I didn't see one made up, so perhaps the extra items on the board make up the cost.  The staff coped very well with four children though, and were very gracious about the mess created.  I managed to get up as much as I could, but I really do need to take out a mini dustpan and brush for eating out with my girls!

When we arrived at the restaurant we were five minutes early for opening, and weren't allowed in, so we popped up to The Chilli Shop; I picked up a Really Nice Food Company sweet chilli dip, which is amazing.  There's lots of samples to try in the shop; I'll be heading back up there for something to add to my parents Christmas hamper I'm sure.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Meal planning monday - 19th October

Monday - chicken fried rice
Tuesday - chicken soup
Wednesday - tomato pasta
Thursday - sausages
Friday - pork loins
Saturday - freezer dive
Sunday - beef stew

This week we're using up roast chicken leftovers.  I even made stock last night from the carcass to use as the base of the soup!

It's the week before pay day, so funds are tight, meals have to be cost effective. I bought the meat pack last week from our local butchers, and have sausages, four pork loins and a pound of stewing beef left.  We're at a 60th birthday party on Saturday so will just defrost some leftovers for a quick tea. Luckily I'm driving so won't have hangover hunger on Sunday!

I'm not doing very well with my slimming world at the moment, meals are no problem but I'm still making bad choices for snacking. Come 7:30 and the girls being in bed then I just want to eat. I need to go back to saving my HExB for then so I can have a bowl of cereal.  I've been so exhausted that I didn't go to the gym at all last week. When I'm getting so little sleep it's so hard to leave the house at 7:30pm to go. I think this is the only time where I long for them both to be at school - then I could get things like exercising done during the day. If the gym opened at 6am I could go and be back in time for Phil going to work at 7, but it doesn't - and sometimes the only uninterrupted sleep I get is 5-7am when the girls are downstairs with Phil. Losing weight when I'm so tired sometimes feels impossible. 

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday - 12th October

Monday - pea and ham soup
Tuesday - tuna pasta bake
Wednesday - SW burger and salad
Thursday - sausages (pasta/rice/potatoes - who knows)
Friday - homemade pizza swirls/ stir fry
Saturday - bolognese
Sunday - roast chicken

Last week we popped into Iceland and I bought some of the Slimming World burgers - I couldn't bring myself to get the sausages, but I did make the mistake of picking up some Linda McCartney veggie sausages (they tasted as awful as quorn ones do).  I wasn't keen on the burgers, and would rather just syn some ones from the butchers instead.

This week we're due to get a meat pack from our local butchers, so I'll be getting a medium chicken, 1Ib mince, 1Ib sausages, some pork loins and some stewing beef.  I'll use the pork and stewing beef next week, and the roast chicken we have on Sunday will stretch into two meals next week too.  Love leftovers.

Yesterday we had a gammon joint, Phil will be using some of the leftovers for his butties, and i'll use a small amount in some pea and ham soup, which the girls will hopefully eat too.  They both like soup, the toddler especially likes to dip things at the moment, so soup and sandwiches is always a winner.  The baby just likes to be covered in green mess, and if she can get plenty of it on everything else then she'll be excessively happy.

We went to Rome for our honeymoon at the beginning of the month - we ate so much pizza that I don't think I'll be ready to have it again until next year.  Whilst we were there I had a fantastic bolognese dish - with gnocchi - not sure why it's never occured to me to put them together before, but I really liked it.  If I remember to pick some up this week then we'll have that, but if not we have plenty of pasta in the storecupboards.   Whilst we were away I've fallen back in love with red wine and prosecco - I still think white wine has a vendetta against me though.  I don't tend to drink at home very often, if at all, because we cosleep with the baby from the early hours every night, so it was nice to be able to have a few glasses of wine together.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Simple tuna pasta bake

This is about as easy as it gets - well without microwaving I suppose...

1 tin of tuna
half a carton of passata
dried pasta (enough to fill whatever dish you're going to use)
herbs of your choice
extra tomatoes

Heat oven to 200. 

Cook the pasta, drain the water and set aside in the pan. 

Grate the cheese - it's hard to put an amount to use, I tend to grate some then eat a bit of it, give some to whichever child is in the vicinity and then end up grating more at the end...

Pour the passata into the pan, drain your tin of tuna and then add that into the pan with the passata and the pasta. 

Add whichever herbs you like - I added basil, rosemary and a bit of thyme.  Give it a good mix and then pour into a baking dish. 

Throw in a few cherry tomatoes - I have some homegrown ones in varying levels of ripeness so grabbed a few of these and dotted them about.

Sprinkle over the cheese (grate more if you don't get enough coverage).

Bake in the oven for around 20 mins, or until you smell the cheese starting to burn.

Serve with green beans and salad.

Monday, 14 September 2015

Meal Planning Monday - 14th September

Monday - Tomato soup (using some of our meagre crop of homegrown tomatoes)
Tuesday - Sausage pasta
Wednesday - Tuna fishcakes
Thursday - Chicken curry and rice
Friday - Homemade fish fingers (phil & the girls), jacket potato and beans for me
Saturday - Slow cooker chilli and rice
Sunday - Slow cooker chicken, bacon and potato stew

I need to pop to our local butcher for the mince and bacon, and will be getting 6 chicken breasts for £6 at Tadcaster market.

We've had an unexpected expense this month so are having to cut back on our shopping spend to try and stay afloat, I'm trying to use up as much of what we have in the cupboards and freezer and make use of deals on meat to get through to pay day.  I have one large frozen fish fillet left in the freezer, which will become the fish fingers, and we have some sausages left over from the last time I bought them in bulk from the butcher that goes to Tad market.  We always have lots of dried pasta in the cupboards and usually a tin of tuna in there.

I'll be looking out for the usual MPM post on At home with Mrs M to link up with the other meal planners.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Chocolate Tart

I made a chocolate tart to accompany the sunday lunch at my parents last weekend - and promptly forgot to take it with me, not very clever.  Luckily they were passing that evening and could pick up some to try for supper.

I used this BBC Good Food recipe, but opted to melt my butter on the hob, and also melt my chocolate in a bowl over a pan of boiling water.  Our microwave is unpredictable at best in it's desire to cook - so I don't trust it to melt chocolate in, back to the old school method for me.

I had a tiny piece of this as I cut my parents portion.  It was OK - but lacked something.  I thought maybe some pieces of honeycomb to add another texture to the chocolate topping.  It was very rich, and a bit sickly really.  I'm tempted to make it again, adding in some pears and ginger, and using ginger biscuits as the base.

Do you have a go to chocolate tart recipe?

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Recent Eats

I'm back on the slimming world train, having signed up for a 12 week weight loss programme, which gives 12 free slimming world sessions, and 12 weeks of free use of the gym.  In my first week I struggled to get back 'on plan' but since my weigh in on Thursday I've felt more focused.

I've done a couple of bits of baking in the last few weeks, made bread, some flapjack and a chocolate tart.  I also popped my popcorn cherry - why have I never made my own before?  I love popcorn, and will definitely be making my own from now on.


I've been out a few times; I was invited to the launch night of Turtle Bay in York - but unfortunately didn't really get to sample any food, it was more of a drinking and celebration event; those that were enjoying the free bar and live band were having a great time.  It was a little noisy and chaotic for us though, so we popped along to a charity night at Bettys in York, in aid of SANDS and another of their chosen charities.  We had a three course meal and plenty of conversation.

We'll be going on our honeymoon shortly, I can't wait to go to Rome.  I'm going to be scouring the net for recommendations of off the tourist track places to eat, and we can't wait to do all that sight seeing.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Gourmet garden lightly dried herbs

I was sent a selection of lightly dried herbs to review; parsley, basil and coriander.

I usually have fresh basil, parsley, rosemary and mint growing at home, but for some reason I can never keep coriander alive - something to work on!

I'll admit that when I was sent these I didn't quite see the point to them. However, as I've been using these I've found the herbs just being in the fridge to be really useful and have made use of them more than I thought I would.

I always find I prefer to use fresh herbs, these lightly dried versions have provided a good alternative - and my inner lazy cook does quite appreciate not having to chop my fresh herbs up, or rescue the children from the garden whilst I'm cutting a few sprigs.

I also like the packets they're in. My herb and spice collection has taken up a whole shelf of a cupboard - I need one of those spice tree thingys with them all together. So just chucking these on the shelf of my fridge door was handy.

I've found the flavour, texture and smell of these to be good too - certainly better than my dried varieties that have been open a good few months.

If I saw these in the supermarket I would definitely buy - particularly the coriander!

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: http://www.debbieandandrews.co.uk/news-article/18-products/279-new-caramelised-red-onion-pork-sausages-wheat-gluten-and-dairy-free 

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?

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Debbie & Andrew's 97% pork sausages

I was kindly sent a pack of Debbie & Andrew's Harrogate 97% pork sausages to review. http://www.debbieandandrews.co.uk/our-food/harrogate-pork-sausages

 They arrived in a cute cool bag with a little recipe book, a nice touch.

These sausages are dairy, gluten and wheat free. 

We opted for a simple meal to try them with, with mash and beans.

They cooked well, not leaking fat/water. They didn't fall apart, or stick to the foil either.

The sausages had a pleasant meaty flavour, I expected them to have more of a fatty taste with them looking so plump, but they didn't taste fatty at all.

I feel quite bad that we didn't do anything 'fancy' with them, but sometimes mash and beans just hit the spot.

We'd definitely purchase these in the supermarket, and I'd like to try the other flavours. Look out for them in ASDA, Morrisons and Tesco. 

Monday, 2 March 2015

Recent Eats - end of February

The last two weeks of February flew by.  The only place I've eaten out was grabbing a bite to eat from Fish& who are currently in Trinity Kitchen.  I opted for the lobster mac and cheese - delicious.  I also indulged myself in a super quick espresso stop at Bottega Milanese, not sure the other customers were very impressed with my double buggy, but I needed caffeine and I needed to stop to feed my hungry baby.

 lobster mac & cheese

my first ever espresso

Other than lunch out on Friday our only other eating out has been a picnic in our car when we went to Dalby Forest last week.  It's been a couple of weeks of eating Slimming World friendly meals, and then ruining the effort of those by eating loads of chocolate and drinking wine.  Not sure where I left my self control and willpower, but I could do with them returning to me...

 defrosted berries and fat free yoghurt - the juice that comes off the fruit as it defrosts is the best bit

 Chicken and potato curry with peas and sweetcorn

 cauliflower rosti pie - recipe from this months Slimming World magazine

If I didn't have the wedding coming up I think I'd be ready to throw in the towel on Slimming World, I'm not sure it's ever going to work for me, I'm constantly yoyoing up and down with gains and losses.  I'm finding being exhausted from lack of sleep just makes me crave sugar, likewise feeling upset, I just want to binge on chocolate for that quick fix rush from the sugar.  But then I have to deal with the guilt of eating it.

I had no idea that it would be so much harder to lose the baby weight after my second baby.