Monday, 19 January 2015

Meal Planning Monday






Last weeks meals were fab! I had forgotten how life is so much easier when you meal plan! I only did one shop last week and that was online and only popped into the shop once to buy a bottle of wine! So I am all prepared again this week! I have used some recipes from one of my millions of books - this week I've been using a book called Top Bananas that I downloaded on to my Kindle app when it was only a pound! its got lots of easy and quick recipes in it.

Monday - Salmon fishcakes and sugar snap peas

Tuesday - Sophisticated Sea Bass (from Top Bananas)

Wednesday - Fajitas

Thursday - Layered Aubergine Bake ( Top Bananas)

Friday - Risotto with what ever vegetables are around.

I have a food delivery coming this evening - how exciting! Life on the edge - right I am off to work out how to add on the 'about me' section to my blog....

I have joined in with the meal planning Monday crew here at home with Mrs M

Friday, 16 January 2015

Christine from the Bake Off!!!

This is a delayed post from October that I haven't had time to write up - In Octobers baking club we had a special guest presenter of none other than Christine Wallace a quarter finalist from 2013 series of The Great British Bake Off! She demonstrated her 99ers that she won star baker with. Of course she made them look so easy and made enough so that we could all enjoy them. They are basicaly brandy snap cones with a lemon cream filling and then a chocolate flake to finish - heaven!!

99ers 

Whilst she cooked she also told us little snippets about what happens behind the scenes of the show like for example how grumpy Paul Hollywood could be but that may have been to do with the fact that when that particular series was being filmed Paul was working on the American version of the show and was getting a little "friendly" with his co-host! By the sounds of it appearing on The Bake Off is a bit of an expensive experience as all the practice that you have to do is paid for by yourself, Christine said that she would take her practice pieces to the local fire brigade to eat up and by all accounts they were very happy. Every week the contestants had to submit their recipes to the production team who decided whether they could do them and they then ordered all the ingredients and placed them on their benches ready for them to bake.
Making the brandy snap cones

Our meetings are held in a room off the local church and its very cosy and intimate which was good - it meant we all had a good view.


Finishing Touches

Christine is such a lovely woman and had plenty of  time to answer all our inquisitive questions ! She stayed to the end of our meeting, drew the raffle and chatted to everyone in fact she was the last one to leave. She must have enjoyed it as she is coming back again later this year - will be going to that one!

Monday, 12 January 2015

Meal Planning Monday

New Year and a new start - I am determined to get organized this year and plan the weeks menus and sort an online shop - its more difficult doing a food shop with 2 babies! I have found it so stressful and I love shopping - more often than not one of them is crying and so I zoom around and inevitably forget something and it is even worse shopping for a couple of items with the 2 of them - getting them in and out of car seats finding a trolley and sometimes making Molly walk which is a nightmare as she likes to get things off the shelves - so for the time being online it is. Does mean that I can't get any 'whoops' items in the reduced section!! My favourite bit! But I can shop whilst in bed breastfeeding at 2am (which is what I was doing last night!).
As it is the New Year I along with millions of other people are trying to be a bit more healthy! Homemade soup for lunch which I love and then more fruit and veg for the evening meal - eating less meat isn't an issue as Stephen is vegetarian so I don't often buy meat just for me and Molly - Henry is too small just yet but I will do in the future,  and once a week a 'naughty' pudding! I do love my puddings. So I have dug out my weightwatchers books for this weeks inspiration...


Mon - Vegetable Moussaka


Tues - Salmon with an orange crust and Tuscan Beans


Weds - Boston baked beans and vegetarian sausages


Thurs -  Quorn Fillets in a red pesto sauce


Fri -  Sea Bass with ginger, chilli and spring onions


As for the 'naughty ' dessert I have a sticky toffee Christmas pudding that I made still in the freezer!


I have joined in for the first time this year with at home with Mrs M and her Meal Planning Monday.
Lets hope I can keep this up for at least a month!






Saturday, 10 January 2015

Happy New Year!

Happy New year! Although it is days late but that's how it is with me these days! With 2 children under 2 and a half I don't get as much done as I want to which is very frustrating!
2014 was very good for me.... The main excitement was of course our new baby boy Henry, he is gorgeous a bit more demanding than his big sister was at this age and doesn't sleep through the night yet but still a joy! Molly is now 2 and starting to be very funny, she is currently obsessed with Peppa Pig and had lots of PP for Christmas! She seems to have accepted Hayo as she likes to call her little brother and likes to give him cuddles and asks everyday to bath him!
My blog took a backseat last year , I'm not very good at being pregnant (thankfully that's all over - no more for me 2 is enough) and had hideous morning sickness again but I'm hoping that 2015 will see me blogging more.
I'm loving the village baking club and have a few more posts to share. Also I got a sewing machine for Christmas so may start blogging some sewing projects if they are any good!! I'm starting a beginners sewing course in a few weeks which I am really excited about as you can bring your babies with you!
I don't really do Resolutions but in 2015 I would like to do some craft projects - make some clothes for Molly - read more books - enter blogging challenges and take more time to work on my blog!
lets see how that goes......

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Father Christmas cupcakes

I made it to the local baking club this month - I have missed the last 2 months for obvious reasons ( the birth of my son Henry) but made it to the last one of the year and took Henry along with me. He was so good he was in his car seat under the table whilst I made a Father Christmas cupcake. He didn't cry once and just dozed and occasionally opened his eyes, babies are so portable at this age (he is 8 weeks old). At the end of the session I got him out and lots of people had cuddles with him most of them had forgotten that he was there as he was so quiet!
Father Christmas Cupcake!
Back to the cup cake - this is something that I would NEVER attempt so I was really pleased to be having a go , the reason I wouldn't attempt it is that you have to have a lot of patience (and time) which is something that I don't have!!!!
The class was taken by one of our fellow bakers who has her own cake business.

The main frame of the cupcake is 2 cupcakes upturned on each other covered in butter cream and then covered in fondant icing. We had such a laugh doing this everyone's Santa's came out differently and a few of them fell over with heavy heads.
Tragedy! a head fell off!
A collection of Santas

Mine on the Left with a friend

All the Santas together

This one on the tin is the instructors Santa isn't it good


As always with the baking group everyone is encouraged to bring along something they have made that we can enjoy at the end of the evening, as it was the groups first birthday it was suggested that canap├ęs were bought along. I didn't have time to make any but enjoyed everyone else's - We had sushi, apricots with cheese and nuts, salmon billinis and a variety of goats cheese/ red onions/sun-dried tomatoes in pastry cases - there was so much to choose from and of course I had to try it all! I had such a fun time and really looking forward to next months session.

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Good excuse for not blogging!

Hello - I have yet again been neglecting my little blog project but have a fab excuse as always and this time it is the birth of my son Henry - He was born on the 13th October and I am only just coming up for air and have today found some free time to have a little blog - Both Molly and Henry are asleep which is very rare! So I have been busy in the kitchen and made some festive mince pies and Parsnip, Leek and Chestnut soup.


Mincemeat Scones

This is the link for the scones from Lavender and Loveage very easy and delicious to make - perfect to whip up a batch when relatives drop round as they did this morning and I realised that there was no cake in the house (disaster!!). Have frozen some of them in case we get any more visitors!

I haven't got a photo of the soup as it doesn't look that delicious but I had a little taste and its gorgeous - will be a lovely festive warming treat! It was basically bits of veg that I had left over and a tin of chestnut pureee that I have had in the cupboard for a while - have some left over that I am not sure what I am going to do with - any suggestions?

I am now sat in the lounge with the christmas tree lights twinkling and a gorgeous aroma of a Festive Cheer candle   - the smell is divine , spicy and warming and makes you smile, I have had this tin for a couple of years it doesn't seem to ever reduce in size - I love all of the Lily Flame candles - they retain their smells beautifully..

I shall leave you with a couple of photos of my little monkeys in the same outfits but different years......
Molly



Henry

Friday, 10 October 2014

Molly's Hedgehog cake

Molly turned 2 last week and I have been trawling through Pinterest for months ( probably since her last birhday to be honest!!) looking for inspiration for an easy but spectacular looking birthday cake. I finally decided on a Hedgehog cake as this seemed to tick all the boxes - easy - chocolate - no need for a special tin - yes this was the one. I decided not to have a party for Molly as I am so pregnant ( 37 weeks!) that I didn't want a lot of 2 year olds to clear up after so as we have had such lovely weather decided to invite some friends to a local park and took along some snacks and drinks and of course cake. Well , the park was fun except there was a torrential downpour and we were all huddled under umbrelllas! It is a birthday I won't forget! Molly wasn't impressed and sat crying in her pushchair whilst the rain came lashing down....


Look at that sad face...


Back to the cake - I used my favourite throw everything in the mixer cake from the lovely Nigella Lawson that can be found here  or it can be found in her cookbook Feast. I didn't use the recipe for the icing but cheated as I hadn't left enough time to make icing as well and used Dr Oetker chocolate frosting which is delicious and comes out a lovely dark hedgehog colour! I made the cake the day before and then got up at a ridiculous hour to cut it all up and assemble it before getting to the park for 10am!  You cook the cake in 2 round sandwich tins and ice them together with buttercream ( or cheat like me with ready made!) and then cut them like this


The 2 sides are put together to form the rounded bit of the body and then stacked on top of the main part of the cake and the triangles at the front are discarded ( or eaten at 8am ..) I didn't take another photo as I was running late as usual and also forget so have only got the final version. The whole cake is covered in butter cream and then chocolate buttons are inserted for spikes ( again if I had more time I would have used a lot more) and the eyes and nose are from a bag of Liquorice Allsorts.



I am really pleased with how he turned out - my mum did say that he looked a bit scary - maybe it was the eyes! Anyway the children and adults all appreciated eating it in the rain!