Monday, 29 July 2013

Meal planning Monday

Meal Planning Monday

I'm going to try to plan meals for this week again. This time I decided to use 3 of my cookbooks as a guide.
Bill Granger - Easy
Sophie Dahl - Voluptuous Delights
Weight Watchers - The Smart Cook.
I have hundreds of cookbooks and feel that I should use them sometimes! It is so easy just to Google for a recipe though! So here is my week from my books.
Monday - vegetable and lentil stew
Tuesday - prawn curry & Indian spiced potatoes
Wednesday - oven roasted ratatouille & fish (not sure what yet)
Thursday - omelette & spinach cannelloni pancakes  with salad
Friday - salmon and rice salad
I'm also going to slip in a few desserts along the way including a chocolate chip merengue and berries as well as attempting some home made icecream . Feel exhausted now - shall have a cup of tea and a sit down......

Friday, 26 July 2013

Blueberry and white chocolate muffins

I love Blueberries and there seem to be a lot of them round at the moment so thought I would make these cheeky little numbers and take them with me to the park for us girls to eat whilst the babies played !
There was a slight modification as I used sunflower oil instead of butter - Its a 'throw everything in' recipe which I love. The recipe said for only 6 muffins and these were right to the top and as you can see the one nearest the front threw itself over the edge of the cupcake liner!

They were very light and moorish due to using sunflower oil ( well I think that is what it is otherwise it is vegetable oil - the label has come off!). Just what you need when you are sitting in the sunshine! I love being on maternity leave in the hottest summer for 7 years! Long may it last!
Must start looking for a job soon *sigh*.

I came across another blogging challenge and am entering these into this months Tea Time Treats challenge Hosted alternately by Karen at Lavender and Loveage and Kate of What Kate Baked. This months challenge is Fresh fruit.

Lavender and Lovage

Tea Time Treats Rules and Guidelines:

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Meal Planning Monday - Update!

Last week was my first week in 'Meal Planning Monday' It worked really well for me! I stuck to the menu and it took a lot of stress out of the 4pm panic of Oh God What Shall I Make For Dinner Tonight! I felt very smug with myself when I managed to sort out the following days meal in the morning whilst Her Highness was having a little nap... My favorite was the Aubergine Parmigiana - It was a Jamie Oliver Speciality - delicious and so easy.
However It is Tuesday and I have failed to attempt a menu plan this week, I will blame it on the fact that we went away for a long weekend to Suffolk. But I will have another go next week...

Carrot cake cupcakes

I had a bargain find in the local shop the other day! Grated carrots for 10p!! They were in the 'whoops' section so did need to be used so I scoured the internet for a carrot cupcake recipe thinking that I would eat a few and freeze a few... right! Needless to say we ate them all.
I love carrot cake it is one of my favourites to make as it is so easy (none of that creaming everything malarky) and tastes delicious - the only painful bit is all the grating! By hand it takes forever and if you use the food processor not sure whether it is just me or not but the Kitchen tends to be covered with carrot gratings ....then you have to wash it all up as I never put the bowl or lid in the dishwasher in case they go 'all funny' , so the luxury of having them already grated... I could hardly wait!

I used this recipe  - with a few alterations! For a start I don't know whether I used vegetable oil or sunflower oil as the label has slid off the bottle ! I checkd on the internet to see if either were ok and found that yes it would be fine!  I couldn't find any mixed spice in my spice cabinet so used 'all spice' instead and only used 50g of the wholemeal flour and the rest normal self raising, and finally I didn't put a topping on them - I was going to but couldn't wait to try them and they tasted so good that I didn't bother! Next time I will!

Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Meal planning Mondays

Isn't it gloriously hot!!! I won't complain about it in case it goes away! I have had some lovely days enjoying the sunshine - picnics in the park and going to festivals! Long may this last......
I meant to blog this yesterday but as usual life got in the way! Over on At Home with Mrs M she and a host of others plan the weeks meals so I thought that I would try! I am not the most organised of people however since having Molly I have found that I have got a little better at planning things.
So here goes..this is what our week should look like... I will report back...
Monday - Fish Tray Bake
Tuesday - Smoked Salmon and potato gratin
Wednesday - Risotto (whatever left over veg is in the fridge! makes it sound delicious!)
Thursday - Jacket potatoes and salad
Friday - Aubergine Parmigana
I can't manage to include the weekend as well! Just a step too far.

Have a look at some of the other peeps' meal planning...

Meal Planning Monday

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

June Foodie Pen Pal Reveal

A whole month since the last foodie penpal! Doesn't time fly....I am a bit late with my reveal but here it is
This month my parcel was from Rachel at  She sent me a lovely parcel it was her first month participating and I can say that it was a fabulous parcel to receive....
The Number 1 rosette was a chocolate medallion that lasted about 30 seconds....mmmmm
The Cranberry and Orange cookies were very nice - I managed to hide them from Stephen so could have them with a cup of coffee at my leisure.
I haven't seen the Roast Potato seasoning before and in Rachels note she said she has it A LOT so looking forward to using these have found a lovely recipe for a nut roast that I want to try so will make these at the same time.
There are 3 differnt types of Green Tea - with Orange & Lotus flower, with Cranberry and with Apple & Pear. I'm not really a fan of herbal teas (sorry Rachel!) as I find they smell more than they taste however I was determinded to give them a go. I tried the apple and pear and iit wasn't as bad as I feared! It was refreshing.
Finally the baking goodies.... Rachel had seen from my blog that I was a bit of a baker and sent this fabulous book........

I love cookies and all of these recipes seem really simple I am going to try this one first....
And on top of all of these lovely gifts she also sent me some pastry cutters - surprisingly I don't have any and keep meaning to buy some - I use a glass for cutting out cookies etc and each time I think I must get a cutter!
I'm thrilled with my goodies Rachel and hope that your first parcel was as lovely as mine.
the pen pal I was paired up with was a lovely lady called Amanda over at  who like me is a bit of a baking queen.. This was also her first month participating so I hope she liked her goodies!
Roll on next month ....mmmmmmm
If you would like to participate next month click here ...

Monday, 1 July 2013


Stephen , Molly and I went to Spain for a weeks holiday - I am very lucky that my dad lives there and has done for the past 20 years so I always have a lovely place to stay. In my 20's I lived there for a few years deciding what i wanted to do with the rest of my life ( still wondering what to do now!) so have some lovely friends there and know the area pretty well. Its Southern Spain a small village called Beznar. It has fabulous views and is relatively unspoilt.
This was my view every day .... whats not to love...
This is my favourite tree in the garden.

The Gin and Tonic tree - every garden should have one.. if only we had the weather.... Speaking of G&T's this is a 'little' one that we had on the last night... in a brandy glass...Lots and lots of Gin. I couldn't drink it all
In this region of Spain whenever you order an alcoholic drink you get a free dish of tapas, this can be anything from a plate of olives to a mini paella. Most of the bars compete with each other to showcase their tapas and you never get the same dish twice! The fish dishes are my favourites as well as little sausages. This one is fish in a batter with the best tomatoes.
On the last 2 nights we stayed in a lovely hotel by the seaside of La Herradura called La Tartuna . It is a pretty boutique hotel with the most amazing restaurant with fabulous views over the sea. They were very busy with bookings and apparently it is like that all year round. I can see why. It began with a little amuse-bouche of Hummous with caramalised onions and bread made in their own kitchen.
We went straight for a main course ( so we wouldn't feel guilty about eating a dessert!) and I had  Char grilled chicken with a  smoked chilli butter, slow roasted tomatoes, roasted baby artichokes, grilled red peppers and rocket.
It was delicious - slightly hidden by all the rocket!
And for dessert I had the trio of chocolate desserts which were White Chocolate Creme brulee,Minted Chocolate chip ice cream and Salted chocolate ganache tart ... oh it was good - I was so desperate for my dessert that had to try it and then realised I hadn't taken a photo so there are a few bites out of it! the best bit was the tart it was smooth and highly chocolatey that clings to the inside of your mouth as you eat it.
Stephen had Prawn , Salmon and Sea Bream with a lobster bisque and said it was one of the best bisques he has ever had. We were both very happy with the end to our holiday.
 Molly sat with us throughout the 3 hours chatting and burbling away and nibbling on bits of bread that we fed her. It was like having a little duck with us!
Just have to wait for the next holiday now......

Easy peasy biscuits...

I saw this recipe on Holly Bells website Recipes from a normal mum and saw how easy they were and I wanted to use my new cat cutter that I bought at the Good Food Show.
As usual with me I didn't have the correct ingredients so had to substitute a couple of things! Which is most of the recipe 2 out of 4 of them! They weren't orange flavoured but had vanilla extract. They were delicious even Stephen said they were 'just right' high praise indeed.
My Hearts crumbled a little ...How sad... But still edible...Yay!