Friday, 28 February 2014

Great British Budget Round Up, Tips and Is This The End?

Wow, I can't believe how quick this month has gone!

Sadly, today, is the last day of the Great British Budget.

I have thoroughly enjoyed taking part in this campaign and I have become quite passionate about saving and becoming more thrifty! I never thought I'd say that! But yes, it is true!

Before I tell you how we have done this last month I have a few last money saving tips to share...

Are you paying too much for your water? As well as the water you use, bills can also include a charge for the treatment of water that runs off your property (rain) and into the sewers. This is known as a "run-off charge" and not everyone needs to pay it. If the drainpipes that carry water off your roof aren't connected to the sewerage system then you may be able to apply for a rebate of between £17 and £50 a year. You'll probably have to fill in a form and the water company may want to visit your home, but if you can prove that no water runs from your roof into the sewerage system, then you won't have to pay the charge."
This is something the we will be looking into as I was unaware of this. We pay our water bills by direct debit for 8 months of the year and don't pay that much so I doubt that we'd get a rebate but it is certainly worth looking into!

Many of us now shop online for anything from clothes to holidays. Although it's possible to find good bargains online, there could be even more savings if you know where to look. Voucher codes can help you to save money on everything from groceries to luxury goods and meals out. If you're short on time, websites like collect voucher codes for you - so all you have to do is find the code and enter it when you shop. But remember to check when the code expires!
This is a website that the hubby regularly checks if we are going out to eat as they often have vouchers for our favourite restaurants! We often take out with us 20% off vouchers which are a huge help as we cannot afford to go out often!

If you're struggling to stick to your budget, have you tried only using cash? It's likely that your essential spending such as bills will come out of your account by direct debit, but sticking to cash could help you keep your disposable income on-budget. You could work out how much "spending money" you have at the start of the week, withdraw it from an ATM and then put your bank card in a drawer for emergency use only - that should help you avoid impulse purchases!
This is a tip that I am a huge fan of! In the first week of the Great British Budget I took the leap and went shopping without a card and only took cash and my calculator! I did save money by only buying what was on my shopping list and even got some change!

Consider turning that weekly lottery ticket into a savings plan! If a weekly lottery ticket costs £2, if you save what you'd spend each week that's £104 a year. Likewise other small spends such as a bar of chocolate at the paper shop or a daily coffee can quickly add up. Why not consider contributing your weekly lottery spend, or other weekly expenditure to a savings account instead? It might not give you the same rush, but it can actually be pretty exciting watching your money grow!
I used to do the lottery, but after realising how much it amounted to over the year I did stop! If you win it is fantastic but for the majority of us it is money wasted! It is better being saved and you will then see some benefits!

Our Round Up

This month we have had a successful month.
Yes we have had extra outgoings as it has been the twins birthdays and things have gone on the credit card. However, what we have got on the credit card is a manageable amount. We know that we can pay it off before we get charged any intrest. We have simply cut back in other areas, we have been budgeting more on our weekly shopping and simply watched what is spent and where!
This Great British Budget has made us think more about ways to save money and we have picked up some tips which will continue to be used!
We are still working towards our goal of not needing to use our credit card but with so many other things to pay for it is difficult but I am sure that we will get there, one day!

Great British Budget - The End?

I have really enjoyed taking part in this campaign and certainly do not want it to end here!
I am planning on doing a new weekly post of a budget meal.
I hope to show you that you can still make delicious, tasty, home cooked meals on a budget and want to post a budget recipe each week.
So keep an eye out for this and also a Great British Budget twitter party on Monday!

Join the Great British Budget Challenge

Disclaimer: I have volunteered to take part in the Great British Budget as it is a subject that is close to my heart. However there is a prize draw for the panelists who are taking part.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Rhubarb and Banana Crumble Cake

Last week when we went shopping we picked up some lovely rhubarb.
The hubby really wanted a crumble, however I had planned a cake. So I combined the two and came up with this great compromise!
We also had a lot of bananas that needed using.
I did a taste test of a little of the stewed rhubarb with a little mashed banana and loved the sweetness that the bananas added.

This is what I came up with...

Rhubarb and Banana Crumble Cake


400g rhubarb, washed and cut into chunks
100g caster sugar
100mls water
2 ripe bananas

150g baking spread
150g golden caster sugar
175g self raising flour
3 eggs

55g plain flour
30g butter, cubed
20g caster sugar
15g muesli


Pre heat the oven to 175C

1 - Place the rhubarb in a pan with the caster sugar and water, bring to the boil and cook until the rhubarb has softened. Once the rhubarb is done remove from the heat.

2 - When the rhubarb has cooled a little place a sieve over a bowl and remove the juice from the rhubarb.

3 - For this cake I used the all in one method. Place the baking spread, sugar, flour and eggs in a bowl and mix until all of the ingredients are evenly combined.

4 - Grease a square cake tin and add the cake mixture.

5 - Mash up the bananas in a bowl and add the rhubarb. Mix until both are mixed together evenly.

6 - For the crumble rub the butter in with the flour until you have a rough breadcrumb texture. Add the muesli.

7 - Layer the fruit on top of the cake mixture.

8 - Add the crumble topping.

9 - Place in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about an hour, checking regularly after 45 minutes.

10 - Once the cake is thoroughly baked leave to cool in the tin for 45 minutes before gently removing from the tin.

This cake is delicious when eaten as soon as it is out of the tin and it is still a little warm. It is even better with a serving of cream which transforms it into a warming pudding! 
Enjoy x

I have shared this recipe with A Mummy Too's Recipe of the Week. Check out Recipe of the Week for some delicious recipes!

Link up your recipe of the week
love seasonal food link up

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Twins Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Birthday Cake

I spent a lot of time planning what I was going to bake for the twins second birthday cake.
I will admit that I did have bigger plans for this cake.
I had planned to bake the cake over two days and send the third day decorating it ready for their big day. Unfortunately the whole family, including myself, fell ill. So this meant that I did not have the time that I wanted to prepare and decorate.
However, even though this cake was done quickly and not as I had originally planned, I am still really pleased with the outcome and the twins loved it!
When they saw it they kept say "Clubhouse Cake!" then when they saw what, or should I say, who was in the cake they loved it even more!
This is how I made it...

Mickey Mouse Clubhouse Cake


Mickey Mouse Cake

200g spread
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
150g self raising flour
25g cocoa powder
25g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder

Main Cake

400g spread
400g caster sugar
8 eggs
350g self raising flour
50g ground almonds
1tsp vanilla paste


Pre heat the oven to 160C

1 - First prepare the Mickey Mouse part of the cake by creaming the spread and caster sugar together until light and creamy

2 - Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour to prevent curdling

3 - Sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and ground almonds, adding any leftover almonds to the mix

4 - Mix until all of the ingredients are evenly combined

5 - Place the mixture in a greased square cake tin and bake for 25 - 30 minutes or until a knife comes out clean when place through the centre of the cake

6 - Remove the cake from the tin and leave to cool completely

7 - Once the cake has completely cooled, cut the cake in half with a cake slicer

8 - Take a Mickey Mouse shaped cutter and cut out chocolate sponge Mickey Mouse shapes and place on one side

9 - Next make the vanilla sponge by creaming together the spread and sugar until light and creamy

10 - Gradually add the eggs along with a little flour to prevent curdling

11 - Add the vanilla paste and mix in

12 - Sift in the flour and ground almonds, adding any leftover almonds to the mixture

13 - Mix until all of the ingredients are evenly combined
14 - Place an even layer of cake mixture in the square cake tin making sure that the base is well covered

15 - Next take your Mickey Mouse shaped pieces of cake and stand them up in a line making sure that the pieces fit closely together

16 - Gently spoon in the remaining cake mixture making sure that all of the chocolate sponge pieces are completely covered

17 - Place in the centre of the pre heated oven (160C) and bake for about 1 1/4 hours making sure that it is thoroughly baked by carefully placing a knife through the centre and comes out clean
18 - Remove from the tin and cool on a cooling rack
Once the cake has cooled you can decorate as you wish. I covered the cake with a thin layer of strawberry jam and butter icing before covering with fondant icing. I then decorated the top with the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse picture.
This was the first time that I have baked a cake with a hidden surprise and will not be the last, it certainly had the wow factor when people were served their cake with the Mickey Mouse shape in the middle!
Enjoy x


I am sharing my Mickey Mouse Clubhouse cake with Casa Costello's cake of the week. This is the first time I have shared my cake here and will be looking forward to sharing more! Check out the delicious looking Cadbury's Cream Egg Cheesecake at Casa Costello Cake of the Week

Casa Costello

I am also sharing this cake with Mummy Makes Cakes Celebration Cakes and Bakes. Check out the beautiful Valentines biscuits at Mummy Makes Cakes


I am also sharing this cake with The Purple Pumpkin Blog and Dreaming of WDW's 100 Days Of Disney

Join in with the #100DaysOfDisney Link Party!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

#FirstDay - Midwives Support

During my twin pregnancy I worried everyday.
Labour started at 34+6wks and midwives supported us through the emergency c-section and kept our babies safe until nicu took over.
3 days later my nanna died.
After a week in hospital, babies in nicu and loosing nanna I was near breaking point.
A midwife spotted how I was close to pnd and gave me the best advice.
She reassured me our babies would be ok and that I should go home.
Leaving was the hardest thing ever but she was right, I became stronger for my children.
I will be forever grateful!

I have written this 100 word piece about my experience with midwives as today Save the Children are starting their new campaign #FirstDay.
I was amazed and saddened to read that every year 1 million babies die on their first day of life!
This is a staggering figure that Save the Children want to reduce, hence this new campaign.

There are a number of ways in which you can help.

* Donate - by texting COFFEE to 70090 this text will donate £3 to help this campaign. £3 will buy 10 tubes of antiseptic cream which could save 10 babies lives in under developed countries

* Sign Save the Children First Day Petition - David Cameron could lead a global break through by encouraging the world to provide more training and funding for midwives. Please sign the petition asking him to sign up to Save the Children's Newborn Promise, a plan which aims to ensure that by 2025 all children are born with the support of a midwife.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and I sincerely hope that you will support this great cause!

Please visit Thinly Spread's post about why she has raised awareness throughout the blogger community of this cause and read some other 100 word posts.

Reading Chest - Review

Joseph would probably tell you that I moan at him to read!
Well I used to, thankfully I don't any more!
When I got the chance to write a review for Reading Chest I saw this as an opportunity to encourage Joseph to read more and not just because he had to.
Both the hubby and I love reading. We really want all of the children to learn how much fun you can get from a book!
I signed up with Reading Chest on the Friday and I was amazed to see that the books were delivered by the postman the very next day!
This really was an excellent and speedy delivery!
Joseph was so excited to see the arrival of a package. The envelope was address to specifically for him which added to the excitement.
He ripped open the envelope and was surprised by all of the added extras that came with the book.
He received:
* A lovely Reading Chest fabric book bag to keep his books in
* A reading sticker chart to track the books that he has read
* Stickers for his chart
* A book mark
* A pre paid envelope for him to return his books once he had read them.
I couldn't believe how eager he was to go and read a book.
It was immediately visible to see how enthusiastic he had become. He was so animated as he told us all about the first book that he read and couldn't wait to tell us what had happened!
He was, finally, discovering the magic of books!
I felt so proud when he told me about the book, I could see how excited he was that he had read it and enjoyed it!
From the first package, he read two of the books in just three days!
Unfortunately with the council budget cuts a lot of libraries are being shut which is taking a service away from children. So the service that Reading Chest are offering is a different way for children to get the books that they need.
Reading Chest are a postal book rental service for children from 4 - 9 years old.
Once the books have been read, or if your child does not like the book and wants to swap, you simply place a maximum of three books in the pre paid envelope and post them back to Reading Chest and await your next delivery.
The books that are available run alongside books that are used in primary schools so you know that your child is reading books which are at their level. You can also change the level of reading books as your child's reading improves!
There are both fictional and non fiction books available. Joseph has had a mixture of both which he has enjoyed as the non fiction has widened his knowledge in the wider world, however the fiction books have definitely been his favourite!
Reading Chest offers three different subscriptions
Bronze package  allows you up to 6 books a month
Silver package allows you up to 12 books a month and multiple books lists
Gold package allows you an unlimited supply of books and multiple book lists
The silver and gold packages are ideal if you are looking to sign up for more than one child.
Prices start from £9.95 a month but with discount code HAPPY2014 you will get £5 off your first months membership!
For more information or to subscribe visit Reading Chest

Disclaimer: Reading Chest gave us free membership to the silver package for the purpose of this review. No payment has been recieved. All views and opinions are my own and 100% honest.

Monday, 24 February 2014

Great British Budget Tips and A Rant About Loan Companies!

It is now the last few days of the Great British Budget and I have found it both fun and beneficial taking part.
We really have thought more about how far our money goes and how we can save some valuable pounds!

Here are a few money saving tips...

"We all like a little treat every now and then - whether it's a few glasses of wine or a greasy pizza. But if you're not careful the costs of these little luxuries can start to add up, as well as the impact on your health. Why not try cutting down on treats like takeaways and alcohol, and keeping track of how much you save? If you're a smoker, you should know that every cigarette now costs 40p - that's £3,000 a year if you smoke 20 a day!"
We very rarely get a takeaway. This is mainly because of the cost. We have found that it is easier and just as enjoyable to cook a takeaway style meal and to buy a bottle of wine. I do prefer to cook a takeaway style meal as I know what has gone into the dish and can adapt according to our tastes and can make healthier changes. I recently made a Chicken Makhani curry which, I will admit, I preferred to the takeaway and it was certainly cheaper!

"Could your savings be working harder for you? If you're a UK taxpayer, interest earned on your savings will be subject to income tax - unless you use your annual ISA allowance. An ISA works just like a traditional savings account, except that the interest you earn is protected from tax up to a set limit for each tax year. For the 2013/14 tax year you can save up to £5,760 tax free - make sure you use your allowance for this year before the 6th of April or you'll lose it!"
When we manage to put some money away we do use an ISA. Hopefully as the year goes on we'll be able to save a little bit more!

"If you're paying off credit card debt, you could save money by transferring it to a card with a lower interest rate - many balance transfer cards offer special introductory rates, which could substantially reduce your debt if you're currently paying a high rate of interest. If you're thinking of doing this, remember to make a note of when your introductory rate ends, as your interest is likely to increase after this date. It is also worth bearing in mind that cards offering low interest on balance transfers often charge higher interest on purchases, so check the terms carefully and avoid the temptation to spend!"
I did do this when I had debt problems. However I will advise you to cancel the card that you are transferring the debt from! I didn't and for me it was a clear credit card to start using again. If you do get into bad debt with credit cards I wold definitely recommend consolidating all of your debt into one place and cutting up any other cards!

Now it is time for me to have a bit of a rant and as it is the Great British Budget it certainly is a fitting rant after the last tip.

My rant is about loan companies!

I am amazed by how payday loans and unsecured loan companies are allowed to promote their services. In the last couple of weeks I have had numerous texts from various different companies offering me loans. When I say numerous, I don't just mean one or two texts, I mean at least eight that I have counted!
On one day I received three texts from three different companies! In one day!
Once upon a time, a text from one of those companies would have given me false hope of digging myself out of the hole of debt that I was in.
Thankfully, now that I am out of debt, I am able to see the mistakes that I made. But I am sure that these companies will be helping others get into even more debt.
I truly believe that the "payday" loans should have a lot more advertising and promoting restrictions.
Payday loans may help a few, but for the majority of people it will ony cause more problems with their ridiculous APR's. People will only find that after paying the loan off that they will have a further short fall the following month and before you know it you will be in a vicious circle of debt.
If you are in debt ad are considering taking out one of these loans, explore all of your opportunities before you do.

Throughout February Your Wealth are challenging people to create a budget and to stick to it!
They have a great tool that is available to help you manage all of your outgoings which is available as an app for your mobile phone so that you are always able to control your finances.

Check out Your Wealth on twitter @yourwealthuk as they are running a photo challenge where you will be entered into a prize draw to win one of four £50 Love2Shop vouchers.
But its also a fun way to join in!
Don't forget to add #GreatBritishBudget to your tweets!

Join the Great British Budget Challenge

Disclaimer: I have volunteered to take part in the Great British Budget as it is a subject that is close to my heart. However there is a prize draw for the panelists who are taking part.

Budget Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 24th February 2014

It is the last week of the Great British Budget and I have to admit that we are having a few treats this week!

Last week our shopping list was quite small so we allowed ourselves the same budget and bought a few items of food that we would normally not buy on a regular basis purely because of the price. We have also kept within budget over the last month I believe that we deserve a treat.

Last weeks meal plan, again, did not go as I had hoped. This was down to illness, again, but this time on my part.

Now that we are all back to our normal healthy selves I am looking forward to serving, and eating, some delicious meals!

This is what we will be enjoying...

Week Commencing 24th February 2014

Chicken and Leek Pie

I have to admit, this is not a homemade pie. It is one that we treated ourselves to from the farm shop when we went out for the twins birthday. However it is one that is freshly made using organic ingredients! I will be serving the pie with baked French potatoes layered with onions, spinach and ricotta, french beans and carrots.

Chicken Stuffed with Stilton and Wrapped in Bacon

This will be served with roasted sweet potato and crunchy baby sweetcorn, sugar snap peas and french beans.

Slow Cooked Chilli Beef

I will slow cook the stewing steak in a tomato sauce with red chilli, green chilli, red and green peppers, onions and kidney beans. It will be served with creamy mash potatoes.


There will be, no doubt, plenty of leftovers from the slow cooked chilli beef. I will bulked it up with extra vegetables and add courgettes. I will serve with freshly made wraps and rice.

Mushroom and Smoked Bacon Risotto

This risotto is an easy, quick meal that is delicious with Parmesan cheese sprinkled over the top.

Italian Inspired Cod Loin

The cod is baked with peppers, onions, oregano, basil and tomatoes. When the fish is cooked I sprinkle over a cheese topping and grill. This will be served on a bed of tagliatelle.

There will also be plenty of homemade bread, ginger tea loaf and I am planning a new rhubarb pudding too!

Have a lovely week x

Join the Great British Budget Challenge
Disclaimer: I volunteered to take part in this campaign as it is a subject that is close to my heart. However at the end there is a prize draw for the panellists.

I am sharing my weekly meal plan on At Home With Mrs M's Meal Planning Monday

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Garlic and Oregano Fougasse

I love baking bread and this is a recipe that I have been meaning to try for a long time!
It is a recipe from the book that started me on my bread baking journey.
That book is How To Bake by Paul Hollywood.
Fougasse is the French version of focaccia, which is a bread that we always enjoy and one I love trying new flavours with.
We found that this bread has a much more crispy crust than focaccia, but still as tasty and fun to shape!
The recipe uses oregano for the finish. As this was a bread that I planned to serve with my beef and vegetable cannelloni I decided to make a garlic and oregano olive oil topping for the bread.
This is how I made this delicious alternative to garlic bread...
Garlic and Oregano Fougasse
250g strong white bread flour
4g salt
5g yeast
3tbsp olive oil
190ml water
2tsp dried oregano
2 garlic cloves, crushed
I found that this was quite a wet dough and was easier to make using my mixer with the dough hook
1 - Place the flour into the bowl
2 - Add the salt to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other, ensuring that they do not come into contact with each other, add 1tbsp of olive oil and two thirds of the water
3 - Start to mix on a low speed, once the dough starts to come together add the remaining water
4 - Continue to mix on a medium speed for about 10 minutes until the dough has formed elasticity
5 - Tip the dough into a well oiled plastic container and cover
6 - Leave to prove until the dough has doubled in size, I found that it took longer to prove than regular bread so allow a good 2 hours
7 - Once the dough has doubled in size, tip out on to a well floured work top, use plenty of flour as I found this to be quite a sticky dough
8 - Without knocking out to much air coat the dough with flour and place on a floured baking tray
9 - Shape the dough into an oval shape and cut several slits to create the holes, using plenty of flour stretch the holes, cover and prove again for about 30 minutes
10 - While the dough is proving again pre heat the oven to 200C fan and make the topping by mixing the oregano and crushed garlic in a bowl with 2 tbsp olive oil
11 - Once the dough is ready to be baked cover the top of the bread with the garlic and oregano olive oil mixture
12 - Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes or until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom

This bread is a delicious alternative to garlic bread and would go perfectly with any Italian meal!
We certainly enjoyed it with my Beef and Vegetable Cannelloni
Enjoy x
I am sharing this post with Keynko's 52 Cook Books. Check out Mary's Butternut Squash and Goats Cheese Lasagne which looks delicious at 52 Cook Books
Keynko A Crafty Family

17th February - 23rd February 2014 - One Picture Everyday for One Year

This hasn't been the best week for us.
The week started off with all of us being ill, and this meant when I was really ill, I missed a days picture!
I have also decided to not follow the daily prompts.
They were fun to start with but then ended up being prompts that didn't suit our day or I felt weren't relevant to us, so I have given up!
My pictures are going to go back to what we do and our days, which is the reason why I started to take a picture a day, to record our year!
So here is our week in pictures...

Monday 17th February 2014

Taylor was the first to get poorly at the end of last week he was well and truly ready to get out for some fresh air now he was feeling better. As Isabella, Joseph and hubby were all poorly and I needed to go shopping I decided to take Taylor out with me. Having 3 children, twins in particular, it is so rare that I get chance to go out and spend time on my own with just one of them so this was a real treat for both Taylor and myself.
Tuesday 18th February 2014
On Tuesday I was out for the count!
I started being ill Monday evening and was up and down all night. Thankfully hubby managed to finish work early and my mum came down and had the children for me. Thanks to the sickness bug I missed a day for my year in pictures! However I took more during the week in an attempt to make up for it!
Wednesday 19th February 2014
On Wednesday I was still not 100% but had improved a great deal. I was over the moon with a delivery that I received. Our beautiful wedding canvas arrived! After we got married we said that we'd get a canvas done but we found out we were having the twins and shopping for them became our priority! So when I got the chance to review a canvas I immediately knew what picture I'd ask for.
Thursday 20th February 2014
Happy Birthday Isabella and Taylor!
I can't believe that our babies turned 2 this week. I really do not know where the time has gone. As they were still not back to their usual busy selves we decided to have a family day relaxing at home. Hubby had taken a couple of days off so that we had a long weekend together. I still had their birthday cake to make so we decided to postpone their birthday outing until the weekend.
Friday 21st February 2014
We had a trip into town today and went around the market. Hubby took me to a delicatessen that he likes which is near to his work. It is very rare that we go into town and it made a lovely change. We called into hubbys work to show the children where he works and to show them off a bit! The kids loved it! Hubby works for the library service and the twins were in their element running up and down the book shelves and hiding. The twins birthday cake was also made and all ready to ice on Saturday.
Saturday 22nd February 2014
Saturday was the twins day.
We took them, along with their nanna and gran, to an organic farm and play area. They loved being out in the fresh air and seeing the animals. The highlight for Taylor was all of the tractors! We even came home with a Peppa and George! We visited the farm shop that was there and came home with lots of treats! We really did have a lovely time. We finished the afternoon off with a little tea party and birthday cake!
The twins finally have their appetites back. It has been a long and worrying week. They really have not been themselves and have turned away when offered any food so to see them want food again was a relief!
Sunday 23rd February 2014
Now that we all have our appetites back, next week we are going to have a really healthy week. Our meals are going to be full of vegetables! I have got a lovely box of fresh vegetables which should build up all of our vitamin levels and get some colour back in our cheeks!
This week has been such a mixture of highs and lows but we have had a lovely end to the week. We have celebrated our babies and have had 4 days of quality family time!
I think that I will actually miss the hubby when he goes back to work and we get back into routine of school and housework!
Follow my year in pictures at Blipfoto
I'll be sharing my 365 Project with The Boy and Me
I'll also be sharing with Make Do and Push's The Week That Was Captured #TWTWC

Grab button for The Week That Was

Silent Sunday


Saturday, 22 February 2014

Busy Couple of Days

We have had such a busy couple of days hence why I've been so quiet!
I have got a quiet half an hour while Joseph is swimming so I thought I'd write a quick post to bring you up to date with what's been going on.
On the twins birthday we didn't do a lot as we were all still recovering from the sickness bug. We just enjoyed spending some time together without any distractions.
Yesterday morning my priority was to bake the twins birthday cake.
I have decided to make them a cake that hopefully has chocolate sponge Mickey Mouse heads running through.
I am praying that it works.
I was going to have a trial run by making one with hearts for Valentines day but then my oven broke!
Then I was going to have a trial last weekend and the sickness struck so this really is winging it!!!
I have decorated the cake as I wanted to however I have not had the time to add the detail that I planned to. I was decorating the cake at 7am this morning before the twins had their breakfast! I had planned to bake the cake over two days and spend the third day decorating. But the bug meant that the luxury of time went out the window.
Today we are celebrating the twins birthday like we originally wanted to. We are spending the day with their grandparents and taking them to a farm. I can't wait to see their little faces when they see the animals. They are now at an age that they will know what they are seeing as they will recognise the different animals.
Afterwards everyone will come back to our house for a party lunch and birthday cake.
I still can't quite believe that my babies are 2!
They are coming on so well and make us giggle so much with their antics.
I wish I could keep them this small forever!

Friday, 21 February 2014

Beef and Vegetable Cannelloni

I love Italian food and pasta. I especially love cannelloni but have not made it in a long time. This has mainly been because where I normally do our shopping do not have it in stock. However the last couple of weeks I have been going to a different shop and I was excited (I did actually get excited about pasta!) to see that they had cannelloni.
I will admit that it is such a fiddly meal to make but it really is worth the extra time and effort.
This is what you do...

Beef and Vegetable Cannelloni

500g mince beef
150g mushrooms, chopped
1 courgette, quartered and sliced
1 onion
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 red pepper, chopped
Tomato passata with basil
1 beef stock cube
1/2tsp cayenne pepper
1tsp oregano
200g soft cheese
40g mature cheddar, grated
2dsp Parmesan cheeses
50mls milk
Pre heat the oven to 200C
1 - Dry fry the mince with the onions
2 - Once the mince has started to brown add the mushrooms, courgette, garlic and red pepper
3 - Once the beef has completely browned off and the vegetables are starting to soften add the tomato passata, the beef stock cube, cayenne pepper and oregano and mix well to ensure the oregano and cayenne pepper have been mixed in
4 - Bring to the boil and leave to simmer until the meat is cooked throughout then remove from the heat
5 - To make the cheese topping simply heat the soft cheese over a medium heat
6 - Once the soft cheese has melted down add the milk and grated cheese leaving a little by for the topping
7 - To prepare the dish to bake line the bottom of a dish with a layer of the beef and vegetable sauce
8 - Take the cannelloni tubes, one at a time and fill with the meat sauce this is messy and you will spill some sauce so I stand the tube up in the dish so it doesn't matter if it spills
9 - When you have filled enough cannelloni tubes to fill the dish pour over any remaining sauce before putting the cheese sauce over the top
10 - Sprinkle some grated cheddar,the Parmesan and a little oregano
11 - Place in a pre heated oven for 40 - 45 minutes
This is a delicious dish which has some of my favourite flavours.
We enjoyed it with some of my freshly made garlic and oregano fougasse.
Enjoy x
I am sharing my fish dish with Honest Mum's Tasty Tuesdays. This week Papa G shares a Rocket, Leek and Feta recipe which looks delicious! Check it out and other recipes at Honest Mum's Tasty Tuesdays
I am also sharing with A Mummy Too's Recipe of the Week. Check out A Mummy Too's Recipe of the Week for lots of delicious recipes

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