Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Pulled Pork with Aldi

Pulled pork has to be one of the best summer meals. I know that usually pulled pork is smothered in a sweet barbecue sauce. But not in our house. Only our eldest likes the full on barbecue sauce. So here our pulled pork is sauce free but filled with herbs and spices.

Whilst shopping at Aldi I found some fantastic herb grinders that do all the work for you. Each grinder contains a perfectly balanced amount of flavours that marry together perfectly when cooked. For today's pulled pork recipe I decided to try the garlic, herb and tomato seasoning grinder.

Pulled pork is not only a really tasty meal but is also great budget meal. The piece of pork shoulder that I bought weighed 1.562kg and cost just £3.83! Out of this piece of meat, once cooked, I got the pulled pork main meal that I am telling you about today, some meat for a pork salad for the hubby and I the following day and even a second main the following day. That is an amazing 12 meals out of 1 piece of meat! That is a budgeting 32p per meal for the meat.

This week I am going to tell you how to prepare the pork shoulder for pulled pork. Then next week I am going to share with you a delicious way to use the leftovers the following day.

This is what I did...

Monday, 30 May 2016

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 30th May 2016

Even though we are away I am still meal planning. Before we left I did an online shopping order to make life easier. The last thing that anyone wants to do on holiday is go to the supermarket! As I was doing a weeks shopping I thought that it would be easier if I had a rough idea of what meals we would be having.

The beauty of going away in a self catering holiday cottage is that you have the freedom to cook meals to save money on eating out. I will not be allocating meals to set days and am only planning for four meals as I am sure that we will eat out while we are away!

This is what we will be enjoying for meals while on holiday...

Week Commencing 30th May 2016

Cottage Pie

This is a great, family favourite meal that is easy to make.

Chicken Casserole

This will be a great dish on a dull day. Fingers crossed we do not have any of them but it is another meal that I can prepare and just leave in the oven.

Gammon and Chips

You cannot go wrong with a good gammon dinner. I will be using frozen oven chips for convenience and if there is any meat leftover it will be great for sandwiches!

Fish and Chips

This is another easy meal that does not take long to cook but one that everyone will enjoy.

I hope you all have a good week x

Friday, 27 May 2016

21st May - 26th May 2016 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

What a gorgeous week! It has been lovely to have the summer return. This week has seen us enjoy a lovely weekend with family and getting ready to enjoy the children's half term holiday.

Here is my week in pictures...

Saturday 21st May 2016

Saturday was a regular sort of day. Ballet in the morning and just spending time doing things around the house. Saturday was also World Whisky Day so it would have been rude to not have a wee dram!

Sunday 22nd May 2016

Thursday, 26 May 2016

Eric Lanlard's Afternoon Tea and Book Giveaway!

Like most people who love to cook, I love a good cookbook. I will admit to having quite a collection of cookbooks. So when I was asked if I would like to review a copy of Eric Lanlard's latest book, Afternoon Tea, I jumped at the chance.

Eric Lanlard is a Master Patissier and twice winner of the Continental Patissier of the Year award. Eric trained in France and worked as the head pastry chef for Albert and Michel Roux before launching his own business, Cake Boy.

Photograph taken from Afternoon Tea

His latest book, Afternoon Tea, is jam packed full of ideas and recipes to help you create the perfect afternoon tea. The book contains 9 chapters which will take you step by step through the courses and dishes that make this culinary treat.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Relax with Charlie Bigham

As much as I love cooking good family meals, life can get manic and I do enjoy having some time out to enjoy a meal, just the hubby and I. I am not a huge fan of mass, factory produced ready meals so when I heard that Charlie Bigham's meals were all handmade I was immediately intrigued!

I was asked if I would like to take some time out and let Charlie Bigham do all the hard work in the kitchen for me. Who could refuse?

I was sent a selection of Charlie Bigham's handmade, pre prepared meals. I chose...
  • Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni 
  • Steak and Ale Pies
  • Paella
After a busy and stressful day I looked forward to placing a meal in the oven, getting the kids to bed, hanging my apron up and enjoying a meal that has been cooked for me. The first dish that we decided to try was the spinach and ricotta. The portion is not large enough to have just the spinach and ricotta, a side dish is needed. But the rich Italian flavours meant that you really did not need a large serving. We enjoyed ours with some potato croquettes, but it would be equally delicious with a side salad and a slice of garlic bread!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Nanna Scones

My late Nanna made the best scones ever! Last week the hubby asked me to bake him some scones and I will admit to my first batch being put straight in the bin. They just were not good enough. Having this disaster made me hunt out my trusty old Be-Ro book. I have had this book for years, the cover is ripped and half missing and there are food marks all over. But I will never get rid of that book. The book holds the secrets to my Nanna's scones. I remember asking her why my scones were not as good as hers and she told me her recipe which I have written down next to the recipe for scones in the Be-Ro book.

I dread loosing this recipe and what better way for it to always be there than by sharing it here, on my blog.

Aldi stock a wide range of great value baking ingredients. For this weeks Aldi post I thought that I would show you this recipe using a few of their home baking ingredients.

This is what I did...

Monday, 23 May 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 20 The Harissa Round Up with a Cooling Dessert

Hello and welcome to this weeks #CookBlogShare round up!

Each week I look forward to sitting down and looking through all of the recipes that have been shared throughout the week. What I love most about the CookBlogShare linky is that there is no specific theme. Anything foodie goes. So this means we always have a vast array of recipes that have been shared. There really is something for everyone!

Thank you to Mandy from Sneaky Veg for hosting the linky last week.

This week I have decided to focus on harissa recipes. Last week there were three deliciously flavoursome recipes that contained the North African spices. After these spicy meals what you need is a cooling dessert to finish with.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 20 of #CookBlogShare...

First up is this delightfully colourful Harissa Lamb with Chickpea and Pomegranate Salad from Easy Peasy Foodie. I simply adore everything about this recipe, from the vibrant colours to the spices, from the pomegranate to the health benefits. This salad would make a perfect meal for a hot summers day!

Next up is an equally colourful Harissa Roast Chicken with Chickpeas and Feta from The Not So Creative Cook. This is a meal that would be eagerly welcomed at our dinner table. I love how the heat from the harissa is cooled and balanced out with the addition of the feta cheese. This would make a deliciously summery alternative to a Sunday roast!

The final harissa recipe that I have selected is this barbecue ready Harissa Lamb Salad from Searching For Spice. I imagine the harissa lamb to be perfect for a summer barbecue. The beauty of this recipe is that a lot of it can be prepared in advanced so that when it comes to a lovely sunny barbecue you are not stuck inside preparing food. The addition of the cooling yogurt dressing makes it a must try!

Now on to dessert. After having spicy meals what you need is a lovely cooling dessert and what better way to cool down than with a creamy dessert. These Strawberry Cream Pie Bars from Go Eat and Repeat are just perfect for that. I love cheesecakes and this dessert has the cheesecake base flavours but are paired with a creamier centre. Perfect after a lovely spicy meal!

I am sure that you will agree that they are four lovely recipes and fill you with the feeling of summer meals, eating al fresco. If you missed them last week I definitely recommend you pop over an check them out!

Now on to this weeks CookBlogShare linky. Tomorrow the linky will be hosted by SnapHappyBakes and the following week it will be back with Sneaky Veg as I am having the week off! There will be no round up next week as I will be away but I will be back hosting on 7th June!

Thank you to everyone for joining in and being part of the CookBlogShare community!

Hope you all have a good week and I look forward to seeing what you have been cooking up!


Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 23rd May 2016

This weeks meal plan is going to be a shorter one as at the end of the week it is holiday time! Therefore, this week, I only have four meals to plan. This weeks dinners will be based on what we have got in the fridge and what needs using up before we go.

Last weeks meal plan did not go to plan. Life took over and I took the easy route of trying some handmade ready meals that I had been sent to try and wanting an easy tea on Friday. So the least said about last weeks plan, the better!

This week I will need organisation and will stick to my meal plan. Before we go away it is always manic. Getting everything ready, leaving posts scheduled and the general run up to going is always a stressful time for me. I always get very anxious and worry about getting everything done but as soon as we get in the car and leave I am fine. 

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 23rd May 2016

Monday - Beetroot Red Pasta

When the hubby was shopping on Friday he found so delicious looking red pasta which has been coloured using beetroot juice and red wine. On Monday I am going to serve it tossed in olive oil, garlic and Parmesan. Plain and simple!

Saturday, 21 May 2016

14th May - 20th May 2016 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

What a week! It seems to have been so busy and gone by in lightening speed. It has been an exciting week with regard to work prospects and a bit of a lazy week in the kitchen for a change.

Here is my week in pictures...

Saturday 14th May 2016

Saturday was just a regular sort of Saturday. I took little I to ballet in the morning then just pottered around at home. I did make this delicious gluten free cake which will be part of a review post that will be written next week.

Sunday 15th May 2016

On Sunday I took a bit of a leap of faith which I have surprised myself with. I decided to join the Jamberry team. I am now an independent consultant! I fell in love with the product after trying them so decided to go into business selling them. I am awful at painting my nails so I love being able to have beautiful nails all the time! I have even started a second blog about my journey and to tell everyone about the product!

Friday, 20 May 2016

#PowerofFrozen Beef and Bean Cabbage Parcels

Back in March I wrote my first post about Iceland and their #PowerofFrozen campaign. Today I am back with another recipe using products from Iceland. Today's recipe is all about convenience. I don't know about you but I often forget to take meat out of the freezer in time to cook. When this happens everything gets turned upside down. As you probably know I write a weekly meal plan, I like to have the organisation at meal time and have it all pre planned. 

Having products in the freezer that can be cooked from frozen really are a necessity in our busy lives. As organised as we can be, there are times when life simply takes over and things get forgotten. Today's recipe is perfect for both a mid week meal or to impress some dinner guests. Today's meal is made using British butchers quality minced beef that can actually be cooked from frozen! I have paired it with frozen vegetables that can also be cooked from frozen. How convenient is that!

Not only is this a convenient meal but it is also a great money saving meal. After I have told you how to make this delicious dish I will tell you the costings!

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Well Done Celebration Chocolate Cake

Like all year 6 children J sat his SATS last week. The week started off well, he seemed to be calm but toward the end of the week the stress started to show. This got me thinking how to cheer him up? What better way to cheer up an 11 year old boy than chocolate cake.

When I say chocolate cake, I mean the king of chocolate cakes!

This cake was a huge success and is perfect for any celebration cake for any chocolate lover!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Easy Mushroom Stroganoff with Aldi

We love mushrooms and one of my favourite mushroom meals has to be stroganoff. I prefer a mushroom stroganoff to a beef one and this meal is a great way to get extra vegetables into the children!

Mushrooms are a budgeting way to bulk out meals and add some extra flavours. For this recipe I have used closed cup mushrooms and button mushrooms. This week mushrooms are even cheaper at Aldi as they are in the Super 6 offer. For a pack of closed cup mushrooms, this week, you will pay just 49p instead of the usual 89p! That makes this week the perfect time to have a go at making my easy mushroom stroganoff.

When cooking this dish I find that the juices from the mushrooms do a lot of the work with regards to flavours. However by adding a little paprika you add an extra hint of spice to this delicious meal.

This is what I did...

Monday, 16 May 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 19 - The Far Away Round Up

I know I say this every week, but wow it was difficult to select a theme for this weeks round up. I am not complaining. I love sitting and looking through all of the recipes and trying to narrow my selection down.

Last week there was a delicious variety of sweet treats, warming dishes, healthy meals and dishes from far away. This week it was the far away dishes that won. I loved the depth of flavours that were used in each of the recipes that I selected. All four are meals which we, as a family, would love to have for a meal.

Here are my four favourite recipes for my far away round up...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 16th May 2016

I have enjoyed planning the weeks meals before I go shopping. I have found that this has resulted in me being a lot more relaxed when it comes to planning. I am not hunting through the freezer and fridges to see what I have got to use in meals. I really do not know why I did not do this earlier!

I will admit to my meal plan changing slightly to my original plan. This morning I received some meals to try for a blog post from Charlie Bigham. I am not a fan of ready meals but these ready meals are all handmade which is a huge selling point for me. So after a stressful start to the day this evening I will not be slaving over a hot oven. Tonight the kids will be going to bed early and the hubby and I will be having one of the meals, in peace that has been cooked for me! I am looking forward to trying them and will let you know how I get on.

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 16th May 2016

Monday - Spinach and Ricotta Cannelloni

Tonight we will be trying the first Charlie Bigham meal of spinach and ricotta cannelloni. 

Tuesday - Meal Out!

On Tuesday it is my mother in laws birthday so as a treat we are taking her out for dinner.

Saturday, 14 May 2016

7th May - 13th May 2016 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

Hooray this week is over!

J is in year 6 so this week he had his SATS. At the beginning of the week I thought that I was more worried for him than he was. But as the week went on I could see that the pressure was in fact getting to him. By Thursday I was relieved that they were over and done with.

This week has seen a lot of outdoor pictures. We have enjoyed meals outside and it is lovely seeing the flowers in the garden showing their colours.

Here is my week in pictures...

Saturday 7th May 2016

Saturday was a beautiful day so we just had to have a barbecue! I made a delicious potato salad which made the perfect side dish!

Sunday 8th May 2016

As Sunday was another glorious day we made the most of it by eating outside again. My mother in law came over so that barbecue was used again! I used the Panasonic Slow Juicer to make this strawberry and banana ice cream and filled some oyster shell wafers with it.

Friday, 13 May 2016

Lime and White Chocolate Cheesecake

Ever since I made the No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake that I wrote about last week we have wanted it again, it was that good. As it was another glorious weekend last week and we had a barbecue planned we had to have another cheesecake. This time I wanted to try another flavour combination. I had plenty of limes in the fridge so I decided to make my own take on a key lime pie style cheesecake.

We liked the strawberry cheesecake base so much I have followed the same recipe again using the coconut oil. I have used the limes to enrich the cheesecake centre and have finished it off with creamy white chocolate pieces.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Roasted Butternut Squash and Garlic Risotto

Risotto is my go to meal. If I ever forget to take some meat out of the freezer that I need for a meal this is my emergency dish. Risotto's are so versatile, any flavour combination that you like can work with rice. The only down side with a risotto is the attention that it requires. With a traditional risotto you need to add the stock, a little at a time and needs constant attention. However this risotto is not cooked in the traditional way. This risotto is much easier and less time consuming but equally full of flavour.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Jersey Royal Potato Salad - #CookBlogShare Week 19

Wow it has been such a lovely week! I don't know about you, but we have been making the most of the lovely weather and eating al fresco. As soon as the lovely weather comes, out go the warming comfort foods and we welcome salads, barbecues and lighter meals.

With this in mind I thought that it would be the perfect time to share with you a delicious potato salad that I was sent to try. Each week I write a recipe using products that I have bought from Aldi. This week is a little different. This is a new recipe that has been sent to me courtesy of Aldi to try out and let you know what I thought. We are now coming into Jersey Royal season and this year Aldi will be stocking Jersey Royal potatoes for their Specially Selected range. These potatoes have a sweet, nutty, summer taste to them and are perfect for potato salads.

This is no ordinary potato salad.

This potato salad is full of so many different ingredients that compliment each other perfectly and make it a more filling salad. The homemade sauce used has become a new favourite here. The creaminess with the kick from the mustard are perfect together. This really is a royal potato salad. A Jersey Royal Potato Salad!

This is what I did...

Monday, 9 May 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 18 - The Mexican Round Up

As last week cinco de mayo was celebrated in Mexico and around the world I thought that it was only fitting to make this week the Mexican round up. I love Mexican food and enjoyed reading more Mexican recipes on the food blogs this week.

Last week we had an amazing 36 recipes shared. Thank you so much for joining in each week and thank you to Hayley from Snap Happy Bakes for hosting CookBlogShare. 

The recipes that I have chosen for my round up are not only all Mexican but they all have such a summer feel to them. I am sure that many of you will be wanting to cook these meals and enjoy them al fresco after you read this!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 18 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 9th May 2016

What a glorious weekend we have had. Last weeks meal plan did not really go to plan towards the end of the week thanks to the lovely weather we really did not the casserole and baked dinners as I had planned. But because the weather was so nice I really was not too bothered!

This week I remembered to plan this weeks meals before going shopping. I have found that doing it this way I have reduced our food waste and when it comes to my shopping day the fridges are almost empty. It also makes writing my shopping list so much easier, I will definitely be continuing to do it this way.

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 9th May 2016

Monday - Pulled Pork

This is a meal which we have not had in such a long time.bit is perfect for this time of year as a light meal.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

30th April - 6th May 2016 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week it has been lovely to enjoy the sunshine. It finally feels like winter has gone. This week has been a quick week thanks to the bank holiday Monday, it has flown by. This week I finally got my hotel booked for BritMums live next month which has started the excitement for the conference. Last year was my first year attending and I loved it. I am hoping that this year will be just as good, if not better!

This week has seen us watch the Tour de Yorkshire, a meal out, lots of yummy food and some pretty new nails!

Here is my week in pictures...

Saturday 30th April 2016

The hubby loves cycling so when we found out that the Tour de Yorkshire was having a finishing line in Doncaster we planned to visit. We managed to avoid most of the rain and hail stones and watched the riders head up to the finishing stretch. The kids loved waiting for the bikes and watching the police motorbikes going past. It was fun to see, albeit quick, but something we might not see again! We were even able to spot ourselves on the television highlights in the evening.

Sunday 1st May 2016

Sunday was a day in the garden for the hubby and time in the kitchen for me. This is a meal which I am planning to write about. Instead of a regular roast I made chicken breasts on a bed of leeks in a white wine sauce.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Chocolate Chip Cupcakes - Baking with Kids and Degustabox Contents

For this months Degustabox post I thought that I would share with you a recipe that I made with the twins. Each month Degustabox comes with a wide variety of products that can be enjoyed as they are or they can be used to create delicious meals and treats.

Today I am sharing with you an easy chocolate chip cupcake recipe that the twins love to make. This month we received a jar of Canderel Sugarly in the Degustabox so we substituted caster sugar for the sweetener to see how the cakes turned out. Canderel Sugarly looks and tastes like sugar but without the calories!

Before I tell you how we got on let me tell you about the contents of April's Degustabox.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Smoked Salmon and Mixed Grains Salad

I don't know about you, but as soon as the sunny, warmer weather comes I love to eat healthy salads. So now that the sunshine is here I thought that I would share with you a favourite salad recipe of mine. This salad is perfect to enjoy at home or to pack up and take to work. Whenever I make one for myself at lunch time I always prepare one for the hubby to take to work the following day. I love to use the blue clip top Kilner jars that we have. They are just the right size and ensure that there are no spillages or leaks and they look so pretty too!

This salad combines regular salad vegetables with a mix of cereals, pulses and grains with smoked salmon and eggs. Giving you a perfectly balanced meal, vitamin goodness from your vegetables, protein from your eggs, essential oils from the salmon and fibre from the grains. I have used The Food Doctor easy grains which are ready to eat which makes preparing this salad super easy and quick! The cereals, pulses and beans mix that I have used is a lovely mixture of quinoa, lentils, spelt and kidney beans. They really do add a lovely texture to your salad as well as some wholesome flavours.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

No Bake Strawberry Cheesecake with Coconut Oil Chocolate Biscuit Base

Cheesecake is a perfect dessert now that summer is on the horizon. It is time to move from the warm, comfort puddings and on to refreshing summer ones. Today I am sharing with you one of my favourite summer desserts. I have changed the base to give it more of a summer taste to it and also some healthy fats that are good for your body.

As this cheesecake is a no bake cheesecake it can be made in advance if you are making it for guests or prepare it in the morning, enjoy the day in the garden then have a delicious dessert for the evening. It is so simple and easy to make, there is no excuse!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Chicken Pesto Pasta

A couple of weeks I shared my Pesto, Mushroom and Pancetta Chicken that I made using ingredients from Aldi.

After I made the pesto, mushroom and pancetta I had some ingredients left so I thought that I would share with you what I did with them. Pesto is perfect for pasta so what better way to use leftover pesto and chicken breasts!

The chicken breasts from Aldi are fantastic value for money. I always by the large pack of chicken breasts that weigh 1kg and cost £5.59. This pack of chicken provides enough for two meals for my family. Unlike other cheap chicken breasts these do not shrink down during cooking, this is what makes them true value!

This recipe make enough for a family of four, or in our case a family of five.

This is what I did...

Monday, 2 May 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 17 - The Baking Round Up

Last week has seen the return of my baking mojo at long last! Last week I baked cakes, breads and made a pudding! Following on from this I had to do a baking round up for week 17 of CookBlogShare!

As always there were so many delicious recipes and Mandy from Sneaky Veg did a great job of hosting, thank you!

As always I loved the variety of savoury and sweet recipes that were shared. It is always such a treat to sit down and read the blog posts. Thank you for joining in and making CookBlogShare a lovely community. Today I have booked my hotel for June's BritMums Live, if any of you are going please do let me know as it would be great to catch up with you!

Back to this weeks baking round up. Here are my four favourite baking recipes from week 17 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 2nd May 2016

This week I remembered to meal plan before I went shopping which made writing my list so much easier! Last weeks meal plan was a success. We ended up getting a treat meal for Friday which meant I cooked the fish pie on Saturday. You may remember that last week I planned a meal that we had never heard of before let alone tried. The North African stew, Shamshuka, was so good! This will definitely be a meal we will be having again!

As today is a bank holiday we are taking the children out for a meal so we are definitely having an easy start to the week!

This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Week Commencing 2nd May 2016

Monday - Frankie and Benny's

Tuesday - Mushroom Stroganoff

This is a favourite that I haven't made in ages. 

Wednesday - Beef, Lentil and Chickpea Casserole

This is going to be a meal that I can prepare and leave to slow cook in the oven.

Thursday - Jacket Potatoes and Pulled Pork Sausages

When I was shopping in Aldi I found The Black Farmer's Pulled Pork Sausages. These were not on my shopping list but they sounded so good, I had to get them. Jacket potatoes have become a favourite meal so this week we will be having them with the sausages.

Friday - Fish in Homemade Parsley Sauce

I will be serving the fish in parsley sauce with some mash and peas.

Do you meal plan? What will you be enjoying this week?

As always I am sharing my weekly meal plan with Meal Planning Monday!