Friday, 31 July 2015

How Celebrity Chefs Have Made Us Kitchen-Obsessed - Guest Post

Their cookery shows litter TV channels, their recipe books dominate the bestseller shelves and their branded products fill our cupboards. There’s no denying it - we’re officially in the era of the celebrity chef. The last few decades have seen a wave of professional cooks being catapulted into the public eye, and this has resulted in a dramatic shift in the way we think about home cooking. No longer are our kitchens simply functional spaces used to carry out the everyday task of cooking. Instead, they’re a place to experiment with exotic ingredients, show-off our culinary talents and make a fashion statement. Let’s take a look at some of the ways in which celebrity chefs have made us kitchen obsessed.

Making a style statement

The fact is, kitchens are no longer just kitchens - they’re an embodiment of our style preferences and lifestyles. Thanks to TV chefs like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Nigella Lawson, an increasing number of homeowners have started turning their attention towards their cooking spaces in a bid to replicate the homes of these famous foodies. With Jamie’s rustic wooden worktops, Nigella’s sleek pink cabinets and Gordon's extravagant appliances, there’s more of a focus on aesthetic appeal than ever before. Long gone are the days when the kitchen was a forgotten about room reserved merely for food preparation. Now, it’s the heart of the home, a space that is being used to show off our taste in decor and display our favourite pieces of furniture.

Easy Holiday Food and Giveaway

Well the holiday season is most definitely here. Unfortunately the weather is not great for holidays in the UK. But no matter what the weather is like an important part of holidays, whether you are here or abroad, is food!

When going on a self catering holiday it is important that you can prepare easy, tasty meals. Nobody wants to spend a long time in the kitchen on holiday!

That is why I thought that I would combine a new holiday giveaway with my top quick and easy recipes that can be made while on holiday! The easiest meals to prepare on holiday have to be pasta or rice based one.

Here are our favourite pasta and rice dishes...

Thursday, 30 July 2015

Blogger Takeover with glo - The Results

Last Thursday glo challenged Emma from From Aldi to Harrods and I to swap blogs for the day. The catch was we had to swap with a contrasting blog. As you know my blog is food and family orientated. Whereas From Aldi to Harrods is all about how to make money and save money. Which is a completely different niche to what I usually write about!

Last week Emma wrote a recipe for Coconut Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Rice and I went back to what I know best, food, and hunted out the best offers that I could find in the supermarkets. You can read my supermarket money saving post here.

As any blogger will tell you, we are very protective over our little space on the internet and allowing someone else to take over for the day was a big thing for me. So it really was a challenge to put my trust in Emma and it must have been the same for her. But it was all about placing trust in each other, trusting that each other would write a post that would not let the other down. I, for one, was not disappointed in the recipe that Emma wrote for Hijacked By Twins. In fact it is a recipe that I would love to try!

Strawberries and Cream Cake

This year we have grown a lot of fruit plants to go in the fruit frame that the hubby built. Having the fruit frame has saved the fruits from the birds and has meant that we have had a lot more to harvest this year. The other week we had a so many strawberries to use and I knew that I wanted to used them in a bake.

This deliciously moist cake is full of juiced strawberries, maple syrup and raw honey, so not only are you getting some of your five a day but it is also made without using refined sugar!

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

Smoked Fish Bake - Family Favourties

Fish has always been a favourite of mine and I love finding new ways to add more to our diets. The down side of wanting to eat more fish is the expense. I think that fish has certainly got more expensive. That is why I always keep an eye out in the supermarkets reduced section as the majority of the fresh fish can be frozen. It is also a great way to get stocked up. The other week when we were out I found a lot of fresh smoked fish reduced.

That is how this meal came about.

I had some lovely smoked salmon and smoked cod and wanted to make a dish that would be both easy and one that the whole family would enjoy.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Shiitake Mushroom, Kale and Bacon Spaghetti

I find that my children will eat just about any vegetable if it is combined with pasta or spaghetti. That is how this recipe came along.

We love to grow our own fruit and vegetables and have got a lot of kale that is ready for cutting. I knew that the children would not like it if I served it as a side vegetable, but if it was mixed in they would. When I went down to the vegetable patch to collect some kale I also got an onion, a garlic and a chilli for the meal.

This is such an easy meal to make that is full of flavour. I can see that this meal is going to be a favourite!

This is what I did...

Monday, 27 July 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 27th July 2015

If I am honest I think that weekly meal planning during the holidays will help me to keep my sanity! It is already madness in the house but at least I know that I have meals under control!

The children broke up from school last Tuesday and since then I have been a bit all over the place. I have had to keep looking back on my meal plan which has been a huge help.

Last week I shared a mixture of recipes, cocktails and a foodie review. This is my round up of last weeks foodie posts...

this was also the post which has kicked off the new home of #CookBlogShare if you have any recipes please pop over and share!

#CookBlogShare Week 1 Round Up

First of all I want to say a huge thank you to everyone that joined in on the first CookBlogShare that I have hosted. Lucy did an amazing job establishing CookBlogShare, she really is going to be a hard act to follow but I hope, together, we can make her proud!

This week saw some delicious recipes and I enjoyed reading them all. But I had to pick four of my favourites and here they are...

The Domestic Gothess - Muesli Bread has made me want to get back to baking bread! We used to love muesli bread and this one looks like the perfect way to start the day!

One of my weaknesses in life has to be wine! I love a good bottle of wine with food. This post from Le Coin De Mel - Wine Pairing for Dummies in 30 Seconds or 3 Minutes is great for any wine and food lover. The wine pairing classes sound like a lot of fun, I want to go to one!

We have got a lot of rhubarb growing in the garden so this recipe Everyday Made Fresh - Strawberry and Rhubarb Creamsicles would be a great way to use some of it up and please the children at the same time!

Coconut and chocolate, what is there not to love? This breakfast treat Charlotte's Lively Kitchen - Coconut Chocolate Overnight Oats looks so delicious. I still have not tried overnight oats so I think that this recipe will be my first!

This week #CookBlogShare is hosted by Snap Happy Bakes. We are both looking forward to seeing what delicious recipes you have to share!


Sunday, 26 July 2015

Sunday Picture

I adore seeing all of the bees that are in our garden at the moment. We do try to plant flowers that will attract them such as the lavender. We have also found, this year, that they also love the alliums.

Sunday Snap

19th July 2015 - 25th July 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week the children finished school for the summer holidays, the madness has begun!

It is lovely having lazy mornings with them at home but I am also realising how much I was getting done while they were at school in the mornings. I am hoping that we have lots of nice weather so that the children can get out, but next week is not looking good so I need to get thinking about some indoor activities.

Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 19th July 2015

On Sunday we were in the garden and I realised that I have not taken any pictures of the puppies recently. This is mainly because they do not stay still long enough for me to get a picture. On Sunday I was taking some blog pictures in the garden and they were being nosey and were still, so I managed to get a picture. They are now 7 months and have grown so much!

Monday 20th July 2015

On Monday the hubby had the day off so after when the twins finished nursery we went to Costa for some lunch.

Friday, 24 July 2015

Chippa Gluten Free Sauces

Up until recently I did not realise how many products contained gluten. For anyone that suffers with coeliac disease it must be a nightmare! Thankfully I do not have it and neither do any family members. But the hubby and I have reduced down our gluten intake as a lifestyle choice. Personally I feel better for reducing gluten, I have a lot less bloating and feel generally better without it.

One product that contains gluten, that I am sure the majority of household have, are condiments. We always have bottles of ketchup and brown sauce in our house. The amount of gluten free products that are available is growing, however I have never seen gluten free condiments.

Until now!

I was recently asked if I would like to try the UK's first gluten free condiments from Chippa. Naturally I said yes and I could not wait to try them.

I received three of the most popular condiments in the UK, tomato ketchup, mayonnaise and brown sauce. In our family the children love tomato ketchup, while the brown sauce is for the hubby while I use mayonnaise on my salads. Therefore I knew that we would be able to give these sauces a thorough tasting!

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Coconut Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Rice - Blog Swap

glo have challenged Emma from From Aldi to Harrods and I to swap blogs for the day. I have written a money saving post for From Aldi to Harrods while Emma has written a delicious recipe for Hijacked By Twins!

Enjoy x

Choosing quick, nutritious meals is really important in our house, and meal planning helps us to use up items lurking in the back of the freezer and cupboards. This recipe is one of those where I just
fancied making something and made up the recipe with a little bit of research.

Coconut Chicken and Roasted Vegetable Rice for two people


• 2 peppers
• 4 chicken thighs (boneless)
• 3 tablespoons coconut
• 2 slices of bread
• 150g rice
• 3 tablespoons peas (I used frozen)
• Sprinkle of chilli flakes (optional)
• 1 egg
• Rosemary and salt to season
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Pre-heated the oven to 180C.

2. Put a kettle full of water on to boil.

3. Chop up the peppers.

4. When the oven is hot, place the chopped peppers on a tray and drizzle with olive oil, using rosemary and salt to reason. Place in the oven for 20 minutes.

5. Put the rice in the pan and cover it was boiling water. Place a lid on the pan, remembering to stir it after 10 minutes.

6. Toast the bread, and once toasted put it in a food processor or blender to make breadcrumbs.

7. Beat the egg into a bowl.

8. Mix the breadcrumbs, coconut and chilli flakes in a bowl.

9. Place a frying pan on a medium to high heat.

10. Dunk each chicken thigh into the beaten egg then the breadcrumb mixture.

11. Place each chicken thigh into the warm frying pan.

12. Add the peas to the rice and let the rice cook for another 10 minutes with the lid on.

13. Turn over the peppers in the oven.

14. After the chicken has been frying for 10 minutes, turn it over.

15. Remove the peppers from the oven after they have been roasting for a total of 20 minutes. Put them to the side.

16. Drain the rice.

17. Mix the roasted peppers into the rice and pea mixture.

18. The chicken should now be cooked after 10 minutes on each side.

19. Serve

19 steps might look like a lot, but from starting the cooking to loading the dishwasher at the end it took me just 25 minutes to cook this meal. There are so many things that you can change to suit your
tastes or what you have in the house, including changing the vegetables (courgettes and carrots would work well too) to adding more spices into your coconut and breadcrumb mixture.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Cocktails with Vita Coco - Gin Pina Colada

You may have noticed that recently I have been using more coconut products in both my baking and cooking. I cannot believe it has taken me so long to discover the delicious flavours that coconut adds to dishes. I have always like coconut but now I am enjoying it in a greater variety of foods. So when Vita Coco asked me of I would like to create a cocktail using their coconut water you can imagine how pleased I was!

If you have not seen Vita Coco before let me tell you what they do. Vita Coco produce a number of natural coconut products such as...

  • Coconut Water - both original and with flavours such as peach and mango, pineapple and lemonade
  • Coconut oil (which I currently use in my cooking!)
  • Vita Coco Cafe both cafe latte and cafe latte mocha
  • Vita Coco for kids
The coconut natural water which I received to try is...
  • "As natural as natural gets"
  • Never from concentrate
  • A great source of potassium
  • No fat!
  • Gluten free and dairy free
The ingredients are simply 99% coconut water and 1% natural fruit sugars!

It really is that pure, each carton is simply full of goodness. As it says on the carton it is "like sticking a straw in a coconut!"

When is came to deciding what cocktail to make I decided to give a traditional cocktail a little twist.

This is what I did...

Roasted Mediterranean Vegetables and Beef Pasta - Family Favourites

If you are a regular reader you will know how pasta is a huge hit in our house. I love how easy pasta meals are to make and the family always enjoy eating them, especially the children! I find that a pasta sauce is idea for hiding vegetables in. The children always seem to eat it all when it is in a pasta sauce.

For this weeks Family Favourites I am sharing a pasta dish which uses roasted vegetables. When cooking with roasted vegetables I find that the dish always has a greater depth of flavour than when they have been pan fried.

This recipe is great for when the kids are at home as you simply prepare the vegetables and leave to roast for 45 minutes which gives you extra time to be with the kids!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Fresh Warm Courgette Noodle Salad - #CookBlogShare

Hello and welcome to the new home of the fabulous #CookBlogShare linky.

CookBlogShare was originally hosted by the lovely Lucy from Supergolden Bakes. Lucy has now passed the linky on to me to host and I am so looking forward to carrying it on. I will be hosting every month with the help of the following amazing foodie bloggers...
This week Lucy is going to be doing her round up as usual so I thought I would share with you a new recipe to get CookBlogShare off to a start.

Today I am sharing with you a fresh warm courgette noodle salad. I recently invested in a spiraliser and am loving replacing the traditional noodles and spaghetti with vegetable versions. Not only is it a healthier option but it is also a great way to get added vegetables into the children.

This is what I did...

Monday, 20 July 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 20th July 2015

The summer holidays are nearly here. The children finish school tomorrow then it is 6 weeks of lots of family time!

We have started the week with the hubby at home and buying a meal for tonight's meal so I am started with an easy one.

I had a successful week back on Slimming World again. I forgot how easy it was to incorporate into our diets. So fingers crossed I will start to see some results soon.

These are the recipes that I shared last week...

Must Have's For a Summer Holiday

At last the time of year that we all love is upon us!

The summer holidays are about to start. The children are about to break up for the 6 weeks holiday and everybody seems to be planning what they are going to do, where they are going to go and who they are going to see.

When I was asked what would be the one thing that I could not go without on a summer holiday I really got thinking about exactly what was important.

These are the things that are important to me...

Good Food!

Good food and drink is a must have! There is nothing worse than going away and having a week of bad food. Food is an important part of a holiday as while away we tend to indulge more in our food and drink. We like to go to restaurants that serve food that is different to what we would usually have. Holidays are also a good time to try new food and be a little bit more adventurous!

Sunday, 19 July 2015

12th July - 18th July 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week has been a week of acceptance. Acceptance that I needed to admit that things were not right with regard to my depression. I recently took a turn and went down again. However I finally admitted that I needed to talk and called the doctors. This has resulted in getting a rocket up my backside to exercise more and a temporary increase in my medication. It has now been a year since my diagnosis and I am realising that there is no quick fix. It is going to take time and will be a roller coaster of a ride to recovery.

Anyway back to my Project365. Here is our week in pictures...

Sunday 12th July 2015

On Sunday I had a baking morning and made some delicious biscuits from Sweetpea Pantry. As you can see from this picture the twins loved tucking in to them. You can read about them here.

Monday 13th July 2015

On Monday morning I enjoyed going for a long walk with the dogs. We tried a new walk that was great!

Tuesday 14th July 2015

This was the only picture that I took on Tuesday and it is of Taylor's lovely sleepy face. Bless him, he was fast asleep on me in the afternoon and I found myself just sitting and gazing at how peaceful he looked.

Wednesday 15th July 2015

Wednesday was the day that I finally admitted to myself that I wasn't right and had my telephone appointment with my doctor. On Wednesday I made this lovely roasted Mediterranean vegetable pasta and finished the day with a great work out!

Thursday 16th July 2015

On Thursday we went to the schools annual leavers service. Now that the twins are older they are sitting a lot better through the services. As they go to a church school there are quite a few each term. This time Isabella went prepared with colouring and Taylor took a book.

Friday 17th July 2015

On Friday I needed to take the hubby's car to get some new tyres. Thankfully there are shops and a Costa coffee shop around the corner. So after buying some yummy Marks and Spencers food I went armed with my iPad and chilled with a coffee and free wifi! When the kids are back at school in September I am going to make it a weekly treat!

Saturday 18th July 2015

On Saturday I had some time out with my mother in law at a mini spa. We enjoyed an hour together in the spa area then took it in turns to have treatments and have some alone time. It has really refreshed me!

Hope you have a lovely week x

As always I am sharing with...

Running in Lavender

Silent Sunday

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Sweetpea Pantry - Chocolate Giggles with Barley and Raw Cacao

Hopefully you have seen and entered the giveaway that I am hosting for Yumbox and Sweetpea Pantry. If you haven't seen the great prize that is available you can find all of the information here.

I previously told you how I got on with baking the Sweetpea Pantry Super Oat Flapjack. Today I am going to tell you about their delicious Chocolate Giggles,

These delicious little biscuits are full of wholegrain rye, barley, raw cacao and flaxseed.

This is what I did...

Friday, 17 July 2015

Pimm's Smoothie with Co-Operative and Giveaway!

I don't know about you, but when the sunshine comes out I love a cool refreshing drinks of Pimm's! It is simply a perfect drink to relax with in the sun!

So when I was asked to create a new cocktail using Pimm's I could not wait to get started.

I know that the traditional way to enjoy Pimm's is with lemonade, strawberries, cucumber and mint. So I decided to make cocktail based on the traditional drink but I gave it a new twist. I left out the lemonade and made a smoothie using just the fruits. Poured over ice this is a perfect way to enjoy some of your five a day with a good old dash of Pimm's!

This is what I did...

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Minted Lamb Chops - Recipe and Meat Porter Review

I love meat, but it has to be good quality meat. So when I was asked if I would like to try a home meat delivery service I jumped at the chance.

In the past I have ordered from online meat suppliers and like that the meat has been sourced from British free range farms. I truly believe that the meat tastes so much better when it has come from a good farm. 

Meat Porter is a new up and coming company who does just that!

They source all of their meat and artisan products from British free range farms. The meat that you will get from Meat Porter is the same meat, from the same suppliers, that goes to some of the top restaurants. Therefore you can enjoy top quality meat at home for a fraction of the price.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Roasted Red Pepper and Tuna Pasta Sauce - Family Favourites

Like many others, my children love pasta and spaghetti. It is such a quick and easy meal to prepare, therefore it is great for busy families to enjoy a lovely home  cooked meal. 

I know that sometimes it is just easier to grab a jar of sauce but you simply do not get the goodness that a cooked from scratch sauce gives you. Plus, for me, I love knowing exactly what my family are eating.

Today's recipe is for roasted red pepper and tuna sauce, but you can have it without adding the tuna. I added it to bulk it out a bit but also because the hubby asked me to add it in!

This meal is a sure winner and a great way to get added vegetables into the children without them knowing it!

This is what I did...

Monday, 13 July 2015

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 13th July 2015

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success! We had every meal that was planned. I will admit to having some good old fish and chips on Friday from the local chip shop. I cannot remember the last time that we had fish and chips from the chip shop so it was a lovely treat!

Last week I decided to go back to Slimming World. I am needing a good kick up the back side and am hoping that monitoring what I eat and drink will be the start that I need.

Last week I shared some delicious meals...

Sunday, 12 July 2015

Silent Sunday

I have chosen this as my Sunday Photo. It is extremely rare that all five of us are together in a picture. It is usually the hubby or I that are taking pictures. While we were at my parents last weekend my dad took this picture of the five of us.

5th July - 11th July 2015 - One Picture Everyday For One Year

This week we have had birthday celebrations, fresh strawberries, fun times with the twins, lots of cooking and cocktails!

This is our week in pictures...

Sunday 5th July 2015

Sunday was the hubby's birthday and we celebrated it by having a family day together. We decided early in the morning that we were going to take the children to the cinema to see the Minions Movie. It was the first time that we had taken the twins to the cinema and they loved it! After the movie we went to Frankie and Benny's for some lunch. In the evening we enjoyed a barbecue at my mum and dads. It really was a lovely day.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Grilled Oriental Salmon

I love salmon and find that it is such a versatile fish to use in cooking.

Today I am sharing a recipe that marinades the salmon and fills it with Oriental flavours. Leaving the salmon to marinade over time allows it to absorb much more flavour than simply pouring over during cooking. When this salmon is paired with super healthy and super delicious quinoa and mixed vegetables you know that you are having a meal that is full of goodness!

This is what I did...

Grilled Oriental Salmon


4 salmon fillets
6tbsp tamari sauce
4tbsp pure maple syrup
4 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 red chilli, chopped
10g root ginger, chopped
200g quinoa
1 orange pepper, chopped
1 large leek, cut into thin strips
1 large red onion, chopped
1 large courgette, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 hand fulls of spinach


1 - Place the tamari sauce, maple syrup, garlic cloves, red chilli and ginger in a large dish (big enough to sit the salmon fillets in) and mix together

2 - Place the salmon fillets in the sauce and cover thoroughly

3 - Cover and marinade for about 2 hours

4 - Rinse the quinoa

5 - Bring to the boil 600mls of water and add the quinoa

6 - Cover the pan and simmer for 20 minutes

7 - Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and gently cook the pepper, leeks, red onion, courgette and garlic for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are starting to soften. Remove from the heat, add the spinach and cover.

8 - Heat the grill to a high temperature

9 - Remove the salmon fillets and place under the grill and cook for 5 minutes on each side. During the cooking time keep on spooning over the remaining marinade sauce to ensure a deeper flavour.

10 - Once the quinoa is cooked separate and fluff up the grains with a fork

11 - Add the mixed vegetables to the quinoa and mix together

12 - Serve the salmon on a bed of the quinoa and vegetables, drizzle over any remaining sauce

The marinade give the salmon a real depth of flavours that go perfectly with the vegetables and quinoa. The sweetness from the maple syrup along with the sharp flavours of the ginger and chilli are perfectly balanced and go hand in hand with the salmon.

Enjoy x

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Butternut Squash Risotto - Family Favourites

For this weeks Family Favourites recipe I am sharing a meat free recipe that any meat lover will love!

This dish really is loved by all of my family. Before eating this Joseph always swore blind that he did not like butternut squash, it was only after he had a clean plate that I told him what he had eaten.

This meal is so easy to make and if just full of flavours that keep you wanting more!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Coconut Boost Bites

I recently discovered how great it is to cook with raw coconut oil. Not only does it add some delicious flavours to any dish but it is also really good for you. It can help strengthen your immune system, helps with easy digestion and it helps to heal damaged tissues and infections to name but a few benefits.

I really wanted to experiment and use it in baking. That is how this recipe came along. I simply got some of my favourite ingredients and put them all together to create this delicious boost bite. This bake is full of goodness so you will not need to feel guilty eating it!

This is what I did...