Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Foodie Prints from Desenio

I have mentioned before how we are having building work done at the moment. We are nearing completion of the first outhouse room so that means in a couple of weeks I will have my own office area! To be honest I do not know what I am most excited about, finally having room for a tumble drier or having my own work space. A space that I can make my own.

So when Desenio asked me if I would like to take a look at their wall art I saw it as the perfect opportunity to get some prints for my new study. Being the foodie blogger that I am I wanted something that represented the passion for what I do. Desenio have a wide variety of themes for prints so you can be guaranteed that you will find just what you are looking for. 

Take a look at what is going to be adorning my walls...

Tuesday, 29 November 2016

All About the Drinks! Christmas with Aldi

This weeks is a fun week! Today I am going to tell you my top drinks and bargains from Aldi. In true Aldi fashion they have great, top quality drinks at a price we have come to expect from Aldi.

Today I thought that I would showcase a bit of all sorts. I have got some wines, gins, liqueurs, beers and even champagne. They really do have something for everyone and to suit all budgets! 

But you do not need to take my word for it. In a recent study by Which? Aldi champagne, malbec and even their turkey has been voted by the experts at Which? as their best buys!

Monday, 28 November 2016

#CookBlogShare - Week 47 Perfect Party Pieces

Welcome to #CookBlogShare week 47's round-up. Last week the linky was hosted here on Hijacked By Twins. There were so many delicious recipes shared. It is fantastic to see so many of you joining in each week, along with new blogs. I have said it before, and I will say it again, this has become a lovely little foodie community and this is a post which I always look forward to writing. Thank you! As we are almost in December it is fantastic to see more and more Christmas recipes coming through. The way that the year has gone so far, Christmas will be here before we know it!

For this weeks round-up I have chosen four recipes that would make perfect party pieces. Over the coming weeks I am sure many of us will be thinking about entertaining and preparing buffets. The four recipes that I have selected will keep your guests returning for more!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 47 of #CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 28th November 2016

Last weeks meal plan was a success. You my remember that we started the week with a five bird roast. Oh wow it was so good! We all thoroughly enjoyed the rich flavours from the goose, duck and pheasant with the cranberry stuffing, turkey and chicken. It also made a lovely soup the following day.

Last week was a funny old week. The twins were full of cold so all week I have been up with one of them or the other. This has left me exhausted. The school runs have been done in the car so my steps for the week have been so low compared to usual. This did have an effect on my weigh in results this week. This week I only lost half a pound. But that half a pound meant I got this...

Friday, 25 November 2016

Carrot Cake Porridge

Since starting Slimming World six weeks ago breakfasts have become a meal that I look forward to. In the past I have, more often than not, skipped breakfast. This often leads to snacking. Breakfast is often known as the most important meal of the day as it gets your metabolism going and sets you up for the day.

Breakfasts do not need to be boring they can be easily transformed into something quite special. My favourite breakfast food has to be porridge oats. They are such a versatile ingredient that can be revamped into so many different flavours and accompanied with endless additional ingredients.

I recently shared my Fruit Layered Porridge Breakfast Bowl which has been a favourite of mine. That was until I tried today's porridge. While I was at my Slimming World group last week someone mentioned a carrot cake porridge bake. This certainly got my attention as carrot cake has to be my favourite cake. So when I got home I looked at my favourite carrot cake recipe, noted the ingredients and got planning as to how I could transfer the flavours into a porridge.

This is what I did..

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Roast Chicken River Cottage Style

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege of visiting River Cottage based in Axminster, Devon. While we were there, before we dined on an outstanding meal, Senior Sous Chef Andy Tyrrell gave us a talk and demonstration on brining and curing meats. We were told how to transform pork into ham at home, how to cure beef into bresaola and even how to brine a turkey!

As Andy went through each process I sat scribbling away as I knew that I would want to try as many of the recipes as possible. So far I have only brined a chicken but I am planning to make a bresaola ready for Christmas! Today I thought that I would share with you how I brined the chicken as I was so happy with the results.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Aldi Specially Selected Five Bird Roast

When we think of Christmas dinner we all immediately think about turkey. But there are so many other options for Christmas dinner. This year I will definitely be cooking a turkey but I am also planning on cooking a second meat. After sitting and looking through the meats that Aldi will have this season I was tempted by so many other meats. Unfortunately the fresh meats are not available until nearer the time but Aldi do have some frozen meat dishes in store that can even be cooked from frozen!

So far I have narrowed it down to the four delicious meats pictured.
  • Goose - The fresh British goose from Aldi is free range and from the fields of East Anglia.
  • Beef - This Specially Selected beef rib joint is from herds that have been reared in the great outdoors. They have been grass fed and slow grown to give the meat a high level of marbling.
  • Venison - From 19th December Aldi will be stocking fresh venison haunch joints. Raised on open pastures of New Zealand this premium lean meat is complimented by a juniper berry jus.
  • Lamb - Lamb is often associated with Easter but it is a versatile meat that can be enjoyed all year round including Christmas. This whole leg of lamb will be available from 19th December.

#CookBlogShare Round-Up and Week 47 Linky

Week 47! Wow the weeks are flying by!

Last week the CookBlogShare linky was hosted by Mandy over at Sneaky Veg and there was, as always, a lovely variety of recipes shared. Now that we are nearing the end of November we are starting to see more and more Christmas inspired recipes coming though. I have also loved seeing some of the River Cottage posts being shared after the event that was run by Foodies100. I am planning to share my post this week so keep an eye out for it!

When it came to selecting my four favourite recipes this week there was no common theme to go with. So this week my round up is simply called 'The Delicious Round-Up'.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 46 of #CookBlogShare...

Monday, 21 November 2016

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 21st November 2016

Wow, Monday's are certainly coming round quickly!

Last week I wrote my first Christmas post, yes the big 'C' word is out there and over the coming weeks I will be talking about it a lot more! Like last year, I will be showcasing what Aldi have to offer this festive season. Last Tuesday I gave you a sneak peek at what you can expect to see. We are starting the week with a bit of a feast. Today we will be dining on one of my top Christmas meat finds and I am certainly looking forward to tonight's meal. Keep an eye out tomorrow as I will be telling you all about it!

My Slimming World eating plan has been going really well. I feel, for the first time, as if something has clicked in my head. I have started to go for the healthier options when selecting what to eat and am enjoying my food. When I attended my group last week I was delighted to have lost a further 3lbs but was a little disappointed I had not lost 3.5lbs as that would have given me my first stone. But it has made me even more determined to see a new number on Friday!

I am eating a lot more fruit and vegetables and have found that I feel so much better for changing my eating habits and cutting down my sugar intake. I just hope that I can continue it over Christmas!

Now back to my Weekly Meal Plan. This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Christmas Preparations

Can you believe it is Christmas day in just 5 weeks? Now that we are almost in December my thoughts are definitely turning to the festive preparations. I am starting to write my lists of what I need to do and what I still need to buy.

Being the foodie that I am Christmas dinner is top of my list!

Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

So far I have got ideas for the big day but I am planning on having a few trial runs over the next few weeks to find the perfect centre piece for the traditional Christmas turkey. Over the coming weeks I will be sharing how I get on and how I will be preparing my turkey on Christmas day.

Then I need to plan what I will be serving alongside the turkey. The vegetables, side dishes, starters, desserts, snacks, drinks, oh the list goes on!

Then there are the presents to buy!

Friday, 18 November 2016

A Winter Feast at River Cottage

If you follow me on social media you will not have missed that I recently spent the evening at the iconic River Cottage in Axminster. River Cottage is a place that we, as a family, have followed since the start of their journey. From the early days when Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall left the city to live in the original River Cottage to developing Park Farm.

When we arrived at Park Farm I was amazed at the beautiful setting. We waited for the tractor at the top of a hill looking down, into the valley, where River Cottage is based. To access the cottage we were transported down in a trailer on the back of a tractor. As we made our way down the lane River Cottage gradually came into view. Nestled in the Dorset valley it really was a picturesque sight.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Christmas Gift Guide - Foodie Men

This year I thought that it would be fun to do some gift guides on the run up to Christmas. Finding the perfect gift for loved ones can be hard as we all want to find a gift that we know our loved ones will love! Today I am going to share with you my top gift for men who love dining out! Who does not love a good foodie treat or going out for a lovely meal. The whole dining experience, great food, getting dressed up. This can make a fantastic gift.

I have been looking around for great foodie gifts for men and have found the following...

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Peachy Giant Couscous Salad with Del Monte

We all love fruit. It is the one food which the children have free run of. We keep the fresh fruit in baskets in the fridge so that it is easily accessible. This is great for their health but the amount of times I have gone to the fridge for some fruit to find that the kids have eaten it all are endless. That is why we always keep some tins of fruit in the cupboard. So when Del Monte asked me if I would like to create an easy recipe using some of their fruit I could not wait to get started.

To get my ideas flowing they sent me a lovely hamper full of Del Monte goodies.  The hamper included some of their new kids Squeezie pouches. As soon as the children saw the Minnie and Mickey design they could not wait to try them. The pouches are 100% fruit based and are aimed at children aged 3 - 9 years old but even my 12 year old wanted to try them! The children got to try two of the new flavours, apple and mango and apple, strawberry and blueberry. Both flavours were a huge success and we will definitely be keeping an eye out for them on our next shopping trip. They are perfect to pop in the bag for days out or for the children's lunch box.

For today's recipe I have used some of Del Monte's tinned fruit. Did you know that tinned fruit can be more nutritious than fresh fruit? This is because the fruit is picked when it is fully ripe and is processed immediately. This locks in the goodness that can deteriorate over time. A recent study actually found that when they compared fresh, frozen and canned foods the nutrients were surprisingly similar. Plus when the fruit is kept in a can it has a longer shelf life. Inevitably this reduces food waste and saves us valuable money!

This recipe is a deliciously healthy salad recipe that contains fresh vegetables, chicken and the star of the dish, Del Monte peaches.

This is what I did..

Tuesday, 15 November 2016

Home Improvements and a New Office

At last we have some news on the home improvements front. At the moment our outhouses are being transformed from a shed and coal house to a washing room/utility and a new larder. It is ridiculous how excited I am simply about having a larger utility and the opportunity to finally get a tumble drier. Then there is the larder! As we live in an older house storage is a huge problem so to have a room specifically for food storage will be a huge help. After my visit to River Cottage I am even hoping for some space to hang cured meat!

But something else that can now happen inside thanks to the building work is that I can finally have my own work space. The room that is now our small utility is to be my office. Having my own work space has got me thinking about how I will decorate the room, what will I furnish it with, as it will be my study I will need some work furniture. I already have some beautiful images for the wall which I think are fitting for my blog..

Christmas with Aldi

Yes I have mentioned the big 'C' word!

The Christmas adverts are on the television, shops are putting up the trees and the shelves are now being stocked up with Christmas goodies. Instead of my regular Aldi recipe post, this week I am going to be telling you all about the Christmas foodie posts that I have got planned, showing you this years Christmas advert from Aldi and show you some fantastic foodie gifts!

But first check out the star of the their advert this year Kevin the Carrot...

Back in July I was invited down to London to experience Aldi's Christmas in July event. At the no expense spared event Aldi showcased the best of their products this Christmas season. While I was at the event I had the opportunity to speak to some of Aldi's chief buyers. Being able to speak to them in person helped me to understand the ethos of the buyers. They clearly stated that what they look for when hunting out products is for the items to have a high end supermarket quality but one that they are able to provide for their customers at a bargain shop price. This is just what customers want. When shopping at a budget shop you do not want to compromise on quality and Aldi are able to allow us to get both!

Whilst I was at the event I was able to taste many of their outstanding Christmas products and over the next 5 weeks I am going to be showcasing my favourite high end products alongside recipes and ideas to make your Christmas table truly spectacular this year.

Monday, 14 November 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 45 Round-Up - 4 Perfect Autumnal Dishes

What a busy week it was last week. It was lovely to finally meet my fellow CookBlogShare host Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie at the River Cottage event. While we were there we were talking about how great it would be to meet more of you lovely people who join in with the linky each week. We all feel that we know each other but it would be amazing to meet in person. Hopefully in the new year we will have the opportunity to get the CookBlogShare tribe together! 

Thank you Eb for hosting last week. Tomorrow the linky is with Mandy at Sneaky Veg so do not forget to pop over and show us what you have been cooking up!

Last week there were so many autumnal recipes shared and this week my round-up is all about my favourite four.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 45 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan and Week Ahead - Week Commencing 14th November 2016

Last week was amazing but tiring. Spending two days travelling for five hours really took it out of me but having the opportunity to visit the legendary River Cottage made it worth it! I am in the process of writing up a blog post that will be live this week telling you all about my adventures but I will tell you that the food was out of this world, it was simply outstanding, and I got to stand at the table where Hugh works his magic.

Despite eating out on Tuesday and drinking wine I was surprised to find that I had lost 1.5lbs. I went to Slimming World hoping to maintain last weeks loss so when I saw that I had another loss I was delighted. So far I have lost 10.5lbs and am aiming to loose 3.5lbs this week so that I can get my first stone off. After just four weeks I have found that I have started to automatically select the healthier foods.

This week I am starting my Christmas blog posts. I am going to be sharing my top Christmas foodie tips as well as healthier Christmas treats. Tomorrow I am going to be outlining my Christmas posts and introducing some of this seasons must have foodie treats.

Now back to this weeks meal plan. This is what we will be enjoying this week...

Friday, 11 November 2016

Degustabox October Contents and Tomato Pasta Soup Recipe

It is that time of the month again, it is time for me to tell you all about what came in this months Degustabox. October's Degustabox was loved by the kids and the hubby. There were so many treats that they could not wait to enjoy. 

For this months post I am going to be telling you about the products, but I am also going to share with you a simple recipe for a tomato pasta soup, or as the kids called it, Minion soup

Before I tell you about my soup let me show and tell you about what other products we received. This is what came in our last Degustabox...

Thursday, 10 November 2016

Living off the Grid

How many times have you looked around your house and looked at all of the electrical items that we constantly use? Not many times I bet, I know that we don’t. So when Flogas asked me what I would miss if I was to live off the grid it really did get me thinking about the things that we all take for granted. We all automatically turn on the hot taps and expect hot water, we all flick a switch for light and always go to the fridge for cold milk.
The foodie that I am, I would definitely miss my kitchen amenities. I would miss being able to go in the kitchen and put the kettle on for a drink or putting the oven on to bake and cook our meals. Having the electricity to keep food in the fridge and being able to freeze food to keep for longer. When you take a moment to think about how much we rely on having these creature comforts you realise how they are taken for granted.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Smoked Haddock and Black Tiger Prawn Fat Free Veggie Noodles

If there is one way of serving vegetables that I love it has to be in noodles. I love using my spiraliser and am always looking for new ways to use them in our meals. They are not only a great way to get more vegetables into our diets but a quick and easy way to prepare vegetables.

Today's recipe with Aldi is all about the delicious fresh products that are available in Aldi. In this recipe I have combined two different vegetables to create bright noodles. Paired them with some lovely smoked fish and black tiger prawns then used some great, fat free Quark to make a creamy sauce.

Now that Halloween and bonfire night are done for yet another year you know what is coming. Yes, as of next week Tuesdays are going to be all about Christmas with Aldi. Last year I focused on how to have a budget Christmas. This year I am going to be showing you how Aldi can not only help you save money this Christmas but how they provide top quality food and drinks at the bargain price that we have grown to expect from Aldi. Next week I am going to be telling you about the Christmas in July event that I went to where I had a preview of their Christmas range. I am not going to disclose too much today, but I was extremely impressed with what I saw and am excited to showcase some of their best products. You can have a sneak peak at their Christmas products here. I will also be telling you what I will be covering over the coming weeks.

Now back to today. This is what I did...

Monday, 7 November 2016

#CookBlogShare Week 44 Round Up - Recipes with a Twist

Last week it was my turn to host the #CookBlogShare linky and it was lovely to see such a wide variety of recipes shared. I was certainly left feeling hungry after reading all of the posts. When it came to selecting four recipes that shared a common theme it was difficult. There were lovely bakes, wholesome dinners and delectable desserts! There really was a mixture of all sorts.

For this weeks round up I have decided to go for four recipes that are not what they first seem. They are all recipes that go much further than what the pictures make you believe that they are. All four of these recipes have an added twist that makes them special.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 44 of CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week Commencing 7th November 2016

Hello and welcome to my weekly meal plan. This week is an exciting week for me. Last night J and I went to see Bring Me The Horizon is Sheffield and we had an amazing time. However we did have a late night so today I am definitely feeling it. But tomorrow will be even busier! Tomorrow I am leaving North Lincolnshire and travelling all the way down to Dorset! I am so excited and feeling extremely lucky to be visiting River Cottage for a festive feast with the great team over at Tots100 and Foodies100. We have always loved River Cottage and especially Hugh's ethos on living and food. So keep an eye out for lots of pictures and a post all about the evening!

This weeks meals, for me, are going to be following the SP Slimming World food plan. My meals will consist of just speedy free foods and protein packed free foods. This is a great way to accelerate weight loss, but in my case, this week, I am hoping that it will counterbalance the foods and drinks that I will be consuming on Tuesday. Last week I lost a whopping 5lbs and have now crossed my first half stone milestone and I do not want it to go back on. I am feeling so much better following the healthier eating plan and really enjoying my meals.

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

Friday, 4 November 2016

Right Number, First Time

Telephone picture courtesy of Pixabay

As much as I love technology, sometimes you just need to speak to someone. There is only so much you can do online. Unfortunately getting through to someone can often be quite a challenge. From finding the correct number to the dreaded automated system, it can be tough as well as time consuming. The amount of times I have rung a number, been on hold for what felt like an eternity to only be told that I have rung the wrong number! This leaves you both annoyed and stressed! Gone are the days when you could open a Yellow Pages or the phone directory.

When I was told about Contact Number UK I thought what a great idea. Contact Number UK is a British run organisation that aims to get you through to the right person first time. They list all of the UK's major organisations and companies. Not only will they get you through to the right person but at last they offer a way to beat all of the queues! This will allow you to speak to customer service representative in a fraction of the time. We all know there is nothing worse than being stuck on hold, listening to monotonous music.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Winter Kale Salad

At the moment we have got a lot of kale in the garden ready for harvesting. Kale is one vegetable that I think often gets over looked. We get bored of eating it the same way, steamed, so I am always looking for new ways to add this super food to our diets. Now that we have had our first frost I know that the kale will be even sweeter and perfect for salad!

One thing that kale is great for is as a salad. It has a firmer texture and fuller flavour than lettuce and, in my opinion, makes a more filling salad. Today's recipe contains 6 delicious vegetables and is jam packed with goodness. It is perfect as a lunch or goes great with a jacket potato.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

Ruby Wedding Anniversary Cake - Great Bloggers Bake Off Final

That is it. The Great British Bake Off is over for another year, and sadly over for the way we know and love it. This year I was not surprised that Candice won, she always seemed to go the extra mile despite it costing her bakes along the way. But her final bake was outstanding. I have loved watching Great British Bake Off grow from a little show on BBC2 featuring an unknown baker and a legendary cook to moving to BBC1 and making Paul Hollywood the celebrity he is now and rekindling our love for Mary Berry. But for me the two people who transformed the show from just a baking show to a comical, entertaining baking show has to be Mel and Sue. They are hilarious with their quips and baking innuendo. I simply cannot imagine Bake Off without them! But I understand why each have done what they have. Mary, Mel and Sue have remained loyal to the BBC while Paul has remained loyal to the team and show which made him. What the show will be like on Channel 4 is yet to be seen!

Anyway, now onto my final bake.

This weeks bake came along at a perfect time. My parents celebrated their ruby wedding anniversary last weekend and an occasion like that certainly deserves a show stopper of a cake. They deserved a cake fit for a Queen and her King.

This is what I did...

#CookBlogShare - Week 44 Pumpkin and Squash Round Up and Linky

Hello and welcome to week 44 of CookBlogShare. I cannot believe we are in November, the weeks are certainly flying by.

True to the season last weeks CookBlogShare linky, hosted by Mandy at Sneaky Veg, contained many Halloween inspired dishes. Whether they were spooky sweet treats or meals using the seasons best vegetables, there was a definite theme to the linky. So it will be no surprise that today my round up is based on the many pumpkin and squash recipes that were shared last week. I love these vegetables and am always on the look out for new ways to incorporate them into our meals.

Here are my favourite four recipes from week 43 of CookBlogShare...