Sunday, 31 December 2017

2017 - A Year of Food

Last December I wrote a post about my favourite recipes of 2016. I loved looking back at what I had written and rediscovering recipes that I had forgotten about. As soon as the end of 2017 beckoned I knew that I wanted to do the same again. While the kids were busy baking with their gran I took the time to sit back, enjoy the peace and look back.

Here is my year of food for 2017...

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Best of #CookBlogShare 2017

Hello and welcome to the final #CookBlogShare of 2017!

Yes, we have had another year full of delicious recipes and we have seen this lovely linky becoming more of a foodie community. We started the year as three hosts, Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie, Mandy from Sneaky Veg and myself. Part way through the year Mandy stood down from her hosting duties which left Eb and I with a space. Thankfully we had the two ideal additions to join the hosting gang. Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy and Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes did an amazing job guest hosting for us so they were our immediate choices. Luckily they were both delighted to join us. Hosting the linky can be time consuming so to have two extra people on board certainly eased the pressure and they are doing a great job and have fitted in perfectly with Eb and I. It is thanks to these three ladies that the CookBlogShare linky has grown as much as it has. I returned to the world of the employed in the summer and they have been the lifeguard that has stopped me and CookBlogShare from drowning. So thank you Eb, Jacqui and Monika, I really am so grateful to you all and look forward to continuing to work with you all in 2018!

As this is the final week of the CookBlogShare linky of 2017 I thought that I would look back over the seventeen weeks that I hosted and share with you my favourite recipes that have been shared. As you can imagine, over the seventeen weeks, there were a lot of recipes that have been shared and selecting just seventeen recipes was very hard. But after a day of re-reading I finally chose the following recipes as the best of 2017.


Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Stick to Stigu Planner 2018 - Review

A couple of years ago I reviewed the fantastic Stick to Stigu planner and I loved it. So when they got in touch to ask if I would like to receive one of their 2018 planners I could not wait to see what it would be like. When I first reviewed the planner it was new to the market. After a couple of year I was curious to see if it would be as good as the previous planner or if it would be better!

I was not disappointed!

The one thing that I didn't like about the old planner was the lack of colour, as you can see the 2018 planner is definitely not lacking colour! I love the bright vibrant colour theme and design. As for the inside the concept is, thankfully, the same as before. Lots of space to write what is going on each day. Being a busy, working, blogging mum means I often juggle not just life but also diaries. One diary for work, one for my blog, one for the kids, the list goes on! Thankfully with a Stigu planner there is enough room to merge all of the diaries together in one book. 

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Chicago Town's The Pizza Kitchen - A Perfect Midweek Meal

Since returning to work I have realised how precious time is. There are days when I simply do not want to cook a full meal from scratch. After a hectic day at work, helping the children with their homework, dashing around as mum's taxi I just want a quick and easy meal that I know everyone is going to love!

In our house pizza is always a winner. So when I was asked if we would like to try Chicago Town's new The Pizza Kitchen range I knew that the kids would love it! So what is different, you may ask. Well they have replaced the traditional pizza base with a deli style base which leaves the pizza with an irresistible deli crisp crust. These pizzas are frozen but taste like freshly made pizzas! The only way to describe the base is that it is just like tiger bread .

The Pizza Kitchen range comes in 4 tasty flavours:
  • Roasted chicken
  • Deli pepperoni
  • Cheese medley
  • Garden vegetable
Each pizza has a generous serving of Chicago Town's signature tomato sauce and finished with the toppings.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

#CookBlogShare Week 50 - Plus 4 Homemade Edible Gifts

Hello and welcome to week 50 of CookBlogShare!

I cannot believe that we are nearing the end of another successful year of #CookBlogShare. I love how far this linky has come and how it has grown into a lovely community of foodie enthusiasts. But it would not be where is is without the help from my fantastic co-hosts Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie, Jacqui from Recipes Made Easy and Monika from Everyday Healthy Recipes. Since I returned to the employed world, they have literally kept the linky afloat. Without their help I really do not know where it would be, so thank you ladies, I really do appreciate all of your hard work!

For now, I am on the countdown to finishing work for the Christmas holidays. From Wednesday, next week, I will be off for 2 weeks and I cannot wait. One of the highlights of working in a school is the holidays, they not only allow me to enjoy the precious time with the children but it also allows me to continue working on Hijacked By Twins. Over the last 4 and a half years it has become a huge part of my life and something I cannot imagine not having. This week I am sharing my four favourite recipes from last week, next week the linky will be with Jacqui and then on Boxing Day it will return to me when I will be doing a round up of 2017. I will be featuring my favourite recipes from the last year, it will be a mixture of sweet and savoury recipes that you have shared over the last year. I cannot wait to share it with you!

Now on to this week's linky. Here are my four favourite recipes from week 49 of CookBlogShare, four recipes that would make delicious homemade, edible gifts...

Monday, 11 December 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Monday is back again, please can someone tell me where the weekend has gone?!?!

This weekend seems to have gone by in a blur of jobs, the traditional pre Christmas clear out and yet more jobs. I feel like I have not stopped! Now we are onto another week. The last full working week until the much needed Christmas break!

Over the last week I have cut out dairy to see if it was effecting how I was feeling. I was surprised by how much of a difference cutting out cow's milk, cheese and yogurt has made. I am not feeling as bloated and am not having the pains that I was, so it has been a successful trial.

Now onto this week's meal plan. This week's plan is going to full of easy meals as I have got a feeling that it is going to be a busy one!

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

Week Commencing 11th December 2017

Monday - Jacket Potatoes

Monday is a busy evening as J goes to cadets so we tend to want something that can be put in the oven and left while we get on. We will be starting the week with jacket potatoes, breaded chicken and vegetables.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Turkey, Pheasant and Cranberry Pie

As Christmas beckons we are thinking more and more about turkey based meals, especially leftover turkey meals. I always buy a turkey much bigger than we need simply to have leftovers. I love leftovers, they create such delicious, flavoursome meals. We usually go for a curry, but this year I have decided to go for a pie. Pies are such comforting meals that are perfect for a cold evening. 

One meat that we all love at this time of year is pheasant. It is such a rich meat that goes perfectly with poultry. So to make a real festive pie I have added some pheasant to this pie along with vegetables and some cranberry sauce. 

This is what I did...

Coffee Treats

I love coffee so when I was asked if I would like to try a couple of coffee products that went hand in hand with each other I could not resist.

I must admit I am a bit of a coffee snob. I am very particular with the coffee that I have and would rather spend more money to have a good cup of coffee. During the week I depend on our coffee machine and instant coffee but at the weekend the hubby and I like to indulge in ground coffee. As much as we like to stick with our regular coffee it is always great to try new blends. Blue Coffee Box is a new coffee subscription that I can see becoming a favourite of ours.

Monday, 4 December 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Hello and welcome to my weekly meal plan.

Now that we are in December all of our focus is definitely on Christmas. I adore this time of year. It is so magical especially for the children. The twinnies are a great age, being 5 they now fully understand the magic of Christmas. T made me giggle when I said to him last Thursday "tomorrow it's December" and his immediate response was "is it Christmas tomorrow?". It must seem like such a long way to go. After reading Rolling with Marbles meal planning post I decided to hunt down some Kellogg's advent calendars. I was delighted to get some in our local Tesco and the kids love them plus, for me, I am happier for them to have their cereal advent in the morning and saving the chocolate one for after school!

I even managed to get them at a reduced price, £3 instead of £4! All three have got them, the only problem that I have is finding space for all of the mini boxes of cereals!

In other news, I am trying to cut dairy out of my diet. Recently I have found that particularly after I have eaten yogurt, cheese or had some cows milk my stomach is making terrible noises and I am getting so bloated. After doing a bit of research I discovered that between the ages of 30 and 40 your body can start to reduce the amount of lactase that is produces, it is lactase that counteracts the lactose in dairy products plus I am sure years of taking anti depressants will not have helped my gut. So as a test I have swapped my Muller light yogurts for Alpro soya yogurts, cows milk for almond milk and I have even swapped my beloved cheese for vegan alternatives. I am going into this with an open mind and am keeping a food diary so that I can record how I am feeling and what foods may be effecting how I feel. Thankfully there are so many dairy free alternatives available. We do our weekly shop with Ocado and I was really impressed with the variety of foods that they stock, I even got some dairy free pesto! I will keep you updated with how I get on, I just hope that I find a solution!

Now onto this weeks meal plan. This week is, as usual, a busy one. J is at cadets on Monday and Wednesday then on Thursday the twinnies have got their Christmas school disco.

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

Thursday, 30 November 2017

Christmas Chocolates and an Advent-ure Heroes Calendar with Cadbury

Who doesn't love chocolate at Christmas? It is this time of year that you can get away with eating just one more. So when I was asked if we would like to try some of the new Christmas products that Cadbury were bringing out how could I resist?

I received a delicious box full of family favourites, including:
  • Special edition Help the Heroes tin of Heroes
  • Cadbury's classic dairy milk collection
  • Oreo tree decorations
  • Mini fudge cracker
  • Dairy Milk father Christmases
  • Snowballs
  • Snow bites
With a tin of Heroes in the house you know that there is going to be a chocolate treat that everyone will enjoy. My favourite has to the the classic collection of Dairy Milk bars, that even come in the original design of packaging!

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Pheasant and Prosciutto Ragu and Homemade Gnocchi

A few weeks ago I was asked if I would like to enter a cooking competition by creating a recipe that uses Prosciutto di San Daniele and Grana Padano cheese. Unfortunately I did not win, but I did create a delicious recipe and even made my know gnocchi, hence why I am sharing it today!

I decided to create a recipe that embraces the origin of both Grana Padano and Prosciutto di San Daniele. After doing some research I found that gnocchi is a popular dish in that area so I knew that it would be a perfect addition to the meal. Instead of buying some gnocchi I decided to make my own and was delighted with the results. Ragu is a firm favourite in our house but I wanted to make it extra special so I decided to use pheasant, which is in season at the moment. The rich game flavours complimented the prosciutto perfectly and combined with the tomato ragu, cooked with red wine we were left with a rich, full of flavour meal. I served this meal with a bottle of Collio Rosso red wine which is also from the same region and finished the meal off perfectly. When it came to sourcing the Collio Rosso we did struggle until we came across Bat and Bottle who specialise in Italian wines.

Monday, 27 November 2017

3 Reasons Why You Are Sleepy After Eating Lunch - Guest Post

Ever found yourself back at your desk after lunch desperately trying to hide a mega yawn from your boss?

Don’t even answer that. We already know what you are going to say yes. The post lunch sleepy feeling is universal. If it wasn’t the Spanish would’ve never invented the siesta now would they?

But why does it happen? You may have had a great night’s sleep, free from any bad dreams, and woken feeling great the next morning. But without fail after lunch the sleep feeling slowly begins to kick in. What a nightmare!

Well, if you’d like to know why, please read on and we will give you three of the top reasons. And don’t worry it’s perfectly normal.

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Hello and welcome to week 48 of MealPlanningMonday.

We are now on the countdown to Christmas, four weeks today we will be feasting, drinking and spending quality time with our family. For once we are all ready and prepared for Christmas and are looking forward to a couple of weeks at home. Now that the countdown is on I am starting to think about foodie treats. I know that I am a bit late, but I have got a Christmas cake to make, all of the ingredients are in so I am good to go. I was going to make it last weekend but a cold struck so I did not get up to much over the weekend. This year I am basing our cake on a recipe that I found in Nigel Slater's The Christmas Chronicles. It is a cake that is full of more than just raisins and sultanas and I am really looking forward to making (and eating) it!

As I was feeling under the weather the hubby cooked a delicious meal using one of our favourite meats, pheasant. We love this time of year as it is game season, he cooked the breasts wrapped in bacon. I have shared the recipe in the past but it is always so much better when someone else cooks for you!

Last week I told you about a new recipe and giveaway well I am pleased to say that the post and giveaway is now live! Please head on over and have a look at my Smoke Dust Chilli and Nifty Kitchen giveaway post and enter!

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

Thursday, 23 November 2017

Smoke Dust Chilli and Nifty Kitchen Giveaway!

I love adding herbs and spices to dishes but sometime I like to be able to grab a jar, or bag, with them already mixed to perfection for me. So when one of the owners from the Nifty Kitchen asked me if I would like to try some of their spice mixes I knew that it would be a product that I would love.

Nifty Kitchen produce three pre mixed spice packs:

  • Magic Dust - This mix is made up of paprika, chilli powder, cumin, garlic, pink salt, light muscovado sugar, mustard, black pepper and cayenne pepper.
  • Smoke Dust - Ideal for smokey dishes, full of smoked paprika, light muscovado sugar, pink salt, garlic, black pepper, mustard, cumin and ginger.
  • Devil Dust - I will admit that I have not tried this one yet, but this is one for the hot spice lovers, mixed with hot paprika, chilli powder, cayenne pepper, garlic, cumin, pink salt, light muscovado sugar, black pepper and mustard.
Today I am going to share a meal that was a huge success in our house, everyone had seconds and it has been requested again. Best of all this is a great one pot meal that is perfect for a busy midweek dinner. The magic dust made spice mixing a doddle, all I needed was the bag of spices, there was no time spent trying to get the perfect combination. With these mixes all of the hard work is already done!

This is what I did...

Monday, 20 November 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Hello and welcome to #MealPlanningMonday!

Last weeks meal plan was a huge success, I made every meal that was planned except for the sausage casserole. However as it was planned for the weekend I am happy as I know that we often change our minds by the end of the week. We had been out and as I had already got the sausages the casserole became a good old grilled breakfast. We had sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms and beans and it was so good!

When I was doing our shopping last week there were plenty of offers on fresh meat so I have got a freezer full of lovely meats. I did spend more than I had planned but when meat or fish is reduced I do tend to stock up as it will save us money in the long run.

Last week I had a really productive week with blog posts. I shared how I like to make my soup extra special with Cully and Sully Soup, I shared a great infographic all about how to select the best olive oil and the CookBlogShare was as busy as ever! 

This weeks meal plan is going to be full of comforting meals that are perfect for this time of year.

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

Thursday, 16 November 2017

Choosing the Best Olive Oil

We love olive oil, especially when it come to dipping fresh bread. Finding the perfect olive oil can sometimes be a bit of a minefield. Do you pay extra or stick to cheaper versions, do you go for extra virgin or just plain olive oil? If you do not know your oils it can be a hard choice.

So when I was asked if I would like to share the olive oil guide below I thought that it would not only benefit me for future reference but any food loving person would also find it helpful.

Wednesday, 15 November 2017

#TheWayWeMakeIt with Cully and Sully Soup

One of the things I love most about this time of year is how perfect soups are on a cold day. There is no better meal to warm up with. Soups are pure comfort in a bowl. So when Cully and Sully got in touch and asked me if I would like to share how I like my soup I knew that I would have fun!

As much as I love to make my own soup now that I have returned to work I simply do not have the time to. Thankfully these soups from Cully and Sully taste just like good old homemade soups. Cully and Sully grew up in the Ireland's foodie capital, Cork. Cully is the cook who has created these delicious soups while Sully deals with the business side. But together they have the ideal ingredients for good quality food that you can take time out with and savour the goodness.

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

#CookBlogShare Week 46 Plus 4 Decadent Cheesecakes!

Hello and welcome to week 46 of CookBlogShare!

Now that the final half term of the year has been and gone it really does feel like Christmas will be here before we know it which I really do not mind. I love the festive time of year, especially planning the all important Christmas dinner. This year I feel so organised, our turkey has been ordered, as has a gammon joint to cook for ham and I have even booked a delivery slot with Ocado to deliver all of our goodies. I have even started to plan some posts for the run up to Christmas.

Over the half term I had so many plans to schedule posts but, typically, I was ill over the break so did not get round to it. I am still trying to find a good balance between all that life throws our way. But looking back I have got a lot done. One of my favourite foodie finds is orzo, I know it is not new but it was only recently that I bought some to try. It has become my go to ingredient for when we want a risotto but are short of time, which has to be the majority of the time. While we were carving out pumpkins on a recent farm trip I took along a bag as I had a delicious recipe planned and we were not disappointed!

My Pumpkin Orzo Risotto is a recipe that I will definitely be making again and if I cannot get pumpkin I will simply use butternut squash instead.

What are your go to ingredients on a busy night?

Last week Eb from Easy Peasy Foodie hosted the CookBlogShare linky and there were so many delicious recipes shared but the sweet treats won. Here are my four favourite recipes from week 45 of CookBlogShare...

Monday, 13 November 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - #MealPlanningMonday

Monday is here again as it my weekly meal plan and #MealPlanningMonday!

Last week flew by in a haze of being mums taxi, work and house jobs. J has recently started going to the RAF Air Cadets so Monday and Wednesday evenings fly by taxiing him to and from the venue. Come Thursday I am shattered. Last week we also had the twinnies parents evening at school. We were so proud to hear that they are both doing so well at school. Knowing that all three of the children are happy and doing well really does make all of the tired evenings worth it. We can look at them and know that we are doing something right!

On the blog last week I shared a delicious soup that I made after an evening trip to Tesco on my way home from work. As it was later in the day they had got quite a few reduced vegetables. But it was the vibrant colours from the tomatoes and peppers that caught my eye plus I knew that they would make a delicious soup!

My Roasted Tomato, Pepper and Lentil Soup was perfect for some warming lunches at work and is definitely a soup I will be making more of. 

In my meal plan last week I mentioned a spiced shepherd's pie that I was hoping would be a success. I am delighted to say that it was. Even the hubby tweeted about it! Needless to say I will be blogging about it and sharing the recipe later in the week, but here is a sneak peek of what to expect.

Now on to this weeks meal plan. This is what we will be having this week...

Wednesday, 8 November 2017

Roasted Tomato, Pepper and Lentil Soup

Now that the cold weather has arrived soup season has definitely arrived. There is nothing more comforting than a lovely bowl of hot soup on a cold day. I love it! 

What I love most about soups is how versatile they are. You can add so many different ingredients, use different flavour combinations, no one homemade soup is ever the same in my house. One of my favourite combinations has to be tomato and pepper so when I saw a variety of different tomatoes and mini peppers reduced to clear the other day there was no way I was going to leave them! I went straight home, got the soup maker out and made this delicious soup.

I find that when tomatoes and peppers have been baked they develop an irresistible sweetness that when blended up makes an incredible bowl of goodness. Tomato soup is also a firm favourite with the children the beauty of soups is that they are having a lot of goodness without always knowing about it, they are perfect for sneaking in extra veg!

This is what I did...

Monday, 6 November 2017

Weekly Meal Plan and Perfect Midweek Meal - Jansson's Tempation

Oh my goodness, what a week! Last week started with me feeling quite ill followed by a return to work. All I wanted to to once I got home was rest! Hence the lack of posts last week. I was planning on scheduling a lot of posts during the half term but being ill meant I simply did not get round to it. But I will get back on it. I am delighted to say that I am feeling better again and now that the house work has been done while the hubby watches football I am sat blogging. I am still trying to find the perfect balance of work/life/home/family and blog. It is harder than I was expecting!

In my meal plan last week I mentioned that I have restarted my Slimming World journey and I have really enjoyed all of the meals that we had last week. When I stepped on the scales I was delighted to have a 2lb loss. I feel that I am back in the zone and raring to go!

One of the meals we had last week was Jansson's Temptation. We found the recipe in the Slimming World Comfort Food book. The original recipe contains just potatoes and onions, with other ingredients for flavour. But as I wanted this to be a main meal I added some lovely lean meat and some more veg.  It is not the most photogenic meal, but oh it tastes so good!

This is what I did...

Monday, 30 October 2017

Weekly Meal Plan and National Cholesterol Month Round-up

Hello and welcome to week 44 of MealPlanningMonday!

We have had a great half term week at home. It has been lovely to have some lazy mornings and taking it easy. I have got to admit that I have loved having some time out with the kids. We had a great week of watching films, shopping and even had a Halloween day out.

We are also nearing the end of the National Cholesterol Month. This month I have discovered how, by making simple changes, you can increase your activity. Increasing my activity at work has been the biggest challenge but I have increased my steps by sending my work to print at the main printer instead of the one next to my desk, if I need to ask something get up and go to see that person instead of ringing, small changes will make a difference. Since learning about the hidden dangers of cholesterol I have become so much more aware of what I am eating and will continue to have more oily fish in my diet. Exercise plus oily fish in your diet can help towards lowering your cholesterol! Simple steps!

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Pumpkin Festival at The Pink Pig plus Pumpkin Orzo Risotto Recipe

Each year I sit and look admiringly at other peoples pumpkin collecting pictures and want to go. So this year I decided to have a look for somewhere to take the children to collect their own pumpkin. After sitting and looking on the internet the closest place seemed to be York. So I decided to take a look at more local places that we visit. One place that we often go to is The Pink Pig Farm in Holme near Scunthorpe. 

Apart from the play area and activities for the children my number one reason to go there has to be for the farm shop and tea room. They produce all of their own pork products and wow they are so good!  We always come home with bags full of sausages, Bottesford Black bacon, savoury bakes, fresh vegetables and even gin! So as soon as I saw that they were holding a pumpkin festival I knew that it would be the perfect day out for the kids and I. They could play, I could coffee, we could pick pumpkins, carve them and for once I would not have the stress of pumpkin mess everywhere! Even the hubby decided to take the day off to enjoy the Halloween fun with us!

Before I tell you about our day, let me show you what I cooked up using the pumpkin from our trip...

Keep reading for this delicious recipe!

Friday, 27 October 2017

Gluten Free Pepperoni Pizza Pasta

I love pizza, but too much bread is not always good. The other evening I needed a quick and easy meal but really fancied something a little bit different. My go to food, when I need a quick and easy meal has to be pasta. We always have pasta of all shapes and sizes in the cupboard and it is a meal that the kids love. Plus now that I am back doing Slimming World it is an ingredient that I know is syn free, which is an added bonus.

I often post gluten free recipes as the hubby follows a gluten free diet so when I was asked if I would like to try some Orgran gluten free products I was keen to see what they were like. Orgran originates from Australia and they manufacture over 80 free from products. All of their products are gluten free, wheat free, egg free, dairy free, yeast free, soy free, vegan and kosher! Orgran is not a brand that we have tried before which made me even more curious. One of the products that I received was their Super Trio Pasta Spirals. The pasta is made up of three different super foods, millet, quinoa and buckwheat so with each mouthful you are getting a boost of nutrition!

This is what I did...

Monday, 23 October 2017

#OneaWeek Pasta, Weekly Meal Plan and Week 4 of National Cholesterol Month

National Cholesterol Month is almost over but I truly feel that this month has made me think about my health and how easy it is to make simple changes that will make a big difference. Today I am sharing with you a quick and easy meal that is not only delicious and a meal that the whole family will love but also counts to your one a week of oily fish!

John West makes getting oily fish into your diet easier and cheaper. In this recipe I have used John West Infusions, tuna with basil. It is not only so tasty but a fantastic addition to a pasta dish.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 17 October 2017

#CookBlogShare Plus 4 Super Soups!

Hello and welcome to CookBlogShare week 42!

Wow how did we get to week 42? I cannot be the only one that feels like this year is flying by at an incredible rate! We are also in our last week of the first half term of the academic year and we are all looking forward to a week off work and school.

This month is National Cholesterol Month and throughout the month I am working with Heart UK and John West to promote a healthier diet and how your diet effects your cholesterol level. I have also pledged to complete the 100 Mile Challenge throughout the month. Exercise can help to lower your cholesterol and by completing the 100 miles during October I am showing how easy it is to raise your activity levels by making a few simple changes. You can read how I have been getting on during week 1week 2 and week 3 in my Weekly Meal Plan posts. One simple way to help reduce your cholesterol levels is to include at least one meal of oily fish to your weekly meals. Over the last couple of weeks we have been having more tuna and salmon, plus with tinned fish it is quick and easy to add to a dish!

Before I go on to my four favourite recipes I have to tell you about a fantastic new giveaway. I am delighted to be offering one Hijacked By Twins reader the chance of winning a box of wine from Le Petit Ballon. To enter simply visit my giveaway post and enter the Rafflecopter.

Now onto this weeks CookBlogShare. Last week the linky was hosted by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie and there were so many autumnal recipes coming through but it was the soups that really stood out. The four recipes that I have chosen are split into two sets that are equally as tempting as the other. Each set features the same dominant ingredient but have very distinct flavours.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 41 of CookBlogShare..

Monday, 16 October 2017

Weekly Meal Plan Plus Week 3 of National Cholesterol Month

Wow the weeks are flying by! I cannot believe that we are half way through National Cholesterol Month with Heart UK!

I have to admit that last week I was exhausted most of the week, but I think that this is due to a manic week at work, being hormonal and just feeling run down. I feel like my body is fighting off some germs so needed a bit more rest. But despite that my steps have stayed up and I am confident that I will get my 100 miles during October.

Last weeks meal plan went well until I started feeling run down and I did slip into quick and easy freezer meals, which I know is not great if eaten everyday. But every once in a while I think is fine.

In my meal planning post last week I gave you a sneak peek of one of my lunches that used some leftovers. Well you can now see the whole recipe for my Alioli Fish Feast and check out a new giveaway that I have got running where you can win a lovely box of wine from Le Petit Ballon! I know that alcohol is not good if drunk in large quantities and Heart UK have got some fantastic alcohol tips, but if drunk in moderation then the odd glass of wine is ok. Life is all about having a good balance.

Friday, 13 October 2017

Alioli Fish Feast Paired with Le Petit Ballon Bordeaux Blanc Sec

Now that I have told you all about Le Petit Ballon let me show you what I paired the wine with and share with you a delicious fish feast that is full of fish, fresh vegetables and tasty alioli.

After reading the tasting notes that come with each bottle of wine from Le Petit Ballon I knew that I could chose from the following foods:
  • Grilled white meat
  • Fresh fish, fried or steamed
  • Courgette gratin
  • Cheeses
I decided to go with the fresh fish and added in some courgette from the courgette gratin. This is a meal that is served on a platter dish, placed in the centre of the table so that everyone can dig in. This is a social meal that when paired with the wine makes a perfect meal for entertaining!

This is what I did...

Thursday, 12 October 2017

Le Petit Ballon Wine Giveaway!

So it is no secret that I love a glass of wine. But what may not be well known is how I love to pair wine with food. Finding the perfect mixture of wine and food can transform both the food and the wine!

So when Le Petit Ballon asked me if I would like to try some of their wine I saw this as a perfect pairing opportunity. If you do not know who Le Petit Ballon is let me tell you a bit more.

Le Petit Ballon is a monthly wine subscription. Each month you will receive two bottles of specially selected wines, one red and one white. Each bottle has been carefully selected by Jean-Michel Deluc, Le Petit Ballon's personal sommelier. A Sommelier is someone who is a trained and knowledgeable wine professional who normally works in fine restaurants. As well as the two bottles of wine each month you will also receive The Gazette which is a magazine all about Le Petit Ballon's passion, wine. It is full of tips, recipes and even tells you about the winemakers that supply them wine. What I loved was that with each box you also receive tasting note cards for each of the wines. The cards even give you ideas for pairing the wines so you can easily cook a meal that will compliment the wine.

Monday, 9 October 2017

Weekly Meal Plan Plus Week 2 of National Cholesterol Month

We are now on week 2 of the National Cholesterol Month and I have got to say that I am loving the healthier dinners and feel like I have got over the bump that I encountered. I am thinking more about what is going in, especially when it comes to our dinners. My only downfall is cake and biscuits that get brought into work! But hey we all need a treat!

I have changed where we have been getting our shopping from again. I found that I got bored with the usual vegetables so have returned to Ocado. I love the wide variety of foods that they have, especially the more unusual vegetables. Check out this delicious salad that I had for work in the week. I will be posting the recipe later in the week but here is a sneak peek...

It was leftover vegetables with John West Pink Salmon. Did you know that having just one portion of oily fish each week can help to lower your cholesterol? As well as providing you with a deliciously healthy dinner, what reasons do you have to not indulge? Plus thanks to John West you can get your oily fish in a convenient tin which will also help keep your shopping bill down.

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Revamp Your Breakfast!

This month I am following a diet that helps to promote lowering my cholesterol. I am doing this with HeartUk to help promote National Cholesterol Month.

Cholesterol is a silent killer that is effecting over half of all adults. But this month I am going to show you how with a few little changes you can help to prevent a high level of cholesterol.

One meal which I need to pay more attention to is breakfast. Now that I am going to work in the morning gone are my relaxing breakfasts once the kids are at school. I will admit to skipping breakfast more than I would like to. This is mainly down to time but also I get bored with the same old cereals. So with this in mind I thought that I would have a go at revamping my cereals. I have done it in two ways that I am going to share with you today.

Do you ever find yourself sitting, whilst having your breakfast, thinking how boring your everyday cereal is? I know I do and no matter how hard you look it is so hard to find the perfect bowl of granola or muesli. There is always something that is missing or an addition that you do not like. That is why the hubby and I decided to make our own. We started with a simple granola and jumbo rolled oats then added our own additions to create a bespoke cereal. The results were so easy to achieve but they have literally transformed our breakfast bowls from boring to a taste sensation! Each spoonful gives a different taste, a different texture and we love it!

In this post I am going to give you some ideas what to add and the rest is up to you!

This is what I did...

Monday, 2 October 2017

National Cholesterol Month and a Healthy Meal Plan

Yesterday marked the start of National Cholesterol Month with heartuk. I am all for promoting good health and especially when it comes to something that is not a visible problem. It is not surprising to learn that cholesterol is known as the silent killer. In the UK over half of all adults have raised cholesterol. This was a statistic that I was really surprised about. National Cholesterol Month is all about raising awareness of high cholesterol, what causes cholesterol, how it can be controlled and most of all making everyone aware what the dangers of having a raised cholesterol level really are.

So, what is cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a waxy substance that is formed in the liver, however cholesterol can also be found in some foods. Cholesterol plays a vital role in the function of our cell and is also needed to make vitamin D. But having a high level of cholesterol in the blood can lead to heart and circulatory diseases. There are certain foods which contain high levels of cholesterol and eating too many of these will inevitably lead to high levels of cholesterol in you blood stream.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Guest Post: Can you Visit Manchester on a Budget?

A travel guide if you’re planning to go to Manchester – Can you plan on a budget?
It is needless to mention that Manchester, England is replete with passion for soccer. The city prospered during the time when it became the very first industrialized city, but then soon after it went through a sharp decline as manufacturing left England. However, at the present day, it is full of culture, hotels, restaurants and it is also the most bustling industrial district. Something that everyone knows is that the city of Manchester is popular for its football teams, the Manchester United and Man City. In short, it is a rough and tough city which is worth exploring.
What are the costs of tripping around Manchester?
Hostel costs: In Manchester, the hostel dorms start at £20 per night and most of them even provide you with a free Wi-Fi connection. For a private room, £45 would be the cost.
Average cost of food: Manchester is filled with markets which sell fresh and local cheese, meats, fruits, wine and vegetable. If you want to cook and reap benefits of these markets, you’ll get groceries at £30-50. It can cost you more if you wish to eat out.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Coffee, Fruit and Walnut Cake

Guess who has finally got her baking mojo back.....

Yes me!!!

I had a good bake off of a weekend. I baked some fat rascals, which I am planning to share soon, then I made this cake, then went on to make some delicious apple crumble using some homegrown apples, again, this will be shared shortly.

This is a recipe that has evolved. A couple of weeks ago I made a coffee and walnut cake which was delicious, but I wanted to make it into something more so I added some dry fruit and wow it has transformed this cake into something else!

I love it and that is why I am sharing it today!

This is what I did...

Monday, 25 September 2017

Weekly Meal Plan Plus a Perfect Midweek Recipe

Hello and welcome to another week of meal planning and a perfect midweek recipe.

Last week was one heck of a roller coaster. I applied for some additional hours at work which unfortunately I did not get. The role that I wanted to add on was a finance role and being up against an accountant meant that it was not meant to be. But I feel proud of myself for getting as far as I did and just happy to have the job that I have got. I am a true believer of things happening for a reason, and this was not meant to be.

Anyway, this is a new week and time to move on!

Last weeks meal plan was a success and I am loving having my Pressure King Pro out again. Warming meals are definitely the way we are going with our dinners!

This weeks perfect midweek recipe is one that is so simple but so full of flavour. One of my favourite ingredients has to be chorizo, it adds so much flavour to a dish and really does all of the work for you. This weeks recipe is a twist on our favourite cottage pie sauce.

This is what I did...