Tuesday, 31 January 2017

National Yorkshire Pudding Day - How to Make the Perfect Yorkshire Pudding with Aldi

Oh, I love a good foodie celebration and one of my favourites has to be celebrating one of Yorkshire's best loved foodies delights. The humble Yorkshire pudding! Who doesn't love a good Yorkie pud? In our house I always need to make more than there are people dining as you can guarantee that even when all of the plates are clean I'll have someone asking for just one more pudding.

So to get you in the mood for Sunday I thought that I would share with you the best Yorkshire puddings recipe that I have ever had, my mums! She makes the best Yorkshire puddings so instead of looking through books to find one that works I thought I'd simply ask my mum! There are so many ways that you can enjoy Yorkshire puddings. The traditional way has to be with a Sunday roast beef.

This Beef Roasting Joint from Alid is perfect for a Sunday roast with Yorkshire puddings.

The Ashfield Farm beef joint has been matured for 21 months, is 100% British farmed and has the trust red tractor logo, so you know that you are getting a quality meat. This 1kg joint is priced at just £5.99 and there is enough meat for a Sunday roast as well as some leftover for the following day! What more could you want?

To cook the meat I always slow cook the joint for a minimum of 4 hours, but it can be left for up to 6 hours on a low heat. Season with a little salt and pepper and allow the meat to gradually cook. When you are ready to eat remove the meat from the slow cooker or the oven and leave to rest for 20 minutes before carving. But be warned, the meat is so tender it will literally fall apart!

Now onto my mums Yorkshire puddings. This is what I did...

#CookBlogShare Week 5 - Plus 4 Lovely Lunches

Welcome to week 5 of CookBlogShare.

Things are changing a little bit with the CookBlogShare team. Unfortunately Mandy from Sneaky Veg is stepping down as a host. Mandy has been a fantastic part of the team and was with me from the start. But I am sure that we all wish Mandy the best and hopes that she continues being a big part of the community! 

As Mandy has stepped down, from now on it will be just Eb and I hosting. I will be hosting Mandy's slot as well as my own and Eb will continue hosting every third week. As I am going to be hosting more I will not be continuing with my Monday round-ups of CookBlogShare but will simply share it with the linky. I am hoping that this will give me one less job to do and I love reading through all the delicious posts that you share each week.

Now onto this weeks linky and four featured posts. This week is all about lovely lunches. Here are my four favourite recipes from week 4 of CookBlogShare...

Monday, 30 January 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - Week 5 2017

Hello and welcome to week 5 of my weekly meal plans. We are now at the end of January and heading into February. February is always a busy month. We have my nieces birthday, followed by the twins birthday and of course the first half term of the year!

I have to admit that last weeks meal plan went to pot. In hindsight my plan was not well thought out. To start with I had planned two pasta dishes on two consecutive days. So from Tuesday it was all change. On Monday I used the Pressure King Pro for the first time and loved it so the fish tagine that I had planned turned into a fish meal using the PKP (my review will be live this week!). When I wrote my meal plan I also forgot that the hubby would want haggis on Burns Night. So that was two days off plan. But thankfully by Thursday we were back on it!

Thankfully my weigh in at Slimming World was more successful than my meal plan. I lost another 1.5lbs which now gives me a total of 26lbs lost! Another 2lbs will give me my 2 stone award so this week I will be extra good and will step up my activity levels.

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

Friday, 27 January 2017

International Chocolate Cake Day

As it is International Chocolate Cake Day I thought it would be fitting to share with you my favourite chocolate cake bakes. All of these will leave you craving some chocolate cake, you have been warned!

My Well Done Celebration Chocolate Cake was a huge success and certainly helped to cheer J up after he had finished a stressful week at school doing his SATS. The sponges contain golden syrup which gives the cake some extra richness. The cakes have then been sandwiched together using chocolate butter icing and finally the top has been covered in marshmallows and chocolate stars.

My White Chocolate and Lime Cake is a decadent combination of Madagascan vanilla chocolate and sharp lime which leaves you wanting more. Sometimes white chocolate gets overlooked but it is a delicious alternative to traditional milk or dark chocolate and one that we love!

If you are looking for a birthday cake for a chocolate lover then you need to check out this Tunnock's Teacake Birthday Cake. This traditional chocolate cake bake has been revamped into this chocoholic delight, it has been drizzled with chocolate sauce that has been sprinkled with Flakes then topped with the ultimate marshmallow treat, Tunnock's Teacakes!

The next chocolate cakes contain a sneaky vegetable extra! My Chocolate, Lime and Courgette Cakes will leave you astounded, you simply would not know that they contain courgette, but you are getting all of the goodness that they provide. Again, the lime and chocolate are a perfect combination.

Wednesday, 25 January 2017

Brilliant Bread

I love bread! There is nothing better than having a slice of freshly baked bread, that is still warm, with deliciously indulgent butter melting into the slice. Oh just the thought of it is making me want to get in the kitchen and bake some bread!

But if you have ever made your own bread, you will know that it can be quite time consuming and in our ever busy lives, time is such a precious entity! However there are ways that you can enjoy freshly made bread at home without all of the hard work!

Haggis Cottage Pie and My Top 6 Whiskies for Burns Night

We love Scotland. It has to be our favourite holiday destination in the UK and we always leave with dreams of moving there one day. It is such a beautiful country, has lovely food and of course the best alcohol! So each year when Burns Night comes along we celebrate with a haggis served with neeps and tatties, all washed down with a wee dram, or two!

As much as we love haggis, it can be a bit a bit of a strong flavour for the children. That is how this recipe came about. But this also helps your haggis go that bit further if you are preparing a meal for more than 3 people. While we were in Scotland last year we had a fantastic haggis dinner at the Glenfiddich distillery. It was beautifully layered and came complete with a whisky sauce. This is where my idea for styling this dish came from. But what makes this haggis dish different is that it also contains Scottish Aberdeen Angus minced beef as well as other vegetables other than the classic neeps and tatties!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Smoked Haddock Kedgeree - Cheap Budget Meal with Aldi

For many families sticking to a food budget is an essential part of life. However with the rising costs of foods and household products it can be hard. Each week I am delighted to be sharing with you a delicious, healthy meals, for the whole family, that can be made for under £5. Having three children and animals means that our weekly shopping bill can be high, but since I changed where I buy our food and household products from I have noticed a huge drop in our weekly expenses. Yesterday I shared my top money saving tips which include meal planning, writing a shopping list, using a calculator as you shop to name a few. But the one biggest influence on our shopping bill has to be switching to Aldi. Last week I posted a picture via my social media platforms showing what I had spent at Aldi for a weeks worth of shopping.

I was not surprised by the response. So many people also commented on how they had also switched to Aldi and were spending a lot less each week! I spent £55.92 and bought vegetables, cereals, free from milk, cows milk, a lot of fruit, cat food and even a box of dishwasher tablets that cost £5.99 so our food shopping actually came to under £50!

Today I am going to share with you a meal that was based on Aldi's Haddock and Kale Kedgeree. In usual Hijacked By Twins style I have taken the recipe and adapted it to taste and added extra vegetables.

This is what I did...

Monday, 23 January 2017

#CookBlogShare Week 3 Round-up

Last week the CookBlogShare linky was hosted by Eb at Easy Peasy Foodie. 35 delicious recipe posts were shared and I had a lovely relaxing weekend so had plenty of time to sit and read through them. My round-up selection has changed this week. You have probably noticed that the last few weeks my round-up's have ended up being, more or less, the same as the either Eb or Mandy. What can I say, great minds think a like! So when Mandy told me what her round-up was going to be I was not surprised that we had both, again, selected the same theme! But as there is always such a great variety of posts and recipes, selecting four different ones was not hard.

The last couple of weeks my round-ups have been all about the savoury dishes, but not today. Last week the sweet treats certainly bowled me over! Here are my four favourite sweet treats from 2017 week 3 of #CookBlogShare...

Weekly Meal Plan Week 4 2017 - Plus Top Tips on How to Save Money on your Weekly Shop

Hello and welcome to my weekly meal plan for week 4 of 2017.

I was recently asked how I save money on my weekly shopping and as saving money and meal planning goes hand in hand I thought that this would be the perfect post to write about my top tips. Feeding a family can be one of the biggest expenses each month. It is so easy, whilst shopping, to be drawn in by 'special offers' and 'multibuys' which often result in unnecessary items being thrown into the trolley. Believe me we have done this on many a shopping trip and what was meant to be a small shop ended up being a trolley full and numerous pounds more than we wanted to spend. There are a number of small changes that can be made to help you save money, reduce your food waste and be more of a savvy shopper.

Here are my top tips for cutting your shopping expenses...

Friday, 20 January 2017

Low Syn/Gluten Free Broccoli Pizza Base

I love pizza but on Slimming World it is a no go if you want to keep those syns down! As I am not one to be beaten I got researching and found a recipe for a cauliflower base on the Slimming World website. I had a go and it was nice, but there was something missing. I found it had to handle and when I tried to turn it over it did break. But this did not put me off, I planned to try again. However when I checked if cauliflower was high or low FODMAP I discovered that it was high. As the hubby is following a low FODMAP eating plan I had to think again. I started to think about what other vegetables could work and broccoli kept coming back to mind. It has a similar texture to cauliflower so thought I'd give it a go.

It was a huge success! Forget cauliflower pizza bases, broccoli is the one the choose if you want a vegetable pizza base. It was so much easier to handle and finished with an irresistible crispy edge, it was so good! I did make a cauliflower one too, for me, and did end up eating the broccoli one with the hubby. As it was such a hit here I thought that it would be a great recipe to share with you.

This is what I did...

Thursday, 19 January 2017

Smoked Fish Tagine - 101 Cook Books

One of my favourite Christmas presents had to this gorgeous, traditional tagine.

I have wanted to invest in a tagine for a while now and my lovely eldest son picked up on this and asked the hubby to buy me one for him to give to me as my Christmas present. This gift means a lot for two reasons, the first is that it is something that I have really wanted but secondly, J took the time to listen and realise this was something that I wanted and found this one for me himself. My first born is certainly growing up at a scarily rapid rate! As this is a traditional tagine a heat diffuser is needed to prevent cracking, so once I had one I could not wait to get cooking! 

You may also see in the title I have a new theme. This is the first, what I hope to become a weekly feature, 101 Cook Books posts. Like a lot of foodies I have a huge collection of cook books. I have had a count of the books that are in my kitchen, office and living room bookshelf and have actually accumulated about 101 cook books! Before I counted them I had no idea how many I had and yes, I was amazed by the number. My 101 Cook Books posts are my way of sharing the books that I love but I am also wanting the posts to encourage me to use my books more often. Each week I am going to use one of my cook books to make a meal and I am going to blog about it. My posts will feature the recipe, tell you what, if anything, I changed and tell you a little bit about the book. Over time I hope to tell you about all of my cook books and who inspires my everyday cooking.

Today's recipe is based on a deliciously slimming recipe that I found in Slimming World Free Food Feasts. Since I started to follow the Slimming World eating plan this has to be one of my favourite go to cook books. It contains 60 fantastic "free" recipes. If you do not know how Slimming World works, "free" foods are foods that can be eaten freely, no calorie counting, no weighing and no limit except from your appetite! My Smoked Fish Tagine has been based on the Slimming World Squash, Swede and Chickpea Tagine recipe. The majority of the recipe has been followed, I have not used the garlic as the recipe states as they are high in FODMAP's but have added carrots, red pepper and smoked fish.

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Smoked Salmon and Kale Pasta - An Aldi Recipe

Recently kale has become my favourite green vegetable to add to meals. When I serve it on it's own, as a side serving, the children are not keen but as soon as I add it to a sauce or mix it with other ingredients they all eat it with no questions asked. So any recipe that contains kale is an instant hit with me.

When I was looking at Aldi's Feed the Family for £5 recipes their Smoked Salmon Pasta immediately caught my eye. Smoked salmon is a fantastically versatile ingredient and thanks to Aldi it is a more affordable ingredient to use. The recipe is part of Aldi's latest campaign that is showing families that you can prepare healthy, tasty meals for under £5. Over the coming weeks I am going to be trying out some of their recipes and taking some inspiration from them to show you that it can be done. Sticking to a budget does not mean that you should compromise on healthy choices.

Today I am going to be telling you how I have taken inspiration from Aldi's Smoked Salmon Pasta recipe which is served with a spinach and walnut salad. I have not made the salad but have added kale and broccoli to the pasta and have even made it Slimming World friendly by making a few simple swaps.

This is what I did...

Monday, 16 January 2017

#CookBlogShare 2017 Week 2 Round-up

Week 2 of the CookBlogShare linky was full of delicious recipes. From cupcakes to salads, from soups to dips, there really was something for everyone. There was such a great variety to the recipes hence this weeks round-up having no particular theme apart from all being deliciously tempting dishes.

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 2 of CookBlogShare 2017...

Weekly Meal Plan - Week 3 2017

Hello and welcome to week 3 of 2017!

Last week it was lovely to finally get back to normal. All three kids were at school and it was back to our regular routine and having my meal plan meant there was no stress when it came to dinner time. There was only one meal that was not made last week and that was the fish tagine. The day before I was going to make it Cheryl from Madhouse Family Reviews reminded me that I had not got my heat diffuser so I had a quick look, ordered one from trusty Amazon but it did not arrive in time for that meal so it will go onto next weeks meal plan. But I did manage to use my tagine for the first time and I love it! The meal was amazing, it was so full of flavour and a piece of cooking equipment that I am going to enjoy using.

This is what we ate last week...

Friday, 13 January 2017

Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup

Soups are a perfect winters lunch. They are warming, super healthy and full of nutritional goodness. If you make your own they are even slimming! One of my favourite soups has to be a good old tomato soup. The tomato is such a versatile ingredient and it is an ideal base for soups. My recipe today uses the base of tomatoes but the other vegetables really are the stars of the show.

For this soup I have used roasted vegetables. Roasting vegetables gives them an added boost of flavour, their sweetness really does come through and transforms their overall flavours. Combined with the trusty tomato this soup is a bowlful of healthy deliciousness.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 11 January 2017

The Ultimate Syn Free BLT

Who doesn't love a good sandwich? I certainly do but now that I am following the Slimming World eating plan I cannot always have bread. So to keep lunches exciting I have been thinking of ways to enjoy a sandwich type meal without needing to count the syns.

One of my favourite sandwiches has to be the classic BLT, bacon, lettuce and tomato. This recipe was created one hungry lunchtime when all I wanted was a BLT. I got thinking about how I could make it without using bread and, in my opinion, this is even better that the classic bread version.

My Ultimate Syn Free BLT is packed with speedy vegetables and protein so you know that with each bite you are getting nothing but goodness!

This is what I did...

Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Butternut Spaghetti Stir Fry

Vegetable noodles are a great way to get added goodness into our diets. But when you want to make a quick meal they are not so great. Spiralising the vegetables can take time that is precious when you are living in a busy household. So when I saw pre prepared vegetable noodles in Aldi I could not wait to try them.

I have made my own courgetti in the past as well as carrot noodles, but I have not tried to spiralise any other vegetables. Aldi have brought out two delicious varieties of vegetable noodles, courgette noodles and butternut squash noodles. I love butternut squash but never thought about spiralising it. As soon as I saw it on the shelf it went straight in my trolley along with plenty of other vegetables for today's recipe.

Today's recipe is not only a super healthy meal but is also a great budget meal!

This is what I did...

#CookBlogShare Week 2 - 2017 Plus Veganuary Round-up

Welcome to week 2 of CookBlogShare 2017.

Now that the children have returned to school I am definitely back into my routine after the Christmas holiday. As much as I love the holidays, I crave to get back into a routine. A routine around the house, a routine with my blog and most of all a routine with my food. Once all of the celebrations are over all I want to eat is healthy clean meals. At the moment, thanks to Veganuary, there are so many deliciously healthy meals and recipes out there. With that in mind it was easy to select a theme for my round-up of last weeks linky. 

Last week the linky was with Mandy at Sneaky Veg. As always there was a fantastic array of recipes shared. Sweet treats, savoury dishes and plenty of mouth watering food. But it was definitely the vegan, Veganuary, recipes that won. So many of the recipes last week were vegan, so narrowing it down to just four really was a challenge. But one that I did enjoy!

Here are my four favourite recipes from week 1 2017 of CookBlogShare...

Monday, 9 January 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - Week 2 2017

It is not often that I say this but thank goodness it's Monday and a new week!

Last week was manic. J returned to school on Tuesday while the twins returned on Wednesday. Just as I was getting stuck into some jobs on Thursday I got a text message from J's school to inform me that the school was having an emergency closure! After just 2 days at school they were closed again due to a power cut, then on Friday it was a teacher training day so last week was not as "back to routine" as I was hoping. But this week, fingers crossed, everything will be back to normal.

In my meal plan last week I told you about how I was planning our meals following the FODMAP plan. Last week this was a huge success. All of our meals were delicious and I really am looking forward to continuing on with this eating plan and hope to find that it does make a difference to the hubby's digestive health.

Slimming World crispy chicken with low FODMAP, syn free naked salad

Broccoli pizza, recipe coming this week

Friday, 6 January 2017

20 Questions to Ask your Children

Have you seen the latest craze on social media where parents ask their children a series of questions? As you can imagine the answers to the vary from child to child dependent on age and gender. But you can guarantee that the answers will portray a variety of sentiments. They really do give us a glimpse into their imaginative minds. So when Shepherds Friendly asked me if I would like to have a go and ask the children a series of questions I thought it would be a great idea. I love the idea of asking the same set of questions next January to compare their answers as they get older.

Their answers made me smile, made me giggle, made me gasp and, of course, made my heart melt. This is what they said...

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Naked Coleslaw - Low FODMAP and Syn Free

For the next few weeks we are following the FODMAP eating plan.

For years the hubby has suffered from digestive discomfort and one day while he was looking on the internet he discovered the FODMAP plan. FODMAP stands for Fermantable Oligo-saccharides Di-saccharides Mono-saccharides and Polyols, otherwise known as FODMAP's. FODMAP's are carbohydrates that can be hard to digest and cause digestive discomfort and eliminating foods which contain these carbohydrates can ease symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain, gases and bowel problems. They are found in various fruits, vegetables, dairy and many other foods. After doing my own research and visiting various different websites I now have a list of FODMAP foods. The list is divided into two sections, high 'red' FODMAP foods, which I need to avoid in the hubby's meals and low 'green' FODMAP foods which he can eat.

This has meant that my meal plans need to be planned more carefully. Now when I write my weekly meal plan I am carefully looking at the ingredients that are needed for each individual meal and adapting them accordingly.

When I was planning this weeks meals I found a recipe in the Slimming World magazine that I knew everyone would love, but it was served with a homemade coleslaw which contained many high FODMAP ingredients. This got me thinking how I could make a coleslaw type salad that is both syn free for me and, of course, low FODMAP for the hubby. What I created was a huge success and is now a firm favourite.

This is what I did...

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

#SimplySeasonal - January 2017

Hijacked By Twins

Welcome to the first ever #SimplySeasonal!

SimplySeasonal is a new, monthly linky dedicated to the foods that are at their best this month. This year I want to pay more attention to mother nature and use as many in season fruits and vegetables in my cooking as possible. Foods that are in season can often be cheaper and it is a great timetable to follow if you have a vegetable garden.

Each month I will give you a list of the fruits and vegetables that are in season. I am sure that you will be surprised by how big the lists are going to be, I know that I was! To join in simply create a recipe using at least one of the seasonal ingredients, blog about it and share it. The recipes can be vegetarian, vegan, contain meat, be sweet, anything goes as long it contains seasonal ingredients! 

So lets celebrate produce that is at its best!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Leftover Turkey with Pesto Kale and Mango Salsa - Aldi Recipe

As always when January arrives I am craving healthier meals. Don't get me wrong, we had healthy meals over Christmas but our meals were all out of routine and we all enjoyed some treats. As well as craving vegetables we are also feeling the pinch. Like most families we spent a lot both during the run up to Christmas and over the festive holiday so now it is all over we are having to tighten the belt a bit. This includes my shopping budget. I am looking for as many ways as possible to save some extra pennies. I am using our new chest freezer a lot and am freezing food so that it is not wasted but also gives us some more food options. Thankfully one shop that we can all depend on is Aldi!

Before Christmas their super 6 vegetables were down to just 19p each, so I stocked up! I got so many carrots I have even managed to blanch and freeze some. I was excited to see that their Super 6 offer this week included some of my favourite fruit and vegetables. While I was looking through their website before doing my shopping I also discovered a section that I had not seen before, Feed the Family for £5. This immediately caught my attention and needed further investigation! I found 3 different recipes that Aldi have created using the key products in the Super 6 deal over both fruit and vegetables and meats and fish. So I decided to give one of the recipes a go.

I finally decided to try the Roasted Gammon Joint with Kale and Mango Salsa. But as I had got a lot of turkey leftover from Sunday I replaced the gammon steaks with slices of turkey but did make the kale and the mango salsa.

This is what I did...

Monday, 2 January 2017

Weekly Meal Plan - Week 1 2017

Hello, happy new year and welcome to another year of meal planning. Towards the end of last year I was tempted to stop meal planning. But having not planned last week I have realised why I do plan. Last week I dreaded the question "What's for tea?" but when I meal plan I am ready for it and can relax knowing that I have a plan in place.

I have tried to food optimise as much as I could over the Christmas period. I was so disappointed when I went to get weighed at my Slimming World group the Friday before Christmas as I had put on 4lbs. I think that my reduced steps and activity as the children were at home and I was sat working really did have a devastating effect of my weight loss plus the Christmas treats and alcoholic drinks certainly did not do me any favours! This however did give me a bit of a kick up the backside and during the Christmas week I did allow myself treats but did not go mad and drank a lot less that I usually do at Christmas. When it came to stepping on the scales last Friday I was delighted to see that I had managed to maintain my weight. Now that the festivities are over I am back on plan and raring to go!

Another change in our diets is for the hubby. After suffering from digestive problems and doing a lot of research we are going to be trying to follow the FODMAP diet. FODMAP's are a collection of poorly absorbed both simple and complex sugars. They are found in various fruits, vegetables dairy and other foods. Eating foods with a high amount of FODMAP can be hard to digest and can cause pain. So I have a list of low FODMAP foods and am going to be sticking to those for, initially, the month to see if it makes a difference. So watch this space!

Now on to this weeks meal plan. I am looking forward to getting back into a routine. Our meals have been so unorganised and we have had many a late meal which is not great. The hubby and J are back at work and school tomorrow and the twins return of Wednesday so then it will be back to normality.

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