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...