cooking


One pot wonder – Beef and ale with crispy dumplings 101

We are big fans of winter cooking and one of the best things about the cold weather is the change to come home to a fab home cooked meal and one of our family favorites is Beef and ale with crispy dumplings.  It is something that both MadDad and I remember fondly from our childhood and thankfully the boys both love it too. How to make Beef and ale with crispy Dumplings


October is now Crocktober – share your favorite slow cooker recipes 17

I am a huge fan of my slow cooker or crockpot as they are known in the US and Autumn is the perfect time for getting it out and using it.  I love that I can  prepare everything, put it in and then forget about it until dinner time. I love that I can pop all the ingredients in for a soup and when we return from Junior football on a cold Sunday there is a meal ready and waiting. One of the things that I do every time we have a roast chicken is to make stock with the carcass, some veg and leave it in the slow cooker overnight. more »


TEFAL ingenio – A need, want, must have moment 5

 Look the handle comes off so fast I couldn’t catch it on camera! Back in July as part of the Tefal Innovators project I was invited to London to take a look at the new Tefal products that were going to be hitting our shelves.  This is where I was introduced to the Tefal Optigrill (which we now use regularly) and also where I had a need, want, must have moment.


Let’s Make Dairylea 1

I have an admission to make. Maxi was my PFB (Perfect First Born) when it came to food. Nothing processed or shop bought passed his lips until he went in to hospital at 6 months and even then we were soon back on to the mummy made stuff. When Mini was born it was more of the same. I used to beat myself up to produce a family meal that would feed us all. I had sleepless nights over the amount of salt in food and would get all paniccy at the thought of someone giving either of the boys something proceseed.


Prepped – The rice pudding test 5

As you know I love food, but I especially love home cooked food and when the gorgeous and extremely talented Vanessa Kimbell put a shout out on twitter for recipe testers for her new, exciting and innovative cook book Prepped, so I put up my hand like I did back when I was in school and opted for the rice pudding.   Ingredients 1 litre whole milk 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways 50g Vanilla Sugar 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg Pinch of salt 60g butter 150g Arborio rice 1 Preheat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. 2 Put all the above ingredients into an ovenproof casserole dish, stir well and pop it more »


Cooking with Children – Halloween Cakes and Biscuits 2

I love cooking and baking with the boys and for me the secret is letting go and dealing with the mess afterwards, plus good planning, making sure all the ingredients are out and the equipment etc.  I think that by empowering the boys to cook and bake it will stand them in good stead as they get older, plus they can start cooking dinner and feed me!  Also it might not look perfect, but I can assure you it tastes mighty fine.  So I bring you Maxi’s chocolate cakes and biscuits. Basic Biscuit Recipe I use one without egg and it is fine if over handled, so perfect for children 175g/6oz more »


Cooking with Children – Lamb Stir-Fry

 We were given a some welsh lamb and the ingredients to make a welsh lamb stir fry from the Cool2Cook2 book which has been produced by Meat Promotion Wales (Hybu Cig Cymru) to help get kids cooking. I love getting the boys in the kitchen, so we set about following the recipe on Saturday evening.  The boys chopped all the vegetables, whilst I did the ginger and MadDad prepared the lamb, which was welsh and organic. I have to say that the recipe was really easy to follow and the boys did the majority of the work, with me and MadDad supervising. We really enjoyed it and there was 4 empty more »


Why you should vote for me

Today is the final day for voting in The Mads.  I am one of the final five who are up for the Best family Fun Blog, so I am putting in a shameless, last ditched attempt to gain your votes. So here are some reasons why I think we fit the bill Crafting with Children Fathers day is June 20th, so here I have some great ideas for Fathers day cards and gifts you can make with your children. One of my most popular posts via search engine is the rain catchers we made inspired by Cbeebies. Do you have lots of broken wax crayons?  Don’t throw them away, try out recycling more »


A Wonderful Bank Holiday Monday spent in the Kitchen and Garden

I think the sun forgot our little park of the North East today. So we have spent the day baking. Maxi did all the weighing and measuring Mini did most of the stirring and tasting We have had a lot of fun and made lots of cakes Oat and raisin cooks and mince pies (mini’s favorites) Many Muffins, sweet mincemeat and St Stephens Day Muffins, in addition to some fairy cakes. Whilst I was busy in the kitchen, MadDad tended the garden, including planting out the courgettes and cucumbers. Everything is looking great and really coming along. He also washed and cleaned the cars, ready for the trip we are taking today more »


Tiffin/Rocky Road

In an homage to my fellow MAD finalist Nick at My Daddy Cooks, Mini and I made a twist on his and Archies Tiffin  We followed Nick’s basic recipe, but made a few tweaks as we went along. 125g butter250g digestive biscuits4 tbsp golden syrup3 tbsp high quality cocoa powder75g raisins250g plain/dark chocolate Instead of using the microwave we melted our butter, golden syrup and chocolate over the stove, for me I love the way it all melts together, so smooth and silk like. We then added it to our biscuit mix and added in raisins and mini marshmallows. What is truly great about this recipe is that mini did most more »


The Best Ever Oat and Raisin Cookies in the world

I dont say it lightly, but these cookies are amazing and never last in our house.  They truly are the best.  This is an American Recipe (it came on the back of some sunmaid raisins from the US), but that said is super easy for the boys, as I have some plastic cup measures that they use. So here goes Ingredients 3/4 cup softened butter or margarine 1 cup soft brown sugar 1/2 cup caster sugar 1/4 cup milk 1 large egg 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 1 cup plain flour 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/2 teaspoon baking soda 1/4 teaspoon salt 3 cups quick or old-fashioned oats 1 cup Raisins   more »


Shrove Tuesday, Lent and Ash Wednesday

So lets do this in order shall we….. We used up our eggs (fresh from the butcher) and all had a wonderful evening meal with tons of pancakes. In fact it is one of my most pleasant memories from childrhood, pancake day, reinforced every year by the same routine and due to the joy that this memory brings me, I do the same with my little men   Table set for a dinner of sweet pancakes, sugar, lemon juice, raspberry sauce and golden syrup, tea cups for all and also sugar cubes and a large pot of tea.  Mum (yes me) in the kitchen on what seems to be a conveyor more »


Menu Plan Monday and shortbread recipe

It is half term for me and the minimads this week, so I have lunches to make for all and then MadDad will be on on Friday, so we are going for a day out Monday Lunch – Sandwiches Dinner – Curry and rice Tuesday Lunch – Pancakes Dinner -Spag bol Wednesday Lunch – leftovers Thursday – Jambalaya Friday Picnic and pot luck Saturday Home made chicken burgers and wedges Home made pizza Sunday – I am not sure what meat we will be going with this week, I will see what is on offer at the butchers I also wanted to give you the recipe for the almond shortbread biscuits, more »


The Best Carrot Cake in the Whole Wide World 2

  Receipe 140ml vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing 2 Eggs 200g light brown sugar 300g grated Carrots, (grated weight) 100g raisins 75g pecans or Walnuts, chopped (optional) 180g self-raising flour 1 pinch Salt 1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda 1 tsp ground Cinnamon 1/2 tsp freshly grated Nutmeg 1/2 tsp Mixed spice Orange cream cheese icing – this rarely gets put on in this house, as everyone eats the cake before I get chance!! 50g cream cheese, chilled 50g Butter, at room temperature 1 tsp vanilla extract 275g icing sugar, sifted 1 Orange, zest only Method 1. Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2. Oil and line a loaf tin with greaseproof more »


Meal Plan Monday and More Frugal Food

Sunday Dinner was Mince, onions, dumplings and lots and lots of vegetables, one of my big tips for being frugal and following your meal plans is to make it as easy as possible, so today food will follow on and utilise yesterdays leftovers and additional amount that we cooked. Monday Lunch – Leftovers Dinner – Spaghetti Bolognese, utilising mince, onions and any left over veg with the tomato sauce we made over the summer Tuesday Lunch – Spaghetti on toast Dinner – Lasagna, bulked out with cottage cheese and vegetables Wednesday Lunch – Leftovers Dinner – Dahl and Naan Breads Thursday Lunch – Sandwiches and soup Dinner – Sausage casserole and more »


Menu Planning and Frugal Food Part Two

The Basics and MummyMads Rules I have a few golden rules that I always abide by and also make sure I have a larder with basic ingredients in. I don’t scrimp on chicken I always buy a good one or a happy one as I call them (free range), as they make better stock and just taste nicer with more meat in my humble opinion.  The same with eggs (our butcher sell local free range ones cheaper than the supermarkets).  I pop in to the local butchers and see what is on offer meat wise too. In the store cupboard and fridge I always have flour, eggs, caster sugar, lentils, beans, more »


No Cards, Just Cookies 12

I know that I am not alone in this as The Dotterel at Bringing Up Charlie blogged about it too.  I HATE CHRISTMAS CARDS. Yep, I shouted.  It possibly stems from the fact I am a Christmas baby and I would rather have my measly few birthday cards up instead of Christmas cards. This issue with cards has grown year on year, especially as I have to write most of them. It was fine when I worked, I would send out an e-mail saying Merry Christmas and that we wouldn’t be sending out cards, but donating to the NSPCC instead.  MadDad still does this with his work colleagues now. But it more »


Jelly Baby Jesus Cakes 12

  Ingredients Shredded wheat Golden Syrup Milk Chocolate Jelly Babys Royal Icing Cake Cases   Break up the chocolate in a bowl and microwave till melted, whilst scrunching up the shredded wheat. Add about a tablespoon of golden syrup to the melted chocolate (it keeps it melted longer, which is easier for the children) and then add the shredded wheat. Have a good lick at your spatula when you have finnshed mixing! Scoop out and place in to the cake cases, this is the chocolate straw. Add you Jelly Baby Jesus, very gently as not to wake him on to his bed of straw. Then cover him in a royal icing more »


Cooking with Children – Tarka Dal and Naan Bread 7

I love cooking and more than that I adore cooking with my children.  I love watching them measure, weight, pour and get excited about the tastes and textures of the food we grow, make and eat. MiniMad and I made dal and naan breads last night, a real store cupboard meal, which is warming, filling, inexpensive and meat free, oh and it is also dead easy too, especially with a little prep work. Firstly I rinse and soak the lentils, we use split yellow ones (chana dall??), they need at last 40 minutes. I used 200g ish for all four of us. Then we make the naan bread to prove. We use more »