Tiger Omelette

Tiger Omelette was created by accident when the only cheese I had left in the fridge was the Red Leicester that came with our Christmas Cheese Variety pack. Usually my kids refuse to have cheese omelette but oddly decided it was brilliant when I called it tiger Omelette.

Ingredients
A fifty pence sized blob of oil
One large egg per child
A splash of milk
A pinch of salt
Grated Red Leicester Cheese

Method
imageHeat the oil in the pan. Whilst it’s heating up, mix the eggs milk and salt together and then pour into the pan when it’s heated. Be careful not to let the egg burn by using a silicone spatula to go around the edge of the Omelette and scraping the bottom of the Omelette away to allow the uncooked mixture to heat and harden.

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Once the Omelette is pretty solid but still wet on top just sprinkle on the grated Red Leicester to create the tiger stripes and place under a grill until the top is solid but not brown!

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Once cooked just use the spatula to release the Omelette and serve! This is such a quick recipe and tasty too, we usually serve with fruit and raw veg so that it’s balanced but still really quick.

One last handy tip, we’ve discovered that our kids are more likely to eat raw carrot when it’s still carrot shaped. Kids eh?

Ta da!

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A Review of Hotel Chocolat’s Mingles & Jingles Bag

I’m very excited. I love chocolate and have been given the opportunity to review some Christmassy Hotel Chocolat Choccies! The Mingles & Jingles Bag contains 35, individually wrapped chocolates in white, milk and caramel chocolate. This particular gift costs £21 and would make a really lovely present, especially for those difficult to buy for people.

I love the fact that they’re individually wrapped because as they’re slightly bigger than your average chocolate they can be used as stocking fillers, treasure hunt prizes or bauble fillers if you don’t want to give as a gift, (see below!)

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The penguin chocolate is quite a dark, milk chocolate. It’s thick and chunky and incredibly moorish. I’ve never had Hotel Chocolat chocolate before and as a bit of a chocco connoisseur I have to say I’m very impressed.

The white chocolate bell is creamy and delicious with a lovely hint of vanilla, you can actually see the little vanilla dots in the chocolate.

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The caramel chocolate Angel, is definitely my favourite though. It’s melt in your mouth scrumptious and unfortunately there were fewer of these than the other two!

I have to be honest, although we only opened the bag 5 hours ago the chocolates have nearly all gone. The kids were obviously fighting over them and even my husband found them hard to resist. All in all, these are fabulous Christmas chocolates, they’re a bit special and definitely worthy of a little splurge…
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Tasty Roast Chicken Rice

This is a great, tasty recipe that uses left over roast chicken. It’s ideal for tinys who are weaning, although you’ll probably want to use reduced salt versions of the stock and gravy granules. I just want to confess that my older kids wouldn’t eat this meal unless blindfolded but my nearly 2 year old wolfs it down. It’s worth noting that when the oldest 2 are blindfolded they love it…

Ingredients
A splash of sunflower oil (or whatever oil you use apart from olive oil)
Left over chunks or strips of dark and white chicken
Two sticks of celery chopped
An onion chopped
Chantaney carrots halved up into stock
Half a tin of sweet corn
A crushed clove of garlic
One chicken stock cube made
A desert spoon of gravy granules three quarters of a kids cup of rice.

Fry your onions in a stewing pot or saucepan, once translucent add the chicken, celery, carrots and sweet corn. Add about half of the stock, bring to the boil and let simmer on a low heat. Keep checking to see the stock hasn’t evaporated about every 10 mins and then after 30 mins add the rest of the stock and gravy granules for thickness. Then leave to simmer for another 30 mins and put the rice on to boil 15 mins before your 30 minutes are up. Once the rice is cooked just drain and stir into the meal. If your kids don’t like the look of this you can always blend it to make a yummy soup. Delicious. The good thing about this meal is that if the children don’t like it the adults will!

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How to make an easy R2D2 Cake.

I want to start off by saying that I am NOT a baking queen. Cooking generally horrifies me, but now and again I fancy a challenge and when Sam mentioned he wanted a Star Wars themed birthday cake, I decided to trawl Pinterest to get some ideas. Initially I was horrified, most of the cakes on Pinterest aren’t even flat! They’re properly 3D, standing up replicas of the little chap – I kid you not. Thankfully though there were some flat ones that looked pretty good, so I looked up some actual images of R2D2 and came up with my own version.

So, I bundled the kids in the car, nipped off to Sainsbury’s and bought the ingredients. Here’s what I bought;

2 Packs of Sainsbury’s basic sponge mix
A pack of Sainsbury’s soft white ready to roll icing
A pack of Dr Oetker colour pack of rolled icing
A pack of icing pens

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To make the body of the cake, I used a round tin and a rectangular tin, one pack of mix in each. When they had cooked and cooled, I cut the top of the rectangle off (the cut off bit will become an arm) and cut the top off the circle. I then stuck the top of the circle onto the top of the cake with some icing sugar mixed with water.

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I then used the cut-off piece of cake as a template for R2D2’s other arm and stuck both the arms to the main body of cake with icing sugar. Once the arms were stuck on I just cut out the feet from the remainder of the circle cake. At this point when you have the true shape of the cake you can roll out the blue and white icing and cut out the blue shapes (I just did it freestyle with a sharpe knife) It’s important to sprinkle some icing sugar on the table so that the rolled icing doesn’t stick. I also used a long flat metal thing (what’s it called?!) to help unstick it from the table.

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After that it was time to lift the rolled white icing off the table, onto the cake and gently press down all around, cutting off the excess icing.

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Once I was satisfied that it looked alright I just stuck on all my cut out bits with some icing and added a few details with the icing pen.

Ta Dah!

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Nice, Quick, Fun and Easy Fathers Day Biscuits (Ferg don’t look!)

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I got the idea for this from this from Pintrest, which had, DAD, made from biscuits. The pin was from Martha Stuart’s website but I decided to adapt my own biscuit recipe to make our own version. This is a lovely gift for dad and the best bit is you’ll probably have all the ingredients!

Ingredients:

Biscuits

6oz (150g) plain flour
4oz (100g) Flora Buttery or whatever spread you use. (I tried this as we didn’t have any butter!)
2oz (50g) Brown Demerara sugar or normal sugar will work too.
2 desert spoons of lemon juice

Icing (Optional)

2 Table Spoons of icing sugar
2 desert spoons of lemon juice
4 drops of colour (optional)
Add water if needed but only a few drops at a time!

Method:

Pre-heat oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas Mark 4
Mix the plain flour with the Demerara sugar in a large mixing bowl.
Rub in the Buttery Spread (Flora Buttery) and add the lemon juice, then bring the mixture together
Roll out to 1/4″ (6mm) thickness on some grease proof paper (This means your biscuits are less likely to break when they’re moved onto a baking tray.
Cut hearts using a biscuit cutter, freestyle cutting the letters with a sharp knife.

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Transfer biscuits on the grease proof paper and lay on a baking tray.
Bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown (I did it for 11mins but we have a fan oven which tends to be hotter)
Once they’ve cooled down you can decorate, we used bright icing but to be honest they looked much better pre-icing! Another nice way to decorate, is to sprinkle a little icing sugar onto the biscuits but as you can see that was not the option my kids went for. They decided “Biscuit Massacre” was more their style… Well, at least they enjoyed it!

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Stepping away from the edge.

Ha, that’s quite a dramatic title, but seriously, this weekend I was very close to feeling completely overwhelmed. Isabelle’s sleeping has been absolutely awful since the beginning of January. For some reason, all of her big, back teeth decided to come at once, so all our months of hard work with the controlled crying just went straight out the window in a few nights.

She has been waking at random times and screeching in pain, so I just gave in and decided to feed her in the night again to give her some comfort and to give me some rest. Unfortunately for me, the comfort goes on for hours. And hours. And FREAKIN HOURS! In fact she can often feed/suck for 5 hours straight, whilst sleeping next to me in bed and stretching my poor, beleaguered nipples to unnatural lengths.

Now, I’m the sort of person who needs to have time alone. As far as I’m concerned, being crawled over and pinched and pulled and sat on all day, is only bearable when I know I can get an undisturbed evening with Ferg and a decent sleep at the end of an undisturbed evening. Having a toddler who can sometimes start screeching from 9.30pm and then attach herself to my knockers all night does NOT equal a happy, well rested and patient mummy .

I don’t know how other co-sleeping mums do it but I find that it’s just not good for doing any actual sleeping. For one, there is NO room for my arms when Izzy sleeps next to me. Ladies, where do you put your arms?! Izzy hates it if my arm falls across her whilst she’s feeding, so as I’m on my side feeding, my arm can only go up, joining my other arm which has also been forced up, making it look like I’ve been tied to the bed. What with the permanent grimace, the stretched nipples and the arms, I must look like I’m being tortured and not in any sort of, Fifty Shades of Grey way.

On Saturday, my lovely father-in-law came over to see us all and in a moment alone, asked me if I was OK as I didn’t seem myself. Well, that was it, game over. I immediately burst into tears and told him I wasn’t really ok and that I was really struggling with the sleep deprivation. He suggested going to the doctors and maybe even getting a night nanny. Ferg had come in at this point and was quite alarmed to find me crying, but he was lovely and listened and was ready to find us some sort of solution.

It’s so hard to ask for help when things are difficult, but after that conversation I did. I even called a sleep consultant who I’m meeting today. My mum has been amazing and took Izzy for all of Monday afternoon and helped me with dinner for the kids and all other manner of wonderful things. I go to a group called Headspace and this Tuesday the ladies there gave me encouragement and made me laugh. Yesterday, a good friend took the girls for the afternoon so I could have a rest and Ferg decided to give me a break over Easter and booked us a little holiday with child care!  Just being supported and having a few hours alone gave me the strength to start tackling her sleep issues again and since Saturday, things have definitely improved.

Today, after my afternoon of rest, I almost felt normal again so the girls and I made some (admittedly awful) fairy cakes. They got completely filthy and ruined the icing by adding lots of flour, but we all had a lovely time because I wasn’t on the verge of a total meltdown. I feel very blessed right now to be surrounded by people who actually helped me. So, thank you Stu for asking the question, thank you Mum for taking Izzy, thank you Ferg  for giving me time alone,  thankyou Headspace ladies for listening and thank you Leila for looking after the girls. With all your help I’ve stepped away from the edge and rejoined the land of the living.

The girls spreading some floury love around the kitchen.
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Izzy icing the hob.
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Kids Eggy Peggy Chicky Fried Rice

This recipe was born out of desperation and turned out pretty well. I had some left over roast chicken and some slightly moldy red pepper (Mmmm, yummy…) and just chucked it in with some other stuff I had lurking around. With all of my recipes, the veg and meat are pretty much interchangeable. If your child doesn’t like peppers then put something else in they’ll actually eat.

Ingredients

Chicken breast and leg diced (enough for however many kids you have)
One red pepper
A handful of peas
A handful of chopped mushrooms
One onion chopped
One garlic clove crushed
1 desert spoon of Thai fish sauce or reduced salt soy sauce
A good ol glub of Toasted sesame oil if you have it, sunflower or vegetable oil if you don’t
One egg.
Wok

Firstly, put your rice on to boil, then gently fry the mushrooms, onions and crushed garlic together in the oil until soft then put aside in a little bowl. Fry the chicken in the remnants of the oil and add the peas and peppers when the chicken is heated through or browned if fresh.

If your kids are anything like mine, then they hate anything remotely slimey like cooked onions or mushrooms, so what I do is use my hand blender to mush the garlic, mushrooms and onion together with a splash of water and the Thai fish sauce, then they don’t know they’re eating it. He he he…

Once you’ve made the sauce, put it aside and beat your egg, when it’s all mixed together, move the food in the wok to one side and tilt the wok so the food is on higher ground (if you know what I mean…?) pour the egg mixture into the lower part of the wok and make sure it’s over the heat, then stir the egg until it’s no longer liquid and mix in with the other ingredients. If the rice is ready then add it now. At this point you need to turn up the heat and add the sauce, making sure you stir constantly so the food doesn’t burn. Add the punch of salt, taste and if to your liking serve.

I have to say, I was very surprised to find the fish sauce in my food cupboard, it must have been left over from a Jamie Oliver recipe, but thank goodness it was, I usually use soy sauce for these types of meals but had run out!

Hope you like it!

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Marscalicious Pasta

pastaMarscalicious Pasta

As a student, I always used to love adding marscapone cheese to pasta because it was easy and tasty, so the other day I saw it on the shelf in Sainsburys and wondered why on earth I hadn’t used it in kids meals! Marscapone cheese is pretty calorific but currently Izzy is barely eating anything, Sam’s a beanpole and Maisie wont eat it anyway, so calories are just fine as far as I’m concerned.

Ingredients
A splash of vegetable oil
4 heaped desert spoons of Marscapone cheese
A hefty splash of semi skimmed milk
A handful per child of the kids favorite pasta shapes.
Approx 15 fennel seeds crushed
A meat of your choice (we used ham tonight, but chicken works really well too)
A green veg of your choice (we used broccoli but peas work well too)
Half a crushed garlic clove (that was in a portion for 3 kids)

Method
Heat the oil on a medium heat. Put your pasta on to boil. If you’re using raw meat then brown the meat, if you’re using a cooked meat then add the broccoli first to soften it and then add the meat. When the meat is cooked and the veg is soft then add the marscapone and stir. When the marscapone has melted down then add the crushed garlic and fennel seeds (fennel not compulsory if you havent got it!) and stir. Add enough milk so that the mixture is a good saucey consistency. When the pasta has boiled just add the pasta to the mixture and serve.

The only trouble with this meal is that it’s incredibly tempting for the hungry mummys who are doing the cooking… left-over snack alert!!!

Tasty Salmon Pasta Bake

SALMON PASTA BAKE

My children seem to hate all food apart from ham, sausages, fish fingers and usually salmon pasta bake. I say usually because their default is processed rubbish and anything else somehow manages to inspire the phrases, “This is disgusting” or “I hate this.” Anyway, despite the fact that my children don’t always appreciate it, this recipe is delicious and one of those meals where I really struggle not to scoff the leftovers.

Ingredients
250 grms smoked salmon slices
A good swig of semi skimmed milk
A healthy chunk of butter
Some plain flour
Any shaped pasta
Cheddar
Pasta
Broccoli (I use about 10 little pieces from three children)
Peas (enough to provide a bit of colour to the pasta bake)

Method
Put some pasta on to boil. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees. Place the smoked salmon into a frying pan and pour over enough milk to make a sauce with. Broil the salmon until cooked and then pour the milk out through a sieve into a pan so you catch all the flakes of salmon. Put the salmon to one side and pour the milk into a jug. Take the pan and melt down a chunk of butter and sieve some plain flour into it once it’s melted. Stir in the flour until the mixture is smooth and still a bit runny. Then add the salmon-flavoured milk over a medium heat and stir until the sauce is neither too runny nor too thick. At this point you can add some peas or broccoli to the sauce and then add the salmon and stir it all in. If the pasta is done then add it to the mixture and then put into an oven proof dish. Grate some cheese onto the top and you can even sprinkle some breadcrumbs on top too if you’re feeling crazy. Then just pop into the oven for about 20-25 minutes. This is also good without the bake angle, this also makes it 25 minutes quicker!

Lusharoony, as my daughter would say (on a good day where she hasn’t suddenly decided she hates salmon, cheese, pasta or peas.)

Easy and Yummy Banana and Chocolate Chip Muffins

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I got the basics of this recipe from another blogger http://chuckandtaz.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/my-current-favourite-banana-cake-recipe/ but have “translated” it from American cup measurements to grams.

Ingredients

3 large mashed bananas
200g of dark brown soft sugar
60g butter (preferably soft and at room temperature so the mixture doesn’t curdle)
190g of self raising flour
2 tbls semi skimmed milk
1 egg (preferably at room temperature)
Half teaspoon of vanilla extract (small end of a Calpol spoon!)
50g chocolate chips

Method (italics – copied and pasted from http://chuckandtaz.wordpress.com/)

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat until well combined. Add the rest, about half at a time and slowly mix or fold until just combined.

Pour the mix into muffin cases and cook for about 25-30 minutes,it said 15 mins on the original recipe but mine took loads longer. If you put the mix into a loaf tin instead then it could take between 40-50 minutes. Just occasionally check with a skewer to make sure the mixture inside is cooked.

Admittedly they look a little burnt, but they taste really good. All the kids joined in, even Izzy, (well sort of…)
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