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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Dairy Free Mocha Sorbet

The weather is lovely and sunny today, the complete opposite to what was forecast.  To celebrate that, and the fact that I have made it into the Quarter Finals of the Lavazza Coffee, Set, Match Challenge, I decided to make a lovely treat for a few Mums who will be coming around to mine after school today. 

Using my fab Lavazza coffee machine I made Mocha Sorbet.  It was really easy to make and tasted delicious!

560ml water
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup good quality cocoa
1 tsp vanilla extract
60ml freshly brewed espresso - I used use Lavazza Diviniamente

In a saucepan over a medium heat combine 250ml water with the sugar and cocoa powder.  Bring to the boil, stirring constantly, then lower the heat and simmer for 1 minute before taking it off the heat.

Add the vanilla, espresso and the rest of the water.  Stir well to combine everything then put it in a jug to chill in the fridge for an hour or so.  You can then transfer the chilled mixture to an ice-cream maker and it will make the sorbet for you.  I don't have an ice-cream maker, although I would dearly love one (HINT!).  

If, like me, you are without an ice-cream maker just freeze the sorbet in a cake tin in the freezer until it is solid.  Take it out of the freezer about 15 minutes before you want to serve it.  Let it warm up on the bench for a bit then blitz it in your food processor until it becomes smooth.  Be careful! Don't break your food processor by trying to process huge chunks of frozen sorbet - it can happen.

Hastly taken photo before it was devoured!

Remember: To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter the fabulous giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

Waitrose Summer Party

I must confess that when I received the invitation to the Waitrose Summer Party I did let out a SQUEEEE! and so a small dance of joy.  Thankfully I was at home and not out on the school run.  I did panic a little bit though when I realised that I would have to get glammed up and posh for the evening.  The party was bring held at Kensington Palace, in the Orangery, and we would be able to tour some of the gorgeous State Apartments.  Not only that but it would be an opportunity to catch up with fab foodie blogger friends, meet some who I tweet with but hadn't yet met, and have some superb champagne and canapes as well.

Those who know me know that I don't do glam.  I don't usually wear make up or get my hair straightened.  I don't have a job that requires me to, I don't usually have the time, and quite frankly I find applying make-up too faffy to be bothered with.  However, there was no way that I was not going to go along to this posh event!

I managed to get a dress, and shoes, and bag sorted.  I got my hair done locally on the day, my make-up was done in Oxford Street on the way to the event and I hopefully managed to scrub up rather well. 

I had a fabulous time with Sarah, Katie, Helen, Jules (and her husband), Rehn and a few other foodie bloggers.  We sipped Champagne, devoured canapes, had a good natter and also played the celeb spotting game.

Here's who we saw:

Master patissier Eric Lanlard - I bumped into him on the way to the bar (yes, literally - don't ask), Cheese making muso Alex James, baking legend Merry Berry, Royal cake maker Fiona Cairns, Masterchef  judges John Torrode and Greg Wallace - along with Dhruv Baker and Lisa Faulkner, Aggie Mackenzie, Lorraine Pascale, Gizzi Erskine, Ben Fogle (PHWOAR!!!), some ladies from TOWIE *eye roll*,  and the most lovely Kirsty Allsopp who I managed to get a photo with.



The State Apartments were AMAZING! So mindblowingly beautiful!


I was so glad that I was on the tour with Rehn and Katie, I was gobsmacked and it was great to have others who appreciated our surroundings as much as I did.


It was such a fab evening! Thank you so much to Waitrose for letting me come along, and to my fab foodie blogger and foodie writer friends for making it a truly memorable evening.


Fresh From the Oven Round-Up - Breakfast Fruit Breads

The challenge this month was hosted by La Cuisine de Sarah and was Breakfast Fruit Breads.  Thank you so much to Sarah for devising such a delicious challenge, and to all those who took part. 

Here are the fabulous entries this month:

Heritage Wheat and Fruit Breakfast Loaf - Helen from Fuss Free Flavours

Rhubarb and Raisin Foccacia - The Kitchen Maid
Fruit and Nut Bread - Tandy Sinclair

Butternut squash, poppy seed lemon cranberry bread - Food Unplugged

Hawaiian Challah - Sweet Samsations
 
Cinnamon Raisin Swirl Bread - Curious Cuisiniere

Fruity Breakfast Loaf - My Custard Pie

Slatki Vocni Hleb - Mimi's Kingdom

Fruity Soda Bread -Blue Kitchen Bakes

Healthy Breakfst Fruit Bread - Tina V

Rosemary and Sultana Bread - Euan Greig

Breakfst Fruit Bread - Cake, Crumbs and Cooking

Fruity Breakfast Loaf - Things We Make

Our Challenge for next month will be announced by Slice Of My Life on 1st June.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Coffee Affogato and Coffee Milkshake

I'm taking part in the Coffee Set Match Challenge being run by the sponsors of Wimbledon, Lavazza. With that in mind I made both of these on the weekend when it was ridiculously hot and I needed a cold and refreshing coffee hit.

These treats are really easy to make and very addictive!  I made them using this icecream:



Yes indeed there is an icecream that has Lavazza coffee already in it.  Oh my word, it tastes divine!  I discovered it in my local supermarket when I was helping a friend with her weekly shop.  It was a proper eureka moment.  I knew I had to buy some and bring it home to try and create delicious treats with. 

So here we go! 

Coffee Affogato

This is basically a scoop of icecream with espresso poured over the top.  I added some grated dark chocolate on top of mine.

2 shots (120ml) hot espresso coffee

4 scoops ice-cream

Put the ice-cream into heatproof glasses. Pour over the espresso, grate over some dark chocolate, then serve immediately.





Coffee Milkshake

I used my Morphy Richards Milk Frother to make this.  All I did was put a couple of scoops of icecream into the milk frother follwed by 120ml of espresso and topped it up to the max line with milk (about 200ml - 250ml) then let the frother do it's thing.  You could also make the milkshake in a blender or use a stick blender.

You can add some whipped cream and a strawberry, plus some grated chocolate, on top if you want to make it look summery and lovely.  I did for the purposes of this post, but the ones I have made since went straight down the hatch and didn't touch the sides.  Apologies, I revert to Kiwi when I am crook (poorly) and tired.  UK Translation: These milkshakes are so delicious that I drink them rather quickly.
 
 
So there you have it! Two lovely refreshing options for your fix of delicious Lavazza coffee.
 

Remember: To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter the fabulous giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/


Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

Really Easy Jubilee Sponge Traybake

My 3 daughters wanted to bake this afternoon, despite it being 30 degrees outside.  We made a delicious Jubilee themed sponge traybake because there will be a school Jubilee afternoon on Friday and my girls couldn't wait to get into the Jubilee spirit.  It was realy easy and quick.  The worked really well together, even though they were rather hot and tired.  There was intense debate and concentration during the decorating process too. Thankfully there were no serious disagreements and the cake was decorated without too much hassle.

I doubled this recipe and baked it in two large foil trays from the supermarket.  We then brushed the bottoms and tops with heated up homemade hedgerow jam, to stop the sponges from getting soggy after being covered with whipped cream, and topped it with berries.




The sponge is delicious and light!  The only problem is the size, it is suitable for a street party, it will feed at least 12 - 15 people.  I shared 1/3 with a friend (who has a family of 6), gave large slices to the neighbours and still had enough for us to have two helpings.

What I should've done is make one traybake, cut it in half, then stacked each half on top of each other with cream in the middle.  You could do that if you wanted a much smaller one that wouldn't feed the 5,000 LOL


They want to bake some Jubilee biscuits tomorrow . . . . . . . . .  watch this space!

Sunday, 27 May 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for This Week 28/05 - £58

I’ve still got more upper respiratory illnesses than a doctors waiting room and am therefore feeling rather wretched. Our Meal Plan this week will be an easy and low faff one as a result of me being crook and having a busy week.

My 3 girls will be having school dinners as I won’t have the time or energy to cope with making lunches for everyone this week. I’ve got my sugarpaste modelling course on Monday, I’ll be baking and decorating cakes on Tuesday for delivery on Wednesday and on Thursday I shall be at a cookery Masterclass in London all day (major cookery swoonage!!). Also on Wednesday and Thursday I’ll have Church meetings to attend in the evening so won’t be home for dinner. By Friday I will be completely knackered!

I’m sure everyone has a week like this when they are poorly, tired, really busy, and just can’t find the energy to be bothered cooking too much.

I’ve included the cost of all the ingredients of the salads in the Meal Plan as well as fish, sausages, kebabs, burgers and haloumi cheese which will accompany the salads. We grow our own fresh herbs and salad greens but I have included the cost in the shopping list as not all people grow their own. I will probably make our tortillas and bread rolls to accompany the salads.

Breakfasts will be really simple, either cereal with milk or toast and spread, with fruit for afters.  As my 3 daughters will be having school dinners, lunches for my husband and I will be leftovers from dinner the previous night.  Dinners will be salad based as they are easy to whip up quickly and perfect for this hot weather.

The cost of the ingredients in our Meal Plan for this week was £58.82 at Asda on 27/05/2012.  I used My Supermarket to check what my shopping would've cost had I shopped elsewhere.  My shopping would have cost £66.30 at Sainsbury's, £73.99 at Ocado and £74.51 at Tesco. 

Dinners

With the exception of Monday night, all the salads will be served with either grilled fish, sausages, burgers or grilled haloumi cheese.

Salmon Bake

1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
100g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, finely chopped
70g grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the eggs, milk and butter. Then add the drained salmon, finely diced onion, grated cheese and chives. Mix everything together until just combined. Don’t over-mix it.

Grease a large ovenproof dish then pour the mixture in. Cook at 180ºC for about 45 minutes until the egg has set. I’ll be serving this with a green salad and chopped tomatoes.


Couscous Tabouleh

300g couscous
Boiling water/vegetable stock
2 Tblsp olive oil
1 small clove garlic, crushed
4 tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 yellow or orange pepper, deseeded and diced
1 handful fresh mint, chopped
1 handful fresh flat leaf parsley, chopped
3 spring onions, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Put the couscous into a heatproof bowl and pour in enough boiling water or stock to cover the couscous. Cover the bowl with clingfilm wrap and set it aside for 5 minutes.

After 5 minutes uncover the couscous, add the oil and garlic, then fluff it up with a fork. Leave the couscous to cool for 10 minutes then add the tomato, mint, parsley, spring onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve immediately or put in the fridge until you’re ready to serve it.


Carrot Salad

5 large carrots, peeled and grated
1 red onion, thinly sliced
2 Tblsp sultanas or raisins
Small handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Dressing:
6 Tblsp lemon juice
1 Tblsp tablespoon olive oil
1 tsp honey or sugar
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander

Put all the salad ingredients in a bowl and mix them together. Put all the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar. Shake to combine and then pour over the salad just before you serve it.


Roast Vegetable Salad

400g butternut squash, peeled and cut in 1 inch dice
500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut in to 1 inch dice
1 pepper, deseeded and cut into 1 inch strips
2 red onions, cut into 8ths
1 Tblsp olive oil
salt and pepper, to taste
350g spinach
420g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
200ml natural yoghurt
2 tsp paprika

Preheat your oven to 200°C. Put the squash, sweet potato, pepper and onion onto a large baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper. Drizzle them with the oil and make sure they are all covered then season with salt and pepper. Roast the vegetables for 15 minutes then take the tray out of the oven, turn the vegetables over, and roast for a further 15 minutes.

Put the spinach, roasted vegetables and chickpeas into a large salad bowl and gently toss them together. Mix the yoghurt and paprika together.  Put the salad on to the serving plates then drizzle some dressing over the top.


Asparagus and Quinoa Salad

500ml vegetable stock
200g quinoa, rinsed and drained
500g asparagus, woody ends snapped off then cut into 1 inch lengths
1 large pepper, deseeded and roughly chopped
150g crumbled feta
2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 handful chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

Dressing:
2 Tblsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp honey or sugar
2 tsp olive oil
1 tsp paprika
2 large handfuls of spinach

Put the stock and quinoa into a saucepan over a medium heat. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed. Transfer to a large bowl and leave to cool.

Lightly cook the asparagus in boiling water or in the microwave until tender-crisp. Add the asparagus, pepper, feta, onion, parsley and rocket to the quinoa.

Put the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar. Shake to combine then pour over the salad. Toss everything together then serve.


Fruity Rice Salad

1 cup long-grain rice (white or brown)
4 Tblsp olive oil
2 Tblsp cider vinegar
1 large lettuce
3 large eating apples, cored and roughly chopped
3 celery stalks, trimmed and thinly sliced
large handful or two of raisins or sultanas

Cook the rice in a saucepan of boiling water, following packet instructions. Drain and then leave to cool.

Put the oil and vinegar into a screw-top jar. Season with salt and pepper, put on the lid, then shake to combine.

Roughly chop the lettuce and put in a large bowl Add the apple, celery and sultanas. Pour over the dressing, toss to combine, then serve.


Potato Salad

700g small new potatoes, unpeeled
2 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
125ml mayonnaise
1 Tblsp cider vinegar
3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Cook the potatoes in a large saucepan of boiling, salted water for until tender. Drain then put in a large salad bowl and leave too cool.

Mix the mayonnaise and vinegar together in a bowl. Add to the potatoes and toss to cover the potatoes in the dressing. Sprinkle over the spring onion and hard-boiled eggs. Serve.


Shopping List

Cost of 39 items for our Meal Plan this week was £58.82 from Asda on 27/05/2012.

Packets and Cereals
2x Weetabix Cereal (24x18g) £3.00
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x ASDA Smartprice Long Grain Rice (1Kg) 40p
1x ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (500g) 68p
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p
1x Great Scot Quinoa (300g) £2.18

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x ASDA Wild Pacific Pink Salmon (418g) £2.17
1x ASDA Olive Oil (250ml) £1.00
1x ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml) 48p
1x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) 70p
1x ASDA Cider Vinegar (350ml) 84p

Dairy and Eggs
4x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £4.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Greek Feta Cheese (200g) £1.50
1x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) 55p
1x Suffolk Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6) £1.42
1x ASDA Chosen by You Cypriot Halloumi (250g) £2.28
1x Cathedral City Mature Cheddar (350g) £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Smartprice Sultanas (500g) 84p
2x ASDA Asparagus (250g) £3.30
2x ASDA Salad Tomatoes (750g) £3.14
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
10 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 78p
10 ASDA Red Onions by Weight (100g) 85p
7 ASDA Butternut Squash by Weight (100g) 67.9p
5 ASDA Sweet Potatoes by Weight (100g) 64p
1x ASDA Little Gem Lettuce (2) 88p
1x ASDA Round Lettuce 50p
1x ASDA Celery 89p
1x ASDA Garlic Loose 30p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.68
2x ASDA Spring Onions £1.34
1x ASDA Extra Special Jersey Royal Potatoes (1Kg) £1.00
2x ASDA Spinach (350g) £3.00
1x ASDA Unwaxed Lemons (5) £1.00

Frozen
1x ASDA Chosen by You Salmon Fillets (400g) £3.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
1x ASDA Chosen by You Sausages (20 per pack - 1.14Kg) £3.00 any 2 FOR £6.00
1x ASDA Butcher's Selection Burgers Red Onion (681g) £3.00 any 2 FOR £6.00

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Beat the heat - Recipes to help cool down on hot days

I think today is the hottest day of the year so far here in Cambridgeshire.  I took some homemade ice lollies and cold drinks in a coolbag on the school run for my daughters to have on the way home.

I make my own ice lollies for my daughters.  You can use diluted fruit juice, custard (homemade or storebought), frozen berries blended up, the lovely ladies from Crumbs blog have some fab ideas here.  There are loads of cheap lolly moulds available from £1 stores or supermarkets.  In the past I have receycled small fromage frais pots and iceblock sticks when I had no proper moulds.  All you need are some containers, suitable sticks, and a freezer. 

Make sure everyone has plenty to drink as children can get dehydrated really quickly.  I make up fruit juice ice cubes which flavour drinks as they melt and make water a bit more more exciting.  You could use sparkling water for a change too.  Fizzy drinks are full of sugar and will dehydrate rather than hydrate so I normally stick with fruit juice, diluted by at least 50%, or plain water.  You could also make a fruit punch using a mixture of different fruit juices and then top up with still or sparkling water.  I keep a couple of large bottles of water in the fridge to use in drinks when the weather is hot.

Homemade milkshakes are great too, just blend frozen berries with milk, with or without some ice cream or ice cubes, and then serve in tall glasses.

I made a coffee milkshake earlier with chilled espresso, vanilla ice cream and milk.  It was delicious!  Great for a mid afternoon caffeine fix, and to cool down in this heat.

Chilled fruit is a great snack if you use fruit with a high water content such as melon, grapes, berries and pineapple.  I prepare mine in advance, like a fresh fruit salad and then serve fresh out of the fridge. 

For Mums of babies and toddlers:

When my daughters were really little I made ice lollies out of breastmilk when they were still breastfeeding, they helped ease sore gums when they were teething as well. My friend makes her toddler follow-on formula ice lollies, great when they are poorly with a sore throat too.

Here are a couple of my favourite recipes for when the weather is hot:


Quick Berry Milkshake


I've been making this milkshakes like this for years. You could use frozen mango chunks and sorbet instead of berries and icecream if you wanted to. Try varying the flavour to suit your tastes, what is in season, and what you have in your fridge and freezer.

400g frozen mixed berries or 400g fresh berries
1 litre or 4 cups milk
5 large scoops of berry or vanilla flavoured frozen yoghurt or icecream

Put the berries in a blender with the milk and frozen yoghurt or icecream. Blend until smooth. How easy is that?! You can use a stick belnder if you don't have a normal blender. If the milkshake is too thick just add a little more milk and blend it again.

Pour into glasses and serve either on it's own or top each glass with an extra scoop of frozen yoghurt or icecream if you like. You could put a strawberry on the rim of each glass for an edible decoration.


Frozen Fruit Kebabs

1 drinking straw per child (or kebab stick with spike removed for older children)
A selection of fruit: grapes, strawberries, satsumas, pineapple and melon chunks, etc

Thread the fruit onto the drinking straws. Wrap each fruit kebab well in clingfilm before putting them in an air tight freezer bag. Make sure the bag is sealed well. Freeze until the fruit has frozen. Remove from the freezer, unwrap them, leave them to warm up slightly for a couple of minutes then serve.


What recipes are your favourites to have on hot days?

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Espressotini - aka - Espresso Martini

This recipe is a coffee themed recipe for the Coffee, Set, Match Blogger Challenge being run by Wimbledon sponsors Lavazza.

I made this cocktail using Caffe Crema Lungo Dolcemente coffee as it is really smooth with a velvety crema and an aftertaste that stands up to the alcohol in the cocktail. 

This is a great cocktail to serve when having friends over, or if you fancy something a little different at wine o'clock.  I'm on antibiotics at the moment but had a sneaky sip and it is delicious!  I sent the two versions over to my neighbours for them to taste test as they are cocktail connoisseurs.  Both were impressed, result! 

You can of course use more alcohol if you wish but I didn't want to make it too strong.  I tried using Frangelico instead of vodka for a hazelnut twist and it worked really well.

100ml freshly brewed espresso, cooled
4 Tblsp/60ml Kahlua or Tia Maria liqueur
2 Tblsp/30ml vodka
Ice cubes for mixing

Put the cooled espresso, Tia Maria, vodka and ice cubes into a cocktail shaker. Shake vigourously for a minute or two then strain into chilled glasses.  Serve immediately.

Be warned, you may find yourself wanting more than one. Remeber to drink responsibly ;oP



Don't forget: To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter the giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

The Collective Dairy - Yoghurt Giveaway



I've blogged twice about how much I love the gourmet yoghurt from The Collective Dairy.

It is mahoooosively awesome! Lucious, velvety and creamy smooth yoghurt swirled with gorgeous fruit layers. OMGness!


Anyhoo I persuaded them to give me a small prize to giveaway to my blog readers. If you’d like to experience the delicious taste of this yoghurt too, you need to enter my giveaway to win the following:

Cool Bag
Jute bag
Magnets
Notebook
4 x £2.50 vouchers for free yoghurt

How to enter:

Fill in the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries

Entries can be via blog comment, Facebook, Twitter etc.

Please read the rules below.

Closing date 12:01am 14th June 2012 EST


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The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.

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Monday, 21 May 2012

Espresso Coffee Jellies

I needed a simple but delicious and impressive dessert to serve to friends (neighbours) who were coming over for dinner.  I had told them I was going to use them as guinea pigs get them to taste test a recipe for me.  They LOVE coffee as much as I do and were very excited that I would be  using espresso made by the gorgeous Lavazza Favola Plus Modo Mio I have been sent to create recipes with. 

This post is part of the Lavazza Coffee Set Match Blogger Challenge.  I used a Lavazza Intensamente Coffee Pod to make the espresso shot used in this recipe because the coffee had a well rounded, rich and full flavour, perfect for this recipe. Great tasting rich coffee flavour without being too overpowering.

You will need:

250ml strong espresso coffee
1 or 2 Tblsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp gelatine powder (or vegetarian equivalent)

Topping:
6 Tblsp dark chocolate ganache
6 Tblsp thickened cream or mascapone
1 Tblsp icing sugar
Grated dark chocolate or nutmeg
In a heatproof jug whisk together the hot coffee and sugar until the sugar dissolves.  Let it cool slightly then sprinkle over the gelatine and whisk until the gelatine has dissolved.  Pour into two 1/2 cup or 4 1/4 cup capacity serving cups or glasses.  Put them in the fridge until the jelly sets.  This can take a few hours.  

Stir together the cream or mascapone and icing sugar.  Carefully spread a thin layer of chocolate ganace over the top of the jelly.  Then put a dollop of the sweetened cream or mascapone on top.  Grate over some dark chocolate or nutmeg then serve.



 
Remember: If you want to be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on takeaway Lavazza coffees, or enter the giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Our Family Meal Plan for This Week 21/05 - £62

Our Meal Plan this week is pretty unadventurous and simple as I've a hectic week and need low faff options for dinner. I’ve gone for simple baking and lunches I can make in advance as well.

Breakfasts will be cereal and milk or toast with a piece of fruit for afters. We’ll have boiled eggs and soldiers once or twice this week too. Breakfast on the weekend will be the same, however one breakfast on the weekend will be pancakes.

I will probably bake more than the Baked Treats mentioned in the Meal Plan, there are enough ingredients for me to do so.  I shall amend this post if I do bake more goodies this week but considering it will be a really hectic week, I shall be struggling to fit all the baking in that I need to do without doing loads of extra baking.

The cost of the 47 items needed for our Meal Plan this week was £62.43 from Asda and they were delivered today, 20/05/2012.  I used My Supermaket to compare prices, as usual, and my shopping would've cost £78.13 at Sainsbury's and £79.13 at Tesco.

Dinners

Macaroni Cheese - Monday

I make my own cheese sauce using a roux base and add mixed vegetables to the pasta during the last few minutes of cooking time.  Our Macaroni Cheese usually has plenty of vegetables with the pasta in a rich cheddar cheese sauce.


Toad in the Hole - Tuesday

8 sausages
2 onions, quartered
2 Tblsp olive oil
150g plain flour
2 tsp mustard
2 eggs
300ml milk

Preheat your oven to 200C.  Put the sausages and onion wedges in an ovenproof baking dish. Drizzle over the oil and cook for 20 minutes.

While the sausages are cooking, put the flour and mustard powder in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Gradually whisk in the eggs and milk to make a batter. Take the sausages out of the oven and pour the batter into the dish. Put back into the oven and cook for about 30-40 minutes until the batter is crisp and golden.  I usually serve this with mixed vegetables and gravy.


Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Wednesday


Tuna Burgers - Thursday

2 x 410g tins chickpeas , drained and rinsed
400g tins tuna n spring water, drained
2 Tblsp chopped fresh coriander
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp chilli powder (use more or less to your taste)
2 Tblsp plain flour
1 - 2 Tblsp oil

Tip the chickpeas into a bowl and mash them so that they break down but still keep some texture. Flake in the tuna along with the onion, garlic, lemon juice, cumin, chilli and fresh coriander. Mix everything together well and then season the mixture to taste. Using your hands shape the mixture into 6 burgers using your hands. Dust the burgers with flour.

Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. Cook the burgers for 5-6 minutes, turning over after 3 minutes. Serve in buns with salad leaves, mayo, tomato slices and a little more fresh coriander if you like.


Bangers and Mash with Vegetables - Friday

Grilled sausages served with mixed vegetables, mashed potatoes and homemade tomato relish.  Simple but delicious!


Mince and Lentil Onepot – Saturday and Sunday


Lunches

All packed lunches will include crudités (carrot sticks, celery sticks and cucumber sticks) with herbed yoghurt dip and a piece or two of fruit. There will of course be a small baked treat included too. The bulk of the packed lunches this week will contain a calzone (recipe below) or Savoury Scone Swirls.

Mince and Vegetable Calzone

250g beef mince
1 onion, finely chopped
2 peppers, diced (any colour will do)
200g mushrooms, finely sliced
4 Tblsp tomato paste
125ml boiling water
1 tsp dried oregano
2 Tblsp fresh chives, finely chopped
1 cup grated cheddar cheese

Dough:
1  x 7g packet instant yeast
1 Tblsp sugar
150ml - 200ml lukewarm water
3 cups bread or plain flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp mixed herbs

Make the dough first so it has time to rise whilst you make the filling. Mix the yeast, sugar and water together then add the flour, salt, a couple of hearty grinds of pepper and mixed herbs.  Mix the ingredients together well, and add more warm water or flour if necessary, until the dough mixture forms a large ball.

Knead the dough gently until it is elastic and smooth.  Grease a bowl with a little oil, put the dough into the bowl and turn it n the oil.  Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place to rise for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 190C/170 Fan.

Now make the filling.  In a frying pan over a moderate heat, saute the onion, peppers, mushrooms until the peppers and onion start to soften then add the minced beef.  Brown the mince well, breaking it up as it cooks.  Add the tomato paste, water and chives then simmer gently for 10–15 minutes. Remove the filling fron the heat.

To make calzone, take a small piece of dough and roll it out into a small circle shape. Put a large spoonful of mince mixture on one side of circle, leaving a 1cm clear edge. Top with a tablespoon of grated cheddar cheese.  Fold the empty side over the filling to make a crescent shape then pinch the edges together to seal the calzone.  Repeat until all the dough and filling has been used.  I can usually get about 18 - 20 small calzone from this recipe. 

Put the calzone onto lined baking trays. Brush with a little oil and bake for 10 - 15 minutes or until they are golden and crispy.


Baked Treats

Cornflake and Sultana Cookies

125g butter at room temperature, diced
2/3 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups self-raising flour, sifted
1 Tblsp milk
1 1/2 cups cornflakes
1/2 cup sultanas

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line two large flat baking trays with non-stick paper.

Using an electric mixer, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl until creamy. Add the flour and mix on low speed until just combined. Add the milk and mix until the dough just comes together. Using a wooden spoon, stir in the cornflakes and sutanas, and mix until well combined.

Roll the mixture into balls, I usually use 1 Tblsp at a time. Put onto baking trays lined with non-stick baking paper. Allow room for the cookies to spread. Flatten the cookies slightly with a floured fork. Bake for 12-14 minutes until light golden. Remove from the oven and stand for 5 minutes on the baking trays before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Banana and Date Loaf

Homemade Muesli Bars

1 x 397g tin of condensed milk
500g muesli
100g mixed dried fruit

Preheat your oven to 130C/Gas Mark 1/2 and lightly oil a large baking tin. Mine measures 23cm x 33cm x 4cm.

Mix the dry ingredients and fruit together until well combined. Warm the condensed milk in a pan then mix with all the other ingredients and use a spatula to make sure everything is well coated.

Press the mixture into the tin and level the surface. The mixture is really sticky so you might want to wet your hands or lightly oil them so that you don't end up a sticky mess.

Bake the muesli bars for 1 hour then set aside for 15 minutes to cool slightly. Cut into bars and store in an airtight container.

Shopping List

Cost of 47 items was £62.43 from Asda Online Shopping, delivered 20/05/2012.

Packets and Cereals
1x ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g) 46p
1x ASDA Smartprice Crispy Rice Cereal (440g) 70p
1x ASDA Smartprice Swiss Style Muesli (1Kg) 98p
1x ASDA Smartprice Spaghetti (500g) 24p
2x Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.20
1x ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg) £1.28
1x ASDA Smartprice White Self Raising Flour (1.5Kg) 52p
1x Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (500g) 61p
1x ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g) 30p
1x Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g) 64p

Tins, Jars and Cooking
1x Heinz Baked Beanz in Tomato Sauce (4x415g) £1.50
3x ASDA Tuna Chunks in Spring Water (185g) £2.85
1x ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g) 31p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mayonnaise (500ml) 48p
2x ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g) £1.40
2x ASDA Chosen by You Green Lentils in Water (400g) 94p
1x ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g) 48p
1x ASDA Extra Special Passata Chunky (700g) £1.28

Frozen
3x ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg) £2.25

Dairy and Eggs
6x ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L) £6.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x Stork (500g) £1.09
1x Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk (397g) £1.00
2x ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g) £1.10
1x ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15) £3.09
1x ASDA English Medium Cheddar (400g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £4.00
1x ASDA Chosen by You English Mature Cheddar (400g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £4.00

Fruit and Vegetables
1x ASDA Chosen by You Pitted Dried Dates (500g) £1.20
1x ASDA Smartprice Sultanas (500g) 84p
20 ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g) £2.00
20 ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g) £1.36
10 ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g) 78p
3 ASDA Courgettes by Weight (100g) 54p
1x ASDA Smartprice Mushrooms (750g) £1.18
10 ASDA Onions by Weight (100g) 76p
2x ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg) £2.00 2 FOR £2.00
5 ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g) 99.5p
2x ASDA Whole Cucumber £1.00
1x ASDA British Iceberg Lettuce Loose 50p
2x ASDA Celery £1.00
2x ASDA Garlic Loose 60p
1x ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g) £1.50
2x ASDA Mandarins (700g) £2.00 any 2 FOR £2.00
1x ASDA Unwaxed Lemons (5) £1.00

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x ASDA Chosen by You Pork Sausages (8 per pack - 454g) £2.00
1x ASDA British Lean Beef Steak Mince (500g) £3.29 any 2 FOR £6.00
1x ASDA British Turkey Mince (450g) £1.98
1x ASDA British Beef Mince (250g) £1.20

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce - Lean On Turkey

This is my entry for the for the BritMums Lean on Turkey competition, sponsored by http://www.leanonturkey.co.uk/



You may remember that I blogged about the Lean On Turkey Campaign, you can read about it here.  If you want to try out some other fab turkey recipes check out Lean on Turkey which is all about inspiring families to use more fresh turkey in their weekly meals.

I've been challenged, along with some other bloggers, to create another recipe for the campaign so I decided to swap our usual homemade beef meatballs for turkey ones and cook them in a homemade tomato sauce. 

This is a delicious and inexpensive family dinner costing £4.97 to feed 7 people in total, made up of : 4 adults, a 12yo, a 9yo and a 5yo.  I purchased the ingredients from Asda on 20/05/12.  Here is the cost breakdown:

2 slices of homemade bread 5p
3 Tblsp milk 2p
2 Tblsp fresh oregano (from my garden) free
450g turkey mince £1.98
2 cloves of garlic 6p
1 pepper 30p
2 courgettes 54p
700g Extra Special Chunky Passata £1.28
500g spaghetti 24p
700g frozen mixed vegetables 50p

Here's the recipe:

Turkey Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

2 slices stale bread
3 or 4 Tblsp milk
450g turkey mince
2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh oregano or 2 tsp dried
1 Tblsp oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
1 pepper, diced (any colour will do)
2 courgettes, diced
700g bottle tomato passata
Spaghetti and mixed vegetable, to serve

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan/

Rip the two slices of bread into small pieces and put into a bowl. Add the milk and squidge the mixture together so the bread gets soggy.


Add the turkey mince and half the oregano then season with salt and pepper.



Mix together well with your hands and form into meatballs.  I got 18 large meatballs out of the mixture.



Put the meatballs into an ovenproof dish big enough to hold all the meatballs in one layer. Heat the oil in a large non-stick pan, then sweat off the onions and garlic.


Add the pepper and courgettes and sauté for about 5 mins until the peppers start to soften. Pour in the passata and the remaining oregano. Cook uncovered for about 10 minutes until the sauce begins to thicken.


Put the meatballs in the oven for 10minutes to brown.




Take the meatballs out of the oven, pour over the sauce, then return to the oven for another 15 minutes.


Whilst the meatballs are in the oven you can cook the spaghetti according to the packet instructions along with whatever vegetables you would like to serve with the dish.



To serve, spoon the meatballs and sauce over the pasta and add cooked vegetables on the side.



**This is a sponsored post**

Coffee Whoopie Pies

Whoopie Pies were all the rage a little while ago, before cake pops came along and they were largely forgotten.  I still like making Whoopie Pies because they make a nice change from cupcakes and biscuits.  You an make them as large or small as you like.  There are so many different flavour combinations, they are really versatile.  I decided to experiment with coffee flavoured ones as part of the Lavazza Coffee Set Match Blogger Challenge.

I used a Lavazza Intensamente Coffee Pod to make the espresso shot used in this recipe because it had a well rounded and rich flavour and produced a full flavoured coffee, perfect to use in this recipe.  Great rich coffee flavour without being too overpowering.

To make the Coffee Whoopie Pies you will need:

125g butter, softened
155g light soft brown sugar
55g caster sugar
1 free range egg
1 Tblsp strong espresso coffee
300g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125ml buttermilk

Filling:
Whipped cream or Chocolate ganache

Preheat oven to 180°C. Line 4 oven trays with non-stick baking paper.

Use a stand mixer or electric beater to cream the butter and sugars in a bowl until they are pale and creamy. Add the egg and coffee, beating until well incorporated.


Add the flour, bicarbonate of soda and buttermilk then stir until just combined.  Don't overmix it or you will end up with heavy whoopie pies instead of delicate light ones.

Put 1 Tblsp dollops of mixture onto the prepared trays, allow plenty of room for them to spread. 


Bake for 8 - 10 minutes, I bake 2 trays at a time.  The whoopie pies should be puffed up and golden.  Leave on the trays to cool for a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely. Cook all the remaining trays of whoopie pies in the same way.


If the whoopie pies have spread a bit too far or become slightly unruly, use a cookie cutter to cut them out so they are the same size.  You can use the off cuts to make cake pops or to layer in a glass with fruit and yoghurt to make a cheats trifle. 


When you are ready to serve the whoopie pies you can can join them together using whipped cream, chocolate ganache, or both.  You can sprinkle over icing sugar, cinnamon or drinking chocolate to make them look even more fancy if you want.

Remember: If you want to be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on takeaway Lavazza coffees, or enter the giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com//


Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.

Mocha Cake

I totally LOVE coffee! My day is incomplete without at least one cup.  I did a dance of joy when the email from coffee experts Lavazza arrived in my inbox asking if I was up for a challenge to create lots of coffee related recipes, thankfully I was at home LOL  It took all of 2 seconds for me to reply and get signed up to take part in the campaign.

Lavazza are sponsoring the Wimbledon Tennis Tournament for the second year in a row, and have created the Coffee Set Match Blogger Challenge to celebrate the occasion.

This means that a group of food bloggers have all been sent Lavazza Favola Plus Modo Mio coffee machines to play with endlessly to make coffees and create recipes using the delicious coffees.

My machine was delivered on a Friday morning, great timing for a caffeine boost!  I spent ages making different coffees, playing with the milk frother/hot water dispenser, and experimenting with the different strengths and sizes of coffee the machine produces.  By Saturday afternoon I had finished faffing and got down to some recipe creation.

Here's the first one:

Mocha Cake

This is a fab bung-it-all-in low faff cake that tastes delicious with a cuppa.  I decided to use Lavazza Diviniamente coffee in this cake because it's a rich full-bodied coffee with a hint of chocolate, perfect for a Mocha Cake.

6 Tbsp/90ml hot espresso coffee
4 Tblsp/60ml milk
50g good quality cocoa powder
3 free range eggs
175g self-raising flour
1 rounded tsp baking powder
100g butter, softened
275g caster sugar

Filling and Topping:
300ml whipping cream
1 Tblsp cooled espresso shot
30g finely grated dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)

Preheat your oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4.  Lightly grease two deep 20cm (8 inch) sandwich tins and either use bought liners or line the bases with non-stick baking paper.



Make a 90ml espresso shot and then add the milk and cocoa powder.  Mix everything together well until it forms a lump-free mixture.  

Put all the rest of the ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer  or a mixing bowl.  Use an electric mixer or stand mixer to mix everything together until it's combined.  Don't over beat the mixture.  
 
 
 
Divide the cake mixture between the prepared cake tins and gently level the surface. 
 
 
 
Bake for 25–30 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cakes are beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.  Take the cakes out of the oven, turn them out of the cake tin and leave them to cool completely on a wire rack. 
 
Once the cakes are cool whip the cream and then stir in the cooled espresso and the grated chocolate.  Use half the cream to fill the cake and spread the remainder over the top.  Grate over more dark chocolate.  
 
   
 
You can also enter the draw to win one of the fabulous Lavazza Wimbledon Prizes in their giveaway!  Just look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter online at: http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include 6 pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition Coffee Machines (which I totally recommend as an awesome gadget!) and 500 sets of 4 exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.  Don't forget to enter!


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Tesco Real Food Jubilee Street Party Food Masterclass

I attended a fabulous Masterclass event last week in association with Tesco and Tesco Real Food.  Tesco Real Food Magazine is free instore and is packed with great recipes and tips.  The Masterclass involved us bloggers cooking tasty recipes suitable for a Street Party to celebrate the upcoming Jubilee.  The recipes we used, and many others, can be found in a special edition of Tesco Real Food Magazine.  If you can't find one instore you can read it online here.

The Masterclass was led by the lovely Rosalind from The Cookery School who was on hand to offer lots of tips, new shortcuts and techniques, loads of assistance as well as a couple of extra recipes and vegetarian options for all the recipes.  Rosalind was amazing and I would definitely recommend attending a course at The Cookery School should you need/want to. 

At the Masterclass all the bloggers in attendance were given a recipe to cook.  There were some bloggers who couldn't attend so we all ended up cooking our recipe then helping others finish preparing theirs.  It was a fab team effort!


Hard at work preparing the feast
 Kerry who blogs at Multiple Mummy cooked Chicken Tikka Drummers

Tara who blogs at Hanwell Nest made Coronation Coleslaw

Claire from Crumbs blog made not one but two Red, White and Blue Trifles

I made the English Breakfast Quiche

and Fleur who blogs at Homemade By Fleur made Three Pea and Wensleydale Salad


My quiche fresh out of the oven
After we'd all cooked the delicious recipes we all got to eat them.  What a treat! There was so much food, and some wine, which was good because we all had seconds LOL


Tucking in to the delicious food we had prepared

If you have your own fabulous Street Party Recipe then upload it to Customer Recipes of the Tesco Real Food website.  Anyone who uploads a recipe will go in the draw to win prizes including a weekend cookery course for two at Ashburton Cookery School.

Thank you so much to Tesco for asking me along to the event and to Rosalind at The Cookery School for providing invaluable assistance and a great venue.  I had a fabulous time, delicious meal and a good natter with other bloggers which is always a treat.

Win a £50 Experience Day Voucher


Experience days
Picture Credit: Katie Bryson from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter


I'm rather excited that I've a £50 gift voucher for Experience Days UK to give away to one lucky reader of my blog.

It’s a website chocka full with lots of fun activities and experiences to try.  I would LOVE one of the  gourmet experiences like chocolate making or a cookery course. (HINT, HINT!)

There are pampering days for those needing some relaxation or experiences like zorbing, rock climbing or paint balling for those wanting a bit more of an adrenaline rush. Whatever floats your boat, you’ll find something to do!

You can redeem the voucher against any of the gift experiences on the website.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Terms and Conditions:

This giveaway is open to all readers over 18 with a postal address in the UK.

The winner will be chosen via Rafflecopter using an online randomiser and announced in a subsequent post.

I am running this competition on behalf of Experience Days who will be sending the prize out to the lucky winner. Their decision is final and no correspondence will be entered into.

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If you already like / follow comment in the rafflecopter widget then let me know to get your entries.


You can also enter to win a £50 Experience Days Gift Voucher on the Feeding Boys and a Firefighter blog written by the lovely Katie.

The Collective Yoghurt - Simply Delicous!

the collective
The yoghurt was swiftly eaten by my family shortly after this pic was taken!

I reviewed The Collective Yoghurt last year and it was delicious!  You can read that post here.  I've since attended an event and participated in a blind taste test of The Collective Yoghurt up against others I would usually buy.  It totally blew away all the competition because it was by far best in the tests.  So deliciously creamy with just the right amount of fruit layers.  I am a HUGE fan of this yoghurt.  My husband, who never normally eats yoghurt at all, devoured a whole 500g pot on his own in one sitting.

My children mercilessly nag me to buy it whenever we are in our local supermarket.  It is that good!

We have it for breakfast sometimes with granola, muesli or cereal.  There are smaller pots which are perfect for a lunchtime treat.  My favourite way to eat it is for pudding mixed with crushed biscuits like a cheats cheesecake, or mixed with frozen berries so the yoghurt freezes and coats the berries.  OMGness! Tastes fab without being loaded with calories, the perfect pud.

You can also use the larger yoghurt pots for dozens of things around your house.  They are sturdy and stackable so perfect for storing food in the fridge or cupboard as well as non-food uses such as storing kids small lego pieces, a garden string holder (just put a small hole in the top),  sewing accessories, etc.  You can even use them as plan pots on your windowsill. 


Check out The Collective on Facebook, You Tube and of course follow them on Twitter.




** This is not a sponsored post. I had my travel expenses reimbursed for attending the event. **