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Fresh From The Oven April Round-up - Knackerbröd

Tuesday 30 April 2013
Thanks so much to the lovely Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes who hosted the Fresh From The Oven Challenge last month.  She challenged us to make Knackerbröd   A few brave bloggers attempted the Challenge with delicious results!

Ness from Jibber Jabber UK made these tasty morsels:

Gill from Tales of Pigling Bland, who recently completed the London Marathon, baked these:

Tandy from Lavender and Lime made these delectable after dinner treats:

And finally our April host Jen from Blue Kitchen Bakes whose fab Knackerbröd were our inspiration this month:

Thanks to all those who took part in the challenge!  The next challenge will be announced on my blog tomorrow, 1st May.

Marinated Pork Ribs

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a Chinese Cooking Masterclass hosted by Hannah Hayes from China Feast to celebrate the launch of Amoy Premium Soy Sauce.  The Masterclass was held in a brilliant venue, the Central Street Cookery School which is a facility that enables the whole community to cook together, to learn about health through food and cooking and to gain essential skills for life - something I am very passionate about.  It was a great space to work in, very light and airy with plenty of room and excellent facilities.

During the Masterclass we were instructed how to cook Egg Fried Rice, Soy, Honey and Mustard Chicken Skewers and Hannah’s Mouth-watering Chicken along with Hot and Sour Soup.  It was a rather busy and action packed day!

I normally prefer Japanese Soy Sauce which is brewed for longer and doesn't contain any preservatives or sugar.  The Amoy Special Selection Soy Sauce is made with “the finest extracts of soya beans and blended with sea salt”, you can really taste the salt so I wouldn't use too much of it when cooking for my children.  It does have a richer flavour than their regular version, however I still prefer Japanese Soy Sauce.

That said, I decided to make some Marinated Pork Ribs so my family could form their own opinions on the Amoy Special Selection Soy Sauce.

Marinated Pork Ribs

1kg pork ribs
2 Tblsp Amoy Special Selection Soy Sauce
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp tomato paste
1 Tblsp oil
1 Tblsp wholegrain mustard

Mix together all the marinade ingredients, pour over the ribs and make sure they are thoroughly coated.  Leave to marinate for half an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.  I marinated mine in the morning then left the ribs covered in the fridge all day before cooking them for dinner in the evening.

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.  Put the ribs into a foil lined roasting dish and bake for 35 - 45 minutes until cooked through, or alternatively BBQ the ribs until cooked through.  I usually serve mine with cooked rice and steamed vegetables in chillier weather or with a variety of salads in the summer.

The Verdict:

My family thought the ribs had a richer flavour, youngest said that they were almost too salty for her.  I would use the soy sauce when cooking for adults or teenagers as the salt content for younger children does worry me.  Dinner was devoured enthusiastically however and other than what I mentioned above there were no other complaints.

Our Family Meal Plan for week of 29/04/13 - £52, The Exhausted Edition

Sunday 28 April 2013
After our busy week last week I am exhausted.  It took me longer than usual to formulate my Meal Plan this week as my meal planning mojo had disappeared along with my energy.  Thankfully this week isn't quite as hectic although there will still be plenty to keep me out of mischief.  There's a couple of work shifts, an afternoon school meeting, a whole day in school, an evening function and hospital clinic appointment to deal with.  

Breakfasts will be cereal with milk and a piece of fruit for afters.  My daughters will be having school dinners this week as it will be easier for everyone because of our schedule this week.  My husband and I will have leftovers for our lunches.  After school snacks will be a piece or two of fruit and perhaps a small baked treat.

The cost of our groceries this week was £52.23 from Asda online on 28/04/2013.  As usual I checked the cost of our shopping from other supermarkets on My Supermarket.  Had we shopped at Sainsbury's our groceries would've cost £55.57 and from Tesco £57.18.


Bacon and Egg Pie

500g puff pastry
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
6 rashers of bacon, rind removed and thinly sliced
8 free range eggs
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 200C/180 Fan.

Roll out 2/3 of the pastry on a floured surface until large enough to line a 25cm pie dish.  Line the pie dish with the pastry.  Sprinkle the chopped spring onion and half of the bacon over the pastry, crack in the eggs then sprinkle over the rest of the bacon.

Roll out the remaining pastry and use it to make a lid for the pie.  Trim off any excess pastry and crimp the edges to seal.  Cut 3 or 4 small vents into the lid of the pie, brush with milk and bake in the oven for 30 - 40 minutes until the pastry is dark golden and crispy.

Fish Burgers with Potato Wedges

3 spring onions finely sliced
400g fish fillets, finely chopped
1 Tblsp fresh herbs
Juice of half a lemon
1 free range egg
1 slice wholemeal bread made in to breadcrumbs
1 Tblsp flour

Thoroughly mix together the spring onion, fish herbs and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper then add the egg before mixing thoroughly once again.

Add he breadcrumbs and flour, mix until combined.  You should have a firm but moist mixture, if the mixture is a little dry add more lemon juice.

Shape the mixture into burgers, we made 5, and grill or fry for 4 - 5 minutes on each side until cooked through.  We serve ours in wholemeal buns with salad and some potato wedges on the side.

Bacon and Leek Risotto

1 Tblsp oil
2 leeks, finely sliced
1 tsp dried sage
100g risotto rice
250ml white wine
200ml vegetable stock
6 rashers bacon, rind removed and sliced
3 Tblsp grated Parmesan

Heat the oil in a large frying pan.  Add the leeks and sage and cook until the leeks start to soften. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes.  Add the wine and stock, stir briefly, bring to the boil then turn the heat down to a simmer.

Cover and simmer until the rice is tender and the liquid has been absorbed, this should take 10 - 12 minutes.  Whilst the risotto is simmering grill the bacon until crispy.  Once the rice is tender stir through the parmesan and top with the crispy bacon pieces.

Simmered Mince Many Ways - Cottage Pie on Thursday, Chilli Con Carne on Friday, and Mince and Lentil Hotpot on Saturday

Chorizo and Vegetable Frittata

200g chorizo, diced
4 potatoes, peeled and diced then cooked
1 onion diced
7 free range eggs

Turn on your oven grill to preheat.  Put a large saucepan over a moderate heat and add the diced chorizo.  When the oil starts to run from the chorizo add the diced onion and diced cooked potato.  Cook for a few minutes, stirring frequently.  Crack the eggs into a bowl and whisk until no whites remain.

Add the eggs to the pan, reduce the heat to low and cook for about 7 - 10 minutes until the frittata is starting to set well around the edges.  Put the frying pan until the grill taking care not to melt the handle of your pan.  Cook until completely set and light golden on the top.  We'll be having ours with steamed vegetables.

Shopping List

31 items: £52.23
Packets and Cereals
 1x      ASDA Chosen by You Wheat Bisks (48x18g)                           £3.08    
1x      Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                80p       
1x      ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                     £1.26    
1x      ASDA Arborio Risotto Rice (500g)                                             £1.00    
1x      ASDA Chosen by You Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)          £1.00    
1x      Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)         65p       

 2x      ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                               £1.50    
1x      ASDA Whitefish Fillets (500g)                                                    £2.00    

Tins, Jars and Cooking
 2x      ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g)                          62p       
1x      ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g)                                48p       
1x      ASDA Chosen by You Green Lentils in Water (400g)               62p       

Dairy and Eggs
 5x      ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                    £5.00    
1x      ASDA Free Range Mixed Weight Eggs (15)                             £3.00    

Meat, Fish and Poultry
 2x      ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g)               £4.00    
1x      ASDA Butcher's Selection Thick Cut Back Bacon (530g)        £4.00    
1x      ASDA Chorizo Cooking Sausage (200g)                                   £2.50    

Fruit and Vegetables
 20      ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g)                              £2.36    
20      ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g)                                              £1.36    
1x      ASDA Lemons Loose                                                                 27p       
20      ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g)                                                £1.60    
5        ASDA Leeks by Weight (100g)                                                  98.5p    
2x      ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                                   £3.50     2 FOR £3.50
5        ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (100g)                                            99.5p    
2x      ASDA Round Lettuce                                                                 £1.14    
1x      ASDA Celery                                                                              89p       
1x      ASDA Garlic Loose                                                                    30p       
1x      ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                             £1.65    
1x      ASDA Spring Onions                                                                  69p       
1x      ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg)                                     98p       
2x      ASDA Plums (500g)                                                                   £2.00    
1x      ASDA Juicing Oranges (1.6Kg)                                                 £2.00    
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery website My Supermarket, and are correct as of 28 April 2013.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

Don't forget to check out other Meal Plans on the At Home With Mrs M linky.

Raspberry and Banana Mini Cakes

My 10yo wanted to bake a delicious and pretty afternoon tea treat.  After some tinkering and experimenting we came up with these light morsels which went down very well for afternoon tea.  Our first two attempts were edible but not light or particularly delicious so it was a lesson in patience and perseverance for my 10yo and great practice for her recipe development skills.  In the end we decided to add the raspberries part way through the baking process to avoid them sinking and causing soggy bottoms, the GBBO crew would not have been amused!

Raspberry and Banana Mini Cakes

125g butter
125m milk, we used semi-skimmed
2 medium free range eggs
220g caster sugar
1 large over-ripe banana, mashed
225g self raising flour
100g frozen raspberries

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cases or use disposable mini loaf cases like we did.

Put the milk and butter into a small saucepan over a low heat and stir until the butter has only just melted.  Take off the heat and set aside to cool.

Beat the eggs using electric beaters or a stand mixer until they reach the ribbon stage.  Ribbon-stage is describes the texture of an egg-and-sugar mixture that has been beaten until pale and extremely thick.   When you lift the the beater or whisk, the batter falls slowly back onto the surface of the mixture forming a ribbon-like pattern that stays on the surface for a few seconds before sinking back into the batter.  Keep beating as you gradually add the sugar a little at a time.  Make sure each addition of sugar has dissolved before you add more.  This will take a while but persevere, you will end up with a lovely mousse like mixture.

Once all the sugar has been added you can fold through the mashed banana.  Add half the flour and half of the butter and milk mixture.  Fold in gently but thoroughly. Once completely combined add the remainder of the flour and the rest of the butter and milk mixture.  Fold through carefully until completely incorporated.

Divide the mixture evenly between the mini loaf cases or muffin cases.  Bake the cakes for 10 minutes, take them out of the oven and push a few raspberries in to the top of each one.  Bake for 15 minutes more.  If you have made muffins cool them in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out on to a wire rack to cool completely.  One the mini cakes or muffins are cool dust them  with a little icing sugar then serve.

Live Below The Line Challenge

This week is Live Below The Line week.  We tried the challenge last year and it was indeed a challenge.  We won't be taking part this year due to health reasons but will be using the £25 that we would've spent on the challenge to sponsor those who are taking part.

Live Below The Line Week runs from 29th April to 3rd May 2013 (this is the official week however you can chose any 5 days that suit you!).  It’s free to sign up and there is no minimum sponsorship target. All you need to do is go to https://www.livebelowtheline.com/uk and create a fundraising page.

Taking part in the challenge is a brilliant life experience for everyone, don't be put off if you have kids.  My three daughters spoke about it at their school assemblies and in their classes to share their experience of the week and to spread the word.  It was hard but we were so glad to have done it.

I hope many of you feel inspired to take up the challenge, we will be back taking part next year.

A Very Special 13th Birthday Cake

My eldest daughter turned 13 and wanted to bake and decorate her own cake.  She is giving me some competition!  Her chocolate cake was covered in ganache then the top was decorated with chocolate beans, including her initial, before the sides were covered in dark and milk chocolate fingers.  She definitely shares the chocolate addiction that my husband has!

The cake was baked using this recipe and she baked, decorated and photographed the cake herself.  I am SO proud of her!

I think my 13yo could run a business selling these to her friends!  Perhaps it will be a future pocket money earner for her.

Super Quick Chocolate Cake

Tuesday 23 April 2013

I have a really busy week this week so time and patience are in short supply.  There's nothing like one of your children giving you very little notice of an event that requires you to bake a cake to fill you with dread joy.  Fitting in time to bake this week is a tough challenge, and I am really knackered.  Therefore I needed a cake that was fast and easy to make as well as tasting delicious, but also one that would keep well for a couple of days.  I baked this Quick Chocolate Cake using buttermilk which made the cake lovely and moist.  The cake kept well for a couple of days and I think the flavour improved on keeping as well.

115g butter
125g dark chocolate, I used Divine 70%
220g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
440ml buttermilk (or 410ml milk and 30ml lemon juice left to sit for 10 minutes)
3 free range eggs
260g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
½ tsp baking powder

100g butter
100g dark chocolate, I used Divine 70%

Grease and line a 23cm deep springform or loose bottomed cake tin.  Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.

Melt the butter and chocolate together, either in the microwave or in a saucepan over a low heat.  Be careful not to over heat the mixture.  Whilst the chocolate and butter are melting mix together the sugar,  vanilla, buttermilk and eggs.  Pour in the melted butter and chocolate mixture, beat to combine.  Once mixture is totally combined add all the dry ingredients and fold them through until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the batter into your prepared cake tin.  Bake for 40 – 50 minutes minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.  Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto wire rack to cool completely.

To make the icing:
Ensure the cake has cooled completely before you ice it.  Heat the butter and dark chocolate together, either in a saucepan over a very low heat or in the microwave.  If heating in the microwave stir the mixture every 30 seconds until melted and combined.  Pour over the cake and leave to set.

Our Family Meal Plan For Week of 22/04/2013 - £55 The Hectic Week Edition

Sunday 21 April 2013
We've a busy week ahead this week.  I have two school governor meetings, one APCM evening meeting, one Parent Consultation Evening, a trip to London, two work shifts and my eldest will be celebrating her 13th Birthday.  This has made compiling the Meal Plan this week rather interesting.  I needed quick, tasty and low faff meals for us all  that are also cost effective.

As usual I compared the cost of our groceries.  I purchased our shopping list from Asda on 21/04/2013 and it cost £54.95.  Our shopping list items purchased from Tesco would've cost £64.38, from Waitrose £70.45 and from Sainsbury's £70.64.

My 3 daughters are annoyed that they will be having school dinners this week but it will make life easier for everyone.  Breakfasts will be cereal or toast with a piece of fruit for afters. 


Vegetable and Chickpea Hotpot

1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 pepper, diced
2 sticks celery, finely sliced
2 courgettes, sliced
2 carrots, finely sliced
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
400g tin chickpeas, drained
300ml vegetable stock

Put a large casserole pot over a moderate heat.  Saute the onion and garlic until they start to soften.

Add the pepper, celery, courgettes, carrots and sweet potatoes.  Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  You may need to add a little water if the vegetables start to stick to the pan.

Add the tinned tomatoes, spices, chickpeas and stock.  Stir well, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 45 minutes.  Check the hotpot every 15 minutes to ensure there is enough liquid in the pot.  Check the seasoning then serve.

Honey Soy Chicken

6 chicken portions, I usually use drumsticks
2 Tblsp soy sauce
1 Tblsp honey
1 tsp tomato paste
1 Tblsp oil
1 Tblsp mustard, I usually use Dijon mustard

Make a few slashes into each chicken portion.  This will help the marinade penetrate the chicken and also help it cook faster.

Mix together all the marinade ingredients, pour over the chicken and make sure the chicken is thoroughly coated.  Leave to marinate for half an hour at room temperature or overnight in the fridge.

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Put the chicken into a roasting dish and bake for 35 - 45 minutes until the chicken is cooked through.  I usually serve mine with cooked rice and steamed vegetables.


8 tortillas, wholemeal wraps or burritos (Store bought or homemade)
 1 tin whole kernel corn
 2 tins chilli beans
 1 cup grated cheese
 2 fresh tomatoes, roughly chopped
 1 spring onion, white and green parts chopped
 A couple of large handfuls of grated cheese

Preheat a non-stick frying pan or sandwich press. Top four of the tortillas with the chilli beans, drained sweetcorn, chopped tomatoes, spring onion and grated cheese.  Cover with remaining tortillas to make a tortilla sandwiches.

Spray frying pan with a little oil. Cook tortillas one at a time in frying pan. Cook on one side for 2 or 3 minutes, then turn and cook the other side for another 2 or 3 minutes, or until the fillings are hot and the cheese has melted. Repeat with the other three tortillas. Allow to cool for a few minutes. Serve with salad.

Slow Cooker Sausage and Lentil Stew

6 good quality sausages
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 stalks celery, finely sliced
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
2 x 400g tins chopped tomatoes
1 Tblsp tomato paste
1 1/2 cups uncooked green lentils
2 cups sweet potato, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and finely sliced
500ml  vegetable stock

In a large frying pan brown the sausages then cut each into 4 chunks.  Put the sausage chunks into the slow cooker with all the other ingredients.

Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours. When cooked serve in bowls with crusty bread rolls.

Pasties (using leftover stew)

Slow Cooker Chicken Curry

1 Tblsp oil
2 onions, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 Tblp grated fresh ginger
1 Tblsp curry powder
2 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
500g skinless and boneless chicken thighs, cut into chunks
2 x 400g cans diced tomatoes
250 ml Evaporated milk
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 Tblsp garam masala
125ml plain yoghurt
1 Tblsp sugar

Preheat your slow cooker on low.  Heat the oil in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic until the onions are transparent.  Add the ginger, curry powder, cumin and coriander. Cook for about a minute until the spices are fragrant.

Add the chicken to pan and brown a little.  Tip the entire contents of the pan into the slow cooker.  Stir in the tinned tomatoes, evaporated milk, tomato paste and garam masala.  Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

About 10 minutes before you are ready to serve, stir through the yoghurt and sugar.  Check the seasoning and adjust if necessary.  I serve this with rice and steamed vegetables.

Shopping List

38 items: £54.95                                                                                           

Packets and Cereals                                                                                  

1x      ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g)                                                  46p  
1x      Asda Wholefoods Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                          80p  
1x      ASDA Wholemeal Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                               £1.26            
1x      ASDA Easy Cook Long Grain Brown Rice (1Kg)                               £1.78            
1x      ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g)                                             30p  
1x      ASDA Chosen by You Ready to Roll Puff Pastry (500g)                   £1.00            
1x      Jus-Rol Filo Pastry (375g)                                                                   £1.00            
1x      Asda Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)                   65p  
1x      Great Scot Green Lentils (500g)                                                          £1.29            

Dairy and Eggs                                                                                           

3x      ASDA Chosen by You French Set Yogurts Assorted (6x125g)          £3.00            
4x      ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                              £4.00            
1x      ASDA Free Range Medium Eggs (12)                                                £1.98            
1x      ASDA Greek Feta Cheese (200g)                                                       £1.00 was £1.27


1x      ASDA Chosen by You Freshly Frozen Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)        £1.00            
1x      ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                        75p  

Tins, Jars and Cooking                                                                             

5x      ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g)                                    £1.55            
2x      ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g)                                          96p  
1x      ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g)                                                  32p  
1x      ASDA Chick Peas in Water (400g)                                                     62p  
1x      ASDA Double Concentrated Tomato Puree (200g)                            48p  

Fruit and Vegetables                                                                                 

1x      ASDA Salad Tomatoes (750g)                                                            £1.50            
20      ASDA Smartprice Apples by Weight (100g)                                       £2.36            
20      ASDA Bananas by Weight (100g)                                                       £1.36            
20      ASDA Carrots by Weight (100g)                                                         £1.60            
2x      ASDA Aubergine Loose                                                                       £1.00 
1x      ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                                             £1.90            
2x      ASDA Whole Cucumber                                                                      £1.00            
2x      ASDA Round Lettuce                                                                          £1.14            
1x      ASDA Celery                                                                                       89p  
2x      ASDA Garlic Loose                                                                              60p  
1x      ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                                      £1.65            
2x      ASDA Courgettes (3)                                                                           £2.00            
1x      ASDA Spring Onions                                                                           69p  
1x      ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg)                                              98p  
2x      ASDA Sweet Potatoes (1Kg)                                                               £2.00            

Meat, Fish and Poultry                                                                              

1x      ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 454g)                   £2.50  was £2.98
1x      ASDA Butcher's Selection Boneless Chicken Thigh Fillets (515g)     £3.58
1x      ASDA Butcher's Selection Chicken Drumsticks (1.1Kg)                    £4.00            

Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery website My Supermarket, and are correct as of 21 April 2013.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

Don't forget to check out the Meal Planning Monday linky on At Home With Mrs M.

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