Category Archives: Food

Family Friendly Food

Cook your own Pizza!

Post in Collaboration with Schwartz.

Cooking at home doesn’t have to be a hassle. Whether you want a romantic meal for two, or a family favourite, you can create a meal to be proud of at home without too much hassle or expense! I keep a good stock of spices in my cupboard, as they really help to make a meal tasty!

Pizza is a firm favourite in our house, but a takeaway pizza is pricey, and shop bought is never quite the same! So, we’ve been experimenting with making our own pizza, and it has been a big success!

Make your own Pizza Base

Making a pizza base is so much easier than you might think! We use this pizza dough recipe. It is so easy to make, and the children love being involved in the process. It’s a great way to keep everyone busy for a happy hour!

Make your own Pizza Sauce

I make a simple tomato based pizza sauce which works with most toppings! This recipe actually makes enough for 4 pizzas, but it also works as a pasta sauce so that’s lunch sorted for the following day!

Ingredients;

1 Tin of Plum Tomatoes

1/2 Tsp of Schwartz Crushed Chilli

1 Tbsp Of Schwartz Mixed Herbs

1 Clove Garlic – chopped finely

1/2 Onion Chopped

1 Tbsp Tomato Ketchup

Method:

Fry the onions, once they’ve started to brown add the garlic. Meanwhile use a potato masher to mash the plum tomatoes so they’re smooth. Add the tomatoes to the onions and garlic. Add the tomato ketchup and stir the sauce well. (I add ketchup as it gives a little sweetness to the sauce – and makes it taste more like a take out pizza, but you could exclude this!)

Then add the seasoning. Let the sauce simmer for 5 minutes stirring occasionally.

Take it off the heat to let it cool before spreading on to the pizza base.

Pizza

Make up your pizza! Spread the base with the pizza sauce and then add your cheese and toppings of choice. It’s worth investing in mozzarella cheese as it does give the pizza a really lovely flavour. We like to mix mozzarella and cheddar for a really cheesy flavour. Other toppings we love are olives, sweetcorn and peppers! Allow roughly 10-15 minutes cooking time depending on how many toppings you have added to your pizza!

We love Schwartz Crushed Chillies as not only do they give a bit of heat to our pizza sauce, but they can also be added at the end of baking the pizza. This is perfect as when we’re cooking for the children they don’t want to much heat – but we like some extra spices! We have also been known to make grown up pizza bases, by adding chilli flakes to our pizza base dough – great for pizza with extra heat!

Ten Acre Popcorn – Review

Post Christmas and my snacking habits have got a bit out of control. I’ve been enjoying leftover Christmas cake and biscuits rather too much. My sugary snacking is a problem, mostly because I can’t just have one biscuit. I guess it’s partly the cold weather too? I want to curl up with sugary food and prepare to hibernate!

Over the Christmas holidays, we started making our own popcorn. It was a great way to let everyone snack when they were watching tv – and avoided them raiding the biscuit tin. But since they’re back at school, we are time limited. Or specifically I am. I find myself looking for something to snack on quickly in between pick ups.


Ten Acre Popcorn got in touch to see if I’d like to try their Popcorn. I couldn’t resist! Aunty Winifred’s Sweet and salty Popcorn is great! The flavour is perfectly balanced between salt and sugar. No unpopped kernels were lurking in my bag. The popcorn has a bite to it but isn’t too crunchy. It’s perfect for snacking at home, on the go or even at the cinema!

According to the packet, there are 474 calories per 100g, so this bag is approximately 126 calories – and it is a big bag! It doesn’t seem to bad for a naughty but nice treat.

I was also sent the Cappuccino flavour popcorn. This tasted sweeter than the sweet and salty variety. A definite coffee taste with a milky hint to the flavour. I’d enjoy these as an alternative to my elevensies cake.

Both flavours of popcorn are Gluten free and Vegan – perfect for those doing Veganuary!

Biscuiteers Afternoon tea

A couple of weekends ago, a very good friend and I visited Biscuiteers in Notting Hill for afternoon tea. We had been talking about doing something special, and this seemed the ideal treat – well I do love cake!

Afternoon tea has to be booked in advance, I booked by email and got a prompt reply confirming the booking. They also sent me a reminder of the booking a day or two before – which was a useful reminder!

The Biscuiteers shop is smaller than I’d imagined, and the cafe is at the back of the shop. It’s lovely as you can see the shop, but are tucked away from the hustle and bustle!

The afternoon tea arrived includes Scones with jam and cream, a selection of mini cakes and of course a couple of famous Biscuiteers biscuits!

Biscuiteers Afternoon Tea

I have to say I struggle to pick a favourite, there’s a real selection of flavours! There was a mini cheese cake which I thought was heavenly, and also this mini lemon meringue pie featured below was a firm favourite!

We struggled to finish eating all the cakes, but the staff were fabulous at wrapping the cakes up for us to take away! The Biscuiteers Afternoon Tea costs £30 each, which I think was relatively good value for an extra special tea. It is a lovely experience and I really enjoyed visiting, it’s the perfect venue for tea with a friend!

Cooking with duck

Collaborative Post

I have always thought duck was difficult to cook with, and as such avoided buying it. I prefer the flavour and texture of duck to other meat. It has a much stronger flavour than chicken or turkey, I also find that I can’t eat too much of it. ! I had thought that duck was a fattier meat than chicken, but then I read this;

…a skinless duck fillet has less calories and less than half the fat of a skinless chicken fillet ­(a skinless duck fillet has 92kcal and 1.3g of fat per 100g compared to a skinless chicken fillet that has 120kcal and 3.2g of fat per 100g)
https://www.gressinghamduck.co.uk/about-us/the-duck-people

Which made me think I ought to try duck again, but where to start cooking it? I am not the best in the kitchen!

Image: Gressingham Duck

Gressingham Duck has made cooking duck really simple. Their Bistro range, takes the stress out of cooking duck, you simply pop the try straight into the oven. There’s no need to prepare the meat, add sauces, or seasoning – it is all done.

I served the Duck Breasts in Plum Sauce on a bed of noodles and stir fry vegetables. This was perfect as a quick dinner, but could easily have been served as a special dinner for two.

I was impressed with how easy it is to cook, and that the meat was really tender. The whole family enjoyed the meal!

Having introduced the family to duck using the Bistro range, I felt braver to try cooking duck myself. I’ve not tried cooking a whole duck yet, although that is on my list for Easter now! Instead I tried cooking duck breasts. It was so simple to sear them in a pan and then pop them into the oven until cooked using an enameled cast iron pan. It was so simple.

Cost, I thought duck was quite expensive so had never thought about adding it to our shopping list. A pair of Gressingham duck breasts cost about £8, so it isn’t a cheap option, however I do feel it is worth it for adding variety to our diet.

Cottage Pie topped with sweet potato

This is an entry to #MeatMatters Challenge Sponsored by Simply Beef & Lamb. Learn more about the benefits of eating beef and lamb along with recipe ideas and inspiration here.

When I first accepted this challenge, I had intended to make a macaroni pie. But I’m trying to eat healthy, and I’ve yet to find a recipe which is low fat high flavour for Macaroni Pie!

Instead I went for a healthy cottage pie. I say healthy as I used lean steak mince. Beef is naturally high in protein, and contains 8 essential vitamins and minerals* that support health and well-being. It’s a really easy recipe and you can pack it with vegetables – perfect for the reluctant veggie eater.

Dice an onion and a garlic clove and fry them until they are lightly browned, then add the mince – I usually use 250g to feed 6 (2 adults 4 children). Add a teaspoon of marmite, teaspoon of Bovril and let the mince brown. Add one grated carrot. Add a tin of tomatoes – I like plum tomatoes but any will work! Add 100ml of water and cook until the liquid is mostly gone.

Cook 500g of sweet potatoes – they seem to take around 15minutes to boil. Once they’re cooked mash them well!

Add the cooked mince to an oven proof dish and top with the sweet potato mash. Pop into a pre-heated oven (180c) for 20 – 30minutes or until the top has browned. You could add grated cheese before you put it into the oven, but if you’re trying to watch your calories don’t!

Serve with boiled vegetables.

*Niacin, vitamins B6 and B12, riboflavin, plus iron, zinc, potassium and phosphorus

Shaken Udder Milkshake for lunch boxes! #Ad

GIFTED – I received PR Samples for the purposes of this post.

Lunch boxes, I don’t mind admitting that I sometimes struggle with what to put in them. So I’m always on the look out for fun additions to the boys lunches and on most Friday’s I try to add something new and different.

This week they’ve had Shaken Udder milkshakes added to their lunches. These handy little cartons of flavoured milk are popular with my boys, and are school lunch friendly. They have less than 5% sugar, and contain important things like B12 as well as being a great source of protein.

I like the fact that they don’t need to be stored in the fridge, so I can just pop them into the fridge the night before we need them! I’m not sure about you but I do struggle with fridge space!

I’ve been a bit naughty and added a cake today too, normally it would have been a cheese stick but we’ve run out. So while the children are at school I’ll be popping to the shop to stock up on lunch box bits. Including some more Shaken Udder milk for next Friday I think!