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Thursday, 3 September 2015

My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe

These days I don't tend to take any of my cookery books off the shelf for reference. Instead I've been sucked into the electronic age of reading cookery magazines online, Googling recipes, and spending hours on end drooling over Pinterest, so I was a little hesitant at first about reviewing My Family Kitchen by Sophie Thompson. Sophie is an award winning actress, as well as being the winner of Masterchef 2014, and has put together the book with recipes that have been handed down, invented, begged, borrowed, and then made her own.

If I was to dabble in the world of cookery book writing then this is the style of book I would like it to be. It contains lots of family photos, tales and humour, along with having a relaxed and fun attitude to cooking, and the recipes are (as it states on the back of the book) fuss-free, easy to follow and delicious, and I couldn't argue with that.

I'll definitely be trying a few of the recipes over the coming weeks and months, such as 'Ma's Devilled Cheese', 'Sweet n Sticky Nutty Chicken' and 'Three Choc Button Brownies', but for now I've chosen to make 'State Skool Mess'.

"I think in a recipe book it's probably wise to avoid talking about religion, politics and education - best just stick to the staff of life.....Bt why should Eton have all the fun? Let's redress the balance!"
I absolutely love this idea, and it's the kind of dessert that happens in my kitchen on a regular basis. I'm sure it was originally made with whatever ingredients Sophie could get her hands on, but I love the way the recipe is now so specific - '1 pink and 1 purple Party Ring'.


As Jack doesn’t like raspberries I chose to serve it with strawberries instead, and I was forced to improvise with the sauce as my online grocery shop delivered Twix bars instead of Mars, so I sliced the caramel off & used a Milky Way too.

My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe

State Skool Mess
Prepare in 10 mins – Cook in 5 mins – Serves 4

500ml vanilla ice cream (the best quality you can muster)
1 Curly Wurly, snipped into pieces
2 funsize Milky Ways, chopped
1 Crunchie, chopped
1 Jammy Dodger, chopped
1 pink and 1 purple Party Ring, broken into pieces (I know, I’m stipulating colour – it’s madness)
2 Mars Bars, roughly chopped
splash of milk (optional)
150g raspberries

Take the ice cream out of the freezer and leave to soften just enough so that it becomes stirrable. Scoop the lot into a large mixing bowl and add the Curly Wurly, Milky Ways, Crunchie, Jammy Dodger and party Rings. Stir until it’s all mixed together and then spoon back into your ice cream carton (curiously, you will find that it does fit back in).

When you are ready to serve, melt the Mars bars in a bain-marie (a heatproof bowl set over a pan of just-simmering water). If a bain-marie feels like too much effort, just melt in a pan over a very low heat with a splash of milk – this will take about 5 minutes.

Scoop your customised ice cream into bowls, pour over your Mars bar sauce and scatter a few raspberries over the whole shebang.

Up the revolution!


I knew my kids would love this one, and now that I've introduced them to Party Rings I don't think there will be any going back!

My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe My Family Kitchen - Cookbook Review & Recipe

My Family Kitchen by Sophie Thompson is available on Amazon from 3rd September 2015 rrp £22.00




I received My Family Kitchen for the purpose of this review, and have been compensated to recreate a recipe, which has been published with permission.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Get Your Bake On

The Great British Bake Off is now in full swing, and as I love kitchenware I've decided to choose a few of my favourite essential items you may need if you want to get your bake on too.


Get Your Bake On



Filigree Cake Stand - Wayfair
Le Creuset silicone spoon spatula - John Lewis
Silicone Rolling Pin - Wayfair
Kenwood kMix KMX050G Stand Mixer - John Lewis
Mason Cash Bake Day scales - Dunelm
Mason Cash Easy as Pie mixing bowl - Dunelm
DRH Collection Pie dish - Wayfair




If you want to view all of my Great British Bake Off inspired bakes from series 4,5 & 6 you can browse them here.

Great British Bake Off Bakes

top-bottom/left-right : Florentines, choux buns, ciabatta, baked alaska, plum buns, pork pie, biscotti, english muffins, swiss roll

Saturday, 29 August 2015

25+ Delicious ways with courgettes

It's definitely been a good season for courgettes, and I've seen lots of them over social media, of all shapes, sizes and colours - well maybe not all colours, but definitely green ones, yellow ones and some of a mottled variety.

This year we managed to grow a few of our own up at the allotment, and there are still more to come. When you grow your own vegetables it can be easy to get sick of the sight of them, especially if they all come at once, so it's good to have various different ways of eating a particular vegetable to ensure you don't get bored.

Courgettes are a very versatile veg and can be eaten in many ways, and here are just a few. If you live on the other side of the atlantic you may also know these as zucchini.

 photo 25 courgette_zpsritndp3t.jpg

Ratatouille is a one pot stewed vegetable dish usually made with courgettes, peppers and aubergine. I like to add any vegetables I have sitting at the bottom of the fridge, and bake an egg on the top - One Pan Egg Ratatouille

Spiralised courgette, or courgetti or zoodles, is a healthy way to enjoy sauces usually served with spaghetti or noodles. There are some amazing looking and sounding courgetti/zoodle recipes here, including Pad Thai, Chicken Zoodle soup and zoodles with kale pesto.

I love falafel, which is made with chickpeas but here there is an added healthy addition of grated courgette in this Healthy Zucchini Falafel.

Why not try baking your courgettes for a healthy alternative to chips and crisps. These courgette fries, zucchini bites with garlic dip and salt & pepper zucchini crisps all look so mouthwatering.  

Two unusual ways that caught my eye were vegetarian zucchini 'meatballs' and a zucchini crust pizza made from grated courgette, egg and flour.

If you've been inundated with courgettes then why not try a spot of pickling. This zucchini relish and this apple & courgette chutney would be great with cheese.

If you have a sweet tooth you can also use your glut of courgettes in cakes and muffins, such as my lemon & courgette madeira cake, these chocolate chip muffins, zucchini bread, courgette cake and carrot & courgette muffins, are just a few ways you can enjoy a sweet courgette treat. 

Find these recipes and more on my Courgettes & Zucchini Pinterest board


Don't under estimate the courgette...

 photo jack courgette_zpsfulyxeqm.jpg

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata

One thing I dislike quite a lot is food waste. By this I mean the fresh foods and leftovers that households throw away every day. There's not a lot of food that gets thrown in the bin here, mostly because I try and re-use leftovers from one day in a meal for the next. I make a rough meal planner for the week which I use when doing the online shop, but it's usually really flexible and I don't stick to it rigidly, especially if there are foods that need using up.

Last week I cooked a shoulder of pork in the slow cooker and made pulled pork for dinner. There was some leftover but I knew it wouldn't be enough to go around 4 or 5 of us the following day, so I decided to be creative with it, along with some leftover boiled potatoes from the allotment (there was rather a lot of these!), and some green beans.

Frittatas are a great way to use leftovers as, I suppose, it's a bit like a bubble and squeak made with the leftovers from a roast dinner, with the addition of eggs. 

This can be eaten warm or cold, and is great for taking on a picnic.

Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata

Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata 

2 tbps olive oil
leftover boiled potatoes, sliced
leftover green beans
leftover pulled pork
6 eggs
splash of milk
approx 100g cheddar cheese, grated
  • Heat the oil in a large non stick frying pan
  • Add the potatoes and fry until lightly browned on both sides
  • Add the pulled pork and green beans, and fry gently, dispersing evenly in the pan
  • Beat the eggs with the milk and pour into the pan
  • Cook gently until slightly wobbly on the top
  • Scatter the grated cheese over the top
  • Place under a hot grill until bubbling and golden grown
Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata Pulled Pork & Potato Frittata


A couple of days later I still had lots of allotment potatoes, along with some chorizo left over from my chicken & chorizo paella, and made a chorizo & potato frittata in much the same way as this one, with the addition of some red pepper and chopped tomato.

chorizo & potato frittata

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