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Saturday, 30 June 2012

Turkey Milanaise a la Marco Pierre White

Or should that be Milanese? I've googled it and come up with both spellings so I'm not too sure, maybe I should've asked the man himself. 


I've cooked a lot with turkey recently but none of it was a patch on the turkey that I tasted last week at the Marco Pierre White cooking Masterclass. I've discovered that it's all down to the length of cooking time and seasonings that you use, for example Mr PW told us that he uses a meat probe when he cooks meat to ensure that it's cooked to perfection, turkey breast to 66 degrees C and thigh to 72 degrees C. It's all too easy to overcook turkey as we want to make sure it's cooked but then often overcook it to be on the safe side, resulting in a dry bird. I've now bought myself a meat probe to make sure that when I cook roast turkey in the future it's going to be as good as the one I tasted last week.


Back to the Milanaise now, which was very quick to prepare and cook. By the time Sam had scootered down to the local chippy and back with a potato accompaniment, the Milanaise was ready to serve.


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"
Keep it simple, the more you put into food the more you take away- Marco Pierre White


Turkey Milanaise
Serves 2-3


2 slices of stale white bread (or fresh bread left out for a while)
2 Turkey breast steaks
1 egg, beaten
plain flour
Olive oil for frying (or clarified butter if you have it)

  • Whizz the bread up in a food processor until you have fine crumbs
  • Bash the steaks between clingfilm or baking paper until approx 5mm thick
  • Coat the steaks fully in flour, then the egg and into the breadcrumbs, press them down onto the turkey
  • Heat the oil in a large skillet, frying pan
  • Fry the steaks in the oil until lightly browned on one side, and then flip over and brown the other side
  • Serve immediately with a squeeze of lemon over

Marco served with a simple salad of cherry tomatoes with rocket and parsley, lightly dressed in Extra Virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a pinch of rock salt.

This dish is such great value as 2 steaks would feed 2 large or 3 smaller appetites. I bought my steaks in Asda where they are in the 3 for £10 deal. Each pack contains 4 steaks, making each turkey portion only 83p.


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That was a large dinner plate so this piece could quite easily be cut in half for smaller appetites.

30th June 2012 - 182/366

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Good save....

Friday, 29 June 2012

29th June 2012 - 181/366

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Picnic breakfast with friends...

Joseph Joseph Nest Utensils - Review

I've mentioned before how much I like Joseph Joseph products, their bright colours and innovative & space saving designs are perfect in modern kitchens, especially ones that are tight on storage.


The Joseph Joseph Nest Utensils are no exception, they are bright in colour and practical yet take up hardly any space.There are five full size utensils in the Nest - slotted turner, spaghetti server, slotted spoon, solid spoon and a ladle, which all nest nicely together and rest in the ladle, which can also act as a spoon rest to avoid leaving messy drips on your worktop.


I was more than impressed with my set that Find Me a Gift kindly sent me, as, although they are of plastic construction, they are durable and heat resistant up to 240 degrees C / 464 degrees F. The base of the ladle is really secure and doesn't feel as though it will get knocked over easily, and the handles are all magnetic which makes them simple to nest together.
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Find me a Gift have a large range of Joseph Joseph kitchen products as well as many other unique gifts and gadgets.


The 'Nest' retails at £24.99 here.


I was sent the Joseph Joseph Nest Utensils for the purpose of this review.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

28th June 2012 - 180/366

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After the downpours and flooding earlier in the day it was unbelievable that it was nice enough for a spot of Al Fresco dining in the evening. Gotta love British summers!

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

27th June 2012 - 179/366

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Practising the sack race for school sports day....just don't tell Royal Mail !

Millies Cookies Ice Cream & Chocolate Ice Cream Pops

I've used Angel Delight Ice Cream a few times now. I made Arctic Roll with it as well as adding extra ingredients to it. In my BritMums Live goody bag there was a Crocs lollipop maker so I gave them a go with chocolate Angel Delight ice cream. They turned out really well, although are a bit fragile on the sticks - you need to run the mould under hot water for a few moments & gently ease it away from the ice cream.


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Yesterday I picked up a box of Millies Cookies whilst in London and to save arguments over the remaining flavours I decided to break them all up and add them to the remaining chocolate ice cream, which worked really well as the cookies are quite soft.


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We will continue to experiment with the ice cream and share our results here.

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

My day with Marco Pierre White

I recently won a competition with BritMums that included a cooking Masterclass with Marco Pierre White as part of the prize, and today was the day for the Masterclass. I needed to be in South London for 10.45 and not wanting to make a bad impression & arrive late I left the house before 7am to catch a train to London. I arrived well in advance & stopped for a coffee at a nice little cafe in Wandsworth where I met a fellow prize winner, Mel from Chef Mel's Kitchen. We then met up with Sammie from One Blue One Pink as we arrived at the venue.
Unfortunately two of the winners couldn't make it so we were joined by BritMums lovely founders Jen & Susannah, along with the other winner, Helen from Fuss Free Flavours.
I was extremely nervous when I arrived but once introduced to the Lean On Turkey team from Bernard Matthews I felt more at ease, and then once Marco started chatting the nerves faded completely. He was such a nice man, making lots of eye contact when talking, and involving everyone in the conversations, not at all like I expected him to be.
In total Marco cooked us five dishes, all with Turkey in and each and every one of them so much more flavourful than anything that I've made. He showed us that so much can be done with turkey, and in a very short space of time.
My favourite of the dishes has to be the Waldorf Salad, which was so nice and fresh and not at all like a Waldorf Salad that you would expect. The Milanaise followed a close second, although all the dishes were pretty amazing. I will definitely be trying them all out soon and will of course blog about them here. I believe there will be more photos and videos (eek) on the Lean On Turkey website soon, and possibly BritMums too, along with recipes, but for the time being here's a few pics of the delicious dishes and photos of the rest of the day.

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I was not asked to write about this but I wanted to as I had such an enjoyable day.

26th June 2012 - 178/366

I very almost broke my [unwritten] rule of not posting a photo that I haven't taken myself but I just couldn't do it, and instead I'm sharing this one, but if you want to see the one I was going to post it's on my Facebook page.


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Service with a smile....

Monday, 25 June 2012

25th June 2012 - 177/366

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Cleaning the car...

Quorn Enchiladas with Homemade Tortilla Chips

In a bid to use up some of the freezer food this week I had a rummage around and found some Quorn mince, and as I have an abundance of tortillas for some reason decided to make enchiladas to use some of them up.


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I've previously posted a recipe for Staffordshire Enchiladas and these were much the same apart from using Tortillas instead of the Staffordshire Oatcakes used previously. I also used cooked chicken previously and this time used Quorn and added mushrooms and left out the kidney beans.


For the topping I mixed a tub of garlic & herb Philadelphia with some Greek yoghurt and spread it over the enchiladas before sprinkling the cheese on. I kept some of it aside to use as a dip for the tortilla chips that I made to use up more of the tortillas.


Homemade Tortilla Chips


2 Flour Tortillas
tbsp Olive Oil
your choice of herbs/spices - I used Nando's Peri Peri chip sprinkle

  • Cut each tortilla into 12 wedges
  • Place on a baking sheet & lightly brush each with Olive oil
  • Sprinkle over the spices
  • Bake in a preheated 180 degree (C) oven for 5-6 minutes, keeping your eye on them as they burn very quickly
  • Leave to cool on the tray and unless serving straight away keep them in an airtight container to keep them crispy
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Hello Canvas - Review

A few weeks ago I saw a review of Hello Canvas by a good bloggy friend of mine, Mummy and The Beastie. The canvas she received was a collage of some of her lovely Instagram photos, and it was absolutely gorgeous and I knew that wanted one and started sorting through some of my own Instagram photos to pick out my favourites. A few days later I was over the moon to be asked if I wanted to review a canvas for myself. My only problem was not having anything more than Picmonkey and Paint to make my collage, which is where Mummy and the Beastie stepped in and offered the services of her very talented husband to make the collage for me. He was happy to oblige as he knew there would be cake in it for him - or there would be if Royal Mail had actually delivered the cakes!


Anyway, the collage was put together and I emailed it off to Hello Canvas on a Friday and the following Wednesday it arrived, well packaged in bubble wrap and cardboard.


I absolutely love it. It measures 70cm x 50cm with a 3cm deep frame. I chose for it to be printed in black around the edges to match the frame around the pictures which makes it look as though it's in a black frame. Canvases start at £13 for a 8"x 8" and go up to £99 for a massive 36" x 56" - you can use their set sizes or choose a size of your own (up to 36" x 56"). The canvas now takes pride of place in the downstairs toilet so it can be enjoyed by all of our visitors.


I'm really impressed with the speed of service and the quality of the canvas and would recommend them to anyone, in fact a friend of mine has seen it and wants one now too!

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I was sent the canvas for the purpose of this review

BritMums Live - Goody Bag Books

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Here are the children this morning before school engrossed in two of the books I picked up at BritMums Live. 

Jack is reading Set4Sport by Judy Murray (tennis player Andy Murray's Mum) - a book full of great exercises to help develop the ABC's in your children - Agility, Balance and Co-ordination.

Hanna is reading the Barefoot Books World Atlas, full of great facts and colourful pictures. She was particularly impressed by the lift up 'Did You Know' flaps.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

BritMums Live 2012 - my 24 hours

Yesterday I returned home after a day (well almost) at BritMums Live in London. I'd bought my ticket way back in October but as the time got closer and other things came up I decided that I wasn't going to attend....but then I got shortlisted in the BiB awards...... I had just put my ticket up for sale when the shortlist was announced so I decided that if (and it was a very big if) I made it onto the finalists list I would go down for the awards ceremony on the Friday night, and kept hold of the ticket for the time being. When the finalists were announced & I was shockingly amongst them I started to get a little excited, not because I could see myself walking staggering in a wine induced haze up onto the stage to collect my award, but because the name of my little blog would be read out, and I wanted to be there for that.


I travelled down to London on Friday, on the slow train, with Fi from Childcare is Fun, endured a bumpy cab ride from Euston where I was sent flying very almost crushing a birthday cake in my bag, arriving at The Brewery just in time to see the doors open and a troop of bloggers pile in.


Over the course of the afternoon and evening I met up with lots of fellow bloggers, some that I'd met before and some that I hadn't and listened to some very inspirational speakers. I'm rubbish at writing things down or remembering what has been said but I did manage to scribble a few good points down :
  1. Don't be a groupie and hang on the every word of the bigger bloggers
  2. Don't care what the Diva's think 
  3. Be confident
  4. Be generous - mention other bloggers (and link to them where relevant)
  5. If you hit a plateau, take a break and enjoy the view before the next climb
  6. Write for yourself, mix it up a little and let it grow
  7. Do what you really enjoy
  8. Have good content
  9. Put in the effort
  10. Take care over presentation and photographs - big photo first to capture the attention of your audience
  11. Build a community
  12. Be engaging
  13. Show your personality
  14. Use Pinterest
  15. Using Google + well will increase your SEO
  16. Respond to comments
  17. Don't keep pimping your blog posts if you don't have comments - and don't worry if you don't, see point 6
  18. Encourage discussion
  19. Find your niche, and stick to it
  20. Make your blog look good and easy for the reader to navigate.
  21. Categorise your posts
  22. Take part in the blogging community
  23. Don't be a bully - if you see a bully on Twitter then call them out



I had a brilliant 24 hours involving lots of bloggy hugs, semi naked wine waiters, hilarious conversations in All Bar One, after hours drinks back at the hotel, tea and chocolate in bed courtesy of my roomie, oversleeping and missing Blogercise (sorry Kerry!) and seeing Northern Mum & Hello It's Gemma arrive in style on bikes.
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above points came courtesy of Nickie (Typecast), Maggy (Red Ted Art), Jane (Northern Mum), Michelle (Mummy from The Heart), Melinda (Her Melness Speaks), Kerstin (Ms Marmite Lover), Sarah (Maison Cupcake) & Katie (Feeding Boys & a Firefighter)

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24th June 2012 - 176/366

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Hot chocolate before bed whilst the boys are out watching the footie....

Lemon Turkey Risotto

After going to BritMums on Friday / Saturday I missed doing my weekly 7am Saturday morning grocery shop this week so today it was a case of throwing together what we had left to make dinner. A bag or Arborio rice was located so risotto it was. I velveted the turkey before adding it to the risotto as this keeps it tender, something that's usually used in Chinese dishes.


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SERVES 4-5


1 Egg white
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflour
425g Turkey breast, diced
Juice & zest of 1 lemon
375g Arborio risotto rice
200ml white wine
750ml stock
2 courgettes, finely diced
2 handfuls of frozen peas
oil for frying
75g cheddar cheese, grated
  • Mix the egg white and vinegar together
  • Stir in the turkey and coat completely 
  • Sprinkle over the cornflour and lemon zest and mix well until the turkey is completely coated, leave to marinate for 30 minutes
  • Heat oil in large pan and fry the turkey until no longer translucent but not browned, remove from pan & set aside
  • Heat some more oil in the pan and add the rice, stirring for a minute
  • Add the lemon juice and white wine, stir & replace lid 
  • When all the liquid has been absorbed add the turkey and approx 100ml of stock, keep adding more stock each time it has all been absorbed
  • After 10 minutes of cooking add the courgettes
  • Total cooking time will be approx 20-25 minutes, when the rice is cooked add the peas & stir through, replace lid and leave for approx 2-3 minutes
  • Remove from the heat and stir in the cheese before serving

Clean plates and another winning family dish in The Crazy Kitchen

Saturday, 23 June 2012

23rd June 2012 - 175/366

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Crazy girls dressing up in Toddler costumes....

Friday, 22 June 2012

22nd June 2012 - 174/366

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My roomie for BritMums Live, Jenny from Mummy Mishaps, being presented with her birthday cake by a very smiley Wine Buff! Amazingly the cake survived a 2.5 hour train journey and a very bumpy cab ride!

Thursday, 21 June 2012

21st June 2012 - 173/366

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Am I really only going away for one night?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

20th June 2012 - 172/366

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Just goes to show that you don't need to be green fingered to grow strawberries....

Baker Days Personalised Cakes - review

When you get asked if you would like to review cake only a fool would say no surely....


Baker Days offer cakes by post in a massive choice of designs (over 300) which can all be personalised, or you can upload your own design. There is also a choice of cake recipe - Madeira, Carrot, Lemon, Fruit, Chocolate Chip as well as a Gluten & wheat free version. Each cake is available in a letterbox size (4-5 portions) or party size (8-16 portions).


We received the letterbox size which comes in a slim box designed to fit through your letterbox, although our clever postman left it outside the front door without even ringing the bell! Inside the box there was also 3 balloons, a couple of candles, a noise blower and a card with a message inside. The cake itself comes in a metal tin with an embossed  'Just for You' design, which can be re-used. The cake was really well presented on a board with icing completely covering the board, with scalloped edging, and the design was really neat.


We were very impressed with how the cake tasted as well as looked, it was a very moist Madeira with a thin layer of buttercream between the cake and the soft fondant icing.


The cakes aren't very big but they make a great (and cheaper) alternative to flowers to send as a birthday, anniversary, thank you, new baby or get well message from £14.99 with free delivery. The letterbox cakes are sent by first class post but guaranteed Next Day delivery can be requested for an additional fee.


One thing I did notice that's worth mentioning is that I couldn't find anywhere on the website to tell me how long the cakes stay fresh for, nor did I find a best before anywhere on the packaging of the cake when it arrived.

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We were sent the letterbox cake for the purpose of this review

Vital Baby - Review & Competition

Vital Baby have a huge range of products for your baby from newborn feeding bottles to toddler cups, and everything is 100% BPA free. I've previously bought the Vital Baby spoons and feeding bowls when weaning Jack, and later, when he was feeding himself, the Unbelievabowl, which is the only one that I found, despite the promises on packaging, that actually stayed put on the highchair tray. In fact it's so strong that I remember one occasion when Jack pulled the bowl so hard that the whole tray came off instead of the bowl!


Vital Baby now also make hand and face wipes in both fruity scent and fragrance free. They are both dermatologically tested, Hypoallergenic and Paraben free. We were sent a couple of packs of the baby wipes to try out and they immediately came in handy when I collected the parcel from the Post Office as Jack had been eating chocolate buttons in the car. They come in a handy little pack which fits easily into my handbag or glove compartment of the car.


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Vital Baby have offered to give away a set of products ready for weaning your baby to one lucky reader of this blog. The set includes a trainer beaker, Unbelievabowl and soft tip spoons, all available in pink, blue or orange.


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All you need to do to be in with a chance of winning is to complete the Rafflecopter form below


a Rafflecopter giveaway








If you need to copy & paste please use CTRL C & CTRL V

ReGGae ReGGae Sausage Casserole

Last month we were sent some Reggae Reggae sauces to try out and I blogged about it here. We've since been using the sauces a lot, the ketchup has been used with chips, wedges and bacon sandwiches, the extra hot sauce has been added to dishes to give them a bit of a kick after the children's portions have been served up.

Today I was making a sausage casserole in the slow cooker and decided to finish off the bottle of mild sauce and add it to the casserole. It was a very simple yet very tasty dinner.

You will need :

750g Sausages, each chopped into 4 pieces & browned off
2 onions, chopped
4 peppers, cored & sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1/2 bottle of mild Reggae Reggae sauce
can of chopped tomatoes
100ml water
tbsp cornflour, mixed with tbsp cold water

  • Throw everything except the cornflour into the slow cooker.
  • Cook on high for 4-5 hours
  • Towards the end of cooking add the cornflour paste to thicken the sauce, a little at a time until the desired consistency is obtained


Serve with boiled rice or pasta


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Little Charley Bear - Review

A little while ago Vivid Imaginations sent us a lovely goody bag of toys and also asked if we would like to review a Little Charley Bear. Little Charley Bear is currently on CBeebies and is narrated by James Corden of Gavin & Stacey fame.

The Up, Up & Away Little Charley Bear is a large plastic aeroplane with a cuddly Charley Bear pilot. There's a button on the front and when pressed makes the sound of the engine starting. 

"Get ready for take off....up up & away".

There are additional sounds which are motion activated when the plane 'flies' through the air.
"Neeeeeeeeoooooooowww! Go Charley Bear Go!"

The plane is of pretty sturdy construction and is still intact even after being dropped and manhandled by a boisterous toddler, although some of the sticker 'flames' are starting to peel off at the edges.

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I think any little Charley Bear fan would love this plane and they are priced around £25.

Unfortunately Charley went awol before the final photo shoot so Bob had to step in....

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Hanna also had a nice surprise when we opened up the package.....along with Charley Bear came the one & only Harry Styles from One Direction. A much sought after doll, Harry is around the same size as a Barbie doll and has a removable outfit, complete with detailed brogues, and has moulded curly locks that any Barbie would be jealous of. 

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You can also get the rest of the fashionably styled band members to add to your collection. Each doll retails around £16.99


We were sent these products for the purpose of this review

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

19th June 2012 - 171/366

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Tonight I have been mostly annoying this pair by taking loads of photos trying to get to grips with the manual settings on my new camera....still haven't a clue but this one seemed to turn out ok, now if I could just remember the settings I used......

18th June 2012 - 170/366

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Today, in broad daylight, the ham thief struck once again....this time he was caught in the act!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Toucan Box - Review

With the rubbish weather we had over half term and everyone stuck inside I thought it would be a good idea to get the Toucan Box out that we had recently been sent. The idea behind the craft box is that you join up on a monthly basis and each month you receive a personalised craft box, full of everything you need to complete four projects based around a theme. They also include an illustrated book that you can read with your child. 'Dazzle Duckling' is now Jack's favourite book of the moment. The boxes are priced from £16.95 per month for a 12 month subscription and rise to £19.95 for a monthly or one off box which, considering you receive everything you need (apart from scissors), is pretty good - you don't end up with loads of bits left over cluttering up valuable cupboard space (like we have) every time you want to do a craft project with your children.


The theme of the box that we received was 'Birds' and includes step by step instructions how to build a bird feeder, Toucan family, Bird Glider and Peacock collage. Hanna and Jack chose to make the Peacock collage and Toucan family together and Hanna would be making the bird feeder on her own another time, without 'helpful hands' around.


The collage was first and Jack had a helping hand from big brother to trace around the templates and then passed them onto Hanna to cut out, which they then glued onto the paper, sprinkled some glitter and hey presto, a lovely collage. It was all going well....


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We then moved onto the Toucan family but Hanna was particularly disappointed to see that there was no black paint included in the box and only two pots of finger paint instead of the three shown in the booklet. They decided to make blue Toucans instead and chose to paint them with our own paintbrushes rather than with their fingers. This kept them busy for a while, although it was quite tricky to leave a white circle unpainted on each of the bodies. After colouring all the various body parts in it was time to glue them together, which is where we came a bit unstuck (no pun intended).  The base of the Toucan curled up slightly once the PVA glue had been applied, making the bird a little unstable, meaning that each time Hanna tried to stand it up to let it dry it would fall over and a wing (or it's head) would fall off. The glue just didn't seem to be drying quickly enough and in hindsight we should have perhaps left each part to dry before attempting to glue the next, and maybe coloured in some of the many colouring sheets whilst we were waiting.


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In the end the Toucans dried and Toucan Daddy now stands pride of place on top of the microwave.


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The Toucan Boxes are a great idea, especially for those that don't have craft shops near to them, are housebound for any reason, don't have the space to store vast quantities of craft stuff or anyone that wants something to look forward to doing each month with their children. You can also send the boxes as a gift, as a one off or a subscription.


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Strawberry & Vanilla Arctic Roll

I've already joined in with a strawberry challenge this month with my Strawberry ice cream Pavlova but when Jenny from Mummy Mishaps mentioned that strawberries were also her I love Cake theme I thought it would be only right to make another strawberry dessert and join in.


It is a cake of sorts, as it does involve sponge, but I thought I would try and make a popular 80's dessert the Arctic Roll. I've made a swiss roll before but have never tried filling it with ice cream so it was a bit of an experiment for me. You may wonder why I would go to the trouble of making something that you can buy in the supermarket for just 99p, and to be honest I wondered the same myself. It really was quite easy to make and now I know how I'm going to be trying it with various flavours too, something that you can't get in the supermarket - well that's actually a lie as Bird's Eye make a chocolate one too!


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You will need :


Ice cream -you can make it yourself - I have a recipe for a lovely strawberry ice cream here, you can buy it ready made or, like I did, you can use the ingenious invention of Angel Delight which is their new Ice Cream mix.


Sponge (I resized a BBC Good Food swiss roll recipe)
2 Eggs
50g Golden Caster Sugar
50g Self Raising Flour


Jam (you could use bought jam but I had strawberries that needed using up)
275g Strawberries, chopped
50g Golden Caster Sugar
5 tbsp water


Make the ice cream and churn in an ice cream maker. If you're using Angel Delight Ice cream* then you can freeze it in a tube like I did, or if you're using ready made soften it up slightly and make into a roll by wrapping in clingfilm or baking paper and then place in the freezer until the sponge is ready. I added some sliced strawberries to the vanilla ice cream as I added it to the tube. For the tube I rolled a flexible chopping board and taped it in place, which I then filled with the ice cream and placed into the freezer until firm.


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When the ice cream is ready make the sponge - or you could just do what I did when I realised that I should've waited until the ice cream was set first - I made another tube the same size as the ice cream tube, laid the warm sponge onto a clean tea towel , laid another one on top and rolled it around the tube and left it like that until cooled. The sponge never dried out and was still flexible enough to roll around the ice cream without cracking.


Sponge
  • Whisk the eggs and sugar together until they're light and fluffy
  • Fold in the flour
  • Spread onto a lined baking sheet - I used a 12" x 9" one  and didn't fill it, if you want to make a larger roll just increase the quantities & use a larger baking sheet.
  • Bake in a preheated 180 degree (C) oven for 7 minutes
Jam
  • Add the strawberries, sugar & water to a pan
  • Bring to the boil and simmer until thickened, around 30 minutes
  • Allow to cool
To assemble 
  • spread the jam over the sponge, unwrap the ice cream and roll the sponge around the ice cream, trimming any excess. 
  • Wrap in baking paper and place back in the freezer.
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As you can see I forgot to add the jam at first and had to unroll it and in hindsight should have left the ice cream to freeze a bit longer.





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* I used 2 packs of Angel Delight Ice Cream for this but as there was some left over I added a few crushed up Oreo's to it to make dessert for another day.

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