The Crazy Kitchen: April 2015

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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart

Spring has been with us for a while now, although the wind has turned very cold this week, especially when the sun goes in. That hasn't stopped us spending as much time as we can outside, whether it's in the park improving our basketball skills or jet washing the decking.

What I'm really looking forward to most though, is al fresco dining with family and friends. I started boot camp a few weeks ago and have been doing a Friday night session for a couple of weeks, and there's nothing more satisfying than coming home from a workout, taking a shower, and then cracking open a bottle of wine to eat with dinner. Over the next few weeks, as the evenings get warmer, I'll be enjoying those glasses of wine in the garden hopefully.

The arrival of spring has also brought changes for Australia's number one heritage wine brand, Lindeman's, with the introduction of a new look bottle.
Each bottle from the Bin Range has been spruced up with the new Lindeman’s logo, focusing on the brand’s Australian background. The phrase ‘In Life Happiness’, which appears on the bottle in Latin, reflects Dr. Henry Lindeman’s words ‘the one purpose of wine is to bring happiness’. This motto truly underpins the Lindeman’s brand, bringing delight in each sip and 1,000 hours of sunshine in every drop.
To accompany a new look bottle of Lindeman's Bin 65 Chardonnay I've used some seasonal spring ingredients in a rustic tart - neat shortcrust pastry tarts have never really been my forté so it's a good job we like the rustic look.

I absolutely love asparagus and it's available so cheaply at the moment, so I'm making the most of it and buying plenty. I've teamed it up with some mint from my garden which I've recently planted and hope will be growing in abundance by the time Pimms season comes along.

Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart

Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart - makes a 23cm tart

375g sheet of ready rolled shortcrust pastry
4 eggs
300ml double cream
salt & pepper 
handful of fresh mint leaves, chopped
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
125g ricotta
  • Lay the pastry sheet into a loose bottomed tart tin - you may need to roll out a little more if it doesn't fit your tin
  • Place in the fridge for approx 30 minutes
  • Place a sheet of baking paper over the pastry & cover with baking beans
  • Bake in a preheated 180C oven for 10 minutes before removing the baking beans & paper & return to the oven for an additional 5 minutes
  • Set aside whilst preparing the filling
  • Whisk the eggs and cream together & season with salt & pepper & add the chopped mint leaves
  • Pour the creamy egg mixture into the pastry case until it comes halfway up
  • Lay the asparagus stems onto the egg mixture
  • Crumble the ricotta in & pour more egg mixture in until it comes almost to the top
  • Place into the oven and bake for 25 minutes until lightly golden brown
Serve warm or cold with baby new potatoes with herb butter, and a pea shoot and baby leaf salad

Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart Minted Asparagus & Ricotta Tart

Lindeman's - it's the sunshine that makes it

I'm once again working with Lindeman's as an Ambassador - keep your eye out for future recipes, news and giveaways.

If you like what you see here then please consider voting for me in the 2015 Britmums Brilliance in Blogging Awards, in the food category. Thank you.

This post has been commissioned by Lindeman's

 simply eggsellent

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Learning new ball skills

At the weekend I was away with friends for a few days, and as my baby boy missed me so much we popped to the park after school for a spot of quality time together, playing basketball. His ball skills are improving loads, but he can't quite get it as high as the ring yet.

basketball in the park

Today he's off to tennis club for the first time after school. He's not shown an interest in any of the after school clubs up until now, but he's really excited about this one. I'm not sure how good his hand to eye co-ordination is with a tennis racket and ball but fingers crossed there are no tears of frustration and he wants to go back again next week.

Of course, by the time we got home yesterday everyone was starving and the 'what's for tea Mum' soon started. Thankfully I'd got the ingredients in for a nice quick tea which I knew would take well under 30 minutes to make, thanks to a couple of simple recipes from Bernard Matthews.

Quick and easy family meals

The full recipes will be coming soon, but in the meantime you can check out more quick & easy recipes on their website here.

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chocolate Dinosaur Nests

Jack loves cooking but we don't get chance to do as much as we used to before he was at school. One day last week I got all the ingredients ready for chocolate crispy cakes whilst he was at school, and then as soon as he was home we set about making some Dinosaur Nests. They were supposed to be Easter nests (a little late, I know), but Jack wanted to make dinosaur nests as he'd been learning about dinosaurs at school that day.

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Chocolate Dinosaur Nests - makes 8

200g dark chocolate
50g butter
2 tbsp golden syrup
100g cornflakes
24 mini eggs
  • Melt the chocolate, butter & golden syrup together in a bowl in the microwave (on short bursts) or over a pan of boiling water
  • Stir in the cornflakes and mix until well coated
  • Spoon into muffin cases and make a well in the centre
  • Add 3 mini eggs to each nest & place in the fridge to firm up

 photo dinosaur nests 2_zpscc8wmyt0.jpg  photo dinosaur nests 3_zps7zwuxzxc.jpg  photo dinosaur nests 4_zpspbay2tbn.jpg

A nice simple recipe for any dinosaur lover to make.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Double Decker Chocolate & Banana Fluffernutter Toastie

During my time living in America I don't think I ever heard of a Fluffernutter sandwich, let alone tried one. If I'd discovered them during my first pregnancy I think I would've been hooked for sure as I had a sweet tooth then and craved Golden Syrup crispy cakes, and I couldn't find any Lyle's Golden Syrup for love nor money, and corn syrup didn't quite work as a replacement.

Anyway, if you've never heard of a Fluffernutter sandwich it's marshmallow fluff and peanut butter sandwiched between white bread. It's definitely a bit on the sweet side and not in the least bit healthy, so you wouldn't want to be popping them in the kids lunchboxes or the lunchbox police may have something to say about it. They work great as a quick dessert though, and are even better with an extra slice of bread, Nutella and banana.

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You can either toast the bread or not, but as I'd just received a Breville 'toast to the top' 2 slice toaster to try out I decided to toast the bread.

For each toastie you'll need :

3 slices of bread, toasted
Marshmallow fluff
Peanut butter
1 banana

  • Spread one slice of toast with marshmallow fluff
  • Spread another slice with peanut butter, and sandwich them together
  • Spread Nutella on the top of the sandwich and top with banana slices
  • Place the 3rd piece of toast on top of the banana
 photo fluffer nutter 2_zps30ftvhoc.jpg  photo fluffer nutter 3_zpsjmwjxshv.jpg  photo fluffer nutter 5_zpswtzwywyf.jpg  photo fluffer nutter 4_zpsiplglnvc.jpg
a perfectly toasted piece of toast

 photo fluffer nutter 6_zpspdh5xjop.jpg
kids love them!

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The Breville VTT570 is a perfect fit for all Warburtons bread - no white strips at the top of the toast with the slots deep enough for Warburtons Toastie bread. With the high lift facility it's also good for smaller slices, bagels or crumpets - avoiding burnt fingers trying to reach them out! There's also a lift & look facility making it possible to check the progress of your toast without interrupting the cycle - genius!

The toaster comes with either 2 or 4 slots, retailing at £34.99 & £59.99 respectively, from Breville.

I received the toaster for the purpose of this review

Thursday, 16 April 2015

A weekend in the English Riviera

Over the Easter weekend we spent a few days in South Devon, firstly spending a few hours along the seafront in Torquay & Paignton before heading to our caravan near Brixham. 

A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera

The site we stay on is nothing special but it's a great base for visiting Brixham, Paignton, Torquay and Goodrington. The site is situated a short walk from the Berry Head Peninsula, which can be reached by walking along the southwest coast path, and this is where we headed on Saturday morning, with a stop for breakfast at The Guardhouse Cafe.

There is a wide selection on offer at the cafe, including breakfasts, lunches, afternoon teas, cakes, coffee, beers and wines. The husband and two eldest chose from the sandwich menu, and I chose bacon & egg on toast from the breakfast menu, whilst Jack had a toasted teacake.

A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera

The hearty breakfasts set us up for a windy walk around the peninsula searching for eggs on the Easter Egg Hunt, using the clues on the worksheet (available from the cafe for a donation of £1 per child).

A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera
A weekend in the English Riviera

We then headed back down the coast path, past the Berry Head Hotel, Shoalstone outdoor pool and Breakwater Bistro, into Brixham, where the first stop was for an ice cream at The Bay Ice Cream Company, in the Marina.

A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera

Whenever we've spent a sunny day in Brixham there's always plenty to see and do around the town, my favourite of which is to park up on a bench beside the Golden Hind Museum Ship and people watch, whist the kids eat ice cream or fish & chips from one of the many shops & takeaways around the harbour.

This is one of my favourite Brixham harbour people watching photos, from Easter 2012

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A place that we've been to a few times over the years for lunch is The Bullers Arms, where we've enjoyed fish and chips. This time we were still full from breakfast so decided to pop in just for a drink instead.

A weekend in the English Riviera

We headed back to the caravan site through the town, and called in to the Westcountry Deli on Fore Street to pick up some cheese, crackers and olives before braving the steep hill back up to Berry Head.

 A weekend in the English Riviera

If the weather is good whilst we're in Devon we always go to Goodrington Sands, which is a lovely stretch of sandy beach with car parking at each end and plenty of places for eating and drinking along the way. This time we were there on Easter Sunday, which was a lovely sunny day, and the kids joined in with the Easter Egg Hunt. 20 minutes to dig in the sand for a plastic egg sounded easier than it was, and unfortunately our efforts were fruitless, but plenty of fun was had jumping off the wall, playing football and frisbee.

A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera A weekend in the English Riviera


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