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Savvy shopping, seasonal eating and thrifty recipes. Spend less on groceries and enjoy better tasting, easy to prepare meals your friends and family will love – all on a budget.

Monday, 31 March 2014

March Extra Veg Round Up

Extra Veg is a linky created by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours and I to encourage everyone to add extra vegetables to their meals.  Not only to you benefit from the extra nutrients and fibre, if you fill up on vegetables you are less likely to fill up on other, less healthy foods.

Thanks so much to all those who submitted delicious entries this month.  There was a prize for the March challenge which was £20 (+p&p) of spices from Steenbergs, which are organic and Fairtrade as far as possible. 

The Taste Space made Roasted Cocoa Cauliflower

Roasted Cocoa Cauliflower


Eat Your Veg prepared Chicken and Veggie Chow Mein

IMG_8188


Spicy, Quirky and Serendipitous cooked Fish with Rice and Lentils for a speedy supper

Jibber Jabber UK made  Hotdog Pasta, great for busy weeknights

Hotdog pasta - www.jibberjabberuk.co.uk


Pebble Soup baked a delicious Spinach Pie Olga



Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary linked up a filling and hearty Beef and Broccoli Pasta



Eat Your Veg made a delicious Butternut and Red Pepper Soup

Eat Your Veg | Butternut Squash & Red Pepper Soup


Searching for Spice submitted a brilliant leftovers recipe, Beef Noodle Soup

Beef Noodle Soup


Eat Your Veg linked up another delicious supper, Slow Cooked Beef and Guinness Stew with Pearl Barley and Vegetables.

Eat Your Veg | Slow Cooked Beef & Guinness Stew


Jibber Jabber UK baked a hearty and comforting Fish Pie

Fish pie



IMG_4469-sml22 resize

The winner of the fabulous prize from Steenbergs was selected using an online randomiser and the winner is:

Entry number 6 in the linky was Elizabeth's Kitchen, well done! We will be in touch shortly so you can claim your prize.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Pear and Blackcurrant Slice


We eat a lot of fruit as a family and whatever fruit is left in the fruit bowl at the end of the week I usually try and use it up by baking something delicious.  Pears are a regular feature in these bakes as they are either rock hard or soften rapidly and become over-ripe before we notice.  I still have some jars of blackcurrant compote I made in the summer so decided to use some of that in this bake too.

Pear and Blackcurrant Slice

200g butter, diced
100g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
1 free range egg, beaten
1-2 Tblsp milk
2 - 3 large pears, peeled and diced or use 420g tinned pears well drained
200ml blackcurrant compote or use blackcurrant jam
handful of rolled oats (optional)

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan.  Line a 23cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper.  In a bowl rub the butter into the sugar and self raising flour until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.  Add the egg and milk and mix well.

Press two thirds of the mixture into the base of your lined cake tin.  Spread the compote over the dough then scatter over the pears.  Mix a handful of rolled oats into the remaining dough if you wish.  Lightly flour your hands and then dot the remaining dough over the top of the filling.

Bake the preheated oven for 40 minutes.  Cool in the tin for 10 minutes before carefully transfering to a wire rack.  When the slice has cooled completely, dust with icing sugar, cut into squares and serve.  This slice is also delicious as a pudding, served warm with custard.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Jaffa Marble Squares


I haven't been baking much for the past couple of months due to severe morning (24/7) sickness but gave in to the relentless nagging of my family and baked a tasty treat for morning and afternoon tea today.

Jaffa is one of my husbands favourite flavours so I decided to make a classic marble cake with a chocolate orange twist.  I drizzled a melted Terry's Chocolate Orange over the sponge for a final decadent touch.

Jaffa Marble Squares

250g butter, softened
250g caster sugar
3 free range eggs, beaten
250g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Zest of 1 orange or 1 tsp orange extract
4 Tblsp cocoa powder

Preheat your oven to 190C/170C Fan.  Line a 23cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper.  

Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, I use a stand mixer.  Keep beating the mixture and add the beaten egg a little at a time.  If the mixture looks like it is starting to curdle add a tablespoon or two of flour.  Once the egg has been incorporated, gently fold in the flour and baking powder.  Divide the mixture between two bowls.  Add the orange zest to one bowl of mixture and fold in until combined.  Add cocoa powder to the other bowl and fold in until completely combined.  

Spoon dollops of each of the mixtures into your prepared cake tin and then gently swirl a knife through the mixture to create a marbled effect then gently level the top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 - 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted in to the centre comes out clean.  Cool in the tin for half an hour before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.

Roughly chop the orange flavoured chocolate and melt in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water.  Once the chocolate has melted drizzle it over the cake and leave to set.  Cut into squares then serve.


Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Spicy Marinated Lamb with Couscous, Fruity Carrot Salad and Flatbreads

Russell Hobbs asked three bloggers to take part in a virtual 'Come Dine With Me' Blogger Challenge to celebrate the launch of their new Illumina range of appliances.  The Illumina appliances are black with brushed steel panels.  All the blades are titanium coated which makes them 4 times harder than stainless steel so they stay sharper for longer.  The products also have light ring which changes colour according the speed it is operating at.  There is a guide included with each appliances advising which speed/colour suits particular foods.  I put the Illumina Food Processor through it's paces grating carrot and apple for the salad and making hummus.  I also tried out the Illumina Hand Mixer, using it to knead the dough for the Flatbreads.

All three bloggers participating in the virtual 'Come Dine With Me' Blogger Challenge are cooking one dish each.  Camilla shared her delicious Chilled Picante Summer Soup starter on Monday and Sarah from Maison Cupcake will be sharing her delectable dessert on Friday.  Here is my scrumptious Main Course:

Spicy Marinated Lamb with Couscous

Serves 4

4 lean lamb steaks
4 - 5 Tblsp natural yoghurt
1 heaped tsp ground cumin
1 heaped tsp ground coriander
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 pepper, deseeded and diced
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
200g couscous
250ml vegetable stock
1 Tblsp chopped fresh mint
1 Tblsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
200g plum tomatoes, halved or quartered
Homemade or storebought hummus

Mix together the yoghurt, cumin, coriander and garlic. Coat the lamb with the mixture and leave to marinate for 5 to 10 minutes.

Cook the lamb under a hot grill for 5-7 minutes, turning once, until tender and cooked to your liking.

Mix the pepper, spring onion and couscous together.  Pour over the hot stock and leave to stand for 5 minutes.  Stir through the mint and parsley.  Divide the couscous equally amongst the serving plates, sprinkle over some sliced plum tomatoes, then top with a cooked lamb steak and a dollop of hummus.  Serve accompanied by Fruity Carrot Salad and Flatbreads.



Flatbreads
Serves 4

250g plain flour
1 tsp salt
150ml warm water
1 Tbsp olive oil

Measure all the ingredients into a bowl.  Mix until a slightly sticky dough forms. Knead for about five minutes until the dough feels smooth and elastic.  Cover the dough and leave to rest for 15 - 20 minutes, I've left the dough to rest for over half an our before and the flatbreads turned out fine.  

Put a heavy non-stick or cast iron frying pan over a moderately high heat.  Divide the dough into 8 equal portions.  I find the easiest way to do this is to roll the dough into a sausage and cut this in half then quarters and finally eights.  Roll each portion of dough into a round shape, about the thickness of a pound coin.  

Get as much flour off the flatbreads as possible before cooking them as the flour will burn.  Cook the flatbreads one at a time in the hot pan for approximately 2 minutes each side.  The flatbreads may puff up but do not be alarmed, they will deflate as they cool down.  Once cooked put the flatbreads onto a board or plate lined with a clean teatowel. Cover the cooked flatbreads with the teatowel as this will help keep them soft and warm.

Fruity Carrot Salad

Serves 4

2-3 carrots
1 eating apple
1 handful or two of sultanas
2 tsp cumin seeds
Juice of ½ lemon
a pinch of caster sugar

Peel the carrots, then grate.  Grate the apple, no need to peel it.  Put the carrot and apple in a mixing bowl and stir through the sultanas and cumin seeds. Mix the lemon juice and sugar together.  Pour over the salad, stir through then serve.


Sponsored Post Disclosure: Russell Hobbs provided me with appliances and compensated me for the ingredients used and time taken to create these recipes.

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Our Meal Plan this week - the Blogging Friends Recipes Edition

It is a week of appointments and meetings as well as work this week, with a teacher strike thrown in on Wednesday just to keep life interesting.  I'm exhausted and still suffering from awful morning sickness, which is 24/7 rather than just mornings so I decided to go easy on myself.  

I have completely lost my Meal Planning mojo so decided to look to my blogging friends for tasty dishes to feed my family.  Apologies for the lack of a shopping list on my Meal Plan this week, I ran out of time to compile one before I dashed off to work.

Dinners

Fridge Lentil Soup - from Tinned Tomatoes, served with homemade Quick Cheese and Herb Bread

Cheesy Vegetable Puff Pie - from Tinned Tomatoes

Zesty Salmon Goujons - from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter, served with potato wedges and mixed vegetables

Cheese Leek and Bacon Pasta - from Feeding Boys and a Firefighter

Chicken Kebabs - from How To Cook Good Food (without the chilli sauce)

Baked Fish with Pesto - from Maison Cupcake, served with mixed vegetables and mash

Black Bean and Butternut Chilli - from Fuss Free Flavours

Lunches

Weekday lunches will be Mince and Vegetable Calzone, my children baked these on Sunday for the week.  They love baking and are much less likely to moan about their packed lunches if they've made some of it themselves.  The calzone will be accompanied by crudites a piece of fruit and a small baked treat.

Weekend Lunches


Quickie Quiche with Boursin - From Maison Cupcake


Hopefully normal service will resume next week.  Don't forget to check out all the other meal plans on the Meal Planning Monday linky over on At Home With Mrs M.


Saturday, 22 March 2014

11yo's Birthday Cake - How to save a cake that's sunk in the middle


I have a confession to make.  I had a major minor baking disaster with my 11yo's Birthday Cake.  I forgot to test it was properly cooked with a skewer when it came out of the oven.  It wasn't quite done and as it started to cool it started to sink in the middle.  I then realised my mistake and put it back in the oven until it was properly cooked but the cake still ended up with a one inch deep dent in the middle.  It looked like a great big chocolate cake crater.  I may have had a mildly hysterical moment at this point.

I didn't have the ingredients, energy or time to make another so had to work with what I had.  I decided to be a bit cunning and use sweets to fill the large crater so nobody would know and I would look like a genius Super Mum for hiding sweets in her cake.  I spread a layer of chocolate ganache, or you could use buttercream over the entire outside of the cake and a thin layer of ganache in the crater to hold the sweets in place.  I then filled the crater with smarties and finished with a layer of chocolate buttons flat side up to provide a flat surface to ice the cake with.  A reasonably thick layer of ganache was carefully spread over the top of the cake, including over the sweets and chocolate buttons.  The cake was then chilled in the fridge overnight so the ganache was really firm which made coating the cake in sugarpaste much easier.



I coated the cake in bright blue sugarpaste and covered it with sugarpaste flowers and buttons, as per my daughters labelled illustration she had given me to work from.  I used this Chocolate Cake recipe to bake the cake.  I baked another Chocolate Cake using that today, made sure I tested it was cooked through after baking, and the cake baked perfectly so I think the sunken cake disaster was a one off, thankfully.


Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Peach Muffins with Ski Sensations Fruit Dessert

To celebrate the launch of their new dairy dessert, Ski Sensations have set up an exclusive blogger recipe challenge.  I decided that the recipe I wanted to create had to be a low faff but tasty treat, perfect for busy families, and these muffins are just that.

The new Ski Sensations Fruit Dessert is not yoghurt and is not aimed at, or suitable for, children.  It is also not suitable for vegetarians.  You’ll find the Ski Sensations Fruit Desserts in the chilled section of the supermarket with other grown up puddings and dairy desserts in pots not in the children’s section. 

Ski Sensations Fruit Dessert can be used to replace yoghurt when baking so you could try experimenting and replacing yoghurt with it for a different flavour option.

The three other bloggers participating in the recipe challenge are:




All four of us have produced a recipe and serving suggestion using Ski Sensations.  Our recipes will be showcased on the official Ski Facebook page.

Each bloggers recipe will be announced in turn then voting by followers of the Ski Facebook page will begin at the end of the month.  One lucky person who like the Ski Facebook page and votes for their favourite recipe will win a set of Ceracraft pans and the recipe that gets the most votes will be captured on film in the winning bloggers kitchen.

Ski Sensations Fruit Dessert Peach Muffins

Use the Ski Sensations Creamy Fruit Dessert pot to measure all the ingredients.

2 x 70g pots of Ski Sensations Creamy Fruit Dessert
1 pot oil, I used sunflower
1 free range egg
1 pot caster sugar
3 pots self raising flour
1 pot of diced fruit, plus extra for decoration

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan and line a non-stick muffin tin with 6 paper liners.

Gently mix the ingredients together in the order they are listed.  Do not beat the mixture.  Divide the mixture between the lined muffin tin holes.  Decorate the tops of the muffins with fruit if you wish.  Bake for 20 – 25 minutes at 180C/160C Fan.




Disclosure: This recipe and photograph was commissioned by Ski for a fee in conjunction with their Facebook campaign and associated competition which will run between 31 March – 4 April 2014.

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Our Family Meal Plan for this week - £52

Last week was even busier than planned because I ended up having more meetings than I thought so I am hoping for a quieter week this week.  I have another couple of meetings and my usual work shifts along with a clinic appointment or two to attend as well.

My middle daughter turns 11 on Friday so I will have to bake for her class and also bake a birthday cake.  I have specific instructions, complete with a drawing, detailing what she wants her cake to look like.  No pressure!  She also gets to chose what she would like for dinner on Friday and has chosen Homemade Pizzas.

Packed lunches this week will be mini vegetable quiches with crudites, herbed yoghurt dip, a piece of fruit and a small baked treat.  Breakfasts will be cereal and milk with a piece of fruit for afters.  We will be at friends on Saturday for lunch so I will be taking desserts, on Sunday it will probably be toasted sandwiches.

Dinners

Bean Burgers with Potato Wedges - Meatfree Monday

400g tin mixed beans, drained and rinsed
1 onion, finely diced
1 pepper, finely diced
1 tsp chilli powder
100g fresh breadcrumbs
about 500g potatoes, for the wedges

Sauté the onion and pepper in a little oil for a couple of minutes until it softens then leave to cool for a bit. Mash the mixed beans with a potato masher, leave it a little lumpy – not too smooth. Add the cooled sautéed pepper and onion along with the breadcrumbs to the mixed beans and mix everything together thoroughly. Shape into 5 burgers and fry in a little oil for a couple of minutes on each side, until they’re golden brown. Then put them in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until completely cooked through.

Wash the potatoes and cut them into wedges, not too thick. Put a little oil on your hands and rub the wedges so that they get lightly coated in the oil. To cook the wedges, bake them in the oven for about 25 minutes at 180C.

Serve the burgers in buns with tomato, lettuce and mayo. I sometimes sprinkle a little paprika and/or chilli powder over the wedges to give them a little more flavour.


Salmon Bake - Tuesday

1/2 cup plain flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
4 free range eggs, beaten
500ml milk
100g butter, melted
415g can pink salmon, drained
1 onion, finely chopped
70g grated cheddar cheese
1 tsp fresh chives, finely chopped

Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre, pour in the eggs, milk and butter. Then add the drained salmon, finely diced onion, grated cheese and chives. Mix everything together until just combined. Don’t over-mix it.

Grease a large ovenproof dish then pour the mixture in. Cook at 180ºC for about 45 minutes until the egg has set. I’ll be serving this with cooked mixed vegetables.


Beef Koftas with Salads - Wednesday

500g minced beef
1 onion, finely diced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 clove garlic, crushed
handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
pinch of salt
a few grinds of black pepper

250g couscous
500ml hot vegetable stock

shredded lettuce
2 carrots, sliced into batons
1/2 cucumber, thinly sliced
3 tomatoes, thinly sliced

Put the beef into a mixing bowl with the onion, cumin, garlic, coriander, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Wet your hands and shape the mixture into 6 long sausage shapes around soaked wooden skewers. Place on a foil lined oven tray and grill for approximately 10 - 15 minutes until cooked through.

Put the couscous into a large mixing bowl and cover with the hot stock. Cover the bowl with cling film and leave for 10 minutes then stir the couscous with a fork to fluff up the grains. Serve the koftas with the couscous and salads.

Toad in the Hole with Mixed Vegetables and Mash - Thursday

Homemade Pizzas - Friday

Sausage Hotpot, leftovers in pasties - Saturday and Sunday


Shopping List

30 items: £51.93 from Asda online on 16/03/14.

Packets and Cereals
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Wheat Bisks (24x18g)                                £1.78
1x   ASDA Smartprice Cornflakes (750g)                                             46p
1x   Jus Rol Puff Pastry Block (2x500g)                                              £2.00
1x   ASDA Strong White Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                                       80p
1x   Great Scot Pearl Barley (500g)                                                     64p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Cous Cous (500g)                                          68p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)               65p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                             £1.28

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x   Princes Wild Pink Salmon (213g)                                                  £2.50
1x   ASDA Chosen by You Mixed (405g)                                             £1.24
1x   ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g)                                             35p

Frozen
2x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                                   £1.50

Dairy and Eggs
4x   ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                          £4.00
2x   ASDA Smartprice Low Fat Natural Yogurt (500g)                           90p
1x   ASDA Rich and Creamy Unsalted Butter British (250g)                  £1.00
1x   Suffolk Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6)                                  £1.00
1x   ASDA Cheddar and Mozzarella Grated Cheese (250g)                   £1.50
1x   ASDA 30% Less Fat Mature Grated Light British Cheese (250g)     £1.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x   ASDA Extra Special Pork Sausages (6 per pack - 454g)                £5.00
1x   ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g)                     £2.00
2x   ASDA Chosen by You Danish Pepperoni (120g)                           £2.00

Fruit and Vegetables
12   ASDA Bananas (Approx 170g)                                                     £1.39
2x   ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                                     £3.00
13   ASDA Tomatoes by Weight (160g)                                               £4.14
3x   ASDA Whole Cucumber                                                               £1.50
2x   ASDA British Iceberg Lettuce Loose                                             £1.00
1x   ASDA Celery                                                                               80p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                                £1.36
1x   ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg)                                                                 £1.00
2x   ASDA Apples (1.2Kg)                                                                  £4.00
2x   ASDA Smartprice Pears (500g)                                                    £1.58
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery website My Supermarket, and are correct as of 16th March 2014.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.

As usual I compared the cost of my shopping which would've cost: £59.06 from Tesco, £60.09 from Morrisons and £61.11 from Sainsbury's.

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


Chocolate Hot Cross Buns with Hidden Easter Eggs


Another of my Easter baking experiments has been tinkering with my Hot Cross Buns recipe.  I always bake large batches of traditionally flavoured Hot Cross Buns, although I do leave out the mixed peel, and they are rapidly devoured by family and friends.

I decided, mainly because my chocoholic husband nagged requested, to try making Chocolate Hot Cross Buns.  My daughters suggested hiding an Easter Egg inside and a new recipe idea was born.  The crosses on the top of the buns were piped on using a simple icing sugar and water icing, much easier than piping a dough cross on the top and it looks much tidier too.  We used a mixture of mini Creme Eggs and mini caramel filled Easter Eggs to hide in the Hot Cross Buns.

Chocolate Hot Cross Buns with Hidden Easter Eggs

450g strong white bread flour
50g butter, diced
30g caster sugar
½ teaspoon salt
20g cocoa powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
7g sachet dry yeast
250ml milk, lukewarm (I used semi-skimmed)
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
10 – 12 mini Easter Eggs

Put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.  Add the sugar, salt, cocoa, cinnamon and yeast.  Stir to combine.  Make a well in centre and add the milk and egg.  Mix until a soft dough forms.  Knead the dough for 5 minutes in a stand mixer, the dough is wet and sticky so difficult to knead by hand.  Transfer the kneaded dough to a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for an hour or until doubled in size.

Knock the dough back and knead for a couple of minutes on a lightly floured surface.  Divide into 10 – 12 equal portions.  Place a mini Easter Egg into the middle of each portion of dough.  Draw up the dough around it and shape into a smooth ball.  Put all the balls of dough onto a lined baking tray.  Cover with clingfilm an leave to prove for 30 minutes or until almost doubled in size.  Whilst the buns are proving preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.

Once proved, uncover the buns and bake for 10 minutes then reduce the oven temperature to 180C/160C Fan and bake the buns for a further 20 minutes.  Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes then carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Mix a little icing sugar with a little water and pipe crosses on to the top of each bun.


I'm linking this recipe with the Get Your Craft On Challenge, a fab monthly craft event, hosted this month by Missie Lizzie over on Me and My Shadow. The theme this month is Chicks and Eggs, perfect for Easter planning!

Saturday, 15 March 2014

Hidden Easter Egg Cupcakes



Easter is on the horizon and I have been planning my baking and experimenting, creating new tasty treats to devour.

Cupcakes are great for tailoring to occasions as they are so versatile in both flavourings and decoration options.  I decided to hide an Easter egg inside each cupcake, and also top them with some mini eggs for a full on chocolate hit.

The cupcakes were enthusiastically devoured by my husband and children.  A word of warning, there is A LOT of chocolate in the cupcakes and they are like rocket fuel. A trip to the park to burn off the sugar rush was essential yesterday afternoon.

Hidden Easter Egg Cupcakes

150g butter, softened
165g light soft brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 free range eggs
150g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
180ml natural yoghurt
10 – 12 mini Easter Eggs

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan.  Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases.

Use electric beaters to cream the butter, sugar and vanilla together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Gently but thoroughly fold in the flour, cocoa powder and yoghurt until completely combined.

Spoon two-thirds of the mixture evenly into the paper cases.  Gently press a mini caramel Easter Egg or Creme Egg half way into the mixture in each paper case.  Divide the remaining mixture between the paper cases, ensuring the Easter Egg is completely covered by cupcake batter.  The paper cases will be fairly full.

Bake for 20-25 minutes, the top of each cupcake should spring back when lightly pressed.  Cool in the muffin tin for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.


Pipe or spread chocolate buttercream over the top of the cupcakes and garnish with chocolate mini eggs if you wish.


I'm linking this recipe with the Get Your Craft On Challenge, a fab monthly craft event, hosted this month by Missie Lizzie over on Me and My Shadow.  The theme this month is Chicks and Eggs, perfect for Easter planning!

Monday, 10 March 2014

Our Family Meal Plan for this week - £49

I've another busy week with my usual two work shifts, two school governor meetings at school, two clinic appointments and the last of three parent consultation sessions, this time for my eldest.  This means once again meals need to be quick to prepare and ideally able to be prepared in advance a few times this week.

Breakfasts will be porridge with homemade fruit compote.  Lunches will be homemade wholemeal and vegetable pizzas with crudites, a piece of fruit and a small baked treat for afters.  Weekend lunches will be Vegetable Quiche and French Onion Soup with homemade cheesy bread rolls.

Dinners

Simmered Mince Many Ways - Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday

Vegetable Casserole with Dumplings - Thursday

Homemade Fish and Chips - Friday

Mixed Vegetable and Pearl Barley Risotto - Saturday

Macaroni Cheese with mixed vegetables - Sunday


Shopping List

33 items: £48.87

Packets and Cereals
1x   Mornflake Superfast Oats (2Kg)                                            £2.18
1x   ASDA Smartprice Plain White Flour (1.5Kg)                           45p
2x   ASDA Smartprice Pasta Shapes (500g)                                 58p
1x   Great Scot Pearl Barley (500g)                                              64p
1x   ASDA Home Baking Easy Bake Yeast (6 per pack - 42g)        65p
1x   ASDA Wholefoods Brown Bread Flour (1.5Kg)                       £1.28

Frozen
3x   ASDA Smartprice Mixed Vegetables (1Kg)                            £2.25
1x   ASDA Whitefish Fillets (500g)                                               £2.00

Tins, Jars and Cooking
2x   ASDA Smartprice Chopped Tomatoes (400g)                        62p
2x   ASDA Chosen by You Chilli Beans (290g)                              £1.12
1x   ASDA Smartprice Sweetcorn (326g)                                      35p
1x   ASDA Haricot Beans in Water (300g)                                     62p

Dairy and Eggs
4x   ASDA British Semi Skimmed Milk 4 Pints (2.27L)                    £4.00
1x   ASDA Rich and Creamy Unsalted Butter British (250g)            £1.00
1x   Suffolk Farm Medium Free Range Eggs (6)                            £1.00
1x   ASDA Chosen by You English Medium White Cheddar (450g)           £2.50
1x   ASDA Chosen by You English White Mature Cheddar (450g)  £2.50

Meat, Fish and Poultry
2x   ASDA Butcher's Selection British Beef Mince (500g)              £4.00

Fruit and Vegetables
12   ASDA Bananas (Approx 170g)                                              £1.39
1     ASDA Parsnips by Weight (250g)                                          37p
2x   ASDA White Potatoes (2.5Kg)                                               £3.00
3x   ASDA Whole Cucumber                                                        £1.50
1x   ASDA Celery                                                                        80p
1x   ASDA Trimmed Leeks (500g)                                                 £1.00
1x   ASDA Garlic Loose                                                              25p
1x   ASDA Smartprice Peppers (700g)                                         £1.56
1x   ASDA Courgettes (3)                                                            £1.50
1x   ASDA Smartprice Brown Onions (2Kg)                                  98p
2     ASDA Swede Portion by Weight (100g)                                 20p
1x   ASDA Carrots (1.2Kg)                                                           £1.00
2x   ASDA Apples (1.2Kg)                                                           £4.00
2x   ASDA Smartprice Pears (500g)                                             £1.58
2x   ASDA Chosen by Kids Easy Peasy Peelers (500g)                £2.00
Prices and special offers reflect those of the online grocery website My Supermarket, and are correct as of 9th March 2014.  Prices may vary in different in-store locations.


As usual I compared the cost of my shopping, which was £48.87 when purchased from Asda on 09/03.  Had I shopped elsewhere my groceries would've cost £51.92 from Morrisons and £53.87 from Tesco and £55.56 from Sainsburys.  

Don't forget to check out all the other meal plan in the linky on At Home With Mrs M.


Sunday, 9 March 2014

Banana and Apricot Muffins

I baked these muffins for morning tea this morning as we had a couple of over-ripe bananas that needed using up.  They disappeared in seconds once they were cool enough to eat safely.



Banana and Apricot Muffins

225g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
150g caster sugar
2 free range eggs
2 over-ripe bananas, mashed
100ml milk
110ml oil
1 tsp vanilla bean paste
handful of chopped dried apricots

Preheat your oven to 200C/180C Fan.  Line a non-stick muffin tray with paper liners.

Sift the dry ingredients in to a bowl.  Mix the wet ingredients together in a jug.  Make a well in the dry ingredients, add the wet ingredients and stir gently to combine, add the dry apricots and stir gently through the mixture.  Do not beat the mixture or your muffins will be tough.

Spoon the mixture evenly into the paper cases.  Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of a muffin comes out clean.  Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


Friday, 7 March 2014

Quick, Healthy and Tasty Egg Recipes


Everyone has busy lives so quick and simple meals ideas that don't compromise on flavour and quality are great to have in your repertoire. If you have a box of free range eggs in your fridge you can always rustle up a healthy, nutritious meal in no time at all. They are so versatile and can be used with a wide range of ingredients and flavours, so creating a meal to suit your family is easy once you have a little inspiration.

Celebrity chef Dean Edwards’ has created a collection of eight main meals that include new tortilla, scrambled, poached and boiled egg recipes, ranging from an English Breakfast Tortilla to the more exotic Fragrant Indonesian Fried Rice and Fiery Egg and Spinach Curry. 


More recipes and tips are available at http://www.eggrecipes.co.uk and on the Egg Recipes YouTube Channel.


Always use eggs bearing the Lion mark, which guarantees that they have been produced to the highest standards of food safety.  All Lion Quality eggs come from British hens vaccinated against salmonella, are fully traceable and have a ‘best before’ date on the shell as a guarantee of freshness.



This is a Sponsored Post.  All images supplied by the British Egg Industry Council.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

We're Unexpectedly Expecting!

I can finally let you all in on the reason why my blogging schedule has been haphazard and why I've been been posting less recipes than usual for the past couple of months.

We're unexpectedly expecting our 4th child which is due in September.


It was a big shock, the youngest of our 3 daughters is 7yo.  Our 3 daughters have nicknamed the baby 'BOB' which stands for Baby Onboard, they are insanely excited.  I've had, and still have, 24/7 morning sickness and cannot bear the thought or sight of food most of the time which has made food blogging rather difficult.  I'm hoping the sickness will ease a little soon.

Thank you for your patience and for bearing with me whilst my blogging has been less frequent than usual.  Hopefully normal service will resume soon.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Our Meal Plan for this week - 03/03/2014

This week is unfortunately another busy one.  To prepare us for the Live Below The Line Challenge we will be undertaking in a few weeks time, I shall be cooking dinners from this post which are frugal yet tasty, in fact all the meals cost less than £1 per serving.

Breakfasts will be porridge with added dried fruit on weekdays and pancakes and homemade crumpets on the weekend.

Lunches will be Calzone with crudites, a piece of fruit and a baked treat for afters.  We will be out at a friends for lunch on Saturday, I shall be taking the puddings and on Sunday we will have Twice Baked Potatoes.

Basic 50/50 Bread Dough for Calzone

250g strong white bread flour
250g wholemeal bread flour
7g sachet instant/fast action yeast
1 teaspoon salt
300ml luke-warm water
1 Tblsp oil

Weigh the flour, yeast and salt into a bowl.  Add all the water and mix with a wooden spoon until a dough forms.  Knead the dough by hand for about 10 minutes until smooth and elastic.  If the dough is very sticky, add a little more flour.  Put the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to prove for one hour or until doubled in size.

Divide the dough into 12 - 16 portions.  Roll each portion out into a round and put a little filling in the centre.  Moisten the edge of the dough slightly with a little water, fold one half of the dough over the other and press together to enclose the filling.  Place the Calzone on to lined baking trays.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/180°C Fan.  Bake the Calzone in the preheated oven for 15 – 20 minutes.


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