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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, 30 May 2016

Cinnamon and Raisin Soda Bread

We had run out of milk, cereal, and eggs on Saturday morning.  I needed to provide breakfast for my lovely family to fuel our shopping trip for school shoes later in the day.  We had some low fat plain yoghurt in the fridge and of course there was flour in the cupboard so I decided to bake a quick soda bread, using raisins and cinnamon for extra flavour.  It went down very well indeed, and tasted better than cereal.

Cinnamon and Raisin Soda Bread

400g self raising flour
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
500g pot low fat plain yoghurt
100g raisins or other dried fruit
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp mixed spice
50g sugar (optional)

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/Gas Mark 4.  Mix all the ingredients together and form into a ball.  Place the ball of dough onto a lined baking tray nd flatten to about 3 inches/7.5cm  high.  Make 6 - 8 cuts in the dough, almost all the way through, then bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the loaf is golden and cooked through.  


Friday, 27 May 2016

Vegetable Slice

My 3 daughters do not like sandwiches in their school packed lunches, sometimes they will have wraps, but mostly they like something a little more adventurous and delicious.  I decided to make a Vegetable Slice using eggs and vegetables that needed using up before our weekly grocery delivery.

The slice went down well with all 4 of my children, toddler boy enjoyed it for lunch too.  You can vary the vegetables you use depending on what you have available.  It would be fab for a picnic or quick weeknight supper too, perhaps with some sweet potato wedges or oven baked chips on the side.



Vegetable Slice 

2 large courgettes/zucchini, grated 
2 carrots, grated
3 spring onions, white and green parts, finely sliced
2 peppers, any colour, finely diced 
5 free range eggs
150g/1 cup self-raising flour, can use gluten free 
100g/1 cup grated cheddar cheese 
125ml oil 
salt and pepper 

Preheat your oven to 180C/160C Fan/ Gas Mark 4.  Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.  Tip into a lined 25cm square baking tin and level the surface.  Bake in the preheated oven for 30 - 40 minutes until cooked through and set.  Cut into squares and serve, or keep refrigerated ready for packed lunches. 



Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Bake Box Subscription Review

I was delighted to be asked to try out a box from a new subscription service, Bake Box, which I had seen advertised on television.  I thought it would be perfect for my daughters aged 9, 13 and 16 to try out as they are all keen bakers.


Delivered bi-monthly, Bake Box is advertised as “the brand new subscription box designed for blossoming bakers to build up a brilliant repertoire of new skills as well as a collection of great baking equipment.”  Each Bake Box contains at least six specially curated bakeware items, six full colour recipe cards, decorating equipment and complimentary access to Bake Club Live.  Accessed via the Bake Box website, Bake Club Live is a great resource which includes a video masterclass for every box, more expert tutorials and videos, a tried and tested online recipe archive, and the latest baking news.


The box was robust yet stylish and well packed to ensure that items arrived in good condition.  We opened the lid to find the envelope of 6 recipe cards with step by step, very clear instructions with good quality photographs of the finished bakes.  

Our Bake Box contained:

Swiss roll mat
Pink Rainbow Dust ProGel
Swirly silicone bundt mould
Stripy stencil for the side of cakes
Spotty stencil for the top of cakes
Plain icing nozzle, coupler and icing bag
Dress cookie cutter 
Round plunger cutters
Sugarcraft cutter with three interchangeable wheels


Our recipe cards were:

Chocolate Bundt Cake decorated with white chocolate icing and fresh redcurrants
Striped Birthday Cake decorated with colourful spots and stripes
Blueberry Charlotte with lemon bavarois, filled with surprise cake pops
Fashionista Biscuits these would be great treat for a birthday party
Pinwheel Lemon Cupcakes with colourful sugarpaste toppings
Polka Dot Swiss Roll with a pink spotted sponge topped with chocolate discs


My 9yo used the silicone bundt mould and it was good quality and the cake did not stick, although we did make sure to grease and cocoa the tin well. We tried a 3 egg chocolate sponge recipe, baked in the silicone bundt tin, and decorated the cake with chocolate and vanilla icing and rice paper flowers. The piping bag was easy to use and good quality. We are looking forward to trying the Polka Dot Swiss Roll next.


My 16yo baked some of the Fashionista Biscuits and decorated them using white sugarpaste and sugar flowers. She is looking forward to baking the Pinwheel Lemon Cupcakes very soon.


We thoroughly enjoyed trying out a Bake Box and I would heartily recommend it as a gift for both novice and experienced bakers, it is suitable for both older children and adults alike who enjoy baking and decorating their bakes. The instructions are clear and concise enough for beginner bakers without being patronising to more experienced bakers. The equipment provided is good quality and likely to last a fair while. I was considering getting a box for my daughters before I was offered one to review.





The boxes are just 14.99 each plus postage and packaging, you can also select the option to buy 3 boxes 6 months or 6 over 12 months and receive some free gifts.  Check out the Bake Box website for details and to order your subscription.


I was sent a Bake Box to review.  All views expressed are those of myself and my family.


Thursday, 19 May 2016

Spicy Vegetable 'Noodle' Soup

As I mentioned previously, I am trying to eat healthier meals, and ensuring each meal contains extra vegetables where possible.  I picked up some spiralised sweet potato at the supermarket reduced to 20p and a pack of stir fry vegetables which were also reduced to 20p.  I decided to turn them into a delicious soup for myself and my 16yo to enjoy, perfect fuel for her exam revision.

Spicy Vegetable 'Noodle' Soup

300g spralised sweet potato, or use a vegetable peeler to create 'ribbons'
500g mixed vegetable stir fry
1 litre vegetable stock
2 onions, roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, mined
2 tsp fresh ginger, very finely grated
1 tsp turmeric powder

Spray a large saucepan with a little oil and cook the onions until softened but not coloured.  Add the turmeric, garlic and ginger then cook for a couple of minutes.  Add the stock and vegetables, simmer for 5 - 10 minutes until the sweet potato 'noodles' are tender.  Serve immediately, with a bread roll or two on the side. 


Saturday, 14 May 2016

Spicy Roast Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup

I had some sweet potatoes and carrots that had been languishing on the vegetable shelf and needed using up.  The weather was grim, despite it being Spring, so soup was required as a warming lunch.  This soup is synfree if you are following Slimming World.  It was delicious, my 16yo and toddler enjoyed it too.

Spicy Roast Sweet Potato and Carrot Soup 

500g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into batons
500g carrots, peeled and cut into batons
2 large onions, peeled and roughly diced
2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
1 Tblsp curry powder, use mild or hot
1 litre vegetable stock
400g tin chickpeas, drained

Put the sweet potato and carrot batons on to a lined oven tray and spray with a little oil to coat.  Roast at 220C/200C fan/ gas 7 for about 20 minutes until cooked though and tender.

In a saucepan over a moderate heat, spray a little oil and cool the onions until softened but not coloured.  Add the garlic and curry powder, cook for a couple of minutes or until the curry powder is fragrant.  Add the vegetable stock, chickpeas and cooked carrot and sweet potato.  Simmer for about 10 minutes then take off the heat, cool slightly, and blend until smooth.  Serve in bowls with a bread roll or naan bread on the side for a tasty lunch.


Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Stuffed Mushrooms

Another delicious lunch, synfree if you are following Slimming World, that is very quick and easy to prepare.  My toddler loved this, and my 13yo asked me to make it for her as an after school snack.

I purchased the mushrooms on offer at the supermarket and was able to get 4 large flat mushrooms for 50p, and used fresh herbs from our garden, so this is a thrifty and delicious meal.  I used my very fine microplane grater to great the hard cheese, it makes a small amount of cheese go much further.

Stuffed Mushrooms - serves 2

4 large flat mushrooms
8 Tblsp quark
2 Tblsp finely chopped fresh chives
1 Tblsp finely chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, crushed/minced
30g parmesan cheese, very finely grated

Preheat your oven grill to medium.  Place the mushrooms on a lined oven tray and grill, face down/cap side up, for about 5 - 7 minutes.  Whilst the mushrooms are grilling, mix the quark, herbs and garlic together.  Take the mushrooms out of the oven, turn up the grill temperature to high and flip the mushrooms over so they are right way up.  Carefully divide the topping between the 4 mushrooms and sprinkle the grated cheese on top.  Grill for a further 5 - 7 minutes until the cheese has melted and the topping heated through.  I served these mushrooms on a bed of wilted spinach.




Friday, 6 May 2016

Stuffed Aubergines (Eggplant)

I recently decided to start eating more healthily.  I tend to skip breakfast, and sometimes lunch as well.  That of course is not healthy at all and leads to food choices in the afternoon that are less than healthy.  If I am going to have a healthy lunch then it has to be quick and delicious, and ideally something that my toddler can share with me.

I prepared the aubergines in the morning when the school packed lunches were being made, then baked them at lunchtime for toddler boy and I to share.  I left the chilli out of his portion.



Stuffed Aubergines

1 large aubergine
2 spring onions
2 tomatoes, roughly diced
200g cooked chickpeas
2 Tblsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli powder (optional)

Preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7.  Cut the aubergine in half and scoop out the flash from each half, leaving the skin and 1/2cm of flesh intact to form a shell.  Roughly dice the aubergine flesh, add the other ingredients and stir well to combine.

Put the stuffing mixture into the aubergine shells, wrap loosely in foil and fold over to seal.  Cook for 25 minutes.  Open the foil parcels and cook the aubergines for another 10 - 15 minutes until they are tender.  Serve topped with natural yoghurt or quark and a green side salad and herbed couscous.


Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Credit Crunch Munch


Credit Crunch Munch is a blog challenge devised by Helen and Camilla to highlight delicious meals that are also thrifty.  Whether it be a bargain purchase, using leftovers, or just making the most of thrifty ingredients, we want you to link up your delicious culinary creations that are frugal and tasty.

Money saving topics could be:

Dishes using cheaper ingredients – cheap cuts of meat or vegetarian
Meals using leftovers
Meals using up the ends of packets
Substitutions of cheaper ingredients
Packed lunches
Meals that use less energy to cook
Pressure cooking
Slow cooking
Faster cooking – less oven time for example
Batch cooking for the freezer
Sustainable foods
Food you have grown yourself
Meals from reduced food in the supermarket

Credit Crunch Munch Rules

There are a few rules:
Please link to the Credit Crunch Munch pages on Fuss Free Flavours and Fab Food 4 All
Please link to the current host (that’s me) Utterlyscrummy
Please use the Credit Crunch Munch Badge above
Tweet using #creditcrunchmunch and tag me @utterlyscrummy @FabFood4All & @FussFreeHelen
Closing date – last day of the month – so 31st May 2016
You are welcome to link up one or two old posts, but please republish them
By entering you are agreeing to let us use an image from your entry on this site, and to pin to Pinterest
If blogging a recipe from elsewhere on the internet or a book please be mindful of copyright
But feel free to send to as many other events as you like, let’s help everyone save money!
Please be courtesy and visit a few other blogs who take part, comment and share – remember to use #creditcrunchmunch 


This is a blog hop so please grab the code and share the linky on your site too. 

We look forward to seeing your entries!


Sunday, 1 May 2016

Dough Balls, Savoury and Sweet - Bready, Steady, Go May Linky


The lovely Lucy over at Baking Queen 74 hosted Bready, Steady, Go last month and her Apricot and Apple Couronne looked stunning.  Do take a look at all the delicious recipes on her blog, they will make you very hungery indeed!

For the linky this month I decided to bake Dough Balls, these are always a hit at our house and are gone in seconds.  Easy to bake, tasty and versatile, they are just the think for a weekend lunch or snack.

I made a large batch of dough and flavoured half savoury and half sweet.  I had to bake another lot as the dough balls were devoured in seconds as soon as they were cool enough to eat.


Dough Balls - makes 2 batches

400g stong white bread flour
1 sachet instant yeast
1 tsp salt
250ml lukewarm water
5 Tblsp olive oil

Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until a smooth dough forms. Knead by hand or in a mixer until dough is smooth and elastic, this usually takes about 10 minutes by hand or about 5 - 7 minutes in a mixer.

Leave the dough to double in size, in a greased bowl covered with cling film.  This took approximately 45 minutes to an hour.  When the dough has risen knead it for a minute to knock it back then divide the dough in half.  Flavour each half as you wish.

Each portion of dough should be divided into 12 - 15 small portions then rolled into balls.  I mixed dried herbs through one portion of dough before I portioned it out and then topped the dough balls with grated hard cheese for a savoury option.  The other dough was divided into portions and each small ball rolled in cinnamon sugar.

I used 20cm/8 inch cake tins to bake the dough balls in, you don't necessarily need to use a tin, just pop them on a lined baking tray.  Put one dough ball in the middle then 5 around it, just touching each other, then the others in a circle around the dough balls already on the tray.

Leave the dough balls to prove whilst you preheat your oven to 220C/200C Fan/Gas Mark 7/425F.  Bake the dough balls for 10 - 15 minutes until they are golden.  Leave them to cool for 15 minutes then devour.

I used homemade pizza/pasta sauce as a dipping sauce for the savoury dough balls.  You could drizzle them with garlic butter instead.  I whizzed up some frozen berries with plain yoghurt and a little honey to make a dipping sauce for the sweet dough balls.  Dipping sauces aren't necessary, the dough balls are delicious on their own.


Bready, Steady, Go! Challenge Guidelines

Bready Steady Go! will run from 1st until the 28th of each month and then a round up will be posted by the hosting blog at the end of the month.

You can link up any bread recipe, sometimes we may also run themed challenges, and feel free to join in with other challenges if your post also meets their guidelines. If you really love baking bread then you can add multiple entries up to a maximum of 3 per blog each month.

Please link back to Baking Queen 74 and Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and include the badge to help spread the word.

We’d prefer to see entries from new blog posts where possible but you can also add old posts if you add the badge and link back to our blogs as well.

You can tweet your entries to @BakingQueen74 and @UtterlyScrummy using the hashtag #breadysteadygo and we will retweet all that we see.

All entries will also pinned to our new Pinterest board as they come in.

If you make a recipe from a book/magazine/website etc please respect copyright and do not reproduce the recipe verbatim. Instead of copying out the recipe from the book, describe it in your own words and if it’s from an online source please link to the original content rather than copying full recipe.

So what are you waiting for?! Bready, Steady, Go bake some bread!