Showing posts from January, 2016

Honey and cabbage risotto

Since I discovered Jamie Oliver's risotto recipe I adore this dish. It is so flexible and the main tip Jamie gives is to make the base roughly the same every time. Now me being me I don't do that! I use his method but not necessarily his ingredients.

Here's what Jamie does.

For this interesting dish I made the base with what I had in the fridge (I hadn't got around to restocking our depleted veg selection so I had to go with what we had). I resorted to onion, red cabbage (which turned the rice a gorgeous purple colour), mushrooms and baby sweet corn, with some shredded spring greens to come later. Slightly different to Jamie's I know.

So I made the base per his instructions (in short: lightly fry the veg then add the rice and then the wine and finally the stock one ladleful at a time until dissolved)
I was determined to be careful and patient ladling in the stock over the rice so it doesn't stick and waiting for it to become absorbed until you add the next bit.

Now …

Spicy Mac 'n' Cheese

I love Macaroni Cheese. It is a family staple and we have it at least once a week. I even manage to make it slightly healthier by also adding something green, such as peas, green beans or spinach. The other day I achieved something I've been trying in different formats for a while - a spicy Mac 'n' cheese. Yum! There a picture below. Unfortunately it's already half eaten but in our house that's not surprising.

So the basic recipe is this:

Ingredients (serves four hungry souls):

500g pack of macaroni
good chunk of butter/marge/olive spread (whatever you use!)
cornflour or plain flour
cheese (about 250g)


First of all put the macaroni in to boil but don't cook it completely. This is important. It needs to do more cooking in the oven so leaving it a little undercooked is crucial. About 5 minutes in add the peas or beans (or both as I did here) for another 3 minutes cooking. Don't cook the spinach if you're adding it, whether it's frozen or fresh it …

Quirky crochet wig!

It was recently Merida's 8th birthday. I love making things for my kids for their birthdays but this time I was concerned I'd already overdone my sets of hats, gloves etc. Also, I'd made both Finn and Merida some amigurami Avengers (more on that at a later date) for Christmas so didn't want to make a toy. This was mainly due to me needing a break from the fiddly stitches and having to think about the pattern so I thought I'd make something as a bit of a joke....and follow someone else's pattern.
I turned to my trusty Inside Crochet magazine and found the perfect pattern from issue 70. It is called a 'Day of the Dead' costume and consists of a black wig with a garland of flowers and is intended for the celebrations at the end of October. Over the last year Merida kept asking for a black wig in order to dress up as various characters. So I thought I'd make her one for her birthday.

It was one of those really cheerful makes that keeps making you giggle a…

Turning a curse into a blessing

The other day I sent in my first batch of donor breastmilk to the breastmilk bank in Bristol. I had an enormous sense of achievement finally doing this. I've wanted to do it since Merida was born and she's now eight!

I've always produced an excess of milk when my babies are small. People have told me I'm lucky and I can understand their point of view when a lot of women don't produce enough milk. However, it's more of a curse than it seems, but I am nothing if not determined. I've leaked, squirted and expressed my way to success.

When Merida was born I had naively thought breastfeeding would be easy. It was not. Poor Merida couldn't latch due to my engorged breasts and as a result I was constantly full and so I leaked. I've used nipple shields, nipple shells and nipple cream. I've expressed and bottle fed when latching didn't work and my babies needed milk. My two daughters lost a lot of weight and Rose was even admitted to hospital as she los…

Finish that project!

The Christmas tree is now stripped naked and back in its spot in the garden to grow a little more for next year. The cards are being sorted into those to keep and those tone recycled. The greenery has died and gone in the compost. Now for the new year.

I've seen a lot of blogs/newspaper articles/tv programmes about people aiming for new things for the new year. Various resolutions come to the fore only for them to be disguarded by the majority in February. So I'm not making resolutions.I am  making new year aims and giving myself all year to accomplish them. Here they are.

Learn to prioritise

I'm very good at doing just one more thing before I either go to bed or leave the house. The washing will still be there, the dishwasher can wait to be emptied, I don't need to reply to that email now and it doesn't matter if dinner is half an hour late. What does matter is making sure I've given my family enough hugs before school or bed, that people eventually get fed, that…