Thursday, 31 July 2014

Baby Nelly - Second Trimester Update.

It feels like forever ago that I made the announcement that we are expecting, its so weird as I feel like it is flying by, but also dragging. The second trimester has been much more fun than the first, a little less worrying and a lot more buying of cute things. Although, the worry is still there. Google is not my friend.

We found out at our 20 week scan that we are having a little girl (probably). They couldn't say 100% but the sonographer seemed pretty sure, and from my inexperienced point of view it sure didn't look like a boy... So we are playing it safe and keeping the big purchases in neutral/bright colours, just in case. I couldn't resist purchasing a few girly things though.

I feel like I have got my cooking mojo back a little, but its been far too hot to cook much. I am not complaining as I know summer will be gone in the blink of an eye, but I can't wait for that autumn crispness in the air and the urge to bake pie.

While I haven't been baking/cooking much, I have still been doing some fun foodie things. I went to a lovely blogger afternoon networking event organised by Lovely Lauren from Scran on the Tyne. This was held at Gusto in Newcastle, where we got to sample their fabulous menu. Seriously, it was so delicious, platters of meats and cheeses, pizza, pasta, risotto, salad... We got to try it all. If you're looking for good italian food in a beautiful setting, Gusto is the place for you.


I was too busy scoffing at Gusto to take pictures, but I snapped this lush photo of the Quayside. Ooops *bad blogger*

I also was invited along to try out Cake Poppins new royal icing classes, where we got to experiment and decorate some biscuits. Kate from Cake Poppins is such a fantastic (and patient!) teacher, I learn't loads of techniques, which I plan to replicate as soon as I can at home.

Kate also offers other classes in cake pops, cupcakes and macarons, all of which I have been to and can not recommend enough.

So, as I type this at nearly 23 weeks I am feeling pretty darn good, well apart from the heat, heartburn and lack of sleep, but lets not mention those. The plan over the next few weeks is to get more baby things organised, I want to be well prepared as I know I will not want to do anything as I expand into the third trimester.

Any parenting/pregnancy pearls of wisdom or advice is always welcome, so please do comment below, I am a total novice here and appreciate any advice I can get!

Mother's Always Right

Monday, 28 July 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 28th July

How hot has it been? I am using this photo of Ruby to illustrate how we are not at all coping well with the humidity.

So what with morning sickness and general tiredness I have been more than a little lazy where meal planning is concerned. Take aways have been had and a shocking number of "toast for dinner" days. As I am feeling better I have decided to take advantage and get a meal plan sorted.

Breakfasts are cereal or toast, and lunches are leftovers where possible, or sandwiches. I find myself grazing a lot through the day, as I get heartburn in the evening so try to eat little and often. Snacks of crackers, babybel, fruit, carrot sticks etc... are always on hand.

Monday
Veggie Stirfry for me, and chicken and risotto for him. He doesn't like vegetables and I fancy something crunchy and fresh.

Tuesday
BBQ chicken thighs with sweet potato wedges and corn on the cob

Wednesday
Beef lasagne

Thursday
Salmon with homemade egg fried rice. I am trying to make myself like salmon more, by eating it at least once a week, so far its not as bad as anticipated.

Friday
I am out for a colleagues leaving drinks, so will be eating out.

A nice varied meal plan to ease me back in, lets see if I can stick to it...

Friday, 25 July 2014

Violet Madeleines

Well, my plan to continue blogging didn't quite go to plan. I suffered quite badly during the first trimester (and some of the second) with sickness and extreme tiredness.

So, sadly the blog was left to gathering dust. I do miss it though, I have found myself planning recipes in my head more and more over the last few days, so thought I would kick things off with this recipe I made earlier in the year, but never got around to blogging.

Violet Madeleines. Lovely light and delicate cakes adapted from the Skinny French Kitchen by Harry Eastwood. I love this book by the way, makes french cooking easy and a little lighter on the waistline.

print recipe
Violet Madeleines
Ingredients
  • 4 Medium Eggs
  • Half a teaspoon Salt
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Plain Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Bakign Powder
  • 80g Ground Almonds
  • Half a teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • Half a teaspoon Violet Essence
  • 50g Butter, Melted
Instructions
Preheat the oven to 200C and brush a little oil into the Madeleine moulds - I used coconut oil, but standard olive or vegetable would do.Whisk together the eggs, salt and sugar until bubbly, then add the remaining ingredients and mix into a batter.Gently spoon the mixture into the moulds, filling three quarters of the way to the top, be careful not to over fill.Next, put the filled tin into the freezer, ensuring it is lying flat. Leave it for 10 minutes, and put the remaining mixture in the fridge to keep cold.After the ten minutes, put them in the oven and cook for ten minutes.Repeat the oiling, filing, freezing process for each batch until the mixture is all gone.Dust the Madeleines with icing sugar and serve. They will keep for 2 days in an air tight container, although they taste best eaten fresh.

According to the book, its the shock from cold to hot which results in the signature little bump.

The recipe above is how you should do it, however, I skipped the freezer bit for my second batch and they turned out much the same, so if you, like me have no patience, a refrigerated batter will still give you the little bump.

Thinking of doing a few baby/pregnancy related posts, as its the biggest part of my life right now. What do you think? Would you be interested in non-food related content?

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

News!

So, as you can probably tell from the above grainy picture of my uterus... I have some news!

In around six months time we will be welcoming a new little person into our family. It has been a very long couple of months of sickness and secret keeping but finally I can tell everyone. I partly haven't been baking and blogging due to feeling rubbish and steering clear of any interesting food, but also as I am a terrible secret keeper and I would have struggled to carry on blogging without blurting it out.

So, apologies for disappearing for the last few months, I am really looking forward to getting back to it and hopefully, sickness permitting, baking again!

Luckily I do have some posts from February that I didn't get around to finishing or publishing, so look out for some recipes very soon.

Hope you all had a lovely March/April, and I am looking forward to sharing some lovely summer recipes with you.

Monday, 10 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 10th March


My one and only picture from my day in the lakes on Saturday

You may have noticed that I didn't publish a meal plan last week, there is a reason for that. I didn't eat at home at all last week, I had one of those crazy busy weeks and while I had an absolute blast, I have missed cooking. So this week I plan on being a bit more of a homebody, or at least try.

Monday
It is mine and Paul's 8th Anniversary today! We are going for coffee at the place we had our very first date, then onto dinner. I can't quite believe its been 8 years, but I am excited to celebrate us.

Tuesday
I am off to the cinema to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, what was I saying about being a homebody? I'm a fan of Wes Anderson films so couldn't wait to see this one.

Wednesday
Homemade chicken pie with mash and veggies. I had pie at work on Friday, so promised Paul I would make one for him this week.

Thursday
Pasta bake, keeping it simple.

Friday
Gammon with homemade spicy potato wedges, fried egg and salad.

Still a bit of a busy week, but trying to get more balance.

Hope you all have a lovely week! Lookout for a recipe post for me later in the week. Here is a little sneak peak...

This post has been added to the Meal Planning Monday Linky, check it out for some other great meal plans!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Traditional English Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas (and a giveaway!)

We all know it is Shrove Tuesday on the 4th March in the UK. You would be hard pushed to find a bigger pancake lover than me, but I am not a fan of Shrove Tuesday. I know that doesn't make sense but allow me to explain;

Pancakes should not be limited to just one day a year, I feel like they get neglected 364 days of the year, pancakes are for life my friends, not just for Shrove Tuesday.

There are so many different style and flavour combinations you can give to your pancakes, fluffy american one, thin crepe ones, savoury, sweet, toppings, fillings... Seriously folks, they are the most versatile vehicles for all of the best flavours and ingredients.

I decided to keep my recipe simple for this post, as it IS Shrove Tuesday, I went for crepe-style. My go-to recipe is much more fluffy and american in style, so these felt a little more special. I steered clear of the traditional lemon and sugar and opted for a caramelised banana topping.

I used coconut oil to caramelise the bananas which lifted the whole dish to something pretty spectacular!

I also cooked the pancakes them selves using coconut oil, it gives a very subtle coconut flavour to the whole dish, not overpowering at all, just a little jazz hands to the dish on a whole.

print recipe
Traditional English Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas.
Ingredients
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Egg (medium)
  • 90g Flour
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Tablespoon (plus extra for the pan) Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
Instructions
Whisk the egg into the milkSift in the flour and whisk until smoothMelt a small pea-sized amount of coconut oil in a frying panPour in some batter, not too much, you should slide the batter around to coat the pan. Don't be afraid to go for a thin pancake.I slide a silicone spatular around the edge of the pancake, and shake the pan until the pancake slides around freely.Once it is sliding freely, go for the flip! Once nicely browned on both sides, start on the next pancakeThis mixture made 6-7 thin pancakes, which was perfect for a Sunday brunch for one. Once all the pancakes are done, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and the tablespoon of sugar.Throw in the chopped coins of banana, cook for just 2 minutes, until softened, then pour the bananas and syrup over the pancakes.Scoff Immediately!

The one good thing about Shrove Tuesday is the amount of delicious pancakes toppings that are available in the shops.

So, as I love you all dearly, I wanted to give you the chance to win some delicious pancake related things, due to some TNT courier issues this is a little late for Shrove Tuesday, but hopefully my "pancakes fo' life" campaign has convinced you to eat them any day of the week.

So to win a wonderful hamper courtesy of Abra-ca-deborah, simply complete the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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