Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Mamatography: Week 8

A busy week of half term fun for us!
Day 48 - Sunday 17 February
It felt like Spring was giving us a glimpse of what was to come...we spent the day in the garden collecting for & making a bonfire, building a new bird table and playing football!

Day 49 - Monday 18 February
The first day of half term holidays from school & nursery so we were in the mood to play - four bowls of different types of pasta and a wodge of homemade playdough was the invitation to make faces!

Day 50 - Tuesday 19 February
DH took the day off work to spend with us so we crammed in swimming, the cinema AND lunch...DS & DD had fun pretending to play on the racing car game in the cinema foyer.

Day 51 - Wednesday 20 February
I helped DS build the biggest marble run we could...

Day 52 - Thursday 21 February
DS tried out Tiny Tots Tennis at Surrey Sports Park...and loved it!

Day 53 - Friday 22 February
A trip to the theatre for us...

Day 54 - Saturday 23 February
Posting a package off to my nephew...and I loved this cute dinosaur wrapping paper!

Without further ado, here are the Mama/Papatography2013 participants!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Curried Coconut & Cauliflower Soup

I've been eating this all week for lunch, and its delicious.  Don't be put off by what looks like a huge list of spices...most of these will already be in your cupboard!  

3 onions, peeled & diced
3 garlic cloves, peeled & crushed
50g butter
1 red chilli
1 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp black mustard seeds
1/2 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground ginger
225g potatoes, peeled & diced
100g desiccated coconut
850ml vegetable stock
1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
1 tin coconut milk

Soak the desiccated coconut in 300ml warm water and set aside for 15 mins. 

Heat the butter in a frying pan, and cook the onions and garlic for around 5 mins.  Add the chilli, coriander, mustard and cumin seeds, tumeric, paprika and ginger and cook for 1 minute, stirring well to combine.  

Transfer to the slow cooker adding in the potatoes, coconut plus its soaking water, vegetable stock, cauliflower florets and the coconut milk.  Cover and cook on Low for 6-8 hours.

If you have a stick blender, use that to whizz round the soup whilst still in the slow cooker - if not, you can transfer the soup to a liquidiser and do it that way.

Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Mamatography: Week 7

Week 7...a week filled with illness, pancakes and Valentines! 

Day 41 - Sunday 10 February
Hot chocolate with cream :)

Day 42 - Monday 11 February
A day of doctors appointments and visits to the pharmacy so no time for photos!

Day 43 - Tuesday 12 February
With DS signed off school, we did some maths work at home with the help of the fruit bowl!

Day 44 - Wednesday 13 February
I made DS some pre-Valentine cheese scones for lunch.

Day 45 - Thursday 14 February
I made some Valentine Rice Krispie treats for DS to take into his class...he was so glad to be going back to school!

Day 46 - Friday 15 February
Coffee-shop-pit-stop for DD and I after dropping DS at school...

Day 47 - Saturday 16 February
With DS unwell at the beginning of the week, we didn't get to eat pancakes on Shrove Tuesday so we had a pancake feast for breakfast on Saturday!  This is DS watching in amazement as DH flips the pancakes :)

Without further ado, here are the Mama/Papatography2013 participants!

Sunday, 17 February 2013

Fish Pie

This is a regular staple in our house, and I have been making this recipe pretty much unchanged for the past 4 years...I can guarantee my kids will always eat it!

500g fish fillets (I use salmon & cod but you can use whatever you like)
500ml whole milk
1 bay leaf
30g butter
1 onion, peeled & diced
3 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tsp mustard powder
100g frozen peas
75g frozen shrimps
40g cheddar cheese, grated
1kg potatoes, peeled & chopped

Put the fish & the bay leaf in a shallow frying pan and pour over the milk.  Bring to the boil then cook for 5 mins.  Take out the fish fillets and put them into the ovenproof dish you are using, then flake them with a fork.  Strain the milk through a sieve reserving the liquid in a jug, and discard the bay leaf.

Melt the butter in a pan and once melted, add the onion and saute for a few mins until soft.  Stir in the flour to make a paste and cook for 1 minute.  Add the strained milk a little at a time, continually stirring and letting the sauce thicken.  

Stir in the mustard powder, peas, shrimps and cheese and cook through for 2 minutes.  Pour the sauce over the flaked fish in your dish.

Boil the potatoes until soft, drain and mash with a generous knob of butter (and a little milk if they seem dry).  Spoon the mash over the fish mixture, ensuring it reaches right to the edge of the dish.

Bake at 180 degrees for 25 mins.  

I often have leftovers from this, and it keeps fine for 2 days in the fridge and also freezes well (assuming the fish is fresh not frozen originally).

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Cheese & Onion Scones

With my little guy so poorly at the moment, I wanted to make something that would not only cheer him up but that he might also be persuaded to eat!  Plus it is Valentines Day this week so what better excuse to make heart shaped cheese scones :)

275g self-raising wholemeal flour
Pinch of salt
75g butter
200g natural yoghurt
50g strong cheese*, grated
2/3 spring onions, chopped finely 

Put the flour and salt in a mixing bowl, and rub in the butter until it becomes like breadcrumbs.  Stir in the yoghurt, grated cheese and spring onions.  

Use your hands to bring the mixture together into a dough - add a little milk at this point if it is too dry (I needed to). Tip onto a flour surface and press down with your hands, no need to use a rolling pin as you want them quite thick. 

Use a cutter to press out your shapes and place on a baking sheet.  Brush with egg and bake at 180 for 15-20 minutes.

Serve cut in half while still warm and spread with butter.

*I used cheddar cheese but next time would probably use half cheddar and half Parmesan for a stronger flavour.

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Mamatography: Week 6

Wow, I feel like week 6 is mainly about food!

Day 34 - Sunday 3 February
Making banana muffins...

Day 35 - Monday 4 February
Fish pie for supper at our house.

Day 36 - Tuesday 5 February
DS wasn't feeling great so I made some blueberry smoothies as an extra vitamin boost!

Day 37 - Wednesday 6 February
DD was more than a little delighted to be attending ballet fully kitted out in her new uniform!

Day 38 - Thursday 7 February
Puddle jumping.

Day 39 - Friday 8 February
Such fun to be had on a walk to the shops...

Day 40 - Saturday 9 February
Catching up with a friend from overseas...and it was F.U.N.  Daddy was on duty for the afternoon & evening :)

Without further ado, here are the Mama/Papatography2013 participants!

Monday, 11 February 2013

Valentine Love Heart Crayons

This is an easy cute gift for little ones to give to the friends they *love*.  

Gather up all the broken / old crayons...any colours will do although the more red there are, the more like love hearts they will be.  Put the pieces in a food bag and smash with a rolling pin until all the large pieces are broken up, and you are left with crumb-like crayons (this is the fun part!)

Divide the "crumbs" between the hearts in a silicon mould like this one.  Bake at 150 degrees for 15 the windows when you do this, as the smell is quite strong!

Allow to cool slightly, then turn out of the mould to cool further.

Present in a cellophane bag and tie up with some red ribbon and cute tag for a lovely homemade Valentine :)

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mamatography: Week 5

Here's what we got up to in week 5...

Day 27 - Sunday 27 January
Lunch with DH's family including his sister, who was back from working in Congo and bought us some wonderful gifts - I got this beautiful wooden carved box.

Day 28 - Monday 28 January
DD & I had fun watching The Gruffalo's Child at the theatre!

Day 29 - Tuesday 29 January
DD helped me to prepare the veggies for supper...

Day 30 - Wednesday 30 January
Very excited to received these rolls of tulle in the post...I couldn't wait to start making the tutu I'd planned for DD! 

Day 31 - Thursday 31 January
Thai chicken curry for supper, inspired by Mediocre Mum's recipe that I saw this week...I played around with it a little & hope to get it my version up on the Blog soon.

Day 32 - Friday 1 February
DD has pretty much worn the tutu I made her every day since it was finished! (Tutorial post here.)

Day 33 - Saturday 2 February

DD is slowly getting braver around our cats...I was delighted that I got her to stroke them while they were having some milk - a big step for her :)

Without further ado, here are the Mama/Papatography2013 participants!

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Blueberry Smoothie

DS was adamant he didn't want to eat his dinner tonight and whilst I usually "insist", I knew he wasn't feeling great, exacerbated by the fact he hadn't been to the loo today...he does occasionally suffer from constipation :(  So I made him this instead...he said it was yummy, and drank most of it down so at least he got something inside of him before bed!

100ml orange juice
100g blueberries
Half an orange, peeled & roughly chopped
1 banana
Few ice-cubes

Throw all the ingredients into a jug and blend!  Add more orange juice or water to get the consistency you like.

Monday, 4 February 2013

Handprint Bag

I wanted something that the kids could help make for nanny's birthday last month so we came up with this.  I bought a bunch of plain canvas bags last summer for us to use for arty things but we hadn't really gotten around to using them.  

Using a suitable fabric paint, I painted DD's right foot and hand before printing them onto the bag.  I did the same with DS but used his left hand and foot - I had hoped to put them side by side to make a pair but it didn't work out, as DD splodged her hand down before I could direct it!  So we ended up making it a bit more free form ;)

With a fabric sparkly pen, I wrote Nanny at the top and then the date at the bottom of the bag.

When the paint was dry, I cut two "flower / scalloped" shapes out of different coloured felt, after drawing round a biscuit cutter to help guide me (oh yes, I'm all about using household items for craft when I can!)  I used fabric glue to stick one on top of the other, at different angles.  When the glue was dry, I sewed on two buttons, one on top of the other, and then sewed it onto the bag.

The kids were very proud of themselves for their part in helping make it, and I'm pretty sure Nanny loved it too!

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Slow-cooked Goulash

High praise indeed from DH last night when I served will definitely be going on my "Keep" list!  I know traditional goulash is usually made with pork but I have always used beef in mine so it was a nice change to use pork this time (plus the steaks were on offer in Tesco this week!)

6 pork chops / 1.5lb diced pork
1 red pepper, diced into large pieces
1 large onion, peeled & chopped
5/6 large mushrooms, diced into large pieces
2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 can chopped tomatoes
450ml vegetable stock, hot
2 tbsp soured cream

If using pork chops, trim off any rind / fat and chop into pieces.  

Heat the oil in a frying pan and add the onion & pork, until browned.  Add the spices, red pepper and mushrooms and cook for just a minute.  Mix in the tinned tomatoes and bring to the boil.

Transfer everything to the slow cooker (which should be on Low) and add the stock, stirring well.  

Pop on the lid and cook for around 10 hours (I did mine for over 12 hours and it was fine).

Stir in the soured cream and serve.  I'm a bit sick of rice at the moment so we ate it with new potatoes and broccoli...delicious!

Friday, 1 February 2013


Since I took DD to her first ballet class a few weeks ago, she has decided she wants to be a ballerina.  That, naturally, requires a tutu.  So I set to work...after DD informed me that she wanted one in "pink, blue AND purple".  Right then.

I found this easy tutorial at The Ribbon Retreat, and after ordering some tulle in the decided colours, I sat down on Wednesday evening and made this in 40 mins...from start to finish!  

You'll need some elastic for the waistband - I measured mine around DD's waist then made it a bit smaller, as I figured she'll be pulling it on and off and it will get stretched over time.  Sew the ends of the elastic together to make a band...then you can put the needle & cotton away!

Next, you need to cut lengths of tulle to tie onto the band - again, I got DD to hold the band on her waist and measured a strip to her knee, looped over the band (i.e. double that length).   I then cut a few lengths at a time, and cut more as I went along.

Its easiest if you have something to hold the elastic in place so I used this little chair.  Loop the tulle over the elastic and tie a knot one way, and then the other way.

I used two pieces of tulle at once, to get the colour effect, varying the colour combinations as I went round - pink & purple, blue & purple, pink & blue then repeated.  Carry on tying on the lengths as you move round the band.

You may need to shift the knots round at the end so don't tie them too tight!

DD was delighted when I showed her the next morning - here she is prancing round the house in it the next day...

...and the following day, wearing it again to go shopping...why wouldn't you wear a tutu to pick up your groceries if you could?!