Valentines Chocolate!

Was very excited when I recieved a parcel from Hotel Chocolat today & was very impressed that I managed to wait at 6 hours before opening it!  (ok, ok…. I was just waiting until the kids had gone to bed)

We don’t have a Hotel Chocolat shop near us, so it’s always a treat to get something from them & I had high hopes for the Chocolate Lovebirds they sent me (for free!) to try out.    I did think about sneaking upstairs so I could eat them all by myself, but thought that as they were Valentines chocolates, I should really share them with DH (plus he might read this!)  

I’m not a huge fan of overly-sweet chocolate & originally thought the strawberry white chocolate hearts sounded a bit odd, but they turned out to be both our favourites (@HotelChocolat – DH wonders if you could please make him a whole bar of it?), but the caramel hearts and milk chocolate birds were delicious too!  

Now I’m thinking that I need to make something not-too-unhealthy with the kids for Valentines day – any suggestions? My Pinterest Valentines board is looking quite bare – any suggestions?

Hunger Hurts – Still. A year on…

I am in tears reading this.

Jack Monroe

Today is exactly one year since I typed out, on my battered old Nokia, the words that have been reblogged and repeated in international news reports again and again and again over the last twelve months.
The post, entitled ‘Hunger Hurts’, starts with the line:
“Today has seen fourteen job applications go in…for care work, shop work, factory work, minimum wage work, any kind of work, because quite simply, this doesn’t work…”
I repeated the words in Parliament last month to a shocked, silent assembly:
“This morning, Small Boy had one of the last Weetabix, mashed with water, with a glass of tap water to wash it down with. Where’s mummy’s breakfast? He asks, all blue eyes and two year old concern. I tell him I’m not hungry, but the rumbling of my stomach calls me a liar. But these are the things that we do.”
Publicly falling apart at…

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Veggie Meatballs & Pasta

Veggie meatballs with pasta
Veggie meatballs with pasta

I got this recipe for veggie meatballs from katielovescooking

She used an egg to bind her meatballs together, but I didn’t need it – if fact, I added more breadcrumbs to my mix as they were too wet & squishy!   She also added some parmesan to her balls, but I missed that out as I didn’t have any Vegetarian equivalent in the house.

The meatball mixture can be used straight away, or covered with cling film and kept in the fridge overnight/for a few hours until needed which sounded perfect to me.  I made the balls in the afternoon while DD2 napped, then DH & I had them for dinner later that evening.


For the meatballs
  • 200g tinned lentils
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 0.5 chilli, finely chopped – optional
  • 50g Vegetarian Parmasan-style cheese – optional
  • 100g ricotta or cream cheese e.g. philadelphia
  • 2 slices of bread made into breadcrumbs (Just whizz them up in a blender)
  • Salt and pepper
For the sauce
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes
To serve
  • pasta
  1. Pre-heat the oven to 220C
  2. Drain the tinned lentils.  Whizz in a blender.  
  3. Add the onion, garlic and chilli,  ricotta/cream cheese, breadcrumbs, cheese, seasoning and mix. 
  4. Form the mixture into balls, and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven for about 20 mins, turning them so that they brown evenly.
  5. Heat some oil in a saucepan & gently cook the onion until softened
  6. Add the garlic and stir
  7. Add the tinned tomatoes, and stir again.
  8. Gently simmer the sauce for about 15mins.
  9. Cook the pasta
  10. When everything is ready, serve & enjoy!

reblogging this as I added a picture of the cake!

Bessie's Veggie Food

i first blogged this recipe back in March when DD1 made a special request for a cherry & raisin cake.  We made it again yesterday & I remembered to take a photo of it this time.

It really is very easy to make & DD1 really enjoyed herself and is very tasty – DH has requested we make it again soon!


  • 150g sugar
  • 225g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 120 ml orange juice
  • 250 g all-purpose flour
  • 5g baking powder
  • 335g golden raisins
  • 225g halved glace cherries


  1. Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150 degrees C).
  2. Grease and line with parchment paper one 9×5 inch loaf pan.
  3. Rinse the raisins & pat dry
  4. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  5. Add beaten eggs and orange juice and mix well.
  6. Sift flour and baking powder. Reserve 1/3 cup of flour mixture and toss with raisins and cherries (this…

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I always wondered what Canola oil was – glad I always used butter or olive oil instead!


So I realise there seems to be a lot of confusion concerning cooking oils. When you go to the grocery store there are so many to chose from. And it’s a true story when I say they are not all made equally. Some oils are best suited for specific purposes like cooking, or salad dressings while many others should be avoided all together. In this 2 part article series I’ll give a rundown of some of the most common cooking oils you find in the grocery store and which ones you should be putting in your cart!

Before I get started I want to note that although some oils come from seemingly healthy foods (like sunflower oil or vegetable oil), it is the process in which these oils are extracted that makes many of them unhealthy. Extracting oil from a source requires it to be pressed and the oil “squeezed” out. This is an…

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Last day with my baby…

That’s a bit over dramatic, it’s the last day DD2 & I will be at home alone together. It’s still sad though. I have mixed feelings about going back to work, I like my work & I like the girls going to nursery, but I’m still sad that my year at home with DD2 has come to an end.

She was supposed to have a swimming lesson today, but the ear infection meant we couldn’t do that, so instead we popped out to get her weighed & played the rest of the day.

Lunch was Ginger & Lentil Stew, and for tea we had asparagus & frittata.

No-bake mini cakes

I first made these to sell in the office to raise money for one the first Red Nose Days. I think the original recipe was Jane Asher.
1Ib (450g) plain or milk chocolate, broken into pieces
4oz (110g) unsalted butter
1Ib (450g) Madeira cake
8oz (225g) digestive biscuits
2oz (50g) raisins, soaked overnight in
4 tablespoons brandy or orange juice
3oz (75g) MALTESERS, freshly chopped
2 tablespoons pouring golden syrup
0.5 tablespoon vegetable oil, for greasing
chocolate M&M’s to decorate (Smarties don’t work as the color leaks out)
First, melt l2oz (350g) of the chocolate and all the butter in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Then crumble the cake with your fingers and cut the biscuits into small slivers. Place the cake crumbs in a large bowl with the melted chocolate and butter. Add the biscuits, raisins, MALTESERs and golden syrup and mix until combined. Roll into about 50 small balls. Melt the rest of the chocolate as before and dip each mini cake into it. then decorate with chocolate M&M’s.
Chill for at least 2 hours, or overnight until firm. Serve in paper cases.
You can also use this recipe to make a loaf cake. Grease a 2 pint (1.4 litre) loaf tin and line the base with baking parchment. Spoon in the cake mix. Melt 4oz (125g) chocolate as in the mini cakes recipe and spread over the top of the cake. Chill overnight and decorate with 9 small strawberries, halved.

In the beginning

I’ve been trying to find a good way to collate the many recipes I’ve tried & after seeing I thought I’d give blogging a go.

I’m going to try to add my menu for every week. I also hope to add all the recipes to  We will see how I get on with doing these…