Guest Post: Roast Chicken Curry 

I have a real treat in store for you guys.. A guest post from my friend Tash..mother of two girls, LK Bennett addict, play date host extraordinaire and Aka the Kurry Kween.. Here’s a photo of her to set the scene..

Right.. Over to her

Ok so I really flipping LOVE chicken curry but I really hate being stuck to the stove for hours while it cooks (I always cook meat for at least three hours to achieve super tenderness) And I only ever buy a whole free-range chicken (because I watched a Hugh Fernley-Whittenstall programme a while ago and it scarred me) and if you only ever cook a whole bird on the stove you always have to butcher it first so it can all fit in the pot. Faff! So I decided to cut out the butchery and the stuck-to-the-stove-ness and just chuck a whole bird marinated in curry flavours and slow roast in the oven. Yay freedom! Here’s the recipe. I hope you like it! 

Roasted Chicken Curry

1 whole free range chicken

Cumin seeds

Coriander seeds

Garlic 

Ginger

Lemon 

Fresh coriander 

Rapeseed oil 

Onion

Tomatoes

1 tsp turmeric

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp garam masala 

Coconut cream 

Chickpeas

Kala chana 

Ok first make the marinade for the chicken. Dry roast the cumin and coriander seeds and then bash up in a pestle and mortar. Add this to finely grated garlic, ginger and lemon zest. Add the juice of one lemon, finely chopped coriander stalks and season. Mix with rapeseed oil to loosen and then rub all over the chicken in a high sided roasting dish. Cut onion into big chunks and throw this in too. (Make sure some of the marinade goes on the onion too otherwise they’ll burn). Put half a lemon into the cavity and then roast uncovered on MAX for 30mins.

After half and hour remove from the oven, baste a little and then add your fresh tomatoes. No need to chop – just add them whole. Cover entirely with foil and return to oven at 180 for at least 3hours. 

After a minimum of three hours remove from the oven, scoop out the tomatoes and de-skin. Then smoosh and add your dry spices (the turmeric, paprika and garam masala). Mix this tomatoey masala with the juices in the dish and add about a cupful of boiling water to loosen. Cover with foil again and return to the oven for another hour.

After an hour remove from the oven, take the chicken out of the dish, de-skin and shred the meat off the carcass. (Because it’s been in the oven for AGES the meat will pretty much fall off the bone at this point). Add the coconut cream to the juices in the roasting dish, mix the shredded chicken back in and then add the chickpeas. Then return to the oven for at least 30mins to soften the chickpeas.

When you are ready to serve just scatter over freshly chopped coriander. DE-FLIPPING-LISH

Thanks Tash!

It really is delicious and easy to do.. Plus a whole free range chicken from Aldi is only 6 quid!! 

Bye!! 

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An ode to Betty

I’m a bit obsessed with Betty Crocker cake mix.. If you’re unfamiliar, it’s basically pre packaged cake mix that you mix with eggs, water and oil and bake! Saves on weighing, buying up specific ingredients etc,  saves on time making the thing and you CANNOT GET IT WRONG. Every time anyone has had a birthday since Fred was born I’ve made one. All different flavours, different icing and toppings and I’ve  settled on  a favourite…any sponge, with jam and fresh whipped cream in the middle..and then fresh fruit and whipped cream on top. It’s such a show stopper!

In past weeks I’ve done chocolate sponge with raspberry jam, whipped cream and fresh blackberries…Vanilla sponge with whipped cream, raspberry jam and a lemon drizzle top… and yesterday for Fred’s half birthday I did zesty lemon sponge with whipped cream, blueberry jam and fresh raspberries!

Once I even made a vanilla sponge.. Split it into 3 cakes.. Dyed each one a different pink and iced buttercream roses all over! I could spend the time on the icing rather than the cake making. 

I don’t know what it is about it.. But you just can’t get it wrong. It turns out moist and fluffy every time. If I make my own cake, it normally is dry. MAGIC. 

I should point out this IS NOT a sponsored post. It might be there are other reliable brands to try but I’m too afraid. I’m hooked! 

Here’s Fred with his cake… 

Be Prepared!!

So as you may know I recently returned to work part time after 14 months of maternity leave.

I mentioned in a previous post, I think, that I’m just not feeling on top of things..it’s really hard to do meal planning, a weekly shop, cook healthy nutritious meals for me, Dan and Fred AND have healthy snacks for Fred, AND stay on top of the laundry AND have a clean, tidy house. AND find a way top actually spend quality time with my son on my days off.

Well, before I went back to work I got a cleaner. I don’t see it as a luxury AT ALL. See above for evidence of why.

Everything else is a bit of a struggle.
Fred’s been eating a lot of stuffed pasta, pasta with cream cheese and peas, fish fingers, pasta, fish fillets, pasta.
Yeah I know.

He also is a big snacker and I’ve just been keeping the Freddie Snack Cupboard stocked with various bought “baby” snacks like rice cakes, biscuits and fruit oat bars. The sugar content is pretty high even though they’re “baby” food.

Today I was inspired to change my ways and get on top of stuff. I filled a Tupperware in the fridge with washed fruit, another with cucumber sticks and made him 6 fish pies for his dinners.

I froze half of them and tomorrow I’ll make up 6 portions of vegetable Mac n cheese (yes I know it’s pasta again but it is mainly veg).

Now my plan is to make a daily snack box for Fred and always have a dinner pre planned for him for the days I don’t get home until late.

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I even got this fun lunch box to put it all in so I can have it in the fridge and my mum or dad (who watch Fred when I’m at work) have it all to hand!

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I want to keep this up I really really do.

And finally, for all you mamas, here’s a great, super healthy, super quick and easy fish pie recipe…

Combine fish pie mix with grated carrot and grated cheese. I don’t add any salt for Fred but I do put in some pepper. Put into one large oven proof dish or some smaller individual portion sized ones…

Boil or steam, then mash some sweet potatoes. Top the fish mix…bake in the oven for about 30 minutes for individual portions or 40 minutes for one big one.

I make these for Fred but it’s great for the whole family…we don’t all eat dinner together so I just make them up as “ready meals” for the kid.

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How do you stay on top on being organised when you have to juggle the pressures of motherhood?

Cruel Intentions

Well now that Fred is one I’ve decided I need to shift some of this darned baby weight..

Note to anyone who’s planning on having a baby..breastfeeding your baby does NOT equal being able to eat whatever you want and the weight still melt away…

I did live on cake, chockie bickies and magnums at one point and I lost some weight anyways..But I’m talking a couple of pounds over a year! Well probably 8 lbs..then Christmas happened.

So anyway I’ve decided to go on a diet..for one month I’ll be “eating clean” which basically means no processed food..so no refined sugar..no bread or pasta unless it’s a weird special kind..

To give you some examples of what I’m eating..today for breakfast I had a smoothie in our magic healthy smoothie maker. It had kale, apple, pear, almond milk and banana.

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For lunch I had a quinoa bowl with quinoa, roasted butternut, yellow pepper, spring onion, chick peas, avocado, feta and rocket.

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For dinner we had prawns cooked in avocado pesto with brown rice!

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Sorry this does actually look rank but it was very tasty

The most important thing I guess is that I can’t have booze or bread which will curb some bad habits.

Doing this diet is the only thing that kept me going through the Christmas period when I was so bloated I looked pregnant and none of my rings fit. Even my big rings I only wear when I’m hot!

I’m also hoping it will help with these headaches I’ve been getting every day…

I’ll let you know how I get on in a month!

Also I’m trying to do my pelvic floor exercises, my knee physio stretches and floss my teeth. And wash my face every night before bed. EVERY NIGHT!!

I know that might sound rank to you that I don’t already floss or wash my face every day but by bedtime I’m SO TIRED I can’t be bothered sometimes. It’s just who I am ok?

Not any more!
For the month of January anyway.

Bye!

Lara’s Mac N Cheese Special

I love Mac N Cheese so much. I love pasta bake and I love cheese. What’s not to love?
When I was living in Guyana I used to get boxes of it when is megs hungover and it was the perfect cure.

I also love love love cauliflower cheese as a side when you go for a fancy roast and this dish combines both.

At the moment it’s a go to recipe for me cos it’s really easy to whip up, it’s got veg in it, it’s semi healthy and it’s easy to make baby portions for Fred. It ticks a lot of boxes!

I use half fat cheddar and crème fraiche but you don’t have to.

This is an adapted Jamie Oliver recipe.. To be honest the only thing I’ve changed is adding peas and using half fat ingreeds.. And he makes a bacon crumb topping but I think it’s a bit excessive for a midweek supper. It’s absolutely amazing though.

Oh the other thing is I changed the proportions of pasta (more veg less pasta) and I use a big tube pasta rather than actual macaroni cos the baby seems to prefer it.

I’m not a loser diet freak though I just like semi healthy alternatives.

So you need:
240g pasta (rigatoni works well it’s got good bite)
Tub of crème fraiche
120g Cheddar
Some peas
A large cauliflower (leaves trimmed off vand then quartered)
Dijon mustard

What to do
Pre heat oven to about 160 on a fan oven and 180 non fan

Cook pasta and cauliflower in one pot.

Drain and reserve some of the cooking water.

Using a potato masher gently break up the cauliflower.

Add the crème fraiche, cheddar, mustard and peas to the pot and mix well. Add some of the reserved cooking water to loosen. The consistency should be nice and wet but not watery.

Transfer to an oven proof dish and bake for 20-30 mins until the top is golden and crunchy.

And that’s it! So easy!
Enjoy.
Unfortunately it was so delicious we ate it before I could take any photos.

So here’s a photo of Fred looking megs cute. 

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My Vlog Debut!

I decided to do a Vlog!
I didn’t really know what to do my first one on so I jumped right in while I was making dinner yesterday. I’m not attempting to do a food channel or anything.

I’m not v tech savvy yet either so it’s two videos..I’m not sure how to splice and merge or whatever.

Here we go…

And the verdict..

Director’s notes:

1. Must do better…
2. Do not call it a video blog.

3. Do hair next time

I made muesli!

That’s right, I DID make some muesli.

I really like the bircher muesli bowl from pret but it’s mega expensivo and also I don’t ever go to pret anymore cos of maternity leave yo!

So I decided to make it.
I love it!
But I swear whoever started the lie that porridge/oats keep you full till lunch should be shot.

Here’s a photo guide to my delish new breakfast fave…

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Soak the oats in apple juice..I’ve done it by soaking overnight and by soaking for 15 minutes and I preferred the 15 minute version.

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And there you have it!

I also tried out with a pinch of salt and that made it even more delish!

For Goodness Cake!

It was Dan’s birthday last week so I made him a six layer rainbow cake…it all seemed to simple..just make the cakes, shove them in the oven, whip up some icing and hey presto!

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But it actually took 5 hours of solid work and two people..and it looked like it would never come together until the final 5 minutes….I came very close to tears I’ll be honest. I think I know what it feels like to be on the Great British Bake Off now.

The whole thing was a surprise for Dan and I made it at our friend Lisa’s house..she’d made it before for her daughter Evie’s first birthday so she had all the tins and colours etc..plus we could tag team look after the babies and whisk egg whites.

The cake took a whopping sixteen egg whites and I’m sorry to say we threw all the yolks in the bin. If I was more of a domestic goddess I would have taken them home and made a giant carbonara for all my friends but I don’t have a kitchen right now so in the bin they go!!

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The actual cake making and colour mixing went well but took two hours due to general dawdling..It was the icing that was the bugger..Swiss meringue butter icing! It involved whisking, egg whites, melting, whisking.

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After 2 hours trying to make the first batch, while Lisa ran out to pick up get other daughter from school, I whipped up another batch and pulled the whole cake together with five minutes to spare before I had to leave to pick Dan up…

I hid it in a giant nappy box and took it out to the car. Then I dropped it.

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ARGH FOR DUCKS SAKE.

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I fixed it but the car journey didn’t do it any favours…and now me and Dan have this enormous cake we have to get through together..

It was worth it though, he was so touched…
I was going to give the recipe ibn my own words but to be honest I can’t really remember how I did any of it so I’m not sure my own words would be any help.

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Here’s a link though…

Bye!

7 Things I’ve Learned in my First Month of Baby Led Weaning

Hi!
BABY LED WEANING!

I say baby led weaning a lot now.

Do you know what it is?
It means basically waiting until your baby wants to start feeding himself solid food and then giving him real bits of food.
There’s no spoon feeding or pureeing of food..you basically give the baby food from your plate. The book says, if you’ll eat it, the baby can eat it. Although you can’t give them a lot of salt or anything processed or sugary.

I love it.
Fred showed me he was really ready for solids when he was 5 months and he’s eaten broccoli, avocado, cucumber, chicken, meatballs, strawberries, banana and loads more!

So here we go..

1. I’m actually able to do something properly with no cheats for the first time in my life.

I read the book on BLW and I have really followed it. I’ve never tried to get Fred to eat more than he wants or put food in his mouth. I’m totally chill. I’m a bit like a cult follower..I’ve read the ethos and I’m living it, man. I think some people worry that the baby isn’t getting enough food on blw but that’s ok..if you’re still breastfeeding them or giving them formula, that’s all the nutrients they need and the food is extra. Most of what I give Fred goes on the floor or in his lap so you do need to be quite chilled out about it all. But I’m sort of manically hyper chilled. Like if my mum tells him good boy you ate some food I’m like…DON’T TELL HIM HE’S GOOD OR HE’LL ASSOCIATE PRAISE WITH FOOD AND HAVE AN EATING DISORDER.
It’s still me after all..I’m very highly strung.

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2. The best way to approach the mealtime mess is to strip the boy to his nappy, put a bin bag (cut open) on the floor under the high chair and keep the kitchen sink clean and empty.

This all came from my friend Tash..it’s brilliant..most of the food drops onto the bin bag which means you can pick stuff up and give it back to the baby..and at the end you shake the baby off over the bag (then wrap up and put straight in the bin) and then put him on the sink and rinse. This’ll work a lot better when we get our new Belfast sink though! Our bathroom is upstairs and I’ve taken him up for a pre run bath or rinse but it’s so far you drop a lot of broccoli bits on the way.

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3. It really is possible to spend 3 hours a day, preparing meals, watching them get chucked on the floor and then clearing them all up.

It’s a constant cycle. BLW is meant to be mega easy cos you give the baby what you eat..no need to prepare extra food! But in the beginning when the baby’s getting used to stuff, all he really eats is softy stuff and you can’t add salt..so what I would normally eat isn’t really appropriate..I do need to make extra special stuff with added salt on mine…it takes time man!

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4. I’m addicted to salt.

It turns out that’s where the flavour is. I made some saltless hummus and it tasted like shit. I also didn’t realise that putting a stock cube in was my go to flavour method. I’m having to find some ingenious ways to flavour food and I’ll be honest it mainly involves lemons.

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5. Planning planning planning is required!

This isn’t really my forte but it’s important. I haven’t cracked it yet but normally we give Fred some fruit at breakfast and I’ll make give him last night’s leftovers for lunch. This means making baby suitable dinners. You have to really think ahead to make this work and not end up just giving him a bit of banana every day. Like I said, I haven’t cracked it but I’m getting there! I need to up my game cos he’s eating more and more and wanting several meals a day. You basically can’t eat in front of him, he wants some.

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5. Homemade pesto is delicious!

Why have I never made this before?
It takes 5 seconds to make, it doesn’t have any salt in it (it’s got parmasan..CHEESE CHEAT!). I’ve made it twice now cos there’s a recipe in the baby led weaning cookbook. I haven’t given any to the baby yet cos it’s no nice we keep eating it all and not saving him any.

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7. I’m a bit of a dick

I keep explaining blw to people really patronisingly and boringly..people don’t really care about the ethos and most people who don’t have kids don’t know what “weaning” is. I’ve learned that I need to shut up. I haven’t actually learned to shut up but I know I should and that’s the first step to recovery.

Ciao! I’m off to Italy!

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Recipe Alert!! Lemon Mascarpone Pasta with Griddled Courgette

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I mean who fuck do I think I am? Gwyneth Paltrow? With my attempt at a full lifestyle blog. It’s evolving OK.. Let’s go with it. Don’t worry I won’t tell you to steam your vagina.

Anyways today I had a pretty busy day of lunching and meeting friends for coffee and forgot about dinner. Quick as a flash I thought this up.
I knew I wanted a crisp glass of white wine and then from there I thought a simple pasta dinner would work.

And the rest is history.

So.. All you need is:

Pasta..any shape will do.. Enough for however many people you are and the portion size you like. We had 125g each and it was NOT enough. But we’re greedy.
Half a pack of mascarpone (ricotta would do too..I actually wanted ricotta but they don’t sell it in my sainsos local)
A lemon
Parmasan
A courgette

Slice the courgette into rounds and brush with olive oil. Griddle.

Cook the pasta

When cooked, add the mascarpone, grated lemon zest and grated Parmesan.. Mix well and serve with the griddled courgette.

SO EASY AND IT WAS DELISH AND ALSO CHEAP.

Bye.