Monthly Archives: December 2012

Meal Planning Monday – 31st December 2012


I missed a week's meal planning last week due to the festive season. We spent the week eating turkey in many forms including turkey stew and turkey curry. We also had bubble and squeak and a buffet. This week, I am determined to get straight back into meal planning and hopefully have an interesting menu planned.

Monday: Buffet tea at friends for New Year

Tuesday: Chinese pork chops and rice

Wednesday: Chicken, chorizo, ham and salmon paella

Thursday: Flashy Fish Stew and garlic bread from my new Jamie's 15 minute meals book

Friday: Takeaway

Saturday: Scampi/Chicken Nuggets and Chips

Sunday: Roast Pork Sunday Dinner


For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky

Happy New Year Everyone!!! :-)


River Cottage Rocks!: Christmas – My Entry

Here is my entry to River Cottage Rocks! And the theme this month is Christmas. I have been going through lots of turkey this week, like many of you and to finish off the last of the turkey, I decided to make a curry. I have blogged my curry recipe on here before. However, as the family was coming round I decided I wanted to make something to go with it. I settled on this lentil Dhal from River Cottage Veg Everyday. My recipe does not change much from Hugh's recipe except that I did not soak the lentils and I added garam Marsala and ground coriander to the spice mix. My whole family loved this dish and I am sure I will make it again!

Did you make anything from River Cottage this festive season? Don't forget to enter it into River Cottage Rocks! All you need to do is blog about it, add the badge below and let me know about it and I will add you into the round up. :-)





Happy Christmas 2012!


Christmas Product Review: Rudolph Potatoes

With Christmas very nearly upon us, I was very happy when I was contacted and asked if I would like to try Rudolph Potatoes. They are great for roasting, baking and mashing, making them the ideal potato to accompany your Christmas dinner. The potatoes have red smooth skins with a creamy white inside.

As I have limited time at the moment, I have not had chance to test out the Rudolph potatoes roasting potential however as the advice I was given was to keep them in their skins, I decided to make potato wedges for an easy after work supper one night this week. I could not decide what to serve them with so ended up with a bowlful of them on their own with lots of garlic mayonnaise. The recipe below is loosely based on the recipe on the website but feel free to make up your own based on what is in your kitchen.

Spicy Potato Wedges

Ingredients (serves 2 people as a side or 1 hungry person on their own)

  • 2 large or 3 small ruldolph potatoes (washed and skins left on) cut in half then into 4 wedges each half
  • 1tsp hot chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Couple of tablespoons olive oil


  1. Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix thoroughly until everything is evenly spread all over the potatoes
  2. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees (200 degrees fan oven)
  3. Put the potatoes, herbs, spices and oil onto a baking sheet in one even layer and place into the oven.
  4. Cook for 30 – 40 minutes until golden and crispy, turning at least a couple of times during cooking
  5. Once cooked, remove onto kitchen paper and allow to drain for 30 seconds. Add more salt and pepper if required and serve. Enjoy!!!

Overall, I was very impressed with Rudolph potatoes. They crisped up to perfection and they were some of the best potato wedges I have ever made. I will certainly be buying them when I next go to the supermarket!!


Disclosure: I recieved some Rudolph potatoes, a roasting tray and some oven gloves for the purpose of this review


Meal Planning Monday: 17th December 2012

Meal Planning Monday - 26th November 2012

Hello everyone! A day late with meal planning again! Meal planning is still going fairly well but we did make a couple of changes last week and an extra takeaway slipped in (naughty me!!) There isn’t much planning going on this week to be honest as we are eating out with work and have other things going on too.

Monday: At my first work Christmas dinner so Stuart had a takeaway

Tuesday: Stuart is out with work so I am having potato wedges and something yet to be decided ( I have potatoes to review!)

Wednesday: At my second work Christmas dinner so Stuart is sorting himself out again

Thursday: Stuart is out with work again and I have yoga so think it will be a quick instant risotto type thing for me

Friday: TBC

Saturday/Sunday: We have lots of presents to deliver and family to visit so food will be really simple and quick to make and completely different to all the heavy meals over next week

For more meal plans, please see Mrs M’s Linky


Planning your Christmas Dinner With Farmer’s Choice

Image from Farmer's Choice

This is a Sponsored Post

Christmas will be with us before you know it and I am sure that like me, you are already what, how and when you are making your Christmas dinner and over the festive season in general. For me, preparation is the key and I get as much done as I can the day before. Fortunately, Farmer's Choice have everything you need for the perfect free range Christmas dinner and it can all be delivered to your door, so you do not even have to go to the shops and battle your way round the supermarket trying to get all the Christmas food you need

My vague Christmas dinner plan is as follows:

23rd December: buy vegetables and other general items needed for the Christmas season

Christmas Eve:

  1. collect meat from butchers,
  2. peel and chop potatoes, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts and leave in a saucepan full of cold water with a lid,
  3. make Yorkshire pudding batter,
  4. start making gravy using giblets, chicken stock and vegetables.

Christmas Day:

  1. cook turkey,
  2. parboil and roast the potatoes and parsnips,
  3. make pigs in blankets and stuffing,
  4. put all vegetables in steamer,
  5. cook the pigs in blankets, stuffing and Yorkshire puddings,
  6. finish off gravy with turkey juices and thicken if required,
  7. carve turkey,
  8. eat dinner
  9. finally sit down and relax with a glass of wine or six!!

I am sure I have probably forgotten something but this is my plan at the moment. What are your Christmas dinner plans? Any tips that you would like to share that helps make cooking the Christmas dinner easier?

This is a Sponsored Post


Christmas Present Review: Joseph Joseph Bowl Set

I was recently sent a Joseph Joseph Bowl Set from Find Me A Gift. It is a really useful set that would look great in any kitchen and as everything fits together in the largest bowl, it is perfect for the smallest kitchen too! The set contains:

  • Large mixing bowl
  • Medium mixing bowl with pouring spout
  • Colander
  • Sieve
  • Measuring spoons

The set is really well made and is excellent quality. I loved the colours in the set. It really brightened up my kitchen.


This Joseph Joseph Bowl set is currently retailing at £25.99 at Find Me A Gift and is according to the website available for next day delivery meaning it will be here in plenty of time for Christmas


Many thanks to Jo for sending me the set to review. It is greatly appreciated


Meal Planning Monday: 10th December 2012


I can't believe I am onto my third week of meal planning already. Mondays keep coming round very quickly. We are still sticking to the meal plans so let's hope it continues. Here is what we are eating this week:


Monday: Soup

Tuesday: Jacket potatoes with cheese and beans

Wednesday: I am going out for an Indian meal so Stuart is getting a takeaway too

Thursday: Homemade pizzas

Friday: Eating out tonight

Saturday: A night on the town so eating out again

Sunday: Possibly a roast dinner of some description if I am not too hungover!!!


For more meal plans please see Mrs M's Linky


A Night at Jamie’s Italian Sampling The New Winter Menu

I have always been a big fan of Jamie’s Italian restaurants since I went to my first one in Covent Garden, London a few years ago. The concept is excellent and there is a wide variety of food and drink choices and things that you just do not see anywhere else. I was very happy when Jamie’s Italian came to Bullring and was lucky enough to eat there in first few weeks it opened. I have been back there many times since to break up a shopping trip or two.

Recently I was invited back to Jamie’s Italian with Emma, the lovely editor of Browse Bullring, Ahmed and Sanjeeta from Dine Birmingham and Charlene from No Love Sincerer and her husband to sample their new winter menu. We were warmly welcomed by the staff and were treated to a glass of Prosecco on arrival. While perusing the new menu we were served the ‘World’s Best Olives on Ice’ which had large green olives, black olive tapenade and music bread. The claim that they were the ‘world’s best’ started a discussion for the group as to why this might be. I am not a fan of olives so did not try them. However my companions decided that this might be because they are not preserved. By serving them on ice, they keep fresh and were very tasty according to my dining companions.

For my starter, I chose the ‘Crispy Stuffed Risotto Balls’ which came very originally presented in a metal pot on a board with a small portion of spicy tomato sauce alongside. The portion was very generous and I found that just eating 2 of the risotto balls was enough for me. The tomato sauce was yummy and was an excellent contrast to the risotto balls, lifting them to new heights flavour wise.

For my main, I chose the ‘Game Meatball’ which is a giant meatball slow cooked in a tomato and garlic ragu, served with oozy polenta and black cabbage. We each had a glass of wine matched to our main courses served to us by the manager. Mine was a gutsy red wine that complimented the large meatball perfectly; unfortunately I have completely forgotten the name of it. However I am sure that if you go to Jamie’s Italian and ask for the manager, he will give you the same wine I had and you can try it for yourself.

In my opinion, the meatball was the absolute star of the dish. It was full of a variety of game and had rich, earthy flavours suitable to warm you up on a cold winter’s evening. I did find the sheer amount of polenta slightly overwhelming and I thought it slightly overtook the majestic nature of the meatball a bit. I was recently lucky enough to interview Gennaro Contaldo when he came to the BBC Winter Good Food Show at the NEC. I spoke to him about recipe development at Jamie’s Italian which he is a key part of. The meatball was inspired by Gennaro cooking a game ragu which Jamie saw, thought was an excellent idea but decided to put his unique spin on it and make it big! For more about this interview, please see a video post coming soon.

For pudding, I was very tempted to have the Chocolate Brownie which I have had before and know it is absolutely amazing. However, for something different I went for the ‘Sour Cherry Bakewell’ which has a sweet almond filling with tart berries and is served with a clementine rippled sour cream. The tart was very moist and the berries contrasted the sweet filling perfectly. I have only 1 small request, can I have a bigger slice next time please? The manager brought me a glass of Limoncello to drink with the tart and it was gorgeous. If I closed my eyes, I could of nearly of been in Italy drinking it in the sunshine. I hope to be back at Jamie’s Italian in the Bullring soon, especially as I have lots of Christmas shopping still to do!

Many thanks to Emma, the team at Jamie’s Italian, Ahmed, Sanjeeta and Charlene and her husband for a lovely evening.

You can also see this post on the Bullring website






Meal Planning Monday: 3rd December 2012


Sorry I am a day late with this post. I had a crazy day yesterday and didn't get chance to post anything. My first week of meal planning went quite well, with only two changes. We had a takeaway on Friday night and moved the turkey stew to Sunday so the roast chicken dinner didn't happen. Here is to a successful second week!


Monday: leftover turkey stew and thick sliced bread

Tuesday: I am in Bath today for a meeting so we will probably have a takeaway or grab something quick from the cupboard

Wednesday: chicken fajitas

Thursday: gammon steaks, eggs and oven chips

Friday: takeaway

Saturday: chicken curry, rice and naan breads

Sunday: we are at a NCT Christmas party all afternoon so it will either be something very quick or another takeaway


For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky


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