Monthly Archives: February 2013

From Farm to Plate

Farmers Choice Farm

This is a sponsored post

So what’s the latest in the on-going horsemeat saga? Well now we’re learning that European meat suppliers have been taking advantage of a loophole in the UK law that allows them to put banned, low-quality meat into our sausages. Although not actually horsemeat, this ‘mechanically recovered residue’ is another case of a covered up supply and manufacture chain that means we have no idea what’s actually in our meat products.

This should be something we consider everyday – when we buy burgers from the supermarket, when we’re planning our meals, when we’re cooking beef in the kitchen, and when we serve our children sausages for their tea. It’s true that the horsemeat scandal has become tiresome with a new ‘story’ everyday, but at least it has highlighted how we need to think more about where our meat comes from. It’s now more important than ever to really try to buy British, from local, free range farms where you will know exactly where the meat you’re putting on your fork came from.

I know this is harder if you’re on a tight budget, or if you’re not aware of any local farms or butchers near you, but it’s not impossible to find reasonably-priced, British, traceable meat that will taste good and leave you with a clear conscience. There are some great meat suppliers out there that deliver to you and are completely transparent about where their meat comes from.

One such company is Farmer’s Choice Free Range. They are based in Fareham, Hampshire but deliver their 100% free range meat and sustainably caught fish all across the UK. They sell a large range of delicious meat that is sourced straight from their partner farms. You don’t have to worry about the meat coming from foreign factories where who-knows-what could have found its way into your meal, Farmer’s Choice tell their customers all about the British, free range farms they work with. You can read all about their partner farms on their site – where the farm is based, what breed of animals are farmed, who works there and what products are produced from the meat.

Farmer’s Choice believe in farm to plate – complete traceability for all of their free range meat. Their trusted butchers prepare the meat once it is delivered from the farm and then it is sent straight out to you – no mess, no fuss, no horsemeat contamination!


Meal Planning Monday – 25th February 2013

Woo hoo!! It's nearly March. I am really looking forward to the spring coming and all the new fruit and vegetables it brings. We stuck to the meal plan last week and I am pleased to report that the Chinese chicken cooked in a roasting bag in the oven worked well. I will be buying and cooking again. This week, we are having:

Monday: no dinner as we had a big lunch at Fleet Street Kitchen

Tuesday: jacket potatoes, baked beans and cheese

Wednesday: soup and bread

Thursday: Hairy Bikers gourmet chilli with rice

Friday: rosemary and garlic chicken in bag with new potatoes and salad

Saturday: takeaway

Sunday: something in the slow cooker


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


Fridge Raid for Go Green Week!

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I was doing a cookery demonstration for Go Green Week at the University of Worcester, where I work. The cookery demonstration went really well and the students loved it :-)

The video above shows a few snippets from the demonstration and some photos are below. There is a Recipe leaflet with everything I cooked and a few tips for basic store cupboard essentials and using up leftovers too. I really enjoyed doing it and am already looking forward to next year! :-)

Me Cooking

Me Cooking

Me Cooking - wide angle

Me Cooking – wide angle

The audience view

The audience view

Student Tasters and I

Student Tasters and I

Meal Planning Monday- 18th February 2013


Bit late with the meal plan again this week. Took Thomas swimming yesterday and had no energy after. I just about managed to cook us a curry for dinner but that was it.

I left the weekend blank on last week’s meal plan as we were having a meat and vegetables delivery from Farmison & Co. I was very impressed with the quality of the meat and vegetables that we were sent. Over the weekend, we have beef burgers with potato wedges on Saturday night and on Sunday, we had a roast chicken dinner. See the pictures below for what I made. I have put some of the meat in the freezer so it will feature in my meal plans over the coming weeks. This week we are having:

Monday: leftover roast chicken curry with rice and naan breads

Tuesday: vegetable soup (made with the veg from the Farmison delivery) and bread

Wednesday: takeaway

Thursday: salmon, new potatoes and salad

Friday: night out with Stuart at Wing Yip’s Chef of the Year Awards ceremony

Saturday: hoi sin and garlic chicken, served with rice (one of these stick everything in bag and leave it in an oven to cook things – never tried one before!)

Sunday: some kind of roast at my Nan’s in Bewdley

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



Young Birmingham Chef Reaches Final in National Culinary Competition


A young Birmingham chef is gearing up to battle it out in a live Masterchef-style cook-off and is hoping to impress celebrity judges as part of a national competition.

Wing Yip’s ‘Oriental Young Chef of the Year’ competition set out to find the Midlands’ most promising young chef talent in Oriental cooking, and the oriental supermarket will be joined by celebrity TV chef Ching He Huang, Michelin-starred Birmingham chef Glynn Purnell, and President of the British Culinary Federation, Peter Griffiths, to taste the top talent’s creations and crown the winner.

Ching He Huang, Brian Yip

The competition is new for this year and offers young chefs between the ages of 18-25 who are training or working in the catering industry a chance to boost their culinary careers. The lucky winner will walk away with a once in a lifetime trip to Hong Kong, where they will gain an insight into the hospitality industry and explore the region’s cultural highlights.

Jamie Glanville

Jamie Glanville, 23, is currently working in the kitchen at The Punchbowl Gastropub, Kings Heath, and hopes to be in the running with his dishes of Spicy Confit Chicken Wings and Pan Fried Fillet of Seabass to win a once in a lifetime culinary trip to Hong Kong and of course add the coveted title to his CV.

On finding out the news, hopeful finalist Jamie said: “I can’t believe it; I’m a little bit nervous but mostly excited! To have such highly acclaimed chefs giving feedback on my work is a once in a lifetime opportunity- I can’t wait to get in the kitchen as I love creating Oriental dishes.”

Mr Wing Yip, Chairman of Wing Yip, said: “The increasing popularity of Pan Asian cuisine in the UK is extremely exciting. We launched the competition first and foremost to celebrate Oriental cookery with its delicious flavours and aromas, but also to identify the region’s most talented young chefs to encourage them to carry the tradition forward and preserve the legacy of this glorious cuisine.”

Glynn Purnell, Michelin starred chef and Young Chef judge, added: “The talent in the final line up confirms that the Midlands is a hot bed of culinary promise and, from what I have seen so far, the competition is going to be fierce! Winning the title will open many doors for the lucky champion and offers a helping hand at a stage in their career which can be tricky to navigate. I am honoured to be able to share my experience and offer advice to the region’s finest young chefs.”

The cook off will take place at University College Birmingham on the 22nd February and will see the finalists prepare two Asian- inspired dishes in under 90 minutes.

I have been lucky enough to be invited to the dinner and awards evening when they announce the winning chef. Stay tuned for more about this soon :-) 

Meal Planning Monday – 11th February 2013


I thought the snow had left us but obviously not! Roll on spring! I am already dreaming of eating my first asparagus spear or six. I am going to be a bit flexible with this week's meal plan as the hubby is working some evenings at work this week so on the days I am at work, we may only see each other for an hour or so in the evening before he goes out again.
Monday: Chilli con carne, rice and garlic bread (did not have it last week)
Tuesday: Pancakes (cooked by hubby – I am absolutely useless at making them!!)
Wednesday: Chicken nuggets/scampi and chips
Thursday: Chinese takeaway
Friday: Lasagne and salad
Saturday and Sunday: I am leaving these open as we are having a meat and veg box from Farmison delivered on Friday and as I do not know what it will contain I do not want to plan anything.
For more meal plans, please see Mrs M's linky


Product Review: Baker Day’s Letterbox Cake


I was recently asked to try a Baker Day's letterbox cake. I have never been known to turn down an offering of cake and I was intrigued, could they really send me a perfect cake through my letterbox?

With Valentine's Day fast approaching, I decided to order a cake for Stuart and let it be a surprise. When it arrived, my initial impressions were very good. The cake was packaged in a box and sealed in a tin within the box so could pretty much take whatever the Royal Mail could throw at it. The cake even came with instructions for how to remove it from the tin.

Once I got the cake out of it's packaging and onto a plate, I was sadly disappointed. The cake was very small (the picture on the top of this post is the cake on a side plate.) I was not expecting a massive cake to come through my letterbox but thought the cake might be slightly bigger. The decoration on the cake was excellent. However, the sponge was average and very dense in texture for my taste.

Overall, I like the idea of a letterbox cake but think the idea needs some refining. I am sure that many people will enjoy the novelty of having a cake posted to them but think the actual cake, especially for the price you pay (£14.99) needs improving.


Disclosure: I recieved a Letterbox cake to review. All opinions are my own.


Fridge Raid for Go Green Week 2013!

Go Green Week Logo 2013 transparent

You may remember that a couple of years ago, I did a cookery demonstration for Go Green Week. You can see the video of what I got up to here. Well this year, I am doing another one for the students where I work at the University of Worcester.


This year, the theme of my cookery demonstration is how to use up leftovers. A video is going to be made of it again so you can see it on the blog soon. I am still trying to decide what to cook for the students and I really need your help with the following questions:

What did you have leftover in your fridge when you were a student?

What kind of things did you or would you cook with them?

I only have two gas rings to cook with so please keep this is mind. I am producing a recipe leaflet for the students so will add in any recipes that need a grill or an oven there.

Your help in this is greatly appreciated as always.

Thanks everyone! :-)

PS: You can follow all the action on Twitter using the hashag #fridgeraid

Meal Planning Momday – 4th February 2013


I am bit behind in posting this week. We were all ill last week so the meal plan went out of the window. I am hoping we can stick to it better this week. We are having:

Monday: Chip shop tea

Tuesday: Chicken Noodle Soup

Wednesday: Pasta Bolognese and garlic bread

Thursday: Soup and bread

Friday: Buffet dinner at my Grandad’s 80th birthday party

Saturday: Chilli Con Carne, rice and garlic bread

Sunday: Something in the slow cooker to warm us up after going shooting and doing archery

For more meal plan’s please see Mrs M’s Linky

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