Tag Archives: pregnant

Video Cookbook Review: Baby and Toddler Food Bible by Amanda Ursell

The second in my series of video cookbook reviews is the Baby and Toddler Food Bible by Amanda Ursell. Its a really useful book and I highly recommend it.

I will be back with another couple of video cookbook reviews next week. I hope you are enjoying them.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Keeping The Bun In The Oven!

Hello everyone. Sorry for the long delay in between posts. We spent a few days sorting out the house for Bump’s arrival, a few days in Cornwall and then I had a hospital stay. I go into more detail about my hospital stay on Jo’s Nursery for those who want more information. However, all you really need to know is that I have suffered a pregnancy related complication and have been told to take it easy for the rest of my pregnancy in case Bump decides to make an early appearance into the world.

This taking it easy not only affects my work (I am currently on sick leave and have been advised to start my maternity leave early too) but my blogging too. I love blogging and have got used to all the pressures that come with it including answering many emails and meeting PR deadlines. However, as I have now been told to take it easy, there is only one deadline that I am working too and that is my own. I would like to apologise to any PR’s who have sent me things to review who are waiting for the posts to go up. I have been sent lots of things recently and they will appear on the blog, just possibly not as quick as you may like.  I am also not travelling to any events unless they are very local to where I live as I need to get back to my local hospital asap if anything goes wrong again. I am going to the Ludlow Food Festival on Saturday for a Midlands Food Bloggers Meet Up but this is the furthest I am going for the rest of my pregnancy. I am handing full control of Midlands Food Bloggers to Louise of Comida Y Vida until after I have had the baby and Saturday will be the last event I attend too.

I would like to thank you all for your continued support. I really appreciate it. I will be back with another post tomorrow as I have a recipe I really want to share with you.

Happy Cooking!:-)

Thank you all again

Jo and Bump x

Hairy Biker’s Cauliflower Cheese

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have been eating more comfort food and food that is generally easy to prepare, as my taste buds no longer like too much spice or complicated flavourings and I have little energy to prepare anything too complicated. One of my favourite things to eat ever is cauliflower cheese. I have already blogged my recipe for it here and it is one thing I turn back to again and again in times of need.

A little while ago, the Hairy Bikers appeared on The Great British Food Revival, a BBC TV programme telling us about the glory of cauliflower and they shared a recipe for Perfect Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon and Mushrooms. I was intrigued, could my beloved cauliflower cheese be improved by the addition of bacon and mushrooms or would it be too overpowering and destroy my favourite dish? Either way, I knew I had to find out so below is my adapted version of the Hairy Biker’s cauliflower cheese with bacon and mushrooms.

Cauliflower Cheese with Bacon and Mushrooms

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person as a main or 2 as a side dish)

  • 1 bag of prepared cauliflower and/or broccoli florets
  • 1 packet of bacon lardons/pancetta cubes  
  • 6-8 Chestnut mushrooms, peeled and finely sliced
  • 250ml full fat milk
  • 25g butter
  • 2 -3 tablespoons of plain flour
  • Big handful of cheese – I use cheddar but use any strong cheese that you like
  • Salt and white pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • Pinch of mustard powder
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil


  1. In a frying pan, put in the olive oil and allow to heat up. Fry the bacon lardons/pancetta cubes in the oil until brown and crispy.
  2. Remove the bacon from the pan and put on a piece of kitchen towel to drain. Fry the mushrooms until cooked through in the remaining bacon fat and olive oil. Leave to drain on kitchen towel until needed.
  3. Meanwhile, boil or steam the cauliflower/broccoli until tender. Drain and set aside.
  4. In a small saucepan, add in the butter and cook gently until melted. Add in the two tablespoons of flour and whisk until combined. Allow it to cook out for a minute to remove the raw taste from the flour. Put in the milk and whisk the sauce regularly until it is smooth and thickened. Take off the heat otherwise it will over cook.
  5. Add in salt and white pepper to taste, along with the nutmeg and mustard. Add in most of the cheese but leave some back for the topping and stir until melted. Add the cooked bacon and mushrooms into the sauce.
  6. Put the cooked cauliflower/broccoli in an oven proof dish. Pour the sauce over and then sprinkle with any remaining cheese. Put under a hot grill for a few minutes until golden brown and bubbling. Serve and enjoy.

Overall, I was very impressed with this dish. I am not sure that I would cook cauliflower cheese with the extras in all the time, but if you have guests round and want to bring it up a notch, then this certainly fits the bill. Well Dave and Simon, you have showed me a way to make cauliflower cheese even better. Thanks guys! :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

PS: Apologies for the absent and the long gap in between posts. If you would like to know why, please see the post on Jo’s Nursery here

Product Review: Douwe Egberts Decaff Coffee

Do you like cupcakes? Yes, then don’t forget to enter my competition to win a cupcakes class with Cupcakes By Chrissie. All info here :-)

I love coffee. I cannot start the day without it. I am like a bear with a sore head if I do not get chance to have a mug of it before I leave the house in the morning. However, since we started trying for a baby and since I have got pregnant, I have had to reduce my caffeine intake. The suggested limit is 200mg of caffeine a day (about two cups) but I have been trying to have less than that. I had never considered Decaff coffee until we started trying for a baby. I never understood what was the point of coffee, if you could not have caffeine in it.

Well, how wrong I was. Decaff coffee is good, perfect if you want the coffee taste without the buzz of caffeine. I was recently sent some Douwe Egberts Decaff to review and I am very impressed. It is designed for use in all coffee makers. I have a cafetiere at home and at work so I have been drinking it quite a lot. It tastes exactly like normal coffee. Very rich and smooth. I love it! I may even start drinking decaff coffee more even when I am not pregnant. Thank you to Douwe Egberts for making me healthier and reducing my caffeine intake! :-)

Prepped Cookbook Launch

A little while ago, I was lucky enough to be asked to do some recipe testing for a new cookbook that was coming out, called ‘Prepped‘. I tested the Eccles cakes recipe for Vanessa Kimbell, the author of the book.  At the end of May, ‘Prepped!: Gorgeous Food without the Slog – a Multi-tasking Masterpiece for Time-short Foodies’ was released and I went to the official launch of the book at The Black Bottom Club in Northampton last week.

Vanessa is a fellow member of the Midlands Food Bloggers and I was joined at the launch by Julia of A Wannabe Foodie, who I met just recently at the MFB Meet Up in Burton Upon Trent. We were also joined by Ruth of The Pink Whisk, Helen of Jessie’s Crazy Kitchen and Lea of Off The Eaten Track amongst many others. All of whom had tested recipes for the book. We were warmly greeted by Elderflower Fizz and Elderflower water and lots of cake made by the Preperati (recipe testers) especially for the event.

Giles of How To Books, Vanessa’s publisher then gave a speech on how Vanessa had managed to get the published with them. It was mostly to do with cakes apparently! Vanessa then gave a speech herself thanking everyone for helping with the book.

The rest of the afternoon sped by with lots of talk of cake, cooking and blogging. I had an absolute amazing time. It was great to meet Vanessa eventually after many emails and phone calls and it was lovely to meet my fellow bloggers too. I cannot wait for ‘Prepped 2′ to be launched so we can have another party! :-)

Many thanks to Amy of Lush Mummy for the fabulous black Diamond Dress that I wore to the launch. (See pictures above) It is an amazing dress and I got lots of lovely compliments about it. For the first time since finding out I was pregnant, I actually felt and looked good. It is much appreciated. Thank you :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Product Review: The Saucy Fish Co

Since finding out I was pregnant, cooking has occasionally become a chore. Sometimes I just have absolutely no energy or desire to cook. Therefore, I was very happy when The Saucy Fish Co asked me to review their products and sent me some vouchers so we could treat ourselves the next time we went shopping. Stuart and I love fish and I loved that the fish and sauce came all in one in some of their products, so it was much easier to shop for and to cook them.

We tried the Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger and Salmon with Watercress and Crème Fraiche. Overall, I was very impressed with both dishes. The salmon was of excellent quality. Very fresh and tasty. They both very froze well and were cooked very easily in the oven. Our favourite was the Salmon with Chilli, Lime and Ginger sauce as we loved it spicy kick. I am going to start keeping a couple of these in the freezer so when I have no time or energy to cook, dinner will be quick to prepare.

Many thanks to Alex for sending vouchers to review The saucy Fish Co products. It is much appreciated :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Product Review: Shloer Summer Fruits Punch

Since finding out I was pregnant, I have been after new things to drink. There  is only so much water, squash, lemonade and juice that I can drink. Soon after finding out I was pregnant, I went to see my friend and fellow food blogger, Louise of Comida Y Vida.  Louise had recently given birth to beautiful Grace. When Louise was pregnant, she had started drink Shloer, a sparkling grape juice drink available in a variety of flavours. As it was nice day when I went to visit, we sat outside and drank chilled Shloer Rose in the sunshine. Since that day, I have been addicted to it. I drink a bottle a day. Its lovely!

Therefore, I was very happy when Shloer announced their  new limited edition flavour, Summer Fruit Punch. Their other flavours, white grape, rose and red grape are sort of like non-alcoholic wines, just slightly sweeter. I hoped that this Summer Fruits flavour would be my Pimms replacement for the summer and I was not disappointed. It was very fruity and refreshing. Serving it in a jug with fruit and mint leaves it even looked like Pimms! Best of all, all Shloer flavours contain no preservatives, artificial colours, sweeteners or flavourings. I cannot wait to start trying the mocktail recipes on their site, and next summer after the baby is born, I will try the alcoholic cocktails. Roll on the summer BBQ season!

Many thanks to Hayley for sending me a bottle of Shloer Summer Fruits to review :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

Cookbooks Crazy!

I am a great lover of cookbooks as I am sure many of you know. I have so many that we are considering moving house so that we have room for the baby when it arrives. I was recently sent a bumper collection of books from New Holland Publishers to review.

The first book they sent me is ‘The Food Lovers Guide to Europe’  by Cara Frost-Sharratt. This is an informative travel guide to the best places to eat, the best farmers markets and the best foodie treats that Europe has to offer. I thought this was quite useful, especially if you are touring around Europe, however in some areas, the book is limited to only the major cities or towns so if you go outside of that area, there are no recommendations. On the other hand, if they did include everything, it would be a very large book! This is perfect size for travelling and is easy to read on the plane or coach heading to your destination.

The second book they sent me is ‘Special Cupcakes‘ by Wendy Sweetser. I love cupcakes and cake decorating so this seemed perfect for me. This book has cupcakes in it for most occasions, including Baby Shower Lemon Cupcakes that I made to tell my work colleagues about my impending arrival.

One issue with this book is that it is American so some of the quantities may seem quite large to what we are used to. Some of the flavour combinations are a bit strange too. Caribbean mango and palm sugar cupcakes anyone? However the book is very good for inspiration and you never know some of the more stranger combinations may taste good!

The third book they sent me is ‘One More Slice’ by Leila Lindholm. This is a follow up to her first book, ‘A Piece of Cake’ and featured recipes for pizzas, bread, pasta, pancakes, waffles and desserts. I have made the basic pizza dough recipe out of this book three times and each time, it has been perfect. I love this book and I cannot wait to get my hands on the first one. The recipes are simple and easy to follow. I highly recommend this book.

Jo’s Kitchen readers can get 25% discount off ‘The Food Lovers Guide to Europe’, ‘Special Cupcakes’ and ‘One More Slice’ from New Holland Publishers. Enter the discount code Jos to get 25% discount plus free P&P when ordering the books through the New Holland Publishers website. (Offer valid until 30th September 2011 to UK residents. Discount cannot be used in conjunction with other offers!)

Many thanks to Iain from New Holland Publishers for sending me the books to review and giving the exclusive offer for Jo’s Kitchen readers. :-)

Happy Cooking! :-)

A Bun In The Oven!

Some of you may have noticed that my posts have been slightly irregular of late, and that I haven’t been on Twitter or Facebook as much recently. Well I have a very good reason for my tardiness. I am 12 weeks pregnant today with my first child. Over the last few weeks, I have been suffering with tiredness and morning sickness (its actually all day sickness but they don’t tell you that!) so blogging has not been my number 1 priority recently. I do hope you will all forgive me. I am nearing the end of the first trimester so I am hoping my regular blogging schedule will resume shortly, especially since I have lots of exciting things coming up soon.

To keep this blog to food only, I have decided to set up another blog for my pregnancy adventures. Its called Jo’s Nursery. Therefore, if you are interested in finding out more about what I am experiencing at the moment, then please pop over and say hello. However, if you are not interested, don’t worry, this blog will be staying the same. There may be some cross over but I will try to limit it. You can follow my new adventure on Twitter @Jos_Nursery and Facebook too. I hope to see some of you there.

I will be back soon with another foodie post. Thanks for understanding.

Happy Cooking! :-)

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