Skull Halloween biscuits

Skull Halloween biscuits

Halloween is a big cause for celebration in our house. We have an annual party that involves a badly carved pumpkin (although this year the girls want to carve pineapples – their stalks making surprisingly good hair) lots of spooky food like these monster teeth or this eyeball, blood and worms pasta, a boogie to Thriller and then lots of running up and down the street in a sugar-frenzy, trick or treating. After all that excitement, and even though this year Halloween falls on a Monday, there will be zombie-flesh-eating cocktails for parents before they take their dead brides and witches’ cats home and I collapse on the sofa as my children count their bootie. Happy...
Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Cauliflower macaroni cheese recipe

Regular readers and viewers will know of my love with roast cauliflower. I ate it first on a food trend-spotting trip to Tel Aviv with M&S and it was the stand out dish in three days of stand out food. Now, I can’t believe I ever used to boil it. I mean, what was I thinking!? Anyhow, I once ate an entire roast cauliflower to myself and whilst I can’t claim to have been good company that night – due to some of the brassica’s well-documented side effects – it is now my go-to favourite vegetable. Luckily – unlike some fancier vegetables – you can buy it just about anywhere, so it is the ultimate solution to an empty cupboard and an uninspired mind. Of which I frequently have both. Now autumn is drawing nigh, I am less likely to put it in a salad with some walnuts and green leaves and more likely to put it in a macaroni cheese with ham, and fried leeks if I am minded.  I made this recipe using food from Costcutter’s Independent label. For many year’s Costcutter, who sponsored this post, was my local supermarket and I would scour its shelves for late night, after work inspiration. The Independent brand is also available at Kwiksave and Mace and, when I used it, seemed not only good quality but good value too. Costcutter partner with Lanchester wines who suggested drinking their Orario, Pinot Grigio Australian white, with this. It is only 11% alcohol which makes it the ideal mid-week drink at around a fiver a bottle it won’t break the bank either. Takes: 20m plus 30m...
Oaty biscuit recipe – perfect for packed lunches

Oaty biscuit recipe – perfect for packed lunches

PINCH, punch, the first of the month. It’s the 1st September and the girls go back to school next week so already I am full of good intentions about how this year is going to be different. There will be no lost shoes  – and definitely no lost tempers – in the morning and no frenzied searching for homework or last minute packed lunch making. Oh no. My new year resolutions start here. PINCH, punch, the first of the month. It’s the 1st September and the girls go back to school next week so already I am full of good intentions about how this year is going to be different. There will be no lost shoes  – and definitely no lost tempers – in the morning and no frenzied searching for homework or last minute packed lunch making. Oh no. My new year resolutions start here. So instead of watching Victoria on catch-up TV, last night was spent browsing lunch box ideas on Pinterest  and parenting blogs for tips about how to make the school run a pleasure, not a chore. I have already ordered two extra school ties and gym shirts (both items that inexplicably go walkabout at 8am) and copious, complicated Tupperware  boxes  to ensure the kids’ lunches stay fresh and vaguely food-shaped. After two terms of below average school dinners, where dishes some times ran out and was occasionally mouldy, we are back to packed lunches. Sigh. I have vlogged about taking the stress out of packed lunches before and the trick, for me, is menu planning. I am religious about it. For example, every Monday it is chicken goujons, Tuesday hummus, Wednesday a thermos full...
Raspberry ice lollies

Raspberry ice lollies

I am obsessed with frozen raspberries and always have some in the freezer for every eventuality. Seriously. They are great in smoothies, cakes and on cereal but have a myriad of other uses too:  as fruity ice cubes for lemonade or pimped up Prosecco. I am not sure what kind of magic fruit pickers and freezers do to keep them in such a perfect shape, but whilst fresh raspberries (even the ones I have attempted to grow on my allotment) are always a bit squidgy these perfect pyramids are a wonder to behold – lots of tiny spheres stacked up perfectly – perversely their helmet shapes remind me a bit of the stick-on hair on Lego toys. I used to stick them on the end of my fingers as a way of getting my children to eat fruit when they were very young. It worked with one, whose idea of a top treat is filling them – when still frozen – with maple syrup and allowing them to dissolve slowly in her mouth. This week I had some sugar syrup left in the fridge from a failed elderberry experiment – I had planned to make a cordial to drizzle over ice-cream from some berries I foraged but wasn’t 100% sure they were actually elderberries and didn’t want to kill myself or my children experimenting. So instead, with the help of my eight-year-old, we made ice lollies. First we defrosted some frozen raspberries (from Iceland) and using the back of a wooden spoon mushed them through a fine sieve over a large bowl, until we had a lovely seed-free puree. Then we...
Sprinkle saucers – best ever birthday party biscuits

Sprinkle saucers – best ever birthday party biscuits

I wrote about these sprinkle saucers back in 2012 and love them as much six years on (looking back in our archive, was a wake-up call as to how long we’ve been blogging for) as I do now. The recipe is adapted from the wonderful Outsider Tart cookbook (just as inventive as their beautiful Chiswick cake shop, which is far too close to my home for comfort. Their brownies are irresistible) and are so easy to make we decided to make a film about them here – although apologies in advance for the horrific clash of my floral top and Claire’s patterned tiles. Sartorial mayhem aside, baking them on film was really just an excuse to make them again and one of their many fine attributes – along with the shortness of the biscuit and the genius of smothering them in sprinkles before cooking – is that you can make the dough way in advance, store it in the fridge meaning you are never more than 20 or so minutes from a biscuit. Lethal....