I’ve been a member of Hestercombe Gardens on and off ever since Belle was born. When she was little, it was our go to place for meet ups; many an hour have been whiled away on weekday afternoons looking at the ducks, hiding in the orangery or paddling in wellies in the streams.

Food at Hestercombe

I walk around the formal gardens now and I can still picture Belle and her friend Ella as toddlers, propped up against the side of the fountain, chubby hands in the water. I can’t quite get my head around how tiny they must have been.  View Post

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One of the most tedious tasks for me as a parent is cooking. It’s not so much the cooking itself, it’s more the planning of it – trying to think of something new and interesting every single bloody day, only then to have it rejected by a fussy child, gets rather dispiriting after, say, 20 years.

Enter fiancé, stage left.

(You see? I did it! I called him fiancé!)

For the last month or so, my fiancé has taken over in the kitchen. He does all of the cooking, and even the washing up when Belle’s away. I’m barely even allowed to make myself a cup of tea. It is absolute bliss getting to four o’clock every day and not having to start fretting about what I’m going to cook.

A couple of weeks ago we were treated to a food delivery from Marley Spoon, one of these food box companies where you’re sent a recipe and the exact ingredients. I love the idea of this as it’s such a pain buying things like herbs, spices and oils for recipes, when you know you’re only going to use a tablespoon and then have them sat in the cupboard for years. View Post

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get children to eat vegetables

“I’m not eating that,” says Belle, practically spitting as she speaks. She is pointing with her fork at some broccoli, as though we have heaped actual excrement onto her plate alongside the fish fingers.

“It’s fine!” I say, with forced good humour. “Just eat it with something else and you won’t even taste it.”

She looks at me as though I’m possibly the stupidest creature that’s ever been allowed to roam the earth, let alone be in charge of meal planning. “It’s disgusting,” she says, with a look of genuine repulsion.

This is how I have spent almost every meal time for at least the last 12 years and to be quite honest I am just about done. I am teetering on the brink of not giving a toss. “It’s only your health and well being,” I want to say, “have Poptarts for every meal for all I care.” View Post

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Today’s post and recipe comes courtesy of my boyfriend, who knows much more about the Cricket World Cup than me…haggis scotch egg recipe

When I rank the clubs where I’ve played and watched cricket, much of my affection comes not from an exciting game or a personal achievement, (which were few and far between), but from the quality and quantity of the food. I can’t think of another sport where players stop for both lunch and tea, and jolly civilised it is as well. When I trained to become an umpire, there was even a column on the official match report for the standard of tea.

The professional game is just the same. It’s not so long since the players left the field for lunch at Lord’s – the home of cricket – to be met by a butler on the pavilion steps with a tray of gin and tonics, before being served a full three course lunch. If that’s what modern day professional sport was like, I would excel.

Watching cricket is equally hungry work. A day out at the test match requires a huge calorific intake, partly just to absorb the vast quantity of alcohol that goes hand to hand with watching England’s batting collapse. The scotch egg is the king of the cricket picnic and usually comes out of the cool bag early in proceedings as an aid to line the stomach before too much alcohol flows.

So, when choosing a meal to reflect the 2015 Cricket World Cup, the scotch egg was something of a no brainer. I had no issue choosing another of the ‘home nations’ as I’ve got a soft spot for cricket in Scotland. (We’ll forget that they beat England recently because that hurts almost as much as an Ashes defeat, and I’m sure it was just a scoreboard error). View Post

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pasta bake recipeI love looking at recipe books, the pictures are always amazing aren’t they? You get all excited and think ‘I could do that’ and then you look at the recipe and realise it contains 17 different ingredients, three of which you’ve never even heard of, and you get a pizza out of the freezer instead.

Or you attempt it, (leaving out the things you’re not sure about), and end up with something like ‘blue soup’, Bridget Jones style. The ‘purple pie’ I tried to make with leftover red cabbage is fast on it’s way to becoming a favourite family legend, and not for good reasons.

I need something simple and idiot proof, a recipe with just a few ingredients, none of which I have to go to a specialist Asian supermarket for, which makes me perfect for the #TryTotal challenge from Total, the Greek yoghurt people. The idea is to create easy but tasty recipes with just a few ingredients and for your efforts you can win all sorts of lovely prizes including a Magimix food mixer, an iPhone6, a cookbook or a month’s supply of Greek yoghurt. View Post

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