In association with Princes

We all have those tinned staples that are always in the cupboard. For us it’s kidney beans*, tinned tomatoes, baked beans and slippy peaches.

Slippy peaches, just to clarify, are tinned peach slices, so named by our family because when they come out of the tin they are slippy. Dur.

tinned peach recipe

I always buy tinned fruit in juice because then it properly counts as fruit doesn’t it? Genuine fact there – a tin of slippy peaches like these count as two of your five a day. And tinned peaches are so GOOOOD.

Let’s face it, how often do you buy fresh peaches and get them just at the right level of ripeness, and THEN be bothered to cut them into slices to go on top of a pancake? Never. What’s more likely to happen in my house is that I buy a load of fresh fruit because Belle has watched some kind of ‘how to peel a mango with a pint glass’ life hack video on Instagram, and then two weeks later it’s sat in a mouldy pile in the fruit bowl.

For me, tinned peaches are like the frozen pea of the fruit world – why would you even bother with the faff of fresh when they taste so good and are so easy to prepare?

For the last week Belle and I have been experimenting, in partnership with Princes, switching fresh fruit for tinned. Princes tinned fruit is packed from fresh, counts towards your five a day, and means you always have fruit handy at perfect ripeness, with no waste. What’s not to love about that? As part of our challenge we’ve been making some simple breakfast recipes using tinned fruit, including slippy peach pancakes.

A weekend style breakfast for weekdays

Now when you think of homemade pancakes and fruit, you’re probably picturing a leisurely Sunday rather than a hectic weekday morning. I mean weekdays, it’s all about the school run, trying to juggle everyone leaving the house on time – no way you’d have time to make slippy peach pancakes right?

WRONG! View Post

When you read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as a child, how desperate were you for the three course meal in one piece of chewing gum to be a reality? I wanted it so badly. As I read it I swear I could feel the hot tomato soup at the back of my throat, followed by the rich, roast beef.

(I stopped imagining before I turned into a blueberry obviously. No one wants that.)

I’ve always been kind of fascinated by the idea of meal replacements. In old school science fiction people of the future were forever knocking back tiny pills as substitutes for entire meals and the principle really appeals to me – I’d never have to worry about ‘accidentally’ eating 14 Oreos ever again. Everything would be so simple. I’d be so slim…

Of course despite what the stories would have us believe, a meal in a pill could never be a thing. You just can’t get the calories you need into such a small thing. Back to the Oreos for me then.

Or is it?

For the last couple of weeks I’ve been trialling a meal replacement system called Solo. Solo is a vegan, allergen free, dairy and gluten free meal replacement powder that you mix up with water to make a shake. It contains all 26 essential vitamins and minerals, 100% of your recommended fibre intake, and can in theory entirely replace regular food.

I say ‘regular food’, but Solo IS food. That’s key here. It’s not some kind of artificially produced powder, it’s made with natural whole foods – wholegrain gluten free oats, pea protein, flaxseed, coconut – real food. There are 42g of protein in each serving, so it fills you up too. I’m genuinely not hungry for several hours after a Solo shake, and I can eat pretty much anything, any time. (See above about the Oreos.)

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Post in association with Iceland

They say there’s no such thing as a free lunch but they, whoever they are, are wrong.

Wait what? You CAN get lunch for free?

Why yes. Yes you can. With the Iceland bonus card.

Iceland Bonus Card

Let me explain.

You will have realised by now, if you’re a regular reader, that I’ve become a bit of an Iceland convert, ever since I realised that Iceland was about more than frozen kebab pizzas. I’ve been educated about the benefits of frozen food in terms of freshness and not needing artificial preservatives and let’s be honest, it didn’t take much to convince me on the convenience front either.

So what is the Iceland Bonus Card then?

The Iceland Bonus Card is a savings card. You pick one up in store, register it online, and then every time you go shopping, and fancy tucking a bit extra away, you can ask the cashier to top it up. You can add money to your Bonus Card through the Iceland website too. Easy.

Then, when you’re next shopping, either in store or online, you can choose to use some or all of your balance to pay your bill. Pretty straightforward yes?

Except here’s the bonus aspect of the Iceland Bonus Card – for every £20 you save, Iceland will give you an extra pound for FREE. Just like that, automatically. Greggs sausage and bean melts are on offer at the moment in Iceland – 2 for £1 – so that bonus pound could LITERALLY buy lunch for you AND a friend.

(If you have never eaten a Greggs sausage and bean melt before then WHAT IS THE MATTER WITH YOU?? That’s the food of the Gods right there. Oysters? RANK. Greggs sausage and bean melt? HELL YES.)

What could I use my Iceland Bonus Card for?

CHRISTMAS! View Post

In association with Maryland Cookies

recipe cookie butter spread Maryland Cookies

In the important cultural debate that is ‘cookies or cake?’ I am very much in the cookie camp.

For me, it’s a question of consistency of experience. Sure, you can get some amazing cake, no denying that. Sometimes they’re just right – moist and delicious and full of flavour – but all too often I’m left disappointed by cakes. They might LOOK lush, but then the sponge is dry, or the frosting to cake ratio is all wrong, and you eat it reluctantly, thinking ‘for God’s sake, what a waste of calories, I could have had four gins for that.’

(And yes, you could just NOT eat it, but food waste remember?)

With a cookie though, or a good plain biscuit, you know what you’re getting. No one ever cracks into a packet of Maryland and comes away feeling like they’re had anything other than the exact cookie experience they were expecting. No snack-time risk, no worry, just mid-afternoon cookie fun times. View Post

Post in association with Metis®

Metis® fruit recipes

Imagine if you will that a plum and an apricot go on a date.

They get on well as they have a lot in common – they both like classic crime fiction, they love to travel, and they both have a stone in their middle, that sort of thing. One date leads to another. On the second date they crank it up a notch and do an activity – segway maybe. Or pottery painting.

Time passes, stuff happens, and they have a baby. They call it Metis®.

Metis® fruit recipes

Ahhh!

Oh how I wish that’s how it happened! View Post

What does tea time look like for your family?

This is dinner time in our house:

typical family dinner time

Ha ha! Not really.

Who has family dinner times like that?? Everyone is so attractive! And all those white units and place mats and teeth? What I love most though about this picture is that the caption is ‘family laughing around a good meal in the kitchen.’

I do my own voice over as I look at it:

MUM, laughing: Oh look everyone at how big our bowls of peas and carrots are!

DAD, laughing: Ha ha! That’s so funny! I love vegetables! Isn’t that funny kids?

DAUGHTER, laughing, but also crying a bit: But Daddy I hate peas!

DAD, laughing: Just keep laughing Angelica!

DAUGHTER: But it hurts my cheeks…

MUM: Ha ha ha! What a lovely family dinner we’re all having!

ANYWAY.

Family meal times in our house don’t look like that. In fact, weekdays are pretty quiet. Bee has long since left home, so it’s more often than not just me and Belle.

That’s okay though. That’s the beauty of a modern family – it can be anything you want it to be.

(DUM DUM DUM!!)

According to new research from potato brand McCain, as part of their We Are Family campaign, we often find it hard to identify with the portrayal of family life as shown in the media. 84% of families surveyed claim they haven’t seen anything in popular culture that depicted a family like their own in the last six months and 45% of Brits think more needs to be done to show the reality of everyday family life.

I agree, and to illustrate the point, Belle and I created a mini fly-on-the wall documentary of tea times in our house. (Does this video count as popular culture?? It definitely shows the reality of family life…)

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