Warm Blackberry Squares

At this time of year there’s nothing better than a good old fashion pudding and these warm blackberry squares have to be one of my all time favourites! They’re warm, moist, and just what I want to eat when I’m snuggled up on the sofa on a cold evening. Add a splash of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream and I’m in pudding heaven. In my opinion, this is comfort food at its very best!

With the Blackberry season coming to an end you could substitute the blackberries for blueberries – or any other berries for that matter.

Warm Blackberry Squares

Warm Blackberry Squares

Ingredients

175g unsalted butter,

150g caster sugar

150g self-raising flour

2 eggs

3 tablespoons milk

100g ground almonds

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

A pinch of salt

200g blackberries, quartered

icing sugar, for dusting

Method

Warm Blackberry Squares

1) Preheat your oven to 160oC

2) Grease a 12-hole cake tin. (a round muffin tin will work if you don’t have a square one)

3) Cream together the butter and caster sugar until the mixture is light and fluffy. Add the self-raising flour, ground almonds, eggs, vanilla extract and salt, then mix well.

4) Carefully fold in the chopped blackberries (you don’t want them to bleed too much) then divide the mixture between the twelve holes.

Warm Blackberry Squares

5) Bake for 30-35 mins, depending on your oven.

6) Once baked, carefully take the cakes out of the tin and place on a wire rack to cool. I like to serve the cakes while they’re still warm. For added decadence, serve with double cream, a slash of custard or a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

These little squares stay moist for a few days and can be popped into the microwave for 30seconds to ensure they’re always warm when you eat them!

Warm Blackberry Squares

An Extra Tip: This recipe can be made into one big cake if you prefer, just double the cooking/oven time.

A Bonfire Night Feast - Next Level S'moresA Bonfire Night Feast - s'mores

Bonfire night has turned into a big event in our house as it’s also Poppy’s birthday. She was born the morning after our local fireworks display five years ago, and now gets to celebrate her birthday every year with a fun fireworks party in our garden.

As we live near the village park (where our local display takes place), we’re able to sit in our garden and watch the fireworks from the comfort of our garden chairs, with lots of cushions, and blankets on our laps. I also make sure there’s plenty of delicious food ready to serve up during the 30 minute show.

The Menu

Mugs of Creamy Butternut Squash Soup

A Bonfire Night FeastA Bonfire Night Feast

A mug of this creamy Butternut Squash Soup is my idea of comfort food heaven, and the perfect way to keep our hands warm on a cold November night.

Bonfire Night Chilli and Rice

A Bonfire Night Feast - chilli A Bonfire Night Feast

Chilli is Poppy’s absolute favourite dish. I make it very mild (for the kids) and incredibly rich and thick, just the way she likes it. A bowl of Chilli is also ideal lap food on the night, it’s warming and great to enjoy while watching the big display.

Next-level S’Mores

A Bonfire Night Feast A Bonfire Night Feast

These next level S’more were initially created as a birthday treat, based on a selection of Poppy’s favourite puddings. By adding small pieces of chocolate brownies, caramel rice crispy cakes and toffee popcorn into the s’mores I think we’ve managed to come-up with something pretty amazing. If you’re going to be naughty… you may as well go the whole way!

You can read more about our Bonfire Night traditions, along with the recipes to these winter warmers on the Marks & Spencer website.

Making healthy meals for the family is not as straightforward as it sounds, meal planning and food shopping are only the beginning. To make things a little easier over the past year I’ve been using HelloFresh (on and off), which has changed the way I think about meals and food in general. For those who’ve never heard of HelloFresh (where have you been?), it’s a flexible food subscription, meal kit that’s delivered directly to your house. Each box is packed with food for delicious meals, along with detailed recipe cards. The ingredients have all been measured out for you, so all you need to do is follow the instructions and create exciting, tasty meals.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

Here are ten reasons why we love the HelloFresh Family Boxes…

  1. You don’t have to worry about food shopping or meal planning; it’s all done for you.
  1. Each home cooked meal is healthy, delicious and well balanced.
  1. They’re perfect for cooks of any level and ideal for older children who want to start helping in the kitchen.
  1. As everything is measured out precisely, there’s no (or very little) food waste.
  1. They’re a brilliant way of learning new recipes and adding some variety to your family favourites.
  1. The children get to try new flavours, and it’s a great way for them to learn about different foods from around the world.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

  1. You can pick 3 or 4 meals from a choice of six each week, and you can stop or pause the subscription at any time.
  1. The meals cost at, as little as £3.99 per meal – which is cheaper than eating out or getting a takeaway.
  1. Hello Fresh meals have encouraged us to eat more at the table as a family. Making mealtimes, family time.
  1. Every recipe is packed with flavours your kids will love – as children rigorously test each recipe before it’s given the green light. Each recipe also has a little flavour twist for us adults who have a more adventurous taste.

 

This is just one example of the delicious meals we’ve enjoyed over the past few weeks…

CREAMY CHICKEN CURRY with Green Beans and Fluffy Rice

Ingredients

1 Onion

200g Green Beans

30g Tomato Purée

1 tin Diced Tomatoes

15g Garlic Purée

4 Chicken Breast

300g Basmati Rice

600ml Water for rice

1.5 tsp Sri Lankan Curry Powder

1 Chicken Stock Pot

1 small pot of Double Cream

100ml Water for curry

Instructions

  1. Peel and thinly slice the onion into half moons. Trim the tops from the green beans and then chop each one into four pieces. Thinly slice the chicken breast widthways into 1⁄2cm wide strips.

 

  1. Pour the water (amount specified in the ingredient list) into a large saucepan with a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil on high heat and then add the basmati rice. Stir and then cover with a lid. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer, 10mins. Once the 10mins is up, remove from the heat and leave for another 10mins (or until the curry is ready). TIP: Don’t take the lid off as the rice will finish cooking in its own steam.

 

  1. Heat a drizzle of oil in a frying pan on medium-high heat. Once hot, add the chicken. Season with salt and black pepper. Stir and cook until browned, about 5mins.

 

  1. Add the onion to your frying pan, stir together and cook until the onion is soft, 5-6mins. Add the garlic purée, tomato purée and Sri Lankan curry powder. Stir together and cook for 1 minute. Pour in the diced tomatoes, chicken stockpot and 100ml water . Stir to dissolve the stockpot and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until the curry has thickened slightly, 10mins.

 

  1. Once the curry has cooked for 10mins, add the double cream and simmer for 5mins, then add the green beans, cover with a lid (or some foil) and simmer until the beans are cooked, 5 more minutes.

 

  1. Fluff up the rice with a fork and spoon into bowls. Divide the curry between your bowls.

This mild, creamy curry was a big winner in our house. Even Iris (who’s 18months) loved it. This one is now firmly on our favourites list along with Cheesy Tomato Orzo, Pizza Burgers, Mild Sausage Chilli and Gnocchi Bolognaise.

Here are ten reasons why we love the Hello Fresh Family Boxes

Disclaimer: We were gifted a one month subscription in exchange for this review but I have also paid for some boxes as I really do use this service.

He’s everyone’s favourite sweet treat and this week Percy Pig celebrated his 25th Birthday. I can’t quite believe he’s been around for twenty five years but it’s true! The deliciously, juicy little pig has been delighting kids and adults alike for a quarter of a century. A milestone that deserved a big party!

Now I’ve been blogging for over three years and in that time I’ve had some amazing opportunities and been lucky enough to be invited to some pretty awesome events but I must admit when I received this invite by Marks and Spencer I was super excited – and as you can imagine my two big girls were very jealous.

I’m not able to go to many events on a school night as we don’t have any backup childcare, so I really have to pick and choose my events carefully but I knew this was one not to miss.

It was a beautiful and fun night, that had a big emphasis on gorgeous food and wine from the past 25 years – with no pork in sight!

Here are some pictures from the event to give you a flavour of the evening…

This last snap was saved from my Insta Stories so please forgive the low quality.

On the night we were served ‘Percy on the Beach’ cocktails, made from Percy infused vodka. Here’s how you can recreate this deliciously fruity and refreshing cocktail at home…

Thank you so much Percy and Marks and Spencer for a gorgeous evening full of fun, flowers, food and lots of yummy sweets!

Last week Iris and I had the pleasure of welcoming the lovely Alice from Piccolo into our kitchen to cook for us. Alice is a Nutritional Therapist for the Mediterranean based baby food brand Piccolo. Iris and I have been big fans of Piccolo pouches over the past year (since she started weaning), Iris has loved the delicious taste of their vegetable and fruit based creations and I’ve been happy to know that she’s getting the nutritional benefits she needs from each pouch.

Piccolo is also a brand that gives back with their Food Education Foundation charity. With this charity Piccolo provide practical advice and help to parents (in disadvantaged areas of London) about baby nutrition and healthy eating. They run interactive and educational workshops to equip parents with the tools and knowledge to give their children a varied range of first foods – which will in turn help them establish a healthy relationship with food.

It was so interesting talking to Alice about their charity work, it’s great to hear that Piccolo is a company that’s not all about the money, they really are a brand that wants to give back and help.

Alice and I also spent time talking about food, her wealth of knowledge on nutrition and superfoods was fascinating and I felt incredibly lucky to have this brilliant opportunity.  She then cooked for us!

Here are a few of my favourite healthy, family friendly recipes from the day…

Cherry and Apple Yoghurt with Wholegrain Oats

Ingredients 

  • 2 Pink Lady apple, peeled and chopped
  • 10 cherries, stoned and halved
  • 150g natural full fat yoghurt
  • 40g rolled oats

Method

1.Heat the apple in a pan with a little water for 5-8 minutes until soft. For older babies (around 7 months), you can simply grate the apples.

2.Remove the apples from heat and add the cherries and oats.

3.Purée together in a blender. For a few seconds for a chunkier texture, longer for smooth yoghurt.

4.Once the mixture is cool, stir in the yoghurt.

 

Flatbread Pizza

Ingredients

2 Corn or whole wheat tortillas/flatbread

2 tbsp Passata

Around 50g mix veg such as sweetcorn, peppers, tomatoes and/or grated courgettes

20g grated Cheddar cheese

 

Method

1.Preheat the oven to 180°C/ 350°F/ Gas mark 4.

2.Simply spread Passata on one side of flatbread or tortilla. Add vegetables then top with grated cheese. Place in the oven for 8 minutes. Serve with cucumber and carrot batons.

 

Savoury Flapjack

Ingredients

200 g/7oz porridge oats

200 g/7oz grated carrot

200 g/7oz grated courgette

200 g/7oz Grana Padano or Cheddar cheese, grated

2 eggs beaten

1 tsp grainy mustard

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/ 375°F/ Gas mark 5.

2. Grease a baking tray (Swiss roll tin size). Mix all the ingredients in the large bowl and press into the tray.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes, until set and lightly browned.