Monday, 26 September 2016

Giveaway #584 : Win 3 x Mother's Day on dvd - closing date 11/10

Unwrap a treat this October as an all-star cast combine to celebrate MOTHER’S DAY….

Starring Academy Award winner JULIA ROBERTS, JENNIFER ANISTON and KATE HUDSON, modern romantic comedy MOTHER’S DAY is a sweet and moving tale of family life, out to download and own from 3rd October.

There are only a few days left before Mother’s Day and several families have to come to terms with how they’ll be spending the big day. Whether it’s dealing with a new love, a lost love, or no love at all, this Mother’s Day will prove to be unforgettable!

Directed by the legendary rom-com director GARRY MARSHALL (Pretty Woman, Beaches, Overboard) and also starring JASON SUDEIKIS, TIMOTHY OLYPHANT and JACK WHITEHALL, this is one movie to make a date for!

MOTHERS DAY Disc Information:
Certificate: 12
Features: Gag Reel, Deleted Scenes

I've seen some pretty harsh reviews for this film, so I came to it with a few reservations, but I actually loved it. You don't even need to be a mum to enjoy it because it looks at grown-ups relationships with their parents' as well as their children. Many of the characters are pretty clichéd - mixed race, gay, big age difference, widower with teenage daughters, adopted daughter having an identity crisis when she prepares to become a mum herself, ... - but their back-stories and personalities are believable enough to make us empathise with them. Jennifer Aniston as dumped divorcée having to come to terms with her ex's new wife-to-be seemed particularly poignant, given her own real-life history (but she got the last laugh in the end !). I found the ultra-conservative parents having to come to terms with their daughters springing a secret gay and mixed race marriage on them to be veryr unpleasant characters - I found them offensive and was surprised to see that words that I see as very racist, such as towel-head, were allowed - but even they mellow out as the movie progresses and become more accepting and open-minded. There are lots of scenes to make you smile or go awww and it's ultimately an uplifting and heartwarming movie that all women, whatever their personal situation, will enjoy.

Mother’s Day is out to download, on DVD and Blu-ray on 3rd October (available to pre-order now)

I have three copies of the dvd to give away to lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers. Fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 11/10/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #583 : Win a 1-month Twitaculous membership - closing date 26/9

Globecooking recipe : Gino D'Acampo's chocolate panforte (Italy) #StarlightBirthdayCakeBake

Starlight is a national charity that brightens the lives of seriously and terminally ill children by granting wishes-of-a-lifetime and providing a year-round entertainment programme in hospitals and hospices across the UK. This year is a big year for Starlight - it's their 30th birthday, so to celebrate 30 years of brightening the lives of seriously ill children, and to help raise funds to reach even more children, they're asking people to take part in the ‘Starlight Birthday Cake Bake’ during the week of 10th October by holding a bake sale for Starlight.

A number of celebrities including Nadiya Hussain, Joanna Lumley, Rob Brydon and Russell Howard, have lent their support to the campaign by sharing their favourite cake recipe. These are available to download in their free cake bake pack. I made celebrity chef Gino D'Acampo's chocolate panforte and in honour of Starlight, I made a star-shaped cake !

Gino D’Acampo’s chocolate panforte
ingredients :

For the cake:
250g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
3 egg whites
3 tbsp runny honey
200g ground almonds
50g hazelnuts, skinless and roasted
100g walnuts
50g candied peel
4 tbsp Amaretto liqueur (adults only!)
200g icing sugar

For the topping:

100g good-quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp icing sugar or sugar crystals to decorate

Break the chocolate into small pieces in a bowl.

Melt in the microwave or in a bain-marie.

The recipe calls for three egg whites and I had a pack of egg white powder in the cupboard that I had received in a baking hamper and never dared to try.

I decided to give it a go and emptied three sachets into a bowl - it's a very fine powder.

After adding the required quantity of warm water, it looked just like real, fresh egg whites but it had a strange and rather unpleasant smell. This didn't come through in the finished cake though.

Mix the honey into the egg whites.

The powdered egg whites weren't the only liberty I took with the recipe - I also decided to substitute the ground almonds for a sachet of chocolate Ready Brek, because I had loads in the cupboard that needed using up and the very fine oats have a similar texture.

Mix in the ground almonds/Ready Brek.

And the icing sugar, whole nuts and candied peel - I used all hazelnuts rather than a mixture of hazelnuts and walnuts and left out the candied peel.

Stir through the melted chocolate.

Press firmly into a clingfilm-lined cake mould and chill in the fridge for at least a couple of hours.

When it's totally set, press out and remove the clingfilm.

Make the topping by melting the chocolate and mixing in the icing sugar, spreading it over the top of the cake then sprinkling with sugar crystals. Cut into slices with a sharp knife and eat a sneaky slice or two before the kids (or your cake bake guests) arrive and scoff the lot !

for more information about the charity and to request your free cake bake kit :

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout because it used up some Ready Brek and some egg white powder that was cluttering up the cupboard.

#KitchenClearout September roundup and October linky

This month and next month, the #KitchenClearout linkies will be slightly out of sync while I ease them back to the start of the month, because I couldn't do the double-month one that I wanted over the summer due to the free link-up tool having a maximum length of 33 days.

Nevertheless, I have a lovely collection of recipes to share with you this month - we're definitely very skilled when it comes to finding ways of using up the odds and ends that are cluttering up our cupboards, fridges and spice racks !

Cheesy Tomato, Olive & Mince Rice was a tasty, family-friendly way of winding down the fridge before going on holiday.

Coconut & Honey Briouates came out tasting surprisingly authentically Moroccan despite being an ingenious way of using up some chocolate Ready Brek ! This post also shows you how to resurrect filo pastry that has dried out, rather than throwing it in the bin.

Inspired by a recipe from a previous #KitchenClearout linky from the lovely Jane at Onions and Paper, I made these homemade burgers to use up a bottle of BBQ sauce (one of many in the cupboard/fridge !).

Courgette & Tomato Quiche is a great way of using up the odds and ends from the veg drawer in the fridge and sneaking extra veggies into the kids' diets !

 These delicious Coconut & Raspberry Cupcakes used up the last of a tub of frozen raspberries that had been lurking in the freezer for over a year !

Don't throw pastry scraps away - transform them into these quick and simple Parmesan & Black Onion Seed Straws

Shaheen from the Allotment 2 Kitchen blog joined in for the first time, with this fabulous Turmeric Butter Beans, Yellow Pepper and Yellow Courgette Stew. Healthy and tasty.

Alison from Dragons & Fairydust linked up this gorgeous Turkey Piccata with Lime Sauce, a zingy twist on the usual piccata sauce made with lemon juice and capers, that looks very tasty and summery.

Always clever with her cakes and bakes, Galina from Chez Maximka made these dairy-free pear multiseed muffins using up a bag of breakfast seeds. I think that means that these are definitely allowed for breakfast !

I haven't managed to go blackberrying this year, but Alison from Dragons & Fairy Dust did, and she made this fabulously fruity Blackberry & Raspberry Drizzle Cake to use up the fruit from her garden. I love lemon drizzle cake and I'd never thought of using other fruit, but it looks amazing so I'll have to have a play.

Alison has definitely been having a summer of baking because she linked up these fabulous Macadamia Nut Blondies too - they make me think of my favourite Macadamia Nut Haagen Dazs ice cream so they get a definite thumbs up from me ! 

Galina was back with another lovely autumnal bake, an apple and raisin cake, using up some of the apples from her garden. I'd love to have a glut of fruit to use up but we don't get much on our patio !

Staying on the apple theme, I made maple apple chicken which was a big hit with the kids because it was sweet and sticky.

You'll never throw away another chicken carcass when you see how easy it is too make this delicious, creamy curried chicken soup - the perfect autumn/winter warmer.

As always, a lovely collection of recipes that turned things into tummy-fill instead of landfill ! We got very creative with the last of the summer fruit and the start of the autumn crop, which is great because it shows we're using seasonal produce too - extra kudos to us all !

Can't wait to see what this month will bring - I predict that we'll be moving on to warming slow cooked meals and comfort food as the nights draw in and the temperatures start to drop. A big thankyou again to everyone who linked up :)

Fancy joining in? Have a rummage through your kitchen cupboards, spice rack, freezer or fridge and see if there's anything that needs using up then come and share your creations with us. Or if it's way past its sell-by date, throw it in the bin and come and tell us what you found ! It would be great if you could add my badge and a link to this post for anyone else who wants to get involved.

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Globecooking recipe : Mini Baked Ring Donuts (USA)

After the resounding success of the totally indulgent Banoffee Whoopie Pies, I couldn't wait to try another recipe from the latest Bake Box which has a New York theme. This weekend, we gave the mini baked donuts a go and they were equally popular. The original recipe, which can be seen on the bake box website, suggested a coffee-flavoured icing with chopped up Reese's Peanut Butter Cups on top, but I knew that nobody at The Madhouse would like the coffee flavour (least of all me !) so I actually recycled the failed whoopie pie filling which I hadn't managed to to firm up. I added in some cocoa powder and it was perfect as a chocolate drizzle icing. Nothing goes to waste here !

This recipe uses the mini donut baking tray that was in the Bake Box - very cute it is too! You could probably try to make them free-form though.

Mini Baked Ring Donuts

ingredients :

65g plain flour
2tbsp cocoa powder
½tsp baking powder
50g golden caster sugar
4tbsp milk
1 egg
25g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
Pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°.

Put the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, sugar, salt) in a bowl and mix.

Melt the butter.

Add the milk and egg to the bowl - I used up a carton of coconut milk which worked perfectly.

Once the butter has cooled, add that too and give it all a good stir until smooth and perfectly blended.

Use a teaspoon to fill the donut rings three quarters of the way full.

Put the donut mould on a baking tray and put in the oven for 8-10 minutes until they are firm and springy to the touch.

Leave to cool until you can comfortably handle the donut tray. Gently press each side to loosen them then carefully pop out each donut. Place on a wire rack to cool. Refill the donut mould with the remaining batter and make another batch.

Once the donuts have completely cooled, it's time to ice them. I used my failed whoopie pie filling which had come out too runny - it was a mixture of  75g unsalted butter, 100g full fat cream cheese,
275g icing sugar and a few spoonfuls of cocoa powder when I was still trying to thicken it up. It may have been rubbish as a whoopie pie filling but it was perfect for icing donuts !

Use a teaspoon to drizzle the icing over the top of the donuts.

Top with whatever takes your fancy - digestive biscuit crumbs, silver balls, sprinkles, toffee chunks, mini choc chips, ...

I made these ones yesterday and they disappeared so quickly that I made a another double batch this afternoon !

This used up a bowl of failed whoopie pie filling that was destined for the bin if I didn't manage to recycle it, so it's going in to this month's #KitchenClearout linky. It also used up several ends of tubs of cupcake sprinkles.

Disclosure : I received a free Bake Box subscription in order to share my attempts at recreating the recipes. Bake Box delivers a new package of goodies every two months and each box costs £14.99 + £2.99 postage. For more information and to see the recipes :

Madhouse diaries : Inflatable sports day !

Yesterday, the main town square was advertising some free sports activities for the kids so we went along to have a look. What I didn't realise was that they were mostly inflatable versions of the main sports, which the kids thought was even more fun !

We started off with basketball, which was extra sporty for Pierre because he had to keep climbing up to retrieve the balls. The woman in charge took pity on him and told us he could climb over and stand at the bottom in the end. He managed to get a few balls in the hoops which he got very excited about ... but then so did Juliette and Sophie whenever they managed !

 I was busy taking the photos so I could never see whose ball was going in the hoops so I just made general encouraging noises that could have been for any of them !

Next up was a mini crazy golf course - I was impressed at finding this in the middle of the town centre !

Pierre had a very unique way of holding the golf club but it seemed to work more or less !

This was everyone's favourite hole but the ball got stuck in the middle of the pipe every single time !

"Mu-um, you have to go and call the man again !" 

 It was on to bigger balls next, with the penalty shoot out stand. It wasn't very well thought-out though because there was a gap at the bottom of the back wall so the poor bloke had to go round the back to get the ball back EVERY SINGLE TIME ! This probably explains why they deflated this one not long after we'd finished playing !

Next up was baseball - or softball? I never know the difference anyway ! 

It was more like tennis though, with a racket rather than a bat, and a little ball that you had to aim at the holes in the back wall.

The best thing about this one was the cone which blew out a stream of air, making the ball "magically" hover in the air, waiting to be smacked !

Even Madhouse Daddy couldn't resist having a go !

This photo made me laugh when I looked through them because it's Sophie moving her hair behind her shoulder but the angle makes it look like the woman from the stand is strangling her !

The next activity was their favourite - the Equalizer put Juliette and Pierre head to head, both attached to a rope like a giant tug of war, trying to reach the edges and stick their sponges on the highest scoring Velcro pad.

I'd told Juliette to give Pierre a chance to win a few, as he is smaller, but they both seemed to be giving it their all !

Go Pierre, heave-ho !

"Hee hee hee Mum, I'm stopping Juliette from being able to reach the edge !"

It was hilarious to watch and I thought they were pretty well matched !

There was just one final activity left to do - some big go-karts that Pierre managed to ride around like a pro (until he drove straight over a cone and flattened it !!)

All in all, not bad at all for a free event in the middle of the town centre.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall