Sunday 25 February 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 9


We made it to the holidays - woohoo ! For once, I have zero plans. Well, that's not quite true, I have loads of things that I want to sort out around the house but nothing set in stone so it can all change at a minute's notice. The kids are all happy setting up dates with their boyfriends and girlfriends and I have lots of lovely things on the cards like dejunking the understairs cupboard, cleaning and dejunking the patio, getting the roofers in at last and heading to the doctor's to renew my prescription. All sounds great fun - not !! But it'll be good when it's all done. Sophie has invited us over to her place in Lille for dinner midweek so that could be a nice day out. I bet I end up going on my own as everyone else will have stuff planned with their other halves !

Monday

lunchsticky chicken with rice

dinner - cottage pie with carrots

Tuesday

lunch- pork and chickpeas couscous

dinner-Provençal chicken with pasta

Wednesday

lunch- lunch with Sophie, leftovers for anyone who stays at home

dinner- Deliveroo with or without me, depending on when I get home (and I can use up leftovers or have a tin of French Onion Soup from a recent Degustabox)

Thursday

lunch- Hawaiian pork chops with rice and green beans

dinner- chicken stir fry with noodles (+ onions, mushrooms, carrots, peppers, leftover pineapple if there is any)

Friday

lunch- Spanish chicken with pasta and ratatouille


Saturday

lunch- chicken burgers with baked potatoes and sweetcorn

dinner- pasta carbonara

Sunday

lunch- roast dinner

dinner - smoked sausages with lentils and rice

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Sunday 18 February 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 8


Last week was complicated at work as they were working on the IT system so I had no access to my online textbooks that we use. I had to plan ahead with wordsearches and worksheets which the kids enjoyed so it wasn't all bad. Next week we have the end of term meetings for each class (4.45 - 7.45pm as all the parents come in one at a time with the pupils) so it'll be a long week with two late nights, but at least it's the holidays afterwards. Lots of plans for things to do around the house during the holidays, hopefully starting with the roof. Here's the plan for this week's meals.

Monday

lunch-  pulled chicken with rice and sweetcorn

dinner - pasta carbonara

Tuesday

lunch- oregano and tomato breaded chicken fillets with mash and green beans

dinner- chicken curry and rice

Wednesday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- Moroccan chicken and chickpea tagine with couscous

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- sausages and pasta

Friday

lunch- fricadelles (spicy sausages) with mash and beans

dinner - fishfingers, rice and green beans

Saturday

lunch- Deliveroo

dinner- pizza

Sunday

lunch- roast dinner

dinner - bacon sandwiches

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Sunday 11 February 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 7


Last week, I told you that we'd be booking our summer holiday - a Northern European cruise. Well, we did but when she tried to book it, it turned out that there was no room left on the boat. She therefore came up with another similar cruise, leaving from Hamburg, stopping off for a day in Scotland (where we can squeeze in a day trip which includes Loch Ness, which sounds cool), then moving up to and around Iceland, before heading back for another day in Scotland, in the Orkneys, then back to Hamburg. The only problem is, the Icelandic volcano has been erupting ever since we booked and one of the excursions on offer from the cruise company is to the mud baths that have been evacuated and cut off by the lava flow. Hopefully it will all have calmed down by the time we leave ! Here's the plan for this week's meals.


Monday

lunch-  chicken burgers, rice and green beans

dinner - Cajun style dirty rice

Tuesday

lunch- spicy pork and leftover dirty rice


Wednesday

lunch- Provençal chicken with couscous and ratatouille


Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- Philadelphia chicken with cherry tomatoes and pasta

Friday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner - Hunter's chicken with baked potatoes

Saturday

lunch- Bacon cheeseburger pie with chips

dinner- Deliveroo

Sunday

lunch- pork filet mignon with dauphinois potatoes

dinner - leftovers or bacon sandwiches

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Sunday 4 February 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 6


Last week was a normal week at work with no hidden extras which was good (and made a change after the last few weeks), but I ended up laden down with marking. It's all worked out randomly whenever we get to the end of the chapter we're studying but all of my classes ended up with an exam within a few days. Total nightmare but at least that's out of the way for a while now. This week should be a fairly quiet week, although I need to dash to the travel agent's to book our summer holiday. I think we're all set on a Northern Europe cruise this year, which will be something completely different. We get to see lots of different countries in a week - Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Lithuania, Latvia, then back to Copenhagen, where we can probably fit in another day. Sounds busy but at least we'll get to scratch off lots of countries on our map of places we've visited ! Here's what's on the menu for this week.


Monday

lunch-  pulled pork, rice and sweetcorn (with leftover wraps for those who want them)

dinner - steak, boiled potatoes and carrots

Tuesday

lunch- sausages, pasta and peas

dinner- Spanish chicken, mash and green beans

Wednesday

lunch- spicy pork, couscous and ratatouille

dinner- Provençal chicken, baked potatoes & leftover ratatouille

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- chicken stir fry with noodles

Friday

lunch- pork chops, rice & apple sauce

dinner - pasta carbonara

Saturday

lunch- Deliveroo

dinner- fricadelles (spicy sausages), chips and beans

Sunday

lunch- roast chicken dinner

dinner - leftovers or pasta bolognese

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Sunday 28 January 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 5


Big news for this week is I finally got to talk to the insurance expert on the phone and he agreed to pay two thirds of the roof repairs. He thought the quote was too high but I can't be bothered with going through all the rigmarole of finding another roofer and getting another quote so I'll pay the extra. Hopefully it won't take too long to get the actual work done now. Pierre had all his exams at school last week - at least they are out of the way now. On to a normal week this week, with no extra meetings or school open days, which is good news. Here's what is on the menu this week.

Monday

lunch- spare ribs, rice and sweetcorn

dinner - Spanish chicken, mash and ratatouille

Tuesday

lunch- fish, couscous and green beans

dinner- chicken burgers, pasta and leftover green beans

Wednesday

lunch- leftover chicken burgers, rice and peas

dinner- pork chops, baked potatoes & carrots

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- sweet & sour chicken (with onions, peppers, carrots) and rice

Friday

lunch- chicken cordon bleu with pasta

dinner ham and cheese pies with mash and beans

Saturday

lunch- sausages, ebly and mixed veg

dinner- Deliveroo

Sunday

lunch- fajitas

dinner - pasta carbonara

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Thursday 25 January 2024

Degustabox January 2024 review


We're into the New Year so I was expecting to be slightly disappointed by the January Degustabox as it is usually full of healthy, low fat and alcohol-free options to help people stick to their New Year's resolutions. This year's New Year Degustabox came as a complete surprise though, as it was full of things, including sweets and chocolate, that our family will love sampling. Here's what was in this month's box.

 

Bio & Me Nice & Nutty Gluten Free Porridge (RRP £1.50) is a convenient breakfast or snack option that is good for your gut. It is 100% plant-based, prebiotic and contains no added sugar. The taste comes from a bend of up to thirteen different plant foods, including nuts, seeds, fruit and veg (chicory root fibre and dried carrot, in case you were wondering). The flavour is rich and better than I expected, but I still think I'd prefer the Spiced Apple variety that other subscribers got in the box. Just fill the pot with boiling water up to the line, leave for three minutes and it's ready to eat. Bonus points for the recyclable pot. Available in Tesco's, Sainsbury's and on the Bio & Me website.

Caffé Borbone Crema Classica Ground Coffee (RRP £6.50) is a full-bodied and balanced coffee from Naples, Italy. It is perfect for Expresso and Latte and it has an aroma-saving valve to keep its "just roasted" touch. With an intensity of 8/10, this is a great choice for coffee-lovers. Unfortunately, I'm not one, so I passed this on to Sophie.


Galaxy Smooth Mint (RRP £1.25) is a new take on the indulgent, creamy chocolate that I already love in its original form. The extra mintiness of this bar works very well with the rich, smooth chocolate. I love the taste and I love the low price. A special mention for the responsibly sourced cocoa too. Available in Ocado.


Cirio Baked Beans (RRP £1.40) offer an Italian twist on a British classic, coming from a brand I associate with tinned tomatoes. The beans come in a rich tomato sauce made with premium Italian tomatoes and the taste does work very well. These can be enjoyed on toast, with eggs or meat or added to a casserole to bulk it out. Available in all major supermarket chains.

Mutti Vegan Bolognese (RRP £3.50) is this month's Product of the Month. The rich texture of yellow pea proteins and the fresh flavour of Mutti tomatoes are enriched with sauteed carrots and onions to provide a rich, enjoyable pasta sauce. I didn't mention to the Madhouse kids that this was a vegan product and not one of them noticed until they'd cleared their plates and I told them ! It has a very similar taste and texture to our classic pasta sauce so if you're looking for a simple meat-free meal, you could do a lot worse. Available in Sainsbury's.


Knorr Beef Stock Pots (RRP £1.90) are great for tossing into casseroles, gravy, soups or any other dishes that need a quick hit of beefiness. Made with slow cooked beef and gluten-free ingredients, they are a fuss-free way of ramping up the richness and flavour of your dishes. They're a timesaver for busy cooks and so simple to use. Available in all major supermarket chains.

 

Rubies in the Rubble Vegan Garlic Mayo (RRP £3) is another product from the range from which we discovered the ketchup a few boxes ago. Continuing in the idea of reducing food waste, the vegan-friendly product is made using aquafaba, a plant-based alternative to eggs that is usually thrown away. It is creamy with a great taste and texture, perfect for slapping in a sandwich, in potato salad or on the side of the plate. It is the well-deserved winner of a Great Taste award. Available at Ocado, Waitrose and Co Op.

Swizzels Curious Chews (RRP £1.25) is a fabulous pack that contains many Swizzels favourites such as Original Drumstick, Lemon Refresher, Sour Apple Refresher, PUDS and Fudg-eee. What's not to like? You get 18 chews in a bag which is a decent number for the price. They're all vegan-friendly and contain no artificial colours. Perfect for the kids to spend their pocket money on. Available in all major supermarkets.


Finally, Hip Pop Living Soda Tropical Peach (RRP £1.70) is an award-winning soda that surprised me on a number of levels. It is low in both sugar and calories. It contains 100% natural ingredients, including a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and live cultures to help support gut health. It is prebiotic and has won a Great Taste award. I was slightly dubious when reading about the vinegar but it tastes great with a delicious peach flavour. Available in selected M&S stores and at drinkhippop.com.

A subscription to Degustabox costs £12.99 per month including delivery, with each box having a value of much more than that, but the great news is, I have a discount coupon code for you which means you'll get the first box for just £9.99 - enter code PKUFE at the checkout. 


for more information :

Also now on Instagram @DegustaboxUK

Disclosure : We received the box in order to write an honest review. As a Degustabox blogger, I receive all of the products that go into the monthly boxes, but subscribers may not get exactly the same selection.

Sunday 21 January 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 4


Last week was a weird week at work. On Wednesday and Thursday, it was announced that we had snow arriving and the education department said that teachers and kids who had problems getting to school because of the snow could stay at home and list work online for the kids to do. Loads of kids (and a few teachers) stayed off but there wasn't a single snowflake until Thursday night. There's still a small sprinkling of snow outside now but not much. It's been pretty cold but I think it's warming up slightly, though the pavements are still quite skiddy. Back into a normal week this week, with the school open day on Friday and some oral exams to hold on Wednesday on top of normal work. Last week, Pierre had his girlfriend over for the afternoon on Wednesday, then his mate over for a kebab for lunch on Thursday while I was at work, plus the girls went to Amsterdam for the day yesterday, so it's all happening. Busy busy ! Here's the plan for next week's meals.

Monday

lunch- leftover tacos mince filling and rice with sweetcorn

dinner - Provençal chicken with pasta

Tuesday

lunch- fish, chips and peas

dinner- pork chops with apple sauce, roast potatoes and green beans

Wednesday

lunch- Spanish chicken, mash and ratatouille

dinner- sausages, rice and peas/carrots

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- pasta bolognese

Friday

lunch- fishfingers, ebly and veg patties

dinner - creamy chicken, bacon and mushroom pie, boiled potatoes and peas

Saturday

lunch- Deliveroo

dinner- leftovers

Sunday

lunch- Chinese chicken, veg & noodles

dinner pasta carbonara

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Sunday 14 January 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 3


We all hit the ground running and are nicely back into routine now. The girls have been doing their exams at uni and things are ticking along nicely for me and Pierre. I still haven't found time to put the Christmas tree away yet but hopefully I'll find half an hour before the end of the weekend. We have our "galette des rois" after school on Monday when we all eat flaky pastry tarts and wish each other happy new year so I don't feel too late just yet ! Pierre is having a big tidy-up around the house because he wants to invite his girlfriend over - wonders will never cease and there are certainly no complaints from me ! This coming week should be fairly cool as I have a couple of hours invigilating exams for the oldest kids instead of doing lessons, the youngest ones have an intervention about bullying from the police so nothing to do there and I've been asked to go along on a trip to the cinema which gets me off a couple more hours too. So far so good in 2024 ... long may it last ! Here's what we're eating this week.

Monday

lunch- chicken burgers, rice and ratatouille

dinner - pasta bolognese

Tuesday

lunch- chilli con carne with rice

dinner- baked potatoes with leftover chilli

Wednesday

lunch- fricadelles (sausages) with hash browns and baked beans

dinner- spicy pork with couscous and tomato/chickpea sauce

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, fridge-diving for Pierre

dinner- chilli chicken with rice

Friday

lunch- Chinese chicken and veg with noodles

dinner - fish, rice and peas

Saturday

lunch- Deliveroo

dinner- pasta carbonara

Sunday

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg and gravy

dinner - leftovers

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Thursday 4 January 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan weeks 1 + 2


We're back home after a lovely Christmas break catching up with the family and now it's time to get back into routine. That means sorting out the washing, putting away all the presents and clothes and new buys (mainly books but luckily I am going to see a friend on Saturday and will be able to donate a big bag of books to her to make some extra space). I also need to clear out Pierre's room (not being used now), put some pressure on the insurance expert so I can finally get the roof fixed then sort out the water damage on Sophie's ceilings in the loft. Plenty to keep me busy for a while but I also want to have a good sort out in the kitchen and find ways to use up all the random things (often but not always from Degustaboxes) taking up space in the kitchen cupboards. I've also got to get my work-head back on and do some marking before I head back to work on Monday. Then it's back to our usual hectic busy weeks with everyone at school, uni or work.

Thursday

lunch- use up leftover boiled potatoes and hash browns in a quick fry-up with cervelas (sausages, split and stuffed with cheese then wrapped in bacon)

dinner- cauliflower cheese, rice and chicken

Friday

lunch- chicken burgers in gourmet buns with tomatoes, gherkins and guacamole with leftover cauliflower cheese

dinner chicken chow mein with noodles 

Saturday

lunch- pasta with Tomato and Chargrilled Pepper sauce (from a Degustabox)

dinner- something from Deliveroo as I'll be out visiting a friend and may be back late

Sunday

lunch- Nadiya Punchy Chicken and Rice One Pan (using a seasoning sachet)

dinner - slow cooked BBQ pulled pork (using a seasoning sachet) with rice

Monday

lunch- use up leftovers

dinner - Somerset Pork Casserole (using a seasoning sachet) with mash

Tuesday

lunch- pasta carbonara

dinner- use up leftovers

Wednesday

lunch- Smokehouse BBQ Chicken Wraps (using a seasoning sachet)

dinner- pork filet mignon with rice and green beans

Thursday

lunch- school canteen for me, probably noodles for Pierre (as it seems to be his go-to lunch)

dinner- use up leftovers

Friday

lunch- pork & gravy pie with rice and carrots

dinner - baked potatoes with bacon, cheese and beans

Saturday

lunch- One pan Spanish chicken and rice (using a seasoning sachet)

dinner- the kids will probably ask for Deliveroo

Sunday

lunch- roast chicken dinner

dinner - cheese on toast

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Monday 1 January 2024

Zerowater 7 Cup Water Filter Jug review


First of all, let me start off by wishing you all a very happy new year. May 2024 be the year that all your dreams come true. On that note, have you made any new year's resolutions this year? Maybe you want to shift a few pounds? Improve your diet? Start doing more sport?

One of the simplest ways to give your diet an overhaul is by changing what you drink. Whether just for the month of January or maybe even permanently, how about giving up alcohol, fizzy drinks and caffeine-laden hot drinks and switching to water? Water is the most natural drink that you can give to your body but let's face it, bottled water is just too expensive and tap water often doesn't taste great. You never really know what is coming out of the tap either and it sometimes tastes of chlorine or other impurities, so you feel like your healthy new year's resolution may not actually be as good for your health as you hoped.


Zerowater to the rescue ! The 7 Cup jug that we have been trying out has a simple, sleek design that fits in with any kitchen colour scheme. The white and transparent colours suggest cleanliness and transparency, which is what most people are looking for in their water. The slim, space-saving shape is designed to fit in standard UK fridge doors so you can instantly have fresh, chilled water to drink as desired. 

My favourite thing about the jug is that it has a perfectly sealed lid and reservoir, making it possible to pour water that has already been filtered without spilling water that's still filtering. As well as adding a one cup capacity to the existing 6-cup design, this also means that you don't have to wait around for the water to filter before you can use the jug - always a pain when you're desperate for a drink but the jug is empty.

In terms of filtration, five sophisticated technologies work together to remove virtually all dissolved solids from your water. First of all, activated carbon and oxidation reduction alloy removes the chlorine taste that often spoils tap water. The Ion Exchange stage then removes virtually all dissolved solids that may have leached into your water from piping, including Aluminium, Lead, Zinc and Nitrates. Three additional stages remove other contaminants to deliver a "000" reading on your water quality meter.

After the traditional Christmas and New Year period featuring gallons of champagne, cocktails, wine and fizzy drinks, I'm loving clearing out my system with some pure and fresh tasting water. Let's see how long this lasts for !

RRP : £29.99


Also available on amazon

Disclosure : We received the product in order to share our honest review.
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