Saturday 30 June 2018

Giveaway #684 : Win To The Land Of The Dinosaurs Paperplay book - closed - winner Maeva Devilette

Generations of kids, both boys and girls, have been utterly fascinated with the world of dinosaurs, and with the latest Jurassic World movie currently on the big screens, that's not going to change any time soon. Paperplay: To the Land of the Dinosaurs offers a great collection of crafty activities to help transport your child back in time to an age when prehistoric creatures ruled the land and the sea.

There are models to press out and build, art projects to frame and display, masks to accessorise and model, and gorgeous stationery to pull out, colour and send.

The projects differ in complexity, with some taking minutes and some an entire afternoon. Reusable stickers are included to help decorate your creations, while the notebook binding makes it easy to tear out the paper for each activity.

You might like to start with a popcorn party cone or a balloon buddy.

Play a matching game or do some colouring.

Make yourself a fun Dino Visor.

Or maybe take on the big project and create your own T-Rex skeleton.

Perfect for keeping the kids entertained during the summer holidays, To The Land Of The Dinosaurs will enchant any fan of prehistory, but if dinosaurs aren't your thing, you can explore two other completely different worlds in Paperplay books :  To the Moon and Back and Enchanted Fairy Forest.

Paperplay: To the Land of the Dinosaurs | 9781783123575 |
Author: Melanie Hibbert
Paperback | £12.99 | Published: April 2018 |
Age: 6+

Carlton Kids have kindly offered to send a copy of the book to one lucky Madhouse Family Reviews reader. Fill in your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 15/7/18

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. Any personal data given as part of the competition entry is used for this purpose only and will not be shared with third parties, with the exception of the winners’ information. The winners' personal contact information will be passed on to the PR / Brand responsible and used only for delivery of their prize. 

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

coming soon !

Fab freebies of the week 30/6

Welcome to the weekend ... and this week's round-up of the newest UK freebies on offer. Enjoy !


Request a free height chart from Kiddi Caru Nurseries

Get a free tote bag from the Terence Higgins Trust

Need help to change your menopause for the better? A Vogel's FREE 7-day plan will provide you with the information, support and advice you need as well as a FREE sample of Menopause Support.

The Insiders are looking for 3,000 Insiders with a baby aged between 0 - 6 months to try Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment.

Free @clarins_uk samples for Beauty Club members are available to collect from your local Debenhams store TODAY! 🙌 perfect for the sunny weekend ahead #LetsTalkBeauty

A limitless product. Small enough to fit in your pocket, large enough for the task in hand. Check out our Sticky Smart Organiser. Contact us today for your free sample.

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

You may also like to enter my current giveaways :

coming soon !

Friday 29 June 2018

#readcookeat recipe : Avgolemono, Greek lemon chicken soup (A Family Recipe)

As soon as I saw the name of Veronica Henry's latest book, A Family Recipe (click through for my review), I knew it would be bursting with dishes to recreate for the #readcookeat challenge. I wasn't disappointed - I've already made flamiche aux poireaux, nachos and a hugely popular leftover nacho salad, and I still have several bookmarked recipes to come back to. There was one particular recipe that caught my eye though, as it also appealed to my passion for globe-cooking : a Greek soup called avgolemono.

p193 It smelt delicious and homely : she had put a chicken in to poach earlier, sloshing in all the ends of the unfinished bottles of wine in the pantry and handfuls of herbs. She took down the little recipe box from the shelf and leafed through the cards until she found the one she wanted. She knew the recipe by heart, but somehow she needed the ritual of finding the card with her mother's writing on it. Even after all these years, it was a connection to Catherine, the mother she had lost when she was only four.
Catherine had been a free spirit, by all accounts, and had spent her late teens and early twenties travelling constantly in search of the sun.
And the recipes that she had brought back from her travels, including the avgolemono, which was the Griffin family's favourite comfort meal.
She took the chicken out of the poaching liquid and strained it, then put on two handfuls of basmati rice to boil. She zested and squeezed the juice of three lemons, and separated three eggs. She was just pouring herself a glass of wine when her phone went.
Fortified by a glass of wine, Laura finished off the avgolemono, beating the egg yolks and lemon juice into the chicken stock, then whipping the whites before folding them in, along with the cooked rice. The creamy yellow concoction never failed to soothe her, and Kanga arrived just in time for her to dollop several spoonfuls into two bowls, then scatter finely chopped parsley, a sprinkling of lemon zest and black pepper on top.

I was intrigued, but I felt rather unsure about how well it would work - putting raw eggs in hot stock just seemed wrong and I had visions of a horrible scrambled-egg-in-soup catastrophe. I still wanted to try it though !

I had lots of leftover cooked chicken from the Sunday roast so I didn't follow the authentic recipe which starts with poaching raw chicken to get a chicken stock. Mine came from a stock cube, I'm afraid !


ingredients :

leftover cooked chicken
chicken stock (homemade or 2 chicken stock cubes)
3 eggs
juice and zest of 1 lemon
handful of basmati rice
salt, black pepper
fresh herbs

If making from scratch, poach the raw chicken in water, adding herbs and any leftover wine you may have in the kitchen, to create a rich stock. Once cooked, remove and shred the chicken, reduce the stock and put the shredded meat back in. If using leftover roast chicken, dissolve the stock cubes in boiling water and add the chopped chicken. Toss in a big handful of basmati rice. (I used a basmati rice with quinoa, as it was in the cupboard.)

I looked at a lot of different recipes for avgolemono - there are a huge number of variations - and there was about a 50-50 split as to whether you should beat the eggs whole or separate them. As I was multitasking (the kids didn't want to try my "scrambled egg soup" so I was cooking something different for them), I went for the simple option and beat the eggs whole, adding the lemon juice and zest.

Now, you need to be careful at this point to avoid the scrambled egg disaster that is just waiting to pounce ! While whisking continually, temper the egg mixture by slowly adding a little stock at a time to raise the temperature gradually without cooking it.

Once achieved, breathe a sigh of relief and pour the lemon/egg mixture back into the soup. Do not bring to a boil or the eggs will scramble! Taste and season with salt and pepper, adding a handful of fresh herbs if you like.

Check the rice is cooked and serve.

Well, I'll be honest, I was underwhelmed, because the lemon flavour was too delicate and it just tasted pretty much like my regular chicken soup, that I make on a Sunday night with the leftovers from the roast dinner. However, I was nervous of how this would turn out and therefore made a half-hearted effort, using only two eggs instead of three (also because I was the only one eating it). The descriptions of the soup that I read mention a thick, vibrant yellow soup with a silky, velvety texture, whereas mine was quite thin and the colour of normal chicken soup. If I made it again, I would definitely add in that extra egg (which is why I put three in the ingredients list) and reduce the quantity of stock to avoid diluting the texture. The lemon flavour needs to be intensified too, so maybe use two lemons instead of one, and a good handful of fresh herbs scattered on top when serving would give it some extra oomph too. It's got potential though, and is an interesting way of using up the leftovers after the Sunday roast and jazzing up your regular chicken soup.

Adding to the #KitchenClearout linky as it used up leftover roast chicken.

Also adding to the #readcookeat linky at Chez Maximka.

Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index - if you fancy trying some more Greek-inspired cuisine, how about these ?

Thursday 28 June 2018

Madhouse recipe : Choc-cherry muffins

Every Tuesday breaktime, the kids in our school can go and get free fresh fruit delivered in big crates by a local farmer. Last week, it was cherries and just as I was heading home after a long day at work, the school cook popped his head out of the window and asked if I wanted to take a couple of punnets of leftover cherries home with me. The kids ate some straight away, but there were still lots that needed using up, so I decided to make some sweet treats with them. The first bake was these muffins, which we've been eating for breakfast and dessert because they're so tasty, with the cherries adding moistness and a lovely tart flavour to offset the sweetness of the chocolate.

Choc-cherry muffins

ingredients :

200g softened butter
150g sugar
4 eggs
200g flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
splash of milk
100g chocolate (dark or milk - your choice)
300g cherries, pitted and halved

Heat the oven to 200°C. Cream together the butter and sugar. I always use salted butter but you can use unsalted if you prefer.

Beat in the eggs, one by one. Don't panic if it curdles - it'll all come good when you add the flour.

Sift in the flour, baking powder and salt and fold to combine. Add a splash of milk as it starts to come together and stop as soon as it's mixed - don't overwork it.

Break the chocolate into small chunks and stir through, along with two thirds of the cherries

Use the mixture to fill a silicon muffin tray (or you could use a greased or parchment-lined metal tin).

Press the remaining cherries into the tops of the muffins.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and springy when you gently press them.

As we were having a bit of a kitchen clearout, I had a rummage in the cupboards and found some baking kits to use up too - a double chocolate bake-in-the-box loaf cake mix and a cheesecake mix.

Both simple and fun to make, surprisingly tasty and they used up more of the cherries !

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up some very ripe cherries.

Wednesday 27 June 2018

Teen read review : Boy Meets Hamster - Birdie Milano

Hiding behind the cute and quirky title Boy Meets Hamster is the ultimate coming-of-age novel that everyone, teens and parents alike, needs to read, whatever their sexual orientation. The parents are brilliant role-models for how to navigate the tricky teen years as parents, and 14-year-old Dylan and his best friend Kayla are the perfectly imperfect heroes of the tale - never giving up when life gets tough, always staying true to their values and never letting the bullies get to them (not for long anyway).

When his mum collects up the coupons for a £9.50 bargain-basement holiday and gaily announces that they're off to Starcross Sands caravan park for a fun family break, Dylan doesn't have high expectations - but it turns out that it's even worse than he ever imagined. The facilities aren't up to much, his parents want to let their hair down and hand over the babysitting duties for his wheelchair-bound little brother and he even ends up falling out with his best friend who's come along to keep him company. There is one redeeming feature though - a blond hottie in the caravan next door who Dylan immediately has his eye on on. And his name is Jayden-Lee.

Having a crush and not knowing if it's reciprocated is a typical teenage drama, but Dylan has the added worry of not knowing if the object of his desire is gay like he is. To make things even more traumatic, he hasn't revealed his homosexuality to his parents yet. Despite her feisty, kick-ass personality, his best friend Kayla has her own Achilles' heels too - a big birthmark on her face that she hides behind thick makeup and bright pink hair, along with a plus-size figure, that make her an equally popular target for the bullies. As the holiday progresses, lurching from one disaster to the next, both Kayla and Dylan grow into their skins and come to terms with their identities, even finding holiday romances into the bargain.

It's not just a heart-warming and frequently light-hearted look at coming out though, and you definitely don't need to be gay (or confused about your sexuality) to enjoy it. The book also looks at all sorts of bullying and ignorance, including disabilities and physical appearance, as well as reminding readers that we often make mountains out of molehills and worry over huge issues that turn out to be non-events. While I never stayed anywhere quite as bad as Starcross Sands, it did make me fondly remember childhood holidays in similar campsites, although mine were largely drama-free. (I think my biggest drama was dropping a newly-bought Cornish pixie keyring down a grate and having to fish it out with a coathanger. Definitely no giant hamster mascots in my time !)

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £6.99

  • Paperback: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books; Main Market edition (14 Jun. 2018)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1509848657
  • ISBN-13: 978-1509848652

Disclosure : I received a review copy in order to write an honest review, along with a stick of seaside rock !

Tuesday 26 June 2018

Celebrating #NAPBeauticiansDay with Nail-a-Peel (review)

Did you know that today is National Beauticians' Day? Well, I'll be honest, I didn't either until Gel-a-Peel got in touch and sent us through a lovely pamper package of goodies to mark the occasion ! Juliette was delighted to discover a selection of beauty treats, including a bath bomb and hairbrush, along with some sweeties.

Not forgetting the most important part of the package - a box of Nail-a-Peel. This pack is the Rock Out Kit, which contains dramatic black, gold and pink gel polish, along with nail glitter.

The pack also contains accessories and design tools that fans of Gel-a-Peel will instantly recognise, including 16 design templates, a mould tray for tiny 3d embellishments, a squeegee tool and various designer tips. You also receive some nail wheels ready and waiting to be customised.

The new Nail-a-Peel design kits allow fashionistas to create their very own nail art by using the Gel-a-Peel extension, which uses a gel polish that’s simple and easy to use. As a bit of an old-hand when it comes to getting crafty with Gel-a-Peel, Juliette jumped straight in filling up the little moulds with gel, because she knows that they take a while to set. Once dry, these little 3d additions can be stuck on to the nail designs to give extra texture and volume.

Juliette already had some Nail-a-Peel so having an extra kit to use just gave her even greater scope for letting her creative juices run free. Adding glitter or 3d embellishments to a single-coloured nail is a piece of cake and gives a professional finish with no effort.

Using the design tips to create different textures and patterns with the gel is slightly more tricky because it needs a very steady hand and a less-is-more approach.

It will take a lot of practice before she manages to create anything as intricate and elaborate as the designs on the box, but she'll have a lot of fun trying and the great thing is, just like Gel-a-Peel, if it all goes wrong, you can just peel it off and start afresh. This is a great introduction to nail and art and manicures for young girls who can avoid the harsh chemicals in more grown-up polishes and nail varnish remover. It's a lot more fun and creative too.

For tips & tricks, cool how-to videos and much more, visit
Facebook & Twitter: @GelapeelUK
Instagram: @Gel_A_Peel_UK

Disclosure : We received the product in order to write an honest review.

Monday 25 June 2018

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 2018 week #26

Last week, I ended up going slightly off plan because, after Sunday lunch, the kids headed to the freezer for an ice cream and ran back to tell me the red light was on and it was defrosting. After an emergency defrost and stock-take, I was relieved to see that most of it had survived and remained frozen. I ended up throwing out two bags of mushy veg and had a chicken and some sausages that were defrosting, so they ended up being added to last week's meals to use them up. It could have been much worse though. I've also changed the way I menu plan. Up to now, I've always sat down and decided what I want to cook then written out the shopping list while menu planning. Since changing our weekly shop to a Saturday afternoon at Lidl, I've discovered that, purely by chance, I always hit the time when they reduce the prices on all of their short-dated meat and refrigerated items, so I'm now stocking up the fridge and freezer with bargains and seeing what I can make with them once I get home.


lunch - Polish sausage (metka) with boiled potatoes & veg

dinner - spaghetti bolognese


lunch - school canteen

dinner - creamy pork, carrot & leek casserole with rice


lunch - steak in pepper sauce with Actifry chips & coleslaw

dinner - spaghetti carbonara


lunch -  school canteen

dinner - patatnik, a Bulgarian dish made with grated potatoes,


lunch - school canteen

 dinner - BBQ chicken & salad wraps


lunch - kids' choice : probably McDonalds or KFC

dinner - homemade potato salad with salmon


lunch - gammon steaks, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner - bacon sandwich

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

Sunday 24 June 2018

Book review : The Swedish Girl - Alex Gray

The Swedish Girl, first published back in 2003, is the tenth book in the DCI Lorimer series, but I haven't read any of the others and I still loved it. (I picked it up in the 3 for £5 section of The Works.)

The Swedish girl of the title is 18-year-old Eva Magnusson, just starting at university in Glasgow and getting to know the new housemates who are sharing the luxury flat bought by her ultra-rich father. She is a bit aloof and has a great sense of entitlement, but, after the death of her mother, she has been brought up as Daddy's Little Princess, so she is used to getting what she wants when she wants - including a whole string of lovers who all think they are something more special to her. The descriptions of the shared housing, with everyone settling into their new roles and seeing each other coming and going, made me smile as it reminded me of my own student days many years ago. This sense of fun and new beginnings is brought to a swift end however when Eva is discovered dead in the living room (which should maybe be renamed the dying room) and one of her male housemates is locked up as the presumed killer.

The only other girl in the house, Kirsty Wilson, is convinced that her new friend can't have done it though and, as a policeman's daughter, she can't help but set out to prove it. DS Lorimer (he hasn't made it to DCI yet) unofficially agrees with her, and when more women, who look remarkably like Eva, start being murdered, they have to wonder if Glasgow has a new serial killer on the loose.

It's a gripping read, full of red herrings and unexpected twists, as well as several characters who could all have turned out to be the killer. My favourite character is big-hearted, determined amateur sleuth Kirsty Wilson, but I get the feeling that she is just a bit-part in the rest of the series, which is a shame. DS Lorimer and his sidekick, psychologist Solly Brightman, seemed rather bland in comparison, but if I'd read some of the previous novels in the series, I would surely have had a deeper knowledge of their personalities and motivations.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (5 Dec. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751548227
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751548228

Madhouse recipe : Blueberry and coconut crumble squares

Award-winning British brand The Groovy Food Company has partnered with foodie mum and presenter on Britain’s Got Talent, Alesha Dixon, to create a range of delicious, healthy recipes and show consumers how best to use the brand’s natural and unrefined foods to feed the body’s overall health and wellbeing. 

They sent us over a bottle of their agave nectar, along with a recipe to try out. 

 Blueberry and coconut crumble squares

Makes 12 Prep 15 mins Cook 45 mins


For the base:

250g plain flour
50g ground almonds
1 tsp baking powder
125g coconut oil, chilled until firm
100g The Groovy Food Company Dark Agave Syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
50g desiccated coconut
zest 1 lemon
1 egg, beaten

For the filling

300g frozen blueberries
75g The Groovy Food Company Dark Agave Syrup
juice 1 lemon
2 1/2 tbsp cornflour


1. Heat oven to 180/160 fan/gas 4. Grease and line a 17cm x 25cm (or 20cm x 20cm) baking tin with baking parchment.

2. Stir the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and a pinch of salt together in a large bowl. Add the firm coconut oil and rub in using your hands, until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the agave and vanilla. Transfer 200g of the mixture to a separate bowl, for the crumble topping, and stir in the desiccated coconut and lemon zest, cover and chill. 

To the remainder add the beaten egg, then tip this into the baking tin. Using your hands press the mixture into an even layer, prick with a fork and bake for 15 mins, leave to cool.

3. Meanwhile for the filling, put berries, syrup and lemon juice in a pan. Heat gently until the mixture begins to bubble, then cook for 2-3 mins. Remove from the heat. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp cold water. Very slow stir in the cornflour mixture into the blueberries, stirring all the time. Return the pan to heat and bubble for 1 min. Set aside to cool.

4. Once cooled a little spoon the blueberry mixture over the base, and spread to an even layer. Top with the crumble topping and bake for 25 mins or until golden. Leave to cool completely before cutting.

I'd never tried using coconut oil to replace butter or margarine for making breadcrumbs but it does work just as well. The crumble topping is a bit on the dry side but the blueberries and agave nectar add lovely sweetness and moisture. They're very simple to make too, so the kids can get involved with everything except cooking the blueberries. If we manage to go blackberrying at the end of the summer, I'll definitely be making these again - they'd be fab with summer fruits like strawberries and peaches too.

Disclosure : I was provided with the ingredients to recreate the recipe.

Saturday 23 June 2018

Fab freebies of the week 23/6

Morning all ! Judging by the way my nose is twitching (don't worry, it's hayfever, I haven't turned into a rabbit !), it's going to be a beautiful day so I think we may have to head to the beach or out into the countryside for some fresh air and sunshine. Whatever you have planned, have a lovely day and here's this week's roundup of fab UK freebies to start the weekend off in style ! :)


On Juan Pablo Montoya's twitter feed: For all my fans. It’s Le Mans week! A to show my appreciation of your support. 3-month free trial to , which includes exclusive access to the biggest Le Mans archive. Click the link and use code MONTOYALM24: …

We are looking for 3,000 Insiders with a baby aged between 0 - 6 months to try Bepanthen Nappy Care Ointment.

To celebrate the launch of the Hidden London collection, Emerald Street have teamed up with Penhaligon’s to give you a free sample of one of the three new fragrances

Inch Loss & Body Contouring Wraps - single use sample pack (free with free shipping)

SoPost are giving away samples of John Frieda Sheer Blonde shampoo - get in quick ! :)

Calling all fun loving families – this is your chance to host a Bassetts Vitamins August Adventure Week party with Come Round !

If you donate an item of M&S clothing to Oxfam, either in-store or at one of the charity shops, you will get a £5 M&S clothing and home voucher to spend in store.

H&M also offer a £5 off a £30 spend voucher if you take in a bag of clothes to recycle.

Apple also have a recycling scheme - Trade in your eligible device for an Apple Store Gift Card.If it’s not eligible for credit, they’ll recycle it for free. 

By returning six MAC primary packaging containers to a MAC counter or MAC Cosmetics Online, you will receive a free MAC lipstick of your choice as a thank you and five empty Lush pots will score you a free face mask in their stores.

Are you tired of using the wrong foundation shade? Sick of getting colour-matched wrong and ending up orange or ashy? Try our new free foundation-matching service ❤️ and free makeup samples for those in the UK yay!

You can see previous weeks' freebie roundups by clicking here but be warned, many of the offers are only valid for a short time. Let me know if any have expired and I'll remove them from the roundup.

Friday 22 June 2018

Stress-free midweek meals from Field Fare (review)

Some days, juggling kids and jobs and household chores and endless paperwork is utterly exhausting, but at the end of the day, you still need to get food on the table and feed hungry tummies. For those days, having a frozen ready meal in the freezer is an absolute godsend. I was therefore delighted when Field Fare got in touch and asked if we'd like to try out some of the new additions to their ever expanding range of frozen food. You may remember, last year we reviewed their ready-to-bake cookies, summer fruit, chicken à la king and coq au vin, which were all very popular with the whole Madhouse Family. This time, we got to sample their dual-purpose pizza/focaccia dough, slow-cooked pork belly and spicy bean chilli.

The dough retails at 75p per portion and just needs to be defrosted at room temperature for four hours or in the fridge for 12 hours. That means you can pop it in the fridge overnight for lunch or get it out after lunch for the evening meal.

The dough is supposed to double in size when left to prove, something I was initially dubious about because I assumed the subzero temperatures would have killed off the yeast, but it really did work, as you can see in the photo.

Each ball of dough is the perfect size for one individual pizza so I called the kids to the kitchen to play at being pizzaiolos !

After much stretching and flinging (and laughing), we had four more-or-less round pizza bases to customise. The huge benefit of using individual bases is that everyone can tailor their toppings to their own tastes, and we all ended up with hugely different combinations.

On the left, cheese-lover (and tomato-hater) Juliette went for a crème fraîche base topped with salami, grated cheese, parmesan, camembert (yes, really !) and mushrooms (as an afterthought, when she saw me chopping them). Sophie, on the right, went for cream, salami and mimolette cheese (and she also pinched some of my olives). I think they were both inspired by flammekuechen, which have a cream base.

Pierre went for a minimalist meat feast, using a tomato base and various slices of meat (chicken ham and polony). In my opinion, I had the best combination : tomato, mushroom, salami, cherry tomatoes, cheese (grated cheddar and mimolette) and olives.

When we pulled them out of the oven, we were very impressed. The dough had morphed into the perfect crispy on the outside, chewy in the middle, deep pan pizza base and they were exactly the right size for a meal for one.

I had two balls of dough left so I squished them together to make focaccia, drizzling the top with olive olive and sprinkling on some rosemary and sea salt.

Again, we were very impressed when it came out of the oven. Juliette even said it looked like it had come from the baker's, which is high praise indeed !

It has a slightly dense, chewy, delicious texture and was hugely popular topped with salted butter as an after-school snack. It kept perfectly fresh for two days, and probably would have lasted longer if the kids hadn't eaten it all !

The ready-to-roast Pork Belly looked quite small when I got it out of the freezer (RRP £4.99 for 220g), but it is deceptive and does indeed serve one to two people adequately. Field Fare have done all the hard work - it has been precooked for 2 ¾ hours, drained, sprinkled with sea salt and browned, then a liquor is made using the saved pork stock and added to the portion for added succulence and flavour during re-heating. It comes topped with a thick layer of crispy crackling, which Juliette was very pleased with. The meat underneath is very juicy and has the texture of pulled pork.

The spicy bean chilli (RRP £2.75 for 350g) is a mix of Kidney beans, Chickpeas and Cannellini beans with jalapeno peppers, infused with cumin and a hint of smoked paprika. I love the fact that you can see recognisable chunks of vegetable (courgette, carrot, peppers, ...) in there. After giving it a stir, it was lovely - however, it did have quite a kick.

To tame things down for the kids, I stirred through a glug of crème fraîche. This made it look less appetising, but tasted absolutely blooming lovely and the kids gobbled it up.

This is half a portion of pork belly, half a portion of spicy bean chilli and, to be honest, the potatoes were superfluous, but I wasn't sure what the kids would make of the chilli. As it turned out, I needn't have worried !

When I hear the words frozen ready meal or frozen pizza, I instantly think bland, cardboard-tasting and very industrial, but all of these products looked and tasted absolutely homemade. They can also be cooked straight from frozen making them total lifesavers when you need a meal in a hurry and you have zero energy.

The Field Fare frozen offer of premium ready meals continues to grow, now numbering over 60 loose products, meals and desserts, alongside the original scoop-and-serve range of more than 80 fresh frozen fruit, veg, fish and bakery goods. That means that there's something for all tastes and for all occasions. I also give it top marks for its eco-friendly credentials, both in terms of minimal packaging and avoidance of food waste because you can buy exactly the quantity you need.

for more information :

Disclosure : We received the products in order to write an honest review.

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