Sunday, 22 May 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 21


I said in last week's menu plan that Sophie would grab something on Too Good To Go and she did - a load of Chinese food that covered about three meals! This week, I haven't got much shopping in so I will go and top up mid week or maybe go freezer diving. It's a two day work week this week (woohoo !) as it's my day off on Wednesday, Thursday is a bank holiday (Ascension Thursday) and Friday we "make the bridge" so that we get a long weekend. Sounds good to me ! Here's the plan for this week.

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen - leftovers for the kids

dinner - spaghetti bolognese

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me - leftovers for the kids


Wednesday

lunch-  not sure who's eating at home, it may just be me and Pierre - sandwiches maybe? or leftovers


Thursday

lunch - I'm going to see a friend and not sure what time I'm leaving - something quick like spaghetti carbonara if needed

dinner- pork chops, ebly & veg
 
Friday

lunch- tacos, even if it's not Tuesday ! (or should it be fajitas Friday ?!)

dinner -  steak & ale pie, mash & veg

Saturday

lunch- takeaway maybe? or something I picked up in the shops

dinner- Mexican-style Picadillo Empanadas with rice, sweetcorn & pico de gallo

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- cheese on toast or leftovers

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Monday, 16 May 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 20


For the last two weeks, I've said that things have calmed down. Bad move ! This week, things kicked off again - sigh ! On Saturday evening, Pierre came back from playing with his friends and said he'd fallen when playing football and hurt his arm. Sunday it seemed ok but at lunchtime on Monday, I got a load of text messages begging to go to hospital because it hurt too much. I told him to meet me after work at 4.30 and we'd head to the hospital. When we got there, there was a 6 hour wait and they suggested we give up and try again the next day, which we did. The next day, he finally got an x-ray and it turns out he's broken his arm so it's in plaster ... just a couple of months since breaking the other arm ! I'm sure they'll be watching me for child abuse or something ! The end of term is drawing near too so it's the last dash for tests and reports at school. Always a busy time but at least we get a long holiday to recover afterwards ! Right, here's the plan for this week's food.

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen - leftover sausages for the kids, either in bread or with pasta (or whatever else they find in the fridge)

dinner - chicken fajitas (with guacamole, tomato salad, rice, ...)

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me - leftovers for the kids

dinner- Mexican-spiced pork chops with ebly & salad

Wednesday

lunch-  chicken burgers, potato salad & tomato salad

dinner- spaghetti bolognese

Thursday

lunch - meal with a friend for me & Sophie, leftovers for Pierre, canteen for Juliette

dinner- Sophie's been eyeing up lots of things on Too Good To Go so I think there will be lots of unexpected things to eat in the fridge for at least one meal this week !

Friday

lunch- Sophie can sort out something as I'll be home later (or there may be leftovers to use up)

dinner - pasta bake 

Saturday

lunch- chicken & veg stir fry

dinner- pizza or flammenkueche

Sunday 

lunch- pork curry & rice

dinner- sandwiches or toast

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Sunday, 15 May 2022

When I Close My Eyes by Jemma Wayne


After a long busy day at work then rushing around after the kids, when I close my eyes, I'm happy to drift off into some rejuvenating slumber. Even during the day, closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths can give me an extra boost of energy when I need it the most. But what if closing your eyes becomes a source of stress ? What if closing your eyes means giving up the control of your body and mind and then not even remembering what you did when you wake up? Such is the ordeal endured by Lilith, the central character in Jemma Wayne's When I Close My Eyes.

Lilith has managed to create a great life for herself, carving out a career as a Hollywood screenwriter. She has a lovely house, a charming boyfriend, friends, money ... what could be missing from her life? She even has a great relationship with her younger brother, a person that she has always adored but spent several years worrying about as she had a horrifying sense that she would end up hurting him while she slept. Besides her parents, the other person that Lilith has left behind in the leafy Buckinghamshire village that she grew up in is her childhood best friend, Cassius.

But then one day, Cassius turns up out of the blue. Recently widowed, he introduces his child to Lilith - a little girl that she instantly falls in love with. Adopting the role of doting "auntie" wholeheartedly, the pair spend lots of time together and form a close bond. Things are not as simple as they seem though as the reappearance of Cassius seems to have brought back something else : her sleepwalking. As things start to spiral out of control, she realises that her dream life in California is not as stress-free as she thought.

The sleepwalking theme is a great premise for a novel and not one that I have come across before. It adds a great depth of emotion as we discover events and feelings that are shocking or horrifying, while also empathising with the character who cannot comprehend what she may have done or why. Cassius is another complex character and watching his life evolve, as a teenager and also a grown man, in less than perfect circumstances tugs on your heartstrings.

It's a cracking read and the ending came as a surprise. I could see this being made into a film as it has the perfect combination of drama, emotion and tingling suspense.

star rating : 4.5/5

RRP : £8.99

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Legend Press (3 May 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 288 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1800310145
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1800310148
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 19.8 x 2.1 x 12.9 cm


Disclosure : I received a review copy of the book in order to share my honest opinion.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 19


Another calm week - two in a row, which is pretty unbelievable! I'm sure it won't last but I'm making the most of it while I can. I found another roofer to sort out our damaged roof - the insurance refused the first quote as too expensive, but this second one said that the price quoted sounded reasonable to him and he's not sure he'll be able to do better. We'll see what happens. They'll be using a drone to check out the roof and see what needs doing - how cool is that ?! I've just been shopping at Lidl and they have all their summer BBQ products in store so I've stocked up on various seasoned chicken skewers and pork chops. They take all the effort out of cooking as they just need to be slapped under the grill ! So, here's what we'll be eating this week. It's supposed to be really hot so I'm thinking salad will go down well this week. I bet it rains all week now !

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen - probably leftovers for the kids

dinner - Provençal chicken with pasta and salad

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me - leftovers for the kids

dinner- Cajun chicken & rice (with peppers, onions & tomatoes)

Wednesday

lunch-  leftovers or chicken burgers, couscous & beetroot salad

dinner- tacos (with mince this week, I think)

Thursday

lunch - meal with a friend for me & Sophie, leftovers for Pierre, canteen for Juliette

dinner- Mexican pork chops with rice & salad

Friday

lunch- Sophie can sort out something as I'll be home later (or there may be leftovers to use up)

dinner - creamy chicken & bacon with pasta

Saturday

lunch- steak & ale pie with mash & veg

dinner- we haven't had Deliveroo for a while so I'll see what the kids fancy

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- pasta with Italian spices & leftover chicken/onions/peppers/mushrooms

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Sunday, 1 May 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 18


This week was nice and calm - it's been a long time since I said that ! Back to school went well and I managed to clear all my marking in my free periods so I got a weekend off with nothing to do - even better ! Foodwise, last week was good too. The sfeha made a nice change and they're so simple to make - definitely one to try again, maybe changing around the fillings as Juliette said she would love them with ham/pineapple/cheese. Well, why not ?! The lime chicken fajitas were great too. I'm digging through the seasoning sachets this week again as it's such a simple way of changing flavours and trying new things.

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen - probably leftovers for the kids

dinner - Caribbean chicken (seasoning sachet - needs red onion, red pepper, chicken - I'm tempted to throw in some pineapple too) with rice & salad

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me - leftovers for the kids

dinner- pork lomo saltado (Peruvian inspired pork stir fry) with couscous (traditionally it's served with both rice and chips - here was the version I made last time - but I'm not convinced by that combination !)

Wednesday

lunch-  leftovers or beefburgers & pasta

dinner- chicken fajitas / cheese & bean enchiladas (2 sachets from my win - one veggie (that me & Sophie can eat) and the other with chicken for Pierre & Juliette)

Thursday

lunch - meal with a friend for me & Sophie (and whoever else is free - last week, everyone came !), leftovers for Pierre, canteen for Juliette

dinner- chicken curry - I brought back chicken korma and tikka masala sauces from the UK so either of those will do - with rice

Friday

lunch- Sophie can sort out something as I'll be home later (or there may be leftovers to use up)

dinner - pork steaks, mash, carrots & gravy

Saturday

lunch- chicken burgers, wedges & coleslaw

dinner- pasta carbonara

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- leftovers or pizza

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Wednesday, 27 April 2022

April 2022 Degustabox review : UK vs International


We've just had the most amazing school holidays, chilling out, ticking things off the never-ending to-do list and catching up with family. Even better, we had days full of amazing sunshine so that we could get out and make the most of it. What could possibly make it any better? Well, how about the latest Degustabox full of tasty nibbles to fuel our fun ? Perfect !


We were immediately enthusiastic when we saw the "UK-vs-international" theme, as the kids predicted that there would be lots of tasty snacks to discover. They were right and excitedly pulled out sweets, biscuits, drinks and other nibbles ! Here's the run-down of the complete contents of the box.


Unsurprisingly, the kids immediately honed in on the Sour Patch Kids Watermelon Flavour Sweets (RRP £1.32). This is a new flavour to join the range and the kids were all big fans. It starts off with a big hit of sourness, thanks to the sour sugar coating, but this mellows into a sweet watermelon flavour. I had a few but couldn't really get past the first sour hit ! These are the first vegan-certified Sour Patch Kids sweets, and they are also made with natural colours. To quote the kids, they're very nice ... if you think you're hard enough !


Another highly-approved sweet treat, Jaffa Cakes Lemon & Lime Flavour (RRP £1.20) were quickly devoured. We love the original orange Jaffa Cakes but these zingy, citrus versions are very tasty too. The zesty lemon and lime flavour combines with the chocolate and sponge base perfectly.

 

Bitburger Premium Pils (RRP £1.65) offers a taste of Germany's favourite style of beer. The name originates from the Bohemian town of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, where it was first produced in 1842, and this style of beer has been brewed to perfection in Bitburg since 1883. You get a crystal-clear beer, boasting a light taste and a lasting foam head with extra-fine bubbles. 

We also got to try Bitburger Drive 0% Alcohol Free (RRP £0.95) which is also naturally brewed following German Beer Purity laws. I actually wouldn't have recognised this as an alcohol-free beer if I hadn't seen the label. As Bitburger say : "Sweet, roasty aromas coalesce with honey and fresh gingerbread and are complemented by ripe grain and pleasantly bitter herbs. A delicate tingly fresh taste with lasting hops and notes of vermouth are finished with a bittersweet malty flavour for the full-flavoured taste." Definitely worth giving it a go if you're the designated driver or if you just fancy an alcohol free option to enjoy.

Pip Organic Sparkling Apple (RRP £1.50) is a refreshing blend of juicy organic apples and sparkling water with no added sugar or nasties. Not only does it taste lovely, it also counts as one of your 5-a-day. 65 calories per can and well worth every one !


Knorr Beef Gravy Pots (RRP £2) are a totally simple way of recreating the authentic flavour of rich homemade gravy in minutes. My usual gravy option is a shake of gravy granules mixed into the cooking juices from a Sunday roast then diluted as desired. My initial thought when I looked at these Gravy Pots was that they would work out more expensive so I was dubious, but once I opened the pot, I could instantly smell the rich scent of roasted meat. They contain quality ingredients and real meat juices and this is what gives them such an authentic, rich flavour. They contain no added MSG and are free from artificial colours and preservatives. Definitely worth splashing out on if you want to add a rich, tasty gravy to your meal in record time.

 

Kettle Focaccia Bites (RRP £2.09) are a delicious new snack from Kettle Chips. We got Sea Salt, Rosemary & Extra Virgin Olive Oil flavour and I'll definitely be looking out to see if any other varieties are available. They are a triple baked bread bite, using real food ingredients baked into the dough for the perfect taste. They have a strong taste straight from the pack (which is what we went for as we didn't want to wait !) but you can also pop them in the oven for a few minutes, which I would imagine gives them an even stronger taste and crunchier texture.

Newman's Own French Dressing & Dip (RRP £1.85) is a zingy, vegan friendly dressing that is perfect for livening up salads or adding some oomph to leftover pasta or rice that can be reused as a quick lunch. We haven't used it as a dip yet but I could see that working well with a variety of crudités and breadsticks too. An extra bonus point, 100% of profits go to charity, so you get to feel good about what you're eating !


LU Le Petit Beurre (RRP £1.50) is a classic taste of France now available in the UK. Le Petit Beurre takes inspiration from the first LU biscuit ever made – the Véritable Petit Beurre – a delicious buttery biscuit with a hint of salt. (Other Degustaboxers got Le Petit Chocolat, which pairs a crunchy, buttery biscuit with an indulgent layer of milk chocolate.) They're a simple but utterly addictive biscuit and the advantage of the plain Le Petit Beurre is that, in the summer, it won't melt in your packed lunch !


Freedom Choc Mallow Bites (RRP £1.49) are a free-from sweet treat - they're peanut-free, soy-free, gelatine-free, egg-free, dairy-free and gluten-free, so they're great if you're looking for a vegan or allergen-free product. The brand are very proud of their offering : "As Confectionery Innovators we were first in the world to launch Chocolate Coated Vegan Mallows - they said it couldn't be done! A delicious treat approved by The Vegan Society and free-from top-allergens". I don't blame them. We tried the Toasted Vanilla & Sassy Strawberry Chewy Bites Smothered In Chocolate and they were very tasty. Available on www.freedommallows.com.


Nu+cao (RRP £2.25) is a "nu" vegan chocolate bar that offers smooth, organic chocolate with no refined sugar (and less sugar than most - the wrapper says 65% less sugar), natural and ethically sourced ingredients and plastic-free packaging. On top of that,  for every bar they sell, a tree is planted so you're helping the environment too.  It's available in three varieties - Crunchy Nougat, Almond Sea Salt and Crisp & Crunch - in the Wellbeing aisle in Sainsbury's.


Finally, Sacla Rooted In Nature Sun-Dried Tomato Organic Stir-In Sauce (RRP £2.80) is, as the name suggests, a simple and time-saving product that allows you to get delicious food on the table in minutes. Stirred through pasta or rice, it makes a simple vegetarian dish in minutes - you don't even need to heat the sauce as the pasta/rice warms it up perfectly. It tastes delicious and didn't even need the addition of any extra spices. It's quite oily, presumably from the sun-dried tomatoes, so you might want to scoop some of the oil out of the top of the jar before you add it to your pasta/rice. Any leftover sauce can be used as a pizza topping or even stirred into mashed potatoes. It's made using the best organic tomatoes with no added sugar or salt.
 
 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, 24 April 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 17


The spring holidays are drawing to an end and they were fab. We had ten days chilling (and wallpaper stripping !) at home then headed over for the best part of the second week to catch up with my mum, dad, sister and her boyfriend, which was lovely. It was the first time in nine months so it was great to finally see each other again. No more holidays until the summer now though - not good ! Well, there's no food in the house at the moment and Sophie will go shopping while I'm at work tomorrow, so it will all end up with whatever she comes home with ! Here's the plan though. I bought loads of new spice mixes and seasoning sachets to experiment with so fingers crossed they're nice !

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen - probably leftover pasta for the kids

dinner - American BBQ chicken with rice (seasoning sachet)

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me - leftovers for the kids

dinner- chicken tacos or fajitas (using one of the sachets from my win - there are all sorts of different things in the box so I'll see what we fancy. Lime chicken fajitas sounds good to me)

Wednesday

lunch-  beefburger, couscous & ratatouille

dinner- chicken or beef casserole with baked potatoes and carrots (actually I'll probably put the carrots in the casserole)

Thursday

lunch - meal with a friend for me & Sophie, leftovers for Pierre, canteen for Juliette

dinner- chicken chow mein

Friday

lunch- Sophie can sort out something as I'll be home later (or there may be leftovers to use up)

dinner - cottage pie

Saturday

lunch- sfeha (Jordanian mince-filled pizza or pastry squares) with rice & salsa/tomato salad

dinner- charquican (a dish from Chile - similar to a souped up version of cottage pie actually so I may be able to use up leftovers, if there are any !)

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- spaghetti carbonara or leftovers

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Tuesday, 12 April 2022

March 2022 Degustabox review : Hello Spring


I couldn't help but snigger when I looked at the theme of this month's Degustabox - Hello Spring ! Well, yes, admittedly, it's the March box but we had snow just a couple of weeks ago so I don't really feel like we're ready to change seasons yet ! That said, there are lots of flowers - tulips and daffodils mainly - springing up all over town so fingers crossed, the weather won't be too far behind.


Unpacking the contents of the box, I could see the springtime influences : some chocolate for Easter, some salad dressings for moving on to lighter, warm weather meals and some snacks and drinks for long walks in the countryside. Well, we can hope !

Here's what was in this month's box.

 

Aero Chocolate Melts (RRP £1.59) are a new way of enjoying the delicious, bubbly chocolate that I have enjoyed eating for decades. These bite-sized buttons are ideal for sharing with friends and family in a simple, mess-free way. They contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and taste delicious.

Pizza Express Sweet & Smoky BBQ Pizza Dipping Sauce (RRP £2) seemed like a strange concept to me as I've never had the desire to dip my pizza in BBQ sauce, but what do I know?! Pizza Express have been making pizzas since 1965 so they must know a thing or two - more than me anyway ! This sauce is inspired by their popular Barbacoa pizza and they suggest that it offers a sweet kick to liven up a simple pizza. Well, I'll be honest, I prefer it for dipping carrot sticks and nachos in or for drizzling over chips and rice. The kids love mixing it into mashed potatoes too and it works well for jazzing up cheese on toast or a toasted sandwich. It's very versatile and very tasty, even without using it on pizzas !.


Aqua Libra Sparkling Water (RRP 2 x £1) is made by infusing water with natural flavours and a dash of lemon juice, with no sugar, sweeteners, calories or anything artificial added. You get a crisp, clear, natural fruity flavour coming through that is very pleasant. We tried Raspberry & Blackcurrant and Blood Orange & Mango, which was our favourite as it's a more original flavour. At just 4 calories a can, this is a great drink to enjoy over the summer, straight from the fridge.

 

Borna Lightly Sweetened Premium Pistachio Drink (RRP £1.99) is the first of its kind - it is in fact the only 100% natural pistachio milk alternative available - so I was keen for lactose-intolerant Sophie to try it. She enjoyed the creamy texture and the nutty pistachio taste and, as a drink, enjoyed it more than some of the other non-dairy "milks" that she's tried. It is low fat, dairy free, gluten free and enriched with vitamin B12 and calcium.

This month's Product of the Month is Exante Lemon & Coconut Snack Bites (RRP £1.49) which are high protein balls packed with plant-based ingredients. We tried the lemon & coconut flavoured ones, which were very tasty, but they're also available in an intriguing Carrot Cake variety. They're sweet and chewy and a healthier option to many of the sugar-packed snacks out there. You can get a 35% discount off almost anything at exantediet.com (until 31/12/2022) with code DEGUSTA.


Knorr Zero Salt Beef Stock Cubes (RRP £1.50) are part of the Netmums-accredited range, available in Vegetable, Beef and free-range Chicken. They are made with carefully selected vegetables, herbs and spices as well as beef from responsible farms to give you rich flavour without the salt. I will be honest - I always taste my food before serving and generally add a sprinkle of salt, pepper and spices, which rather cancels out the zero salt nature of the stock cubes, but this does allow you to control the quantity of salt that you add. They're great for adding extra depth of flavour to casseroles, soups and many other dishes.

 

Kettle Chips Sea Salt & Crushed Black Peppercorns (RRP £2.09) are a product made with real food ingredients and "nothing artificial in here", as the company proudly declares. They are crispy and not overly greasy. The kids love them and I'd say I like them, but I miss the extra tang of the usual salt & vinegar flavour. They're great to nibble on and would be perfect for accompanying summertime picnics and barbecues.

Another duo of products that make me look forward to summertime fayre and outdoor eating ... Hellmann's Caesar Salad Dressing and Hellmann's Fat Free Vinaigrette (RRP 2 x £1.25) are both great ways of zinging up salads. The Caesar one tastes rich and creamy while the Vinaigrette offers a lighter, zestier taste that only adds 7 calories per serving. Chicken salad is a great way of using up roast chicken leftovers on a Sunday night (and requires very little effort too !)


Nutriburst Plant Based Gummy Vits (RRP £22.99 / £19.99 for a full sized bottle, £1 for the 2 sachets) are a great tasting, sugar-free way of adding some vitamins to your diet. We got to try Hair, Skin & Nails Advanced Nutrition and Health & Vitality Multivitamin, which both taste very nice. These vegan vitamins are a simple way to boost your mind and body. The gummies are gluten-free, cruelty free and non-GMO. Use code DEGUSTA25 at nutriburstvitamins.com for 25% off.

 

Shreddies The Honey One (RRP £2.50) is a great tasting cereal which I love with milk for breakfast and that the kids love straight from the box as an after-school snack ! You get four layers of whole grain squares gently covered with real velvety honey. Very tasty.

Yogi Tea For The Senses (RRP £2.59) are a range of products inspired by aromatherapy and the power of essential oils. They are created using precious, naturally pure plant essences, combined with herbs and spices. We got "Natural Energy" which is white tea with lemon and bergamot oil. Other Degustabox subscribers got Pure Happiness (green tea & citrus oil) or Fresh Inspiration (ginger and mint oils). I passed these on to Sophie, who said they tasted nice.


Nature Valley Full Mix Cranberry (RRP £1 per bar or £2.90 for a multipack) is a delicious snack bar packed with different ingredients that offer a variety of taste sensations - chewy, crunchy and creamy, according to the wrapper. As you nibble your way through the bar, you'll discover cranberries, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, peanuts, whole grain oats and peanut butter. It's a tasty bar and I love the multi-sensory sensation of eating it.  

 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, 10 April 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 15


That's it, we've made it to the holidays - aaahhh ! Time to chill out and catch up on everything that needs doing. Like finishing the wallpaper stripping and repainting of the hallway and stairs - eurghhh ! It'll be good when it's finished but that paper is stuck on with superglue, I think ! Oh well, it'll be good when it's finally done. The girls have a weekend in Antwerp planned, so that they can go and see Louis Tomlinson in concert. Apart from that, I'm in spring cleaning mode - I want to have a big sort out, dejunk the house and tidy up the patio area ready for the warmer weather. That's the plan anyway :) I'm still dejunking the freezer too - there's so much stuff in there hiding at the back that we've forgotten about so it's good to have a clear out.

Monday

lunch- fish, ebly & veg

dinner - something in the slow cooker - blanquette de veau (veal stew) with mash & veg maybe? (as long as I remember to get the meat out of the freezer !)

Tuesday

lunch- grilled ham (with an egg on top for those who want it), grilled tomatoes and rice

dinner- Provençal chicken with pasta and coleslaw

Wednesday

lunch-  tacos (remember to buy avocadoes for guacamole)

dinner- leftovers

Thursday

lunchcrispy chicken for the kids/I'll go hunting for salmon or steak in the freezer for me, with homemade potato wedges and the rest of the coleslaw

dinner- Cajun chicken with rice (using a seasoning sachet) 

Friday

lunch- pasta with Italian seasoning (that Sophie brought back from Italy) (and probably bacon, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms)

dinner - just me and Pierre - I think we'll have leftovers to use up


Saturday

lunch- just me and Pierre - he can choose (I wafted this idea past him last week and he said McDonald's but I'll try and convince him with something a bit more exciting !)

dinner- just me and Pierre - I'm trying to think of something fun. Maybe homemade pizzas? (but he doesn't really like cheese.) Well, I have a week to come up with something !

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken dinner

dinner- pasta bake (using the leftover chicken from lunch)

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Sunday, 3 April 2022

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 14


I'm back ! Things got majorly hectic so I didn't even manage to find the time to make a menu plan for the past two weeks. After filling in school reports, I had the end of term meetings for each class (late in from work every night, getting home around 7.30pm so Sophie took over on food duty) then the week after, parent-teacher evenings. On top of that, I've been tracking down a new roofer. He's been and done emergency repairs. Now the insurance need to send an expert and they can do the actual repairs. Pierre's plaster cast has been taken off his arm and he's back to school, after his week off with Covid. Juliette had her Covid booster jab. (Pierre didn't need one as he had Covid.) Things have finally calmed down, so I'm back to preparing a menu plan again. I want to start making some space in the freezer as it's looking pretty full up at the moment !

Monday

lunch- I'm at the canteen, the kids can find something in the fridge

dinner - cauliflower cheese for me and Juliette, creamy potato bake for Sophie & Pierre, with bacon and onions added in to make it a full meal

Tuesday

lunch- canteen for me, leftovers for the kids

dinner- chicken & veg with noodles and sweet & sour sauce

Wednesday

lunch- leftovers or chicken burgers & mash

dinner- beef or veal stew in the slow cooker with rice

Thursday

lunch - a meal with friends for me and Sophie can come along

dinner- I have a final meeting so Sophie will probably be on food duty. There's special fried rice in the freezer, with some chicken on the side to pad it out.

Friday

lunch- Sophie can sort out something, omelette maybe?

dinner - cottage pie

Saturday

lunch- maybe a trip to McDonald's or maybe leftovers

dinner- pasta carbonara

Sunday 

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- I think there will be leftovers to use up. If not, fridge grazing should do it.

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

Linking up with the Menu Plan Roundup over at Cats, Kids, Chaos

Tuesday, 15 March 2022

February 2022 Degustabox : Home Comforts

 

The past few weeks have been brutal. First, the wind blew some of our roof off and the roofer called out by the insurance to fix it never showed up. Then Pierre broke his arm and, on the same day, came down with Covid. Aaaggghhh ! Luckily, the postie dropped off the latest Degustabox with the theme Home Comforts. It sounds like a hug in a box. Exactly what was required to put a smile back on my face !


Unsurprisingly, the kids immediately honed in on the White Chocolate Kit Kats (RRP £1.99). As the name suggests, you get the usual crispy wafer biscuit but this time, it is covered in creamy, smooth white chocolate rather than milk chocolate. Each 2-finger bar comes in at 106 calories, making them a very reasonable mid afternoon snack. They contain no artificial flavours, colours or preservatives and they're suitable for vegetarians. We all loved them and the only question is, do we prefer them to the original Kit Kats? We just can't decide so I guess we'll have to buy both ! Each pack contains 9 bars and they are available in all major supermarket chains.


Another brand new delicious sweet treat that we discovered in the box is McVitie's Blissfuls (RRP £2.59), a lovely Belgian milk chocolate and hazelnut filled crunchy biscuit. The Madhouse kids loved the creamy Nutella-like filling and I was rather taken by the posh-looking layered top. The handy pouch format is perfect for sharing around (although they seemed to disappear rather too quickly !). They are also available with a Caramel filling, which definitely needs investigating ! Available in the major supermarket chains.


Urban Fruit Wellness Strength (RRP £2.85) is a blend of bite sized tropical fruit pieces, ready to nibble out of the bag. This was donated to Pierre as he was in isolation in his room and he couldn't manage to peel fruit one handed with his plaster cast ! You get a mixture of pineapple, mango, passionfruit, strawberry and beetroot - I was convinced he'd refuse the beetroot but nope, he happily worked his way through the whole lot ! The whole idea behind Urban Fruit is that it is gently baked fruit with no added sugar, so it gets top marks in my books. Also available in Immune and Glow. It's a different way of adding one of your 5-a-day portions of fruit (and vegetables) into your diet.

Mikado (RRP £1.50) is a product that the kids have been buying in France for years as we head down to see the grandparents. The crunchy, thin sticks are dipped in delicious milk chocolate and they're perfect for nibbling on in the summer as one end is left chocolate-free so you can eat them without getting covered in chocolate ! Each stick only contains 11 calories but trust me, you'll gobble up the whole pack in one sitting !


Tilda Katsu Curry Limited Edition Rice (RRP £1.59) is another new addition to the microwaveable rice pouches that I love to buy as a quick and simple option for the kids at lunchtime. Aromatic, mild curry spices combine with carrot, onion and coconut cream to give a tasty modern Asian twist to Tilda Jasmine rice. I was impressed to see that this is a gluten-free option, so it could be handy to keep in the cupboard if you have someone visiting who may need a gluten-free option when you're unprepared. It goes perfectly with chicken but can also be enjoyed on its own as a quick snack.

Tea India Masala Chai (RRP £2.50), described as "deliciously authentic spiced tea", is another exotic product to sample. The company explain : "Masala Chai is a staple in India, served in chai glasses at home and in clay cups from chai stalls along the road. Bringing family and friends together over cups of chai is a time-honoured tradition...and our Masala Chai was crafted and blended to do exactly that." It is a rich, warming blend of black tea, cinnamon, cloves and anise. You can brew it just as you would a regular cup of tea or simmer it in hot milk for a creamy chai latte.


Pizza Express House Light Dressing (RRP 50p per sachet (not currently available for sale), £2 for a full sized bottle) is a great way of jazzing up your salads. It's a reduced fat (30% less than their regular option) dressing with white wine vinegar, rapeseed oil and herbs. Very tasty but I've never eaten it in their restaurants so I can't tell you how authentic it is !


Chocolate Mighty Shake (RRP £1.60) is a great dairy, nut and soy-free drink option that I've handed over to Sophie (as she's intolerant to dairy products). The company says : " Our Chocolate Shake is a triumph of drinkable ingenuity if we say so ourselves. Chocolatey, M.lky, and of course 100% vegan, with no nuts or soy in there. Luxuriously loaded with pea protein for optimal plant-based gains." It is subtly sweetened with agave and contains 40% less sugar than other chocolate milks. Apparently it tastes lovely, which is the most important thing!

Belvita Choc Chips Soft Bakes (RRP £2.79 for 5) are great for breakfast on the go (otherwise known as those hectic mornings when you end up dashing out of the door after a quick swig of orange juice so that you don't miss the bus to work !) - just stuff one in your coat pocket and enjoy it when you get a moment ! The soft baked biscuits are made with wholegrain cereals, chocolate chips and added minerals. Best of all, they are very tasty and promise to give you energy for the whole morning.


Knorr Vegetable Stock Cubes (RRP £1.48) are a great way of getting in on the #CheatOnMeat action. Just toss one into anything from soups and sauces, pasta and gravy to complement the natural flavours of your veggies. They are not just vegan but also gluten-free. 


Choc Brownie Bounce (RRP £1.99) is a healthier take on a chocolate snack as it is high in fibre and protein. You get a squishy nut butter centre, stuffed inside a plant protein packed brownie ball, coated in chocolate. It comes in at around 180 calories but you might find you can cut it in two to scoff in two sittings (I found it quite rich so half was enough).

 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.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...