Monday 31 July 2023

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 30

Last week was a nice, calm week of chilling out and catching up on the washing and shopping. I'm hoping for more of the same this week. I'm setting myself one job a day - tidy this, wash that, dejunk this spot - and I figure out that in a couple of weeks, I'll have achieved a lot. That's the plan anyway ! Sophie is off to Amsterdam with a friend this week but Juliette and Pierre are still here this week. That all changes at the end of the week when they head down to Brittany to see the grandparents on Friday, leaving me all on my own for a fortnight. The house is mine !! Here's the menu plan for this week.


lunch- chicken, mushrooms and green beans in gravy with rice

dinner - filet mignon with cream and pasta


lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- battered fish with rice, peas and carrots


lunch- sausages, mash and beans

dinner- steak with hash browns and coleslaw


lunch- beefburgers with pasta

dinner- tacos, guacamole, tomato salsa and rice


lunch-  ham or tuna baguette

dinner - chicken curry with rice


lunch- bacon and tomato pasta

dinner- beef lo mein


lunch- Spanish omelette

dinner- leftovers

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

Saturday 29 July 2023

Degustabox July 2023 review : Summer & Get Outdoors

Coming back from our holiday in Spain, our kitchen looked very similar to Old Mother Hubbard's. The cupboards were bare ! Luckily we had the latest Degustabox awaiting our perusal and giving the kids a few snacking options. This month's theme - Summer & Get Outdoors - made me smile as it seems a bit optimistic with the current rainy weather ! Here's what was in this month's box.


Boost Iced Coffee Caramel Latte (RRP £1.19 - other Degustaboxers got Caffe Latte) is a summer-friendly way to get your caffeine intake in a deliciously mellow way. The smooth and creamy taste is perfect for sipping on a hot, sunny day. Also available in Double Espresso and Iced Mocha flavours. Available in convenience stores and on amazon.

Kettle Chips Sriracha Mayo (RRP £1.50) offer an innovative new flavour that takes its inspiration from street food markets around the world. The harsh spiciness of sriracha is toned down by the creamy mellowness of mayo, offering a tasty snack that we all enjoyed. Available at Waitrose and Tesco.

The Dinky Salted Caramel Pretzel Protein Bar (RRP £1.50) is this month's Product of the Month. It is a high-protein, low-sugar alternative to many of the unhealthier treats out there. Each 35g bar provides a whopping 11g of protein for just 1.6g of sugar so Pierre requested this one. I had a quick taste though and it is very nice. Available at ASDA.


Dalston's Rhubarb Soda and Peach Soda (RRP £2 per can) are delicious fizzy drinks, made by chefs from real fruit and nothing nasty. No added sugar, sweeteners or artificial ingredients. I really enjoyed the delicious fruity flavours, especially the fuzzy, summery peach variety. If you could store sunshine in a bottle, I'm sure this is what it would taste like ! Available at Waitrose, Sainsbury's, ASDA and Ocado.

Jordan's Red Velvet Country Crisp (RRP £3.80) appealed to me as soon as I saw the box and is perfect for long, summer holiday breakfasts. Alongside the usual crunchy golden oat clusters, the pack includes chocolate brownie pieces and cream cheese frosting flavoured red clusters which offer the perfectly decadent and indulgent combination to start the day (or, I admit, as a quick treat by the handful straight from the box!) The taste is delicious, the texture is fabulously crunchy and Juliette loves the fact that it turns the milk pink ! This is a Limited Edition, available at Waitrose and Ocado.

Kind Snacks Dark Chocolate, Nuts & Sea Salt Thins (RRP £2.50 - other Degustabox subscribers received Dark Caramel, Nuts & Sea Salt Thins) are great-tasting chewy bars that are high in fibre and gluten-free. They contain no artificial colours, flavours or preservatives and each bar comes in at under 100 calories. The number one ingredient is almonds and I love the nutty flavour, combined with the depth of the chocolate flavour. Available at ASDA.

Mentos Pure Fresh Cherry Flavour Gum (RRP £2.50) is utterly delicious and now comes in a recyclable paper-based container. A crisp outer layer gives way to a liquid-filled centre that fills your mouth with an intense cherry flavour. They are sugar free but you'd never know.

Plantastic Choc & Caramel Millionaire Flapjacks (RRP £2.25) offer all the great flavours of gooey caramel, smooth chocolate, golden syrup and oats. They're utterly delicious and, as they proudly proclaim on the box, "so tasty, you'd never guess it's plant-based". This gives you the feel-good factor of a vegan option with absolutely no effort. Available at ASDA and Tesco.


Sauce Shop Honey Chipotle BBQ Sauce (RRP £2.75) is a sweet, smoky and spicy sauce that is perfect as a dip, on the side of the plate or added to sauces and marinades. It's one of a range of sauces made in the UK using natural ingredients. We all loved this and I'll be looking out for other varieties to see what's on offer. Available at Sainsbury's, ASDA, Morrisons and Booths.

Sxollie Cripps Pink Xider (that's not a typo by the way!) (RRP £1.80) is a very tasty drink that I really enjoyed, fresh from the fridge. It is made purely with apples and sunshine, by the cider-makers who say that they "give a damn about making the best damn cider in the world". It has no added sugar, no concentrate, is vegan friendly and B Corp Certified (whatever that may mean !). Very refreshing and I'd happily drink this again. Available at Sainsbury's, Morrisons, on amazon and at

Very Lazy Cajun Paste (RRP £2) is another great product from the Very Lazy range. I was dubious at first but now I love the simplicity and lack of waste when using their Very Lazy Garlic, which has been adopted since discovering it in a previous Degustabox. The Cajun Paste is equally simple to use and perfect for bringing a teste of Louisiana to chicken wings or pork chops. It can also be stirred through veggies or added to casseroles and stir fries to add a great depth of flavour. Available at Tesco, ASDA and Morrisons. 

 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.

Tuesday 25 July 2023

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 29

We're back home after a lovely ten-day break in Spain, where it was scorching hot but lovely chilling by the pool with a cocktail or three. We were in Isla Cristina, right down in the south and just next to the border with Portugal so we popped across for a visit of the Algarve too. Seeing the news of the fires in Greece was pretty scary as it was one of the places we thought about going this year. Now that we're back, I've come up with a quick meal plan for the rest of the week - time to get back into routine !


lunch- back to an empty fridge so it was McDonald's to welcome us home

dinner - chicken cordon bleus with pasta


lunch- Proven├žal chicken with rice

dinner- spicy pork with baked potatoes


lunch- Spanish chicken with green beans & rice

dinner- sausages, mash and beans


lunch- fish, chips & peas

dinner- Hawaiian pork chops with rice


lunchBaked bean casserole with potato wedges

dinner - Hawaiian shoyu chicken with rice


lunch- chicken burgers & Panguitch potatoes

dinner- veal filet mignon in cream/mushroom sauce with pasta


lunch- pork chops, rice & ratatouille

dinner- pasta carbonara

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

Sunday 2 July 2023

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 26

We're into the final week of school and we're all looking forward to the holidays. There's no canteen this week at school so I'm taking in sandwiches for a change. 


lunch- sandwich for me, fridge grazing for the kids

dinner - Moroccan-style chicken with lentils and apricots with couscous


lunch- sandwich for me, fridge grazing for the kids


lunch- leftovers

dinner- pork paupiettes with rice & peas


lunch lunch with friends for me, fridge grazing for the kids

dinner- veal filet mignon in a creamy mushroom sauce with pasta or rice


lunch-  farewell bbq at school for me, fridge grazing for the kids

dinner - pasta carbonara


lunch- baked potatoes with mushrooms, ham, tomatoes, onions, cheese

dinner- takeaway pizza


lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, veg & gravy

dinner- toast

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

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