Sunday 31 March 2024

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


Last week was a busy week at work with two parent-teacher evenings and a trip to the cinema with the oldest kids on top of normal lessons so it's lovely to be in the middle of a long weekend. I bought lots of chocolate for the kids but there weren't any eggs available on the home delivery shopping app that I used so they just got bags of M & M's, Kit Kat Balls, chocolate bunnies and chocolate slices. They weren't at all bothered but it seemed weird to have absolutely nothing egg-shaped ! Here's what we'll be eating this week.

Monday

lunch- roast chicken, roast potatoes, carrots, stuffing & gravy

dinner - steak with rice and leeks

Tuesday

lunch- breaded chicken fillets stuffed with bolognese sauce with pasta

dinner-  leftover chicken/potatoes/veg in gravy with rice

Wednesday

lunch- mince and onion pies with baby potatoes and carrots

dinner- chilli chicken with red kidney beans/tomatoes/onions and rice

Thursday

lunch- canteen for me, leftovers for Pierre

dinner- pork and leek casserole with mash and carrots

Friday

lunch- breaded lemony chicken with rice and sweetcorn

dinner - sausagemeat ragu with pasta

Saturday

lunch- baked ham with mash and coleslaw

dinner- Moroccan-spiced veal mince with couscous

Sunday

lunch- smoked sausages in tomato/onions/carrots sauce with pasta

dinner - chicken nuggets with rice and peas

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

Thursday 28 March 2024

Degustabox March 2024 review


Into another month and dare I say it, with Easter on the way, I'm hoping we're heading into spring. The daffodils and tulips are putting in an appearance so we're just lacking some lovely sunny days now. Bring it on, I'm sick to death of all the rain we've been having lately. Would the latest Degustabox reflect the changing seasons? Here what was in our latest box.


Jacob's Cheddars Cheese & Pickle (RRP £1.50) are a new twist on the crunchy, cheesy biscuits that I haven't tasted in years. They have a pleasant texture that melts in your mouth, giving way to a little tanginess of the pickle flavour. They are lovely nibbled on their own or can be topped with a slice of cheese (or you can even sandwich the cheese between two Cheddars biscuits if you fancy a bigger mouthful). Made with no artificial colours or flavours, they are perfect as a snack or incorporated into lunch boxes. Available at Sainsbury's, ASDA and Ocado.

 

Doisy & Dam Good Eggs (RRP £2.25) are the perfect snack for Easter. They are dark chocolate eggs with a crunchy coating that give a satisfying sound and texture when you bite into them. They offer better ingredients and better ethics in order to provide a better chocolate. They are made from natural ingredients and are suitable for vegans. I'm not keen on dark chocolate but these still hit the spot. Very tasty. Available at Amazon, Aldi, Sainsbury's, Ocado and Holland & Barrett.

Double Dutch Skinny Tonic Water (RRP £1.20) is a lighter option with less sugar but still just as much taste. Pink grapefruit and juniper berry round out the crispness of quinine, adding a zesty flavour that will make your tongue tingle. It can be drunk on its own or added to gin or a fancy cocktail. Available online and at all major supermarkets.


Jelly Belly Bubble Tea Jelly Beans (RRP £2.40) offer the perfect balance of tea, tapioca and sweetness. They are available in five popular milk tea flavours : Mango Milk Tea, Taro Milk Tea, Matcha Milk Tea, Strawberry Milk Tea and Thai Milk Tea. The Madhouse girls love Bubble Tea but I've never been a fan. They wowed over the exotic new flavours and I was surprised to find that even I liked them. Available at John Lewis stores.

Mocktails Mockapolitan (RRP £2.40 - only available in a 12 pack) is an award-winning alcohol-free version of Cosmopolitan with notes of cranberry, grapefruit peel and bitter orange plus hints of quinine and juniper, creating a subtle yet complex finish. You can give it the cocktail treatment by adding it to a cocktail shaker with ice and straining it into a Martini glass with an orange slice. A great choice for anyone who is avoiding alcohol but wants something more grown-up and original than coke or lemonade. 


Kelloggs Coco Pops Mega Pops (RRP £3.35) is this month's Product of the Month. They are a new addition to the popular breakfast range and offer the same great, chocolatey taste as regular Coco Pops in a new, larger format. They are a great way of getting some iron and vitamin D into your kids' diet in a fun and tasty way. Available in all major supermarket chains.

Illy Cold Brew Classico (RRP £2.50 - other subscribers got Latte Macchiato or Cappuccino) is a coffee drink that is cold brewed for 12 hours using a 100% arabica blend. I don't drink coffee, hot or cold, but this is designed as a thirst-quenching option to beat the summer heat. It is made with no added colourings, preservatives or flavours. Available at Ocado and Amazon.


Knorr Slow Cooked Lamb Stock Pots (RRP £1) are a quick and simple way of adding richness and a great depth of flavour to casseroles and stews. It takes all the time and effort out of cooking so you can produce a great-tasting dish with zero effort.


Nakd Apple & Cinnamon Fruit & Fibre Bars (RRP £3 - other subscribers got Strawberry & Raspberry) are a tasty way to grab one of your 5 a day portions. As well as having a delicious fruity taste, they are made with 100% natural ingredients, are vegan-friendly and gluten-free and contain no added sugar. They will appeal to both kids and adults alike, offering a great alternative to the regular sugar packed sweets and biscuits. Available in all major supermarkets.

 

Pizza Express Sweet & Smoky BBQ Pizza Dipping Sauce (RRP £2) is a product that I discovered in a previous Degustabox. I still can't get my head around dipping pizza in BBQ sauce but I do love it on the side of my dinner plate or for dipping carrot sticks into (which is probably no less weird than pizza to be honest !) It is a rich, smoky, sweet sauce that goes great with most things and can even be added to chilli and similar dishes for extra depth of flavour. Available in all major supermarkets.

Proper Katsu Curry Flavour Chickpea Chips (RRP £2 - other subscribers got Jerk Sauce flavour) are a tasty, crunchy snack that breaks away from the regular crisp flavours to deliver a deliciously different taste experience. The Katsu Curry flavour is not too spicy and we all loved them. Even better, they come in at under 100 calories a pack. Available at ASDA, Sainsbury's, Waitrose and Ocado.

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 March 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 13


Last week, I managed to clear a few things off my to-do list. I phoned the roofers again and chased up when they are doing the repairs on the roof (hopefully next week, at least for a date) and I called back the orthodontist to reschedule Pierre's appointment. Instead of going shopping at the local Lidl as usual, I used Picnic, a home delivery shopping service, for the first time and I was very impressed. Not only do you have more choice, it works out about the same price as Lidl and I was very impressed that they even carry all the shopping upstairs to the kitchen. Bonus ! This week will be a busy week as I have parent-teacher evenings on Tuesday and Thursday, on top of all the usual lessons. Here's what we'll be eating this week.

Monday

lunch- veal milanese with pasta and grated carrots

dinner - Meatball marinara subs

Tuesday

lunch- smoked sausages with lentils

dinnerCrock Pot Honey Garlic chicken with rice

Wednesday

lunch- pasta carbonara

dinner- Oven-baked Chicken Shawarma with rice and garlic naans

Thursday

lunch- canteen for me, leftovers for Pierre

dinner- veal burgers with pasta

Friday

lunch- Pork chops with baked potatoes and coleslaw

dinner - fricadelles (sausages) with pasta

Saturday

lunch- fishfingers, chips and peas

dinner- Deliveroo or kebabs

Sunday

lunch- Moroccan pork (with chickpeas, peppers, onions, tomatoes) and rice

dinner - pasta bolognese

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

Sunday 17 March 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 12


Back to work/school last week. It seems longer than a week since we were on holiday ! There are a couple of busy weeks coming up as we have the conseils de classe (end-of-term after-school meetings for each class to discuss the marks and behaviour of each pupil) then the next week, the parent-teacher evenings. At least it gets dark later now - in the winter time, this means coming home in the pitch black. I've changed my shopping habits this week and put in an order with a home delivery supermarket company. We'll see how it works out but it could turn into a regular thing as it didn't work out any more expensive than usual. Have a great week. Here's what we'll be eating this week.

Monday

lunch- spicy pork, onions and mushrooms with pasta

dinner - chicken curry, rice and naan bread

Tuesday

lunch- fricadelles (spicy sausages) with mash and peas/carrots

dinner-  spaghetti carbonara

Wednesday

lunch- spaghetti bolognese

dinner- pepperoni pizza

Thursday

lunch- canteen for me, leftovers for Pierre

dinner- General Tso's meatballs and noodles (requested to be made again by Pierre !)

Friday

lunch- chicken cordon bleu with baby potatoes and ratatouille

dinner - mince and onions puff with rice and peas/carrots

Saturday

lunch- meatballs in tomato sauce with pasta

dinner- pork chops with mushroom sauce and baked potatoes

Sunday

lunch-chicken, chickpeas, courgettes, onions in spicy tomato sauce with couscous

dinner - chicken soup

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

Sunday 10 March 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 11


This week, I gave up on the to-do list and took on two different tasks - sorting out Pierre's braces and hassling the roofers to actually fix our roof. First off, I headed back to the orthodontist to get the prescription for an x-ray of his teeth. Then we headed to the medical centre, got an appointment and went back the next day for the x-rays. We now have an appointment at the orthodontist's in a couple of weeks (that I need to reschedule as I'll be at work) where we will discuss treatment options. After chasing up the roofers, they came back to measure the roof but still no idea when they will come and do the actual repairs. One step forward but we're still nowhere near the finishing line ! Next week, we're back to work/school which means setting the alarm for 6.15 again - boo ! In terms of food, I've been trying loads of new recipes throughout the holidays. Pierre loved the Philly-stuffed chicken and the General Tso's meatballs and has asked for them to be added to the regular run of recipes I make. A couple of meals didn't get made as Pierre was off watching football matches so I was eating alone and just used up stuff from the fridge.

Monday

lunch- battered fish, rice and sweetcorn

dinner Baked pasta Siciliana with meatballs

Tuesday

lunch- Proven├žal chicken with rice and green beans

dinner-   Bacon and potato bake 

Wednesday

lunch- chicken burgers with baby potatoes, peas and carrots

dinnerchicken supreme with pasta

Thursday

lunch- canteen for me, leftovers for Pierre

dinner- remaining chicken burgers with leftover bacon and potato bake

Friday

lunch- pasta carbonara

dinner - Turks and Caicos Islands Peas and Rice (minus the hot dog sausages)

Saturday

lunch- Spanish chicken with mash and sweetcorn

dinner- pork curry with rice and naan bread

Sunday

lunch- chicken in gravy with rice and carrots

dinner - baked potatoes (with cheese, bacon, mushrooms, onions)

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

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Degustabox February 2024 review


I've been using the school holidays to undertake some much needed spring cleaning around the house, which mainly seems to involve dejunking things that have been kept for several years for no apparent reason ! This idea of spring cleaning seems to have given the weather a much needed jolt, moving from frigid wintry weather to a couple of lovely warm, sunny and decidedly springlike days. Wandering about on my different errands today, I've been enjoying spotting the daffodils, crocuses and tulips that have been springing up (or probably being planted in full bloom by the council) everywhere. It's enough to put a spring in your step (no pun intended). The weather is still very changeable though, so when this month's Degustabox arrived, I was intrigued to see what would be hiding inside.


The first product that I picked out of the box has Sophie's name written all over it : Boundless Gut Happy Snacking Sweet Chilli (RRP £2.50). Described as 100% activated, loaded with gut-friendly fibre, packed full of nutrients and mouth-watering flavours, these nuts and seeds can be sprinkled on soups and salads or nibbled straight from the pack. They are supposed to be good for your gut but even if they're not, they taste great and are perfect for snacking. Available at ASDA, Ocado or Amazon, as well as online at weareboundless.co.uk.

Bocaditos Tomato & Oregano (RRP £2.20) are oven-baked Mediterranean-style snacks that can be eaten as a side dish or on their own. The real bocaditos that inspired the name are Cuban bite-sized sandwiches and this snack version can be incorporated into tapas or topped with anything from fish, meat, cheese or vegetables to create pintxos (or pinchos). They are tasty on their own though too if you just want something to snack on. They are oven-baked not fried and made with natural ingredients. Available from all major supermarket chains.


Heinz Chicken Broth (RRP £1.70) is a combination of pearl barley, tender chicken pieces and a variety of vegetables in a rich and flavourful chicken broth. Lightly seasoned with black pepper, it delivers the warming hug of a proper home-made broth, just like the regular chicken soup. The only difference I can see is that it has a lighter consistency, making it good if you want a light lunch or maybe if you are catering for older people or someone with a delicate stomach. Available at Tesco, Sainsbury's, Morrisons, ASDA & Ocado.

Tweek Foam Fever Fab & Fruity Flavoured Foam Sweets (RRP £1.99 - other subscribers got Fizzy Fusion or Smoothie Chews) give you a great excuse for eating sweets - the packaging promises sweets with benefits. The brand name is inspired by the word "tweak" as they have tweaked traditional candy to make it better for your health. These tasty chews contain 95% less sugar, are high in fibre, have 45% fewer calories, use natural colours and flavours and are free from gluten and palm oil. Their website is mainly in Swedish but the brand looks great and focuses on healthier choices. The sweets taste good too.

 

Jelly Belly Very Cherry Drink (RRP £1.29 - other subscribers got Berry Blu or Tutti Fruitti) offers the great taste of my favourite jelly bean sweets in drink form. I was expecting an overly sweet flavour but the drinks contain 20% fruit juice, less than 5g sugar per 100ml and no artificial flavours. They are also fortified with vitamins A, C and E and suitable for vegans. I have to admit, I do prefer the flavour of actual jelly beans but the drinks aren't bad for an occasional treat. 

Just Spices (RRP £1.90 for 2 sachets, £4.99 for a 60g tub) offer a range of no-nonsense natural spice mixes and seasonings that are perfect for adding some zing to your food. We got Mexican All-rounder, which is great for spicing up anything from guacamole and chilli to salsa and enchiladas, and Chips Seasoning, which can be sprinkled over cooked wedges, sweet potatoes or regular fries to add some extra flavour. Glancing through their website throws up all sorts of amazing sounding blends, including Avocado Topping, Sandwich Seasoning and Lemon Herb Chicken Mix. If you want to spice up your life, it's a great place to start !


Maggi Chow Mein Flavour Noodles (RRP £2) are great for adding to chicken or pork and vegetables then topped with soy sauce for a quick and simple stir fry meal that the whole family loves every time I make it. Just add boiling water and leave to stand while cooking the rest of the ingredients then you're good to go. They are low in saturated fat and suitable for vegetarians, as long as you leave out the meat in the added ingredients ! Available at Poundland and Iceland.


Maggi Air Fryer Seasonings ( RRP 2 x 99p) are a new range of seasoning sachets developed to guarantee you the perfect result every time when used in an air fryer. We don't have an air fryer so I thought these would be no good for us but no, Maggi don't want to cut us out of all the fun. You can use the seasoning in the oven, pan or grill too. Just add to your favourite meat and vegetable ingredients and you'll have dinner on the table in 15 minutes. The Piri Piri  seasoning was a bit on the hot side but we all loved the Fajita spice blend.


Kelloggs Krave Choco Brownie Flavour (RRP £3.29) is a new variety of breakfast cereal that the Madhouse kids loved. The crispy, crunchy cereal pillows are stuffed with a melty core that has an intense and delicious chocolate brownie flavour. They are lovely in a bowl with milk but if my kids are anything to go by, they make a great snack by the handful straight from the pack too ! Available exclusively at ASDA.

 

Sparklean Tropical Vegan Protein Drink (RRP £2.50) is a dual purpose product, offering the refreshment of a fizzy soft drink combined with the health perks of a nutritional supplement, with 15g of vegan protein in each 330ml can. Pierre, always keen on upping his protein levels, loved this and said it tasted as good as a regular fizzy drink. I also love the fact that it only contains 1g of sugar. Also available in strawberry & lime and orange flavours, it is available at Boots, Amazon and Direct.

This month's Product of the Month, Tilda Tasty Sides (RRP £1.99) offer combinations of vegetables and pulses in a rich sauce that can be served with rice. We got Chinese Black Bean, which combines black beans, red peppers and onions with a tasty sauce. Other subscribers got Indian Black Dhal. They are high in fibre and protein, suitable for vegetarians and count as one of your five a day portions. They make a satisfying meal for anyone but are perfect as a quick option if you need a vegetarian dish for an unexpected guest.

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 3 March 2024

What's Cooking At The Madhouse ? menu plan week 10


Last week was a lovely quiet week at home. I managed to scratch two things off the to-do list - I went to the doctor's to renew my prescription and I also dejunked the big understairs cupboard which was overflowing and is now much tidier. I also managed to fit in a day trip to Lille to visit Sophie which was fun and dejunked the kitchen which wasn't even on the list ! Another quiet week planned before we go back to school. I have some marking to do (teachers are never really on holiday sadly !) and I need to take Pierre clothes shopping, plus the patio and Pierre's bedroom are still on the to-do list. I'm planning on trying out some bookmarked recipes this week so here's what's on the menu.

Monday

lunch- spare ribs with baked potatoes and sweetcorn

dinner - one pan chicken and sun-dried tomatoes gnocchi

Tuesday

lunch- McDonald's or similar in town with Pierre

dinner- Philadelphia cream cheese chicken with baby potatoes and peas

Wednesday

lunch- smoked sausages with lentils and rice


Thursday


dinner- Coddle (basically sausages, carrots, potatoes, broth)

Friday


dinner - General Tso meatballs and rice

Saturday

lunch- leftovers

dinner- pizza or Deliveroo

Sunday

lunch- creamy chicken piccata with baked potatoes

dinner - spaghetti bolognese

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

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...