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Monday, 25 April 2016

Winter ready- chicken noodle soup, Thai style.

Whilst it's not quite winter yet, colds n flu aren't far away. Especially if you share your space with small children- ahhh choo!

Ginger and chilli are great for helping to keep things at bay. This is a favourite that is easy to knock up quickly.


1 onion
3 stalks celery
2-3 carrots
1 bunch bok choy 
1 1/2 cups broccoli florets 
1 cup of cut up mushrooms
Egg noodles or rice noodles
( or any veg that you particularly feel like!)
2 chicken breasts- sliced thinly 
Fresh mint/coriander/basil to garnish
Stock Ingredients
1 litre Chicken stock either liquid or powered ( I use vegeta or massel brand as no msg in either)
1 fresh lime, juice and small amount of zest
1 heaped teaspoon of ginger
Sesame oil
Fish sauce
Chilli sauce or fresh chilli
1 tablespoon of brown sugar or any sweetener that you may prefer
Sprinkle of white pepper
Extra water depending on quantity needed. I prob add another litre or so to the chicken stock and easily get 4 portions. Keep tasting stock before adding chicken to make sure it's balanced

Cook off onion and ginger in a little sesame oil
Add the stock ,water. Add fish sauce, chilli,sugar, lime. When adding these taste as you go to get the balance right. Shouldn't be too salty or too sweet.
Bring to a gentle simmer and add your vegetables
Add noodles and chicken and simmer until chicken is cooked through and noodles are soft.

Serve with fresh herbs and sliced spring onion.

Saturday, 7 November 2015


There is so much pressure on children to succeed. I'm not going to say it's not a dream of mine to make sure mine do. But do we put unnecessary pressure on our kids from a young age?

I've tried never to be a helicopter parent. I'd liken myself to more of a glider, coasting above but just far enough away to let them realise their own mistakes and learn from them. Guidance is the key. Let's face it, we can't always fix their wrongs. At some point they need to start thinking independently and learning to make the right choices. At some point they will completely balls it up.

So I glide.  Sometimes I hit turbulence and feel like the choices are swirling around making the journey a bumpy one. Turbulence though rarely lasts long.

We all want happiness for our children. I don't want it at a cost though. I don't want the pressure of failure to make up their very being. The early years go so quickly. I want their childhood to be relatively harm free. I'm not talking in the physical sense, I have three boys, accidents happen. More their mental state. I want them to look back on their childhood and think what a ride! Good times happened.

My youngest said to me the other day, "You are the most important person to me" he is 6. Even though I'm gliding, he was for a moment able to look up, catch a glimpse and glide with me.
I took those words as a reminder that he is growing up but still needs the safety net of a safe ride. It doesn't matter what age you are, when the ride gets bumpy we all grasp for something secure to hold on to.

My middle child- for want of better words, at 7 is vastly Independant and articulate. He exudes confidence daily. Which sometimes makes me forget his soft sensitive side. Until a boom of rational awakening happens and I'm brought back to reality with a thud when a seemingly simple episode will evoke so much emotion that he struggles to compute it.He is an old soul.
The glider never far above.

On the other end of the spectrum is my 18 year old, graduated with one final exam looming. He too knows how to express himself. And I am very fortunate that he is willing to open up and let me know how he is traveling. I thought there would be less need for me. I was wrong. Our chats have proven that although he has now entered adult hood relatively unscathed, his independence is still reliant on me smoothing the path through the bumpy bits.

And so ultimately my aim- to make sure that their biggest achievement in life is happiness. It sounds so cliche. We need to forget about the fast paced world we live in. It can spiral in an instant. So my goal is to keep it simple. Complications are readily found as it is.

So my advice, always turn the page, look for the next chapter.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Birthdays and chocolate cake- too easy!

And so we reach dizzy heights and milestones. My eldest turned 16 and to celebrate he wanted dinner with the family and chocolate cake. I am not a baker, but since getting my Thermomix I have gone to the other side and I am now making things I would have previously bought.

I promised him a cake and by George I delivered! I used the Too easy Chocolate cake recipe out of the Every Day cook book. It was a yummy choc cake that rose to perfection. I then accidentally  made like  fondant icing. I say accidentally because I have no idea now what I put in the mix to make it like it turned out. I REALLY need to start writing down my splashes and splodges when I cook.

Talking of that.....I made Aloo Gobi the other night, my husband LOVED it.... as he was eating I said in a sorry voice, you know I probably wont be able to create that again- to taste the way it does... my creations need a voice, or at least a pencil at the ready!

Any hoo, the cake.... LOOK! Not only did it work, it was edible.... Go me Go me!

I will post the recipe asap and as usual I tweaked it slightly....

Now who has the wine, 16 means one thing right.... driving lessons!!!!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

Pear shaped parenting....

The art of parenting, some days it’s like a finger painting-terribly messy.

I like to be strict but fair when it comes to disciplining my children. This doesn’t always go to plan and some days I give in just to keep the peace. Or I throw a sly bribe in to the mix. Hey it’s a win win situation, who are we to judge? Right?

When being out and about though I like to keep a standard that my children are well aware of.

Use your manners, a simple please and thank you goes a long way.

No shouting,especially in enclosed areas such as a packed lift.

No running,this goes for escalators. The last thing I want is for your little toes to be jammed at the end of the ride.

No asking for things just because they have neon lights and are shouting at you to pick them up!

Sit still at the table when eating, no one wants to stumble over  you should you happen to be on the floor.

For the most part things go to plan and we eat out and shop in relative comfort.
Sometimes I think this can throw you into a false sense of security. You know full well they can behave, so when it starts going pear shaped it knocks you for six.

That six knocked me the other day, it was a huge hit and mean mummy came out to play.
I had picked up the children from school, the sense of security was high and I had extended the offer of a treat when we went shopping….

The minute we walked through the doors it started. It was like someone had replaced my children with a set of kangaroos…. Bounce bounce…. Throw in a galah, yell yell….
Holy Moly I don’t how many times I said SSSSHhhhh and stop jumping!!

I gave a warning, If you don’t stop you won’t get the treat. By this stage they were holding it, guarding it almost. Just thought of a treat had sent them into a giddy panic.

By the time we got to the register I had had enough and said sternly, you didn’t heed the warning, put the treat back on the shelf!!!

Lips dropped, heads bowed, shoulders slumped. Treats were returned.

I didn’t care; I had asked and expected good behaviour inside the shop. This went by the way side and was by all means totally ignored.

I turned around to stand in line to pay for the things that I had picked up and the lady in front gave me a virtual high five….say what?!

Good on you, she mouthed quietly.

A little mummy victory right there… silently I could have done a little jig… just imagine I did ;)

 Mean mummy scores 1, children 0

Now it is up to them to even up the tally board.

What discipline tricks work for you?

Monday, 5 August 2013

Ricotta Gnocchi with roast pumpkin ,cauliflower and burnt butter sage sauce

Don't you love it when someone shares a recipe that is as easy as they say? I had never made Gnocchi, it was always in the too hard basket and to be honest potatoes and flour in boiled little blobs didn't quite ever hit the mark.

This how ever does not use a single spud. Ricotta is the magic ingredient, and let me tell you, its like magic.
Not only in taste but the fact it is so quick to make. Like 2 mins... No I am not kidding nor is that a typo. 2 mins!

I made mine in the thermo mix, but this baby is so versatile any kitchen whiz can make it.

80g Parmesan cheese
230g bakers flour
450g drained Ricotta cheese
Pinch of salt
Pinch of nutmeg ( optional. I didnt add it only because I am not a fan)

Place parmesan into the TM bowl (or what ever kitchen whiz you have) and blitz 10secs/speed 9
add remaining ingredients and set to closed position and knead for 1 minute.  (or mix until it comes together on a low speed)

Turn out onto a floured surface and divide into 5 portions
Roll each portion into a long snake and then cut into bite sized pieces. Press with a fork if you want to be fancy.

Cook the gnocchi in a pot of salted boiling water. When they rise to the surface they are done!

I then made a cauliflower puree which I added a small amount of Goats cheese. Cook cauli until well done and then blitz or mash until you get your desired consistency. Add seasoning.

I also roasted some small pieces of pumpkin to add on the top. Is there anything better than sweet roasted pumpkin? No, I didnt think so..

Once your elements are all cooked, assemble and then drizzle with the sage butter, which is as easy and cooking off some butter until golden brown and adding a pinch of salt and sage leaves that have been roughly chopped! The sage leaves crisp up and become crunchy little morsels of goodness.

Voila! Too easy and too yummy! the sweetness of the veg with the silky Gnocchi was divine. My eldest boy loved it. A veggie dish to boot!

Ps this dish was inspired by a shared recipe and a lovely competition. I won a beautiful box of fresh fruit and veg from the
Lettuce Shop

Home delivery goodness straight to my door!

PPS. This is not a sponsored post, I genuinely really liked the produce ;)

Enjoy mes amis :)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013


A change of seasons quite often brings bugs. I am pretty sure a stuffy classroom full of 5 year olds on a cold winter’s day also brings bugs.

A few weeks ago my youngest did the un thinkable, he vomited in the car, all over himself whilst I was doing the school run. It was my own fault, well not the vomiting part, that’s a bug that lurches itself, out of control via the mouth.

The car seat and him, that was my fault. I knew he wasn’t feeling well. I had no choice but to put him in the car though. I had to drop the other two at school. I had grabbed a plastic bag thinking for a split second if he does vomit, he can vomit into that.

Good thinking-Yes….

Only one problem though. I didn’t hand it to him soon enough. Not more than a minute after my eldest got out of the car did it happen.

It starts with a cough and you just know it’s going to get nasty.

I reached and threw the bag to him whilst negotiating a right hand turn. For a split second I could have been rally driving considering the skill that it took to do that..

Have you seen that Ikea ad? ‘GRAB THE CAR, GRAB THE CAR” Yep I sounded just like her except I was yelling “GRAB THE BAG, GRRRRAAAABBBB THE BAG!!!!”

Too little too late, and unlike the Ikea ad, it was not a happy ending. Vomit everywhere. That bag that was meant to save the carseat made it worse. It just served as a slippery platform for the projecting vomit to travel on.

So this brings me to today. Middle child wakes with a funny tummy. Ahhhhh ahhh moment, grab a bag for the car trip.

Grasshopper has learnt well, said bag given to said child early on and what do you know, that lurching out of control bug is contained!

Gastro and cars do not bode well. Although today was a win for me and no carseat to clean up either!

School Yard tales

Toilet training and the turmoils we face.
Hands up who has been through this? We all face challenges with having children, but this topic is one that we can laugh about, and often. You’d be hard pressed to find no one with a tale to tell.

I was waiting at school the other day for my 5 year old. As the minutes rolled by more and more Mum’s congregate outside the door, waiting patiently. As one topic turns into another toilet training pops up. It soon turns into sharing hilarious stories about our own children and their training days. The roar of laughter was infectious.

J- “My daughter always chose to poop in her pants at a particular friend’s house. Why this friend? No idea, but invariably we would be visiting and the old catch phrase of G has pooped we gotta go became too common!”

G-“My 2 year old decided to poop in her pants. I just throw them away now. Who wants to clean that up?”

Whilst talking, J notices out of the corner of her eye something unfolding. She makes the mad dash, leaping through the school yard, dodging kids with ease to reach her son who had decided the small patch of grass was perfect for doing a wee on. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO…. Not at school….please!!!!

Snigger, chuckle, snort.

My three were all quite good with toilet training. Besides a few little hiccups and washing of clothes we got through the training relatively un scathed.

My eldest did have an incident once at the shops though. And yes, it involved a particular favourite pair of jocks….

I was in the supermarket. I always say to my children before leaving the house, go to the toilet as there may not be one whilst we are out. Fortunately for me on this day there was one.

I had taken my time, exploring the aisles with my then 3 year old. We get to the check out and he proclaims. “Mummy I need to do a poo”

Ah geez, really? Now? Can you hold on for 5 mins whilst we get the shopping loaded and paid for?
Please just 5 mins… 5 lousy minutes was all I needed to scoodaddle out of there.

No he could not wait, who was I kidding, this kid was in training. He hadn’t got to the mastered stage yet. The nappy stage was still fresh in my mind and obviously his because from the time it took for me to grab him and abandon my full trolley barely having time to push it out of the way whilst telling the checkout chick I would be back-it was done.

We scramble into the toilets and make the mad dash to sit down….too late… favourite jocks were tainted. I cleaned him up and threw the jocks into the bin much to the disgust of my three year old.

“MUMMMY!!!! They are my favourite jocks”

How to explain to a three year old the thought of tucking them into my bag for the trip home was NEVER going to happen?!

I am pleased to say, he wasn’t scarred by the incident. He also never did it again.

At the time these incidents make you cringe. Don’t let them, embrace the toilet humour and laugh!

What stories have you got? Was it smooth sailing or a bumpy road to travel?