Saturday, 30 September 2017

Staccups - the super fast stacking game (review)


The best family games are also often the simplest, because there is no need for complicated explanations or learning oodles of rules - you can just jump in and play. University Games' latest offering, Staccups, certainly falls into this category because if you know how to play snap, you'll instantly know how to play this game too.


Inside the box, you get 32 brightly coloured, shot sized cups and a podium to stack them on, as well as choose the colour to start with. The back of the box gives you lots of different variations on how many cups to deal out depending on the number of players, as well as a couple of alternative versions - the Advanced Game and the Strategy Game, for once you've got the hang of it.


Now all you need to do is take a deep breath and challenge your hand-eye coordination in a frantic race against your opponent(s) to stack all of your cups as quickly as you possibly can, matching the top colour of the cup to the base colour. One moment's hesitation and it could all be over because the colour can change in a split second, just as you were getting ready to stack your cup. If you think your opponent has cheated (or made a genuine mistake !), you can call him/her out and check.


It's a simple concept and is quick to play so it ends up being quite addictive, not to mention extremely competitive ! It's great as a family game because players have fairly even odds of winning, whatever their age.


The last time we had this much fun with plastic cups was when The Cup Song was all the rage - remember that?! I bet you could use Staccups to perfect your cup-flipping moves too !

Staccups is recommended for up to 4 players or teams aged 8+ and is available to purchase at Smyths Toys, Argos, Toys R Us, and The Entertainer for an RRP: £19.99.



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

Fab freebies of the week 30/9


Where did September go?! Time seems to be racing past at the moment, but the good news is, it's only a few weeks to the next school holidays ! :) Whatever you're up to theis weekend, I hope you have a lovely time and to kick things off in style, here's this week's offerings on the freebie front.

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Claim one of 500 Midnight Radiance Masks from Omorovicza

The Insiders have a new campaign for flavoured Perrier

Order a free copy of The Pocket Elephant, a children's book about a baby elephant in Thailand

There are all sorts of free water-saving devices available here, including plugs and shower heads

Free NeilMed Naspira for Babies - United Kingdom - This is a limited period offer and available to first 5000 Moms.

on the candleslite contact form - type your details and information in at the bottom for a free sample pack of candles


Cheestrings have a shedload of emoji-themed freebies to give away in their latest competition

@advsport_uk  If anyone would like to try a free sample of our products please get in contact via email with your name, address, product & flavour #free

Taylors Coffee are giving away samples of their Nespreso-comptible coffee pods

Receive ten nappies for free plus get exclusive offers, hints and tips delivered right to your inbox

If you use AmazonFresh, make sure you check out their free sample page - Receive one free sample in your order on AmazonFresh when you add one of the samples above (“Qualifying Item”) to your shopping basket and use claim code ‘FREEBIE’ at checkout.

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, 29 September 2017

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 29/9

I've trawled through my bookmarked recipes so this week is a total mish-mash !

Saturday

lunch - Time for the traditional KFC/Burger King/McDonald's option

dinner - split pea & ham soup

Sunday

lunch - roast dinner, probably chicken

dinner - leftovers from lunch or fridge grazing - or possibly chicken & veg soup if we had a roast chicken

Monday 

 lunch - potato lasagne

dinner - cocido madrileno (a stew with chickpeas and pork belly) - time to get the slow cooker out !

Tuesday 

packed lunch - tuna salad

dinner - chicken popover pie with mash & veg

Wednesday 

lunch - meatballs in gravy topped with mash (like shepherd's pie) with peas and carrots

dinner - peppered beef with roast potatoes & veg

Thursday 

packed  lunch - leftover peppered beef salad

dinner -  honey pretzel coated chicken with rice and coleslaw

Friday  

packed lunch - chickn and salad wrap

dinner - Tuffel un Plum (a German stew with ham, prunes and potatoes) - the slow cooker is working overtime at the moment !


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

Join in with the weekly meal plan bloghop !






Thursday, 28 September 2017

Giveaway #649 : Win tickets to The Baby Show at London Olympia: 20th-22nd October - closed - winner Matthew Mehra


This October, get ready to enjoy a fantastic shopping experience at the UK’s leading pregnancy and parenting event of the year. The Baby Show with MadeForMums will be taking place from Friday 20th to Sunday 22nd October, at Olympia, London. Find everything you need for bump, baby and you - with amazing offers all in one place, for three days only!

The show is a great way to get hands on and try before you buy. Brand and product experts will be available to tell you everything you need to know, so it’s a great opportunity to compare products and find the right fit for you. Over 200 exhibitors will be showcasing their latest and best products with the likes of Mothercare, iCandy, Tommee Tippee, Peg Perego, VTech, Chicco, Stokke and Britax! There will also be independent brands that you won’t find on the high street. And once you’ve shopped until you’ve dropped, don’t worry about all the carrying as you can take advantage of the free Emma’s Diary Collect-By-Car service where you can drop off all your purchases and continue until you’ve got a carful.

There will be an amazing line up of speakers on The Baby Show Stage with MadeForMums including renowned experts from the world of birth, breastfeeding, sleep and nutrition!

It really is a must-attend show for mums and dads-to-be, parents, friends and family members.

The Baby Show at Olympia, London is open from Friday 20th – Sunday 22nd October from 10am until 5.30pm each day. Standard on the door tickets are £20 and children under 14 go free! For more information please visit www.thebabyshow.co.uk.

We’ve teamed up with The Baby Show to give away a pair of tickets worth £20 each! Fill in your entries via the Rafflecopter widget below.


Ticket Competition Terms & Conditions
No purchase necessary. Entrants must be aged 18 years or over. Competition is open to UK residents only. Entry into this competition confirms your acceptance of these Terms and Conditions and your agreement to be bound by the decisions of The Baby Show.

Entry is strictly limited to one person per ticket code. The winner will be notified by email or phone call once the competition closes. The winners will be selected at random from all the correct entries received before the closing date and time. All prizes must be accepted as offered. There can be no alternative awards, cash or otherwise.  Entrants will receive a ticket code which can be activated at http://www.thebabyshow.co.uk/. Tickets cannot be sold on to third parties.

UK only. Closing date : 13/10/17

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 !

Geocaching diaries : Free at last, free at last, .. !


To complete the quotation from the great Martin Luther King, "thank God almighty we are free at last" ! One of the things I love about geocaching is picking up travelbugs and helping them on their journeys. You can see where they've been and how many kilometres they've travelled and it's usually quite amazing to see just how far they've gone and how many countries, or even continents, they've covered. I picked these two up at the start of the summer and I think they're cursed ! They've been travelling around with us on our travels to Brittany, the UK and Turkey and I haven't managed to find a single cache big enough to drop them off in ! 


Today was my day off so I was on a mission to set them free. As there aren't many big caches around our local area, I decided to make one of my own and drop them off in that. I had scouted out the perfect location (you may not know but you have to find a location that isn't within 160 odd metres of another cache) and, after dropping Pierre off at school, I headed off on foot to hide it. Some friendly rabbits (or maybe foxes or badgers, as they were quite large) had been digging lots of holes that I could use, but I made sure I didn't use one that looked active.


Now you see it ...


Now you don't !


I used a couple of fallen branches for an "X marks the spot", used my GPS to take a note of the coordinates and headed for home. 


It was a bit of a mad rush getting back in time for Pierre's pick-up at 11.30 because I kept getting sidetracked by interesting things like weird mushrooms and this skull (a rabbit, presumably), but I made it in the nick of time and was rather chuffed when my Fitbit buzzed to tell me I'd hit 10,000 steps before lunchtime.

This is where things started to go pear-shaped ! I came home and made lunch, then sat down to add the cache to the geocaching website. Everything was going fine until I published it and the little map showed a spot just outside our house ! For some reason, the GPS had let me down and transformed the coordinates to those of the armchair in my living room that I was sitting in ! I quickly disabled the cache then headed off to drop Pierre off at a playdate, then take Juliette on the bus to meet her friend at the new swimming pool. Sophie had come along with me so we headed back to the cache and took down the coordinates again.


Back home, I updated the coordinates, the little map changed to the right location and we were all set. I headed straight back out to pick up Pierre and, when I got back home, I could see a couple of people outside our house on their smartphones with a puzzled look on their faces. Then one of them said "are you Madhouse Family?". I did a doubletake and thought how did he know that ?! He laughed and said that he recognised me from the profile pic on geocaching ! So the coordinates had updated for me but not everyone else ! Oops ! I showed him the right coordinates and disenabled the cache (again) while I sorted out the coordinates (again). After my GPS playing silly buggers in the morning, it was time for the geocaching website to let me down - you can't modify coordinates by any more than 161m from the original spot. I emailed the moderator who sorted it out, but I had several messages during the afternoon from geocachers desperate to get the FTF (first to find) log ! After dashing off to pick Juliette again, then heading back home (again !), my Fitbit told me I had done 24,000 steps and covered 17km on foot ! I can laugh about it now but it was a totally manic day and I'll be glad to go back to work for a rest  ! At least the travelbugs are already back on their journeys - they've headed across the border to Belgium, so they didn't have long to admire the view of the lake for long ! :)

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Back to School Essentials from Superdrug (review)


The kids have only been back at school for a few weeks and Pierre has already come home with a bump on his head (from bouncing off someone's elbow during a volleyball game !), a runny nose and - aaggghhh ! - an itchy head. Luckily, I was prepared for all eventualities because Superdrug had sent me through a pack of goodies to prepare for the autumn term - they must be psychic !

A nit comb is an absolute essential if you have school-age kids, whether or not they have an itchy head ! When Pierre said his head was itchy at the start of the week, we had a go through with the comb and I found literally one headlouse (is that a word? it looks weird !), but it was enormous so I'm presuming it was just a visitor. If I hadn't used the comb, I'm sure he'd have had a head full of them in a few week's time, so prevention is definitely better than cure. Certainly worth the £1.99 price tag on the Superdrug Detection Head Lice Comb.


Another essential is a pack of plasters - with three kids in the house, I can never quite believe how many plasters we get through ! The Superdrug Fix'Em plasters (£2.99 for 24) are water resistant, breathable and non-wound sticking, as well as strongly adhesive and guaranteed to stay in place. Their wow-factor comes from the fact that are embellished with emojis that the kids will love, whatever their age. I love the little tin that they come in too - perfect as a mini first aid kit with a pair of tweezers and a couple of antiseptic wipes thrown in for good measure. The Superdrug Antiseptic Wipes (£1.39 for 10) are great for keeping in my bag in case the kids want an ice cream or snack while we're out geocaching. A tube of Savlon (£1.99 for 30g) is something else that I always have in my first aid kit, probably because I remember it from my own childhood scrapes and grazes ! I always rub a bit on insect bites, scratches and blisters, to help prevent infection.


Haliborange is another brand that I remember from my own childhood and the Madhouse kids are just as enthusiastic as I was about taking my daily vitamins because they taste just like sweets ! The Omega3 & Multivitamins Softies (£5.99 for 30) have cute Mr Men & Little Miss branding for extra coolness, a pleasant orange flavour and a texture just like chewy jelly sweets. What's not to like ?! I was dubious about them having a fishy background taste due to the Omega-3 but they haven't at all, and just in case your kids are extra fussy, they have a "taste guarantee or your money back" promise too.

Well, I think my "back to school health niggles" bingo card is already complete, especially as the Madhouse kids have already had chickenpox so we should escape that one. It would be nice to think we'll get through the rest of the year without any more issues, but let's be honest, it's unlikely ! Luckily, my first aid cupboard is now very well stocked to see us through most emergencies and stave off the back-to-school bugs.

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

Giveaway #648 : Win a family ticket to Cirque Eloize’s Saloon - closed - winner Kelly-Ellen Hirst


Saddle up for a journey to the Wild West as world leaders in contemporary circus, Cirque Éloize , blast back to the West End with their new show. Their trademark blend of spectacular circus and drama creates the colourful characters swinging through the saloon doors. Never before has a stranger kicked up so much dust. Under the spell of Saloon’s beautiful Belle, he sets off in a chase worthy of the greatest Westerns for an action-packed theatrical thrill ride!



With non-stop live folk and country music, from Patsy Cline to Johnny Cash, and original compositions by composer Éloi Painchaud, Saloon is the most foot-stomping, lasso-throwing night of entertainment you’ll find. If you like the circus, aerial choreography and juggling, you'll be in for a real treat.



I'm delighted to have a family ticket for Cirque Eloize’s Saloon (4 tickets including one adult and one under 16) up for grabs. The winner can choose any performance excluding Friday evenings, Saturdays and Sunday matinees. I'll just need the winner’s name and email address and the tickets for the date of their choice can be collected at the box office. Fill in your entries via the rafflecopter widget below.


UK only. Closing date : 3/10/17

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 !

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Light Up Your World with Glimmies ! (review)


We've just been discovering the enchanting world of Glimmies, which are little star fairies sent by the moon to take care of the forest animals of Glimmieswood. They're happy to play during the day, but really come to life at night time, when you can make the most of their magical light up colour changes.


If you're worried about your little ones sneaking out of bed to play, don't stress - you can activate their light-up mode by putting them anywhere dark, such as in the wardrobe (peeking through a crack in the door), up your jumper (with your head stuffed down the neck hole) or, as here, inside a padded envelope. The Madhouse kids have been having great fun creating some dark spaces to play in, their favourite being a den made out of a quilt over two chairs - an oldie but a goodie ! You don't have to be so extreme though - simply cupping one in your hand will light it up too.



Place two Glimmie friends next to each other and their rainbow magic will make them change colour - cue squeals of delight ! There are lots of Glimmies to collect and they all have their own names and bios, something that will definitely appeal to fans of other collectibles such as Num Noms, LOL Surprise dolls or Shopkins, for example.


There are also some lovely playsets for your Glimmies to interact with. We received the Glimtree (RRP £34.99), which is a lovely place to display your Glimmies once you've finished playing with them. 


There are lots of little compartments and hidey holes that you can put your Glimmies in when they need a rest. The little houses can be clipped on or off the hooks on the tree trunk, giving you extra scope for imaginative play and creating a magical fairy village.


The central part of the tree allows the Glimmies lights to shine through, so placing one in the trunk and one in the treetop will light up the whole area.


 Placing two Glimmies in the treetop so that their colours interact also creates a spectacular rainbow effect. The Glimtree comes with a special exclusive Glimmie and Juliette was delighted to discover that it's a unicorn - she's obsessed, I tell you !


We also discovered the Glimwheel (RRP £24.99), which magically spins in the dark, although if you switch it to the day mode, it will spin in daylight too. 


Up to three Glimmies can sit on the Glimwheel at the same time, and the playset includes one exclusive Glimmie Rainbow.

There is also a Glimhouse (RRP £8.99), which magically glows when you place a Glimmie inside. The special Glimhouse activates the Glimmie’s light-up function and the pretty little star pin that sits on the roof lets you hang your Glimhouse anywhere.

There are 12 Glimmies to collect across the Single Blisters (RRP £4.99), all representing a forest animal with its own distinctive colour and facial expressions. I hope Father Christmas is taking notes because these are sure to delight any young child. As a parent, I'm also a fan, because of the interactive nature of the toys and the sheer playability, with bonus points for the background story which will help encourage lots of make believe play and making up stories.

for more information :  https://www.flairplc.co.uk

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

Monday, 25 September 2017

Book review : Crossing The Line - Kerry Wilkinson


Crossing The Line by Kerry Wilkinson was a book that I spotted at The Works for £1 - you can't go wrong at that price, it's even cheaper than charity shop bargains !

It's labelled as a Jessica Daniels novel, but it works fine as a standalone novel too, although the frequent references to police officer Jessica being freaked out by big houses made me wonder what had gone on in previous episodes. Apparently, this is the eighth Jessica Daniels book, but it is also the first in series two, so it's probably a good place to start if you haven't read any of the others and don't want to go right back to the beginning.

Jessica has her work cut out as she investigates a series of seemingly random attacks across Manchester. The victims are all fairly sleazy and have more than their fair share of enemies, but there doesn't seem to be anything tying them together. Luckily, the media are pretty wrapped up with celebrating the 25th anniversary of the arrest of the Stretford Slasher, who terrorised the neighbourhood before being hauled in by Jessica's police buddy, Niall Hambleton. He has now retired but still helps out at the police station on a voluntary basis. He soon finds himself dragged into the new investigation, which opens up a whole can of worms that casts a new light on the previous case that he had a starring role in. Meanwhile, Jessica gets closer to the truth on the new investigation. So far so good, but for me, things went slightly downhill from here on.

From the outset, Jessica is a feisty, fearless investigator and her straight-talking frequently made me smile. To balance things out, she also has a vulnerability from the fact that she is coming to terms with not being able to have children. She has a believable, multi-faceted personality and a great depth of character, even without having read the previous novels in the series. However, she seemed to go into self-destruct mode towards the end, trying to take down a dangerous suspect single-handedly, which was never going to end well. Maybe she got too bolshy and blasé or maybe she was reeling from the new discoveries about her well-liked and trusted friend and colleague, but it just seemed too maverick and unprofessional. Watching the major sleazebag get his comeuppance was unashamedly satisfying, but it didn't ring true - I'm sure no cop would really go down this route. I was also highly dubious about the identity and plausability of the attacker when it finally came to light.

Putting these gripes from the final chapters aside, it was still an enjoyable read, albeit slower-paced and less grisly than much of the crime fiction that I usually read. I enjoyed watching Jessica's character unfold, along with the witty banter with her colleagues, which seemed authentic and gives a broader understanding of the characters. I'd be interested to see how Jessica's character develops in the other novels in the series, so I'll definitely look out for more - especially at that price !

star rating : 4/5

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Pan; Main Market Ed. edition (September 11, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1447247876
  • ISBN-13: 978-1447247876

Sunday, 24 September 2017

#readcookeat recipe : Tarte Bressane (Piglettes)


The tagline on the front cover of Piglettes by Clémentine Beauvais (click through to read my review) already suggested that it would be a good candidate for the #readcookeat challenge : "The summer three girls found love, friendship and sausages" ! It is a heartwarming tale about three young girls, cruelly crowned as winners of the Ugliest Girl at School competition, who decide to club together and cycle all the way to Paris, in order to deal with some of the demons in their personal lives. Sausages besides, there are some lovely mentions of food, which the main character Mireille waxes lyrical about :

p31 I like Bourg-en-Bresse, my lovely town, my beautiful canteen. It's a town that feeds its people well. There are bakeries with sugar tarts as wide as bike wheels, lumpy with pink pralines. There's Le Français, the brasserie so gilded and full of mirrors that your eyes water as you eat your filet Pierre - a pillow of raw beef so soft you can cut into it with your fork like a huge strawberry. There's my grandparents' restaurant, the George & Georgette, two Michelin stars, opposite the recently whitened church of Brou. There they serve whole frogs gurgling in puddles of parsley butter, heavy cast-iron pots containing shrivelled, smoky snails, enormous clumpy quenelles whistling with steam, baked pâtés in glassy jelly ...
And cheese boards ! Mould-dappled Bresse Bleu, cinder-dashed Morbier, extra-old Mimolette, red as brick, and lumpy fromage frais, sprinkled with chives, lavishly wrapped in thick cream...
And hemispheres of wine in the glasses - and then, when it's time for coffee, box after box of chocolates and glazed chestnuts ...
And brioche and pies, fougasses and baguettes; breads of all shapes and sizes, stuffed with green olives, peppers, figs, onions, nuts or dry sausage; breads that are hot and spongy, stick to your teeth, drink the butter and the yellow wax of the foie gras ...
So, yes - it's obviously to be expected that I might be a little bit chubbier than the red-haired model in the window of Sandy Hair Salon; not a surprise that I tend to pass on the "ZeroCal Sandwich" option at the canteen - two Krisprolls and a slice of 100 per cent organic chicken, 2 per cent fat, 1.2 per cent carbs. And not a surprise, Malo, that you should be so skinny and so nasty, spending the day, as you do, chewing greyish gum, in this town made entirely of sugar and cheese ...


Well, I didn't fancy frogs or snails, raw beef or mouldy cheese, but the mention of Tarte au Sucre or Sugar Tart intrigued me so I went to investigate. It turns out that there are various types, with sugar and butter, chocolate chips, cream, or the pink pralines that Mireille mentioned. Dashing around Lidl the other day grabbing some last minute essentials, I did a double take when I saw some bags of the very same lumpy pink pralines that were mentioned in the book. I've never seen them before (although maybe I just never noticed them, before reading about them) but it was like a sign so I had to give the recipe a go !

I used the recipe on the French Miamamia blog, so I'll translate the recipe here, but do head over to see the original for the photos of the different variants.



Tarte Bressane (Pink Praline Tart)

ingredients :

250g plain flour
13g dried yeast (or you could use fresh)
50ml warm milk
2 eggs
90g softened butter
30g sugar
1/2tsp salt
150g marscapone or thick crème fraîche
120g pink pralines


Put the yeast in the lukewarm milk and stir to dissolve.


Put the flour, sugar, salt and eggs in a separate bowl. Pour in the yeast and milk mixture and mix then knead to make a dough.


Ours was very sticky and although I added extra flour, it didn't get any better !


Form into a ball, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise for an hour or so.


Spread out the dough to fill a large pie tin, lined with baking parchment. (Yep, still very sticky ! The original recipe says to raise the edges to make a pie crust so it really shouldn't be this sticky - not sure what happened !) Leave to rise for a further 15 minutes.


Put the pralines in a bag and bash them with a rolling pin - you still want chunks, not pink almond dust !


 Spread marscapone over the top of the dough then scatter over the pralines.


Bake at 200° for 15 minutes - the cream won't change colour so it doesn't look cooked but stab it with a sharp knife and it should be done.


It's halfway between a cake and a bread - basically a very soft, spongy brioche with a pronounced yeasty taste and a sweet and creamy topping. It can be eaten warm or cold.


Joining in with the #readcookeat challenge over at Chez Maximka.

#MySundayphoto #SundaySnap 24/9/17


Strange tree at Turtle Beach near Fethiye, Turkey - it wasn't at all windy but I suppose it must be usually.

OneDad3GirlsSunday Snap

Saturday, 23 September 2017

Fab freebies of the week 23/9


Phew, welcome to the weekend - and another weekly round-up of the UK's best freebies. There's a nice mix this week so I hope you'll find something that tickles your fancy !

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It's all go over at The Insiders at the moment - after the new campaigns I posted about last week, they have another one starting for Betty Crocker cake mixes

Grab yourselves a voucher for a free Chicago Town pizza - Offer available for first 3000 entries each week. Printer required. Printer software not compatible with mobiles or tablets

More free food if you have a Thaikhun anywhere near you - enter their competition and get a voucher for a free pad thai

Sign up to CherryActive's email and get your free sample shot of either BeetActive or CherryActive Energy Shots

My Mothercare expectant parent event in selected Mothercare stores across the uk - free gift bag for all mums-to-be

@delight_touch Free Ladies Self Defense Seminar & Free Cosmetic Gift For All Attendees See Video  … share & RT

Grab yourselves a collectible Royal Doulton plate from Jackpot Joy - 5000 available, first come first served


Fill in the form for a free Superheroes USB stick - these are cute so I hope they arrive !

@SparkleBeauty90 Samples available 🎁 Selected products only, UK only, Message for details 💌

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 September 2017

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 22/9

The weather has turned decidedly autumnal so I've got the slow cooker out and I'm loving coming home from work to a hot meal ready and waiting to be served :) I'll be trying dishes from my Cypriot-themed Kitchen Trotter box too.

Saturday

lunch - Time for the traditional KFC/Burger King/McDonald's option

dinner - Beijing beef with noodles or rice and homemade prawn crackers (because I found a bag in the back of the cupboard and the kids love watching them puff up in the oil !)

Sunday

lunch - roast dinner, probably chicken

dinner - leftovers from lunch or fridge grazing - or possibly chicken & veg soup if we had a roast chicken

Monday 

 lunch - spaghetti bolognese

dinner - twice-baked potatoes (as long as I remembered to put them in the oven when I did the roast !)

Tuesday 

packed lunch - tuna salad

dinner Ouzo-doused fish with boiled potatoes and either salad or veg

Wednesday 

lunch - sausages, mash and baked beans

dinner - slow cooker BBQ pulled chicken with rice or wedges and whatever veg happens to be in the freezer

Thursday 

packed  lunch - spicy chicken salad or sandwich

dinner -  herby chicken breast with rice and ratatouille

Friday  

packed lunch - Cypriot salad (watermelon, cucumber, tomatoes, onions, ...)

dinner - French onion soup with cheese on bits of toasted baguette to float in it- it tastes better than it sounds !
***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Join in with the weekly meal plan bloghop !



Thursday, 21 September 2017

Madhouse recipe : Turkey, merguez & apricot tagine


This is a totally made-up recipe, inspired by the flavours of Morocco and Tunisia, and the fact that I wanted a meal that I could throw in the slow cooker and let it get on with it. Mission accomplished !

Turkey, merguez & apricot tagine

ingredients :

chicken or turkey thighs
a pack of merguez or spicy sausages
2 turnips
3 carrots
2 onions
a tin of chopped tomatoes
2 courgettes
a handful of dried apricots
salt, pepper
1tsp ras el hanout
couscous (to serve)


Cook the chicken/turkey on a high heat in a frying pan to sear on all sides. This isn't an essential step but it gives it some nice colour and extra flavour, if you have time.


Throw the chicken/turkey in the slow cooker. Peel and chop the carrots, turnips and onions and add them to the pot. (You might notice that I added my onions at a later stage - this is because I had run out and had to pop to the shop to buy some once it was underway  !)


Add a tin of tomatoes, fill the empty can with water and add that too. Sprinkle over some salt, pepper and ras el hanout spices. Turn the slow cooker on low and leave to cook for a couple of hours.


In the same pan you used for the chicken/turkey, fry the merguez - these are North African-style, spicy, dark red sausages that are widespread in France, but you could use chorizo or smoked sausages instead. Drain off the excess fat on kitchen paper and reserve.


About an hour before you want to eat, add the courgettes. (This is where I popped in the onions that I had just bought !)


Chop the merguez into halves, and add to the pot, along with a handful of dried apricots.


Leave for an extra hour, giving it all a good stir to mix everything up. The chicken/turkey should be falling off the bone and the vegetables should be soft but not mushy. Serve with couscous (or as it is, if you prefer).

This was a family meal so I kept the spice level low, but you could add chilli powder or extra ras el hanout to take it up a notch.


Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky as it used up odds and ends from the freezer (turkey and merguez, leftover from barbecue season).
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