Spiced Apple And Blackcurrant Cupcakes With Fruit Shoot

During the summer I was challenged by Fruit Shoot to get out and about andtake part in some foraging with the little ones.

It was a great way to get the kids active and let them see how readily available fresh food packed with goodness really is.

Fruit Shoot has really taken this on board when creating their juices which are packed with real fruit, no flavours, no colouring and plenty of added vitamins.

They are really passionate about getting kids to eat well and with this in mind they created a fantastic hamper full of goodies to grow, bake and create lots of tasty, fruity recipes at home which they kingly sent to me.

The recipe that really stood out for me was the spiced apple and blackcurrant cupcakes that was devised by recipe creator-Holly Bell.

The one minor problem that we had was that there was a distinct lack of blackcurrants here so we had a little change around and substituted them for blackberries instead which worked pretty well.

Oscar had a great time getting his hands dirty and cooking up a storm.

I love getting the little ones involved in the whole process of cooking and with the addition of the blackberries it was the perfect time to recall our foraging trip.

If you fancy having a go yourself then I have left the recipe for you below, I would love to see how you get on.

Spiced Apple And Berry Cupcakes

  • 175ml oil
  • 180g muscavado sugar
  • 170g self-raising flour
  • 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 160g grated apple
  • 1/2tsp ground ginger
  • 150g of backcurrants or blackberries

Preheat the oven to 180C/has mark 4 and line a 12 hope cupcake tin with large cupcake or muffin cases.

Once the oven has preheated mix all the ingredients together with a wooden spoon until there aren’t any lumps or traces of egg yolk visible. Pay particular attention to the sugar as it can sit in lumps.

Stir through the berries carefully, spoon into cases evenly and bake for 20-25 mins until well risen and a toothpick comes out of the middle of the cupcake clean.

Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Opening My Eyes To Organic Living With Arla Foods

How long does it take you to get your weekly shop?

If you are anything like me my list varies very little from week to week and it’s just a grab and go, to get in and out as quickly as possible with items such as bread, eggs and milk being staples that I probably haven’t changed in years.

I’m sure that many of you are with me on this, and it wasn’t until I visited Cockhaise Farm in Sussex last week, really shifted my thoughts on the way I shop and opened my eyes up to organic, free range products.

Arriving to this beautiful farm and sitting sipping coffee on the patio could have transported you into a scene from the ‘Darling Buds Of May’ which always seemed like such an idyllic way to bring up a family although in reality I know that a farmers life is a tough one and I was here to learn exactly what goes into our everyday milk that most of us doesn’t give a second thought when buying.

Dan talked us thorough how he came to become an organic dairy farmer and his passion for his product and his herd was clear to see from the very first moment.
Dan’s dairy farm is very much a family business and the love for their animals really made it feel as if they were part of the family too.

This farm follows the ruling of organic farming by making the welfare of the animals and the environment a top priority, not using any artificial additives, preservatives or GM ingredients and fewer pesticides.

Instead the cows are allowed to graze freely as much as possible in fields full of chemical free, clover rich fields.

We got the chance to see how happy they were by going to visit the fields that honed the most adorable calves…I’m not sure what they made of a group of bloggers armed with cameras and phones galore!

From the young and happy calves we made our way to see a field full of pregnant cows and got to experience first-hand the first few fumbling steps of a calf that has literally just been born.

I was chatting to Dan’s father at the time who is also a retired organic dairy farmer who said that the birth of a calf is always special no matter how many time you experience it.

From here we made our way into the milking sheds that weren’t operational at the time but it was still amazing to see.

We had now been shown the milking process from the very beginning and it was now time to see how the beautiful product could be used and we were treated to a cookery demonstration from Ben a local chef who’s passion for organic products was just as great as Dan’s.

The demonstration was all set up in a barn with a fabulous hay barrel backdrop where Matt worked his magic on showing us how to create a Sussex smokey scotch egg that had an alternative filling of mashed potato and smoked haddock rather than the usual sausage meat, and a delectable vanilla creme brûlée that I could have sampled more than one of!

If you like the sound of these delicious recipes I have left them below for you to try yourself at home.

From the vibrancy of the colours of the egg yolks to the rich creaminess of the milk it is without a doubt there are not only benefits to the way organic food is produced but it also comes through in the product itself tenfold.

Vanilla Creme Brûlée

• 200ml Double Cream
• 100ml Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 4 egg yolks
• 50g sugar
• 1 vanilla pod

  1. Preheat the water bath to 80C or if using the oven 140C/120 Fan.
  2. Warm the milk, cream, vanilla and sugar together in a small saucepan to 60C.
  3. In a large bowl wish together the egg yolks and sugar until thoroughly combined.
  4. Slowly whisk the warm cream and milk into the egg mixture.
  5. Pour into individual shallow jars and screw on the lids very tightly.
  6. Place the jars in the water bath to cook for 60 mins then remove from the water with tongs and cool on ice.
  7. Alternatively place in oven for 20-22 mins until just set.
  8. Once set sprinkle the surface with sugar and brûlée with a blowtorch.Allow the sugar to set for 5 mins before serving.

Sussex Smokey Scotch Eggs

• 4 medium organic eggs
• 1 tbsp vegetable oil, plus oil for deep frying
• Salt and pepper for seasoning
• 1 pint Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
• 250g natural smoked haddock
• 1 bay leaf
• 200g potatoes for mashing
• 1 bunch of finely chopped dill
• 119g High Weald smoked cheddar chopped or grated
• 1 banana shallot
• 1 clove of garlic
• 1/2 leek
• 1 stick of celery
• 1/2 carrot
• 3oz butter
• 3oz plain flour
• 330g flour
• 1 organic medium egg
• 200ml Arla Organic Free Range Milk
• 300g or packet of breadcrumbs

1.Boil seasoned water and then add the eggs, turn down to a simmer for 5 mins for a soft boiled egg, chill in cold water and put aside.

2.Add the smoked haddock, nutmeg and bay leaf to the milk and place in a water bath for 25 mins at 45C – if not using a water bath place the ingredients in a saucepan and dinner for 5 mins.

3.Remove haddock and save both for later

4. Peel and chop 200g of potato and boil for 15-20 mins, once cooked gently mash.

5.Meanwhile finely dice shallots, garlic, leek, celery and carrot. Sauté in oil for 10-15 mins, season to taste.

6.Boil seasoned water and then add the eggs, turn down to a simmer for 5 mins for a soft boiled egg, chill in cold water and put aside.

7.Add the smoked haddock, nutmeg and bay leaf to the milk and place in a water bath for 25 mins at 45C – if not using a water bath place the ingredients in a saucepan and dinner for 5 mins.

8. Remove haddock and save both later.

9.Peel and chop 200g of potato and boil for 15-20 mins, once cooked gently mash.

10.Meanwhile finely dice shallots, garlic, leek, celery and carrot. Sauté in oil for 10-15 mins, season to taste.

11.Peel the boiled eggs and dust in seasoned flour.

12.When the casing mixture is cool delete the into 4 portions and wrap around wash egg enclosing it completely. Chill for at least one hour to ensure it keeps its shape.

13.In the meantime prepare your station to breadcrumb the eggs.

14.You will need three shallow trays, one for the seasoned flour, one for the beaten egg and one for the breadcrumbs.

15.Firstly take the encased eggs one. Y one and put into the seasoned flour, making sure it is well coated.

16.Shake off any access flour and pass the food into the beaten egg, again making sure it is well coated.

17.Shake off any access and finally pass the food into the breadcrumbs again making sure it’s well coated.

18.Tap the food firmly to ensure the breadcrumbs are well attached and remove the crumbs into a clean plate or tray.

19.Now deep fry the completed eggs at 160C until golden brown.

*collaborated post

Brita Marella Water Filter:Review

As a family we are all guilty of not drinking enough water.

I always make sure I have a large glass with a squeeze of lemon each morning and carry a bottle around with all day, but in reality this just scratches the surface of what I should really be consuming.

All baring Oscar the children are even worse and unless the water is of the flavoured variety I find it really hard to get them to drink it.

Drinking water has so many benefits from increasing energy to improving your skin, boosting your immune system and flushing out toxins and all the best thing of all its FREE!

Tap water however doesn’t always give you the best tasting water and here is where Brita and their water filters can come into play.

I was asked to try out their Marella Water Filter to see how we liked it.

A water filter is something I’ve never considered using before as I wasn’t sure that it could really make that much difference to the quality of the water, but after just one glass from the Brita water filter my mind was changed, even my teen was highly impressed and said he much preferred the taste.

This is due to the filter in the jug reducing any limescale or chlorine giving it a fresher, more natural taste and smell.

The jug itself is extremely easy to fill due to its flip top lid which also holds an ingenious panel that lets you know when the cartridge needs changing.

The modern and sleek design would look good in any kitchen and easily fits inside any fridge door making it easily accessible for all the family.

It has certainly been a welcome addition to our kitchen and has encouraged me to drink more due to it being right in front of my eyes as soon as I open the fridge and the novelty factor of being able to fill the jug has certainly worked wonders with the children they now love a glass of their ‘special’ water!

Do you drink enough water?

Do you have any top tips on staying well hydrated?
*collaborated post

Foraging For Fruit With Fruit Shoot

We are well into the summer holidays now and I’m sure that I’m not the only one that is finding it tricky to find activities to keep the little ones entertained without spending a small fortune.

For those of you that are regular readers of my blog will know that I am a huge fan of getting outside and letting the children run wild in the open air.

We have such immense beauty all around us and for me it is hugely important to let children explore this and use their imaginations without the use of technology which can so often get in the way.

One thing I’ve not thought much about doing though is using my time outside to forage as a family, so when Fruit Shoot set me the challenge to do some foraging as a family I was extremely interested in giving it a go!

For those of you that don’t know what foraging is, it is basically searching for wild food.

It’s always something that has interested me but I have also been a little apprehensive as I have always feared my lack of knowledge would lead me to eating something I shouldn’t!

I took note of these top tips from foraging expert Fergus Drennan before heading out which really put my mind at ease:

  • Before setting out in any foraging expedition remember to make sure you know they the fruits you will be looking out for. Never pick and eat anything if you’re not sure what it is – some plants are poisonous and can make you ill.
  • There is no dress code for foraging, you could wrap up in thermals or wear practical things like waterproofs and wellies. Don’t let wing and rain put you off, it’s all part of the elemental experience! Foraging can get a little messy, so it’s probably not a great idea to wear your best shoes.
  • Avoid collie ting all the fruit you can see as other creature rely on them for food too. Blackbirds and pigeons absolutely adore ripe mahonia berries and young foxes will eat fruit such as cherry plums!
  • Collect seeds and plant them to help you identify plants. You could even create a dedicated wild food plant area in your garden or pots of the garden is small.
  • It is also worth checking which plants are rare, threatened or protected by law (even if they are edible) in The Wildlife and Countryside Act. The Woodland Trust also has great tips and advice for foraging. 

Armed with our pocket book which would hopefully give us some tips we headed off in search of some free food.


We searched high and low and found some mushrooms which I still wasn’t brave enough to pick and some beautifully juicy blackberries that the boys were more than happy to gather.

All this foraging was thirsty work so we sat back and grabbed a Fruit Shoot whist chatting about what fruit combinations would be their favourite if they could pick some flavours for themselves out of fruit they could find.

Frankie decided on watermelon and strawberries, although I’m not sure we are going to be able to find any watermelon locally to us though!

All of this fruit picking got me thinking about what we could do with our stash and I think there is going to be some jam making coming in the next few weeks so keep an eye out!

*collaborated post

Everdine:Healthy Eating Straight To Your Door

We are halfway through the year now and I’m sure that the majority of those healthy eating resolutions fell by the wayside months ago.

I know that mine have been pretty on and off and I have to say that aside from my terrible lack of willpower a large part of me failing is due to lack of preparation and misjudgement of portion sizes.

Being on the go continually means that sometimes I don’t get myself together enough to prepare a healthy, home cooked meal and I find myself reaching into the freezer for the old faithful nuggets and chips.

Don’t get me wrong the children are always over the moon when this happens but is really not good for my waistline and tends to then lead to the whole ‘well I’ve eaten badly so I will carry on’ attitude and before I know out I’ve packed away a whole pack of biscuits!

What I need is something nutritious and filling that I can prepare in a short space of time, so when Everdine got in touch with me to try out their home delivery meal service I was egar to find out how they would measure up.

Their healthy and nutrious meals are created by Mitchelin star chefs who go to great lengths to prepare gourmet meals that can be stored in the freezer to take out as and when needed and ready in around 10 mins.

You simply need to choose from a 8 or 12 meal option that can be delivered weekly or monthly and your delivery arrives to your door in a sheep’s wool instillation to make sure it as perfect as possible for you.

 

I had a mixture of classic and vegetarian options from things such as pulled beef ragu spaghetti and paneer of sweet potato kofte biryini to rainbow vegetable pad Thai and Cajun blackened salmon.


I’m ordinarily not a fan of microwave meals as they are full of rubbish and you end up with an unrecognisable lump that you need to pour into the plate.

Everdine meals however are full of flavour, and beautifully presented. They are in fact the closest to home cooked I have ever seen in a ready meal.

They were packed full or flavour and were surprisingly filling with a burst of flavour in each mouthful.


I used my meals over the course of a couple of weeks and stuck to healthy meals for the rest of the time plus regular exercise and managed to loose just over half a stone.

At just over £6 a meal I will certainly be keeping a stock of these in the freezer for those last minute meals in a bid to keep this weight loss up.

*I was given these meals for the purpose of this review and they are all my own, honest opinions.

Keeping Kids Hydrated With Fruit Shoot Hydro

Children are like sponges, they soak up everything around them and retain every bit of information they pick up.

So for me this is why it is super important to try and let them experience as many different things as possible at a young age so that they can find things they are passionate about and hopefully take that with them into their adult life.

Robinsons Fruit Shoot are currently running a campaign called #itsmything that is encouraging real kids to celebrate what they are passionate about and through this allow them to channel their creativity and individuality.

To support this fantastic campaign I took my super individual child Izzy along to Castle Climbing in Hackney where Fruit Shoot had put on a fantastic event allowing the children to take part in a 90 minute session of climbing to get them active and try something new.


Izzy is by far my most individual child who will always buck the trend if it is something she feels passionate about is truly a free spirit.

As she approaching those akward teen years it is important for me to keep that zest for life going and hope that peer pressure doesn’t steer her away from trying new experiences.

Izzy confidently set to the challenge of the climbing wall and was happy to have meet up with a friend that she has made through the wonderful world of blogging whilst I went outside to listen to a talk from the highly knowledgable dietitian Jo Travers.


Of course all this fun and exercise is fantastic for young bodies and minds but we need to be aware that it can take a toll on their growing bodies and one of the most important things we can do to keep their bodies and mind fit and active is to keep them hydrated.

For me this a no mean feat and aside from my youngest who guzzles litres of water a day, hydrating the others…especially Izzy is a constant challenge and something as bad as it is I often forget to do!

I took away so much from Jo’s session and it is now my mission to keep us all as a family more hydrated.

Here are a few of Jo’s top tips on keeping your kids hydrated:

The choice of drinks is always a constant battle in our house, especially with the older children who are easily lured towards the unhealthy fizzy drinks as let’s be honest water doesn’t have a great appeal when there are so many other drinks with more flavour readily available.

This is where the clever people from Fruit Shoot have come up with Fruit Shoot Hydro that has all the goodness of water with a hint of flavouring making it much more appealable to youngsters.

It is a naturally flavours spring water with no sugar of artificial colours and comes in a handy sized bottle with a resealable cap, making it perfect for kids on the go.

With my mind buzzing with all this new information I was going to take home and hopefully implement with my family and Izzy warn out and super hyped after her climbing adventure there was a chance to have a delicious lunch and of course sample some of the Fruit Shoot Hydro.

My water dodging daugher was extremely impressed with the flavour and even went back for a second bottle which is pretty much unheard of.

Full up and hydrated our afternoon was bought to an end and we set off home with a fantastic goodie bag full of great stuff to keep Izzy active and a voucher to try out Go Ape which be fantastic in her bid to keep the #itsmything challenge going for that bit longer!

*collaborated post

Vegetable Broth With Ginger And Chilli Meatballs 

My life sometimes seems to be filled with me wondering what I am going to cook for the family, and most importantly when I do are they all going to eat it!

I can count on one hand how many meals I prepare that please them all, but eating out is always a different matter.

One of our favourites is Wagamamma and what I love about this restaurant is their use of fresh and healthy ingredients that also taste great.

I timidly tried to do my own take on this with a mildly spicy broth filled with rice noodles and tasty meatballs.

If you want to have a go yourself then take a look at my super easy recipe. It is also free from most major allergens so great for my little allergy boy.

Vegetable Broth With Ginger And Chilli Meatballs


  • 450g minced chicken
  • 225g rice noodles
  • 3 pak choi
  • 8 spring onions 
  • 2 cloves crushed garlic
  • 400ml vegetable broth 
  • 1 tbsp wheat free soy sauce
  • 2 tbsps grated ginger
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp grated lemongrass 
  1. Place the chicken into a large bowl and then with you’re hands mix in the garlic, ginger, lemongrass, half the spring onions and half the chilli flakes.
  2. Roll into balls that are about 3cm in diameter and place into a hot pan to cook for around 10mins, turning occasionally.
  3. While the meatball are cooking I a large pan lightly fry the pak choi and remaining spring onions for a couple of mins.
  4. Add to this the broth, soy sauce and remaining chilli flakes and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce the heat and add the rice noodle and meatballs and simmer for a further five minutes.
  6. This will now all be ready to serve in deep bowls…with chopsticks if you are brave enough!