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.

Making Snack Time Healthy With Sweetpea Pantry

We are all back into the swing of things as far as the school run goes here and all the good intentions of wholesome packed lunches and after school snacks have been wavering a little.

The kids are coming home with untouched food in their pack lunches and with the stress of trying to juggle everything after school we have been reaching for the crisps and biscuits a little to often of late.

What I need is something that takes as little time to prepare as possible, is healthy and nutritious but appealing to the kids.

This is a big wish list but luckily enough our favourite baking mixes Sweetpea Pantry have come to our rescue with their scrumptious carrot cupcake mix and their super-duper brownie mix.

We are big fans of their ginger giggles biscuit mix and the playful pizza dough mix already and were eager to try out these new additions.

For me it’s really important to get the children involved in the whole process of preparing their food as I strongly believe this goes a long way to make them more inclined to try new things and gives them a real sense of achievement.

The preparation of both these mixes was so quick and easy – in fact the whole process is complete in less than 30 mins.

There was the addition of few simple store cupboard ingredients such as oil, honey and eggs all mixed together with the packet mix that is then transferred into cake cases or tins, baked for around 15 mins and is then ready to eat.

Each mix is packed full of nutritious ingredients and yummy whole grains whilst leaving all the nasty refined sugars and artificial colours and flavourings out.

The super chocolatey brownies where a great hit after school when the kids are crying out for something sweet really quickly.

The cupcakes were moist and fruity and the perfect size for packed lunch boxes.

These mixes are so easy to tuck away in the cupboard and just grab as and when you need them so what is not to love.

*collaborated post

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

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!

Quorn Chilli Dogs

Hot dogs are always something that most children will eat and are so quick and easy to prepare.

I decided using a couple of great Quorn products to create a vegetarian chilli dog that allows you to sneak a few veggies into one of their favourite foods.
Quorn Chilli Dogs

Serves 4


  • Pack Quorn sausages
  • Pack Quorn mince
  • 4 brioche hotdog buns
  • 1 chopped red onion
  • 3 chopped cloves of garlic
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 400g tin kidney beans
  • 1 chopped red pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 300ml water
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 2 tbsps tomato purée
  1. Pre heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6 and then begin to fry the onion and garlic in a large saucepan with a little olive oil for a few minutes until softened.
  2. Next add the red pepper and fry for a further couple of mins.
  3. Add to this the spices and and allow to release the flavours for a few minutes.
  4. Add the Quorn mince, tomatoes, tomato purée, kidney beans, stock cube, water and oregano and allow to simmer for 20 mins.
  5. Whist the chilli is cooking place the Quorn sausages into the oven for 15 mins.
  6. Once the sausages are cooked remove from the oven and place inside the brioche buns and top with the chilli.
  7. Serve with a portion of skinny fries and a mini corn on the cob.

Quorn, Broccoli And Leek Cheesy Bake

With a large family I love nothing more than a big dish that can be quickly popped into the oven and ready in a short time for us all to enjoy.

This dish was originally made with chicken, but I have easily replaced with Quorn pieces or steak strips and it tastes just as good, if not better!

Quorn, Broccoli And Leek Cheesy Bake

Serves Four


  • Pack Quorn steak strips
  • 2 medium sliced leeks
  • Head of broccoli cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 tbsps plain flour
  • 500ml milk
  • 60g butter
  • 125g cheddar cheese
  • 20g Parmesan cheese
  • 4 slices white bread
  • 1 tsp English mustard
  1. Preheat the oven to 200c/Gas Mark 6.  Place the broccoli florets into a pan of boiling water whilst lightly frying the sliced leeks in a little butter.
  2. Once the leeks are golden brown and the broccoli is slightly softened put to one side and prepare the cheese sauce.
  3. For the sauce melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Once melted whisk in the flour to make a roux.
  4. Remove the pan from the heat and slowly whisk in the milk.
  5. Place back on the heat to cook out the flour until it begins to bubble.
  6. Remove from the heat again and stir in the cheese and mustard.
  7.  Once the cheese has melted in add the Quorn slices, leeks and broccoli and mix well.
  8. Transfer to a deep dish and put to one side whist blitzing the slices of bread in a food processor to make breadcrumbs.
  9. Mix the Parmesan cheese into the breadcrumbs and sprinkle over the top of your mixture.
  10. Place into the oven and cook for 20 mins and serve with a big salad of your choice.

Melting Snowmen Christmas Presents

One of my favourite gifts to make at this time of year is chocolate bark. You can use a mixture of so many different  ingredients and it is completely up to you what combinations you choose.

This year I got a resounding ‘no’ when I suggested it again for teachers presents.

I took to the Internet and found a great recipe for melting snowman that I knew would change their mind.

All the recipes I found were American so lots of the ingredients were unavailable over here.

I managed to change things around a little and here is how we made them.


Melting Snowmen

  • 6x200g bars white chocolate with krispies
  • Small amount of orange royal icing 
  • Black sweet beads
  • Handful pretzels 
  • 10 rolos 
  • Shallow baking tray
  • Grease proof paper
  1. Break up the chocolate into a heat proof bowl and melt over a pan of boiling water.
  2. Line a baking tray with greasproof paper and spread the melted chocolate across the whole tray.
  3. Place a rolo side on into the chocolate to create a hat.
  4. Place on two black beads to make the eyes and three more for his buttons.
  5. Roll a small amount of icing to create a nose and place this on the chocolate too.
  6. Lastly break the pretzels into small strips and put onto the chocolate for the arms.
  7. Put the tray into the fridge and allow to harden for a few hours.
  8. Cut into sections and place into cellophane bags.