Friday, 9 August 2013

Thank you

I would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has supported this blog over the past two and a bit years.  We have recently moved to and hope that you will all join us to continue our adventures.

Thank you!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

3rd Birthday Invitations from Paper Shaker

Incredibly, my little boy turns three at the end of September; a milestone that definitively ends the baby and toddler days.

My baby boy is now a preschooler.

To mark this very special birthday, I am hoping to throw a party to remember.  I am looking at bouncy castles and games and entertaining both messy and soft play ideas at the moment. The venue is booked and now, thanks to Paper Shaker, the invitations are ready to be sent out.

PaperShaker is dedicated to helping you create truly unique products to celebrate and share life’s most memorable moments. Passionate about what we do we’ve woven high-end design, quality and customer service into the heart of our brand – ensuring you receive professional products to be proud of.

To make the super cute invites, James and I took a special photo of Sonny for the face:

I opted for the simplicity of the landscape photo card, though there are 72 gorgeous designs to choose from in total.  Prices vary and start at £0.65 per card; the design I chose costs £0.99 per invite, which includes envelopes.  The entire back of the photo card was available to write party details on, which was very handy as I needed to include the full address of the venue as well as the date and time of the party.

Using the Paper Shaker website could not be simpler; everything is set out nicely and all features are detailed.  Paper Shaker pride themselves on next day dispatch (if ordered before 2pm), which is an excellent service to provide.  I ordered our invitations on Thursday evening and they arrived this morning (Saturday).  I must admit, they are smaller than I had envisaged but, after a second look, the size is clearly labelled on the page.

Paper Shaker not only cater for the kids' party market but also cover adult party invitations, birth announcements and all things wedding.  There are lots of lovely designs; I particularly like the save the date cards and hopefully will have a reason to revisit their page in the not too distant future!

I was provided with £25 credit for the Paper Shaker website for the purposes of this review.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Roasted red pepper fritatta

Continuing on my quest to make interesting vegetarian food, I made this fritatta. I sliced and then roasted two red (and two green) peppers in olive oil at 150 degrees for an hour.  Next, I emptied the contents of six eggs into a jug with half a cup of milk and a handful of grated cheese before whisking.  I stirred in the roasted peppers and poured the mixture into a hot frying pan before leaving to cook for five minutes.  To finish off the cooking process, I sprinkled more cheese on top and placed under a hot grill for 90 seconds.

Et voila - fritatta.

I have since seen the fritatta described as "crustless quiche" and would definitely feel more confident in adding further ingredients next time.  Caramelised red onion would work wonderfully as would bacon, although the latter is, clearly, not vegetarian.

Next up on my vegetarian adventure?  How to make a decent vegetarian Sunday roast.  I am, as yet, still unconvinced that this is even possible.

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Tagliatelle in a creamy mushroom and courgette sauce

Since James was returned to me in a new, vegetarian form, I have been trying to modify my meal-planning.  I rarely buy meat at all any more.  Between the veggie and the non-eater, the reasons not to suddenly outweigh any reason to.  Yet vegetarian cooking baffles me, somewhat.  I don't get fully-formed recipes jumping out at me.  When it comes to planning dinner, I immediately entertain a dozen variations of pasta bake, and then I'm stumped.  Every other idea contains some kind of meat.  But this has to stop.  Vegetarian food doesn't have to be boring, does it?

I went shopping today, bought vegetables and meditated on it . A mushroom sauce sounded interesting; a welcome change from tomato at least.  Then I added courgette to the mushroom idea and resorted to Google.  The recipes I found all contained pasta so I decided upon tagliatelle but with a proper sauce.

To make this dish, I used six small bundles of tagliatelle, one garlic clove, chopped, two medium courgettes, grated, 2/3 of a packet of button mushrooms, quartered, black pepper, chives, butter, flour, milk and a handful of grated cheese.

Frankly, when I started cooking this evening, I had no real idea what dinner would become.  It could have easily ended badly.  I began by frying the mushrooms, garlic and courgette in olive oil until soft and golden then added a scoop of butter and a large spoonful of flour.  Once combined, I added milk.  At this point, I had a feeling it could go either way.  I wasn't following a recipe nor making a sauce the way I had been taught; just using instinct.  Thankfully, it seemed to go well.  Unfortunately, I have no idea how much milk I used, just that I stopped pouring when it looked right.  Finally, I added the pepper and chives before sprinkling over the cheese and leaving to thicken for 2-3 minutes.  Meanwhile, I cooked the tagliatelle as per the packet instructions and stirred it into the sauce before serving.

I received vegetarian compliments.

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