Monday, 23 June 2014

The 'Get Well Mama' Smoothie (TM)

Getting sick in the summer is rough. In Winter, we can cosy up under blankets, eat chicken noodle soup and feel less guilty about not being outside. 

The summer bug has indeed struck me down, and struck me hard, however I have managed to find a little ray of Hawaiian sunshine in it. The Get Well Mama Smoothie (TM). 

For one huge smoothie (or two middling ones) you will need: 

  • 5 large strawberries
  • A handful of blueberries
  • 1 ring of pineapple
  • 1 tbsp of coconut milk
  • 50ml milk
You can completely chop and change this depending on what you're craving. 

Step One: 
Go to the closest London fruit market, or preferably, send someone with a list to go for you. Get strawberries, blueberries and pineapple.

Step Two:
Put the strawberries and blueberries in the freezer for a few hours before you make it if you want a colder treat to bring down a temperature. 

Step Three:
Put the pineapple, coconut milk, strawberries, blueberries and milk in a blender. 

Step Four:
Whizz it. 

Step Five:
Drink it. 

This is one of the first smoothies I've made in ages and it was incredible, as well as being just what my bug needed in the London summer smog. 

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Colombian Arepas and Mango Salsa

I am part of a bi-culture family, Colomglish if you will, and one of the things I really love about that is trying/making foods from my husbands culture. 

Arepas are soft little corncakes and a staple food in Colombia. They are incredibly comforting, easy to make and of course, egg free. 

For approx 20 arepas you will need: 

  • 225g Cornflour 
  • A tablespoon of butter
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 generous hand fulls of cheddar cheese
  • A teaspoon of salt
  • Butter for frying
Step One: 
Shove the cornflour, cheese and salt in a bowl. 

Step Two:
Heat the milk until warm and the butter until melted, then pour them into the bowl with the dry ingredients. 

Step Three: 
Squash it all together with your hands until you've made a dough. 

Pre-cooked Arepas
Step Four:
Now shape your arepas! You can either do this with your hands or roll out the dough and use a cookie cutter. For these ones I did a mixture of free-form and stars for Chiquita.

Step Five:
Heat a teaspoon of butter in a pan. Cook the arepas for 3 minutes, then flip and do for another 3 minutes. 

Step Six: 
Serve warm with a dipping sauce such as this mango salsa (3 big tomatoes, 1 onion, 3/4 of a mango and some lime juice chopped and mixed together). 

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Seven ways not to get divorced during the World Cup.

This post is for anyone who, like me, has found themselves in a strictly one-football-fan family. 

Disclaimer: In no way may you sue me if you follow these steps and still get divorced. I am not the oracle. 
Make a genuine effort tomorrow for the opening ceremony. Get in some beer, buy some bunting, dress the kids up like idiots (if you don't have kids a dog will do). That way, for the rest of the event you will be able to retort 'What do you mean I don't care?! Don't you remember what I did for you on the opening night'? 
Yep...that's my baby...
Make brigadeiro (recipe to follow tomorrow). It is, essentially, incredible chocolate goo. Eat your feelings rather than bashing your other half over the head with them. 
Buy a vuvuzela. Who cares that you got the wrong year and the wrong world cup. You made an effort. 
When you are forced to sit through an entire match/ game/whatever it's called, fake a look of genuine interest by carefully rating each footballer based on their hair cut. 
3/10 for you...

When not with your football-fan partner, make every effort to avoid any talk of the beautiful game, so as to retain your sanity. 
A great antidote to having the Off-side rule patronisingly explained to you (someone once attempted to enlighten me on this with a chicken leg and some carrot sticks), is to plan your counter attack. What will you bore them with when it's all over? Plan it in great detail, indulge in their eventual  comeuppance. Not only is this practical, it will also make you look like you are smiling. 
Finally, remember it's only one month of your life every four years. You can survive it, your relationship can survive it. If at any moment you start to doubt this, watch back to back Oprah, and you will start to feel much better. Thank you Oprah. 
Photo Credit
Photo Credit

Monday, 9 June 2014

Eggless Carrot Muffins

With an accidental click of an Ocado button, this week we managed to buy three bags of carrots rather than three carrots. I've therefore been on a mission to use them all up before they turn into a bag of orange mush, at the bottom of the fridge. 

These eggless carrot breakfast muffins are delicious, moist and freeze well. There is quite a lot of goodness packed into them so when Chiquita is being extra fussy, I know these will get her appetite back, without me feeling guilty about it!

You will need...

Ingredients (for approx 18 muffins): 

  • 200g wholewheat self-raising flour
  • 85g oats
  • 110g dark brown sugar 
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 60ml Vegetable Oil
  • 250ml milk
  • 2 big tbsp's of natural yoghurt
  • 3 peeled and grated medium carrots
  • A generous handful of desiccated coconut

Step One: 

Put the flour, oats, sugar, coconut and baking powder into a big bowl and mix together. I always sieve the flour first as I don't have an electric whisk. 

Away, chubby fingers!

Step Two: 

Add in the vegetable oil, milk, yoghurt and carrot and stir until they are all very well blended. If it still looks dry, add some extra milk. They don't rise too much in the oven so some more liquid won't hurt. 

Step Three: 

Scoop the mixture into some cupcake liners, then sprinkle some coconut onto the top. 

Step Four:

Shove them in the oven at 180 degrees for twenty minutes. During this time, do the washing up, hoover the house, put away the washing and change a nappy one handed.

Step Five: 

Take them out of the oven, leave them on a plate to cool for about five minutes then shove at least 3 in your mouth before the kids get their sticky little fingers on them!

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Sweet potato, Chorizo and Applewood Quesadillas

In Quesadilla you were wondering (boom) I adore Mexican food and any food inspired by it or related to it. Quesadillas can be filled with almost anything and make a really great finger food for little hands. 


  • About 8 wraps
  • 2 medium sweet potatoes
  • A few generous hand fulls of Applewood cheese (cheddar will do just fine)
  • Chorizo slices 
  • Juice of half a lime
  • Pinch of pepper

Step One: 

Cut the sweet potato into chunks and boil it until really soft. 

Step Two:

Drain the water from the sweet potatoes, mash and add the lime juice and pepper. 

Step Three: 

On one half of a tortilla, spread the mash. Put the chorizo and cheese on top and then fold in half. 

Step Four: 

Heat a tiny bit of oil in a pan. I find myself way to generous with oil sometimes (shaky hand from too much coffee) so I put a bit on some kitchen roll and swoosh it around the pan. I did this before doing each batch with the same bit of kitchen roll. 

Step Five: 

Heat each quesadilla for about 2 mins on each side. It's probably easier to keep lifting it up with a spatula to check the colour rather than stick rigidly to the 2 min rule.

Step Six: 

Serve with lime and coriander rice and a little tomatoey side salad. Ponchos and sombreros are not required, but recommended.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Hello Sunshine

The sunshine hasn't abandoned us! After days of drizzle, soup and wet socks, in May no less, we have finally been granted some blue skies, bird song and vitamin D. Thank goodness. If I'd have gotten any more stereotypically British and moany about the weather my husband would have chucked me outside to sleep with the foxes. 

Trafalgar dunking
If you need inspiration for what to do now el sol has got his sombrero on, here are some of our all time, budget friendly , London faves 

Walk through Blackheath and Greenwich park. 

Both beautiful, leafy, family friendly and free! Blackheath is best for watching the kites (or flying them if your child is a raging adrenaline junkie unlike chiquita, who is afraid of the string) and Greenwich has an incredible play area for little people, including a huge sandpit. You can walk all the way through from one to the other and into a village on either end. Personally, I prefer to end in Blackheath. It is a little less hectic (just don't bother attempting Greenwich market if you have a pram) and there are lots of cafes with outdoor space. 

Do the Southbank

Southbank is another great walk and sit in the sun day. Loads of street performers and confused tourists to mock. Make sure you walk through the food market at the back of the Southbank Centre if you've got some pennies. The smell is incredible! 

Mudchute city farm

One of the best city farms in my opinion. A friend of mine, who has no children and doesn't particularly like animals, goes there for the English breakfast alone! Oh, and of course, it's completely free (the enjoyment of the animals...not the breakfast). 

Not actually Mudchute...but you get the idea!

Make banana icecream

I'm sure you've seen this on pinterest before. In case you haven't, all you need to do is cut up a banana, freeze it, take it out and whizz it in whatever whizzing tool you have. It is delicious and just like soft scoop ice cream, plus you won't feel bad about passing down your love of Jerry and Ben to your offspring. You can also add some peanut butter if you fancy. 

Frozen grapes

Literally, just take some red grapes and shove them in the freezer. When they are super cold, pop 'em in your mouth. Yum. 

Find a friend/relative with a garden and convince them to have a BBQ. 

If you don't have any garden space, as if often the case in London, make sure you harangue a friend or family member who has. Say you'll bring banana could they resist? 

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

New Shoes?!

Little people have little feet. Very little feet which need love, care and super fabulous shoes. Bring on Livie and Luca's incredible Zebras. 

Oh hello Zebras!

So I like shoes and tend to buy them with three main criteria: 

  • Do they need to be smart or casual? 
  • Do they make my feet look smaller than they actually are? 
  • Do they let the rain in... 
Oh, and are they are under £20. As you can imagine, I do not own Louboutins or Choo's (isn't that what a train says?) and frankly don't care that much. But for Chiquita and Gordito, it's different. 

Dunk in Trafalgar Square fountain.

And so, when I am buying shoes for baby paws I have a slightly different set of criteria:

  • How soft they are. If they are hard they are not good for growing toes. 
  • How light they are. You wouldn't strap a brick to your kids foot, would you? 
  • How adorable they are. There is a very limited window of 'wearing animal adornment and looking great in it'. We need to take advantage of this before our kids are too old to voice an opinion.
Look at the mane!

I got Chiquita's new pair from Happy Little Soles, a great website (and shop if you happen to live in Cornwall) that sells Barefoot shoes. Far more expensive than what I'd spend on myself, but oh so worth it. 

Let me know if you use Happy Little Soles!