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Date Nights

The best kind of evening.

L, me, cooking together, wine, music, a good film, time …

That’s what I call a good date night!

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We cooked a favourite of ours – Jambalaya – and enjoyed some white wine.

Does anyone else think there’s something a bit special about drinking a glass of wine while cooking?!

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The Jambalaya was delicious (just as we knew it would be, but still good to note … 😉 ) and then we watched the second half of the latest Sherlock Holmes film.

We’ve watched it before, but we’re kind of Sherlock Holmes fans …

Ahhh, now that was a lovely evening!

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Games Night!

L bought me a board game for my birthday!

One that was fun to play with just the two of us. Enter Smallworld.

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I love the fact that my husband, knowing we both enjoy board games, suggested we find one that would work well when it was just the two of us playing – a gift of fun and a gift of time.

This particular game you can play with up to five people, so to learn the rules and have some fun, tonight we invited round some friends and got stuck in!

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I love having people round at our home, feeding them yummy snacks, giving them a good time and playing a stonking good game!!

Thank you for a wonderful birthday present L!

Forest School!

In September I was thrilled to be asked to help out with a local forest school for pre-schoolers!

I’d been hearing about it since March, as a friend of mine, C,  was going along and helping to look after a mutual friend’s (M) little girl while said mutual friend was running the sessions. It sounded like lots of fun! Maybe I was a tiny little bit jealous … 😉

C and her husband have just adopted a gorgeous little one of their own, so I now get to go along with M’s awesome girl G!

Both little G and forest school are amazing and so much fun!

Here are two things I’ve made while helping (playing) at toddler forest school …

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A couple of weeks ago we painted pictures with mud and blackberries – I got more messy then G, who did a nice picture of “splotches”! 🙂 Just in case you can’t tell what my masterpiece is, this is an owl. One mum told her toddler it was a pussy cat …

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This last week we made mud sculptures – so many good opportunities to get messy in the name of learning!! 😉

I decided to make a mud-face on a tree – I set out to make a rabbit but quickly decided I was making a moose!! 😛

One dad and his kid made this incredible dog, complete with lead, eyes, tail … dad worked hard to conceal his disappointment when kid insisted on taking dog for a walk … bye-bye dog sculpture!

I love being out in the woods and fresh air with lots of little people who treat every new find of an acorn or a mud puddle as an incredible discovery! The joy on one little girl’s face when she got completely covered in mud, head to toe, after stomping and splashing around in lots of gooey, messy, brilliant mud!! 🙂

Now I just need to work out a good excuse for how come I couldn’t avoid stomping in the mud and I’ll be a happy girl!! 😉

Sausage, Leek and Cider Casserole

I got asked today if I post recipes on my blog. I said no, because I tend to add a bit of this and a bit of that without measuring it properly. It got me to thinking … I love hearing about other people’s food and flavour combinations and having a go for myself, so maybe you might like to do the same with my creations? Anyway, I thought I would post a few of my recipes from time to time, so let me know if you like it or if you’d rather I went back to my culinary ambiguity! 😉

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Sausage, Leek and Cider Casserole

1 good dessertspoonful of butter or margarine and/or a good dollop of olive oil

2 medium-to-large onions, chopped,

3 big garlic cloves, crushed or chopped (or to taste)

8 sausages, cut in half (I use kitchen scissors!) – I used Cumberland (peppery) pork sausages, but you could use any flavour or type of meat you like – or veggie!

2 regular/1 massive sized carrot/s, cut in half-rings

2-3 sticks celery, chopped

2-3 leeks, cut into large, chunky, whole rings

2 heaped tbsp plain/all-purpose flour

1 regular sized bottle of dry cider – about 500ml

2 heaped tbsp tomato puree

2 overflowing tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (if you can’t get that, try some vinegar and/or mustard)

1 scant tbsp brown or muscavado sugar

150-300ml/as needed hot stock (I used a chicken stock cube)

1 heaped tsp of dried thyme, oregano and sage, or other herbs to taste

Salt and ground black pepper to taste

1-2 bay leaves

1 tbsp lemon concentrate (bottled lemon juice) optional

  1. Fry onion in butter/oil for about 5 mins, till slightly translucent, add garlic and cook for another 3-5 mins.
  2. Add halved sausages and fry until nicely browned, but make sure onions aren’t burning.
  3. Add carrots and celery and fry for 5-10 mins, then add leeks and fry for another 10 -15 mins or until all veg very slightly softened/just look right!
  4. Add flour and stir, cooking for 2 mins, until all flour well mixed.
  5. Add cider and mix until the cider has combined to make a sauce, along with extra stock.
  6. Add all the rest of the ingredients except lemon juice, bring to a boil and then turn down to simmering, with a lid on.
  7. Leave to simmer for about 40 mins, stirring occasionally (or if you’re like me – as few times as you can resist! 😉 ) or until veg are cooked to liking.
  8. Add lemon juice and adjusting seasoning towards end.
  9. If needed, remove lid and simmer until your desired stew/casserole consistency has been reached.

The first time I served this in a bowl with boiled new potatoes and crusty white bread, but I have also served with mashed potato and fresh veg, or baked in a pastry pie in the oven. I would also serve this with rice.

For me, this made 3 man-size (or 3 regular and 3 small) portions and freezes really well.

I hope you enjoy! 🙂

Autumn is here because …

I put on a pair of fluffy slipper socks tonight.

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I cooked this Sausage, Leek and Cider Stew last night.

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I cuddled up in my slanket this week for the first time since the spring.

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My laundry is taking twice as long to dry as it did a matter of weeks ago.

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I’m wearing my well-loved monkey slippers around the house.

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I’ve dug my long socks out from the bottom of my drawer … and remembered why I thought I needed to buy some new ones!

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My head is starting to buz with thoughts about starting on homemade Christmas presents.

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My strippy hat has been reinstated as a daily fashion essential – I don’t think it’s actually that fashionable, but I’m wearing it regardless! 😉

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It’s less then a month until my birthday.

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Oh yeah, did I mention something about the arrival of cold weather?! 😉

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