Weekend Highlights – Spray Painting, Bike Riding & Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with Recipe!)

Hi everyone! I hope you had a great weekend ūüôā

We managed to fit in lots of fun activities this weekend, starting off with a trip to the library on Saturday morning where¬†Lil’ L returned his¬†book¬†and came out with another seven! You can guess who ended up carrying those round Bath. Luckily he had lots of books to keep him occupied while we went for coffees in Neros ūüėČ

I’m still getting a real kick out of how much Lil’ L is enjoying reading.¬† In addition to the library books, he’s also currently reading a chapter of Lemony Snicket¬†to us every night and, on his own, he’s reading Philip Pullman’s ‘The Subtle Knife’ (both books that he picked up from the charity shop for a couple of pounds each).

In the afternoon, after a quick visit to a local village fete, Lil’ L and his friend T did some stencilling and spray art with M¬†in our garage.

T did a space-inspired picture, while Lil’ L sprayed an underwater scene with a scary looking fish!

On Sunday, it actually stopped raining for a few hours and the sun came out. We decided to grab the opportunity to go out for a bike ride along the Kennet & Avon Canal.

To make it more interesting for Lil’ L, we said we’d cycle to the Angel Fish Cafe at Limpley Stoke for lunch.¬† That sure got him moving!

Both the boys fancied baked beans on toast¬†but we were surprised to find that the Cafe only served white bread. No wholemeal, no granary, no seeded bread.¬† That’s no good!¬†Bike riders need big chunky¬†doorsteps of wholemeal granary bread to refuel them, not thin anaemic white slices ūüėČ

Lil’ L asked if he could have an ice cream for dessert. I told him he could have one at the Canal Boat Cafe in Bathampton (back where we started our journey). This was a sneaky move on my part to make sure he peddled fast rather than dawdled all the way back. It sure worked ūüėČ

We’ve had an unbelievable amount of rain lately but, on the plus side, the countryside is looking beautifully lush and green!

The muddy bike bottom really isn’t a good look is it? I’m so glad I’ve finally had mudguards fitted to my bike.

The face was pretty muddy too (and chocolatey!)

And look at those legs!

Back home, Lil’ L headed straight to the shower while I made the most of our sunshine and did a little gardening. I was amazed to find that we’ve actually managed to grow some¬†strawberries that haven’t been eaten by a slug … or snail …¬†or blackbird!

And look what else I came across… a beautiful shimmering blue damselfly taking refuge on Buddha ūüôā

He stayed there for ages!

After a great day out, I cooked us a large pan of roasted squash and red pepper risotto. It was very yummy indeed. Unfortunately, Lil’ L isn’t a huge fan of risotto (he isn’t keen on the texture of Arborio¬†rice) but I pre-empted any negative comments by serving it with some toasted wholegrain tortilla segments. He then proceeded to tuck in with enthusiasm, piling the crispy tortilla high with the risotto, and ate every last grain!

I often find that the addition of a ‘bready’ side dish, like a flat bread, tortilla, or piece of garlic bread can transform a meal for Lil L. I wonder if this is the same for all children?

At the weekend, I made the risotto¬†with an old packet of¬†Arborio¬†rice that needed using up. Next time I make the risotto, I’m going to try the Riso Gallo 3 Grains Risotto Rice which consists of Italian Rice, Spelt and Pearl Barley. As this rice contains wholegrains, it will have a lower GI than regular white risotto rice, as well as other nutrients such as Iron and B Vitamins.

With the butternut squash and red pepper pieces, our risotto did look quite pretty. I also added some peas to add more colour and lovely nutrients ūüôā

Here’s how I made it:


Roasted Butternut Squash and Red Pepper Risotto

Serves 4
Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 25 minutes

3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, crushed
350g / 12¬Ĺ oz / 1¬ĺ cups of Arborio¬†rice (or wholegrain equivalent)
1 litre (1¬ĺ pints) hot vegetable stock
300g / 10¬Ĺ oz / 2 cups butternut squash, cut into small slices or cubes
1 red bell pepper, chopped
60g / 2oz / ¬Ĺ cup peas
27g /¬†1oz / ¬ľ cup sliced almonds, lightly toasted


  1. Preheat the oven to 200C / 400F / Gas 6.
  2. Place the butternut squash, red pepper, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 cloves of crushed garlic in a roasting tin and mix well. Roast for 25 minutes or so, until the vegetables are cooked.
  3. Gently heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion and 2 remaining crushed garlic cloves, and sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice and mix well to coat it in the oil.
  4. Now you have a choice… you can add the stock the¬†authentic¬†way … one ladleful at a time,¬†waiting for the liquid to be absorbed before adding the next ladleful … or you can do what I do… which is simply to pour all the stock in at once, bring¬†it to the boil then cover it and gently simmer over a low heat for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes I stir¬†in the peas and continue cooking for another 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally until the rice is tender. I’m sure the ‘authentic’ way is the best way to cook risotto,¬†but I find that pouring in all the stock at once¬†works fine for us.¬†The risotto turns out¬†creamy with a little¬†‘bite’, just how risotto should be. Anyway, please¬†choose whichever method¬†suits you best ūüėČ
  5. Once the rice is cooked, mix in the roasted butternut squash and pepper pieces. Serve in warm bowls with a garnish of toasted almonds.
  6. This risotto is delicious served on its own, or with segments of toasted tortilla.


Have¬†a great week everyone! ūüôā xx

This time last year… Glastonbury!

6 thoughts on “Weekend Highlights – Spray Painting, Bike Riding & Roasted Vegetable Risotto (with Recipe!)

  1. Sometimes we parents need a few “tricks” to put our kids in the right direction. I particularly favor your ice cream at the end of the ride, although sorry to hear lunch didn’t have the right bread (I find I don’t like white bread at all…I would much rather have something to chew on like seeds or grains).
    You idea of dipping the risotto is brilliant. I know my daughter Caroline likes to dip a lot of things and often results in her eating more dinner than if I had fought the urge for her to have some chips or what not.
    Looks like, even with the mud, that you had a wonderful weekend. It must just be splendid to be able to bike around town. Here in Greensboro you have to use a car to get every where and it often deters me from wanting to go places because I would rather be out in the fresh air.
    Anyway this is a rather long comment, so I will cut it off here. I hope you have a wonderful Monday Sharon and I look forward to your next post.

    1. Such a shame that you can’t cycle where you are. I sold my car a few years ago, so cycling is one of my main modes of transport these days. I find cycling really liberating. If I need to pop to the shops (like I did this morning), I just hop on the bike. It’s often quicker than driving, plus I get the benefits of fresh air, free parking and a bit of a cardiovascular workout. It also stops me spending too much as I can only fit a few items in my backpack ūüėČ

  2. Kennet and Avon Canal looks great if I may say so myself! And I love the view of the wooded hillside (and I know there are some great mountain bike tracks hidden between the trees…). Enjoy your strawberries.

  3. Lovely risotto rice! I love to thrown some buckwheat in once the plain arborio rice has been cooking enough. i am a big fan of different textures and taste so the buckwheat always works great in anything for me! baked beans and white bread is the standard i suppose, a lot of people would say it does not taste nice with other bread because the white soaks up the liquid the best. I guess again its more of a texture thatn taste and health thing ūüôā
    would love to go on such a beautiful bike ride! looks amazinG!

    1. That’s such a great idea about throwing some buckwheat into the risotto. Buckwheat’s a complete protein, so that would give the risotto a protein boost too. Thanks for the tip Alexia!

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