Mothering Sunday, a Visit to Lacock and a delicious Veggie Korma!

Hi everyone!  Hope you’re having a great week so far!

For this week’s WIAW party, I’d like to share our eats from last Sunday, which was Mother’s Day here in the UK.  According to the results of a nationwide survey, what most mothers really want on Mothering Sunday is a lie-in and a home-made card.  Well, I can happily report that I got both, so I was one very happy mum indeed! 🙂

Check out what Lil’ L wrote inside the card.  It’s really sweet (and amusing)!  People that know me will laugh at pretty much all the qualities he listed, especially the last one!  The only one I can relate to myself is no 3.  Isn’t it wonderful though that, at the age of 8, our kids still think of us as superstars!  I wonder how long that will last!

Last weekend, M’s parents came to stay, so Mother’s Day was doubly special.  After our lovely lie-ins with cups of tea and coffee, we all opted to have different breakfasts.  Cereals and home-made pecan & maple nut granola for M’s mum and dad, porridge for M, and pancakes for me & Lil’ L.  However, when M saw how nice the the pancakes looked, he decided that he’d like some as well.  Luckily, I’d made a huge batch so we had a couple spare 😉

This Sunday, we had blueberry pancakes (recipe here) made with the new Alpro Almond Milk (delicious!),  topped with organic strawberries, pecan nuts, ground linseed and a drizzle of agave syrup.  Both Waitrose & Tesco are selling organic strawberries half price at the moment and they are super sweet and totally scrummy!

Lil’ L was put out at first when he saw the strawberries on top, but he was willing to give them a try, with the response “I’ll give anything a try if it’s on top of a pancake”.  I must remember this 😉

He ended up eating the whole lot, which is fantastic for this former fruit dodger.  That’s another fruit to cross off the ‘won’t try/don’t like’ list 🙂

After breakfast, we went to visit Lacock, a village in Wiltshire just a few miles from where we live.  This ancient village is a pretty special place, and has the most incredible old houses.

Lacock Village High Street (c) Ian Petticrew

It’s been used as the backdrop for a number of films and TV series, including Cranford and Pride & Prejudice.  Lacock Abbey is also the setting for a number of the interior shots in the Harry Potter films.

Lacock Village (c) Pam Brophy

On Sunday, there were lots of little craft shops open for us to browse, as well as a craft fayre in the village hall.  For lunch, we stopped at the village bakery for a delicious veggie pastie.

Lacock Bakery (c) Jonathan Billinger

We had a lovely afternoon at the village and are planning to return in early summer with M’s parents to visit the Abbey and its grounds.  From the photos I’ve seen on the web, it looks absolutely stunning!

Lacock Abbey (c) Gary Brothwell

For dinner, we had leftovers from Saturday night’s meal, which had been so delicious that we didn’t mind eating it on two consecutive nights.  We had veggie korma, coconut dhal with butternut squash, brown rice, chapattis (made by M!), and mini poppadoms.

The veggie curry was really well received by M’s parents, which was a relief as I often wonder whether M, L and I have different taste buds to people that eat ‘typical’ Western diets.  I think veggie curry is a great dish to serve when you have guests (whether they’re veggie or meat eaters) for these reasons…

  • With the simple addition of chapattis, poppadoms, naan breads, the curry can turn into a delicious feast.
  • Pretty much everyone I know loves curry, and as long as you don’t make it too hot, then it’s fine for the children too.  When Lil’ L was younger, I simply used to roughly blend the veggies so that they were less chunky and blended into the korma sauce.
  • The dishes can be prepared in advance (big advantage in my book as I don’t want to be slaving in the kitchen when we have guests!)  The dishes can even be prepared the day before and simply heated through on the stove.

The veggie korma we made on Saturday included my all-time favourite combination of veggies for curries.  It’s quick and incredibly simple to make.  Here’s the recipe:

For dessert, we had mango hedgehogs 🙂

So that’s what we ate on Mothering Sunday.  We didn’t go out to a restaurant and pay the inflated Mother’s Day prices, but instead we stayed in and ate one of the tastiest Indian meals I’ve ever had 🙂

It’s now time for me to pop over to Jenn’s site and check out all the delicious WIAW entries.  A big thank you to Jenn for hosting this great foodie party and for all the inspiration for new eats.

I’d love some more ideas for dishes to serve for a mix of veggie and non-veggie guests.  I often end up serving veggie lasagna, Mexican burritos/ fajitas/ enchiladas, or veggie curry.  What dishes would you recommend?  I’d love to hear your ideas and please do send links to recipes if you have them.

Happy Wednesday everyone! xx



WIAW – I’ll Bring the Spinach & Cashew Pesto Pasta & Sun-Dried Tomato Humous (with recipe!)

Hi Everyone! I hope you’re having a great week so far!

I’ve just got back from another wonderful afternoon with my meditating kids 🙂  Some of these children have only been meditating for 3 weeks, but they’re already so good at it!  I’m sure some of them will be meditation masters by the time they’re 10 😉  

The object of today’s meditation was to teach them a method to calm themselves down whenever they feel negative emotions, like anger, starting to arise within their minds.  We visualised our minds as a blue sky and negative emotions as dark, black clouds.  On the out-breaths, we blew the clouds away until we were left with a crystal clear blue sky, symbolising the return to a calm peaceful, happy state of mind. 


The children were certainly chilled out after the meditation … perhaps some were a little too relaxed.  One girl asked me whether she could lie down on the floor after the meditation and have a little sleep!!  All in all though, it was a great, relaxing, fun afternoon 🙂

I hope you don’t mind me mentioning these meditations in my posts, but they’re helping me to recall what I do with the children in these Wednesday Workshops.  Just like my recipes, most of the meditations are saved in my head, which isn’t a great place for them to stay.  When I get a spare moment, I will start to write them out properly. Until then, the blog post record will have to do!   

In half an hour, Lil’ L and I will be heading to the swimming pool but, before we go, I thought I’d give a quick rundown of today’s eats for the lovely Jenn’s What I Ate Wednesday (WIAW) party.  Today’s eats were all leftovers from Sunday, Monday & Tuesday!

Hot lemon water
2 Apple & cinnamon pancakes with a sprinkling of ground flaxseed, chopped pecans and a drizzle of agave syrup. 

Sorry for the old pic, but I had to dash out this morning and didn’t have time to photograph the breakfast! It pretty much looked like this… except I had 2 pancakes rather than 3 (it’s Lil’ L that’s the pancake monster round here!)

 I often make a big batch of pancakes on a Sunday morning and, if any are leftover, we eat them in the week for breakfast or after school snacks. 

On my return from Bristol, I had a quick lunch of wholegrain rice cakes, topped with sun-dried tomato humous, black olives and roasted red peppers. 

Along with Nairn’s Oatcakes, Kallo wholegrain rice cakes are one of our favourite shop-bought snacks.  While I use them for quick lunches, Lil’ L loves to take them to school for his play time snacks.  His current favourite flavour is yeast extract, while I prefer the sesame seed (no salt) version (not pictured as I’ve eaten them all!)

When I read the nutritional blurb on the back of the packet, I was amazed to find that each rice cake only contains 30 calories!

I find them really filling too!  Especially when they’re covered in delicious home made humous 😉  I’ve finally jotted down how I make the sun-dried tomato humous.  It’s so easy and quick!  It only takes me a couple of minutes to whip up enough humous to last us the week.  Sometimes I make a double batch and freeze half for the following week. 

Here’s how I make it:

1 soy cappuccino in Bristol, 1 peppermint & nettle tea, 1 pure apple juice, water

1 sugar free jam tart (left over from yesterday’s study class).  I use St Dalfour fruit spreads as the filling for these tarts.  This spread is deliciously sweet without any added sugar or sweetener. 

I’ve recently started using Chapatti Atta as my wholemeal (wholewheat) flour for pastry making (I found this in the Indian product aisle at Tesco).  It’s got a beautiful texture, with the wheat flakes very finely ground into the flour, making it perfect for pastries.  As an added bonus, it’s way cheaper than the regular wholemeal flour I’ve been buying.  My next mission is to seek out organic chapatti atta but, for now, I’m happy to use this one:

For dinner tonight, we’ve got leftover black bean burgers from Sunday, with a side dish of wholewheat pasta leftover from yesterday, into which I’ve mixed some spinach, basil and cashew nut pesto with a selection of lightly stir-fried vegetables (red pepper, mushroom, red onion, mange tout, courgette (zucchini)) and black olives. I’ve also sprinkled in some pumpkin seeds and Marigold Yeast Flakes with B12 for added goodness.

If I’ve only got a few minutes to make a dinner, pesto pasta is often the one I choose to make.  The pesto only takes a minute to prepare and I find it tastes so much nicer than the shop bought stuff!  Plus, if you make it yourself, you can sneak in lots of extra goodness (like a whole cup of spinach) and reduce the oil content.  I’ll make sure I write down this pesto recipe soon and post it!

For dessert, we’re having the ‘goji yogi surprise’ – apple compote (using our home-grown, over-wintered apples) layered with Alpro natural soy yoghurt and a sprinkling of chopped gojis and nuts.  I haven’t put it together yet, but this is what it looks like:

This month, Jenn’s WIAW parties are going green.   To find out more and get inspired for this month’s eats, click on the image below. 

Time to head to the pool!  Happy Wednesday everyone!  xx

WIAW – Coconut & Mango Pancakes, Butternut & Nut Butter Soup, Spinach, Mushroom & Tofu Ricotta Strudel

Hello everyone!  I hope you are having a great week 🙂 

Mine’s been pretty good so far.  My Wednesday Workshops started back again today.  As it’s a new term, I’ve got two new groups of children.  Some of the children have attended my workshops before while others are new.  This time round I’ve got four reception children (aged 4) and they are so cute!  I’d forgotten just how little they are!  

I was shocked when I recently came across a picture of Lil’ L on his first day of school in 2008.  I can’t even remember him being that small!  It really is incredible how quickly they grow up!

 For this week’s WIAW party, hosted by the lovely Jenn @ Peas and Crayons, I’m going to show what Lil’ L and I made and ate on Saturday.  M was away in London for the day, watching bike racing at the new Velodrome at the Olympic Park, so unfortunately he missed out on some great eats.  We did, however, leave him a few tiny morsels which he took to work on Monday in his lunch box. Aren’t we kind 😉

Here’s our rundown:

Inspired by a guest post by Rachael (Passing Daisies) on Rachel’s ‘My Naturally Frugal Family’ blog, we decided to have a try at making some mango and coconut pancakes.  That combination just sounds so delicious to me! 

I used my usual vegan pancake mixture, but added 3T of dessicated coconut into the mix.  The pancakes were topped with mango pieces (which I caramelized in 1T coconut palm sugar), some lightly toasted dessicated coconut, chopped pecans, sprinkling of ground linseed and a drizzle of agave syrup.

The pancakes were delicious! The only thing I’ll change next time I make them is to omit putting coconut within the pancake mixture as I couldn’t really taste it.  Instead, I’ll just sprinkle more toasted coconut on top. 🙂

On Friday night, Lil’ L and I snuggled on the sofa to watch a re-run of River Cottage Everyday (no this wasn’t a bedtime delay tactic, he really does enjoy this programme… it’s up there with Jo Frost on his list of favourite programmes… strange I know!).  

In this episode, two dishes in particular caught our eye… broad bean humous and butternut & nut butter soup.  We decided to make both for lunch on Saturday 🙂

Unfortunately I haven’t got any photos of the broad bean humous, but Lil’ L absolutely loved it!  I often serve humous as a starter before lunch or dinner with crudites as a way of getting even more veggies into him.  We’ve tried lots of different flavours… roasted tomato, roasted red pepper, caramelised onion… and now we have broad bean to add to the list 🙂 

The second item on the lunch menu was butternut & nut butter soup.  When we saw this being made on River Cottage, we both said “yum!” at the same time.  Since I had some butternut squash that needed using up, this was the perfect soup to make for the weekend.  

The soup was made with onion, garlic, a medium butternut squash, 2 tsp ground cumin, vegetable stock and… the secret ingredient…. 2 Tbsp crunchy peanut butter.  The soup was garnished with a drizzle of natural soya yoghurt and some coriander. 

We had the remainder of this soup for supper on Monday night.  It really is scrummy and I can’t wait to make it again 🙂

For our lunch ‘dessert’ on Saturday, we had a couple of raw chocolate hearts (I won’t add a photo of these as you’ve seen them plenty of times before!)

For our evening meal, I made a spinach, mushroom and tofu ‘ricotta’ strudel.  I used some pre-made filo pastry and simply rolled up the mixture lengthwise along the layered sheets.  It was very quick and easy to make, and tasted delicious!

I served mine with a salad of romaine lettuce, roasted red pepper, sun-dried tomatoes and olives.  Lil’ L wanted his portion served with the broad bean humous (again!) and some red pepper slices.

The strudel was big enough to provide dinner for us on Monday night as well, plus a slice for M’s lunch box.

Pineapple and coconut milk smoothie
Alpro Soya Chocolate Dessert

Another day of yummy eats and veggie loving <3. 

I’m off to Jenn’s now to check out all the beautiful foodie photos and gather inspiration.  Happy WIAW everyone! 🙂

End of Term & WIAW – Cambodian Wedding Day Dip & Spinach Pancakes

Hi everyone!  I hope you’ve had a great Wednesday so far! 🙂

Unbelievably, we’ve nearly reached the end of the first Spring term already!  This term has gone by so fast!

Today was my last Wednesday Workshop sessions and I thought we’d finish with a bit of girl power and read the beautiful story of Buddha Tara.

My mum bought me this beautiful statue of Tara for my birthday a couple of years ago. I love her!

The children that I’ve taught this term have been absolutely amazing!  It’s been such a joy to spend time with them 🙂  As it was the end of term, the children got a certificate for their achievements in mastering meditation, plus a chocolate and biscuit.  I made these star biscuits yesterday.  The recipe yields about 40 little stars, so there was plenty to go round!

Right, time to scoot over to the lovely Jenn’s Peas & Crayons WIAW party.  I’m really late today, so I’m going to have to be super quick in showing my eats for today.  Here goes…

Hot lemon & water (before school run)
Super cold weather = need for a warming bowl of porridge.  Today I added raw cocoa powder, chopped brazils, pecans, walnuts, ground linseed, goji berries and a little St Dalfour strawberry spread for sweeteness.  It was d.e.l.i.s.h!

The other day I realised that I’d received all those wonderful cook books for Christmas, but hadn’t actually round to trying out any recipes.  This seriously needs addressing!  Today, I chose to try the Cambodian Wedding Day Dip in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg Everyday.  Not only was I intrigued by the name of this dip, but is also contains lots of my favourite ingredients – mushrooms, curry powder, peanut butter and coconut milk.

Here’s how my Cambodian Wedding Day Dip turned out:

And how did it taste?  Pretty scrummy.  I served it warm, with some toasted pitta strips.  It was quite rich and spicy, so a little goes a long way.  I only had a small amount but I found it really filling.

Here’s a link to the recipe in case anyone fancies trying the dip.  The online recipe says that it serves 2, while my cookbook says it serves 8.  I halved the recipe and think it would easily serve 4.

Drinks, Snacks, Desserts
Nettle tea, 1 black coffee, water, fruit smoothie, a couple of shortbread stars, a bite of Lil’ L’s cinnamon bagel, banana, piece of granola bar

For one night only I lifted the embargo on one of Lil’ L’s favourite dinners… spinach pancakes.  You can’t imagine how excited he was to have one of his old favourites return for a night! 🙂

Here’s a bit of back story to the pancake saga…  when Lil’ L was really little he said that his favourite colour was green.  With this in mind, I craftily started to make lots of meals in his favourite colour 😉  One of the earliest meals I made was bright green spinach pancakes.  He absolutely loved them and, from that day on, never wanted white savoury pancakes again.

I was really pleased that he loved the spinach version so much but then he started to ask for them every Wednesday after his swimming lesson.  Can you imagine how boring my WIAW posts would be if I hadn’t put a stop to it?  After about a year of eating spinach pancakes every Wednesday I was totally and utterly sick of them.  I never wanted to see a spinach pancake again in my life!  I told Lil’ L that we needed a break from the pancakes and though he was really disappointed, he finally came round to the idea of having some variation each Wednesday.  That was just over 5 months ago…

Anyway, enough time has lapsed for me to bring back the old favourite, but I’ll make sure it only makes an appearance once in a while 😉

Apologies for the use of an old photo (taken the last time we had the green favourite) but there was no light left by the time we had dinner tonight (7.30).  I’ve tried taking photos at this time of night but they just come out blurry or orange!

These pancakes are so simple to make.  I simply add all the ingredients to a blender and whizz it.  Tonight, I tried the Cambodian Wedding Day Dip as a filling and, for my tastes buds, the blend of flavours went really well together.  A perfect Winter warmer 🙂

I hope you enjoy the spinach pancakes as much as Lil’ L does. But remember variety is the spice of life 😉

Happy WIAW everyone! xx

WIAW – I’ll bring the Apple Cinnamon Pancakes, Plum Compote & Chocs!

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I hope you’re having a great week so far 🙂

Here in Bath it’s turned pretty cold this week.  I’d got used to the mild winter weather so it’s a bit of a shock to the system.  I’m determined not to put the heating on at home during the day though as it costs a fortune.  I’ll just put on another layer and, if it gets really cold, a hat, oh and my new microwaveable booties that a dear friend bought me last week after hearing how cold my feet get on our concrete kitchen floor.  I am so looking forward to trying out those babies! 🙂

This week, for Jenn’s WIAW party, I’ve decided to share what we ate on Monday.  I can’t remember the last time that I showed a typical Monday’s eats.  For us, Monday tends to be the day of leftovers, where we use up everything that’s left over from our weekend meals.

Here goes…

Hot lemon and water (so glad that I’m back into this as coffee definitely makes my tummy race first thing in the morning 🙁 )

Apple & Cinnamon Pancakes
These were left over from Sunday’s breakfast.  They are soooo delicious… even when a day old and heated up in the microwave!  I ate them for breakfast, and Lil’ L ate them for supper at 8.30pm after he came back from cubs.  They’d be running around Bannerdown Common in the pitch black, with torches and glo sticks.  It was freezing cold, so he said that the pancakes were the perfect supper 🙂

I don’t do anything special to make these pancakes.  I simply throw all the ingredients in the blender.  Here’s the recipe:

(This recipe has been submitted to Ricki Heller’s Wellness Weekend 8-12 November 2012).

As I was going out for a run this evening, I opted to have my main meal at lunch time.  I had some leftovers from an Indian dish that I’d made last week- yellow split peas in a creamy, spiced tomato sauce with a chapatti.

Snacks & Drinks
Water (not enough), nettle tea, home made blueberry smoothie (another sneaky way to get Lil’ L to eat fruit 😉 ), 1 black coffee, handful of almonds & sunflower seeds roasted in soy sauce (our current favourite snack… they’re so delish!), and 1 of these scrumptious raw chocolate coconut butter cups that I made last Friday.

After my run, I had a bowl of curried vegetable and lentil soup left over from Sunday, along with strips of toasted pitta bread.

For dessert, we had some plum compote (that I’d frozen from our plum harvest last Autumn), drizzled with Alpro Chilled Soya Cream and a sprinkling of chopped goji berries and almonds.  This is one of my all-time favourite desserts.  It is truly scrumptious! 🙂

Lil’ L normally runs a mile if you offer him a plum, so I nearly fell over in shock when he actually said that that this dessert was ‘nice’ and proceeded to eat the whole lot.  Yet another fruit to add to the slowly growing list.  By the time I’m done with him, he’ll love his fruits as much as he loves his veggies 😉

Well, that’s me done for another WIAW.  Time to hop over to Jenn’s and check out what everyone else is bringing to the party.  I’ve got a feeling that it’s going to be a good one this week 😉

Happy WIAW everyone!  See you next week x


WIAW Party – I’ll bring the Nut Koftas!

Happy Wednesday everyone!  I hope you’re having a great week so far! 🙂

In foodie blogging world, Wednesday can only mean one thing… WIAW PARTEEEE TIME! with our lovely host Jenn @ Peas & Crayons.  For those of you new to this shindig, WIAW is a virtual party where, once a week, Jenn’s foodie friends share a day’s worth of eats, along with photos and recipes.  It’s a great way to gather inspiration for new eats and meet new foodie friends.  You must check it out!

For this week’s party, I’m going to share what we ate on Sunday. 

Lil’ L asked if he could have a ‘special breakfast’ (code for ‘pancakes’).  His little face lit up when I told him that I’d make some blueberry pancakes as a special treat.  He normally runs a mile when I offer him a blueberry, but stick them in a pancake or muffin, and he’ll happily eat them and declare them to be ‘delicious’! Funny that!

I prepare these pancakes super quick by throwing all the ingredients into a blender.  It’s not the ‘correct’ way to make pancakes, but it works a treat for me 😉  The recipe can be found here.

After a cold morning working in the garden, we needed something for lunch to warm us up.  I decided to make some potato and onion rostis…

and roast some almonds and sunflower seeds, which we ate nice and warm, straight from the oven.

The nuts and seeds were roasted in a little soy sauce and they were absolutely delicious!  I used around 1 cup of raw almonds and 1/2 cup of sunflower seeds. I coated them in Kikkoman reduced salt soy sauce (about 1 1/2 tbsp), then placed them on a tray lightly sprayed with olive oil and roasted them for 8-10 minutes at 190C (mixing half way through). 

Lil’ L loves roasted almonds and seeds, and he often eats them as after-school snacks. As they’re packed with goodness (lots of vitamin E, B vitamins, minerals including calcium, iron, magnesium, good fats, fibre and protein) they are a way better after-school snack than shop-bought biscuits or crisps.  He’s also asked whether he could take a pot of roasted sunflower seeds to school for play time snacks too which sounds good to me (I don’t think there’s a seed ban, but I better check… you never know these days!)

After lunch, we headed into Bath and popped into our most recent favourite coffee haunt – Costa Coffee.  Their soy cappuccino is really, really good and, unlike other coffee chains, you don’t have to pay extra for soya milk.  This little touch could actually swing my coffee chain allegiance.  Gosh I’m so easily swayed 😉


For dinner tonight, I chose to make an old family favourite that we haven’t eaten in ages … nut kofta kebabs.  Lil’ L absolutely loves these koftas, and when they’re stuck on a kebab stick their appeal goes through the roof! 😉 

They’re super easy and quick to make, and are packed with lots of goodness.  For main dinners, we serve them with vegetable couscous, raita and pitta strips.  They’re also great stuffed in pita breads for lunch.  The recipe can be found here.

For dessert, we had some banana icecream, made with some frozen over-ripe bananas…

and one of my home-made raw chocolate hearts, left over from Christmas.

All in all, it was another day of delicious eats 🙂

Right, time to head over to Jenn’s and get inspired.  See you there?  Happy WIAW everyone!