There is some debate now as to whether breakfast is really the most important meal of the day. What is important is what we choose to eat for breakfast. I can't miss breakfast, I need some food and a drink to get me going in a morning. I'm not really a morning person and breakfast helps me to wake up and get started with the day, without it I wouldn't have the energy for work, running around after the kids and for all the jobs in the house that always need doing.
I've got another new vegan recipe for you and this one is a lovely treat. My absolute favourite mid morning snack is a cup of herbal tea and a slice of cake. There's nothing better than having a break, sitting on the sofa and enjoying a sweet treat. What if that sweet treat was good for you? I love gingerbread but it's very heavy on the refined sugar and I wanted to reduce this and also make it gluten and dairy free.
Chocolate for breakfast? Yes please! It probably won't come as a surprise to you that we love our chocolate in this house. My Chocolate and Almond Granola is a staple and my boys, and in particular Ethan makes sure I make a batch every week. As I'm taking part in Veganuary I was looking for some new breakfast recipes and thinking about how I could find some nutritious as well as quick and easy to make breakfasts now we're back into the routine of school and work when mornings are rushed.
This recipe came about from looking for a new and quick pasta sauce recipe to try during Veganuary and experimenting with different ingredients. The first time I made it, I put toasted pine nuts on to garnish and it tasted great. Blending them in and adding the cream cheese has made this pesto even more delicious. It's super quick and easy to make. You can have a meal on the table in ten minutes tops, which is so good for when you're tired and don't want to stand in the kitchen for hours on an evening.
Making a Birthday cake for my boys has become a tradition, something that my Mum always did for my brother and I, and so something I wanted to do for my children. Each year I do something a little different but the one constant factor is chocolate! I have been using the same recipe for the sponge and buttercream for five years now and we all love it. The sponge is soft, light and wonderfully chocolatey and the buttercream is just addictive! I'm no pro when it comes to looks and decoration but my boys don't care, they just like the fact that I made it and that it tastes good. I hope they will remember these cakes just like I remember mine.
We get through so much pasta on a weekly basis in our house. Pesto is our favourite for a quick family meal on a school night but when we have people round for dinner we always do one of the same two recipes. One is a Classic Ragu Bolognese from The Chiappa Sister's book "Simply Italian" and the other is a Courgette Carbonara from Jamie Oliver's book "Jamie at Home". I've made these over and over again over the past few years and we never get tired of them so why not have a go and let me know which one you prefer?
I always thought I didn't like curry, I thought they were too spicy and I was really unsure of the ingredients but over the past couple of years I developed a taste for them. I especially love fragrant and creamy curries and I still don't like too much heat. This recipe is inspired by a Gousto box recipe we tried a few weeks ago and Jamie Oliver's comfort food tikka masala. I mixed up the ingredients and it turned out so tasty!
I'm really passionate about home cooking and making nutritious meals from scratch but being a super busy working Mum, I also a massive fan of a shortcut if it's done with good quality ingredients and no artificial stuff. I want to know where things come from and I want my boys to learn about good food. I want them to be enthusiastic about food and learn that real cooking doesn't have to take all day and that anyone can do it. You may know by now that I love comfort food and I think spaghetti and meatballs along with lasagna are Italy's ultimate comfort foods. This recipe is a family favourite that I have reinvented using Spice N Tice's Italian Meatball Marinara Seasoning Kit.
We love pasta with pesto in this house. It's our staple, our go-to meal when we want something quick and easy to prepare, my super quick work lunch. The boys love it with tortellini or gnocchi, Matteo loves it with spaghetti. When I started cutting out gluten and dairy about two years ago I worried that I would't be able to eat pesto anymore and if the dairy free alternatives would be tasteless. Thankfully there are a few that are really nice, of which Sacla is my favourite and on my shopping list every week.
Spring is officially here now but what with all this cold weather and snow in recent weeks I'm still craving comfort food. I want warm dinners with meat and two veg and to light a candle on a cold evening and then snuggle up on the sofa feeling full and content! This cottage pie is so good, you'll be going back for second helpings.