Making a Special Cake with AO

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. 

Our Favourite Italian Recipe – Ragu or Carbonara? {Dolce Vita Bloggers}

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?

Smoked Fish Curry

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!

The Best Spaghetti & Meatballs with Spice-N-Tice

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.

Extra Greens Pesto

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.  

Lentil Ragu – 3 Meal Ideas

This recipe serves two adults and two children as an accompaniment to pasta for one meal with at least three portions left over for other meals. I served this with brown rice spaghetti to make it a gluten-free vegan meal but you can use normal wheat pasta. I used nutritional yeast to give the sauce more flavour, if you don't have this and are not avoiding dairy or dairy intolerant you can stir in some parmesan cheese before serving.

Cooking with Kids – Homemade Pizza

As we only have a small kitchen we don't have room for a lot of gadgets, I literally have room for my kettle and (smoothie) blender that I use every day, add some post, a lunch box, two fruit bowls and some water bottles and it's more than cluttered!  If you're lucky enough to have a bigger kitchen than us and have a bread maker you can do the first bit of this recipe in it, saving some time.