We all have that dish that reminds us of our childhood. Maybe it’s the one that your mum still cooks for you when you go back to visit, or one that you now make for your own family – a dish that puts a smile on everyone’s face.
So Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday) is coming up fast! The lovely chaps at Abra-ca-Debora make scrummy ready made pancakes, so even if you’re not in the mood (or simply don’t have time) to make your own pancakes, there’s no reason why you should miss out. Abra-ca-Debora do three different products: the plain ones are great for all sorts of things including savoury crepes, the sweet ones are perfect for drizzling with honey, or rolling up with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of sugar, and then there are some cute new fluffy little sweet ones, ‘diddy’ pancakes (known in Holland as poffertjes), which are fantastic for dipping in all sorts of lovely, sticky things.
Often, the most stressful part of travel is getting to the airport. On my last trip, the flights were difficult to book and I ended up flying from Heathrow, but returning back to Gatwick. We always use APH meet and greet parking (I love being met at the airport by someone who whisks your car away leaving you free to walk straight into the airport, then magically returns it just as you walk out again after your trip) so I decided to drive to Heathrow, leave my car, then get an airport coach back from Gatwick on my return. APH were wonderful, and moved my car to Terminal 5, the nearest terminal, so I had the shortest journey possible to pick up my car again. I was delighted.
If you’ve been in Tesco recently, you’ll have seen that they’re currently running a sticker promotion where you can save up to 70% on exclusive Berndes cookware products (collect one sticker for every £20 you spend – once you’ve collected five stickers you can use them to buy the discounted cookware. Tesco very kindly send me one of the casseroles to try. They’re wonderfully chunky and heavy – perfect for soups, stews and casseroles. I tried my hand at a little one-pot cooking:
It’s no secret that I love my wine. And although I’m no expert, I’ve got to the stage where I’m interested enough to start recording my thoughts about wine that we’ve tried and liked, and want to know what other people think about wines.
What have you got planned this autumn? It’s the perfect time to get out and about, I always think – crunching through piles of golden leaves and wrapping up, getting out and discovering new places, all looking beautiful in their glowy autumn colours. To give you a bit of inspiration, I’ve teamed up with English Heritage to give two lucky winners a fabulous 12 month English Heritage family membership.
Has anyone noticed how all of a sudden it seems like summer is over? HOW DID THAT HAPPEN? For Sunday lunch, we had slow braised brisket and dumplings, for goodness’ sake. It’s all wrong!
So this week, my little corner of the internet is celebrating its eighth birthday. Eight whole years of talking waffle! I was telling someone recently (in the manner of a very old lady) that when I started out, I knew most of the other ‘mummy bloggers’ out there. There weren’t very many and we all felt like friends, commenting on each other’s blog posts and actually meeting up in real life occasionally too! Read more
So Europe’s largest motoring garden party, Goodwood Festival of Speed is coming up again shortly. We went to Goodwood back in 2011 (I just looked at the pictures – the boys look SO young!) and had an absolutely brilliant day. There are all sorts of amazing things to see – the famous hillclimb, displays, races, F1 teams and drivers, concept cars… you name it.
Woohoo! Summer really feels like it’s here today! The garden chairs are out and I was pottering in the garden, sipping fresh mint tea this morning at 7.30 in my shorts. Unbelievable.
As you know, I’m a huge fan of Farmers Choice – they’re a small, family run business selling nothing but great quality, free range meats from hand-selected farms across the UK. I’m delighted that they’ve agreed to run another giveaway with me. With perfect timing, the prize is their really wonderful BBQ Essentials pack, containing all manner of scrummy things like kebabs, burgers, chump steaks, drumsticks and chicken wings.
I love Easter. Firstly, it’s my birthday, then there’s all that chocolate, the chance of sunny days, gorgeous spring lamb, daffodils, more chocolate… it’s just a big combination of lots of things that I really love.
It’s no secret that I love my food. I’m pretty active (being dragged round a field by a small and perpetually enthusiastic whippet is incredibly exhausting) but still occasionally I do worry about what I eat. We eat a decent meal every night, but I do have a bit of a cake habit. Generally, I try and balance this by forcing myself to eat a healthy breakfast, at least on weekday mornings.
So Valentine’s Day is coming up fast and even if, like Mr English, you’re not the whole flowers and chocolates romantic type, an amazing steak is the perfect way to celebrate with the one (or ones) you love. My lovely chums Farmer’s Choice are offering you the chance to win a really amazing Farmers Choice ‘Love Steak’ pack, containing two 250g fillet steaks, two 250g sirloin steaks, two 325g t-bone steaks and two 400g wing rib steaks, so basically everything you need for several romantic dinners, not just one!
To be in with a chance to win, all you have to do is tell me what your ideal Valentine’s Day dinner is. Remember if you’re a first time commenter on English Mum, your comment won’t show up straight away.
There are also a couple of ways to increase your chances of winning: for one bonus entry, just like Farmers Choice on Facebook. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry.
For a further bonus entry, follow @FarmersChoiceUK on Twitter. Leave a separate comment to confirm that you’ve done so and this will be counted as an extra entry. Usual English Mum competition rules apply. This giveaway ends at 9am on 9th February (to give us time to get the prize to the winner in time for Valentine’s Day) . Winner will be chosen at random. Good luck!
***This competition is now closed – congratulations to Gloria Christiansen who won the ‘love steak’ pack!***
Ah I’ve absolutely loved looking through all the amazing bakeoff entries. Now it’s down to our lovely judge Catriona to choose a winner to receive all those lovely Yeo Valley goodies. Good luck everyone!
So once upon a time, back in… ooooh… 2010, I did this competition called The Great Cupcake Challenge. The entries were fab, and encouraged by this, the competition morphed into English Mum’s Big Bakeoff, (yes, before that one on the telly) and since then we’ve had various different ones, including the ‘baked with love’ bakeoff for Valentine’s Day, an Autumn bakeoff and even a fresh bread bakeoff. My fave, though, has always been the Christmas one.
So without further ado, I give you… The Big Christmas Bakeoff 2013!!
As usual, there really are no rules, and since the ‘send English Mum a piece of your entry for testing’ rule was scrapped (dammit) these are the only ones that remain:
1. You actually must have baked something yourself (although see below re: sneaky rule breaking) – doesn’t need to have been specifically for the bakeoff though.
2. You must take a picture (there’s none of those dodgy ‘I baked it, but then I ate it’ excuses…). The picture MUST be of your baking and MUST be original (I do check them!).
3. Email it to me at english[dot]towers[at]gmail[dot]com, telling me what it is and who you are. Entries must be received by midnight on the closing date (see below).
The Cheaty Bit
Hey, it’s Christmas, and any bit of Christmassy cookery is basically fair game. And I do like a healthy bit of skulduggery amongst friends, so any entertaining reason why your entry should be considered will be looked upon favourably. For example, if your trifle is beautiful, but obviously not exactly baked, let me know. I’m a flexible type and I’ll probably allow it. No lying though.
Okay, a bit of lying then, but not too much…
The Social Media Bit
If you’re a blogger, please link back to this post, and if you’re on Facebook or a tweeter or Instagrammer, please use the hashtag #bigChristmasbakeoff – if you’re none of the above, then just ignore this bit completely.
The Exciting Bit!
Those lovely little pixies down on the farm at Yeo Valley have very kindly agreed to give the winner a copy of their brand new cookbook. The Great British Farmhouse Cookbook, plus a lovely cool bag full of delicious Yeo Valley goodies!
The Inspirationy Bit
Get that camera or phone out and snap a picture of your home made mince pies, your festive cupcakes or your Grandma’s old Christmas cake recipe. Or maybe you can have a go at my jaffa cake Christmas trees, or some cranberry and pistachio biscotti. Whatever floats your boat.
And don’t think you have so be some sort of uber super duper food stylist. The bakeoff is all about the fun.
The Judgy Bit
Entries will be displayed in one enormous blog post and accompanied by the usual descent into hysteria while I wrestle with pixels and uploading and all that other complicated stuff. Follow me on twitter (@englishmum) to witness the carnage as it happens.
The very lovely Catriona from the very popular Irish food blog Wholesome Ireland has very
foolishly kindly agreed to be our judge this year. You can find her on Twitter @wholesomeIE if you want to attempt a bit of online judge tampering. The judge’s decision is final. No arguing. She’s an Irish mammy y’know, she’ll take none of that boldness.
So that’s it, then. You’ve got loads of time, plenty of inspiration, and some very ambiguous rules. Let’s get baking!
The Small Printy Bit
This competition is open to everyone in the UK and Ireland. No age limit. The closing date will be Wednesday 18th December at midnight. There is no cash alternative to the prize. If you’re outside of the UK and want to enter, please feel free. If you win, I’ll mail you the cookbook but I’m afraid the yogurt won’t travel!
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