The Perfect Quiche

The Perfect Quiche

I just love a great quiche. Nothing too fancy, just a cheese and tomato quiche will do me just fine. A generous sized portion with a side of salad … now there is a great meal.

It has taken me a while to perfect my quiche recipe. When I first starting making my own quiche, I use to use ready rolled pastry because I wasn’t confident enough to make my own. Pastry work is not my strong point … but when I deconstructed the idea, I wondered … is it really that hard? So I researched and practiced and I think I have found a wonderful pastry recipe. Trust me, if I can make this from scratch, so can you.

Firstly, we’re going to make the pastry. The flaky pastry I am going to make is made up of three ingredients: flour, butter and cold water.

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Get your ingredients together

Put the flour and a little salt into a large bowl. I like to use super cold butter then use a grater to grate the butter into the flour. Using two forks, mix the butter, salt and flour together. I like to use two forks instead of using fingers because the warmth of your fingers will start to melt the butter. You want to keep the butter cold as possible.

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Mix together the flour and butter with a couple of forks

Once the flour and butter is roughly mixed together, weigh out the cold water and slowly add the cold water to the flour and butter mixture. Gently mix together the flour, butter and water with a fork until all the water is added. Tip the mixture on to a lightly floured surface and gently use your hands to bring it together. Fold the dough together until the butter and flour are mixed well together. Do not knead the dough – just gently fold together. Do this quickly so the butter doesn’t start to get warm and melt. It is normal to see specks of butter in the dough so don’t over mix it.

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Slowly add the water

Once the dough is combined, form the dough into a ball, gently flatten it until it is the shape of a disk then wrap it in some clingfilm. Put it in the fridge for a couple of hours to firm up.

Now would be a good time to preheat the oven to gas mark 6 (200°C / 400°F).

Grease a 9″ fluted loose bottom quiche tin with a generous amount of butter.

Take the dough out of the fridge and place it on a lightly floured surface. Using a large rolling pin, roll out the dough until it is about 2mm to 3mm thick. Roll the dough into a large circle – roll outwards and keep turning the dough as you roll it to get an almost round shape.

Carefully lift the rolled out pastry and place it on top of the quiche tin. Use your fingers to gently press the pastry dough into the edges of the quiche tin. Take your time with this part, you want the pastry to fill every pary of the tin, so really take your time to push the pastry into each groove.

You want some of the pastry to hang over the edge of the quiche tin. Do not trim all of this off. This will be trimmed off after it has been baked. The reason for leaving some pastry overhanging is to anticipate some pastry shrinkage during the baking process.

Place the pastry tin back into the fridge to chill for an hour or so before we blind bake it.

Once chilled, we need to blind bake the pastry. Firstly, use a fork to prick the bottom of the pastry. This is to prevent the pastry from puffing up when baking.

Line the pastry with a piece of parchment, then fill the quiche tin with baking beads. We are going to bling bake the pastry so that when we bake the pastry with the egg mixture, we are trying to prevent getting a soggy bottom.

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Line tin with baking parchment and baking beads

Blind bake the pastry for 15 minutes until you see the edges turning light brown. After 15 minutes, remove the baking beads and parchment paper and continue to bake for another 15 minutes. The pastry should be partly cooked and a nice light brown colour.

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Blind baked … ready for the filling

Whilst the pastry is blind baking, we can get on with the filling.

Ths quiche filling recipe is like a blank canvas. You can add almost anything you want: fish, seafood, bacon, chicken or other proteins, vegetables, and salads and different cheeses. Experiment and add your own favourite fillings.

For the basic filling, combine the eggs, milk, cream with a handful of cheese and season with salt and pepper. Add whatever fillings you like at this point – bearing in mind you don’t want to add too much so aim for around 150g to 200g in weight of filling.

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Prepare your filling

In todays quiche I added a handful of spinach and some streaky bacon. Mix all the ingredients well and add to the blind baked pastry. I sprinkled some more cheese on top and finish with a sprinkling of dried mixed herbs and red pepper flakes.

Pop the quiche back into the oven for about 40 minutes. You will start seeing the egg puff up. This is normal.

After about 40 minutes take the quiche out of the oven. The egg will be nicely puffed up and golden brown. As it cools, the egg with settle down. Allow the quiche to cool before serving.

Once cooled, use a sharp knife to trim of the excess pastry that is overhanging. We want to clean up the edges, the pastry should be nice and flaky.

To remove the quiche from the tin, place the quiche on a bowl turned upside down. The outside of the tin should just slide off.

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The perfect quiche

This quiche can be served hot or cold and is great for lunches, picnics or even an afternoon snack.

See the printable recipe below.

  • Difficulty: ”easy”
  • Print

INGREDIENTS:
For the flaky pastry
– 300g plain flour
– 1 tsp salt
– 230g butter
– 120ml cold water

For the filling
– 4 large eggs
– 115g milk
– 115g double cream
– 100g cheddar cheese
– 150g to 200g fillings of your choice e.g. vegetables, meats, seafoods etc.
– Salt and pepper (to taste)
– Extra cheese for topping
– Dried mixed herbs to garnish

METHOD:
For the flaky pastry
1. Mix the flour and and salt together in a large bowl. Grate the cold butter into the flour and use two forks to mix together until it resembles small lumps.
2. Slowly pour in the cold water and gently mix together with the forks.
3. Tip the flour onto a flat surface and quickly use hands to fold the dough together until flour is incorporated into the butter.
4. Roll the dough into a ball then flatten slightly with the palm of your hand. Wrap the dough in clingfilm and pop it into the fridge for a couple of hours to chill.
5. Once the dough has chilled, take it out and unwrap it from the clingfilm. Place it on a lightly floured surface and use a large rolling pin to roll it into a large circle about 2mm in thickness.
6. Careully lift the pastry dough onto a greased loose bottomed quiche tin. Use fingers to gently push the dough into the edges of the quiche tin. Leave some of the dough to hang over the tin.
7. Use a fork to prick some holes into the base of the quiche tin. This is to allow steam to escape and prevent the pastry from puffing up.
8. Line the pastry with a piece of parchment paper, then fill the quiche tin with some baking beads.
9. Bake in a preheated oven (gas mark 6 (200°C / 400°F) for about 20 minutes until the pastry starts to brown. After about 20 minutes, remove the baking beads and parchment and continue to bake the pastry for a further 10 to 15 minutes.
10. Once the pastry is lightly browned, remove from the oven and set aside for a few minutes whilst you prepare the filling.

For the filling:
11. In a large jug, add the eggs, cream and milk. Season with salt and pepper and add the grated cheese.
12. Add your preferred filling to the milk and egg mixture. Mix well.
13. Pour the mixture into the blind baked pastry case.
14. Top the quiche with more cheese and a sprinkling of mixed herbs (you can use fresh herbs too).
15. Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes. The egg will puff up in the oven, this is normal, it will deflate as it cools.
16. After it has baked, remove from the oven and allow to cool before serving.

Enjoy!

Hope you enjoyed making this recipe.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum xx

The Lockdown: Week 12 – How Do You Plead?

Friday 12th June 2020

HAPPY FRIDAY ALL!

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Happy Friday!

HOW HAS YOUR WEEK BEEN?

Some children went back to school this week. I was contemplating it … Skye is in year 6 and this is her final few weeks of primary school before she heads off to secondary school in September. She really wants to go back to school but me and the hubby made the decision to keep her at home. The virus is still out there and we just don’t want take that risk of her bringing something home. I have severe asthma (my inhalers are not working as well anymore and I am on oral medication for the asthma) so catching the coronavirus will be a big issue for me. I just can’t take that risk. Skye has mild asthma so that is something that we have had to take into consideration.

Me personally, I feel guilty not allowing her to go back to school. Almost selfish on my part. Is it wrong for me to keep her home?

Should I trust the school that they will keep her safe?

I did notice in the playground that they had cordoned off the tyre swing and the rope climb. There’s plastic tape wrapped round it. It made the whole situation real. I mean, the children can’t even play in the playground properly. With all these restrictions in place, does it even feel like school anymore?

On the flip side though, we live right next door to the school and their playground is right in front of our house. So during the school breaktime Skye would hang outside the fence and talk to a few of her friends who had returned to school. I guess that’s something. She is grateful for that.

I have finally received my IT equipment from work and this week I have managed to set up the computer to the office network. If feels really weird working remotely. All my icons and programs are sitting on the desktop looking familiar against my purple desktop background. I’m actually looking forward to doing work that doesn’t involve home schooling.

So home schooling is still going strong … well, not that strong.

Skye wakes up at 7am and is downstairs … breakfast eaten and home schooling underway. She’s disciplined like that. By the time me and Devon wake up (around 9:30am … sometimes even after 10am) she has already finished her work for the day. She makes the emphasis of coming upstairs and waking us up just to tell us this.

Devon doesn’t get out of bed until after 10am sometimes (even 11am on those extra tiresome days) so he is not finishing his schoolwork until way after 4pm! He’s not as efficient and organised as his sister. Different strokes for different folks I guess.

How have you all been? Hope life is treating you kind and all that!

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

Lots of love to you all.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

Best Bolognese Sauce

Best Bolognese Sauce

Everyone should have a great bolognese sauce as part of their repertoire. I mean, who doesn’t love spaghetti bolognese .. or a simple pasta bake?

My bolognese sauce is simple and very verstatile. Not only do I use it with pasta, I also use it for lasagne, chilli con carne and pasta bakes. The great thing about this bolognese sauce is that it freezes really well. I usually make a big batch for meal time and the leftovers I freeze in batches. They defrost quicky and are great for quick lunches. My kids sometimes have pasta and bolognese sauce for their school packed lunch. I just heat it up in the morning, put it in a Thermos and by lunchtime they have a nutritious and delicious school lunch. It beats a bland school lunch any day of the week.

Firstly, get your ingredients ready …

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Get your ingredients ready

In a large pan, fry the beef mince until browned. Transfer the mince to a plate and set aside for a few minutes.

In the same pan, brown the onions, garlic, ginger, carrots and bay leaves. Slice the mushrooms and add these to the pan. Cook the ingredients until the onions have browned and softened. Put the mince back in the pan and mix well.

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Fry the mushrooms with the onions, garlic and ginger

Make a well in the middle of the meat mixture and add the wine. On a medium heat, cook the wine until it reduces by half. Add the paprika, tomato puree, sriracha sauce, mixed herbs and brown sugar. Season with salt and pepper and mix well.

Add the passata and about 100ml of water and give it a mix. Bring the bolognese sauce to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for at least half an hour. I like to simmer it for an hour to get the full flavour of the ingredients.

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Add the passata and simmer

Serve straight away or cool it down completely and portion the sauce into freezer bags and keep them in the freezer until you need it. Great for packed lunches or quick meals when life gets a bit too hectic.

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Spaghetti Bolognese

See below for the printable recipe.

Hope you enjoy it!

Best Bolognese Sauce

INGREDIENTS:
– 500g beef mince
– 600ml tomato passata
– 1 large carrot (diced)
– 1 onion (diced)
– 2 bay leaves
– 4 cloves of garlic (minced)
– 2 thin slices of fresh ginger
– 2 tbsp paprika
– 2 tbsp tomato puree
– 2 tsp sriracha sauce
– 1 tbsp mixed herbs (or handful of fresh basil)
– 6 large mushrooms
– 1 tbsp brown sugar
– 300ml red wine (optional)
– Salt and black pepper (to taste)

METHOD:
1. Brown minced beef in a pan until browned. Transfer to a plate, then in the same pan fry the onions, garlic, carrots, ginger, mushrooms and bay leaves for a few minutes until onion have softened and browned.
2. Put the minced beef back into the pan with the onion mixture. Mix well.
3. Make a well in the middle of the meat mixture and add the wine. On a medium heat, cook the wine until it reduces by half. Add the paprika, tomato puree, sriracha sauce, mixed herbs (or some fresh herbs work even better such as basil) and brown sugar. Mix well.
4. Add the passata and season well with salt and pepper. Bring the bolognese sauce to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for about half an hour to an hour.
5. Serve straight away or cool it down completely and portion the sauce into freezer bags and keep in the freezer until you need it.

Enjoy!

How simple was that? Simple and nutritious meal for the whole family. You can jazz up this bolognese with other vegetables. You can use turkey or chicken mince too – they work really well. Experiment to your hearts content! Let me know how you get on.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

Much love to you all!

~ Boss Mum xx

The Lockdown: Week 11 – Work Ahoy

Friday 5th June 2020

Hello! It feels like I haven’t checked in with you all in forever, but it has only been one week. Alot has happened this week in terms of news. Not only is the pandemic still in full swing, but we now have the “Black Lives Matter” situation in America. The riots and looting in some states are now becoming out of control. I am going to reserve my opinions to myself because this is not that kind of blog. But it saddens me that we live in a word that is still so segregated.

No one is born racist … they are taught it.

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I’m just gonna leave that right there!

Onto other news … it has now been 11 weeks since I have been off from work. It’s actually been great hanging out at home, cooking and experimenting in my kitchen. I am loving it … but it looks like I am going to have to do some proper work. One of my managers from work called me the other day stating that I should be expecting a delivery of some IT equipment today. Considering that a colleague was expecting IT equipment in April and it didn’t turn up, I wasn’t very hopeful.

So this morning, I am laying in bed at around 9am and my daughter runs in the room telling me that I have six packages downstairs. I wasn’t expecting any deliveries … and lo and behold there it was. Six packages of IT equipment. Damn! I thought … now I have to actually do some work!

To tell the truth, I am actually looking forward to doing some work … my mind if full of food ideas right now which is not helping my waistline so a welcome change of daily tasks will be a breath of fresh air.

Moving onto the coronavirus … things seems to be settling down and the numbers are low enough now for the UK government to start ease restrictions.

I am still quite sceptical regarding the whole thing. Now they say that we are allowed to meet up with up to 6 people from outside of your own home anywhere outdoors – keeping that 2m distance of course. Me personally, I am still refusing to meet up with family and friends. I can’t risk it … I won’t risk it. So me and the hubby have decided to contiue to stay home as much as possible. We believe that there will be a second peak coming soon.

Why?

Boris Johnson wants to believe that the people of England will use their common sense and stay safe and keep that all important distance. But have you seen the pictures? The weather has been great lately – as soon as the sun comes up people are packing out the beaches and the parks – where is the social distancing?

There have been alot of protesting in regards to the “Black Lives Matter” issue. Alot of crowds can be seen … where is the social distancing there? It is inevitable that numbers will increase again. I am not about to step out of my house into that.

My children’s school is re-opening on Monday for Nursery, Reception and Year 6 children. I have chosen not to send my children to school. I am not 100% confident that my children will be safe. My daughter is in year 6 and really wants to go back to school but she understands my concerns and she is ok with staying home.

So we will be going into our 12th week of lockdown. That’s three whole months guys! I have only stepped out of my house ONCE in the whole of the three months. I went to work yesterday to pick up some things. I actually did not go into the building though. I asked my friend from my office to grab some of my work stuff so that I can start working from home. So she shoved it all in a bag and met me outside of the office building.

Anyway … hope you are all safe and well. What have you all been up to lately? Would love to hear from you so leave me a message or even drop me an email. I love receiving mail.

Have a good weekend!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

Hearty Cottage Pie

Hearty Cottage Pie

I commonly call this dish ‘shepherd’s pie‘ … but in truth it is actually a cottage pie. What’s the difference? The only difference is that a cottage pie is made from beef mince and a shepherd’s pie is made from lamb mince (pretty obvious now right?). The rest of the dish is the same … is your mind blown yet?

There are so many difference variations of cottage pies and shepherd’s pies and with all recipes the ingredients and methods are different.

I like my cottage pie, it is rich in flavour, saucy with plenty of fluffy mashed potatoes. It is a family favourite … comfort food at its best, served it with some steamed greens and family!

Here is how I made my awesome cottage pie.

Get your ingredients ready …

Main Ingredients
Get your ingredients ready

In my recipe I have included mushrooms which my daughter loves. You can omit this and add peas or diced carrots if you prefer. This recipe is adaptable so feel free to try other ingredients.

Firstly, prepare the vegetables … dice the onions and finely mince the garlic. Slice a couple of slices of ginger and slice the mushrooms. In a large pan, fry the onions and ginger then add the bay leaves – fry the onions until they are nicely browned. Add the garlic and mushrooms and continue to cook until the mushrooms have softened.

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Fry the onions, garlic, ginger and mushrooms in a pan with the bay leaves

Once these ingredients have cooked, remove them from the pan onto a plate and set aside.

Now brown the mince beef in the same pan.

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Brown the mince and add the rest of the ingredients

Once the minced beef has browned, add the onion and mushroom mixture. Stir until all the ingredients are combined. In the middle of the mixture, make a well then add the red wine. Turn the heat up and cook the wine for a few minutes. We are looking to reduce the red wine … whilst the wine is reducing, add the Worcestershire sauce, paprika, tomato paste and a generous amount of salt and pepper.

Once the wine has reduced by about half, give the mixture a stir. Mix well then add the beef stock to the pan. Bring the pan to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook (with the lid on) for about half an hour.

In the meantime, cook the mashed potatoes (this will be a good time to preheat your oven – gas mark 7 or 220°C / 425°F).

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Boil you potatoes until soft

Chop the potatoes into small chunks, then boil the potatoes in some boiling water until soft.

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Mash the potatoes with some cheese, butter, cream and seasoning

Once the potatoes have boiled, place them into a large mixing bowl – add the butter, cream and grated cheese. Use a potato masher and give the potatoes a good mash. I don’t mind some little lumps in my mashed potatoes, but you can put the potatoes through a ricer if you want a lump free mash. You are aiming for mashed potatoes that are smooth and creamy. Season well and set aside.

Back to the minced beef mixture that has been bubbling away for about half an hour. The sauce in the pan will be slightly thin, it can be left as it is and still taste wonderful, but let’s thicken this sauce up!

There are a couple of ways of thickening the cottage pie sauce up a little. Cornflour is a common way to thicken up sauces – just mix a little water with some cornflour and add this to the mixture.

I prefer to use a roux to thicken up sauces such as those in cottage pies. It’s super simple to do and adds an extra richness and flavour to the sauce.

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Prepare your roux

In a bowl add equal amounts of plain flour and softened butter. Mix well until it becomes a paste (consistency will be like a soft buttercream).

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Add the roux to the sauce

Add about 3 spoonfuls of the roux to the mixture. Pop the lid back on the pan and let it simmer for a couple of minutes. This will give time for the roux to soften and melt. After a couple of minutes, lift the lid and give the mixture a stir. The roux will have melted into the sauce and you will see it thicken.

The thickness of the mixture is entirely up to you, you can add another spoonful if needed … you won’t need all of the roux you have made. Taste the meat mixture and adjust the seasoning if needed. Give it a final stir then transfer the mixture to a baking tray.

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Spread the mashed potato over the meat mixture. Top with some grated cheese

Spread the mashed potato evenly on top of the meat mixture. You can use a fork to make lines through the mashed potato if you’re feeling fancy. I prefer the rustic look so I just like to leave it as it is. Sprinkle with a handful of cheddar cheese then pop into the oven for about half an hour at gas mark 7 or 220°C / 425°F. You want the top to be nicely browned and you will see some of the sauce bubbling up from the sides.

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Bake in the oven until the top has browned and the sauce is bubbling

How gorgeous does this look? The cheese helps the top of the cottage pie brown and I just love it when the sauce bubbles up from the corners. That is the sign of a great cottage pie.

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Serve with steamed greens

My daughter loves this cottage pie and will always go for seconds. It tastes great served with some fried or steamed vegetables.

See below for the printable recipe.

Cottage Pie

INGREDIENTS:
– 1 large onion (chopped)
– 4 garlic cloves (minced)
– 750g minced beef
– 500ml beef stock
– 200ml red wine
– 2 tbsp tomato puree
– 2 bay leaves
– 1 tsp paprika
– 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
– Handful mushrooms (optional)
– Handful peas (optional)
– Carrots (diced)
– Salt and pepper to taste

For the roux:
– 50g butter (softened)
– 50g plain flour

For the mashed potatoes:
– 1kg of potatoes
– 25g butter
– 100ml double cream
– 50g grated cheddar cheese (plus extra for topping)
– Salt and pepper to taste

METHOD:
1. Fry onions, bay leaves and garlic until browned and softened. Add the mushrooms and peas and carrots (if using). Once cooked, set aside on a plate. Fry the beef in the same pan until browned. Once the beef has browned add the onion and mushroom mixture. Mix well.
2. Make a well in the middle of the meat mixture and add the red wine. Do not stir at this point, let it simmer for a few minutes until reduced by half.
3. Whilst the red wine is reducing, add the tomato puree, paprika and Worcestershire sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the red wine has reduced, mix all the ingredients well.
4. Add the beef stock and mix well. Place the lid on the pan and simmer for half an hour on a low heat.
5. After half and hour, make a roux by mixing equal amounts of softened butter and plain flour. Mix until it resembles a smooth paste.
6. Add 3 tablespoons of the roux to the cottage pie meat mix. Cover the pan with the lid and allow it to simmer for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes the roux should have melted. Mix well into the rest of meat mixture.
7. If the mixture still is not thick enough, you can add another 1 or 2 tablespoons of roux. Turn off the heat and set the pan aside whilst you make the mashed potatoes.
8. At this point you can preheat your oven to gas mark 7 or 220°C / 425°F.
9. For the mashed potatoes, peel and chop the potatoes then boil them for a few minutes in boiling water. You wanted the potatoes to be really soft.
10. Drain the water from the potatoes and place them in a big bowl. Add the butter, cheese and cream with a little salt and pepper then mash it together with a potato masher (you can put it through a ricer if you want a smoother mash).
11. Transfer the meat mixture from your pan to a baking dish. Use a couple of spoons to scoop the mashed potatoes on top of the meat mixture. You can use the back of the spoon to smoothen it all out.
12. Finally sprinkle on some extra grated cheese and then pop the cottage pie in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the top is brown and bubbling from the cheese.
13. Serve with steamed vegetables or whatever you fancy!

Enjoy!

I hope you enjoy making this hearty cottage pie.

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum xx

The Lockdown: Week 10 – Anniversary Week

29th May 2020 – Friday

Today is my 20th anniversary. Yep, I have been with my husband for 20 years. Gosh, that is a long time to be with one person. I’ve been married for 13 years but together for a whole two decades.

I met my husband in university – he wasn’t the usual guy that I got for but I knew when I met him I would spend the rest of my life with him.

He is my GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).

We normally got out for a celebratory dinner on our anniversay, but due to our current circumstances, we ordered in. We let the kids pick and they chose Peck Peck. A lovely little fried chicken shop that sells the best crispy chicken wings and fries. Haha yes, fried chicken for our anniversary dinner – and why not!? Here’s to another 20 years! Bottoms Up!!

This week has been a stressful week. I am having some family problems which is really getting me down. They say you can’t choose your family … damn right! When you give an inch and they take a mile … keep taking and taking without any thought for someone other than themselves. I have gotten to the point where I am ready to walk away … I need to for my own mental health. Is it wrong of me? Is it wrong of me to put myself and my children first? Being family doesn’t it give them the right to  behave the way they behave … their sense of entitlement is laughable!

Lockdown update: Dominic Cummings (Boris Johnson’s Senior Advisor) has been naughty … it has been revealed that during the lockdown he and his wife travelled over 250 miles to drop off his children to his parents home in Durham. He did this because he said that his wife and himself were about to succumb to the coronavirus and would not be able to look after their children.

What the public was angry is that they broke the lockdown rules. Not only did he leave his children with his (elderly) grandparents which is not allowed, he also travelled over 250 miles to drop them off. Non-essential travel was prohibited at that time. So the question that is on everyone’s lips was how was it ok for Cummings to break lockdown rules, but the general public were getting fined for the similar actions?

The public demanded answers and for the resignation of Dominic Cummings. Boris Johnson however decided to stand by his man and the government are now reviewing the circumstances of members of the public who were fined for similar situations. How shameful is our government?

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Peonies … my favourite

Hope you are all well and safe. Lots of love to you all!

Head over to my Instagram page where you can see what I have been up to in my kitchen. Don’t forget to hit that follow button below to get alerts on new blog posts and leave me a comment to let me know you popped by. I love receiving mail!

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 9 – Mini Heatwave A Coming

Friday 22nd May 2020

Hi all … firstly, I just want to thank you for continuing to follow my blog and showing love. It means so much.

I hope you are all well and are still staying safe (and alert!).

How hot has it been this week? I mean come on … 27 degrees centigrade on Wednesday was crazy. Have you noticed that since we’ve been on lockdown, the weather has actually been amazing? The irony of it is laughable!

This week I received a letter from my children’s school. The letter contained information about the possible re-opening of the school on June 1st. I know that some of my daughter’s friends are planning on returning to school on the 1st June. It is highly unlikely that my daughter Skye will be returning. I don’t feel comfortable and believe that it is too soon. They specified in the letter that children will be in groups of no larger than 15 and they will try to keep the groups apart – but they cannot guarantee that they will be able to implement social distancing. Staggering break times and increased cleaning are some of the key points that they wanted to make clear to the parents.

They also emphasise that there will be no penalties for non- attendance of pupils. It is entirely up to the parents. We know what is best for our children and they will continue to provide home learning work for those at home.

This news has provided some relief for me and my family. I was so worried that they were going to enforce this. I’m glad they let this be the decision of the parents.

The safest place for my children is at home with me.

Actually, the whole lockdown pandemic madness has made my children afraid to even go out. My daughter went on a little bike ride in the park the other day with the hubby … she came back and told me the park was busy and there was too many people in the park. She started having a little cough (she has mild asthma which triggers spontaneous coughing) and she was convinced she had the coronavirus. She annoyed her dad so much he was like “if you keep saying you have coronavirus you’re gonna get the coronavirus!!!“. He wasn’t a happy bunny. Skye had a glass of water and her cough went away. She is a little hypochondriac.

The weather has been amazing this week. Super hot and sunny. But with this great weather comes ignorance. The parks were full of people not social distancing and don’t get me started on the beaches. The virus will peak again in a couple of weeks because people just had to go sun bathing. It disgusts me that people are doing this … prolonging the lockdown and putting people’s lives at risk. I’m not saying you can’t leave the house, but use your common sense. Parks and beaches full of people… get a grip! Stay alert does not mean swarm recreational spaces! So much for being able to meet with one family member … and to think that Boris Johnson says he has put faith in the common sense of the people. Again … sense the irony?

So anyhow … I have been working on some recipe posts lately. I haven’t posted for a while, but I am trying to get these posts written up and posted. There is so much I want to share with you, and so many ideas that I would love some feedback on. So bare with me whilst I iron out the creases. The kids keep me so busy during the day so I try to write up my posts in the night … but I usually fall asleep mid-write up!

This week I have been busy in the kitchen as usual. My new addiction right now is sourdough bread. I love love love sourdough bread. There is something so satisfying about that hard yet fragrant crust, then when you bite into it, the bread dough is slightly chewy, slighty sour but oh so delicious. I will be doing a sourdough journey blog post soon to show you my journey into sourdough bread making. Look out for that one!

Top Left: Sourdough bread
Top Right: Bun Rieu – my favourite noodle soup consists of a tomato based soup with pork, prawn and crab dumplings, fried tofu, beansprouts and fresh herbs. I always make a big batch of this soup so that we can eat it the next day. It actually tastes better the next day.
Bottom Left: Mango Sticky Rice with Coconut Sauce – this snack is just divine. Lovely sticky rice topped with sweet mango, a thick coconut sauce and topped with crushed roasted peanuts. It really does taste as good as it looks.
Bottom Right: One Pan Healthy Breakfast – I actually had this for lunch. It’s super light and healthy and obviously I had to add a slice of sourdough bread. Oven baked eggs, bacon with baby spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms with a side of beans.

These are some of the fabulous dishes I cooked this week. Lots more to come so don’t forget to follow me on Instagram at @sugar.and.sponge to see what shenanigans I am getting up to in my kitchen. Click on the like button and leave me a message. Introduce yourself, say hello! Would love to hear from you.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 8 – Two Months and Counting

15th May 2020 – Friday

Hey hey hey … how are you all doing? Welcome to my Friday rant. I am rolling into two months now and how am I feeling? I’m not sure …

Following on from Boris Johnson’s confusing speech a few days ago, I’m not too sure how I should be feeling.

On the one hand I totally understand the need for Bojo wanting the country to start getting back to normal … but the country will never be normal again. This pandemic has changed us all, not for the short term, but forever.

Were you confused about his speech the other day? The whole country was confused … stay home, go to work, meet family but only one member of the family … blah blah. The funny thing is that Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are not bowing down to Bojo’s nonsense and have told their people to JUST STAY HOME.

The added confusion is also regarding the possibility of primary school children having to back to school on the 1st of June. Well that is a big mistake. Children are the super-spreaders. I know from personal experience that children of primary school age have the worst hygiene ever. Both my children are in primary school and my son in particular has some questionable hygiene habits.

I  was speaking to my neighbour this morning. She works in my children’s primary school as a teaching assistant. She was in a flood of tears because she is forced to work with no PPE. She is really feeling the strain. She said that they are planning on having the nursery school children back in school on the 1st of June too. How ridiculous does that sound? I feel so sorry for the teachers. They are thrown into an impossible task.

Me and the hubby have made the conscious decision to not allow our children to go back to school even if they do re-open the school on the 1st of June. I have underlying health issues and cannot risk it. I do not think it is safe for the children to go back. Bojo’s decision was in haste and is not feasible in these circumstances. I am not going to put my children’s health at risk to fuel Bojo’s need to be prematurely kick start society again.

As usual I have been busy in the kitchen. Working up a treat for the family. Below are a few of the wonderful foods that I have been feeding my family with this week.

Top left: a batch of char siu buns – bbq pork in soft milk rolls.
Top right:  some (huge) ring doughnuts, glazed and looking might fabulous. These were super soft, light and fluffy.
Bottom left: banh bot loc are Vietnamese clear dumplings filled with pork and shrimps. These were super sticky and not my favourite thing to eat. My daughter Skye loved them though!
Bottom right: traditional eclairs filled with fresh cream and topped with milk chocolate. These were awesome!

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Weekly treats

As always, make sure you follow me and drop into @sugar.and.sponge on Instagram to see what I have been upto in my kitchen.

Lots of love you all.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 7 – Believe That Better Times Are Coming

8th May 2020 – Friday

Hey all … how are you all? Hope you are all well, smiling and continuing to stay positive through all this.

We are now into our 7th week in lockdown. This week I have been feeling better. As you know, last week was a little bit of a struggle for me but this week I have been feeling a bit more positive and feeling more myself. It happens.

The kids are continuing with their homeschooling – it’s been particularly difficult this week though. Skye is in year 6 of primary school and this term she is learning about possessive apostrophes. I like to think that my English is pretty good, but I never really got to grips with possessive apostrophes myself – so when Skye asked me for help on this, I was more of a hinderance. Skye’s teacher called this week and I explained to her the situation with home schooling and how Skye is struggling … her teacher was sympathetic and said she understands that the work set may be a little difficult for her abilities but as long as she tries and does as much as she can then that is enough.

I think I am being a bit harsh … maybe? Expecting too much. I guess I am trying to make up for the lack of proper schooling so I am trying to cram so much into the homeschooling as I can. It takes alot of my time and effort making the weekly timetables, and ensuring they get the work done. I got an email from the school and they said that they are moving towards more online schooling so they will be encouraging the use of Google Classroom. It allows more online schooling and the teachers can keep track more of what the children are learning or have learnt I guess. It takes away a lot of the stress from the parents … so that is a bonus. Thank goodness for that!

The government are planning on re-opening schools as early as the 1st of June. It’s not definite yet. Skye’s teacher confirmed this plan and said if the re-opening does take place, it would be year 6 to return back to school first before gradually allowing other year groups to follow. Bearing in mind that if they did return to school on the 1st of June.

It is only 6 weeks until the summer holidays.

One of our lockdown dinners this week is inspired by our local Turkish restaurant. We frequently order takeaway from Tad in Hackney. A popular Turkish restaurant which serves the most amazing kebabs. One of our favourite things to order is lahmacun … a Turkish pizza. A flatbreab topped with a tomato and lamb topping, grilled to perfection. I was craving this so attempted to make my own. They came out wonderful! I served these with some grilled chicken wings, tomato bulgar wheat and a mediterranean style salad. Hubby was so impressed and thoroughly enjoyed the meal. Rest assured I gave myself a great pack on the back!

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Turkish inspired dinner

It’s Bank Holiday Friday today (Bank Holidays are usually on a Monday). It took place today rather than Monday 4th of May because today is VE day. This year marks the 75th anniversary of the end of WW2 in Europe. Under different circumstances we would have seen celebrations, street parties, events and parades … but with the lockdown in place and the ban on public gatherings, celebrations will be more of a sombre affair. I guess we can all remember it in our hearts and be thankful to all the servicemen and women who served in the war, those that lost their lives and those that endured great hardship so that we can live in a land of freedom. We all need to be humbled by them all.

I hope you all have a great weekend whatever you do. It’s going to be super warm and the sun is going to make a welcomed appearance. Stay safe and well as always … keep smiling and stay positive.

Make sure you check me out on Instagram to see what me and the family have been up to lately. Don’t forget to leave a comment below and let me know how you are.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx

The Lockdown: Week 6 – Personal Struggles

1st May 2020 – Friday

Can you believe it’s May already. These last 6 weeks have been a blur. Every day blending into one … with no end in sight. This week has been one of the hardest weeks so far during the lockdown. I have struggled with my own personal issues this week … a lot of tears and alot of re-assurances from myself that things will be ok. My children have been amazing. They know how to make me feel better when I am struggling with anxiety and my mental health.

I had a disagreement with the hubby this week because I feel he is not taking the pandemic seriously. His argument is … “it’s just the flu and the government are blowing it all out of proportion“. I have chronic asthma so I am really not looking to catch this coronavirus. Then the Hubby says … “well if one of us gets it we’ll all get it won’t we?” But he said it in such a non-chalant kind of way, like just a matter of fact. Then he starts rolling his eyes and that really annoys the hell out of me. Maybe this is why I am feeling low mood this week. I feel that sometimes my concerns are not taken seriously by him and I am thinking of kicking him out of the house just to prove a point?

Maybe I should … it will get him off the sofa. The dent in the sofa is turning into a black hole.

When I do have low mood this happens: I retreat into my own bubble and shut out everything and everyone and spend a couple of days in bed. I use to do this alot during my period of deep depression. Why did I do this? I use to force myself to sleep because it would make the day pass quicker. And when you are asleep … you don’t feel the pain.

Today (Friday) and am feeling alot better. Having those couple of days to just accept that I am feeling low and just embrace that feeling. It is something I have learnt to do. Instead of fighting the feeling of mental struggles, I embrace it and just go with it. I have learnt that the more I fight, the more it hurts.

The rest of the week was chilled out – home school is still in session and the kids are now getting use to it. It is now part of their daily routine. There have been days when at least one of them have struggled … and tears have rolled. Most children are adaptable to change and are resilient in the face of hardship – but they are allowed to have “off days“. They are allowed to cry and resist what is put in front of them. After all, they are just “little humans“.

Devon had a great birthday last Saturday. We had a little bbq in our little garden. I got some balloons and made him a little football cake which he loved. He really enjoyed himself and was happy. He said it was the best birthday ever … because he got all the presents he wanted. I splashed out a little more than usual, I felt sorry for him because he didn’t get his football party. One of the main things he wanted was a FitBit. We got him the FitBit Ace 2 which is aimed at children. He loves it and is constantly checking his steps and setting random alarms just for the sake of it.

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Happy Birthday Devon

Despite Devon’s birthday weekend weather being great, the rest of the week was miserable. The sky clouded over in a blanket of grey and the heavens opened up. At least the few plants in my garden got a well needed drink of water.

Please check out my latest recipe blog … the queen of comfort foods: Ultimate Mac and Cheese. This is a quick and easy recipe that can be whipped up in no time and the family will love it!

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Mac and cheese dinner

The Ultimate Mac and Cheese was accompanied by some honey glazed chicken wings and our favourite sugar snap peas. Delicious!

Don’t forget to visit me on Instagram @sugar.and.sponge to see what me and the family have been getting up to. And don’t forget to like this post and leave a comment below to let me know how your week has been.

I hope you all have a great weekend … stay home and stay safe.

~ Boss Mum (and family) xxx