Moose loves to cook and so do I. Here is where you will find our kitchen adventures

Meal plan #94

Another week has flown by and I really need to get back into meal planning. So, here we are! We have been eating really poorly just lately and it has to stop. Now that wedding season is over I have to be more budget conscious. A lot of my money is spent on food so meal planning seems like the obvious first step in an overhaul of our spending habits. 

The children have their last day of school today so next week they will be home for half term. It will be so useful to have a plan for that!

I don’t know about yours but my children always seem to be constantly raiding the cupboards during the holidays and with this one being colder (and therefore more indoorsy) I have a feeling it will hit the wallet hard!

I am planning on having a baking day on Monday so we have lots of vaguely healthy and fast snacks for them to reach for during the week. The plan is to make a rocky road style tray bake as well as some cupcakes I think. Moose enjoys it when we bake together so I thought it would be a good way to fill a day really. Plus we save a bit of money because there won’t be lots of trips to the shops! 

This week in food

Friday: I am off to see my StepMum so dinner will be a surprise. Yay! 

Saturday: M&S posh dogs in brioche buns with thin cut homemade chips and either beans or coleslaw or both

Sunday: Roast pork with yorkshire pudding, mashed potato and green veg

Monday: I am going out so it will be something quick like pesto pasta 

Tuesday: Barbecue chicken lasagne with green salad

Wednesday: Sea bass with roasted veg and green beans

Thursday: Bang Bang chicken with vegetable chow mein and prawn crackers




Back To School And Cream of Tomato Soup Recipe With Piccolo Tomatoes | Ad

This a paid collaboration. All opinions remain honest and my own. 

Moose isn’t keen on vegetables. My two eldest lulled me into a false sense of security by eating pretty much anything I put in front of them. I thought I had it all worked out as I watched my darling little ones gobble down salads or curries or the odd stir fry.

Then Moose came along to humble me.

He has shown me that just because you think you know what you are doing as a parent. Just because something worked for one child (or two) it definitely does not necessarily mean it will work for all.

So. With Moose I have had to be crafty with veg. I have had to plan out how to hide vegetables in meals. How to pack as many nutrients into a meal as is possible – and also how to just accept that he will eat vegetables when he is ready and in his own way.

When I was approached recently by Gautier Semences, the providers of piccolo tomato seeds to British nurseries and asked to write about Piccolo tomatoes I took it as a challenge.

How could I best use them in a way that Moose would eat them.

Piccolo tomatoes are a small vine tomato, they have a sweet taste which means that they appeal to younger palates – and older ones with a sweet tooth like I do! They are originally from Latin America and were introduced to Europe during the 16th century. The French called it the “apple of love”.

Piccolos are low in calories but high in nutrients such as vitamin C and Lycopene which is an antioxidant said to help prevent heart disease and certain cancers!

My delivery of Piccolo tomatoes was sent from Glinwell Nurseries which are not too far from us. Although I am far from green fingered I do still prefer to buy British fruit and veg where I can to keep my carbon footprint low and to be able to watch Panorama specials with a clear conscience because I know I am doing what I can.

Piccolo tomatoes are so versatile.

My delivery arrived while the children were at school. I couldn’t wait to get started though! The first meal I had with the tomatoes was a simple cheesy pasta dish which I added a few roasted piccolo tomatoes to. A really easy way to add nutrients to a lunch and what goes together better than cheese and tomato? In my opinion, pretty much all veg taste better when roasted.

After school I showed Moose the tomatoes. He wasn’t quite brave enough to try one raw but he was excited to help me make soup!

We had so much fun getting all of the ingredients together and making a lovely cream of tomato soup which was packed full of vitamins. Moose scoffed the lot! I can’t think of anything more enticing after a day back at school than to sit down to cream of tomato soup and fresh bread. Knowing that this was my own take on a classic and didn’t have any nasty additives in it was even better!

I prefer to remove the skins from tomatoes before making soups or sauces with them. There is a really easy trick to this (thanks Mum). You have to score an X into each tomato, pop them into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute and then transfer to an ice bath or very cold water. The skin comes away really easily.

Cream of tomato soup


  • 800g Piccolo tomatoes
  • tbsp butter or some spray oil
  • 1 red onion (I used ready chopped frozen onion)
  • Carrot (I used a tin of sliced carrots I found in the back of the cupboard. Drain them though)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • Basil leaves to taste (I used 3)
  • 400ml Chicken stock

You could also add roasted peppers but I didn’t this time.


  • Fry off the chopped onion in the oil/butter for a few minutes until softened- add the carrot if not using the tinned variety.
  • Add the squashed clove of garlic (don’t bother chopping it, it will be whizzed up later anyway)
  • Add the tomatoes and basil leaves and simmer on a low heat. I left mine for around 20 minutes. You can cook down a bit more but I know that nutrients are lost with a longer cooking time.
  • Pour in the chicken stock
  • Simmer for a few more minutes
  • Use a stick blender to get rid of all of the lumps (aka evidence)
  • Season and add a dollop of cream or creme fraiche if you forgot the cream and your rubbish corner shop only stock creme fraiche <fume>
  • Present your finished soup to your darling child and rub your hands with glee while they eat up all of their veg without complaint.
  • Help yourself to some yourself because you made it with spray oil so it is very Slimming World friendly. Hurrah!








Time to begin again, again. My Slimming World update.

I look pretty happy in this photo, don’t I?

Well, the truth is that I was happy. I had just joined Slimming World and I had decided that I was going to do something positive for myself and try to switch to a healthier lifestyle. Years of ignoring what I had been putting into my mouth had taken their toll and that it was time to make a change.

I didn’t have a weight target in mind. It wasn’t really about weight. I do of course want to look my best. However, I have found that since turning 30 my worries about what others see when they look at me have diminished at a pretty stealthy rate!

For me, my focus was on my health.

I already knew that 2 litres of cola each day and a penchant for drive thru food was costing me an arm and a leg. My habits needed to change. For my health and my purse!

So, the planets aligned and off to Slimming World I went. Determined that I was about to commit properly to something which would improve my life.

Fast forward nearly 6 months. Drum roll please..


To say that I am not where I thought I would be by now is something of an understatement. I cannot pretend I’m not disappointed. I’d imagined I would be at least 3 stone down by now. Admittedly I am amused by it all too. But…

I was supposed to feel more like me

Because that’s it in a nutshell. I don’t really know the person I have become. She is certainly not who I was or who I imagined I would be. Maybe that’s just what nearly 40 feels like? Does 40 feel like giving up?

The fact of the matter is that I was ready to give up. On Slimming World. On myself.

Slimming world works. I know it works. I have seen the numbers in my book going downwards each week when I was making an effort to stick to it. The problem isn’t Slimming World. The problem is me. I have been sabotaging my own lifestyle. I wish I could say why but it’s not going to be that simple, is it?

I got a phone call on Friday night. It was my local chinese takeaway calling ME to let me know that their loyalty discount was ending that weekend and did I want to order food so I could use my discount? I shit you not. My takeaway phones me. That’s a problem.

Did I order food? Obviously I did. I enjoyed it too.

Actually though, I deserve better. So, today I will take a deep breath and walk through those doors into group. I will set aside a couple of hours for me. When I get home I’ll curl up with a cuppa and my Slimming World books and I will read through them again.

I will treat myself like a friend.

Hopefully this time around I will be able to make better choices. In a few months time maybe I will start to see a change. Not just in my body but my health too. Who knows. I will try to give myself a chance though. Wish me luck!

Set Dinner at Royal China Chinese Restaurant Peterborough

There used to be a pretty good variety of Chinese restaurants in Peterborough but that has long since been the case. These days finding a good eat-in Chinese option is a pretty tough call.

One Saturday, Mum and I found ourselves pulling up outside her local Chinese restaurant.

The Royal China. What it lacks in kerb appeal – and it really does – it makes up for with it’s food and hospitality!

We were quickly seated and were offered a set menu which seemed like good value for money. The set menu is a 3 course option at £15 per head.

There is plenty of choice. We opted for mixed starters which consisted of 9 different dishes to try. The satay chicken was by far my favourite and probably the best I have ever tasted.

The spicy To-Ban Beef was a dish I hadn’t tried before but was lovely – nothing was overly spicy. Other dishes were 2 different styles of spare ribs, crispy seaweed, sesame chicken toast, prawn toast, spring rolls and chicken with chilli and garlic. It was brought out to us within 15 minutes of ordering and we were asked a couple of times if we would like any of the dishes topped up which was nice.

On to the duck!

Plenty of succulent duck meat and fresh chopped spring onion and cucumber with pancakes. I thought that the hoisin sauce was a little too salty but not enough to complain about. Mum didn’t notice it at all and we happily munched our way through all of it.

The main course

I feel like to get a good measure of how good the place is you need to try a Sweet and Sour dish at a chinese restaurant. With that in mind, I opted for the Sweet and Sour Pork. Mum went for the healthier Cantonese Pork. We both decided on noodles for our side dish.

My Sweet and Sour Pork was absolutely lovely. The balance was just right and the pork wasn’t too chewy and nice and crispy. Don’t be put off by the small portions, it was made really clear to us that we only had to ask if we wanted more and they were more than happy to oblige.

Mum’s Cantonese Pork was well received and the bit I tried was delicious. The noodles were lovely too. Nicely flavoured and not too oily which is something I have encountered at other establishments.

We honestly didn’t feel the need to order any more than was brought out to us but we were asked several times if we were sure. In the interests of a thorough investigation of the food on offer, I decided to leave room for dessert.

I was glad I did

The desserts are not included in the set menu but they are really reasonably priced. To add one to your meal, Royal China charge just 90p! I opted for the cheesecake but there was a pretty good choice on offer. Ice cream, toffee apple (when do you see that on a menu?!), profiteroles, banana fritters, or lychees.

As well as my cheesecake I also ordered coffee. The coffee here is really good. I don’t know about you but I hate it when I have had a nice meal and then a bitter coffee ruins it at the final hurdle!

A nice surprise

Along with our coffees we were presented with a little plate of complimentary pick & mix style sweets. I had thought that I was a sensible grown up of 37 years but it turns out that being presented with free sweets has much the same effect that it had on me as a child. It was a lovely touch.

The Set Menu

royal china werrington peterborough set menu

Would we go again?

So I guess that’s the most important question, isn’t it? Before we visited The Royal China I checked out Trip Advisor for reviews. I read that the staff were a bit rude, that the place was freezing cold and it wasn’t an entirely pleasant place to visit.

What we found was a welcoming, well set up Chinese restaurant that while it looks a little run down outside is a great choice for a meal. All of the members of staff who we encountered were very polite and professional. We were very well looked after during our meal without it feeling intrusive. The menu was incredibly good value and the food was utterly delicious! We will definitely be back for a return visit and I quite liked that there is a separate section which would be good for hosting larger party sizes making it a good option for family get togethers.

Looking for other restaurants to try in Peterborough? Why not check out our review of Turtle Bay

Slimming World friendly meal planning – Our menu 24/05/19

Well. It’s all gone horribly wrong. In the words of a favourite meme of mine; Not only have the wheels fallen off, I have burnt down the cart and used the insurance money to buy cupcakes.

I have been steadily gaining rather than losing lbs. Not due to the meals on my planner but the bloody snacking! Still, at least all of the Easter chocolate is now gone. Finally!

I am having another retinal bleed so blurry eyesight means a lot less chopping and prep and a LOT more grab and go. I am determined that I am going to push through though. In fact I need to.

The plan is to plan- and stick to it. What do you do when you feel your willpower slipping?

This week in food

Friday: My lovely Stepmum is cooking for me so MrG and the kids have pie and veg

Saturday: Nandos style butterfly chicken breast with mediterranean rice (frozen from aldi 1.5syns per portion) and salad.

Sunday: Roast Pork, honey glazed roasted parsnips and carrots with brussel sprouts and mash.

Monday: Lamb koftas with salad and flatbread

Tuesday: Sausages and chips and beans.

Wednesday: Salmon with baby sweetcorn, and green beans* and jersey royal potatoes*

Thursday: Chicken pesto pasta and pea shoot salad

*included in the Aldi super six this week. keeps the costs down

Breakfasts: Trying to keep the expenditure to a minimum because it’s half term and frankly I would rather spend the dosh on having some fun with the children. With that in mind breakfast will be mainly porridge and fruit (I have a stash of frozen sweet cherries so I can add those to my porridge)

Lunches: I am going to try to make lots of hard boiled eggs and salads this week. The weather looks well suited for it and they are easy enough to make a take on days out.

If you are interested in seeing some more Slimming World friendly meal ideas feel free to check out one of my other plans here