Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Be prepared! #wednesdaywords

I've sneaked two quotes into this week's update! The classic 'Be Prepared' motto of the Scout Association long sticks in everyone's minds... but I'd like to add the following two quotes to go along with it!

'It is better to be prepared for an opportunity and not have one than to have an opportunity and not be prepared.'
 
Whitney Young, Jr.
 
And the old classic...
 
'Fail to prepare is to prepare to fail.'
 
Anon.
 
 

Crazy With Twins

Friday, 18 April 2014

Maille Culinary Challenge - Pan-fried chicken with Dijon sauce and hazelnut tagliatelle

Who says that a midweek family meal cannot be gourmet?! Maille (pronounced 'my') is a gourmet brand of perfect accompaniments to make an every day meal something special!

A number of bloggers were invited to try the Maille Culinary Challenge to develop an inspiring dish using some of Maille's products... so here's my entry! I do hope that you make it yourself and imagine yourself dining in an exquisite French restaurant! It's great for entertaining but the secret is that it's quick and easy but deliciously divine! Enjoy!
 
Pan fried chicken with Dijon sauce and hazelnut tagliatelle - serves 4, takes about 30 minutes.
 
Ingredients
Splash of olive oil
4 medium sized chicken breasts, skinned and boned
4 'nests' of dried tagliatelle pasta
500g Greek-style yoghurt
1 level tbsp. cornflour
75g parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 egg yolks
Salt & black pepper, to season
80g diced pancetta
Approx. 20-30 vine cherry tomatoes (still on the vine, if possible)
A good drizzle of Maille hazelnut oil
Rocket salad, washed
 
 
Method
  1. First, heat the splash of olive oil in a heavy based frying pan and gently pan fry the chicken breasts until cooked through and starting to brown (about 10-15 mins).
  2. Cook the pasta in a large saucepan until 'al dente' (about 8-10 mins).
  3. While the chicken and pasta are cooking, make the Dijon sauce. Whisk four tablespoons of the yoghurt with the cornflour and the mustard until smooth.
  4. Blend in the remaining yoghurt and bring to the boil, stirring constantly, until thickened and smooth.
  5. While stirring, add the cheese, egg yolks and season with salt and pepper.
  6. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan and keep warm. Add the diced pancetta to the pan along with the vine cherry tomatoes and fry over a high heat for 5 mins.
  7. Drain the cooked pasta and toss in bowl with a good drizzle of hazelnut oil, cooked pancetta and a handful of rocket.
  8. Serve the chicken with the Dijon sauce poured over with the pan fried tomatoes and hazelnut tagliatelle. 

 
 
This dish was enjoyed by all of the family, including the children. You can adjust the amount of Dijon mustard and parmesan cheese to taste - I personally love Dijon mustard, so would go for at least 2 teaspoons of mustard, but the flavour is still there, even with just 1 teaspoon.
 
So, I hope you give it a try! Let me know what you think! You can buy most Maille products are major supermarkets, but all of the range is available in their online boutique - click here to tempt your tastebuds!

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

The Magic of Believing ~ #wednesdaywords

I just love this outlook on life! We all need to be a bit more like this...
 
'I'm not old enough to play baseball or football. I'm not eight yet. My mum told me when you start baseball, you aren't going to be able to run that fast because you had an operation. I told Mum I wouldn't need to run that fast. When I play baseball, I'll just hit them out of the park. Then I'll be able to walk.'
 
Edward J. McGrath, Jr.
'An Exceptional View of Life' 

Crazy With Twins

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

docrafts Creativity Magazine Review

docrafts Creativity magazine s a bi-monthly publication which is jam packed full of craft ideas and projects, ranging from beginner/child-friendly makes through to more skilled and technical masterpieces. We received the latest copy to review and let you all know what we think.... so here we are!

The magazine is very well laid out with skill levels and shopping lists clearly shown so that that you can make sure that you have everything to hand before you start! Some projects definitely need specialist equipment or materials, so it is best to check these over before planning your weekend of craft activities! There's a handy list of stockists for the more obscure items that you may need. You can also find this on their website here.

As the magazine is produced every two months, there's a good variety of seasonal craft ideas included - we had things like Easter, Father's Day and general Spring themed projects in our issue. We decided to start by making the 'stained glass effect kite'. My daughter (9) made this with a little help from me, so it shows that the instructions are clear and easy to follow.

 
We were impressed with the finished item and it now hangs in my dining room window, shining in the sunlight!
 
Our next project will be to make the Father's Day cards in plenty of time for the upcoming Dad's weekend! Each issue comes with free gifts - we received some Father's Day card toppers so again, these will definitely come in useful!
 
I like to craft but often find that time runs away with me and I don't get enough time to try new ideas, but with docrafts Creativity, the more advanced projects are easy to follow and so I would feel confident enough to try a new techinique when I've an afternoon to myself!
 
There's also a docrafts website which has a handy forum and lots of further projects and advice, so if there's a query or you just simply get stuck with something, there's sure to be the answer (or someone who can help!) on there! You can also keep in touch with the lovely people who run the magazine along with fellow crafters on their Facebook here. Pop over and say 'hello' - they're a freindly bunch!
 
So all in all, I would recommend this magazine as a general source of craft inspiration. There's so may different magazines out there; some specific and some covering a range of different techniques, but docrafts Creativity is my new favourite 'me-time' read! Why not give it a try and let me know what you think?

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Oven Pride....be proud of your oven!

Hands up who likes cleaning their oven?!?! Be honest....! No, me neither, but it has to be done! Now that spring is well on it's way, we've had a good clear out of old toys, optimistically packed away some of our winter clothes and tidied up the garden. So it's the oven's turn for a spring clean!


Oven Pride is an all-in-one product that cleans your oven racks and oven quickly and simply. It's available in all major supermarkets and online at Amazon.

Here's our oven and oven racks before...



And, here's the finished result!

 

One satisfied Mum with a clean oven all ready for Easter baking and generally entertaining everyone!

Some good points worth a mention include that this product does not smell of chemicals at all and it does exactly what it says on the packet! One minor gripe is that there's only one pair of gloves in the pack but you really need two pairs to use the product safely - one to start the cleaning process and another to remove the racks and wipe the oven at the end of the process. So, just make sure that you have some rubber gloves to hand! But overall, I would definitely recommend and use this product again!

Scones anyone....?



Friday, 11 April 2014

Deliciously Simple Scones!

Everyone thinks I'm a bit of a strange one - I like all fruit (with the exception of bananas!) but not cooked fruit in anyway, nor dried fruit! AND, I don't like jam but I like marmalade... orange 'jam', I know but I don't like any other type!

So, to cut to the chase, I really like scones but they have to be plain with just butter and no jam!

Here's my favourite recipe!

Ingredients
450g (1lb) strong white flour
5 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
75g (3oz) unsalted butter
150g (5oz) sultanas or other dried fruit - I leave these out sometimes if baking just for me!
75g (3oz) caster sugar
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
250ml (9 floz) milk plus extra for glazing
Butter, to serve (or clotted cream and jam - whatever takes your fancy!)

  1. Preheat the oven to 220C/450F/Gas 7. Grease a large baking tray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt together in a bowl, then rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Stir in the sugar, sultanas and eggs.
  4. Stir in the milk with a wooden spoon, a little at a time, to form a smooth dough.
  5. Roll the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface to a thickness of 2cm/¾in.
  6. Dip a 5cm/2in pastry cutter into a little flour and cut out the scones (be careful not to twist the cutter as it will cause the scones to rise unevenly).
  7. Carefully brush the tops of the scones with a little milk, taking care not to let any run over the edge.
  8. Place the scones onto the baking tray and bake in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  9. Remove the scones from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Serve the warm scones as you like them!
These are family-scones, not Katie (fruit-free) scones!

Recipe adapted from > http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/sultana_scones_with_98294

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Positive Thinking! ~ #WednesdayWords

Short and sweet this week...

'Whether you think you can or think you can't, you're right!'

Henry Ford

Crazy With Twins