An Evening with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals

Getting an invitation to dine with Jamie Oliver’s best pal Jimmy Doherty to celebrate the Jersey Royals season is not an everyday occurrence for me. Oh no! So you can imagine my utter amazement when such an invitation popped into my inbox.

As you probably already know Jimmy Doherty is a well respected farmer who is passionate about Great British produce. Therefore his partnership with Jersey Royal potatoes is a completely natural fit. The Jersey Royal new potato season has just begun, so it was a real pleasure to try these creamy nutty potatoes cooked as part of a fabulous four course meal hosted by Jimmy.

The meal began with an exquisite starter of a Jersey Royal spring vegetable frittata served with a pea shoot and mint salad, seriously yum! The main meal was a Jersey Royal, cheese, onion and sausage pasty with a quick tomato jam, plus a Jersey Royal rosemary skewer. Having had numerous summer holidays in beautiful Cornwall, I know a good pasty when I eat one, that was one of the best I’ve ever had. The main meal was served with a generous bowl full of Jersey Royal potatoes tossed in butter and mint.

An Evening with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals

An Evening with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals

Followed by a cheeseboard filled with a scrumptious selection of Jersey cheeses, served with black butter, crackers and apple brandy. Black butter is not something I’d heard of before but it was an absolute treat, best described as being like a sweet chutney it was a sublime addition to the creamy cheeses. Although feeling rather full after eating such a glorious meal, I did manage to make room for a couple of pieces of sea salt Jersey fudge to have with a cup of tea to finish off.

An Evening with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals

The evening demonstrated to me the versatility of the Jersey Royal potatoes. We live very much in an era whereby potatoes, and carbohydrates generally are shunned to a certain extent. Although, I think you’ll find my blog a carbohydrate friendly place. Jersey Royal potatoes are a great source of both Vitamin C and B, reason enough for incorporating them into your diet not forgetting their delicious taste.

It was wonderful to meet Jimmy and hear him speak so enthusiastically about Jersey produce. Thank you so much to Jersey Royals for inviting me. If you are interested in finding out more about Jersey Royals, then check out their website here.

An Evening with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals

If you fancy cooking with Jersey Royal new potatoes don’t forget to take a look at my Spanish Inspired Sea Bass recipe from the blog archives.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I was invited to attend the four course meal event with Jimmy Doherty and Jersey Royals, along with other bloggers. I was not sponsored or asked to write anything, however I enjoyed the food and evening so much I wanted to share it with you.

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

My Chicken and Pepper Orzotto is a cheats version of a traditional risotto. It certainly doesn’t require the same amount of painstaking stirring that a regular risotto needs. In fact it is not even made with rice! Instead I’ve used orzo pasta, which are small rice like pasta shapes. As you know I’m a huge fan of Nigella, and this recipe is inspired by some of the recipes found in Nigellissma. Do take a look at my review of Nigellissma posted a while back.

This orzotto recipe is really the result of me trying to be creative with the one solitary chicken breast left in the fridge, that really had to be used ASAP. I’ve teamed the chicken with thin strips of red sweet pointed pepper, a really versatile pepper that cooks much quicker than a regular pepper. The green flecks in the orzotto are bits of spinach from a frozen cube of spinach straight from the freezer, I find it an ultra convenient ingredient that I often pop into pasta and curry sauces, like my chorizo and spinach tagliatelle.

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

The quantities of this recipe can easily scaled up to feed the whole family.

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

  • Servings: 1
  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredient:Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

150g (1 fillet) chicken breast
½ red sweet pointed pepper
1 tsp olive oil
100g orzo pasta
¼ Kallo organic chicken stock cube
310ml (1¼ cups) boiling water
25g (1 cube) frozen chopped spinach
salt and black pepper
1 tbsp grated parmesan cheese

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a non stick casserole pan.

2. Cut the chicken into small bite size pieces and the pepper into thin short strips. Then cook the chicken and pepper together in the casserole pan for about 8 minutes, ensuring the chicken is cooked through.

3. Stir in to the orzo, then add the boiling water, ¼ chicken stock cube and frozen spinach cube. Season with a little salt and a generous amount of black pepper.

4. Stir well, then bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally adding a little extra water from the kettle if necessary.

5. Remove from the heat, most of the water should have been absorbed by now. Stir in the parmesan and then serve.

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

Chicken and Pepper Orzotto

I think my chicken and pepper orzotto is a pretty tasty dish, for that reason and I wanted to share it with you. Like all my recipes, this one is super easy and hassle free to make.

Until next time.

Julie
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Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples Review and Giveaway

Eat Your Greens

Eat Your Grees, Reds, Yellows and Purples. Published by DK (£9.99) DK.com

I was delighted when DK books offered us the chance to review their latest children’s cookbook Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples. Designed to get children cooking vegetables, it is a colourful guide to delicious and nutritious vegetarian food for kids.

The cookbook is divided into colour chapters greens, reds, purples, yellows and oranges, each chapter showcasing recipes using fruit and vegetables of that colour. Jam packed full of child friendly information about the nutritional benefits of eating a rainbow of vegetables and fruits, there are plenty of tantalising recipes to get your little ones inspired about cooking. Each recipe is accompanied by an easy to read ingredient list and step by step photos with a clear recipe method. Playful drawings of fruits and vegetables make this a really fun book for kids to read too.

My two daughters decided to make the Layered Berry Cheesecakes from the purple chapter. The girls really got involved in every stage and didn’t really need my help at all. They had so much fun, especially when it came to crushing the oat biscuits! Needless to say they enjoyed eating the cheesecakes even more.

Here are the layered berry cheesecakes they made, they were so proud of themselves and I think they did a brilliant job too.

Layered Berry Cheesecakes

If you and your children would like to make the layered berry cheesecakes, here’s the recipe.

Layered Berry Cheesecakes

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 1hr 25mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:
300g blueberries
250g blackberries
2 tbsp caster sugar
250g cream cheese
200ml crème fraîche
1 tsp non-alcoholic vanilla extract
100g oat biscuits, crushed

Method:
1. Place two thirds of the berries and 1 tbsp of sugar in a medium pan. Add a lid and cook over a low heat for 5 minutes. Stir in the remaining berries and leave to cool.
2. Beat the remaining 1 tbsp sugar, cream cheese, crème fraiche, and vanilla extract in a bowl. Do this until the mixture is soft and creamy.
3. Start to layer up the cheesecakes. In glasses or a jar, create a layer of berry sauce, then the cream cheese mixture, then the biscuits. Repeat until you’re finished.
4. Add a few extra fresh berries on top, then place the cheesecakes into the fridge for an hour to allow them to set.

Recipe from Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples published by DK (£9.99) DK.com

I am delighted to give three lucky readers the opportunity each win a copy of Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples courtesy of DK in this brilliant giveaway.

To be in with a chance of winning a copy of Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Please provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win. Please do not worry if your blog comment does not display immediately, all blog comment entries will be displayed prior to the giveaway ending.

Eat Your Greens

Eat Your Grees, Reds, Yellows and Purples. Published by DK (£9.99) DK.com

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 9 May 2016 and is open to UK entrants only. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Until next time.

Julie
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Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 9 May 2016. These prizes are offered by Dorling Kindersley Ltd (DK) and I am hosting the giveaway on behalf of them. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prizes out or providing them. DK or their representative will send out the prizes within 14 days of the winners providing me with their name and address. The three winners will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winners will be notified within 7 days of the closing date. The three prizes are as stated, a copy of Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples. The giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure:
I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway. Dorling Kindersley Ltd (DK) provided me with a copy of Eat Your Greens, Reds, Yellows and Purples to review. Dorling Kindersley Ltd (DK) are kindly offering the prizes to three lucky readers.

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

BiB and MAD Blog awards, I would love your vote.

I’ve been writing this blog for two and a half years. It is my hobby and a creative outlet, in fact I would be totally lost without it. Every year at this time sees the blogging world recognise the best UK blogs. I was lucky enough to reach the shortlist in the Brilliance in Blogging awards (BiBs) in 2014. It would be lovely to make the award shortlists this year but I really need your help. So if you have ever enjoyed one of my recipes please spare a couple of minutes and maybe vote for Julie’s Family Kitchen in the food category in both blog awards. It would totally make my day.

I read lots of blogs myself, written by very talented and creative bloggers. So please consider voting for these fab blogs too, as they are truly worthy of your vote. Here are some of my favourite blogs.

Le Coin De Mel
Mel writes a beautiful family friendly blog about food, photography, crafts and kids.

Cakes, Bakes & Cookies
Emma’s blog is for people who love to bake, jam packed full of great baking recipes and tips.

Taming Twins
Sarah’s delightful blog is about life with twins, food, and travel.

Free From Fairy
Vicki’s blog is full of creative recipes for those with allergies.

A Mummy Too
Emily’s blog is a food and lifestyle blog for busy parents.

Honest Mum
Vicki’s blog is a lifestyle blog, featuring food, family life and lots more.

Mummy Tries
Renee is a writer and blogs about the realities of family life.

Intolerant Gourmand
Nathalie’s relatively new blog is all about life with allergies and free from recipes.

Please vote for Julie’s Family Kitchen in the Food category in the MAD Blog Awards here.

Tots 100 Awards

Please vote for Julie’s Family Kitchen in the Food category in the Brilliance in Blogging (BiBs) Awards here.

BritMums

Thank you so much. If I could send you all a big slice of chocolate cake by way of thanks I would.

Chocolate birthday cake

Until next time.

Julie
x

Berry and Mango Smoothie

Berry and Mango Smoothie

If you’re in need of a chocolate detox after Easter, then my Berry and Mango Smoothie will certainly help you on your way. This Easter not only have we been inundated with chocolate eggs but chocolate birthday cake too. Of course this is entirely my fault, I baked my daughter the ultimate chocolate cake for her birthday which this year fell on Easter Sunday. Decorated with a thick dark chocolate icing and two whole tubes of Cadbury’s mini eggs this was a chocolate cake of epic proportions.

A photo posted by Julie (@juliesfamilykitchen) on

So desperate was I to tempt my kids away from chocolate today I whipped up this super healthy berry and mango smoothie made using a mix of frozen blueberries & strawberries and frozen mango. Frozen fruits are perfect for creating chilled smoothies, requiring no chopping or peeling at all. I don’t now about you but I have yet to master how to successfully peel a mango! Frozen mango is most definitely the solution.

My kids have always snacked on bananas, but of late I’ve been having quite a bit of trouble getting all three kids to eat them. I managed to sneak two whole bananas into this smoothie which serves two, I call that a major win!

Mango and Berry Smoothie

Berry and Mango Smoothie

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 5mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:Berry and Mango Smoothie

100g frozen blueberries and strawberries*
100g frozen mango*
2 bananas
200ml water

*I’ve used Sainsbury’s frozen fruit

Method:

1. Place all the ingredients in a powerful blender and blitz until smoothie.

2. Serve immediately, enjoy!

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Pin me for later.

Berry and Mango Smoothie

A little more smoothie inspiration.

Date and Banana Cacao Smoothie

Sunshine Fruit Smoothie

Wake Wakey Breakfast Smoothie

Until next time.

Julie
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Hot Cross Bacon Butties

Hot Cross Bacon Butties

Oh yes! Hot Cross Bacon Butties, an unbelievably good combination and you seriously haven’t lived until you try them. This unusual #LittleTwists recipe is one of many from Sainsbury’s latest campaign to encourage us to add a little twist whilst cooking. So when Sainsbury’s challenged me to try out this recipe I have to admit I was extremely sceptical. Hot cross buns and bacon, really? However, I love bacon and I’m quite partial to a hot cross bun at Easter time. So hey I thought, it’s worth a try.

The verdict:
“That was sooo good” was the reaction from my youngest daughter, with my eldest daughter equally impressed. The mix of sweet and salty flavours really make these Hot Cross Bacon Butties a real joy to eat. I absolutely love them, and I’m sure I’ll make them again on Good Friday.

Hot Cross Bacon Butties

Hot Cross Bacon Butties

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 25mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredients:Hot Cross Bacon Butties

8 Sainsbury’s Reduced Salt Back Bacon slices
4 Taste the Difference Fruity Hot Cross Buns
Butter or margarine

Method:

1. Pre heat your oven to 200°/Fan 180°c.

2. Line a baking try with foil, then place a wire rack from the grill on top. Place the bacon on top of the wire rack and bake in the oven for 18 to 20 minutes, depending on how crispy you like your bacon.

3. Slice the hot cross buns then lightly toast, spread with butter or margarine.

4. Sandwich together each hot cross bun with two slices of bacon inside. Enjoy!

Recipe by Sainsbury’s

So have I persuaded you yet to try these Hot Cross Bacon Butties? Why not add a little twist with Sainsbury’s to your Easter feast. Find out more here at www.sainsburys.co.uk/littletwists.

Hot Cross Bacon Butties

Do you have any little twists you like to add to classic recipes? I’d really like to hear about them, the more unusual the better.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: Sainsbury’s invited me to try one of their #LittleTwists recipes and sent me a voucher to purchase the ingredients. The recipe has been created by Sainsbury’s. Sainsbury’s have kindly given me permission to publish the recipe on Julie’s Family Kitchen. The images within the blog post are my own.

Learning French Patisserie – Why I never went back

I write this with an immense sense of disappointment. I had realistic hopes of how my five week course at the local adult education college would pan out. I realised within minutes of attending the first class, that the tuition was not necessarily of the calibre I would have liked. However, I was prepared to continue, it was after all a chance for me to learn new skills and put into practice my existing baking knowledge.

During week one the tutor forgot to tell the class to let the macarons rest before putting them in the oven. Fortunately for me I was running behind everyone in the group but already knew this vital detail, those years of watching the GBBO have obviously been an education. Needless to say there were numerous failed macarons, I was feeling thankful that mine turned out reasonably OK.

macarons

The lack of equipment in the cookery room was somewhat frustrating and anything I laid my hands on needed a wash. So I decided for week two that I would literally take everything from home but the kitchen sink. Rather impractical and a little bit annoying. That said, the fruit tarts I made that week were a success, so I again put my reservations aside and planned to attend week three.

Fruit Tarts

By this point three people had already dropped out of the class and someone had made a serious complaint! The recipe for week three was chocolate eclairs, something I’ve not actually made before. I did a fair bit of research, scouring my baking books for choux pastry recipes. I was feeling pretty confident that I could make them. The tutor showed the class how to make the choux pastry, so far so good. Then went on to explain how pipe out the eclair shape, stating that the eclairs must be only 5cm long! I questioned this saying that’s only the length of my little finger. The tutor was adamant, even though the ready made eclairs she had brought along where about 15cm long at least.

Looking back, on this situation the tutor either didn’t fully listen to me or actually meant to say 5 inches not 5cm. Anyway, I sensed another macaron disaster looming. I piped my eclairs as big as I thought was necessary. Nevertheless, I was extremely disappointed with how my eclairs turned out and decided not to bother filling them or cover them with chocolate icing. Whilst I packed up my things, I could hear some of the students complaining about the ovens not being good enough.

My mind had been made up. I decided at that point, I was not going to return to the class but felt like I had failed. I don’t give up easily but my time in the evening is precious and didn’t want to waste anymore.

So to fulfil my hopes of learning French Patisserie, I will instead at some point in the future attend a professional workshop or class. In the meantime, I have a mountain of baking books to continue to work through, so can continue to teach myself just like I have with every other aspect of cooking.

If anyone can recommend a reasonably priced but professional French Patisserie class, then please let me know.

Until next time.

Julie
x

Oaty Raisin Cookies

Oaty Raisin Cookies

I made these Oaty Raisin Cookies, not really expecting anyone else but me to like them. After all, there’s not a single chocolate chip in sight! How wrong was I. So with more than half of the cookies being scoffed within the first day, I had to hurry up and take the blog photos pronto.

Filled with plump raisins and oats, these soft cookies are slightly chewy in texture and incredibly moreish. The trouble is with homemade cookies is that they taste so good, one is never enough. I suppose the only solution is just to bake some more.

Oaty Raisin Cookies

Oaty Raisin Cookies

  • Servings: 16
  • Time: 1hr 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

Ingredient:Oaty Raisin Cookies

175g unsalted butter (softened)
100g caster sugar
75g whole rolled oats
100g raisins
225g plain flour

Method:

1. Cream together the butter and sugar together until thoroughly combined.

2. Mix in the rolled oats and raisins.

3. Add the flour and mix until the mixture becomes a dough.

4. Line two baking sheets with baking parchment.

5. Divide the cookie dough into 16 pieces, roll each piece into a ball. Then, place the balls of cookie dough on the lined baking sheet and flatten until about 1cm thick. Smooth the edges of the cookies with your hands if they are cracked.

6. Place both the baking sheets in the fridge to allow the uncooked cookies to firm up, chill for at least 1 hour.

7. Pre heat the oven to Fan 160c.

8. Oven bake the cookies for about 20-23 minutes, the cookies will be pale gold when cooked. Don’t over bake as they will lose their soft texture.

9. Once cooked remove from the oven and leave on the baking sheets for 10 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack to finish cooling.

Recipe by Julie McPherson

Oaty Raisin Cookies

I hope you all have something fun plan this weekend. My youngest daughter is having a roller disco birthday party, so I might get some skates on and join in! Wish me luck.

Please don’t forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter if you haven’t already, the next newsletter will be sent out at the end of March.

Until next time, happy baking.

Julie
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The Caravan Trail Dorset Day Trip Range Review plus Giveaway

Caravan Trail Mug and Bowl

The brand new Dorset Day Trip range from The Caravan Trail is a delightful summery collection of bowls and mugs in pastel shades of blue, pink and yellow with a slightly retro vibe. Now I have a bit of a thing for pretty china, whether it’s a teapot, cups, mugs, bowls or the like, I will always find room for a new addition. So when The Caravan Trail offered to send me their Dorset Day Trip set of four stacking bowls and two Sixpenny Strawberries mugs to review I was thrilled to bits.

The stacking bowls feature a pretty design of ditsy patterns and vintage inspired pictures of British cherries and strawberries. The mugs are generously proportioned, perfect for my morning cup of tea are predominantly pastel blue in colour, with a ditsy pattern trim and strawberry design. I have to say, these gorgeous mugs and bowls really are a welcome addition to my kitchen, even the children remarked how lovely they are. I think the bowls and mugs are perfect for serving breakfast, and will most definitely brighten up your morning kitchen table. The new Dorset Day Trip range is available to buy direct from The Caravan Trail at thecaravantrail.com.

Caravan Trail Mug and Bowl

I’m so pleased to offer one lucky reader the chance to win the Dorset Day Trip set of four stacking bowls and two Sixpenny Strawberries mugs courtesy of The Caravan Trail in this brilliant blog giveaway.

Dorset Day Trip Set of 4 Stacking Bowls

Dorset Day Trip Set of 4 Stacking Bowls

Sixpenny Strawberries Mug

Sixpenny Strawberries Mug

To be in with a chance of winning the Dorset Day Trip set of four stacking bowls and two Sixpenny Strawberries mugs you will need to complete the Rafflecopter entry form. Please provide an answer to the giveaway question as a blog comment. Leaving a blog comment is mandatory, so please follow this requirement to ensure your entry is valid. Once, you have done that there are further chances to win. Please do not worry if your blog comment does not display immediately, all blog comment entries will be displayed prior to the giveaway ending.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The giveaway will close at 00:00 on 11 April 2016 and is open to UK entrants only. I wish you all the very best of luck.

Until next time.

Julie
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Terms and Conditions:
This giveaway will close at 00:00 on 11 April 2016. The prize is offered by The Caravan Trail and I am hosting the giveaway on behalf of them. Please note, I am not responsible for posting the prize out or providing them. The Caravan Trail or their representative will send out the prize within 14 days of the winner providing me with their name and address. The winner will be selected at random from all correct entries received by the Rafflecopter widget. The winner will be notified within 7 days of the closing date. The prize is as stated, the Dorset Day Trip set of four stacking bowls and two Sixpenny Strawberries mugs, no cash alternatives are available. This giveaway is open to UK entrants only.

Disclosure:
I have not been sponsored or paid to host this giveaway. The Caravan Trail provided me with the Dorset Day Trip set of four stacking bowls and two Sixpenny Strawberries mugs to review. The Caravan Trail are kindly offering the prize to one lucky reader.

SuperLucky Blog Giveaway Linky

Freehand Machine Embroidery with The Makery

Freehand Machine Embroidery

If you have ever wanted to try freehand machine embroidery, then The Makery run a fun and interesting workshop at John Lewis, Oxford Street. At the beginning of the year I decided to get back into an old hobby I love, sewing. So far, I’ve made a tote bag using gorgeous Cath Kidston cotton duck fabric. So when I found this slightly different sewing workshop run by The Makery, I booked myself a place straight away .

The freehand machine embroidery workshop is situated in the middle of the haberdashery department of the 4th floor of John Lewis. I didn’t realise this at the time of booking, and as I sat down to start the workshop I was beginning to wonder what I’d let myself in for. However, once the workshop got under way I became so engrossed in what I was doing, it was quite easy to forget where I was even though I was surrounded by shoppers!

So what exactly is freehand machine embroidery?

Well, it allows you to sew freestyle on the fabric moving in any direction. The feeder plate on the sewing machine is lowered which enables you to freely move the fabric, stitching as you go.

After having a practice on pieces of calico, it was time to create my final design. I’d already planned to create a Mother’s Day themed design, opting for the simple lettering of ‘MUM’ in complementing cotton fabric. Some of the designs from the other ladies on the workshop were simply stunning, especially from those who were experienced quilters.

Freehand Machine Embroidery

To finish off my embroidery piece, I’ve sewn on buttons in various shades of pink and placed it in a new embroidery hoop. To ensure that the fabric edges don’t fray, I’ve coated them generously with fray check.

Freehand Machine Embroidery

If you enjoy sewing or just want to learn a new craft, this is definitely a workshop to try. The Makery also runs workshops from their shop in Bath, as well as John Lewis, Oxford Street.

Happy Mother’s Day to my very special mum, I hope you like your gift.

Until next time.

Julie
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Disclosure: I paid for my own workshop place, and have not been paid or sponsored by The Makery or John Lewis. The review has been written for the purposes of sharing my positive experience of the workshop.