Macaroni Cheese with Pancetta And Tomatoes

Being a vegetarian, mac n cheese is often the go-to on the menu when lunching out so I’m fairly confident I can pass judgement when it comes to deciding what makes a decent macaroni cheese.

And while, yes, you can just stick with a standard cheese sauce and pasta job, it can also be a great way to sneak some vegetables into a family meal – try adding a tin of sweetcorn, or just a really tasty meal which can be prepared ahead. This version, however, is a much fancier version which will satisfy anyone who likes having meat with every meal.

Don’t feel that you have to buy breadcrumbs buy the way, just whizz up some end bread crusts in a food processor. I usually make myself a small vegetarian version by leaving out the pancetta or substituting with Quorn bacon piece. I just bake in a small separate dish.

Serve on its own, with salad, garlic bread or corn on the cob. Either way, it’s one meal which I know is going to get the thumbs up from my ravenous teenagers.

this luxury macaroni cheese is a much fancier twist on a family favourite,


  • 250g/9oz macaroni
  • 40g/1½oz butter
  • 40g/1½ plain flour
  • 600ml/1pint 1½fl oz milk
  • 250g/9oz grated cheddar
  • 1/2 bunch spring onions
  • 130g pancetta
  • a packet of mozzarella cheese cut into slices
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 1 tsp chives
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 6 sliced cherry tomatoes – sliced
  • 2 handfuls of breadcrumbs
  • salt & pepper to season

this luxury macaroni cheese is a much fancier twist on a family favourite,


  1. boil a pan of water and add the macaroni according to packet instructions
  2. dry fry the pancetta in a saucepan
  3. remove and set aside
  4. using the same pan, melt the butter then add the chopped spring onions and cook until soft
  5. add the flour and mustard powder stirring until it’s all combined
  6. slowly start adding the milk stirring between each addition to avoid any lumps,
  7. add the basil and grated cheddar
  8. bring the sauce to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce has thickened
  9. strain the cooked macaroni then combine with the sauce and pancetta
  10. transfer to an ovenproof dish, layer the sliced mozzarella top with breadcrumbs
  11. finish with the sliced tomatoes and a sprinkle of chives
  12. bake in a preheated oven at 180′ for 25 minutes.

this luxury macaroni cheese is a much fancier twist on a family favourite,


A Recipe For Teriyaki Lamb Stir-Fry
I’m a huge stir fry fan. Not only are they quick and easy to whip up at the end of a long day, they’re super healthy and a great way to cram in at least 5 of your 5 a day (or 7 if you go by the current guidelines) Being a pescatarian, I tend to stick with prawn and occasionally quorn but this week I took the leap into the unknown with some lamb in honour of Love Lamb Week (1st-7th September.)
This was a total first for me, I obviously don’t eat it, but my kids are all meat eaters and with lamb steaks being easy and versatile to cook this Teriyaki recipe could be a great introduction for them. (worth noting that you should look out for the Red Tractor mark when buying lamb, as this way you know what’s happening from farm to fork!)

As it happens, it went down a storm and now I know that all 3 of my boys will eat it, lamb will be gracing our dinner table sometime soon. And if you’re looking for a quick and easy healthy meal, then Teriyaki lamb stir fry is one to try. The quantities below are enough for 2 large adult sized portions, I added a courgette and shallot to bump up the vegetables to make it go between 3 adult sized appetites and a toddler.

Preparation time: 10 minutes

Cooking time: 5 minutes


350g/12oz lean lamb leg steaks, cut into stir-fry strips

10ml/2tsp rapeseed or vegetable oil

1 x 250g pack prepared stir-fry vegetables of your choice

For the Teriyaki Sauce:

60ml/4tbsp Teriyaki marinade and sauce

15ml/1tbsp light brown sugar

30ml/2tbsp lime juice

2.5ml/½tsp Chinese five-spice powder

noodles (1 nest per person)


1 courgette

1 shallot

To garnish:

Toasted sesame seeds, optional


  1. To prepare the Teriyaki sauce; in a small bowl mix all the ingredients together  and set aside.
  2. Heat the water for the noodles (if using dry)
  3. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick frying pan or wok and stir-fry the lamb for 3-4 minutes.  Add the stir-fry vegetables and cook for a further 1-2 minutes, tossing frequently.
  4. Add the noodles to the water (if using pre cooked, add them to the lamb/veg mix when adding the sauce.
  5. Add the Teriyaki sauce, toss gently and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Season, if required.
  6. Garnish with the sesame seeds, if used and serve with noodles or rice.


I am a member of the Mumsnet Bloggers Panel, a group of parent bloggers who have volunteered to review products, services, events and brands for Mumsnet. I have not paid for the product or to attend an event. I have editorial control and retain full editorial integrity. [I have received a voucher in return for writing this post.


Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese

Its’s not the first time I’ve raved about HelloFresh delivery boxes, (you can read all about the time I discovered them here.) As a busy, working mum of 3, they’re an absolute lifesaver as they take the stress out of deciding what to cook and having to go buy the ingredients. I’ve just restarted my deliveries after a year break as I’ve found I was cooking the same things week after week.

I’ve only been ordering 3 meals a week so that still leaves a few days, to think up healthy meal ideas. So rather than trawl through my cook books ( that super busy mum thing again) I’ve used their new  Flavour Generator to help find some recipes. I can do all this while I’m on the site choosing my meals for the next delivery so my whole weeks meals are dun and dusted in one sitting.

It’s a great tool for helping you decide what to cook and try out some new recipes, this week I was in the mood for something Italian. You can you can choose between Italian, British, Middle Eastern, Mexican and Indian on the Flavour Generator drop down menu. Once you’ve decided on that, there’s more choices on the next drop down for flavour; tangy, herby, sweet or spicy. Then its spin and het presto! My Italian, herby mood brought up this recipe for Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese, it’s  a flavour full, tomato based vegetable bake with a breadcrumb top and tomato salad on the side. The pine nuts addition give it a really nice texture and best of all, you get to use up all the courgettes which are in abundance right now and  do some sneaky veggie hiding for reluctant vegetable eating kids.

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese


  • half Red Onion
  •  2 Garlic Cloves
  •  1 Courgette
  •  0.5 punnet(s) Cherry Tomatoes
  •  1 ball(s)   Mozzarella
  • Tomato Passata
  •  0.75 tsp  Dried Oregano
  • 1 bunch Basil (20g)
  • 25 grams  Pine Nuts
  • 3 tbsp    Hard Italian Cheese
  • 20 grams  Panko Breadcrumbs
  •  1 Foccacia (I subbed for ciabatta)

Courgette Parmigiana with Insalata Caprese


  1. Pre-heat your oven to 220 degrees. Peel and finely chop the red onion and the garlic. Slice the courgette lengthways into ½cm strips. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.
  2. Next cut three-quarters of your mozzarella into slices, as thin as you can (keep a quarter for your salad). Press kitchen paper or a clean tea towel onto each slice to soak up as much excess moisture as possible.
  3. Add a splash of olive oil to a pan and fry your red onion and garlic on medium-low heat for around 5 mins, or until soft. Tip: You can start step 5 at the same time to save some time.
  4. Add in the tomato passata with a pinch of salt, the oregano and a few grinds of black pepper. Bubble the mixture for 5 mins, then remove from the heat to cool down.
  5. Heat a splash of olive oil in a large frying pan on high heat. Once hot, fry your courgette strips in batches. Cook them for 1 minute on each side and then keep to the side. Do not overcrowd the pan as this will stew the courgette rather than brown it.
  6. Put enough (about a third) of your passata in an ovenproof dish to thinly cover the bottom. Top this with a layer of your courgette (you should use roughly half your courgette here as you’re going to repeat this step!). Next, layer on a couple of slices of mozzarella, followed by some torn basil and half of the pine nuts.
  7. Spread on another layer of passata, followed by your remaining courgette, a couple more slices of mozzarella and bit more basil (save some of each for your salad) and the rest of your pine nuts. Finally add one more layer of passata and top your parmigiana with the hard cheese and the breadcrumbs. Bake in your oven for 15 mins.
  8. Tear up a small handful of basil leaves and the remaining mozzarella. Toss these and your cherry tomatoes in a bowl with a drizzle of olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Serve your parmigiana with your salad and foccacia on the side.

Baileys Bread and Butter Pudding

I’ve not been eating many puddings lately, my sugar intake is always on the high side so I’ve tried honing it in a little to see if I feel any healthier, but I do miss a good stodgy Sunday night pudding treat. So when a whole loaf of fresh bread needing using up pronto I decided to give this much loved old fave, bread and butter pudding, a modern twist by adding some Baileys into the mix.

This isn’t the first time I’ve experimented with traditional recipes and my favourite christmas tipple, and it’s subtle enough for the whole family to enjoy. I actually cooked up this batch on a Sunday morning and consumed most of it with my sister as we sat around the dining room table digging in and putting the world to rights. The best way to eat food I’d say.

Anyway, I’ll cut to the chase; here’s my take on Baileys bread and butter pudding….

this recipe for Baileys bread and butter pudding is the perfect Sunday afternoon dessert, or just dig in & share straight from the dish when warm



  • 100g butter
  • ?half loaf bread, crusts left on
  • 85g raisins
  • 3 large eggs
  • 250ml whole milk
  • ?150ml double cream
  • 150ml Baileys liqueur
  • tsp vanilla extract
  • 25g  caster sugar
  • 25g demerara sugar


  • Heat the oven to 180C, 160C fan, gas 4.  Grease an oven proof dish with butter then use the rest to spread on the bread and cut each slice into triangles. Arrange the triangles so that they overlap in the dish, scattering over the raisins between the layers.
  • beat the eggs and mix with the milk, cream, vanilla extract, Baileys and caster sugar, then pour over the bread. Lightly press down so that the bread absorbs the creamy mixture.
  • Sprinkle over the demerara sugar and bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and the pudding is just set. Serve warm with single cream or custard for pouring over. Or just dive in with a spoon fresh from the oven!

this recipe for Baileys bread and butter pudding is the perfect Sunday afternoon dessert, or just dig in & share straight from the dish when warm





Kid Friendly Overnight Oats

I’m a huge fan of time-saving techniques. Being a super busy mum constantly chasing her tale (and turning up late more often than not) anything which helps me hit the ground running in the morning is soon going to find a place in my busy mum tool kit. I’ve tackled the end of the day, too knackered to cook thing by preempting it with a slow cooker one pot meal, so now its happy days by preparing breakfast the night before with some kid friendly overnight oats.

For anyone new to overnight oats, you really, seriously NEED to give it a go. It’s a little bullet of health and nutrition in one sitting a perfect for anyone wanting to start the day in the best possible way. And more to the point; it’s grab and go breakfast. Plus, given the fact that lots of breakfast cereals are loaded with sugar, this is one way of having a little control over your daily in take. You can add optional extra health boosters but it’s totally up to you how healthy you want it. The main ingredients of oats, yoghurt and honey will be enough to keep them going until break time / snack time though.

If you’re making this for yourself, this is a great grab and go breakfast you can eat at work too.

why not make these kid friendly over night oats to help with the morning rush? They super easy and a really healthy breakfast

2 cups of rolled oats

1 1/2 cups of milk (cows, almond or coconut will do it)

1 tbsp of raw cacao (can be substituted with cocoa powder but you won’t get the superfood benefits)

1/2 cup of yoghurt preferably natural but can use a small pot of fromage frais

1tbsp honey or mapel syrup

tps vanilla extract


handful of blueberries or sliced banana


tsp chai seeds

tsp flax seeds


combine all ingredients into a bowl and mix

divide between 3 bowls, add the topping if using blueberries but leave the banana to the morning and place in the fridge overnight or for a minimum of 2 hours.

You can always put a few topping choices on the table in the morning to let the kids choose for them selves

why not make these kid friendly over night oats to help with the morning rush? They super easy and a really healthy breakfast