Week 19 #Project365 – 2014

A rather busy week for us, trips out, cooking, cinema and looking after Grandson.

Sunday – A trip to the Wetlands for a long walk. It amazes me that you can turn one way and see the Severn Estuary with boats sailing by and you can turn 180 degrees and see Uskmouth Power station and pylons.

The Bull Rush sculpture is in the car park and although we’ve been here several times I’d never noticed it before.  After our walk we drove the few miles to Goldcliff and sat on the sea wall to eat our lunch. It’s the closest thing we have to a beach in Newport!!

After our jaunt to the Wetlands I made some Spare Ribs for tea (dinner).


newport wetlands, goldcliffe seawall

Monday – A day trip to Roath Park with Oldest Son and Grandson – I’ve linked up our exploits with Coombe Mill’s #Countrykids

Tuesday – a day of rest!

Wednesday – Orange Wednesday this week was Bad Neighbours – a rude, crude reasonably funny film about a couple whose neighbours are a fraternity of lewd, drunken yobs. It all gets a bit messy and rather silly. It was ok…to be honest the trailer was quite good as I don’t mind a bit of mindless stupid humour but the film itself just goes on and on. There wasn’t enough ‘belly’  laughs or LOL moments.

Also on Wednesday we had Ashley from late afternoon and he stayed overnight with us as Mummy and Daddy went out for their anniversary. He was no trouble at all, off to bed at 7am and we didn’t hear a peep out of him until he ambled into our bedroom for a cuddle at nearly 7am the next morning.
He’s a greedy boy at breakfast, devouring porridge followed by toast and some dried prunes – he loves them.

Thursday – Quick shopping trip for some fresh food and a few bottles of alcoholic Dandelion & Burdock – who knew this existed?? No neither did I until I saw it on Olivers Madhouse Instagram feed. Oh and it’s bloody lush..

Friday – Looking after Ashley again until it was time for nursery, he scoffed a ham sandwich, half a scone, a banana and half an apple for his lunch. Then washed it all down with some warm milk (he doesn’t do cold drinks at all)

Saturday – a quick visit to the MIL and back home to catch up with blogging!

steak, orange Wednesday, drink, food,

From top:

  • Spare ribs – RECIPE
  • yummy steak last Saturday evening- Tomato and Pepper Sauce RECIPE
  • cinema
  • balance bike fun at Roath Park
  • lush alcohol – hic!,
  • Healthy appetite / greedy boy!


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RECIPE: Spare Ribs

I really don’t have a definitive recipe for Spare Ribs so this is just basic recipe of how I cook them and to give you some ideas of what marinade / glaze you can use.


  • Half a rack of ribs person.
  • One onion
  • 2 bay leaves
  • half teaspoon black pepper corns

For the glaze: Per half rack

  • 1 tsp tomato sauce
  • shake of Worcestershire sauce
  • shake of dark soy sauce
  • a little honey

Spare Ribs


On the rear of the ribs is a membrane that I always remove – but it’s not absolutely necessary. Just Google ‘remove skin on the back of ribs’ to find out how to do it.
Precook the ribs : Place the ribs into a large saucepan (you can fold them in half or cut them in half to get them to fit) along with the onion, peppercorns and bay leaves. Bring to the boil, place a lid on the pan and turn down to a simmer for 30 -45 mins. Remove carefully (tongs are best for this job!) and place on a grill rack.
Smother with the glaze and place in the oven @180 degrees for around 20 mins.
NB – If you are going to place them on the BBQ then precook them as above for 45 mins then glaze and BBQ for a few minutes.

Spare Ribs

The glaze above is just a suggestion. Use any glaze you like, you can buy some really good ones, in the past I’ve used Reggae Reggae sauce, JD BBQ sauce and just tomato sauce with Worcestershire.  As long as the meat falls off the bones and you get mucky eating them it’s all that counts!!

I hope you’ll give them a try! Let me know if you try them!

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES

RECIPE: Tomato and Sweet Pepper Sauce

Whenever we have steak I have to make this sauce.  I can’t remember where the original recipe came from – all I now have is a tatty piece of paper with my version written on it – so it’s about time I wrote it up where it can’t get lost!

It’s an ideal sauce to go with any grilled meat or for a BBQ. Any left over can be warmed through and tossed with some pasta for a quick lunch.

If you don’t like basil you can use oregano.

I nearly always roast the peppers  – but you can make it without doing this but it won’t taste as good!


  • 1 large onion – finely chopped
  • 2 peppers – any colour
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • olive oil
  • black pepper and salt

Tomato and pepper sauce


Firstly roast the peppers – cut in half and core/deseed them. Drizzle with a little oil and place under a grill until they start to char. Remove and place them into a plastic bag for 5 minutes (or into a dish and cover with cling film) to sweat – it makes the skin easier to remove. Remove the peppers and peel off the skin. Roughly chop them.

Whilst the peppers are sweating heat a little oil in a pan and gently fry the onion until transparent. Add the tomatoes, peppers, basil and sugar. Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for 20 – 30 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Adjust seasoning to your taste.

Tomato and pepper sauce

Will you give a try? Let me know!!

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES

RECIPE: Thai Pumpkin Soup

I’ve never cooked with pumpkin before and was surprised to discover that you can’t really cook with the ones sold for carving.

The only reason I made the soup was because pumpkin was on offer in the supermarket and I thought that for £1 each it would make a tasty cheap soup.
The next task was to look up a recipe, some using spices, some using dairy to enrich it, some using Thai ingredients. Only one thing wrong I didn’t have any lemongrass, chillies or red Thai paste. However I did have coconut and a jar of chopped chillies. So I set to work on my version of the soup, here’s the result and recipe.

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Thai Pumpkin Soup

Ingredients:  Enough for 4 to 6  portions.

  • 1 cooking pumpkin weighing about 1 Kilo
  • 1 onion – chopped
  • half block of creamed coconut
  • 2 teaspoons of chopped chillies (or 2 fresh red chillies chopped – up to you if you add seeds!)
  • 1 litre hot vegetable or chicken stock
  • salt and pepper


  • Preheat oven 180 degrees Gas Mark 4.
  • Quarter the pumpkin,  remove seeds and thready pith. Slice each quarter into 2 and place on a baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Roast in the oven for approx 30 minutes or until soft.
  • Meanwhile, fry the onion in a little oil until transparent – do not let it brown.
  • Add the stock, chillies and coconut. ( break up into small chunks – it will melt into the liquid)
  • Bring to the boil and leave to simmer stirring to melt the coconut.
  • When the pumpkin is soft, scrape the flesh off the peel and chop into smaller pieces. Add the pumpkin to the stock base.
  • Simmer for 15 mins.

To Serve:

  • Blitz the soup with a hand whisk until smooth. Add more stock or hot water until it is the consistency you like.
  • Adjust seasoning to taste.
  • Serve with toasted tortilla wraps cut into wedges / toast / prawn crackers


  • Use canned coconut milk instead of the creamed coconut, reduce the amount of stock used to around 700ml
  • Add a stalk or two of lemongrass – bruise and cut in half – remove before blitzing.
  • Use a couple of teaspoons of red Thai paste instead of chillies and lemongrass.

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES

What’s for Dinner Tonight?

Well actually in our house it’s what’s for tea tonight?  Most of the time I make dishes from scratch using ingredients in the cupboards and fridge.
But it’s always handy to have some jars and packets as a standby for when time or inspiration is not forthcoming!

Recently Britmums were asking for members to try out the new Schwartz 2in1 seasoning range and they sent me 2 samples:

  • Mediterranean Chicken Pasta and Cheesy Crumb Topping: A blend of herbs and spices for chicken pasta with a cheesy topping.
  • Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken + Crispy Roast Potatoes: Roast chicken seasoning, with garlic and thyme, accompanied by a special seasoning to create perfect Crispy Roast Potatoes

Тhe  2in1 range offers easy to use recipe mix sachets: one sachet flavours the main dish whilst the other contains seasoning for a complementary side dish or topping. There are 5 different varieties to choose from, and an easy recipe on the back of each pack’.

garlic and thyme 1I decided to try out the Garlic & Thyme Roast Chicken + Crispy Roast Potatoes.
The instructions said to make some cuts in the chicken, mix the top part of the sachet with some oil and brush that over the chicken. It is then covered with foil and placed in the oven to cook.
The potatoes are cut into chunks and par boiled. You heat a little oil in a separate dish, drain the potatoes, sprinkle with the potato seasoning and toss gently then transfer them to them oven dish.

garlic and herb 2

The cooked chicken:

The kitchen was filled with a delicious smell! The chicken was really tasty, the garlic and thyme is not overpowering just enough to make it tasty for everyone.
The potatoes were tasty too but not as tasty as the chicken. The seasoning contains semolina to give the potatoes a crunchy coat but I’m not keen on this. I can make crispy roasties without it!

garlic and herb 3

This is the finished dish:

Would I use it again? Not sure, the chicken was good but the potatoes disappointing. Perhaps I’ll use the chicken seasoning and give the potato seasoning to the Mother-in-Law!

“This post is an entry for BritMums ‘What’s for Dinner Tonight?’ sponsored by Schwartz. 

RECIPE: Turkey and Pineapple – Chinese Style

The first meal I ever had from a Chinese take-away was Chicken and Pineapple. I wasn’t sure that I’d like it but I did and it has become a regular choice over the years – along with Singapore Chow Mein…

A Chinese girl used to worked for me  and we were discussing food; I asked if the dishes we serve here in the UK are anything like what she has at home – the answer of course was no..but one of her favourites of the UK style was Chicken and Pineapple and she gave me her recipe for it. Really easy too!!

Turkey and pineapple

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time : under 10 minutes

Ingredients (for 4)

  • 350g Turkey breast meat – thinly sliced or cut into strips
  • 1 small can of pineapple chunks (in juice not syrup!)
  • 1 or 2 onions – roughly chopped (1 large or 2 medium)
  • 2 tsps – Light soy sauce
  • 1 tsp – Cornflour


  • Heat a tablespoon of oil in a wok or deep frying pan.
  • Add turkey and fry for 2 minutes – keep it moving as you don’t want it brown.
  • Add Onion and continue to cook for a further 2-3 minutes – the onion just needs to be transparent.
  • Add pineapple -including the juice, soy sauce and heat through.
  • Thicken sauce with a little cornflour slaked with a little water. Cook for another minute.

Serve with Rice or Noodles.

turkey and pineapple, chicken

This can also be made with chicken or pork. You can also use fresh pineapple but will need to add some liquid – juice, water or try some plum sauce.  I sometimes add mushrooms too as you can see in the picture.

Al Fresco foodie ideas!

Where do you go for a family holiday? If you have children you need somewhere where they can play safely and mix with other children. You need somewhere where you the adults can have some ‘me’ time.

What sort of holiday do you want? All Inclusive Hotel, B&B, self catering??
Why Italy? Well think of it, sunshine, beaches, lakes, countryside, pizzas, pasta, wine…what more can you need?

I think its important to try the local food when on holiday, I can’t see the point of going abroad only to eat sausage and chips! Let’s face it most people are familiar with some Italian food – Pizza and Pasta!
But do you really want to spend all your time cooking on holiday? Well the answer is no, of course not.. but when you have children you may have to cook and the important thing is to make it quick and tasty.

I’ll give you a few ideas for quick lunches and a basic tomato sauce that you can zhush up depending on your mood and what ingredients you’ve grabbed from the local markets!

Typical produce from the local shops and markets

Typical produce from the local shops and markets

So on to lunches:

Make up a big plate of AntiPasto – Italian Meats, salad, bread, breadsticks, olives, jars of marinated peppers, artichokes etc. Serve with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar.


Typical Antipasto

Caprese – Slice some mozzarella and Beef tomatoes drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle a little shredded fresh basil over the top – great with some crusty bread.

Bruschetta – grill slices of crusty bread, rub a clove of garlic over and top with chopped tomato mixed with basil / oregano and olive oil.

Nicoise salad – lettuce, tuna, olives and slices of boiled egg drizzled with any dressing you like.

What’s for tea Mum??

Most kids love pasta and you’ll notice lots of different types on your travels around the town and markets. Different colours and shapes, let the kids decide which one to have.

Having a Basic Pomodoro (Tomato) Sauce in your repertoire is a must. You can use it plain, reduce down to thicken it as a tomato base for pizza, serve with grilled steak and chops or use as a dip for breadsticks.
A basic Pomodoro sauce can be varied by adding any / all of the following – bacon, mushrooms, courgette, peppers, chilli or swap the basil for oregano.

Pomodoro Sauce

Serves 4


  • 1 large Onion – chopped
  • 1 or 2 cloves crushed Garlic
  • tin of chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tsp Tomato Puree (optional)
  • 1 tsp dried Basil
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • Salt and Pepper


Heat the Olive oil in a medium size saucepan and add the onion. Fry gently until transparent, add the garlic and fry for a minute. Add the tomatoes, tomato puree and basil. Stir well and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook with a lid on for 20 minutes, stirring every few minutes. If it’s getting too thick add a little water. At the end of the cooking time adjust seasoning to your taste.
Serve with pasta – cook as per instructions on the packet!


  • Tomato and Bacon: Fry 100g of sliced bacon or lardons with the onion. (reduce or omit salt)
  • Tomato and Mushroom: Add 50g to 100g sliced or chopped mushrooms.
  • Vegetarian Tomato: Add 50g sliced mushrooms, 1 chopped green pepper, 1 small diced courgette, handful of chopped black olives.
  • Pizziola Sauce : Add 1 chopped green pepper and 1 chopped red pepper, add some shredded fresh basil at the end instead of dried. This one is fantastic with Steak!!
  • Amatriciana: Fry 100g of sliced bacon or lardons with the onion. (reduce or omit salt). Add one sliced chopped chilli or add half teaspoon of chilli flakes.  This is the one you can see in this picture – served with garlic and basil linguine.
italian tomato sauce

Pomodoro Sauce made into Amatriciana

BUT – the best thing about this? – you can also use a ready made jar of tomato pasta sauce! There will be plenty to be had in the local shops. So the simplest ‘What’s for tea Mum?’ put pasta on to cook, slice up some crusty bread,  open the jar warm the contents, drain pasta, dump onto plates, pour over the sauce, fork and spoon and get your gob open!! Under 15 minutes – Job Done!!

All photos are copyrighted to Soosie Wales and cannot be used without permission.

If you’d like to see more recipes click RECIPES