Tuesday, 31 March 2015

Creamy Gammon Pasta Bake

Great for using up leftovers this creamy gammon pasta bake is a lovely midweek family meal. It is also great to take for work lunches, so there is no need to throw anything away!
Creamy gammon pasta bake

250g macaroni (you can use any pasta)
Leftover cooked gammon
a couple of large handfuls of frozen sweetcorn
25g butter
25g plain flour
300ml milk
150ml cream
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
Cook the pasta, drain and leave to one side.  Preheat the oven go 180°.
In a pan place your butter melt over a low heat before adding the flour and mixing to a paste. Gradually add the milk, stirring constantly to keep the sauce smooth. Once all the milk is in add the cream and keep stirring turn the heat up and bring to the boil stirring continually, once it reaches boiling point turn the heat back down so the sauce is simmering and stir in about 80% of the cheese until melted. The sauce should thicken up nicely.
In a large pan combine the pasta, sauce, sweetcorn and gammon, transfer to a large ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and pop into the oven for around 10-15 minutes until the cheese has melted.
Lovely served with some garlic bread on the side.

Friday, 27 March 2015

Salt Dough Easter Tree Decorations

Last year I bought myself an Easter tree from John Lewis  after lusting after them on Pintrest.  I do love seasonal decorations in the house and I was eager to get my lovely Easter tree out again this year. I have a mishmash of bought and homemade decorations just like Christmas time. This week the boys helped me to make some salt dough Easter tree decorations for me to add and I think they look pretty good.
Salt dough easter tree decorations

To make salt dough, mix a cup of plain flour, 1/2 cup of salt and just under 1/2 cup of warm water in a bowl to firm a dough, add a little more flour or water if your dough seems to sticky or dry. 
Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface and then cut into shapes we used chick, butterflies and egg shapes to go with the Easter/ Spring theme of the tree. Use a straw to make a small hole in each shape and place on a baking tray. Bake in the oven on the lowest setting for around 2 hours until rock hard, i turn mine over halfway through, alternatively leave to air dry(this can take a few days though). 
Allow to cool and then paint. We use ordinary childrens paint with no problems, arm yourself with a cup of tea and let the little ones paint away,  they don't need to be perfect thats part of the charm, don't forget some wipes to clean them up afterwards! Leave to dry, loop some twine through the holes and hang on your tree.
Do you have an Easter tree?

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Brewers Fayre Old Brickworks #playatbrewersfayre

Yesterday we attended the launch of the brand new play area at Brewers Fayre Old Brickworks which is in Drighlington near Bradford. This is actually the closest Brewers Fayre pub to where we live but I had never visited before. I had told the boys that we were going to try out a new play area and they were really excited.
The distinctive building was easy to spot from the road and there is ample car parking. We were greeted by friendly staff, the boys were given wristbands to allow them into the play are (usual price is £3 for 90 minutes of play) and we were shown to our table in the main pub and our drinks were quickly brought over to us.
We left our bag and drinks at the table went through to the play area which is accessed via some double doors and straight away the boys were drawn to the play frame. It is really bright and clean, with a Beano theme throughout. There was a face painter, craft area and even a balloon modeller so everyone was kept busy. The staff in this area were again really friendly and approachable and genuinely looked happy to be there. The boys even got to meet Dennis and Gnasher and Alex fell a little a little bit in love, he kept stroking the dog and got excited every time they came near.

Beers Fayre,  old brickworks
Brewers Fayre, old brickworks

We were told that we could eat in the play area if preferred, there were plenty of tables in there and i spotted a big stack of high chairs too but we opted to eat in the main pub instead where it was a bit quieter! I like that you can eat in either part so you can either keep an eye on the kids playing or sit as a family in a calmer area. There were Beano Activity Comics and crayons for the children to keep them busy at the table too.
Our food came and I couldn’t fault it. I had Smothered Chicken, Phil opted for Brewers Fayre burger(both on the 2 for £10 menu) and both boys had a Big Bad Dog meal. It was all nice and hot and I loved how the children’s meals were presented In a basket lined with Beano paper, Again the staff were lovely, checking if we needed anything and making sure we were happy with the food.
For dessert Phil and I both had chocolate fudge cake (my favourite) and the boys had a sundae each which were perfectly sized for small people. I browsed the menus while we were sat and found it really reasonably priced, children’s meals start at just £3.99 for one course.

Brewers Fayre,  old brickworks

Brewers Fayre, old brickworks

We will definately be heading down to the Old Brickworks again soon for an afternoon of play and food. A big thank you to the staff for making us feel so welcome.
If you fancy paying a visit to Brewers Fayre at the Old Brickworks you can find more information, menus and book a table online. You can also keep up to date with everything happening at Brewers Fayre by liking them on Facebook or following them on Twitter.
**We were invited to try out the new play area and provided with lunch but all opinions are my own**

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Room on the Broom Trail at Anglers Country Park

The trail opened on March 5th 2015 and we popped along on Saturday afternoon after our morning at Brewers Fayre. Saturday was a beautiful day and the park was really busy, it took a bit of time for us to get a parking spot but that was fine as Alex had fallen asleep in the car anyway. I had never actually been to Anglers Country Park before but had heard quite a bit about it from other people.

Room on the Broom trail at anglers country park

We went into the visitors centre first where they were giving out brown bags for the trail with stickers, pencils and some activities to do. The woman on reception said it had been busy all day, she was really friendly and told us where we needed to go.
We set off on our walk around the huge lake. Right at the start we found the witch and the cat sat on the broom much to the delight of the boys and it got us excited for the rest of the trail to come.

The walk is essentially a big circle around the huge lake, it is a 2 mile walk all together and is pushchair friendly so even the youngest of book fans can come along. As well as the sculptures there are also sets of footprints to be found and rubbings to take in your activity book. There are also various benches if you need a sit down or if you want to stop, enjoy the sunshine and take in the view
Anglers country park

Room on the Broom trail at anglers country park

Room on the Broom trail at anglers country park

Room on the Broom trail at anglers country park

Of course we were all excited to get to the broom at the end and it was lovely that the boys could sit on it. We all really enjoyed the trail, it is great to see a favourite book come to life.As well as the trail the park is a lovely place to walk, the lake was looking beautiful and there was plenty to do from looking at the swans to wildlife spotting and playing on the lovely play area. We will definately be heading back there for walks when the weather is good.

Room on the Broom trail at Anglers country park

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