Get your Bake On: Chocolate Chunk Shortbread Rounds

I love shortbread.

My nan used to make the best stuff I’ve ever tasted and, despite being in possession of her handwritten recipe for it, I cannot get it to taste the same. I even use a butter knife and my hands to combine it like she did, not the KitchenAid (my nan would never have used a KitchenAid…though I do love mine) and it still isn’t right.

More. Practice. Required.

That said, my kids weren’t lucky enough to taste my Nan’s so they know no better (the poor devils) – ignorance is bliss as they say – and so when they badgered me to make some the other day, I threw on my apron and tried my best. And do you know what, they weren’t too shabby. Not perfect, but pretty good even if I say so myself.

These shortbread rounds have chocolate chunks in. Slightly more indulgent than your regular shortbread but truly scrumptious with a cuppa to wash it down.


 Chocolate-chunk-chip-shortbread




Say Fromage! (Recipe ideas using Le Rustique Camembert and English Honey)

I love cheese almost as much as I love Gin…and that’s a lot!

I know the stuff isn’t particularly brilliant for the old waistline but I truly believe a little of what you fancy does you good – everything in moderation.

The other week I was kindly sent a few samples of delicious Camembert and Brie cheese by French brand, Le Rustique, to try, and I’m never one to turn down food, let alone cheese! A very talented fellow blogger, Karen Burns-Booth who writes Lavender and Lovage (a travel and food writer) has come up with 3 delicious recipes marrying Le Rustique together with English Honey – not a combination some might think of but trust me, it really works and cheese with honey is actually a very traditional accompaniment for cheese. You learn something new every day!


A bit about Le Rustique…

You have probably seen and heard of this brand of cheese before if you’re a fromage fan like me. I said Fromage, not Farage, don’t go all political on me now folks…

You can find Le Rustique in most supermarkets these days, sat upon the shelf in its distinctive little red and white gingham lined wooden box. The box makes the perfect vestle in which to bake one of their whole camemberts and they also look delightful in a homemade cheese and wine hamper. Hint, hint, hubster. It’s my birthday soon…

You can adapt the taste of the cheese to your own personal taste, from “young” to “mature”.  Because the cheese is wrapped in a breathable waxed paper, if you leave it anywhere between 35 days and 20 days before the “use by date”, it’ll change the intensity of the flavour depending on how you like it.

Le Rustique cheese came about due to one man’s passion for authentic French recipes and flavours, combined with his love for cheese. In 1975, a Normandy dairy farmer called, Jean Verrier, developed the traditional recipe for his now famous, creamy textured Camembert. Since then, Le Rustique cheese-makers have maintained the same age-old artisan techniques and recipes to deliver these creamy cheeses, becoming the recognised brand that is seen in supermarkets across the land today.

The Normandy farmers Le Rustique work with mainly run family farms, with around 50 to 70 cows per herd.

The farmers lives revolve around the cows’ routine: milking times, moving fields, it’s all about the well-being of the cows. The well-being of the animals also plays a role in preserving the rich resources of Normandy.

The Le Rustique farmers monitor energy and water use to reduce the environmental impact. This respect for nature means that Normandy produces cheeses with a worldwide reputation, like Le Rustique Camembert.

Le Rustique Cheeses are in constant evolution, and each stage has its own distinct taste; the maturing process can be divided into three stages:

YOUNG: 35 days before the “use by date” – Firm texture and a light, fresh flavour (my personal favourite)

RIPE: 20 to 35 days before the “use by date” – Soft “melt-in-the-mouth texture with a distinctive almost mushroom flavour

MATURE: 20 days before the “use by date” – a creamy, runny and soft texture with a very pronounced and complex flavour.


Image from Lavender and Lovage Blog

The 3 recipes Karen has devised using Le Rustique and Honey are;

Le Rustique Camembert and Apple Scones with Honey Butter

Le Rustique Camembert and Hazelnut Parcels with Quick Fruit and Honey Chutney

Le Rustique Brie Tartlets with Honey Onion Relish

Head on over to Lavender and Lovage’s beautiful blog to see her recipes using French Cheese and English Honey, using Le Rustique.

They all sound utterly delicious (my tummy is rumbling just reading the recipes) and I have bought the ingredients to make scones this bank holiday weekend. Hopefully I will do Karen’s recipe justice!

Image from Lavender and Lovage Blog


What did I do with my Le Rustique samples?

I scoffed them all, that’s what.

No, on a serious note, I really enjoyed this cheese. I often buy it anyway, I like the flavour of it a lot, and I did a couple of different things with my samples.

The Brie I used in a Brie and Cranberry toastie, a very indulgent lunch but it was a rare treat for us, normally only reserved for Christmas time in our household. A bit like pairing the cheese with the honey, the sweet and savoury combination of a Brie and Cranberry sandwich is a real delight.

With the whole Camembert, we had another cheeky treat and I made breaded baked camembert with it.

I simply unpackaged the camembert straight from the fridge, dipped it in some beaten egg to coat the outside and then coated the Camembert in some breadcrumbs and fried it for a couple of minutes each side in a little butter. Once golden on both sides, transfer the breadcrumbed camembert to a baking dish and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 180’c (fan).

I served the cheese with a little rocket salad, toasted fresh bread, some honey butter and some cranberry sauce.

Indulgent but truly scrummy.

For more information on the cheese, visit the Le Rustique website and for more recipes and inspiration, visit Lavender and Lovage’s wonderful blog!


 Disclosure: I was sent some free samples of Le Rustique cheese in return for this review. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Nappy Mishappy…

I’m going to write you a short little tale,

about a toddler who had a slight nappy fail.

I’m not making this up, it really did occur,

It’s a little effed up, I think you’ll concur…

One sunny morning, the toddler awoke,

he came waddling in like a big burly bloke.

His legs were all bowed, like he’d ridden a horse,

but he hadn’t for he’d only just woken, of course.

I looked at him baffled, he seemed very upset,

“What’s the matter my chap, is your nappy wet?”

“Poo poo!” he shouted whilst grabbing his bum,

Ah, the glamorous life of being a mum…

“It’s ok little man, mummy will help you,

don’t get upset about a little bit of poo”.

The toddler continued to grab at his nappy,

the poor little mite really wasn’t too happy…

I collected some wipes and sorted his clothes,

then steeled myself ready to cover my nose,

I undid the nappy, I was full of trepidation,

was I going to be greeted with another brown creation?

“Poo poo!” the toddler continued to shout,

“It’s ok little Ben, I’m sorting it out…”

As I open the nappy, to my complete surprise,

there isn’t a poo waiting before my eyes.

“What the fuck!” I exclaim, “what the hell is this?!”

“I was expecting a poo and a bit of piss!”

I’m not telling a lie, just picture the scene,

I’d only unearthed a sodding Lightening McQueen!

A Lightening McQueen was there in his nappy,

no wonder the poor little sod was unhappy!

A little piss sodden, but otherwise fine,

I used a few baby wipes to make it shine.

“How on earth did this get stuck in there my boy?

That’s not the best place to be hiding a toy!”

Ben cuddles his car and he smiles at me,

and there ends the tale of the nappy mishappy.

Truly folks.

Only in my world would one of my kids wake up at 6:15am and cry that they’ve done a poo, only for me to change them and find there is not in fact a shit in their nappy, but a toy car.

Thankfully, it would appear it was placed there by Ben as he was going to sleep and he had forgotten about it. Mr McQueen hadn’t passed through the littlest one’s digestive system – that would be some road trip, get writing that idea down post-haste Disney Pixar!

One to be saved for his 18th Birthday I think…




#dontbeadick – a toddlers guide…

Quite often, my youngest can be a bit of a (massive) dick.

There, I said it.

Please don’t misunderstand me, I love him to bits, and my entire family for that matter, and wouldn’t be without any of them, but just recently I have found myself mutedly mumbling the phrase, “don’t be a dick”, whilst feeling my heart sink multiple times in a day. It’s starting to feel a bit like Groundhog day…

via GIPHY

That’s right Phil, you smash the crap out of that alarm clock my friend.

Every morning I try to wake up with renewed vigour.

“Today will be a good day!”

“Today will be full of fun and giggles!”

“Today, I’m not going to shout and call the littlest one a knob-head under my breath”.

And then, normally within 30 minutes of waking up, the little one begins his reign of terror for the day and the first muttering of, “don’t be a dick”, spills from my mouth.

Seriously, Boss Baby has nothing on this kid.

I just can’t help it. I can see him about to be a pillock before it happens, but there truly is little to nothing that I can do about it.

Sure, there will be those out there who tell me I am a shit mum for even thinking my toddler is a bit of a tit, who will be opinionated and say I am not in tune with my child’s feelings and it’s my fault he is behaving this way, but I beg to differ.

I can, at times, have the negotiating and bargaining skills of the President of the UN and it still doesn’t make any sodding difference. If this kid has decided he is going to dick-ville, he’s packing his Trunki and zooming there regardless of what I offer him.  This kid doesn’t do mediation.

Here are just a few instances where those words are uttered by me, including some handy tips for toddlers on how not to be a dick.

The first argument we face is normally;

Breakfast.

  • Toddler tip: If you don’t like any of the twenty choices that mummy is offering you for breakfast, DON’T BE A DICK. Just say no thank you and go hungry until snack time, or at least have a silent protest. Don’t scream at me, roll about on the floor, blow raspberries in my face and throw all the cereal boxes out of the cupboard in a rage.

Getting dressed.

  • Toddler tip: If you don’t like the thought of being clothed for the day so we can leave the house without the potential of mummy being arrested for child neglect because it’s a mere two degrees outside, DON’T BE A DICK. Just put the goddamn clothes on already! I’ve spent a small fortune on clothes with your favourite characters on so that you’d be more inclined to put them on and has it made a difference at 8am in the morning when I need to get you and your brothers out the door for school?! Does it bollocks. Just say, “Yes Mummy! I would love to wear my Lightening McQueen t-shirt today! Why thank you!”, and put it on. Don’t leg it and hide under the table so I have to drag you out kicking and screaming by your ankles so I can wrestle you out of your birthday suit.

Walking to school.

  • Toddler tip: If you don’t want to go in the pushchair, I very am happy for you to walk as long as you hold my hand. Please DON’T BE A DICK and let go of my hand and do a runner towards a busy road. Lots of people frown upon the use of baby reigns (I’ve seen the Judgey-McJudge-face’s commenting on the interweb – they seem to think they’re for animals, not children, but I would hazard a guess they haven’t been in possession of a child who could keep up with Usain Bolt). If you continue to let go of my hand and accelerate away from me quicker than I can eat a Creme egg on the sly, I will put the animal-esque walking reins on you without a second thought.

Leaving pre-school.

  • Toddler tip: I know you’ve had a lovely morning playing with your chums, but when it’s time to leave pre-school and get in the car to go home for lunch, DON’T BE A DICK. Sadly we can’t stay at school all day nor go to your friends house for lunch every day. I know you love them, but the answer is no. Please don’t run off in the car park, or sit in a puddle, or go as rigid as a plank so I can’t get you in your car seat.

Lunchtime.

  • Toddler tip: When mummy asks you if you want a Ham sandwich for lunch and you reply with, “yes please!” and help mummy make it full of excitement whilst shouting, “Yummy!”, I don’t find it very funny when you then sit there and say, “Yuck!”, at it like I have presented you with a turd on a plate. I understand it’s everyone’s prerogative to change their minds, god knows I do it all the time myself (hmmm, Gin or Rum? Gin or Rum?) but to change ones mind within the space of 15 seconds, when one is the person who made the request of a ham sarnie, that’s just madness. Stop being a miniature penis and eat it nicely, there’s a good chap. Oh, and if you’re thinking about putting stickers from your Peppa Pig magazine in your sandwich, please don’t.

Around the home.

  • Toddler tip: If mummy gives you a snack, like a yummy-scrummy biscuit or yoghurt, DON’T BE A DICK. Please don’t put it on the TV cabinet, find a toy car and then smash it to smithereens or smear it everywhere because you didn’t want to eat it after all. Number one, you’ve now made a huge mess and pissed mummy right off because she now has more cleaning to do and number two, it’s a waste of good food and I’d have quite happily scoffed that snack had you offered it my way or left it lying on the floor (yes, I have no shame and would not bat an eyelid at the thought of eating a biscuit my toddler has left on the floor rather than bin it). Also, colouring yourself in with a felt tip pen might seem fun at the time, but getting it off? Not so much. Mummy will have to put you in the bath even if you don’t want to go in there and she will have to scrub you profusely until you no longer look like you have a tropical disease. You have been warned youngling.

toddler covered in felt tip pen

At the shops.

  • Toddler tip: Look kiddo, mummy hates shopping with you as much as you do most of the time, but the fact of the matter is, sometimes shit just needs to get done and until you start school properly, you might have to come along for the ride too, alright? If mummy needs to pop into M&S to get herself some new socks and pants because hers have more holes in than a slice of swiss cheese, DON’T BE A DICK. Please don’t go into jelly mode and lay in a heap at the threshold to the shop entrance because you know it’s a boring shop with no prospect of playing with toys. If you behave, I could be in and out in 5 minutes flat but if you continue to be a toss-turnip and bellow at me in the middle of the shopping centre, it’ll end up escalating to the point that I go all cry baby on your ass and then retreat home with no new socks and pants meaning I’m going to be a tad peeved at you and not let you watch the kids opening Kinder Eggs on YouTube. Capisce?

via GIPHY

I know kids are only small for a short amount of time, and I wouldn’t wish the time away but my gawd, some days they push every single button you have don’t they?! It’s natural to feel like you want to book yourself a one way ticket to a Caribbean Island with only a suitcase full of Gin (and maybe those new M&S socks and pants you finally managed to buy) on occasion and that’s ok. It’s ok to find some days a struggle, and don’t think for one minute all those posts you see on social media of happy smiley families every day are the norm, because for most people, it isn’t. We all have wonderful days, glimpses of what we perceive to be perfection, but we can also all have truly shit-tastic ones, and I can assure you that you’re not alone.

So toddler of mine, and most other toddlers out there, remember;

Don’t be a dick.

Ultimately though folks, said toddler will end up being a bit of a dick at some point every day. They’re still little, they’re learning, they’re testing boundaries and pushing our buttons quicker than a teenager playing a video game. But it’s ok to feel a bit pissed off about it, mutter profanities under your breath and moan, lord knows I do.

It’s ok to say in your head, “I love you kiddo, but I don’t always like you”.

And when all else fails, remember cake and cocktails are your friends people.

Cake and Cocktails.




Get your Bake On: Creme & Mini Egg Loaded Brownie

I’ve been baking again.

I often like to bake when I am feeling a bit stressed out, and this week has been up there in the stressful stakes thanks to my middle one (yep, the one with the broken arm) continuing to ignore my pleas of not jumping about the furniture and the garden like a lunatic, potty training the toddler and listening to the husband tell me what new cars he is off to test drive this weekend (I have had to ignore how much he has told me they all cost. Sob).

I sought solace in my kitchen and set about making another easter treat fit for all the family this weekend called;

Creme & Mini Egg Loaded Brownie

It’s such a good brownie recipe and it’s a really great way to use up a glut of easter eggs should you end up with copious amounts! On that subject, feel free to ignore my suggested amounts of mini eggs and creme eggs in this recipe and go mad, the more the merrier I say!

There are a lot of steps in this recipe, but don’t let that put you off. You’ll be able to knock up a batch of these in just over an hour (including cooling and cooling time) and it really is very simple to do. Trust me, even I managed to make them.

I’ve eaten 3 chunks of this myself now so I can vouch for it’s deliciousness. I might have to have another one in a minute though just to make sure.

So, what are you waiting for? Hop to it!


 Recipe for creme egg and mini egg brownie

If it lasts that long, this Brownie will keep for 2 weeks in an airtight container and you can also freeze it, minus the Creme eggs on the top, for up to a month. If freezing, just leave to defrost, covered with foil, at room temperature overnight and it’ll be good to go the next day.