Get your Bake On: Meat Ragu Arancini

I cannot tell you all how much I love Arancini.

Literally, I am pretty certain that if there was only one food I was allowed to eat for the rest of my life, it would be these. Yep, even over chocolate. Shocking, I know.

I don’t know what it is about these delicious fried risotto balls that I love so much, anything fried is normally a winner in my book, and if they are on a menu when we go to eat out, it’s a no brainer and I will choose to have them.

Making them at home is a labour of love I have to admit, there are lots of component parts to them which can take a while to make, such as the risotto and the meat ragu, but I promise you all they are worth it! What’s even better is if you have some leftover risotto or bolognese from dinner the night before, these little babies are way less stressful to make because you already have half the prep done! No food waste either!

open meat ragu arancini

So, what are Arancini and where do they come from?

Arancini are the ancient street food of Sicily. You and me grab a sandwich, in Sicily they grab an Arancini. Lucky guys eh?!

I was lucky enough to visit this magical little island, with it’s ominous and temperamental volcano, 6 years ago with my family and sample some authentic Sicilian Arancini. They didn’t let me down!

The origin of this typical Sicilian food isn’t actually well-known. People from Catania argue the origin belongs to them (they think arancini were created to help poor people through history to eat something healthy during emigrations) whilst those from Palermo state that the origin is in fact very ancient. They claim they were created by the Arabs and they called it “arancina” (translation; little orange) because its shape and colour once fried is similar to that of an orange. I’m inclined to agree with the folks from Palermo. Please don’t send a horse head my way for saying that…

Arancini are either round in shape (Palermo) or Conical (Catania) but because I am a novice, I can only make round ones!

They are essentially balls of cooked risotto, filled with whatever takes your fancy (normally meat ragu or ham and cheese) and then coated in breadcrumbs and fried. An entire meal in one little ball.

I hope you have a go at making these at home. I know it might look/sound daunting to start with but honestly, if I can make them, anyone can! Buon Appetito!


Meat Ragu Arancini recipe


 Arancini ingredients

Arancini before breadcrumbing

Cooked Arancini balls




Did someone say Cake?! (Review of Cake app which will change the way you pay for dinner!)

Myself and Mr Knutts don’t get the chance to eat out, just the two of us, all that often anymore. Don’t get me wrong, we are still very lucky and my lovely parents do have the sproglets an awful lot for us so we can get out and about to see friends or make appointments, but 3 kids is hard work for me, let alone my lovely mum and dad, so we try to not take the piddle and we also make the most of any opportunity we get to be ‘kid free’ and just the two of us.

Friday last week was one of those occasions.

We managed to get tickets to go and see the newly reformed, Guns ‘n’ Roses, at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Stadium. I was so bloomin’ excited! I love this band so much but because I was only 7/8 when they toured back in 1991, I have never seen the original lineup. Seen as we had childcare sorted for the day already, we decided to make a day of it, head up to London a little early and grab some food beforehand too. A real treat of a day!

A few days before the gig, I was contacted by a lovely lady called Annie to see if I would like to review a new app called Cake.

What is Cake?

Cake is an app which allows you to find and book a place to eat or drink, setup and see your meal tab in real time and pay for your meal, all in the app. If your friends also have the Cake app, you can all pick up the same tab, and use it to pay your part of it when you are finished meaning no more calling the waiter over to pay and no more awkward scrabbles to split the bill at the end!

The Cake app is summarised below;

1. Plan your night.

Tap explore and check out places nearby.

Use the filter in the top right corner to find something you like.

Hit ‘BOOK’ to request a table.

2. Settle up smartly.

When you’re seated, open a tab and invite anyone who has the app to join your table.

Let your waiter know your tab number

Choose how you want to split your bill

Everyone pays their share

3. Earn credit.

Filter by “Earn CAKE credit”

Browse all the places with great credit offers on

When you pay instantly earn a percentage back when you pay

Spend your credit at any place on CAKE, no restrictions

Even if your fellow diners don’t have the Cake app, you can choose to pay your portion using it and the remainder of the bill can be paid by your friends normally by using their card or cash and calling the waiter over. Simple!


 My experience of using the Cake app

After downloading the app and adding my bank card details onto it, myself and the hubster browsed the app and found somewhere near us to go for lunch. We decided on a lovely looking place that we have walked past once before with the kids but have never been in called, The Rum Kitchen. They have 2/3 restaurants in London but we chose to go to the one just off Carnaby Street in Kingley Court. It’s such a gorgeous little hub of a courtyard with loads of cool places to eat.

Kingley Court, Carnaby

The Rum Kitchen, Kingley Court, London

You simply hit ‘book’ once you have found somewhere to eat or, if you haven’t made a booking, just head on in, get seated by a waiter as you normally do and inform them when you place your order that you’ll be paying with Cake. You then give them your tab number that the app generates and they sync your order up to the app from their till.

We were shown to our table upon arrival and we sat and browsed the menu. It’s all Jamaican inspired food at The Rum Kitchen so if Jerk spice is your thing, you’ll love this place! The cocktail list was pretty exciting too. Chris chose a Dark and Stormy (a strong rum and ginger concoction which was punchy but yummy) and I had a Rumbustion which was Pineapple, rum and coconut milk. It was almost like a dessert! Really delicious and I’d thoroughly recommend it.

the Rum Kitchen cocktail

After quite a long wait (30 minutes even to take drinks orders – this was the only let down) we placed our food order and I told the waiter I was going to be paying using the Cake app. He knew what it was, said that was fine and placed our order. I was expecting to then see the order/tab appear on my app but it didn’t. I thought it was a bit odd, it just said ‘pending’ so I left it and assumed it would appear soon.

We ate our lunch, which was really delicious; sweet potato fries, chilli fries, spicy chicken burgers, spicy squid, jerk chicken wings…utter gluttony but we were making the most of things!

I checked the app again but the tab still hadn’t appeared. We had finished our meal so I called the waiter over and asked if we could settle the bill. I reminded him then that I was going to be paying with the Cake app and he remembered and within 2 minutes the tab was in the app on my phone. I could see everything we had ordered, check it and pay for it in an instant. I had kindly been given £40 credit in my app so I used this to pay for a portion of the meal and then I selected to use my card in the app to pay for the remainder. I was also able to add a tip in the app too. The app then informed me I had earned £5.45 in credit which I could use when I next eat using the app. Winner!

 

I’m not 100% sure that is how the app should have worked, I think the waiter should have enabled me to see the tab in my app for the duration of the meal so that if we had someone else with us who wanted to leave before we did, they could have paid their portion of the bill without having to call the waiter over. This is absolutely not a reflection on the app but on the staff at The Rum Kitchen –  I suppose it was an easy mistake to make and it didn’t really affect our meal but I was left a bit confused because it wasn’t working as I had expected.

That said, using the Cake app was brilliant and I would absolutely use it again. Some places you can choose to eat at in the app earn you rewards and cashback so you can then earn credit and use that to pay for a future meal. I think that is a great idea and would certainly mean I consider using the app again and again, especially if I ate out in London on a regular basis.


 There are a huge amount of places available to eat and drink in the app. If you have location services on your phone turned on, the app will find the places nearest to you that allow you to pay with Cake – this makes the whole process of finding somewhere to go really easy.

You can find out more about the Cake app by visiting their website or by heading to the app store to download the Cake app!

I would honestly recommend the app to anyone who eats out a lot, it’s a great way of earning rewards as you eat and it just takes all the stress away at the end of the meal. No waiting for the chip and pin machine, no scrabbling for cash, it doesn’t even matter if you’ve forgotten your wallet because your card is safely linked up to the app! I think it’s truly brilliant – thanks very much to the guys at Cake for letting me review it. I am now a Cake convert!

Oh, and Guns ‘n’ Roses blew my mind. A night I’ll treasure forever.


 Disclosure: I was gifted £40 credit in order to review the Cake app. All words, thoughts and opinions are my own.



Crap celebration…

So, with Potty Training almost under control and in ‘full flow’ (pardon the piddle related pun) we now have the joyous task of celebrating poos done on the potty.

What a milestone.

Never in my life did I imagine that I would reach a stage where I inform my husband as I greet him after a long day at work by announcing proudly that Ben has sat on his plastic throne and created a turd.

High praise ensues.

Daddy tells him well done and gives him a high five, mummy gives him a hug and 10p (yep, I stupidly bribed him with MONEY to shit on the pot. He now tries to squeeze one out every time he visits so he can increase his piggy bank stash. Rookie mistake), his brothers jump about chanting, “Ben did a poo! Ben did a poo! Yay!!!!!!”

It’s utter madness if you were an outsider looking in. Us, all there, celebrating the latest poo like we have won the lottery.

The most unusual bit about Ben’s toilet training compared to my previous experience with his brothers, is the fact that he is rather ‘attached’ to his crap creations. Each time he has completed his pooping session, he stands up, has a good visual inspection of it and then informs me of what it looks like and tells me to look too. It’s bloody grim, but he has to do it every single time otherwise he (literally) looses his shit.

So far we have had a snake, an apple, a worm, a banana, a cat, a tree, a monster and a snowman.

He then tips his crap art down the toilet, says, “Bye, bye! Have a nice swim!” and flushes them away before presenting me with his hand so I can tip him 10p for his latest creation.

I’ve never known a kid like it.

He also refers to his poo as ‘him’. Like it’s a person.

“Can me see him?”

“Can me put in toilet?’

“Me say bye him?”

I’m surprised we haven’t had to have a ceremony where we crack a bottle of champers on the side of the bog as we flush it away on it’s maiden voyage down the drain yet.

I’m just hoping that it’s a phase that he grows out of soon.

Or that he shits out an epic masterpiece I can put in the Tate Modern and get him a little university trust fund going.

*************

Kids.

Poo.

Sleep.

Repeat.




Big Pink Link #64

Hello again you lovely Big Pink Link linkers! So, I have very kindly been asked to help out hosting Pink Pear Bear’s ‘Big Pink Link’ again! I am truly crapping my pants honoured and I hope I don’t cock it up and make a bit of a boobie of myself. Thank you Lou, Lucy and all the other Big Pink linkers for trusting me enough to join the fold this week.

This weekend has been a fairly chilled one in our household thanks to a mammoth slight hangover yesterday and the husband having either man flu or a bad bout of hayfever today. The kids have been out in the paddling pool though, living the childhood dream, and even the BBQ got fired up for the first time today. The only time, other than Christmas Day, that my husband cooks (yes, I still do all the prep and cleaning up but it’s still a novelty!)

So, without further ado, it’s *fanfare* Big Pink Link time with my wonderful co-host, the lovely Jenny from Monkey & Mouse!

Here we go!


Pink Pear Bear

 

 First, this weeks WOW’s, chosen by the lovely Lucy from This Mum’s Life and Lou from Pink Pear Bear.

The first of Lucy’s WOW’s comes from the award winning and bloody smashing Prabs from Absolutely Prabulous. Lucy said, “My first WOW, from the fabulous Prabs. A sad, tear jerker of a read, but so beautifully articulated. A must read post”.

The second of Lucy’s WOW’s comes from the brilliant Meagan from The Mum Project. Lucy said, “Another beautiful one from The Mum Project. Hugely relatable, poignant and a heartfelt ode to her relationship”.

The first of Louise’s WOW’s is by Lucy from Muffin top Mummy. Lou said, “My first Wow is from Muffin Top Mummy and I can so relate to how my daughter was at the same age, she has thankfully grown out of the worst of it but was just like this all those years ago“.

The second of Louise’s WOW’s is by Aleena from Mummy Mama Mum. Lou said, “My second comes from Mama Mummy Mum and is all about the power struggles you can have with wilful children. I am sensing a theme here! It’s a good reminder that sometimes we need to be the grown up and not try and ‘win’ all the time”.

Grab yourselves a WOW badge folks! You’ve earned it!


And now onto this week’s link up.

Happy linking folks!

Life Is Knutts


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A little Ginspiration. My top 5 Gin recipes!

Seen as it was World Gin Day yesterday, I am clubbing together the top 5 Gin recipes from my blog to give you a little Ginspiration!


 1. Strawberry and Rose Gin Fizz

A fruity little number, guaranteed to put a smile on your face on a Sunny day! Made using fresh strawberries and Rose water.

Gin cocktail with strawberries

2. Gin & Lemon Pancake Syrup

This is the syrup of Kings. Drizzle it over pancakes, ice cream, sponge puddings, whatever you fancy. It’s as potent as you want to make it so taste and add more Gin if you want to!

Gin and lemon syrup for pancakes

3. Gin & Tonic Loaf Cake

This super simple loaf cake was made using some fantastic Silent Pool Rose Gin – it’s truly divine. That said, any Gin will work in this cake and, as always, feel free to add a splish more if you want a stronger Gin flavour. Who wouldn’t?! Perfect for a cheeky afternoon tea or as a grown up treat for after lunch.

Gin and Tonic loaf cake

4. Pimms & Gin

This one was a bit controversial at the time of posting because people, quite rightly, pointed out to me that Pimms is in fact a Gin based drink. I understood it was Gin based, but it really is something that is very easy (by that I mean I drink too much of it and then feel a bit tipsy) to drink. By adding in a shot or two of your Gin of choice, this, sometimes sweet, summer drink becomes something a little more grown up and something you savour. Have a go and tell me what you think! Perfect for drinking when Wimbledon is on!

Pimms and Gin

5. Gin, Lemon and Passionfruit Collins

This is one of my all time favourite Gin cocktails. I am a huge fan of passionfruit and this is a really refreshing drink to have on a sunny day sat in the garden. I use passionfruit syrup in this recipe but, by all means, try using a fresh passionfruit if you wish.

Gin, Lemon and Passionfruit Collins


I hope these recipes have given you some food (or drink!) for thought! I know I enjoyed them so I hope you do too.

 What are your favourite Gin recipes?

Why don’t you head on over to my Facebook page and share them with me?! I’d love to hear them!