Sunday, 7 May 2017

Meal Plan Friday 6th May 2017

We have been beyond busy and the meal plans have been last moment and really suffered. We seem to have caught up a little and I have finally got sometime to write the weeks meals up.

Friday - Chilli with rice. The boys will have meatballs.

Saturday- Gammon, egg and chips for everyone

Sunday - OB has his party but we will have his favourite as a late lunch. Roast Chicken, lots of Roast Potatoes, orange oven cooked carrots, green beans and spinach

Monday - Cod and Chorizo Stew with crusty bread

Cod and Chorizo Stew

Tuesday- Mango Chicken, the boys will have plain rice

Mango chicken with spiced pilau

Wednesday - Omelette and Chips

Thursday- lentil Ragu

Lentil Ragu

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Ground Elder Battle

My mum has to battle bindweed constantly, the stuff is rife through her garden and she was convinced the moment her back is turned the plant would shoot again. Our garden we have to battle ground elder, it is everywhere and I have had to declare war.

I was informed by Andrew Gardens Weeds and Words that you can make a wonderful pesto using ground elder and I did have an evening considering if I could set up some amazing home business. Selling it from a little stall at the local farmers' markets, maybe even the top restaurants in London would want my homestyle artisan pesto. Then I remembered that I have three boys and can barely find the time to keep us all fed let alone making homemade pesto and taking over the culinary world. 

The smallest front border is so full of it I could barely put the fork into the soil to dig it over. I have started this border now as I want some pots to go along the edge as the soil is so terrible. We considered putting down a membrane but were told it really needed clearing as it would only keep coming back.





















So I set to work, this is a job you can lose yourself in as its just digging and pulling up roots. The sound I came to hate was the snap when the root breaks. I know this means it will grow again, honestly its a very determined plant I must give it that.

These pictures are from just over half an digging and look at the huge amount I managed to pull from one tiny area.





















I am going to have to buy something for my poor knees though they are taking a battering. 

The plan moving forward is to really try and keep on top of this and get it clear as I can. The only way to get rid of it is to keep getting out those roots. I think it will be more autumn time when I can move the pots into place but that means I have plenty of time to think about bulbs and what I can grow as it gets very little sunlight.





Cuddle Fairy

Thursday, 13 April 2017

Meal Plan Friday 7th April 2017

The bathroom is still being done and Mr MC&W will be of to Atlanta with work so I need more and more easy meals

Friday - Birds eye chicken Kiev with new potatoes and salad

Saturday - Steak, Chips, Peas, mushrooms and peppercorn sauce for myself and Mr MC&W as a real treat. For the boys Ravoli (shop brought)

Sunday - Sausages, Red Onions and Potatoes roasted together in a honey and wholegrain mustard sauce served with green veggies. Boys had a mini chicken roast

Monday - Tuna Pasta Bake

Tuesday - Pizza Puff Pin Wheels served with salad


Wednesday - Bonfire night baked potatoes


Thursday - Chicken Korma with rice and Poppadoms

Meal Plan Friday 31st March

This has been written after the event. We have been really manic with the start of the Easter holidays, the bathroom being ripped out and replaced combined Mr MC&W was beyond busy at work

Friday - Waitrose Gruyere Stuffed Mushrooms, New Potatoes and Salad boys had spaghetti with a tomato sauce, ham and peas

Saturday - Charlie Bigham Curry for Mr MC&W and Pizza for the boys

Sunday - Sandwiches as we had lunch out

Monday - Bird eye southern chicken with new potatoes and Mediterranean roasted veg. The boys had crispy chicken with mash and peas

Tuesday - Fish and Chips

Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes with Beans and Cheese for the boys and I and Tuna Mayo for Mr MC&W

Thursday - Gnocchi with Mushrooms and Broccoli the boys just had broccoli

Annual seeds to update a border

The Dumping Ground


The new Viburnum Tinus trees and shrubs are arriving late April so for the moment I have stopped digging over the back border and will weed it as and when needed. In the meantime I have been pottering about and catching up with some jobs I have been putting off for a long time.


There is a small border next to our back door, for ages it had a wooden planter on it that we borough from our old house. It had been put by the backdoor as it contained herbs but over time it started to fall apart and the area was looking rather like a dumping ground.









Spring continued this sad look, with two very pathetic looking Hyacinth and some old daffodils that did not flower. You can imagine this is not how I was picturing this border would look. It is also home to an early flowering clematis on the wall above. The clematis is beautiful and provides wonderful flowers in early spring but it is full of dead wood and looks rather messy with all the wood hanging down. I decided that it was about time I did something.


Sad looking plants

Being an excellent destructive gardener I pulled up all the plants and weeds. Now all proper gardeners you may want to stop reading or take a deep breath as I then attacked the clematis. I found the really dead parts and cut them back to where I could see a new bud forming. I was very careful not to cut any that had obvious new growth. This took some time as for once I was actually thinking about what I was doing, I do not want to kill it just tidy it up a little. A lot of the deadwood just fell out and we will look carefully at this plant when it stops flowering late spring time as it needs to be retrained (if that is a word). I also found the RHS guide to pruning this type of Clematis which I will be reading.

RHS Guide to Pruning Clematis


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Lovely woody Clematis


Looks beautiful around the back door
Then the boys and I decided to plant some summer annuals, we had some border sunflower seeds from Thompson and Morgan that the boys had won for a picture they had drawn and some other mixed seeds. We scattered them and watered them in and we shall see what happens in the summer. The boys are continuing to water them as its very dry at the moment. I am hoping these seeds will provide an inexpensive way to have a summer border.


Area all smart and tidy
Our lovely border sunflowers
Twin Mummy and Daddy

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Viburnum Tinus for a border

As you are aware last year I posted about the garden fence being replaced and the fact we lost some privacy. We found part of the solution with the amazing LolliPop Trees Elaeagnus ebbingei.

Planting lollipop trees elaeagnus 


However, we still have a fence that is a little bit see through. So we are now on the next stage of planting up the new border.


We decided to visit Architectural Plants again, knowing what we needed was established plants. Our main problem was that we had no idea what plants would work. We did not want to loose the stunning appearance of the lollipop trees, they look so regal and I was concerned they would get lost in a massive shrub.



The regal trees and the fence up close


We asked for help as soon as we arrived, being organised we had to hand measurements and photos of the border and fence. She looked at them, listened to us and straight away came up with the most beautiful idea.

Viburnum Tinus but in two different forms, one as a small lollipop tree combined with a more traditional shrub. We can keep them cutting them to the right size, they are evergreen and flower in the winter where the lollipop trees flower in the summer.



Viburnum Tinus as a Lollipop style tree
Close up


As a shrub
Both forms of Viburnum Tinus






What beautiful winter flowers

This is my rather dreadful drawing to show you roughly the though process.

Drawing is not my strong point

To finish of the fence we are going to buy some climbers, they will give the last bit of privacy. If we choose well we can have flowers and interest for nearly the whole year.

We are very excited about how this is going to look. It has a very strong theme and design element about it. Still leaving plenty of room for adding plants to give year round interest.



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Monday, 27 March 2017

Meal Plan Friday 24th March 2017

We are back to normal for a week or so in the MC&W household. As Mr MC&W is now back from a week trip to Las Vegas with his friends we need some slightly more healthy food. This week nearly every meal is from BBC Good Food and I have put a link to each one.

Friday - Mushroom risotto wanted a light meal after Mr MC&W trip to Vegas this seemed to fit the bill. The boys would have risotto with peas, ham and plenty and plenty of parmesan

Saturday - Boys are having a treat McDonald's for lunch as they are swimming. For Dinner they will have cheese tortellini (shop brought). Mr MC&W and I will have a chicken salad.

Sunday - As it's Mothers Day Mr MC&W will be cooking us all roast beef. Can not wait.

Monday - We had this meal a while ago and the mix of lentils, bacon and Fish is lovely. The boys do not like lentils so will have oven baked fish, mash and peas

Braised peas with bacon lentils and cod

Tuesday - A meatball Pilaf this is meant to be cooked with minced lamb but for some reason the boys do not like it so I will make using minced beef

Lamb meatball and pea pilaf

Wednesday- Courgette Lasagne again this is an old favourite of the family, it's simple but very tasty and I can prepare in the morning ready for dinner time

creamy courgette lasagne


Thursday - This is a new pasta dish and it sounds lovely

Super smoky bacon tomato spaghetti


Sunday, 19 March 2017

Meal Plan Friday 17th March 2017

The meal plan I have to admit is a tad random this week. Normally is carefully planned and the food thought about to give a good mix of chicken, red meat, fish and veggie options. We have Grandma MC&W staying and Mr MC&W not due back till Wednesday so meals are a tad random.

Friday - Fish, Chips and Peas we all love this meal and the boys had packed lunch so they could have it at home.

Saturday- Spag Bol - OB has had a tough week at school and this was his choice

Sunday - We are having Lamb Shanks again. I gave Grandma a choice and she does not often have lamb and I love it so more than happy.

Monday - Meatballs again a choice for Grandma as she can never be bothered to make them

Tuesday - Homemade Pizza with salad

Wednesday - Tuna and sweetcorn slice from BBC GoodFood

Tuna and Sweetcorn Slice

Thursday - Chicken Curry korma for the boys and Mr MC&W and I will have something a bit spicier.

Hijacked By Twins

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Meal Plan Friday 10th March 2017

This week is a little crazy in the Mud Cakes and Wine household. Mr MC&W is off to Vegas Baby for 7 days with a whole group of friends to celebrate them all turning 40. So Grandma Mud, Cakes and Wine is coming to stay.

Friday - Boys have a school disco so will have tortellini with salad. We will have oven baked fish, roasted veggies and rice for dinner as it's quick and easy.

Saturday - The boys have done really well at school so will have a McDonald's for lunch and cheesy pasta for dinner. We are having Fajitas.

Sunday - Slow cooked Lamb Shanks with roast potatoes,carrots and kale

Monday - Boys will have chicken fingers, chips, baked beans and peas. Mr MC&W and I will have Mushroom Strangnoff.

Mushroom stroganoff

Tuesday - Oven Baked Thai Chicken and rice, I use this one from BBC GoodFood and the whole family loves it

Oven baked Thai chicken rice

Wednesday - Jacket Potatoes with beans, cheese and maybe a cheeky poached egg

Thursday - Gnocchi with a homemade tomato sauce, grated cheese and broccoli

Monday, 6 March 2017

Meal Plan Friday 3r March 2017

I am not sure where this week has gone. Mr MC&W is manic with work this week so will be grabbing his own meals between meetings and appointments. I will be eating with the boys.

Friday - Mushroom oven baked risotto. The boys will have oven baked risotto with  pea, courgette and sweetcorn with lots of Parmesan.

Saturday- Caesar salad for myself and Mr MC&W the boys will have pizza

Sunday - I have to take OB to a party, the boys will have sausages, Yorkshire pudding, mash and Broccoli. Mr MC&W and I will have a lasagna (ready made and not by me 😂)

Monday - The Madhouse Carbonara that's made with mascarpone and not too much egg with ham on to brought from the farm shop

Tuesday - A simple chicken stir fry with rice using sweetcorn and carrots etc

Wednesday- Homemade Fish Pie with peas

Thursday- Meatballs with spaghetti
Hijacked By Twins

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Meal Plan Friday 24th February 2017

The meal plan last week was full of new recipes found at BBC GoodFood. They were a real success and I will defiantly be cooking them all again. The only change was we did not have the ricotta tart as Sunday's ploughman type lunch left us so full we could not manage dinner.

This week is back to lots of old favourites, all are either quick or can be slow cooked. As we are not sure if Mr MC&W is working from home or will have to go to meetings. All the meals can easily be made smaller or ingredients frozen if not needed.

Friday - Fish, Chips and Peas

Saturday - Piri Piri Chicken with salad and a French stick for myself and Mr MC&W. The boys will have chicken curry

Sunday - Pork Schnitzel, mash potato and broccoli. Our fantastic butcher has already bashed the pork for me so it's nice and thin.

Monday - Sausage casserole with jacket potatoes

Tuesday - Gnocchi, Broccoli and Mushrooms I use a recipe from Jo Pratt the Madhouse Cookbook and of course pancakes for pudding.

Wednesday- Chilli  the boys are still not to sure about chilli but I will keep trying to see if they change their minds.

Thursday - Smoked Paprika Paella with Cod and peas found on the BBC GoodFood website

Smoked paprika paella with cod and peas

Hijacked By Twins

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Molehill Trouble

Our garden wraps around our house so we have two areas of lawn. The lawn to be honest is pretty terrible, I use the term lawn loosely, I should really be saying our mix of moss, clover and various other weeds that make up the appearance of a lawn. To add to this we have a little friend who keeps popping up.

A mole.

This is the area of lawn just outside the living room in November, these are seriously huge molehills.

Molehills all over the grass

The molehills took a lot of work to clear

I took all the soil I could do off the grass and redistributed on the new border. I then brought some mole bulbs, we used them on the main lawn about five years ago and they worked. When they arrived I set about putting them in the ground.


The tools I needed note the hot chocolate was essential


Make a hole in the lawn using the planter
Pop in the mole bulb and cover




















The box gives instructions on how to plant the bulbs. I must admit I did not exactly follow these and put them in each corner and then one half way down each side and one in the middle. Meaning I used more than they would say you need.

This is how the lawn looks now....

Moles have stayed away

No more molehills on this piece of lawn. What has been even better is that molehills have started appearing on the grass outside the back of the kitchen, but so far none have come up where we put the new mole bulbs. So I am keeping my fingers crossed that they are working and have ordered some more for the other section of lawn.

Our next job is to get grass seed and try and repair the lawn in the spring.


New molehills appearing on our other section of lawn

Trying to clear the soil from the grass

Twin Mummy and Daddy
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Friday, 17 February 2017

Meal Plan Friday 17th February 2017

Half term has come to an end, the weather on the whole was really quite pleasant. Its lovely to have some warmth in the air. We met up with friends and had lots of time in the garden. We are all rested after the chicken pox and ready for the new term.

The meal plan went well and I must write up the ham and tomato spaghetti dish we had it was very nice and easy to make.

Friday - Mr MC&W and I will have Portabello Mushroom and blue cheese melts served with french fries. I found this on BBC Goodfood and it looks really interesting. The boys will all have fish fingers and chips

Portobello and blue cheese melts

Saturday - Spag Bol with garlic bread

Sunday - Mr MC&W and I will have a Mango Chicken, Rice and Bean Bake. Again I found this on BBC GoodFood. The boys will have roast chicken breast and all the trimmings.

Monday - Mr MC&W and I a Mushroom, Ricotta and Rocket Tart. The boys will have a tomato and cheese tart. Both served with lots of salad.

Mushroom ricotta rocket tart

Tuesday - Curry Chicken Skewers - For the boys I will use Korma

Chicken tikka skewers

Wednesday - Fish Pie Fillets with lots of green veggies

Fish pie fillets

Thursday - Grilled Halloumi with spiced couscous. I will try the boys on the Halloumi but with more of a salad vibe.

Grilled halloumi with spiced couscous
Hijacked By Twins

Saturday, 11 February 2017

Bulb Rescue

Plants amaze me all the time, this morning I was tidying up and found a upturned pot. Under the pot I found bulbs that had fallen out but had started to grow leaves. They had no soil and still, these plucky little bulbs were wanting to grow.

No soil and abandoned 
Growing with no soil

So I have attempted a rescue mission using things I could quickly find. I found a little old terracotta pot and some stones.

Old Pot
Few stones

I had no compost (shocking I know) but I did have a huge molehill, so I grabbed some soil from that and filled the pot just over half full. The only worry I have is that our soil is clay and not sure how it wil work in a pot.will 

Huge Molehill

Some soil added
Then I put the saved bulbs into the pot, they were not easy to arrange, so they have a kind of haphazard look about them. I then covered them with more soil and gave them a good water.

Bulbs put into the pot

Soil added 
I am not sure if they will flower or even survive, but at least they have a fighting chance. I will now get back to the job I went outside to do in the first place. I had better keep on digging that border over.
Twin Mummy and Daddy

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