Hello Fresh Review: Rosemary Chicken

I’ve been trying ‘Hello Fresh’ (https://www.hellofresh.co.uk) which is a delivery service for fresh and healthier foods for a few weeks now. I’ve been talking about it at work and sharing my opinions with my family so I realised that I should probably share it here too. I guess Mrs Beeton was trying out recipes so I should continue in the same vain.

I started ‘Hello Fresh’ because I’d seen an advert for it online. I love cooking and trying new things and I have got into the same routine recently so figured I’d give it a go. The main thing it does for me is make me eat lots more vegetables and includes them in a much more interesting way than I was used to cooking. It also teaches me new methods and techniques and you get to keep the recipes (in a pretty little binder) so you can recreate them going forward buy just buying the same ingredients.


I picked the couples box with meat. I understand there is a family and vegetarian option and also I saw some dinner party and Easter special boxes recently too. Our box is simple and includes 3 meals for two people. We tend to mix these in with our normal routine allowing making sure we eat something new 3 times a week but also allowing for the odd meal out and takeaways. I will say that the portions are much larger than I thought they would be and we more often than not have enough for a 3rd portion for lunchboxes at work.

I get super excited on a Sunday when the box arrives unpacking it and I do have a slightly smug Sunday looking at the fridge full of vegetables which normally just has the veg for Sunday lunch.

I also love the Rewards system so every box you earn reward points which you can redeem on free items. I was inordinately excited when my free tea towel arrived. How sad am I!

It’s not massively cheap but also it’s not mega expensive and you can stop it whenever you are away or don’t fancy the menu that week. I should say here that every week you can pick generally from 5 choices for the 3 that you prefer. It works for me and only once have I not used a box so I suppose that’s a good advert!

This week we tried Rosemary Glazed Chicken. It taught me three things:

  1. Brown your chicken first at a high heat and then cook it in the oven to make sure it’s cooked through rather than trying to do it all in a frying pan
  2. Leeks are amazing. I clearly had cooked them poorly before. This recipe makes you soften them in a tiny bit of butter but also has you cook them a little in chicken stock so they are so tender
  3. Rosemary Jam is an essential ingredient. They send you 3 little pots of the stuff and now I’m off to the supermarket to see if I can find a big jar




Have you ever ordered or made a curry at home only to not have Mango Chutney? In my view Mango Chutney is an absolute essential for eating my favourite part of the curry ritual, the poppadoms. So when this happened to me recently I did what I always do and ran to the internet. There were a few good recipes but obtaining a Mango and a ripened one at that isn’t that easy and is definitely not something you have on hand.

I was amused therefore to look up Mrs Beeton’s expertise on the subject requiring “unripe sour apples,” which must have been a product of the time with Mangoes being rarer than they are today.

“392. INGREDIENTS.—1-1/2 lbs. of moist sugar, 3/4 lb. of salt, 1/4 lb. of garlic, 1/4 lb. of onions, 3/4 lb. of powdered ginger, 1/4 lb. of dried chilies, 3/4 lb. of mustardseed, 3/4 lb. of stoned raisins, 2 bottles of best vinegar, 30 large unripe sour apples.

Mode.—The sugar must be made into syrup; the garlic, onions, and ginger be finely pounded in a mortar; the mustard-seed be washed in cold vinegar, and dried in the sun; the apples be peeled, cored, and sliced, and boiled in a bottle and a half of the vinegar.garlic

When all this is done, and the apples are quite cold, put them into a large pan, and gradually mix the whole of the rest of the ingredients, including the remaining half-bottle of vinegar. It must be well stirred until the whole is thoroughly blended, and then put into bottles for use. Tie a piece of wet bladder over the mouths of the bottles, after they are well corked. This chutney is very superior to any which can be bought, and one trial will prove it to be delicious.

Note.—This recipe was given by a native to an English lady, who had long been a resident in India, and who, since her return to her native country, has become quite celebrated amongst her friends for the excellence of this Eastern relish.”

I’d also highly recommend reading a copy of ‘Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management’:


Pom Poms for Molly Moo Cat

As promised earlier in the week I said I’d share some of my crafting activities for Molly Moo Cat.

I was taught how to make pom poms by my mum when I very little but not until fairly recently that they came back into fashion. I’ve seen little plastic tools in shops you can buy now to make them but I’ve never tried them.
The traditional method is to get some plain flat card such as the back of a cereral box. Cut in half to make double the thickness. Place on a flat surface and draw around something round such as a wine glass or bowl cut a circular shape. This will be the size of your pom pom. Place a smaller circle such as an egg cup in the centre and draw around. Cut out the two rings of cards. This is your base.
Grab a ball of wool and cut into long strips. I use the wool that is made up of rainbow colours so you get a mix of colours. Tie a piece of wool around the each or the ring and then loop the wool through the centre and around the outside and then repeat over and over. The aim is to cover the rings with wool until there is no more room in the centre circle. Keeping the wool in strips means you can squeeze the residual wool through the centre hole. image2
Once it’s full up grab some scissors and cut around the edge of the card pushing the scissors between the two rings. Do it carefully and keep the card together. Grab an extra piece of wool and wrap it around the card between the two pieces where you just cut and tie in a tight knot. Therefore, you have tied all the pieces together. You can now remove the cards and fluff up the pom pom into a nice round shape. Use some scissors to cut off any extra fluffy bits and make the pom pom really round.
Now technically pom poms made of wool are not meant for cats so you really shouldn’t let them eat the wool but my cat loves to play with them and push them around. It’s a good tip to leave the last wrap around piece really long as you can dangle the pom pom from their scratching post or any other fun spot.
Repeat until you have a house full of pom poms and a happy cat…



This is my favorite excerpt from the House Mistress section. The references to Alpha and Omega roles are interesting and although out dated I think there’s a lot to be learned from the responsibility for family and duty here.

“54. SUCH ARE THE ONEROUS DUTIES which enter into the position of the mistress of a house, and such are, happily, with a slight but continued attention, of by no means difficult performance. She ought always to remember that she is the first and the last, the Alpha and the Omega in the government of her establishment; and that it is by her conduct that its whole internal policy is regulated. She is, therefore, a person of far more importance in a community than she usually thinks she is. On her pattern her daughters model themselves; by her counsels they are directed; through her virtues all are honoured;

—”her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband, also, and he praiseth her.”

Therefore, let each mistress always remember her responsible position, never approving a mean action, nor speaking an unrefined word. Let her conduct be such that her inferiors may respect her, and such as an honourable and right-minded man may look for in his wife and the mother of his children. Let her think of the many compliments and the sincere homage that have been paid to her sex by the greatest philosophers and writers, both in ancient and modern times.”

I’d also highly recommend reading a copy of ‘Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management’:


Molly Moo Cat

Introducing Molly Moo Cat

I am starting some crafts and recipes this week for my cat…. I did say that, for my cat. What you need to understand is Molly; Molly Moo Cat; aka Mollywobbles is the most pampered Cat in the Universe.


I’ll give you an example. This weekend was super sunny and for England you get this type of nice weather maybe a few weekends a year so you have to take advantage of them. So what did I do…. Yes, myself and my lovely other half went for a walk in the park ; fed the ducks and stopped to grab some lunch in sunshine but I also set up a paddling pool. Not a cat specific pool but a small child’s pool filled with cold water. I have no delusions that a cat will merrily jump in water and swim away (or actually if watch some amazing Youtube videos you learn this isn’t necessarily true) but I just like her to stay hydrated in the heat. Molly beautifully obliges and immediately drinks like a fish from the pool.


Molly is super special in the weirdest kinds of way. Firstly she doesn’t really like other cats and it has been my suspicion since she was a kitten that she actually thinks she is a human. When I first got her she was abandoned and incredibly nervous so she wouldn’t go outside, not that she could for her few weeks as I lived in an apartment. When eventually she got the chance to go outside she would only go to the end of garden and even now she runs around the house as I will only let her out of the back of office right around the block and the mews at the front door, not realising she can walk back the way she came. Crazy cat.

She also has her own bed and I don’t mean a cat bed, a human bed. A full day bed from Ikea placed in the dining room. She uses it to be in an artfully high position, as most cats enjoy.

So please forgive me if I post a lot about Molly Moo but do understand that she is ridiculously important to me. I do a lot of crazy things for her so I figured I might as well add them to the blog. Crafts planned this week are to make pom poms and build new house for her.

Easter Chocolate Nests

In true English tradition I decided to make some Easter Chocolate Nests. I used to love these as a kid and they are the easiest and probably one of the first recipes you ever make but that doesn’t make them any less tasty.

I like to stay with tradition and use Cornflakes but I also like to change it up a bit by adding slightly different textures by mixing them with other cereals. The more economic and frankly fun way to do this is buy a set of Variety pack cereals (the cute little boxes) as these give you different types of squish and crunch. It’s also super fun to watch the different cereals melt and mix into the chocolate pretending they are sticks and leaves in the nests.


A box of Kelloggs Cornflakes

A set of variety pack Kelloggs cereals

2 large bars of chocolate. You can use cooking chocolate as it melts well but I use classic DairyMilk

A family size pack of mini eggs







  1. Snap the chocolate into as many small pieces as you can into a glass or ceramic bowl
  2. Melt the chocolate either over a pan if steaming water or even easier in the microwave but check it every 30 seconds. Take the chocolate out of the microwave when it’s still lumpy as the final stirring with melt the rest and make sure it doesn’t over-cook or burn
  3. Add the cereal and mix with chocolate until it’s completely covered. Add a little at a time as you’ll usually have more cereal than chocolate
  4. Spoon into cake cases and whilst still soft stick a number of eggs into the top to make a nest shape
  5. Set in the fridge

A good tip is to layout your cake cases on a tray or in a container you are going to put into the fridge so you can move them as one and not disturb the mixtures whilst it’s soft as it can go everywhere!

I made these to take into the office to get everyone in the Easter mood but I made sure I kept some back at home 🙂



Minnie Mouse Converse for Disney trip

I visit Disney World every few years and I get super excited in the planning stages. I have a Mickey Mouse chalk board with a count down on it for the number of days and I even have a specific Disney Packing List which I’ll share in another blog.


This year I was pondering Pinterest and found some amazing crafts to make Disney or more specifically Minnie Mouse inspired converse trainers. Trainers or sneakers in the US are an absolute essential for any theme park day as you walk miles every day, so you need comfortable feet. Converse that are themed seemed to be the perfect idea, therefore.

I started by buying some super cheap converse from Amazon (links below) and a long piece of spotty ribbon. I also bought some cheap gems that I think were meant for card making and fabric glue which is flexible and stretchy.

When all the items arrived, I coated the toe of the shoe in fabric glue and stuck on the gems shaping the dark ones into Mickey’s head. Do Mickey’s headfirst so you are happy with the symmetrical placement then work the clear gems around it.


Then I cut the ribbon in half and on the serrated edges I used a candle to melt the loose fibres together so it wouldn’t fray. Allow the glue to dry over night and you are done.

I tested the shoes in the Florida 90 degree heat and they lasted the whole trip so I was happy with the result.

Some materials to buy to copy this idea:





Craft Gems


Mosaic Table

Mosaic Table

As I suspected I had some left over mosaic tiles from when I started making my mosaic plant pots so I started covering everything!


I ordered some more tiles and more glittery grout from eBay (www.ebay.co.uk) and went hunting around the house for something more significant to cover and I found an old glass table with a metal base in the garage. I think it was in the house before I bought it but it was quite dated and I didn’t really love it. I went searching online and bought some glue that would stick to glass. I found this article from Hobby Craft (www.hobbycraft.co.uk) on different glue types which you might find useful.

Click to access how-to-which-glue.pdf

From everything I’d read you are meant to place all your tiles out before you start to make sure you have enough and the pattern works but I had so many tiles I just went for it. I stuck my favourite mirrored tiles in the centre and they were slightly raised so seemed a better place on a table if you are going to attempt to balance a glass of wine on it later in the year!

Then in waves I added more glue and stuck the tiles down in a circular fashion. It takes quite a while so don’t add too much glue at a time as it will dry and prepare to do it in two sittings unless you have a whole Sunday afternoon free.

Once dry and like I did with the mosaic plant pots mix your grout with some water so it’s the consistently of toothpaste and smooth over the tiles. Everyone recommends using sponges to really push the grout in but I used a paint brush and did it in two waves drying in the middle.

Don’t let the grout dry too much on top of the tiles and wipe off with damp kitchen roll after about 10 minutes or it’s really difficult to scrape off later. Once completely dry use some glass cleaner to really shine it up and voila…summer wine table!



French Terms for Cookery by Isabella Beeton (The Book of Household Management By Mrs. Isabella Beeton. Volume 1. )

I’m going to try on a weekly basis to try out or learn from Isabella Beeton herself so this week I thought I’d start at the beginning with her extension collection of French terms for cookery.

Interestingly there weren’t many we don’t use today but I did particularly enjoy the term, “trousser” because so few of us today prepare our poultry for cooking ourselves, preferring to have our supermarket or butcher do it.

“Vol au vent” and “aspic” (jelly) also made me laugh because in today’s context they are a deeply unfashionable 1970’s foods today.

French Terms for Cookery by Isabella Beeton (The Book of Household Management By Mrs. Isabella Beeton. Volume 1. )

ASPIC.—A savoury jelly, used as an exterior moulding for cold game, poultry, f

Tomish, &c. This, being of a transparent nature, allows the bird which it covers to be seen through it. This may also be used for decorating or garnishing.

ASSIETTE (plate).—Assiettes are the small entrées and hors-d’oeuvres, the quantity of which does not exceed what a plate will hold. At dessert, fruits, cheese, chestnuts, biscuits, &c., if served upon a plate, are termed assiettes.

ASSIETTE VOLANTE is a dish which a servant hands round to the guests, but is not placed upon the table. Small cheese soufflés and different dishes, which ought to be served very hot, are frequently made assielles volantes.

AU-BLEU.—Fish dressed in such a manner as to have a bluish appearance.

BAIN-MARIE.—An open saucepan or kettle of nearly boiling water, in which a smaller vessel can be set for cooking and warming. This is very useful for keeping articles hot, without altering their quantity or quality. If you keep sauce, broth, or soup by the fireside, the soup reduces and becomes too strong, and the sauce thickens as well as reduces; but this is prevented by using the bain-marie, in which the water should be very hot, but not boiling.

BÉCHAMEL.—French white sauce, now frequently used in English cookery.

BLANCH.—To whiten poultry, vegetables, fruit, &c., by plunging them into boiling water for a short time, and afterwards plunging them into cold water, there to remain until they are cold.

BLANQUETTE.—A sort of fricassee.

BOUILLI.—Beef or other meat boiled; but, generally speaking, boiled beef is understood by the term.

BOUILLIE.—A French dish resembling hasty-pudding.

BOUILLON.—A thin broth or soup.

BRAISE.—To stew meat with fat bacon until it is tender, it having previously been blanched.

BRAISIÈRE.—A saucepan having a lid with ledges, to put fire on the top.

BRIDER.—To pass a packthread through poultry, game, &c., to keep together their members.

CARAMEL (burnt sugar).—This is made with a piece of sugar, of the size of a nut, browned in the bottom of a saucepan; upon which a cupful of stock is gradually poured, stirring all the time a glass of broth, little by little. It may be used with the feather of a quill, to colour meats, such as the upper part of fricandeaux; and to impart colour to sauces. Caramel made with water instead of stock may be used to colour compôtes and other entremets.

CASSEROLE.—A crust of rice, which, after having been moulded into the form of a pie, is baked, and then filled with a fricassee of white meat or a purée of game.

COMPOTE.—A stew, as of fruit or pigeons.

CONSOMMÉ.—Rich stock, or gravy.

CROQUETTE.—Ball of fried rice or potatoes.

CROUTONS.—Sippets of bread.

DAUBIÈRE.—An oval stewpan, in which daubes are cooked; daubes being meat or fowl stewed in sauce.

DÉSOSSER.—To bone, or take out the bones from poultry, game, or fish. This is an operation requiring considerable experience.

ENTRÉES.—Small side or corner dishes, served with the first course.

ENTREMETS.—Small side or corner dishes, served with the second course.

ESCALOPES.—Collops; small, round, thin pieces of tender meat, or of fish, beaten with the handle of a strong knife to make them tender.


FLAMBER.—To singe fowl or game, after they have been picked.

FONCER.—To put in the bottom of a saucepan slices of ham, veal, or thin broad slices of bacon.

GALETTE.—A broad thin cake.

GÂTEAU.—A cake, correctly speaking; but used sometimes to denote a pudding and a kind of tart.

GLACER.—To glaze, or spread upon hot meats, or larded fowl, a thick and rich sauce or gravy, called glaze. This is laid on with a feather or brush, and in confectionary the term means to ice fruits and pastry with sugar, which glistens on hardening.

HORS-D’OEUVRES.—Small dishes, or assiettes volantes of sardines, anchovies, and other relishes of this kind, served to the guests during the first course. (See ASSIETTES VOLANTES.)

LIT.—A bed or layer; articles in thin slices are placed in layers, other articles, or seasoning, being laid between them.

MAIGRE.—Broth, soup, or gravy, made without meat.

MATELOTE.—A rich fish-stew, which is generally composed of carp, eels, trout, or barbel. It is made with wine.

MAYONNAISE.—Cold sauce, or salad dressing.

MENU.—The bill of fare.

MERINGUE.—A kind of icing, made of whites of eggs and sugar, well beaten.

MIROTON.—Larger slices of meat than collops; such as slices of beef for a vinaigrette, or ragout or stew of onions.

MOUILLER.—To add water, broth, or other liquid, during the cooking.

PANER.—To cover over with very fine crumbs of bread, meats, or any other articles to be cooked on the gridiron, in the oven, or frying-pan.

PIQUER.—To lard with strips of fat bacon, poultry, game, meat, &c. This should always be done according to the vein of the meat, so that in carving you slice the bacon across as well as the meat.

POÊLÉE.—Stock used instead of water for boiling turkeys, sweetbreads, fowls, and vegetables, to render them less insipid. This is rather an expensive preparation.

PURÉE.—Vegetables, or meat reduced to a very smooth pulp, which is afterwards mixed with enough liquid to make it of the consistency of very thick soup.

RAGOUT.—Stew or hash.

REMOULADE.—Salad dressing.

RISSOLES.—Pastry, made of light puff-paste, and cut into various forms, and fried. They may be filled with fish, meat, or sweets.

ROUX.—Brown and white; French thickening.

SALMI.—Ragout of game previously roasted.

SAUCE PIQUANTE.—A sharp sauce, in which somewhat of a vinegar flavour predominates.

SAUTER.—To dress with sauce in a saucepan, repeatedly moving it about.

TAMIS.—Tammy, a sort of open cloth or sieve through which to strain broth and sauces, so as to rid them of small bones, froth, &c.

TOURTE.—Tart. Fruit pie.

TROUSSER.—To truss a bird; to put together the body and tie the wings and thighs, in order to round it for roasting or boiling, each being tied then with packthread, to keep it in the required form.

VOL-AU-VENT.—A rich crust of very fine puff-paste, which may be filled with various delicate ragouts or fricassees, of fish, flesh, or fowl. Fruit may also be inclosed in a vol-au-vent.

I’d also highly recommend reading a copy of ‘Mrs. Beeton’s Book of Household Management’:


Mosaic Plant Pots

I love gardening but I’m really surprised that there aren’t many pretty plant pots out there in the market. There are lots of plastic or metal ones but they often don’t have drainage holes in the bottom or rust as they get wet so these have never made any sense to me!

I adore therefore traditional terracotta plant pots. They look great as they are especially of they’ve aged a while but even more so if you pretty them up. Now I will caveat this with my mistakes I’ve made so please don’t make the same ones… For example do not use non-waterproof paint if you are putting them outside or don’t get carried away and paint the inside as the compost/soil and water tend to mix and can poison your plants.

Keep it simple and just use some acrylic or outdoor spray paints you can get from my hardware stores. You can spots; stripes, whatever you like really. I tend to keep them quite plain though.

I prefer to add mosaic tiles to the rim of my plant pots. The easiest way to do this is to buy a kit online (http://www.ebay.co.uk/) for mosaics or you can now buy online loose bags of craft mosaic tiles and the grout separate. I like the grout that has glitter in (see the header picture of this blog) as it limage1ooks great in the sun. Material costs less a few pounds and you can do as many old pots as you like.

Simply grab some glue and stick each tile on the pot with a little 2mm or so space between each one. Don’t be too precious or straight as it all adds to the look. Once dry mix your grout with a bit of water and apply with a paint brush. Once it starts to dry which will only be about 10 minutes use a damp cloth or kitchen roll and wipe away the excess dry grout on the tiles. If you don’t do this it’s so much more difficult to get it off later. Once completely dry repeat the process! You will now have left over tiles so you’ll find yourself covering everything. Coasters are quite a cool object to cover e.g (http://www.hobbycraft.co.uk/dolphin-mosaic-coaster-kit/614493-1004?queryFromSuggest=true&userInput=mosaic).

in this example the flowers I used came from a dried flower gift I had which I wasn’t a major fan of the red roses in it so I grabbed some gardening shears and snipped off the fake flowers I liked and simply stuffed them tightly in the pot.