Saturday 30 June 2012

Project 366 182/366

The tomatoes are doing well in the greenhouse, will need to think about nipping out the top to encourage side growth as they have nearly reached the top of the canes.

You can see how much they have grown in the last two weeks, as I took a picture of them for 168/366

Friday 29 June 2012

A day out at Culzean Castle

Sometimes its nice to do something different so on Tuesday we took a drive down to Culzean Castle. Like many people in my area we have  National Trust membership as Culzean is such a beautiful place to go.

Apart form the castle itself there are more walking routes than you can cover in a day. From the Swan Pond, to the walled garden, the deer park, access down to some beautiful beaches as well as an adventure playground, we have spent many a happy hour there as a family over the years.

Our first port of call was the walled garden, not been in there for a long long time as it is a dog free zone and we never went there without her. The garden was in full bloom and was very beautiful to look at and relaxing to walk round. Took a rainbow of flower pictures, and have chosen some of them for you to share with you, added as a wee movie to click on so they do not go right down the page as single pictures. If anybody can suggest a better way of doing this I would be grateful. Tried it in Picassa but the quality once uploaded is dreadful.

I was surprised back the lack of butterflies in amongst all the gorgeous flowers, though I did manage to get a picture of one of only two that we saw, but seems to be a theme here this year, just am no seeing butterflies anywhere we go.

We then went up to the deer park to look at the animals and took some more photos.

We walked up to the castle and had a look round inside at the changes that have been made since we were last in there. The view left a lot to be desired as the mist had rolled in and there was a very slight spit in the air.

Sharing this picture with you, he almost seems to be staring at me.

bee in walled garden at Culzean Castle

Love how they have done up the hallway that leads into the kitchen, this would have been the area the servants lived in back in the day, it has quotes from servants of the time inscribed onto the walls, really does make you think about the existence they use to have, and I leave with you

The Rules of the house:

rules of the house, Culzean Castle, Ayrshire

you might need to download and blow it up to read it....

If you ever visit Ayrshire it is well worth a visit.

Project 366 181/366

I went out for a wee while this morning, and when I came back these were sitting waiting for me, my husband had been out and bought them for me.

No reason, not my birthday or our anniversary, just lovely is that?

I love you too David, thank you

Thursday 28 June 2012

Little dish shoe review

As part of being a Sainsbury's bank blogger I ran a competition to enable my followers a chance to win a pair of toddling shoes from Little dish , and in return for running it I also got a pair sent out to review.

Sainsbury had been giving them away in with their Little Dish Chicken and Butternut squash pie last month. Litte Dish make microwave meals that are balanced for you toddler, low in salt and fat and full of convenient yumminess. Why not pop over to Sainsbury's Little Ones section for a look at what else they have to offer for your little one?

they stay on on the swings
Bob was fortunate with this giveaway, for all he is six now he still only wears a size 8 1/2 in a shoe so the large size fits him. The shoes are very reminiscent of  a pair of crocs. Bob put his on as soon as I handed them to him, but not until after he had smelt them cos they smelt yummy....strange things are children. The shoes are great as they can be worn with or without socks, are great for playing in rivers and even for sticking on their feet whilst walking to their swim lessons and can be worn in the showers, giving less chance of picking up infections.

and are great for climbing in

Bob wore his to the park on Monday night and as they have the straps that go round the heel they stayed on whilst he swung and climbed. 

Project 366 180/366

In keeping with the nature theme I started yesterday we went along the river tonight to the dam. It was very impressive. Giving you a picture for my 366 and a video clip which I thought was quite good, the ball and bottle are playing with the big log, which was creating some really impressive water fountains.

Ayr Dam, Ayr College


Meat Pack from Westin Gourmet Review

I was asked if I would like to receive a first time visitors pack to sample and blog about. So I went over to Westin Gourmet have a look at who they are and what they offer.

Westin Gourmet say

Each of our specialist cuts are chosen to give you the juiciest, most flavoursome meat available. Our gourmet meat is unrivalled and so are our prices. You can buy your gourmet meat from us at prices that are lower than the standard meat you get from your local supermarket...

We are so confident that our gourmet meats are the lowest priced (per KG) in the industry that we will guarantee to refund you the difference should you find our meaty cuts available anywhere else at a cheaper price!

 So I said yes please and received my pack very quickly.

Their delivery service was exceptional, the food is freshly packed on the day it leaves them so it reaches you in the best condition. It arrives chilled so it is freezable if you so desire.

My pack arrived on time on the day it was due to arrive and the boxes are that well insulated that the freezer blocks were still frozen with the meat cold as I would expect.

So what is in your first time visitor pack? 

I received in mine 

the insulated box in which it came

• 1x 6oz Hereford Sirloin Steak
• 1x 6oz Aberdeen Angus Sirloin Steak
• 1x 1kg Packs of Steak Mince
• 2x 7-8oz Pork Loin Steaks
• 1x 1.5kg Whole Corn Fed Chicken
• 10x 4oz Gourmet Steak Burgers
• 24x Award Winning Cumberland Sausages

Plus These For FREE!

• Your Choice Of Delivery Date
• Meat Selected & Cut Fresh By Expert Butchers

 The first thing I noticed, with me being me and my family being what they are, is the lack of information on allergy advise. All the products have an info button that gives you ingredients and nutritional value, but as we know some flavourings, spice mixes etc. contain hidden ingredients. I would like to see better allergy advise added to products as I'm sure many of my readers would. The gluten free products are well labelled but the normal products don't advise whether they contain milk, lactose etc
First up I cooked the chicken - 

Corn Fed Chicken

Traditionally raised on a corn fed diet,  and as with all their meat is
As we do our very best to ensure that all of our products are bred and reared on farms where Animal Welfare is paramount

The chicken skin certainly look yellow, as you would expect. Once cooked it was a close packed less watery chicken than the fresh bog standard ones I usually buy. The meat itself  warm did not look a different colour. I deliberately did not add flavouring to this so we could taste the actual chicken. It was very pleasant to eat roasted.

We used more of the chicken for chicken fajitas, and I must admit once it was cold you really could see the difference in both colour and quality. Once cold the chicken was not as greasy and clagged up inside like the fresh chickens I normally buy, and it really came into its own once the bones were boiled up for stock, the flavour was truly out of this world.

 Beefburgers - described as

These 4oz Steak Burger beauties are 100% guaranteed full of British beefy goodness.
Not too big, not too small these patties are just right and are so succulently tender we can only use one word to describe them - truly scrumptious. (Ok, that’s two words..)

burger with wedges and a side salad
I weighed these before I cooked them, and two of them weighed 230 g, cooked the two of them then weighed 167g, a loss of 67g or more than 25%, not sure what they lost but certainly there was no major fat loss to be seen on the tray.

Before they were cooked they looked like cheap nasty filled out sliced sausage, but they cooked up lovely, were juicy and very pleasant to eat. I am not really a beefburger buyer bit if I do I buy quarter pounders as I feel they retain their flavour better and do not dry out in the same way as thin frozen things do.

They also do gluten free burgers which also tell you  - You won’t find any wheat, soya, dairy, egg, yeast, gluten or lactose (what a mouthful) in any of our G Free burgers just 80% of bangin’ British Beef! 

The only thing that would put me off of these is the fact they come to you frozen and you are warned they will have started to defrost, so you will need to use them up within a couple of days, great if you are planning a barbecue

Next up I made the 

100% British Steak Mince

A truly gorgeous product, our delicious Steak Mince comes from British Cattle that has enjoyed a life of free range grazing on the glorious grasslands of the West Country.

The fully matured beef that we use produces amazing flavours and will make any meal a real gourmet feast.

I have to admit I love mince and tatties and could happily eat mince seven days a week, and you have not lived if you have not had a roll and mince. I have never bought cheap mince or the instant frozen stuff, I only ever buy good quality steak mince and I have always felt I am happy to scrimp on meals another night to allow me to buy good mince.

This stuff did not disappoint me, the favour was out of this world, and surpassed my expectations, I can truly say I have never had mince as nice as this and would highly recommend it to anybody and everybody - you have never lived until you have tasted mince as flavoursome as this. Normally I add gravy browning to flavour and thicken my mince but with this I did not need to. I didn't make potatoes with it but served it with paprika dough balls, carrots and peas.

Add caption
Cumberland Sausage, these suited me down to the ground, generally the only sausages I buy are Cumberland, as I love the flavour of the herbs and spices they contain. Is one of the few pre-made foods I actually buy. 

 Our Cumberland sausages are our number one selling sausage, and it is easy to see why!
A traditional meaty sausage with a delicate herb and spice mix; try these brilliant sausages and you will be hooked...

I popped these into the frying pan, not normally something I would do but I like to experiment when I get these products to review. To me one of the main factors in a good sausage is they do not explode in the pan when cooking, and these did not they stayed whole, were deliciously moist and not at all fatty.

Again they do a big range of  gluten free sausages and say   All our products are thoroughly tested to make sure they're Soya free, dairy free, egg free, yeast free, gluten free and lactose free, so you can be confident that you are getting the lowest level of gluten possible.  And they come chilled so you can portion and freeze yourself. 

These, as with the beefburgers, dont mention nut free, which is important to us as a family, so will ask them and let you know.

The Steaks you get;
1x 6oz Hereford Sirloin Steak This steak is incredibly popular and it's obvious why: classically tender, gorgeous and sourced from the finest free to roam livestock, this 100% British approved beef always delivers

 and • 1x 6oz Aberdeen Angus Sirloin Steak 
 If you love sirloin you will love this! It just doesn't get any better - award winning, luxurious steaks sourced from fully matured, free to roam livestock who have been traditionally reared on luscious pastures of green, green grass. 

I popped the two of these into an oven tray with a tiny drop of water and a couple of onions, covered with tin foil and left for approx 30mins, and at that they were (as I like my meat) cooked right through. I am not a lover of meat that looks like meat, prefer it minced or cubed rather than whole. As with all the other products I have not added mustard/flavourings etc as I normally do because I wanted to be able to talk about the taste of the meat itself, and believe me this did not disadvantage, soft, tender, fall apart in your mouth, just so nice, flavoursome and very very enjoyable, can truly say I cannot remember ever eating such a nice piece of steak. Have to say time they were cooked I had forgotten which was which but OH and I had half of each and both were a pleasure. 

and lastly the 2x 7-8oz Pork Loin Steaks which are described as Tender, moist and mouth-wateringly tasty, these Pork loin steaks come expertly butcher cut for your convenience in packs of 4 or 8.Treat the family to these sweet and juicy, full of flavour pork steaks and turn any meal into a feast.
Their description is spot on, again popped into the oven with a few potato wedges, and this as with the steak was truly a melt in the mouth meat eating experience. The only negative thing I could say about these were "they were marginally to big for my liking" but if you have children they were big enough to share with a child. 

The whole testing experience has been a joy, have enjoyed my meals ever night, have not been adding sauce or anything to enhance the whole gastronomic delights I have been sent, just pure eating pleasure naked as they came.

For the two of us us will get nineteen nights tea out of this pack, and you can try it for £39, that is £2 a night for a beautiful meal that was such a pleasure to eat. Put it into perspective rolls and bacon or two tins of spag bol on toast cost as much if not more to buy. 

Westin Gourmet If you fancy trying one of these for yourself feel free and click through, read what it is all about and treat yourself to the best £39 worth of meat you will ever buy, buy two packs and save £5. My order will be going in just as soon as I make room in my freezer, and I for one will be ordering two packs.

I was sent this pack to review but the words in the review are all my own. If I could I would mark this pack at 11 out of 10, as I truly cannot find fault with it at all.

Wednesday 27 June 2012

Project 366 179/366

Hubby brought these home for the kids from his fishing trip on Monday night, will be interesting to watch them grow and develop.

tadpoles, Prestwick Golf course

Tuesday 26 June 2012

Project 366 178/366

Culzean Castle,South Ayrshire

Whilst out wandering round Culzean Castle today we saw this old car, an original B plate car......and I took this picture in the reflective wheel have the green car that you can see next to it, and me kneeling down taking the photograph, shame it was not parked nearer the trees to get a tree reflection.

this is my 366 pic for today, above one just so you can see what it is

Monday 25 June 2012

Project 366 177/366

We went playing in the park as it was nice after tea.

swinging - the big kids swings were full


Fifi being a daredevil,, climbing over the top

But my picture for Project 366 has to be this one. Bob telling me "he not going on my log" no its not a spelling error he calls it my log. I took quite a few of him peeking round the corner, hiding and jumping out to stop me photographing him, he was in fits of giggles for a good ten minutes.

no your not photographing me

Have chosen this one for the linky this week, just because I loved it so much, as it is a great memory to look back on.

TheBoyandMe's 366 Linky

Sunday 24 June 2012

Project 366 176/366

Took a walk around the ornamental garden at Auchencruive Estate, its a no dog allowed area so not been round it before. A rather overgrown man made pond in there and this little creature was sitting on a large leaf.

a blue dragonfly

Saturday 23 June 2012

Project 366 175/366

Had been speaking to a friend about my blog and saying I had been looking round charity shops for a few nice plates for photographic purposes, and so she brought me in a place setting last weekend - how pretty are these, thank you Ann they are very much appreciated and have already been used twice this week.

Friday 22 June 2012

Project 366 174/366

Took a walk round the graveyard tonight, and went right round including the really old section, where some of the graves are the best part of two hundred years old. This dead tree caught my eye in the middle of a lot of big posh obelisks, guess they must have been fashionable at one point.

looks like gnarly witch hands

Thursday 21 June 2012

Project 366 173/366

Went for a stroll along the beach at 4.30 today, dull, grey, breezy and spitting a  bit, but the upside was the beach was empty.

stretching into the greyness.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Project 366 172/366

The one that got away.....just

Arctic roll and Hedgehog cakes

 I was inspired by Helens Arctic roll post over on her blog The Crazy Kitchen  and as I had made ice-cream that day I decide I would try some.

So I made up a gluten/dairy/egg free cake to make my swiss roll with.

ice-cream in small container

  • Mix 4 oz Flora Cuisine with
  • 4 oz sugar in a bowl
  • mix 2 teaspoons egg replacer with 6 tablespoons water and add to bowl
  • sieve 8 oz gluten free flour into bowl adding more water if necessary to make correct consistency
Cook in a lined baking tray for approx 15 mins at 180 oC .

unrolled with ice-cream in the middle
Whilst cake is cooking soften ice-cream and  place in an appropriate container to make a sausage shape, the size will depend on how large you want to make your rolls. Put sausage shapes back in the freezer until required.

the finished result

Once cake is cooked leave to cool slightly but while still warm wrap with grease proof paper round container of your choice and leave rolled until cold.

Once cold unroll gently, place ice-cream sausage in the middle and either serve immediately or store in freezer until required. 

close up

Due to the nature of egg/dairy/gluten free cookery it tends to make a crumbly hard to handle  result which is why I did not spread with jam, and also why the sponge broke, but once rolled up it looked good. 

  • I made up another batch of the cake mix but made into individual cakes in a bun tin. 
  • Once these were cold I cut the cake in half across the cake. 
  •  I made a butter icing with dairy free spread, icing sugar and stirred in coco powder, then stick together what had originally been the top of the cake and slightly trim the front of both sides to make a slightly more pointed front.
  •  Use one of the offcuts to make a small nose and cover whole cake with butter icing. 
  • difficult to get a smooth result as the cake is crumbly.
  • Cut dairy free chocolate buttons in half ( I only had normal ones to hand to use)  and add to look like prickles. ( no Bob was not eating them)
  • add a currant for a nose and 2 more for the eyes

the finished hedgehogs

*closed* Win a £50 voucher for Experience Days

With the summer coming up what nicer way to spend some time out and about doing things, or looking for a slightly different present for somebody that is difficult to buy for? Then why not have a look at Experience Days as see what they have to offer.

To find what is available in your area is quite easy with three simple drop down boxes, you choose your area, choose your type of experience and then choose your price range.

 In my area and within the price range of the prize I am offering I could have chosen from twenty six different experiences including mad things like Zorbing, to ski-ing, rock climbing, ice climbing, quad biking, or even a session in a recording studio.

It is a very simple procedure to buy a voucher.

To enter this competition is very simple-please leave me a comment telling me you would like to be entered and a way of contacting you if you should win in that comment.

For extra entries

  • tweet " I want to win a £50experience voucher for , with  how about you?  "   come back and leave me a comment to say you have done so
  • follow me on twitter and  come back and leave me a comment to say you have done so
  • share this post on google+ and come back and leave me a comment to say you have done so.
  • follow me on google+ and  come back and leave me a comment to say you have done so
thank you and good luck all.

T&C's. Prize will be posted to a UK address by the promoter after the competition closes, but entry can be worldwide.
the winner will have seven days to provide their delivery details once they have been informed they have won or I reserve the right to choose another winner.
Competition closes 4th July 2012 at 8pm B.S.T. 

I am not being paid to run this competition, but will go into a draw with all the other bloggers running it to stand a chance of winning a £50 voucher.

The winner of this competition is @ericahughes as picked by the random number generator

well done Erica, enjoy your experience. Would be nice to see pics of what you choose when you go on your experience.

ThePrizeFinder - UK Competitions

Tuesday 19 June 2012

My first making of ice-cream for the year

I received my Gaggia ice cream maker from Philips last year, and decided now the *cough* summer is here it was about time I dusted it off and used it.

OH likes the Glayva ice-cream best  that I make for him, so that was first through as it is so easy.
 switch on ice -cream maker and leave to chill for five minutes, then

  • mix together 7 oz milk and7 oz double cream with a pinch of salt,
  •  pour into ice-cream maker and add 5 oz sugar and 1 generous tablespoon Glayva ( or other alcohol of your choice) 
  • eat immediately of freeze until required. Due to the alcohol content it stays soft in the freezer so no need to remove ten minutes before required. 
The joy of this us you cannot taste the milk at all so I will actually eat a teaspoon full of it.

I also made some Soya Cherry flavour ice-cream. But the soya milk ice-cream takes a bit more preparation, but is well worth doing.

  • take 1 cup soya milk and pour 2/3rds into a pan
  • take 2 cups soya cream and add to pan,
  • add  3/4 cup sugar to the pan bring mix gently to the boil
  • add 25 g dried cherry powder and whisk to mix
  • meanwhile mix remaining 1/3rd of milk with 2 tablespoons arrowroot and
  • once milk comes to the boil remove from heat and immediately stir in arrowroot mix.
  • leave to cool completely and
  • once cooled add to pre-chilled ice-cream maker along with a handful of dried cherries (leave whole as the machine will break them down slightly.) 
Can be eaten immediately or stored in the freezer. remove 10-15 mins before serving time to allow to soften.

This gave a  sharp but pleasant flavoured dessert, with the cherry pieces adding to the overall tang. 

The linked items were supplied by Healthy Supplies, but how I use them is entirely up to me. 

Tilda Kids Rice review

Tilda and its new Tilli the elephant character will be helping busy mums to feed their hungry hoards this Spring with the launch of its delicious NEW rice and veggies range – Tilda Kids.
Travelling far and wide, Tilli’s range is full of goodness providing 1 of your 5-a-day with a selection of the best natural ingredients to make four tasty child-friendly rice and vegetable meal accompaniments, sure to help busy mums keep their little ones happy and satisfied during mealtimes. 
Kids can choose from familiar classic flavour varieties such as Cheese & Tomato, Sunshine Vegetable, Sweet Vegetable & Wholegrain and Mild & Sweet Curry….yum yum!
Available in 125g pouches each meal has been specially developed to cater for a child’s taste pallet and growing appetite. They can be eaten on their own or as an accompaniment to all their favourites - meat or fish.

Cheese & Tomato

Steamed Basmati with tangy tomato and cheese. This has been made for all of those who really enjoy the flavour of Margarita pizza. Tilda say this one goes nicely with meatballs.

Sweet Vegetable & Wholegrain Rice

Steamed Basmati with sweetcorn, sweet potato, carrots and other tasty treats. This recipe contains wholegrains for extra healthy goodness. Tilli’s little helpers liked this with everything!

Mild & Sweet Curry

Steamed Basmati with green beans, sweet potato and apricots – the perfect introduction to newer flavours for little ones. Tilda liked this best with chicken!

Sunshine Vegetable Rice

Steamed Basmati with butternut squash, sweetcorn, carrots and other goodies. A lovely sunny and gentle recipe for your little ones. Tilda says this goes perfectly with everything, but fish was their favourite!

The nutritional content of the sunshine vegetable is 


Per 125g ServingPer 100g
(of which sugars)1.3g1.0g
(of which saturates)0.6g0.5g

So what did we think of them?  We thought they were a very good portion size, probably too large a portion for younger children, but great for older ones. They take less than a minute to heat in the microwave and for most children time they reach 9 or10years old they could heat these for themselves, can be served alone, or with cold meat and your child can like the independence of making their own meal.
Ideal for when you are pushed for time, could make these quicker than you could stop at the chip shop on the way home.
We felt the rice was slightly soggy or overcooked but were edible, but this may appeal to the younger eaters.They all incorporate vegetables so that is a great way of getting veg into the children if you have fussy eaters.

None of them were high in fat and are ideal if you are travelling to visit family and you have a fussy eater, quick to cook no matter where you are.
None of them were Bob friendly but they do all contain full allergy advice on the packets. 

We give them 8 out of 10.
We were sent one packet of each to review but the opinion of the product is our own. 

Project 366 171/366

There was major construction work going on in the spare bedroom just before 7am this morning. Not the clearest picture but didn't want to put the flash on and let them know I was there.

Coconut oil cherry muffins

First up this month I decided to use the cherriescherry powder and the coconut oil and make some muffins. But decided to make these experimental and make two different sorts to see if we would tell the difference. Would they be nicer? would they work? So I made one lot with the coconut oil and the second lot with sunflower oil, but apart from that the ingredients are the same.


7oz Einkorn organic wholemeal flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
a pinch of salt
2 oz butter melted ( I did one lot sunflower oil and one lot melted coconut oil)
2 oz sugar
1 egg beaten
7 fl oz milk
2 oz dried cherries (soak in hot tea till cold)
1 oz freeze dried cherry powder

the finished cherry cakes
Combine dry ingredients                                      
combine wet ingredients
add wet to dry along with dried cherries

do not over fold mixture, not matter if mix looks lumpy, over mixing makes for heavy muffins

cook for 15-20mins at 200 oC till golden

The cherry powder made the cakes almost fizzy, like sherbet fizzy. May have got a different result had I mixed the cherry powder into the wet mix before the ingredients were combined. Beautiful flavour, nice and light and very moist.

Wasn't a huge noticeable difference in the two muffins, but a slight difference was noticeable, slightly sweeter, and this batch got eaten first without OH knowing there even was a difference. 

These were made with some of the ingredients being supplied by Healthy Supplies, but the recipe, ideas and findings are my own. 

Healthy Supplies June parcel

This month I went for a top up on staple items,- flours, dried fruits and coconut sugar. But as I like to try out different things, which is what this is all about, I went for some Chia seeds some coconut oil, dried cherries and cherry powder as well as a sprouting seed starter pack.

The coconut oils is a healthy option for oils, This coconut oil contains special fats called multi-chained fatty acids which are healthier for us than most saturated fats, and 

This seed pack I thought was quite appropriate as everything else is growing in the garden, thought it would be nice to grow some extra quick growing nutritional freshness to add to our food, be it salads or stir fries, can add crunch to the tofu.

The chia seeds are naturally high in Omega 3 and I will use to add nutrition to bread, cakes, biscuits and pancakes, not sure yet how crunchy they are or what sort of flavour they will add but experiments  will happen. 

Topped up on some sun dried tomatoes  as use these in pizzas, bread, in stews, omelettes, and I like to soak them in oil or hot water for a few hours before I use them as this really brings out their flavour.

Selected some tricolore quinoa , and will hunt out some recipes to use this.
  • 3 varieties of 100% pure quinoa grain.
  • Full of protein.
  • A good source of Iron, Calcium, Magnesium and Phosphorus

As I like to treat myself every month and try out differing items from their snack range I added two bags of apricot kernels, one ordinary and one tamari soya roast, I have eaten the tamari ones so far and they were a lovely flavour, not too hot and it was like eating savoury peanuts.  The snack organic soya and pumpkin seeds are a healthy snack, They provide you with minerals such as zinc, magnesium and iron. They also give you a lift of energy, they contain plenty of protein and are also rich in omega fatty acids (just like those found in fish oils) and at 99p a packet are not much more expensive than a single chocolate bar or packet of crisps.

With last months items I made with last months goods include

star anise rice pudding

why not come back next month and see what else I make.

The item linked are provided by Healthy Supplies, but the recipes and findings are my own and my findings remain honest.