Dolmio was always a staple in our house when I was growing up; lasagnes, bolognese, pasta bake – you name it, we had it and now I know why. It’s so blooming easy and is jam packed full of goodness. A jar of Dolmio contains no artificial colours, preservatives, flavours or sweeteners. It’s 100% natural.

We were challenged by Britmums and Dolmio to come up with a midweek meal that would please the whole family using a bundle of ingredients including a jar of Dolmio. Matt and I usually eat later than the kids in the week but that wasn’t a problem as I made enough for the kids to enjoy the next day too.

I decided to mix things up a bit and be a little bit adventurous with the ingredients. I chopped up all the veg  and spread it out across a baking tray. I drizzled with olive oil, cracked some garlic cloves open and added a light sprinkling of salt and black pepper. Roasting veg has be just about one of the easiest but also one of the tastiest ways to eat veg. You could opt to blend the veg up as a base for a sauce but we wanted them left chunky as a side for our chicken.

dolmio mid week meal

We roasted the chicken breasts, which were huge, and then coated them in Dolmio sauce just before taking them out of the oven. We sprinkled on three types of cheese; cheddar, mozzarella and parmesan and waited until it had melted and started to bubble.

dolmio mid week meal

Wes served the chicken and veg with wholewheat organic spaghetti and it was devine. Besides hacking up a courgette and aubergine (which was absolutely delicious by the way) there really was minimal prep. It was one of those ‘bung it in the oven’ dinners and hey presto – it’s done!

dolmio mid week meal

If you want to see exactly what is in a jar of Dolmio take a gander at this…

dolmio mid week meal recipe

 

*This post is an entry for the #Dolmio #Thankgoodness Challenge, sponsored by Dolmio www.dolmio.co.uk/thankgoodness

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Now anyone who knows me knows I like a good spot of baking however my stand mixer was letting me down far too much and it kind of put me off baking for a while. I’d been lusting after a new stand mixer for some time so imagine my delight when I was asked if I’d like to review one! I was very kindly sent the Savisto 1260W Retro Food Stand Mixer (RRP £95.99) to try out so what better time to rekindle my love of baking?

savisto mixer

The mixer arrived quickly and I was impressed with how it looked; I’d seen similar mixers in the shops for four times the price. I chose to have the mixer in Black to match our kitchen decor but it does come in a snazzy Red too. I unboxed the mixer and found three attachments; a dough hook, a whisk and a beater – perfect! The instructions were super easy to follow although I didn’t really need them as it’s all rather self explanatory.

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There’s a lever to lift the mixer head to allow you to change the attachments and then there’s a large round dial to change the speed setting or pulse depending upon your requirements.  The mixer has a powerful  800W motor which can push to 1260W under heavy load. It also comes with another essential; a transparent splash guard – ideal to stop the icing sugar cloud pluming out when you make that buttercream!

savisto stand mixer

You could easily make a very large cake in this Savisto mixer as it comes with a large 5.5L capacity stainless steel mixing bowl. Paired with the powerful motor there isn’t really any limits to what you could create.

One of my favourite features of the mixer, albeit a very simple one, are the four anti-slip feet which grip to your worktops to keep the mixer stable during use. It’s the little things like that which show this mixer has really been thought through.

I decided to make a batch of chocolate cupcakes because I know everyone in the house likes them and they seem a bit less naughty then a big slice of cake!

The mixer did a great job! My old mixer used to leave quite a lot of the ingredients unmixed at the bottom of the bowl and you’d have to get in there with a spatula to ensure it was fully combined but we didn’t have that problem at all. The attachments combined the ingredients well and very quietly too! Little baby Elsie even slept in my arms whilst my hubby made a Victoria sponge at the weekend!

The mixer also comes with a 2 year guarantee so you can bake away to your hearts content knowing you’re in safe hands.

 

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After our rather disappointing first visit to Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham on Fathers Day we were invited back to give them another chance.  I have to say, however, that ever since I posted my initial review on my blog I appear to have been blocked by Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham on Twitter as I now cannot find them to tag them in any posts. Such a shame as I had many good things to say about our latest visit and wanted to share photos in real time whilst we were actually in the restaurant.

Upon arrival, on Saturday evening, we were shown to our table; a booth in the window as we had previously had. Our waiter came over to our table (much different to last time when we had to place our own orders at the bar) and introduced himself and asked what we would like to drink.  My husband asked for advice on the lager and ale selection and our waiter was very knowledgable and happy to help him choose.

brewhouse and kitchen, beer

The drinks arrived promptly and we had already chosen our food so we placed our order. We all wanted burgers; the kids had chosen one from the children menu, Matt went for the classic burger and added blue cheese and bacon and I went for the spicy jerk chicken burger. In the meantime we fed Elsie and entertained Logan and Florence who were both tired after a long afternoon in Pitville Park.

The restaurant wasn’t too busy when we arrived but filled up throughout the course of our meal. Everyone around us seemed happy and the restaurant had a good atmosphere.  A marked improvement on our previous visit.

Our food arrived and once again we were impressed with how it looked. We didn’t hang around and soon demolished our burgers; kids included. The consensus was the food was good. Hearty, tasty and filling. I still think some of the items seem to be on the pricier side but I think you do get pretty good value for money.

burger, jerk burger

classic burger, daddy, daughter

Florence trying to feed Daddy a chip!

kids meal, children meal, kids burger, brewhouse, cheltenham

It really did make such a difference having table service and not having to contend with a miserable member of bar staff.  Following our meal we spoke to the manager who apologised for our previous experience and asked if we’d enjoyed our meal. Saturday’s visits to Brewhouse & Kitchen, Cheltenham was a totally different kettle of fish to our first visit.  What a shame they couldn’t get the service right on Father’s Day. I asked Matt at the end of the meal if he would go back again, baring in mind the meal was around £60 for two adults and two children, and he said he would.  I would say thats a pretty good result! However, it does make you wonder if it was all a show. Now if only I could share this on Twitter….

 

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About a week ago I received an email from the new Brewhouse & Kitchen restaurant which has recently opened in The Brewery Quarter in Cheltenham. The email was advertising the fact they still had space for Fathers Day meals and that they’d be serving roast dinners and offering free beer tastings for fathers. Knowing Matt loves ales and all things beer and lager related I thought it sounded ideal, and who doesn’t love a roast? I booked a table via the website for 6pm on Fathers Day and that was that.

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We arrived at the Brewhouse at 5:45pm and asked if we could be seated a little earlier. The four of us; Matt, me, Flo and Elsie, were shown to a table. We knew Elsie needed feeding and asked for some hot water which was quickly brought to us along with a kids menu and crayons for Flo. Good service so far!

We checked out the menu and Matt went up to the bar to order. I went for a New York Burger, Matt chose the Roast Beef and Florence picked Macaroni Cheese. To order you go to the bar along with your table number, although I do believe table service is available. Matt came back from the bar shaking his head and explained that the barman said that before Matt could place our order he needed to check with the chef to see whether they were still serving food! Unsurprisingly Matt was shocked as that was the whole point of us being there; for a Fathers Day meal! Matt also asked about setting up a tab and the barman seemed unwilling to set it up and asked Matt if he’d just prefer to pay there and then. We knew we’d be adding to the bill so wanted a table running. Eventually the tab got set up and we were ready and waiting for our meals.

We fed Elsie at the table and it was nice to sit and watch the world go by outside from our seats in the window. A few moments after we had ordered a waiter came to our table and said there would be a delay on our food as they were cooking the Macaroni Cheese from scratch…..well I should hope so?!  Anyway, how long does Macaroni Cheese take? Not that long in my experience. What a strange thing to say! Immediately I thought “great, we’re going to be here ages!”

We waited, and waited and started doing that thing where you fixate your eyes on the kitchen and the waiters and wonder whether your food will ever, ever come.

The waiter came back over and said the meals were just being plated up. Hallelujah! The food looked lovely and was as ordered. I did think the prices were at the higher end of the scale for essentially ‘pub grub’ but not bad if you get a great experience alongside….

brewhouse and kitchen, new york burger, cheltenham

roast beef, brewhouse and kitchen, cheltenham

Florence’s meal came with a free ice cream which she obviously wanted and so after dinner Matt went to order another beer at the bar and ask for Florence’s ice cream to be brought out as Elsie was getting restless. The guy behind the bar said “what ice cream?”; he didn’t have a clue about the menu and when Matt explained about the kids meal deal the barman stated he usually worked on the brewing not the bar hence his lack of knowledge. Poor excuse if you ask me, if you’re working on the bar the bar manager should make sure the staff know their onions!

macaroni cheese, brewhouse and kitchen, cheltenham

We waited for the ice cream but it never came, we got sick of waiting and left. Matt settled the tab prior to leaving and as he did I noticed the table two down from us were also lodging a complaint with the lady that lead us to our table. The same waiter who served us then went to their table and apologies for something. I’m glad we’re not the only ones who’ve experienced bad service.

Funnily enough, I posted a photograph on Instagram whilst we were at the restaurant and my friend commented that they’d had bad service too.

It’s such a shame when good food is let down by poor service. We certainly won’t be going back anytime soon, there are plenty of other restaurants in Cheltenham with great food, efficient service and friendly staff.

And, after all that, there was no sighting or offering of a free beer tasting either. What was supposed to be a nice treat for the husband was a total let down. I’d definitely not feel comfortably recommending the Brewhouse as an eatery.

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Welcome to my first ever ‘What I ate Wednesday’ post.  I see a lot of these on You Tube but I much prefer blogging so here’s today’s food intake in photographic format!  I must say it’s a challenge remembering to photograph my food before delving in but I just about managed it.  This is a typical day but it’s not what I eat everyday, for example some days I wouldn’t have a smoothie, I’d have a biscuit or a Nakd bar.

7am Breakfast

I’ve been feeling much better since entering the second trimester so, instead of stuffing toast in to soak up the nauseous feeling, I’ve gone back to my old diet favourite of porridge.  Today’s porridge was made from porridge oats, semi skimmed milk, blueberries, cinnamon and almond butter.

porridge

10:30am Snack

I love to snack, especially as I work from home, I find it fills the void of having no-one to talk to and gives me a reason to step away from my laptop.  As we had our groceries delivered this morning I had some fresh spinach and almond milk to hand so whipped up a delicious fruit smoothie.  The smoothie contains the left over blueberries from breakfast, frozen red berries, spinach, a banana and almond milk. I also had a small savoury egg on the side.  Well, I am pregnant!

smoothie

12pm Lunch

This is a little earlier then I would wish to eat but Florence needs collecting from pre-school at 12:30pm and I just get too hungry to wait until 1pm. Today’s lunch was a bit of a ‘using up crap left in the fridge’ lunch.  There were some beans which needed using, I feel weird about eating them any longer then a day after the tin was opened, and there were also two ‘plastic’ cheese slices which were getting on my nerves.  So, I whacked some bread in the toaster and voila; beans and ‘cheese’ on toast.

beans

3:30pm Snack

I was too busy flapping about Florence being ill to remember to take a picture but I had a packet of ready salted French Fries and a mini Curly Wurly courtesy of the kids selection boxes.

6:30pm Dinner

We stopped at Gloucester Services on Saturday to see what all the hype was about and whilst there we picked up some humongous sausages.  Tonight we had sausage, mash and veg with onion gravy.  I like to have mine with mint sauce – anyone else? The sausages were scrumptious, I’d definitely make another stop at the services to see what else we can get. As a side note, I hear the hot main meals they serve are pretty darn good too!

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So that was what I ate today. I obviously had copious amounts of squash, water, and other drinks but that’s pretty boring to photograph!

 

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