Blooming Delicious by Sophie Wright - Book Review

Blooming deliciousDelicious, Beautifully Photographed Recipes for Glowing Health, From Pre-Conception to Post-Baby

When professional chef and highly successful catering business owner Sophie Wright discovered she was pregnant, like many-mums-to-be, she decided to take a closer look at her diet. However, instead of keeping all her wonderful recipes to herself, she made the decision to publish them to help others also improve their diets from pre-pregnancy right up until post-baby.

Blooming Delicious is just that - a beautiful book bursting full of tasty, nutritionally balanced recipes, which, with the help of top nutritional therapist Henrietta Norton, ensure that both mother and baby will be carefully nourished. Alongside each section of the book Sophie has included lots of interesting information about what is happening developmentally to both mother and baby, before introducing many relevant recipes for the stage at which the mother to be has reached.

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The Five O'Clock Apron by Claire Thomson - Tasty Meals for Hungry Families


The Five O'Clock Apron

Claire Thomson works as a chef in her busy Bristol restaurant, Flinty Red where she is co-owner. She is also the author of one of the loveliest recipe books I've had the pleasure to review, The Five O'Clock Apron: Proper Food for Modern Families, a book which tackles the never-ending dilemma facing many parents every evening - what to feed her own three hungry young children! 

This is something I completely relate to as I have four children each with very different tastes of their own and much as I enjoy trying to feed them healthy home-made meals, often it's easier just to reach for a bag of potatoes, a few carrots and a packet of fish-fingers or chicken nuggets.

Many evenings I lament the fact that I rarely get to experiment with food these days as more often than not someone will find fault and spend the entire meal picking out minute slices of onion or pushing the tenderly prepared chicken to one side. Not quite what I want to see when I've laboured for half an hour peeling, chopping, cooking and wishing I hadn't bothered when I see the resulting pickiness!

As you might imagine therefore, I was delighted to have a beautiful book full of wonderful fresh ideas for mealtimes and all put together by a professional and highly successful chef! 

Catch-All Lentil Soup

For my first meal I flicked through the book, which is teeming full of absolutely gorgeous photos of highly tempting meals, feeling spoilt for choice. Should I try the delightfully fresh Summery Fattoush, the temptingly colourful Piperade or perhaps go for an old favourite such as Egg Fried Brown Rice? In the end I settled on a rather lovely sounding Catch-All Lentil Soup, one of the recipes in the book which didn't have a photo but for which I knew I did have all the ingredients.

 I set to work following the well-written and cohesive instructions. As I chopped and measured and finally began cooking the soup, the smells in my kitchen were most definitely stomach-pleasing and the resulting soup was a great success with all the family, much to my delight. The children used words such as tasty, delicious, scrummy and yummy when describing it for me and hubby and I thought it tasted beautifully rich and very moreish. In fact it was thick, flavourful and filling, like a well-made stew and could definitely be served as such if you are careful not to add too much liquid.

Already I have marked out several pages for meals to try over the next few days and weeks and am planning to make Roasted Crisp Chickpeas this afternoon for the kids to snack on before our dinner which this evening is Green Pea Pesto served with Pasta!

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Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book

BeBe GourmetRecently I reviewed Annabel Karmel's latest recipe book and it's certainly become one of our family favourites. Full of tasty and easy to adapt recipes, there's something to suit everyone's tastes in the family. So, I was excited to receive another baby recipe book to review recently, namely Bébé Gourmet - My Baby Recipe Book, by mother of two Jenny Carenco of Les Menus Bébé.

A stunning book to look at, it is full of tempting and very beautiful photos of delicious meals which aim to help parents raise adventurous eaters from the age of 4 months upwards!

I'm proud of the fact that none of my children have ever been particularly picky eaters, something I firmly believe breastfeeding has helped with, although that's not to say they don't have certain preferences. For example, my eldest daughter prefers plainer foods and also eats raw rather than cooked carrots whilst my son absolutely adores spicy foods. My second daughter isn't keen on mushrooms but will take them if chopped up very small. And Sophia, the toddler, well she'll eat anything and everything. Consequently, Bébé Gourmet looks like a good bet for us.

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New Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes - Tasty Food for the Whole Family!

Annabel karmel quick and easy toddler recipesI've been testing out a lovely book this week, Annabel Karmel Quick and Easy Toddler Recipes, the first in her Quick and Easy series.

The book is a 144-page, 100 recipe full colour book teeming full of healthy, balanced meals aiming to make mealtimes easier for hard-working families.

With a great choice of breakfast, snacks, lunch and dinner recipes, many focusing on key food groups such as fish, pasta, poultry, meat, vegetables and fruit, as well as time saving tips and tricks to encourage children to eat well and experiment with different sweet and savoury flavours, this book is definitely one for the kitchen book shelf!

Having bought another of her recipe books in the past when my other children were younger, I was keen to try this new one to see if my latest addition would enjoy the meals I'd be preparing. And I'm pleased to report, so far so good.

With a family of four children and two adults, it can be difficult to keep everyone happy at times. My husband and I like lots of spicy foods like curries and noodle dishes, but as any parent can understand, the children aren't always so keen. I'm almost always presented with the dilemma of who to please at mealtimes and preferring for everyone to eat the same meal, rather than having to prepare two completely different meals, I tend to cook meals which everyone will eat rather than meals that everyone loves!

However, this week, with Annabel's guidance, we've all been happily sampling many new and interesting meals and with those I've prepared I'm thrilled to report so far everyone has been pretty happy.

The book, like others Annabel Karmel has written, has a huge array of meals ranging from snacks to main meals and desserts and is certainly a lovely looking book with lots of very appetising photos of meals within. To be honest, my main problem was actually deciding what to prepare from it as there is just so much choice. However, below are photos and rundowns of how I got on with several meals I cooked.

Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches
Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber Sandwiches

The first snack I chose to prepare was for the children coming in from school and feeling peckish. Normally, I'd make a few ham or cheese sandwichs or toasties, perhaps a shop bought pancake or scone but on this occasion I chose Hummus, Tomato and Cucumber sandwiches. Usually, I'd only serve hummus as a dip at parties so it was a novel and unusual combination which the children weren't too sure about at first glance.

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Peace at Last - Let the Home Baking Fun Commence!

This morning, after yet another bad night's sleep, I decided on the spur of the moment to make some scones and right now the house smells yummy. It's brought me right back to my childhood where I recall regularly returning home from school to the smell of apple tarts cooking and my mum standing in her apron, rolling pin in hand! Of course she always left a little dough behind for my sister and me so we could make jam pies but since there was only one rolling pin, one of us had to make do with a milk bottle!

My first port of call these days when looking for recipes is usually Google and most times I find great recipes. Today's was no exception with the good old BBC coming to my aid. If you'd like to try the recipe I used, here it is! I had to alter it ever so slightly as I had no sultanas and used raisins instead. Raisins are clearly inferior though as the mix is quite dry and juicy sultanas would have worked much better. However, aside from that minor niggle, this is a recipe for my keepers list and I'll definitely use it again... with sultanas next time!

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Duck Breast with Celeriac Mash and Florida Grapefruit Marmalade Sauce

Yum, I've just received this delicious recipe for Duck Breast with Celeriac Mash and Florida Grapefruit Marmalade Sauce, which has been designed exclusively for Florida grapefruit by one of the UK’s youngest head chefs, Sophie Wright. 

In this recipe, Sophie aims to show the versatility of grapefruit in deliciously sophisticated dishes that are both healthy and easy to make.

I haven't tried it yet but it'll definitely be right up there on my to do list!

Bon appetit!

Duck breast with celeriac mash
Serves 4

Cooking time 40mins

Preparation time 30mins

Preheat oven to 190oc



4 duck breasts trimmed of excess fat, removed from the flesh side

1 whole celeriac, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice

75g unsalted butter

2 peeled garlic cloves

80mls double cream

2 sprigs thyme, picked

Florida white grapefruit

3 tbsp runny honey

1 tbsp caster sugar

250mls chicken stock

125mls white wine

Salt and pepper

Approximate cost per portion: £7.34



Florida Grapefruit Marmalade Sauce

Peel the rind off the Florida grapefruit using a peeler, and then slice the peel as thinly as you can into strips.

Place the chicken stock, honey and sugar into a sauce pan and bring to the boil, then add the wine before adding in the grapefruit peel. Allow this to soften and simmer until the sauce has reduced by half.

Add the juice of ½ of the grapefruit to the sauce, bring to the boil again and then simmer on a very low heat.


Celeriac Mash

Place the diced celeriac into a sauce pan of boiling salted water along with 2 cloves of peeled garlic and the picked thyme leaves. Cook the celeriac until cooked all the way through.

Once the celeriac is cooked, drain and allow to stand for a few minutes to release some of the steam and excess moisture.

Meanwhile, heat the cream with the butter in a separate pan.

Blend the celeriac, garlic, cream and butter together using a food processor or blitz with a hand held blender.  Season with salt and pepper, then leave to one side while preparing the duck.

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Cheese From Breast Milk? Would You Try It?

Breast milk cheeseI'm not quite sure what to make of this story about a New York chef who makes cheese from his wife's breastmilk but I'd certainly love to hear your thoughts!

Would you eat breastmilk cheese? Would you buy it from a top class restaurant or would you make your own and eat it? Does the idea appeal or repel you?

Here's the story - don't forget to share your thoughts:

In the world of haute cuisine, pushing the boundaries of taste has become commonplace. But in a move that has delighted some and disgusted others, a chef has made cheese out of his wife's breast milk. The idea struck chef Daniel Angerer eight weeks ago after his wife gave birth and she began freezing her excess milk.

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Quick Home Made Vegetable Diet Soup Recipe

Vegetable-soup I love experimenting with soups as they are so quick and easy to put together and every one tastes so different. As I've just started a diet of sorts I thought I'd share this latest soup with you! It's very quick, very easy and best of all there's no measuring involved. It's great for pregnant women, breastfeeding women and just those of us who want to get into a healthy eating regime and lose a little bit of excess weight along the way! My children and hubby also love it so it's also a great all round family soup!

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