Friday, 6 May 2016

Globecooking recipe : Whisky Marmalade Glazed Carrots (Ireland)

I'm not keen on marmalade and I hate whisky, so when I saw the recipe for Whisky Marmalade Glazed Carrots in my Irish-themed Kitchen Trotter box, I inwardly groaned. I'm willing to try anything once though, so I decided to give them a go, and they were actually very nice, with a very subtle marmalade tang coming through to bring out the sweetness of the carrots.

The recipe required two ingredients from the box - whisky marmalade and Irish spice mix (which is a blend of white pepper, garlic, fennel, chilli, rosemary and thyme).

Whisky Marmalade Glazed Carrots

ingredients :

500g carrots 
20g butter
3tsp whisky marmalade
1tsp Irish spice mix 
a pinch of nutmeg
1tsp sugar
salt and pepper
fresh parsley to garnish

The recipe card suggested using baby carrots but I had big ones so I just chopped them into chunks. Boil them in salted water for ten minutes until tooth tender.

Drain them then put them back in the pan, along with the butter, marmalde, nutmeg and Irish spices. Cook until the butter has melted, stirring to coat the carrots in the mixture. Add the sugar and cook for 3 more minutes on a high heat. Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle over some fresh parsley.

I served the carrots with bangers and mash and some very flat Yorkishire puddings - like macarons, they are my nemesis and a guaranteed fail, for some reason ! (If you haven't already had a laugh at my totally failed macarons, please do feel free !)

*** Click through to see my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***

If you want to try some more Irish recipes, how about Dublin Coddle, Boiled Bacon & CabbageIrish Stew or Baileys Cheesecake?

What's Cooking at The Madhouse? menu plan 5/5

Now that we're into May, I'm starting to look towards the summer holidays so I'm looking out for lighter recipes. We even managed to have a BBQ last week - the first of the season and hopefully the first of many, although it plays havoc with my menu plans because we end up with enough leftover grilled meats, sausages and burgers for at least the next two days each time !


lunch - possibly McDonalds or if not, burgers, rice and grilled tomatoes at home

dinner -  soup, salad or wraps


lunch - the Madhouse grandparents will be over for the day - roast dinner or BBQ depending on the weather

dinner - sandwiches


dinner - pulled pork with rice and coleslaw


dinner - stuffed tomatoes


lunch - shawarma with couscous and salad

dinner - grilled salmon - maybe with lime juice and garlic salt, maybe with honey and soy, maybe with pomegranate molasses and sumac - with boiled potatoes and mange tout


dinner - minced beef & onion pie with mash & veg (or maybe beans, to keep the kids happy !)


dinner - chicken & veg stir-fry with noodles

***Click on my Menu Plans tag to see all my other weekly menu plan blogposts.***

Meal Planning Monday

Want to see what everyone else is eating ? Head over to Meal Planning Monday at Mrs M's blog !

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Madhouse diaries : Geocaching on the dock of the bay !

As it was such a beautiful day, I asked the kids what they'd like to do after school - head to the beach, go to a park, go for an adventure walk. To my dismay, the girls both opted for going clothes shopping  so I reluctantly agreed, on the condition that we pop along to a new geocache not far from the town centre. After flashing the cash in H&M for some new summer gear for the kids, we headed along to the port and started off by having a look at the mobile lighthouses.


We walked along the quayside, watching the fishing boats heading in and out of the port, until we got to the bridge where the new geocache had been hidden.

Pierre was very proud to be the one to find it. It didn't have any treasures in it but we left a few little toys for the next people to find.

Pierre and Juliette were just as excited about collecting up all the crab claws that the gulls had dropped after their seafood feast !

Giveaway #554 : Win a Tiny Pop goody bag- closing date 19/5

The Kids channel TINY POP (Freeview 126, Sky 617, Virgin 737, and Freesat 605) has announced the launch of a brand new content driven app available on iOS and Android. Available across tablet and mobile devices, it is free to download and play and gives children and parents the chance to get closer to their favourite on-screen characters than ever before.

The app hosts games, catch-up episodes, singalongs, and shorts from the channel’s roster of hit shows, including the likes of POSTMAN PAT, MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC and MIFFY’S ADVENTURES BIG AND SMALL.

 Plus, kids can get creative with the app’s ArtPad, using photos, stickers and online art tools to draw and paint their very own masterpieces and submit to Tiny Pop for a chance to see their artwork on TV.

Pierre has been having great fun exploring the app and has found plenty to keep him occupied. He loves the games but his favourite is the ArtPad, which he seems slightly addicted to ! For a free app, I'm very impressed with the quantity of content available.

Download the ‘Tiny Pop TV’ app now on the Google Play Store or on iOS from here:

To mark the launch of the app, I'm delighted to have a fabulous Tiny Pop bundle up for grabs. For your chance to win a goody bag containing the below, please enter using the Rafflecopter widget below:

· 1x Miffy Books
· 1x Transformer Rescue Bot
· 1x My Little Pony Figurine
· 1x My Littlest Pet Shop Sticker Book
· 1x My Littlest Pet Shop Project Funway Book
· 1x Toby’s Travelling Circus DVD
· 1x Toby’s Travelling Circus Colouring Book
· 2x Toby’s Travelling Circus Cut And Colour Facemask

UK only. Closing date : 19/5/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #551 : Win Peter Rabbit - The Tale of the Great Breakout dvd - closing date 9/5

Madhouse recipe : Good Old-Fashioned Country Chicken

Now, before I go any further, let me start by saying that this dish tastes a lot better than it looks ! I spotted it on the Granny Fabulosa blog and it is apparently over 150 years old - this really appealed to me because I love getting back to basics and trying the good old-fashioned rustic dishes that existed long before e-numbers and complicated foodie trends. I think it could be improved with the addition of some spices or maybe a dash of BBQ sauce in the gravy  but it's a simple, honest, family-friendly dish.

Good Old-Fashioned Country Chicken

ingredients :

6 chicken thighs
1 cup of cracker crumbs
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk
salt and pepper
6 rashers of bacon
some small knobs of butter
a pint of milk

Crush some savoury crackers or biscuits - I used up a pack of Finn Crisp but anything would do, even breadcrumbs. Put them in a dish and in a second dish, whisk up the two eggs with 1/4 cup of milk. (Just add a generous splash, you don't need to be precise.)

Dip each chicken thigh in the egg/milk then the cracker crumbs and place them in a casserole dish or roasting tin. Grind some salt and pepper over the top.

Place a raw bacon rasher on each chicken thigh and dot with small pieces of butter.

Scatter the remaining cracker crumbs in the gaps between the chicken thighs then pour in enough milk to come 2/3 of the way up the chicken.

Bake at 220° for an hour to an hour and a half until the chicken is cooked through and almost falling off the bone, the bacon is crispy and the sauce has gone thick and golden.

Serve the chicken and bacon then put the roasting tin on the hob and add a good glug of milk. Heat through, whisking, until the sauce is thick and creamy. Season with more salt and pepper - I'd add extra spices or a glug of BBQ sauce at this stage next time.

Serve with broccoli and rissoled potatoes, rice or mash. Spoon the sauce over the chicken and veg.

Adding to this month's #KitchenClearout linky because it used up a pack of crackers that had been feeling unloved !

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Giveaway #553 : Win a personalised Star Wars poster from Photobox - closing date 17/5

Today is a special day for Star Wars fans - all day long, you can have great fun saying "May the Fourth be with you !" but I have another reason to put a smile on your face - the chance to win a personalised Star Wars poster from Photobox.

The UK’s top online photo printing service is ready and waiting to transport you into the world of Luke and Leah with their new customisable Star Wars posters. Simply place and upload a photograph of you or your child into the design area of the poster and become one with the force. You can choose from a classic A New Hope poster, or an updated poster from the franchise’s latest instalment, The Force Awakens.

The Star Wars posters are available to purchase on PhotoBox now:
40 x 60cm - £12.00
76 x 114cm - £18.00

Printed on Fuji Film Crystal Archive digital photographic paper

Paper thickness: 215 g/m

You can find out more about the Photobox Star Wars posters here.

Photobox have kindly offered to send a personalised Star Wars poster to two lucky Madhouse Family Reviews readers. Fill in your entries in the Rafflecopter widget below.

UK only. Closing date : 17/5/16

T & C's : Entries close at midnight on the closing date. Winners will be selected with a random number generator and announced on facebook, twitter and in the giveaway post subject line. Please note, you will be contacted by email and/or twitter and if I haven't heard from you after 28 days, I'll have to pick another winner. Prizes will be sent out by the companies or their PR directly to winners. Madhouse Family Reviews cannot be held responsible for any prizes that go astray !

You may also like to enter my other giveaways :

Giveaway #551 : Win Peter Rabbit - The Tale of the Great Breakout dvd - closing date 9/5

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Baylis & Harding Mum to Bee review

Whenever a female friend or relative has a baby, everyone always wonders what to buy to welcome the newborn into the world - baby clothes, a cuddly toy, a playmat or maybe a personalised keepsake to record the date? Well, I always think it's the mum who deserves a present after everything she's just been through - not just the birth itself but the nine months before and the oodles of sleepless nights and crazy hormones waiting just around the corner !

Baylis & Harding have just launched a lovely new range that would be perfect for new or expectant mums, the Mum To Bee Collection, which features a gentle honey and almond fragrance and some luxurious pampering treats to remind them to put themselves first for a while (or at least put them on them bathroom shelf as a reminder that that day will eventually come around when they will get five minutes in the bathroom alone again !)

I received the Mum To Bee "Comfort Me" Sock Set (£6) that you can see above, which includes some gorgeously soft and fluffy socks, some foot lotion and some foot soak crystals. When I was pregnant with Sophie, I had the start of pre-eclampsia and my feet puffed up and felt horrible so these would have been a godsend then. Finding me-time is hard when you're a new mum but you could soak your feet while feeding baby then, if you're lucky, get the doting dad to massage your feet with the lotion when baby has fallen asleep on you !

There are other gift sets available in the range too :

"Relaxation Time" Slipper Set (£15) - fluffy faux fur slippers, foot lotion and foot soak crystals.

"PamperMe" Wash Bag (£7) with Body Cleanser, Shampoo, Body Cream, Conditioner.

"Treat Me" Travel Bag (£7) with  Body Cleanser, Cream Wash, Hand & Body Lotion, Bath Milk.

I love the relaxing scent, the fact that it encourages new mums and mums-to-be to put theseves first for a change and also the low prices. 

The range is available exclusively at Tesco's - click through for more information  

Disclosure : I received the product in order to write an honest review.

Monday, 2 May 2016

#KitchenClearout April roundup and May linky

I love how adventurous and creative we all get with #KitchenClearout recipes - this month, I was using up a pack of spring roll wrappers that had gone past their best-before date in weird and wonderful ways ! It's always exciting to see what everyone else has lurking in their cupboards and what you managed to do with it. Here's this month's round-up of thrifty and nifty offerings :

Linzertorte - basically a posh jam tart with an Austrian twist - was a great way to use up up the ends of two bags lurking in the cupboard - ground almonds and dessicated coconut - as well as a jar of damson jam from a Christmas hamper.

Creative as ever, Jane from Onions and Paper used her bargain giant mushrooms in place of a burger bun, wrapped around some very tasty looking venison burgers. Yum !

Some slightly wrinkly apples were made into a rather lovely Apple Crumble Cake, which also used up the end of a bag of demerera sugar.

Galina from Chez Maximka always makes such pretty food and the flavour combination in her Lemon & Coriander Chicken sounds inspired.

Staying on the chicken theme, I made Spice Crusted Chicken which was very nice but nothing like KFC, despite supposedly being a copycat fakeaway recipe. It was a great way of using up some ends of jars of spices though.

Kung Pao Chicken was a delicious oriental dish that cleared out lots of my exotic ingredients, such as soy sauce, ginger wine, black rice vinegar and hoi sin sauce.

Spicy Chicken Salad Pittas were a fab way of using up a small bit of leftover chicken after the Sunday roast, and continued my cull of the near-empty jars in my spice rack.

I won't insult your intelligence by talking about leftover Easter chocolate (which certainly doesn't exist here at The Madhouse) but these White Chocolate & Marshmallow Nests were a fun way to use up some Shredded Wheat from a blogger hamper that nobody wanted to eat.

Eggs of a different kind went into Huevos Rancheros, which used up some squishy tomatoes and wrinkly green pepper from the bottom of the fridge.

Great to see a new blogger joining in and this Lime & Coconut Cake, over on the Sweet Craftiness blog, looks divine. Definitely a worthy way of using up some dessicated coconut.

I'm sure Alison over at Dragons & Fairy Dust is a bit of a secret globecooker on the side, and I love the sound of her Slow Cooked Maple Mustard Chops, which used up some maple syrup and mustard. A lovely Canadian twist on pork chops.

Now, I told you in the introduction that I was on a mission to use up my spring roll wrappers so I came up with three ways of doing so. Firstly Smores spring rolls. (Well why not ?!)

Then Roast Dinner Spring Rolls filled with - you guessed it - the leftovers from the Sunday roast. They tasted way better than they sound !

And finally, my favourite, Turon - Filipino caramelised banana spring rolls that were wonderfully sweet, sticky and gooey.

Once again, a very creative ane eclectic bunch of recipes that used up ingredients that were taking up valuable kitchen space or were well on their way to the bin. Thanks to everyone who linked up.

Fancy joining in? Have a rummage through your kitchen cupboards, spice rack, freezer or fridge and see if there's anything that needs using up then come and share your creations with us. Or if it's way past its sell-by date, throw it in the bin and come and tell us what you found ! It would be great if you could add my badge and a link to this post for anyone else who wants to get involved.

#KitchenClearout recipe : Hoi Sin Chicken and Veg Stir Fry

A few weeks ago, I made Kung Pao Chicken (click through to see the recipe) which was utterly delicious. It used a few spoonfuls of Hoi Sin Sauce but this left me with about three quarters of a tin and no idea what to do with it. I decided to throw it in a stir fry and the result was way better than I expected. This would be great with rice or noodles but, as it was a #KitchenClearout recipe, I used up some cooked spaghetti that was in the fridge which worked OK too.

Hoi Sin Chicken and Veg Stir Fry

ingredients :

drizzle of olive oil
3 chicken breasts
2 onions
2 carrots
1/2 green pepper (red pepper would be great too but I'd run out)
tin of hoi sin sauce

Chop up the chicken and vegetables into thin strips and stir fry in the oil for a few minutes until the chicken is cooked but the veggies are still crunchy.

Pour over the sauce and cook for a couple of minutes until the vegetables and meat are covered in a gooey, caramelised sauce. That's it !

This finished off a tin of hoi sin sauce and also used up some cooked spaghetti so I'm adding it to this month's #KitchenClearout linky.