Friday, 28 October 2016

Pumpkin Soup & Cheese Fondue with Hotpoint and Currys PC World #AutumnalBakes

#AutumnalBakes with Hotpoint

Last Sunday I headed to Westfield in London to join the wonderful people from Hotpoint at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School to put the Hotpoint ovens through their paces by baking some perfectly #AutumnalBakes

Did you know that most conventional home ovens can have a temperature disparity of up to 15℃! Meaning that you can expect your own home oven to be very different temperatures in different parts of the oven cavity. 

Hotpoint however, promise that their ovens have a temperature disparity of a mere 2℃, which means a much more even and consistent bake. This is pretty vital for successful baking - no soggy bottoms or burnt crusts with Hotpoint, hurrah! 

So, we headed to JO Cookery School to take part in their bread course - and using the Hotpoint ovens we put their temperature promise to test - would we get lovely even bakes? 

Here's how I got on... 

Jamie Oliver Cookery School, Westfield
Jamie Oliver Cookery School in Westfield

This was my first ever visit to the Jamie Oliver Cookery School & boy was I excited - as a huge JO fan, I've been desperate to see this brand new school in all its glory (it opened in May this year) and hadn't got round to booking up yet, so I was chuffed when this invite winged its way to me. 

I have to say that it really didn't disappoint. The school is absolutely stunning, with every single aspect having been beautifully designed, it's perfectly practical - and well, pretty pukka in the words of JO himself. 

Jamie Oliver Cookery School, Westfield
STUNNING KITCHENS

We began the day with tea and biscuits (can you start a day in any other way??) and I got to have a good natter with my lovely friend Poppy Dinsey who was also at the event (a fab way to catch up!). After tackling the biscuit mountain, we headed into the kitchens, donned our JO aprons and met our chefs. 

biscuits
Biscuit heaven! 

The lovely chefs were so energetic and passionate - really infectious, even those not as obsessed with baking as me got fully into the spirit. 

The beautiful kitchens made it super-easy to watch the chefs demos before we headed back to our own stations to go it alone. 

Watching the lovely chefs give us a demo...

We started by making a simple white bread dough, and forming them into different shaped rolls - I made a round dinner roll, a plait and a mini baguette. We topped the rolls with egg wash and of course, pumpkin seeds!

simple white rolls ready for baking
My rolls ready for baking! 

I really enjoy bread making, it is so therapeutic, especially kneading by hand (I must admit I normally use a dough hook in my KitchenAid - which just isn't the same!). I was really chuffed with the results - after a short time baking in the Hotpoint oven my rolls came out perfectly evenly golden, and smelling INSANE. It was so hard not to tuck in straight away!  

Perfectly golden freshly baked rolls
Freshly baked, evenly golden rolls, jewelled with pumpkin seeds. 

Our second bake was this time a wholegrain dough, which we used to create a stuffed picnic loaf, filled with caramelised onions and toasted walnuts - YUM! I'd never braved making a picnic loaf before, as it had always seemed fiddly and complicated, but the wonderful chefs made it seem pretty simple - I was thrilled to be giving it go!

Jamie Oliver Cookery School chefs making whole grain dough
Chef making whole grain dough - look at their lovely faces - what a shot! 

After proving the dough to perfection, we had to knock it back, and shape it into a thin rectangle. That rectangle was then spread evenly with the caramelised onions and toasted walnuts, before being rolled up like a Swiss roll, and then bent round to make a large doughnut shape, feeding one end inside the other to seal the loaf. 

Jamie Oliver Cookery School chef rolling up her picnic loaf

Again the loaf was washed with egg, and then sprinkled with pumpkin seeds to give it a perfect Autumnal feel. We placed the loaf onto a baking tray and then moved on to our third and final bake of the day... 


Ahhhhh Focaccia!! I have to say that focaccia is one of my all time favourite loaves - but I've never been brave enough to make it by myself, so I was thrilled when it was on the agenda for the day. 

We started the process by making a dough using a combination of strong bread flour and 00 flour (a super-fine flour used for pasta making), while the dough proved we set about making a delicious rosemary salt by combining a sprig of fresh rosemary with some Maldon sea salt (the BEST!) using a mortar and pestle. 

rosemary maldon sea salt pestle mortar
Making rosemary salt

Jamie Oliver Cookery school kitchen

Once the salt was ready and the dough proved it was time to shape our focaccia, add the signature dimples, and then spread with the rosemary salt before baking... 

rosemary salt focaccia ready for baking
All ready for baking! 

Naturally, the breads baked perfectly - thanks Hotpoint! - the whole kitchen smelt incredible...is there anything better that the smell of rosemary cooking? 

Freshly baked Picnic Loaf and Focaccia
Freshly baked Picnic Loaf and Focaccia
Freshly baked Picnic Loaf and Focaccia

While the breads baked and cooled we were 
treated to a rather magnificent lunch courtesy of the talented JO chefs. 

We all moved into the dining room area at the cookery school, where we were presented with the most magnificent display of freshly made pumpkin soup and our freshly baked white rolls - all served with a delicious pot of cheese fondue to dip our rolls in, and a glass of prosecco- don't mind if I do! 

pumpkin soup lunch at Jamie Oliver Cookery School
Pumpkin soup - could this lunch BE any more Autumnal? (You all did your Chandler voices, right?)

Freshly baked, still warm rolls, pumpkin soup, cheese fondue and prosecco - the lunch of my dreams! 

The food was unbelievably scrumptious (at this point I had VERY high hopes) the soup was so delicate, sweet and seasoned to perfection with lots of fragrant thyme - and well, the cheese fondue... there are just no words. 

YOU MUST MAKE THIS. MAKE IT NOW. 

Here's both of the recipes - the soup is the perfect way to use up your pumpkins this Halloween, and the fondue will be one of the best things you'll ever taste. FACT.

Homemade bread rolls and prosecco
I was pretty darn chuffed with my bread baking efforts. 

homemade pumpkin soup
DUNK! DUNK! 

pot of cheese fondue
Cheese fondue of dreams.

Never mind that I got to eat a whole lunch while it was still hot, un-interrupted, with a glass of prosecco (even if it had been mediocre food it would have still been a joy #mumlife!) but it was a genuinely super-tasty lunch and I got to natter to lovely Poppy and chill in the beautiful surroundings that is the JO Cookery School - WIN WIN. 

Lucy Bishop at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School
There's always time for a cheeky selfie! 


#AutumalBakes team at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School
The #AutumnalBakes gang at The Jamie Oliver Cookery School. 


What a truly brilliant way to spend an afternoon! I loved it so much that I've added courses at the cookery school to my Christmas list - there's so many fabulous ones to choose from - I can't wait to go back and expand my skills further. 

And, as predicted the Hotpoint ovens didn't let us down - we ended the day filling paper bags with all the wonderful loaves we'd baked, taking them home to our families. 

Hubby was rather pleased with my offerings on my return - and in fact, the loaves fed his work colleagues the next day too! Spreading the joy and all that.

A huge thanks to Hotpoint and Currys PC World for inviting me to such a well-planned event, and thanks to all at the Jamie Oliver Cookery School for having us and making it such a super experience. 

Are you making any #AutumnalBakes this weekend? 

If you're celebrating Halloween have a fabulously spook-tacular time guys! 


Bye for now

Mrs B 

xxx

#AutumnalBakes
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Autumn Degustabox (October): REVIEW & DISCOUNT CODE

It's that time of the month once again - time to share the contents of my latest Degustabox delivery...

Degustabox

We've had another corker of a box this month containing:

  • Levi Roots Smokey BBQ Coat 'n Cook
  • Maggi Fusion Noodles x2
  • Yushoi Snapea Rice Sticks
  • Robinsons Squash'd Orange
  • Heinz Kid's Dry Pasta Shapes (Minions)
  • Heinz Kid's Pasta Sauce
  • Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bar
  • Beloved Date Fruit Hearts x4
  • JimJams 83% less sugar Chocolate Spread
  • Pitch Choco Brioche
  • I am Souper soup cartons x2
October 2016 Degustabox


A really successful box this month - lots of yummies for Bert - the Pitch chocolate brioches are just up his street, and he often eats a supermarket own brand version, he loved the Picth ones - they were all gone within a week. Sticking with the chocolate theme, he is also a big fan of chocolate spread (show me a kid who isn't?) so the 83% less sugar version from JimJams was a winner for me, as I'm keen on not overloading Bert with sugar unnecessarily. 

This box was also the catalyst for a bit of a breakthrough in the Bishop household. Anyone with a toddler will understand the trials and tribulations that come with a toddler's eating habits, and although Bert eats a wide variety of foods and breakfast, lunch and snack times - dinner is always a difficult one for us. He knows what he likes, and he doesn't want to veer away from that - his dinner exists of either a repeat of lunch time (snacky, picnic-y type food), or sausages/chicken nuggets/fish fingers, with raw carrot, toast/chips! He's been like that for about a year, and despite many (failed!) attempts to get him to try new foods it has mostly been a big fat NO! from him. 

We've tried to get him to eat pasta on various different occasions - a friend even bought him dinosaur shaped pasta in the hope it would sway him, but it didn't work. So blow me down, I was gobsmacked when he got majorly excited upon opening this month's Degustabox and finding Minion shaped pasta in there. I said he could have some for his dinner to which he said "yes please Mummy! Yummy!"...I was dubious, and even while it cooked I fully expected to be chucking it in the bin...no need - Bert totally changed his mind on #pastagate and decided it is in fact, delicious. Naturally! LOL - #toddlers He ate a whole bowl of it, and had gone on to devour it every night with his dinner - I even managed to find him a packet of animal shaped pasta (animals are his fave!) and he's been wolfing that down too. I realise my life has become uber-boring: dancing around the kitchen because your three year old just ate a bowl of pasta wasn't exactly up there on my 'to achieve' list- but i'm rolling with the punches here. #motherhood

October 2016 Degustabox

Aside from the Bert triumphs in this month's box, there's been some winners for the grown ups too - namely the Hershey's Cookies 'n' Creme bar, which I wasn't expecting to like due to word on the street about American chocolate bars, but I tried a couple of squares when Hubby was tucking into it, and it was pretty delicious. 

Hubby really liked the Snapea Rice Sticks - he'd tried them once before at work - they weren't for me though...I'm a bit of a purist when it comes to crisps! I did however LOVE the Souper cartons of soup - they were such a perfect, filling, healthy lunch for me, I throughly enjoyed them and will be looking out for this specific brand in the supermarket. 

Liam also loved the Robinsons Squash'd Orange - he's quite a big squash drinker and he said this had a lovely taste, and he loved the concept of squirting in a really concentrated amount to your glass of water. It's perfect for the organisational freak in me too - as it's in a tiny little bottle and takes up almost no space in my cupboards/on my kitchen worktop - any space saver in the kitchen is a winner for me. 

The Beloved Date Hearts are just my sort of snack - a perfect clean eating sweet treat for my less sinful moments, and nice and easy to throw in my handbag for emergency #hangry snacks. 

I've popped the instant noodles into my instant meals stash, which I think every house needs to have! Perfect for a super-quick lunch or dinner when cooking isn't an option...I'll look forward to reverting back to my student days when I try these.


Last night we tucked into a delicious Caribbean inspired feast thanks to the Levi Roots coat 'n cook sauce - it was delicious, and so easy that it meant I could concentrate my efforts on making a mighty rice and peas dish. Yum! 

Caribbean Feast
Levi Roots Cook 'n Coat Jerk sauce with homemade Rice 'n Peas and sweetcorn. 

The chicken was all gnarly and delicious - it had a good spice, which is rarity for shop-bought sauces as they usually err on the side of caution when it comes to heat, and it was so easy to use. I'd definitely buy it again for a quick but tasty dinner option. WINNER. 

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If you like the look of Degustabox boxes then I can offer you a whopping £7.00 discount for your own Degustabox, which means the first box will cost you just £5.99! What a bargain! 

Use this code at the checkout to apply your discount:

1VRVA

For more information on the Degustabox food box subscription service head to their social media channels:

Degustabox social media

Monday, 24 October 2016

Beautiful Property Features From Decades Past To Preserve In Your Home

Living in an older property that has been beautifully restored can feel like a privilege. While most of us would never dream of giving up our mod cons, the echoes of lives gone by in older properties can be just wonderful. 

Sure, modern houses are more energy efficient, open plan, and have enough electric sockets in the right locations. But you can’t visit a period property and fail to ben mesmerised by its character and charm.

My Aunt and Uncle live in an absolutely stunning farm house in the Surrey countryside, which is well over 200 years old - it is truly breathtaking, but takes an exceptional amount of work in it's upkeep. It is a labour if love for sure - but I know one thing, there's nothing more wonderful than snuggling up at Christmas time in front of their huge fireplace surrounded by beams and low ceilings. It's truly a magical place and we are blessed to be able to join them there each Christmas, we also held our wedding reception in their huge barn back in 2012.

Our Wedding reception back in 2012 - held in our family's barn

Here are just a few of the best bits of British housebuilding in the last 150 years:


Best bits of Victorian houses
A Victorian house is a description given to the style of property that was typically built from the mid-1800s and into the Edwardian period. Typically these large houses were gothic-looking with high ceilings. Ornate fireplaces and tiling are important features to preserve for the true Victorian look. The Edwardian period saw the introduction of installed plumbing and wiring, but these would nbo longer be up to standard. Floorboards should be protected against woodworm and other problems and then sanded and coated with a varnish. Other features to add original Victorian style to your home would be to add chandeliers and ceiling roses.


Victorian House


Best bits of 1930s houses
By the 1930s many houses were built with a bathroom inside the house, rather than in the back garden. The properties tended to be smaller than years gone by, and better quality construction was used. Bay windows and chalet bungalows became popular. Homeowners with lots of money had the most attractive designs on large suburban plots. For those interested in the pre-war era, these properties are perfect. Look out for those that retain their second reception room and gabled porch.


Best bits of Post-War houses
Once World War II was over, there was an explosion of house building. Many home properties in London were flattened by the bombing. Others were simply condemned. Houses were built in terraces, and almost all had a good sized garden. These were filled by tenants with beautiful flowers and an abundance of fresh vegetables from their veggie patches. All houses were built with electricity services, and many had small, simple fireplaces for coal burning. If you live in a post-war house you'll enjoy a good sized garden and most likely some additional outhousesyy that many of these properties came with.


60's 70's home


Best bits of the 60s and 70s houses
The 1960s and 70s saw the rise of the big building firms. Entire estates were planned to offer modest terraced and semi-detached housing. With these houses you need to watch out for cracked lintels and other signs of hurried building, as a lot of these properties went up fairly speedily and without as many rules and regulations as the building trade has today. Gas fittings were installed as standard in most houses. This made it possible to do away with fireplaces in all bedrooms. Light was a really important factor too: many of these properties enjoy enormous picture windows, almost the width of the room. Some designs were quite ‘space-age’ in style. The modern style of the time was unlike anything seen in the previous decades. Some custom properties are extraordinary in their appearance. Look for original kitchen furniture and funky weatherboarding designs.

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We all have a favourite era when it comes to properties. And many of the houses built today include some features of the designs that were popular back then. The older properties may have been updated for today’s standards but restoring a period feature could add value to your home and will certainly help it to stand out from the rest.

Love the house you’re in.

Monday, 17 October 2016

WIN A THREE MONTH PASS TO NEWLY RENOVATED ROBINSON POOLS & FITNESS

If you follow my social media channels as well as my blog you may well know that I'm currently working really hard on my health and fitness - I'm super determined to lose my baby weight, tone up, and feel fitter and stronger. 

In order to achieve all of that I'm seeing a personal trainer once a week, doing loads of power walking, drinking plenty of water and counting calories using MFP this time concentrating on the quality of calories I'm eating (fresh, from scratch, natural, plant-based foods as much as possible) as well as keeping track of the numbers. I'm wearing an activity monitor each day to track my steps, calories burned and sleep - which is very interesting.

Knowing that Connie is our last child is making me even more determined to reach my goals and then maintain a healthy, balanced lifestyle - knowing that I don't have to put my battered body through pregnancy and childbirth again is a weight lifted, and makes me feel excited for what I now might be able to achieve with my body going forward. 

One of the things I'm particularly interested in trying out to help boost my weight loss and general all-round fitness is spinning classes, so I was excited to see that my local leisure centre has has an amazing redevelopment, which includes a very impressive cycling studio - you'll find me in there soon, giving it a whirl, so watch this space...! 

Thanks to the lovely people over at Robinson Pool & Fitness I have a super special competition for my lovely local followers based here in Bedford...

Robinson Pool, Bedford

To celebrate the official opening of the £1.3m redeveloped premium facilities at Robinson Pools & Fitness located on the edge of Bedford Park, I have teamed up with Fusion Lifestyle, leisure provider and registered charity and Bedford Borough Council to offer one lucky reader the chance to win a three-month centre pass!

Robinson Pools & Fitness has amazing new facilities including a brand new fitness suite with all the latest equipment, a fantastic new studio which will hold over 100 classes a week, a new indoor cycling studio, a dedicated INTENCITY HIIT training studio, and a new Bickels Yard CafĂ© and Bar. So whether watching sport this summer has inspired you to get fit again, or you’ve over indulged on holiday, you’ll be able to try out all the latest facilities for three months for free.


Fusion Lifestyle Gym, Bedford

If you aren’t lucky enough to win but still want to come down and check out the centre they will be celebrating the official opening with a family day THIS Saturday 22nd October. Once the formalities are over you can try out a class in their new indoor cycling studio or take a HITT class in the new INTENCITY studio, give the fitness suite a whirl, or take a dip in the pool...

For your chance to win a three-month pass to Robinson Pools & Fitness answer the following question using the Gleam app below:

How many classes does the centre run a week?



win 3 month pass to Robinson Pool & Fitness, Bedford graphic

Robinsoon Pool Giveaway

Good luck lovely Bedford folks! 

Mrs B 

xxx

Competition closes at 11:59pm on Saturday 22nd October. 

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Pampers Club: Where Every Poo is Rewarded! #pooface




Turn nappies into Rewards and Savings with Pampers

I'll be honest – changing nappies isn’t exactly my favourite part of my day! I've genuinely changed 9 nappies today alone! But, Pampers have come up with a great way to turn the moment when you spot that familiar #pooface into your favourite time of day...they’ve recently launched an exciting new rewards app called Pampers Club – it’s free, easy to use and guess what…it rewards you every time you buy Pampers! Hooray!

Here’s how it works:

For every £1 you spend on Pampers nappies or wipes, you’ll receive 10 Pampers Club points with the app! You can register here (http://bit.ly/2cG0iv9) then all you need to do is buy your Pampers as you usually would, both in-store and online, then take a photo of your receipt using the app, and start watching your points grow! 

To get you started, you’ll receive 500 bonus points after scanning your first receipt!

You can choose to exchange your points for different types of rewards and savings, and guess what – there are things for both you and your baby! Rewards include everything from Pampers coupons and toys, to a 3 month subscription to Mother and Baby magazine!  

So now when you see that #pooface, you know that stocking up on Pampers means more points, for more rewards!

I just wish they'd launched this sooner - I wonder how many Pampers we've bought over the last 3 years? A LOT is the answer!

We'll definitely be making the most of the new reward scheme here at Chez Bishop, that's for sure! 

Pampers Club app

Pampers Club app - receipt scanning

Pampers Club app - redeem points


This is a sponsored post.