Day 42: Homemade Pesto

Rob and I love to cook and, mostly, we manage to cook meals from scratch. Our boys can be fussy eaters but one meal they both love is pesto pasta: whole wheat fusilli with a dollop of pesto – until recently, we bought it as it was easier and we believed it was pretty healthy.

I read an article by Which? that changed my mind about shop-bought pesto. Reviewing standard pesto from seven supermarkets, they found all had added ingredients to bulk it out – among these were bamboo fibre, water, sugar and potato flakes. They often replaced traditional ingredients with cheaper alternatives: sunflower oil for olive oil; cashew nuts for pine nuts.

Reading this motivated me to find out how I could make my own pesto. I found a few recipes which I tweaked until I had a version I was happy with.

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Food: Bill’s Cambridge

Spring is always a busy time for our household with all four birthdays falling in a seven-week period, starting with mine in April. This year we also had a wonderful family wedding in May, so it really has been a time of non-stop celebrations! 🙂 

Also with an April birthday, twelve days before mine, is my Mum. When I was invited to enjoy a meal at Bill’s restaurant in Cambridge, it was the perfect opportunity to take my foot off the pedal for a while and enjoy a joint birthday lunch.

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Food: The Ivy Cambridge Brasserie

The Ivy. Those two words conjure up images of the rich & famous, of opulence, glamour, a place to see and be seen. In 2017, The Ivy in Covent Garden celebrated its centenary; having begun life in 1917 as a modest café, it quickly gained in popularity becoming an iconic London destination, known the world over.

My home city of Cambridge is now home to The Ivy Brasserie; it’s one of the newest restaurants to join The Ivy Collection. Opening day was Wednesday 14th March 2018, and I was invited to join a Bloggers’ Breakfast that morning. Would The Ivy live up to its reputation?

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Food: Pint Shop

Pint Shop, in the very heart of Cambridge, will soon be celebrating its 4th birthday. Feeling that it would benefit from some sprucing up, the owners not only refreshed the paintwork, but also altered the layout to create two new dining rooms. To celebrate their revamp and new seasonal menu, they held a press & bloggers tasting lunch.

Unable to attend on the day, we were invited to dine on another occasion, and having never experienced their food (but hearing wonderful things about it), we were delighted to accept.

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Day 35: FoodCycle Cambridge

I have vivid memories of being a young girl growing up in the affluent city of Cambridge, not being able to understand why there were so many people sleeping rough, barely surviving. It didn’t seem right or fair, and that helpless feeling stays with me today. That childhood memory, and what I’ve subsequently learned about the plight of the homeless and the disadvantaged, along with an inherent aversion to food waste, compelled me to attend my first FoodCycle session in 2012. 

After a break from volunteering while our children were very young, I rejoined the team in September 2017 for Day 35 of #100DaysNoTV.

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Day 34: Blackberry Sorbet

If there is one welcome sign that summer is getting closer to its end, it’s the abundance of ripening blackberries in the hedgerows. It has become a family tradition to go out and forage, and this year we decided to make something new with our bumper crop.

We’ve owned an ice cream maker for a few years, but it stayed unloved in its box. It was about time it had some use. On Day 34 of #100DaysNoTV we made fresh blackberry sorbet.

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Day 32: Restaurant Dining at Home

Before we were parents, Rob and I used to enjoy holding dinner parties at home. Back then, we totally took it for granted. As other parents of young children might agree, a grown-up evening without interruption, and without you feeling so tired you’d fall asleep on your plate, can feel like a thing of the distant past.

After talking with a group of mummies (we’d met at my “Mummas & More” bloggers talk ) about getting together, we started considering the idea of a dinner party where we all contribute a dish. However, in the end we decided to invite a chef to do all the cooking (and clearing up!) for us. 🙂 On Day 32 of #100DaysNoTV we had a restaurant experience at home! 

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Day 28: Macmillan Coffee Morning

The last couple of months have been all about spinning plates – this post has been sitting on my To Do pile since September…my bad. I’ve been looking forward to writing it, because it’s about two important things in life: cake 😉 and charity. On Day 28 of #100DaysNoTV I hosted a Macmillan Coffee Morning at my place.

Macmillan Cancer Support held their first ever Coffee Morning way back in 1990 and since then they’ve raised a whopping £138 million. Little wonder it’s known as the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning! If you’ve never been to one, look out for one local to you next September; it’s easy to search using your postcode on their website. There are bound to be a few near you run by local groups, or you could host one yourself!

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Day 14: Clandestine Cake Club

I’ve been a member of the Clandestine Cake Club for a couple of years, but I’ve never been brave enough to go along to a meet. My image was of a group of super-talented bakers who would snort with laughter at my super-amateur attempt. But when I heard that Lauren – who I’d met at The High Tea Club – was running the Ely group, I decided to be brave. On Day 14 of #100DaysNoTV, I (nervously) took a cake that I had baked to share with others.

so, what is the clandestine cake club?

The brainchild of Lynn Hill, the Clandestine Cake Club (CCC) began in Leeds in December 2010 with its purpose to have a place for cake lovers to meet and chat over tea and cake. “Bake, Eat and Talk about Cake” is their mission statement. What’s not to like?

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