A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

A Residence Blog

Travel and adventure taking, memory and home making, parenting and play shaking, never faking, tales of family life.

Cranberry and Oat Energy Balls and more!

Cooking Cranberry Oat Energy balls with A Mummy Too

I had a wonderful time last week making this video with Emily from A Mummy Too. We made these Cranberry and Oat Energy Balls for Sport Relief, but they would be brilliant if you need a healthy snack for the kids over Easter. We will be off to Scotland in a motor home, doing lots of walking, so I will be making another batch just for us! Continue reading

Bunny and Duck Bread Rolls


I think if I see one more creme egg recipe I might be sick. I love creme eggs, but I also find the over indulgence over Easter a little bit too much.  We will have a chocolate egg hunt, and an egg roll (hard-boiled eggs decorated and rolled down the hill with the cousins – a very competitive sport in the A Residence), there will be easter eggs. But I like the idea of finding fun things that don’t involve chocolate too, like these bunny and duck bread rolls. They are a lovely thing to indulge in making when you have a four day weekend to play with.

We had a trial run of making these rolls, and the kids loved making them, as did I. I forget how satisfying bread making can be for kids and adults. You can make them wholemeal or white depending on what you prefer, we only had wholemeal flour in the cupboard, but they take me back to the bread rolls my Mum used to make. Continue reading

Quick Quesadilla to feed four

Speedy Quesadilla

If you were thinking the kitchen looks unfamiliar, well I made these quick quesadilla while we were on holiday, do check out the tour of  the whole of this gorgeous lovely Welsh seaside holiday cottage. Our friends brought and made fajitas for Saturday night, so this was a quick and easy way to use up a couple of leftover wraps, some veg and a tin of beans. It makes a brilliant brekkie, brunch, lunch or quick tea.

I made the recipe up as I went along, the traditional way is to do one tortilla and fold it in half,  but I wanted to make enough to feed 4 quickly – this method worked really well. Continue reading

9 Soulful Soup Recipes

Soulful Soup Recipes


These are the soulful soups I rely on to cheer me up, many also make use of this month’s seasonal vegetables. Last month it was all about smoothies, but as we move through February, I am realising the warmth and comfort of soup is what I need to keep my healthy ambitions on track.

I’ve been heavily reliant on the slow cooker and hob for soups, but we were given a soup maker as a gift and I am learning to embrace it the speed of the soup maker, especially at lunchtimes and for quick tea – throw it all in and 20 minutes later soup is ready! I have one to giveaway today too, and you can also use it as a blender for smoothies, double win. Continue reading

8 Homemade Pizza Tips (Giveaway)

8 ways to amazing homemade pizza

On Fridays in our house we love to make pizza together, each week you can guarantee someone has a new twist on last week’s pizza, a new topping to add, a different cheese. Rather than waiting for the pizza delivery, we are in the kitchen together creating. It’s quickly become a favourite family ritual.

We’ve tried a few things in the last few months, here are our top 8 homemade pizza tips: Continue reading

Sea Salted Fudge: the Sweetest Gift

Fudge the sweetest gift

The results were amazing with this recipe and it is so simple and quick to make. The salt really brings out the flavour and the light muscovado sugar, we used Billington’s fair trade, gives it a really rich flavour. Perfect pick me up for long walks, rainy afternoons or a weekend treat. Also a lovely way to show someone you care. Continue reading

Food Trend: Flower Sprouts

Flower Sprouts are a new vegetable, a non GMO cross between kale and brussel sprout.


Q: What do you get if you cross a Brussels sprout with kale?

A: A flower sprout!


Okay, it’s not the funniest joke you will hear today. But it is the best news for sprout haters like me. This year I really discovered kale, and even got the kids to like it when crisped up in the oven, so Flower Sprouts are a welcome addition to our Christmas dinner this year. Available from November to March at M&S, Waitrose, Aldi, Lidl and shortly in Sainsburys and Asda

Just 100g of Flower Sprouts contains double the B6 and twice the Vitamin C of Brussels sprouts; great for keeping mental function and mood high and maintaing the immune system.

You can roast them, sauté them, grill them or use as nutty flavoured salad leaves. I went for roasting them as part of a Christmas dinner, and then sautéing them in my favourite Feta and Spinach, now Feta and Flower Sprout Fritatta, and finally as a salad accompaniment with grilled mushrooms and halloumi.

I really like the look and the taste of them, much more like kale in taste, without the bitterness of sprouts, and there’s something really pleasing about these green frilly leaves and rounded shape, like a mini cabbage.


Christmas Flower Sprouts

I served Flower Sprouts with nut roast, veggie gravy,  and the best roast vegetables, do check out these recipes as they are the only ones I ever use for a veggie roast. The nut roast pictured here is shop bought, I didn’t want to spoil the big day by making my nut roast now.

Simply roast the flower sprouts on a baking sheet coated with olive oil at 250°C/Gas 9 for 10 minutes.




Feta and Flower Sprout Fritatta

Useful for leftover flower sprouts, not that you will have any, and a great energy and vitamin boosting lunch or brunch.


Serves a hungry one, or two with sides

Take a handful of flower sprouts and slice off the bottom to separate out the leaves , chop an onion and half a yellow pepper, chop 1/4 of a block of feta into small cubes. Beat 3 eggs and add a pinch of mixed herbs and season with salt and pepper.


Fry the onion in oil in a frying pan until soft, add yellow pepper and flower sprouts and fry until softened.  Pour the egg mixture over the flower sprouts, peppers and onions, dot the feta around the pan.

Cook gently, until the bottom of the frittata looks like it is set. Stick it under the grill to set the top.

Serve with green salad or tomatoes


Flower Sprouts are a new vegetable, a non GMO cross between kale and brussel sprout.


Grilled Mushrooms, Halloumi and Flower Sprouts

Flower Sprouts are a new vegetable, a non GMO cross between kale and brussels sprout.

I’m obsessed, I just came back to add this lunch I made today as it was amazing. I had the Flower Sprouts raw, but you can grill them along with the mushrooms and halloumi. I used no oil or flavours, the nutty flower sprouts, salty halloumi and juice from the mushrooms is enough!


Find out more about Flower Sprouts here.

Whatever you have planned for Christmas dinner enjoy! Check out yesterday’s post on how to #blogitforward too, for every post about an act of kindness Wayfair will donate £50 to Habitat for Humanity.

The Best Winter Roast Vegetables


Today I am going to share  my favourite recipe for roasted winter vegetables, it’s based on a Delia Smith fail safe recipe from Delia’s Vegetarian Collection. It’s great for Sunday Lunch and it’s such a taste sensation and low maintenance dish that it’s what we have with Christmas dinner. The best bit is you can prep all the veg 2-3 days before and leave them to marinade in the fridge, perfect for reducing Christmas stress, or for when you need a second Christmas dinner for the other half of the family a few days later.

I’ve really loved cooking with the Prestige Vintage kitchenware collection recently, something about these pictures of their red roasting dishes just makes me smile. In red or blue, they can go straight on the table and look fab. Red works well in our kitchen, but blue really gets your attention too. I cooked this in the large roasting pan and served it in the smaller, they come in a set of two, so it’s a nice cheat.

I would eat this with a nut roast, my favourite nut roast recipe and veggie gravy is here. We often make double to have later in the week, the leftovers are amazing with salad and feta cheese, so always worth making more than you need.


Winter Roast Vegetables

Delia uses butternut squash, shallots, turnip, sweet potato, swede and celeriac, my variation is below, but you can vary it and add whatever you fancy.

Serves 6, but scale up and down to suit appetites, remember it shrinks when cooked!


2 large carrots

1/2 a swede

Large parsnip

1 Butternut squash

1 sweet potato

1 tablespoon of chopped fresh herbs, I used rosemary and thyme

2 cloves of garlic, minced

3 tablespoons of olive oil

Salt and Pepper



Preheat the oven to Gas 7, 425°F, 220°C.

Peel and cop the vegetables into cubes, aim for no smaller than 4cm. Although I like parsnips in batons so make an exception for them, and often keep the carrots in circles.  I find the swede and carrot needs cutting smallest.

Mix in a bowl, or a plastic bag if you are prepping ahead, with the oil, garlic and herbs and seasoning.

Spread on the roasting tray and bake for 30-40 minutes, on a high shelf, until browning at the the edges.


Serve the leftovers with feta and salad.


Check out the whole Prestige Vintage range here.

Tomato and Lentil Soup with Parsley Dumplings


These Parsley Dumplings are so easy to make and liven up any soup or stew. Parsley Dumplings have always been the way to anyone’s heart, and is a much loved family recipe and one of my favourites when I found myself cooking for myself at university. If you want further proof of it’s excellence, a chef friend asked my Mum for the recipe, served parsley dumplings in the 5 star hotel he worked in, and shared the recipe in a magazine article.

The Tomato and Lentil Soup recipe I am indebted to Crumbs for, who in turn found the recipe via Gordon Ramsey. My mum always served the dumplings with a bean and root vegetable stew, and while I love it, my kids are not  yet convinced, so when I saw a tomato based stew with dumplings in, I was sold. I have to tone down the cayenne pepper heat in this recipe, but you could add more if it is for grown ups.

It’s a great dish to make on the hob, but I always fancied browning and crisping the dumplings so when Prestige sent me a Vintage casserole to test, I decided to give it a try in the oven. Baking in the casserole with the lid off for the last 10-15 minutes browns the dumplings beautifully.

I would make double of this and put half in the freezer for another day. At the stage you add the dumplings, take half the mixture out to cool and then freeze. Defrost it in the fridge, put it in a casserole, add some uncooked dumplings, and bake it.


Tomato and Lentil Soup


Knob of butter
1 large onion
2 celery sticks chopped
2 garlic cloves
2tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (less for little kids)
140g red lentils
2 x 400g tins of tomatoes
850g vegetable stock

Melt the butter in a large pan, add the onions, garlic and celery and cook over a low heat until soft.

Add the cayenne pepper and cumin, and cook for 1-2 mins, stirring.

Add the lentils and stir, I think this stage helps a bit to stop them sticking to the bottom of the pan later. Keep an eye on lentils, they do have a tendency to stick if left unstirred.

Add the tomato and stock, turn up the heat and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes, this stage is important to soften the lentils enough.

Meanwhile prepare the dumplings!

Once the dumplings are ready transfer to a casserole and bake at Gas 6 for 20-30 minutes, removing the lid for the last 10-15 minutes to brown.

Parsley Dumplings

100g plain flour
25g unsalted butter or margarine
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of salt
1 egg
1 tbs chopped parsley

Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt.

Rub the fat into the flour mix until it is like breadcrumbs.

Beat the egg in a cup and stir in the parsley.

Stir the egg mix into the flour mix and form into a stiff dough, add more flour or milk if needed.

Form into marble shapes.

Drop into souls, sets about 20 minutes before you want to eat, they should be twice the size and fluffy inside.


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