• Baked rice pudding with cardamom poached plums

    Gizzi Erskine’s: Baked rice pudding with cardamom poached plums.

    With the weather changing, my favourite holidays impending and the fact that I now get to pretend I am stopping my diet and can eat warming, slightly indulgent, naughty foods. This recipe from Gizzi Erskine’s new book: Gizzi’s Season’s Eatings was perfect. Especially as I am Halloweeening it up at the moment.

    rice pudding

    Now I am not usually a Cardamom fan, in fact I am that person that gets ragey when accidentally chewing on one in my rice at the local Indian.

    I now however shall be waving the Cardamom flag, maybe only at half mast but still. Cardamom poached plums are rather divine. Breaking away from my usual mulled wine poached plums, this recipe was easy, lighter and it worked. Admittedly I lessened the suggested pods by two in fear but it was great. So great the poached plum recipe has been made three times now and used in the morning on our porridge.

    It was nice to see Gizzi comes from the baked rice pudding family (it is the only way I have ever known). This recipe is so easy – anyone, no matter how fearful of cooking they are, can whip this all together and what you are left with is just scrummy. It is lying on the sofa with a fire and blanket whilst watching The Nightmare Before Christmas food. It is childhood in a bowl with a new addition of the plums to be passed on to the next generation.

    In fairness this rice pudding needs no accompaniments but it does not hurt.

    Rice pudding


    I have included the recipe, may you go and bake and devour this creamy, naughty pudding. For your hips may hate me but you will be thankful.

    Cardamom poached plums:

    350g (12 oz) Plums

    3 Tablespoons caster sugar

    6 cardamom pods, lightly crushed

    2 Tablespoons lemon juice


    Halve and stone the plums and place them in a large pan. Add the sugar, cardamom, lemon juice and 3 tablespoons of water. Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the plums are tender and swimming in a little juice. Set aside until cold and then remove the cardamom pods. Mash plums slightly with a fork


    Baked rice pudding:

    100g (3 1/2 oz) Pudding rice

    70g Caster sugar

    300ml (10fl) double cream

    700ml (1 1/4 pints) Whole milk

    50g (1 3/4 oz) chopped unsalted butter

    Seeds of 1 vanilla pod

    A very generous fresh grating of nutmeg

    1 bay leaf

    (Cardamom poached plums to add)


    Preheat the oven to 180c/160c fan (350f) Gas mark 4. In a1 1/2 litre baking dish, mix together all the ingredients, Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 45minutes. Remove the foil, stir and finish cooking uncovered for a further 30-45 minutes, or until a darkish skin has formed and the rice underneath is cooked and gooey and creamy.


    rice pudding


    It really is that easy and that delicious.

    For more festive themed recipes check out Gizzi Erskine’s new book: Gizzi’s Seasons Eatings 

    Check out her Instagram too: Caution it may make you hungry. http://www.instagram.com/gizzierskine

    Coming soon: I get the Halloween gossip from Gizzi.

    Stay tuned



  • Ginger Rock Designs


    Ginger Rock Designs;

    Stumbling across this shop for me was a little like stumbling into Aladdin’s cave. I have always had a thing for beautiful lights, and this shop did not disappoint.

    Ginger Rock Designs

    I think Phoebe is very happy with her new light.

    Selena, after being on maternity leave with her fourth child wanted to deck out the place with blinging lights. All could she see was white and metallics, being obsessed with aqua baby blue, she decided as a family they would make some. After a lot of work Ginger Rock Designs was created.

    Ginger Rock Designs

    Custom made and available in an array of colours, patterns as as glitzy as your heart desires. Selena takes personalisation on with great passion and and will stop at nothing to create a show stopping light for you.

    I wanted the letter P for Phoebe’s room. Selena immediately recommended an aqua colour after seeing a picture of Phoebe’s cot. When the light arrived it was perfect and fitted in with the theme of the room. As you can see in the pictures Phoebe noticed it straight away, announcing “my light, pretty light” and wanted to hold it a lot.

    I was so impressed with the finish of it, the details that I am already planning my next light from her. I mean you can never have too many lights right?

    If you are looking for beautiful handmade lights for you, your children, an event then I could not recommend Selena and Ginger Rocks Designs enough.

    Ginger Rock Designs


    Ginger rock Designs can be found on Etsy as http://www.etsy.com/shop/GingerRockDesigns

    Or on Instagram as http://www.instagram.com/gingerrockdesigns


  • Soft play

    Soft play: Why do I do it to myself. What kind of fresh hell is this?

    I often make the mistake of suggesting soft play and within two minutes of walking in, I instantly regret it. A place I am thankful my child has had her jabs. A place I want to dip my child in Milton after visiting.

    If they are too big, I feel uncomfortable watching my child run in every direction and fear losing her or her being swallowed by a 30 year old inflatable clown, If they are too small I watch my child lose interest and start to head butt the slide out of boredom.

    People tell me it is a place where you can relax whilst your child runs around. I think this is only applicable to children who are not going through the stage of “let’s see how my new found wrestling skills are working out”. It is not relaxing, there will be no chatting between mothers unless you count screaming across the play area “Jenny grab Phoebe’s legs will you, she seems to be stuck in a net” chatting.

    A place where in the space of three minutes you witness a child of questionable soft play age, pole dancing up a padded beam. A toddler licking every ball to check for new flavours, hand foot and mouth being one of them and a hyperactive 3 year old playing “If I run really fast up it and then jump down, how many babies can I knock over”

    Miserable staff walking around pretending to disinfect the push along cars with a look that says “I hate children, when can I drink wine”. Children running around like they have been injected with sugar and told to attack. Parents glazing over them with a look that says “I hate children, when can I drink wine”.

    I am sure there are lovely soft plays, I am sure there are places where you do not fear jumping in the pool pit and exiting with a brown foot. I am sure some parents get to converse over a tea and cake whilst their children play beautifully. I just do not believe there are many.

    And if they do exist, I reckon I need to go to Narnia to find them.






  • Perspective

    Perspective. Motherhood is all about perspective.
    You experience lows and emotions then suddenly a perspective smacks you across the face and you pull up your big girl mum boss pants.
    I have recently experienced such exhaustion from being a little bit under the weather and having a night raver that my emotions have been all over the place.
    I have this amazing baby that is almost always happy and laughing but does not seem to need/want much sleep.
    And today after coughing my ribs apart, I was praying for a day nap with her. This did not go quite to plan and I ended up so cross and in tears. I wanted to go into another room and scream. As I was crying Phoebe was in hysterics laughing at me make this funny noise. She thought I was playing with her and so interacted with me.
    This made me stop crying and laugh, it made me get over my mood and realise what it was all about.
    Yes it can be hard, yes I miss lying on the sofa, reading magazines, lie ins, being on my period and eating a whole loaf of tiger bread whilst watching an entire series of the gilmour girls.
    But I have this baby that is growing up too quickly and she is what it’s all about.

    These perspectives are an annoyingly wonderful thing.

    Totally waking her up loads when she is a stinky teenager,
    Ali x