Greek Rice pudding (Rizogalo)

Have you ever tried goats’ milk? Until recently I hadn’t. I have tried goats’ cheese and love it, creating many a recipe with it like pear and goats’ cheese risotto and baked pear and goat’s cheese cheesecake. Recently the lovely people at St Helen’s Farm sent me a lovely hamper of goats’ cheese, yoghurt and milk to try. There was even a spreadable goats’ cheese which is great for sandwiches. I was really interested to try the goats’ milk and it is actually really tasty. Milder and creamier than cow’s milk, it is great for puddings and cereal. I used it to make a lovely creamy Greek rice pudding or Rizogalo.

Greek rice puddingSt Helens Farm is a Yorkshire based farm who supply supermarkets with goats’ milk. I was interested to learn that may people who are intolerant to cows’ milk find that goats’ milk is a great alternative. They find intolerance symptoms like eczema, asthma and bloatedness are reduced or disappear. Goats’ milk is also full of minerals, vitamins and calcium. It tastes nice as well and can be used anywhere you can use cows milk.

Greek rice puddingI have made rice pudding before but when I made it the rice was baked in the oven for a long time. Greek Rice Pudding is cooked on the stove top, the rice left to simmer in the milk until it thickens and becomes creamy. It needs some attention, needing to be stirred lovingly. I stirred it while it cooked, beginning to wonder if it would ever thicken. All of a sudden, like magic, it starts to thicken up and the rice pudding is created. The final touch is to add some sugar and vanilla extract and stir it though. If you wish you can also add some lemon zest, I served mine without preferring it creamy.

Greek rice puddingThe dessert was a big success, gorgeous and creamy, the goats’ milk worked perfectly. My son loved it, but did not believe me when I told him it was rice pudding. He refused to believe that it contained any rice, next time I will have to let him make it.  The little goat toy or Goatee was nearly taken by my dog, but I rescued him and he now sits proudly on the fireplace.

Rice pudding

Greek Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 100g Aroborio rice
  2. 1200 ml goats' milk
  3. 60g sugar
  4. ½ tsp vanilla essence
Instructions
  1. Heat the milk and rice together in a pan, bring to a simmer, stirring all the time.
  2. Reduce the heat and simmer, stirring from time to time until the rice becomes a thick creamy mixture. This can take about forty minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla essence.
Notes
  1. If wished the zest of a lemon can be added and stirred in with the sugar.
Dragons and Fairy Dust http://www.dragonsandfairydust.co.uk/
I am working my way though the rest of the goats’ milk products and have some ideas for what to make with the cheese and yoghurt. Look out for some more recipes soon.

St Helens Farm productsThe goats’ milk yoghurt with honey were enjoyed on their own and were very nice. It would be easy enough to switch to goats’ milk and I think the whole family would be happy enough to do so.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

I was sent some goats’ products to try in return for an honest review

Baking for Mother’s Day with Betty Crocker

Mother’s day is fast approaching and now my son is getting older he is getting more independent. He decided he wanted to do some baking for Mother’s Day. Luckily I had some help at hand, Betty Crocker was on standby to help out. Now before you think that Betty Crocker herself walked into my kitchen and started helping my son to bake, I must tell you that it was actually her range of cake and biscuit mixes that came to my rescue. It would have been quite nice to have Betty Crocker supervising but the cake mixes were the next best thing. They allowed my son to mix and bake without having to use the scales. All that was needed was to add some water, or eggs to the mix and a perfect bake was achieved.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

First he made some chocolate chip cookies. All that he had to do was tip the packet into a bowl, add some water and mix into a dough. The cookies were then placed on a baking tray and cooked in the oven.

Chocolate chip cookiesThey turned out really well, soft and chewy with plenty of chocolate chips. My only complaint was there were not enough, next time I will use two packets of mix. My son was really pleased that he had made them himself and wanted to start on the next project which was a Victoria sponge.

Betty Crocker chocolate chip cookies

Victoria Sponge

The Victoria sponge was just as easy to make, the most complicated part was lining the cake tins. I have very old cake tins which tend to leak if I am not careful. I need to make sure the baking parchment prevents any of the mixture escaping. My son added eggs, water and some cooking oil to the cake mix and whisked it up.

Victoria sponge mixThe mixture was then poured into the tins and baked for twenty minutes. The smell as it cooked was gorgeous. The cakes were then left to cool so we could ice them. Waiting for them to cool always seems to take forever, my son waiting impatiently.

Victoria spongeBetty Crocker was also on hand to help with the icing. Buttercream icing can be fiddly and I always end up with icing sugar everywhere. This icing was perfect, just spread it on and top with the rainbow sprinkles. There was even enough for the middle and the top of the cake. We added a layer of jam to the middle of the Victoria Sponge as well.

Victoria spongeThe resulting cake was delicious and tastes just as good as a home made cake. It was perfect with a cup of tea mid afternoon.

Victoria spongeBetty Crocker have a range of different cake mixes, biscuit mixes and icing which are great if you want to mix up a cake in a hurry or let your child bake you a cake. Are you baking for Mother’s Day? I would love to know what you are making.

I was sent some Betty Crocker products to try out in return for an honest review.

Visiting the Yorkshire Coast

A couple of weeks ago we stayed overnight at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel near Scarborough.  We drove there from Newcastle and on the way we stopped to take in a few places along the Yorkshire coast. To get there we had to pass though the North Yorkshire Moors National Park, a place of bleak beauty. Miles of scrubby moors and hills with high gradients. You can imagine the hardship of life out here in the Winter when snow covers the hills. Desolate and uninhabited, you could walk for miles without seeing a soul. The coast is another matter, picturesque towns overlooking the North sea. Fishing boats anchored in the harbours and castles and abbeys sitting on the top of vast looming cliffs. It is not a friendly sea, the mood can change from mild to lashing waves, sweeping people from the shore.

Whitby

We stopped at Whitby and ate sandwiches, Whitby Abbey looming over us. The shore below was where the boat carrying Dracula was washed ashore in a wild storm, the crew all dead. A large black dog was seen to ascend the steps of Whitby abbey, one of the forms of a vampire. It is easy to see how the Gothic splendour of the abbey inspired the work of Bram Stoker, the ruined Benedictine abbey is stark against the sky.

Whitby AbbeyWhen I visited years ago with some friends from school we took pictures of ourselves rising from the stone dips that resembled graves inside the abbey. We did not visit this time, we just ate our lunch watched by ponies and looked at the view.

Pony at WhitbyWhitbyWe drove along the harbour, enjoying looking at the fishing boats and the old buildings set along the side of the road. The greyness of the day added to the atmosphere, you could sense the history in the stones.

WhitbyWhitbyRobin Hoods Bay

Robin Hoods Bay is a small fishing village located between Scarbough and Whitby. I had visited years ago but my husband had never been. I wanted to revisit and we stopped on our way back home. My son was mystified as to why it was called Robin Hoods Bay, he knew Robin Hood was from Nottingham. The place is well worth a visit, it is like stepping back in time. Brooding cliffs hover over a steep hill where fishing cottages spill down to the sea.

Robin-hoods-bay-2Leave your car at the top of the hill and walk down the twisting descent, past cobbled alleyways and picturesque dwellings. You can imagine smugglers at work here, easily hiding from the customs.

Robin-hoods-bay-3The ascent is steep, take it slowly and look at the range of shops as you pass. It is well worth lingering as you never know what is round the next corner.

Robin-hoods-bayScarborough

Scarborough is a busy seaside town with two bays overlooking the sea. We visited the north bay and drove along the seafront. Large cliffs loomed overhead and the castle was visible in the distance. Golden sands stretched out as far as the eye could see, glowing in the morning light. The last time we visited my son was four and rode on a donkey along the sand. There were no donkeys visible, it was too early in the season.

Scarbrough

We found an interesting statue contemplating the sea. It was flat and calm today, but sand covered the road speaking of storm battered shores. I can imagine the waves crashing onto the road when it is rough.

ScarbroughNearer to the town there are more buildings and signs of fishing. Fishing boats anchored in the harbour and stacks of lobster pots. The Grand Hotel stands proudly on the hill, watching over the shore. There are echoes of the past here, you can imagine the Victorians wandering along the shore taking in the sea air and taking the tram back up to the hotel.

Scarbrough-8

Scarbrough-6

Robin-hoods-bay-4We were surprised to see a mention of home as we drove along the shoreline. A packet is apparently a small boat that used to carry mail and this one has been immortalised as a pub.

Scarbrough-9

Out and About Linky

The out and about linky is for any places you have visited, restaurants you have eaten at or holidays you have been on. It is hosted here and also on Chez Maximka. The linky runs until the end of the month. February’s out and about round up had lots of diversity and places that I want to visit. This page has more information about the linky and links to all the previous round-ups.

Rules of the linky

1. You can add up to three posts per month to the linky below. Please make sure they are no older than three months old and feature somewhere you have visited.

2. Tweet your link using #outandabout, if you include @ali991 and @maximka25 we will retweet for you.

3. Do pop along and comment on a couple of other posts in the link up and share the love.

4. We would love it if you could add the #outandabout badge to your post so that other bloggers can find us.

Dragons and Fairy Dust


Out and About: February Round up

The weather in February was variable, it couldn’t seem to make up it’s mind. Some days were cold and frosty and on other days the sun came out. Spring does seem to be on the way, I saw some daffodils and crocuses this morning when I took the dog out. I love reading about where you have all been while you have been out and about. There were a great variety of places on the linky this month and some great adventures. As always I have added to my list of places I want to visit, this seems to be an ever growing list.

Getting outdoors

The cold weather has not stopped you getting outdoors. Samantha at North East Family Fun visited Hamsterley Forest and found a gruffalo. The Gruffalo trails can be found in Forestry Commission forests across England and some forests have a life size gruffalo carving. I must make a trip to see him soon, he looks really impressive. I have been to Hamsterley Forest in the Autumn and it is a lovely place for a wander.

Image Credit - North East Family Fun

Zoe from Splodz Blogz took a walk along the Viking Way in Lincolnshire. She didn’t find any Vikings but did take in some gorgeous countryside. Some of the path was a bit muddy but that always adds to the fun of a walk in the country and it looks like she had a lovely day.

Cheryl at Madhouse Family Reviews took the family for a walk in the fresh air along Dunkerque beach. It looks like they had great fun jumping in the waves and running along the sand. The beach is fascinating as it is home to a number of World War II bunkers and pill boxes and some amazing graffiti. It must be very strange to come across these at the beach.

Places to stay and eat

I love getting recommendations of places to stay or eat when on holiday and this month I have gained lots of ideas. Vicki at Honest Mum spent a lovely weekend at Cowslip Cottage in the village of  Sleights, Yorkshire. The cottage has everything, a gorgeous interior, amazing views across the Yorkshire moors and is ten minutes from the seaside at Whitby. It looks like a fabulous place to spend a relaxing weekend.

I spent a night at Ox Pasture Hall Hotel in Yorkshire, which is not far from Scarbrough. It is a fabulous place to stay. The hotel is lovely inside and has wonderful views across the Yorkshire Moors. The large gardens are a pleasure to explore. The restaurant is a secret treasure with amazing food. If you want a lovely relaxing place to stay this is the place to go.

ox pasture hall hotelZoe at Splodz Blogz got adventurous, trying out the segways at Center Parcs. This is something I have never tried but it looks like great fun and is a different way to explore. Zoe also tried out the quad bikes at Center Parcs which again looks like a great way to spend an afternoon. I know for a fact my son would love both of these activities.

Image Credit - Splodz Blogz

Image Credit – Splodz Blogz

Mel from The Diary of a Jewellery Lover visited Bluestone holiday park in Wales and shared her tips for enjoying a stay there. The location looks stunning, and the accommodation looks lovely as well. There are a wide range of activities when you visit, it looks like an ideal place for families with plenty for all ages to enjoy.

Fiona at North East Nerd revisited the COOP Chicken House in Newcastle which is a lovely restaurant that serves “damn fine chicken”. I have visited COOP previously and would definitely recommend a visit if you are ever in Newcastle. The food is gorgeous, but watch out as one of the dipping sauces has a health and safely warning as it is so hot.

COOP Chicken HousePlaces to visit

Days out at weekends are a great way to spend time with the family. I visited the Blue Reef Aquarium in Tynemouth which was a nice way to spend the afternoon.  As well as watching the seal show (and getting a little wet), we found monkeys, otters, lizards and of course lots of fish.

tynemouth aquariumErica at 92Three30 paid a visit to ThinkTank in Birmingham. This is Science musuem which has plenty of hands on activities and interactive exhibits. There is also a focus on Birmingham’s heritage with vehicles built in the city on display. I wish I lived nearer as I would love to pop in.

Samantha from North East Family Fun went to Generation Noise at the Durham Light Infantry Museum. The museum has a section devoted to military history, with exhibits featuring World War I and II. These are hands on and give children a chance to learn in a fun way. There is also an amazing collection of medals in the museum. The Generation Noise Owl Project is on the top floor of the museum in the Durham Art Gallery. The project is designed to help you explore noise with the help of machines and looks like it is great fun.

Vicki from Honest Mum spent the day exploring Beningbrough Hall in York. This looks like a magical place to spend the day with plenty to discover both inside and out. It looks as if a secret garden should be hidden behind those doors.

Image Credit - Honest Mum

Image Credit – Honest Mum

Spring is definitely on the way as Eileen from ET Speaks from Home discovered when she visited the National Adventure Farm and found lambs and piglets. With opportunities to feed the animals as well as learning about them, it looks a lovely way to spend a day.

Cheryl at Madhouse Family Reviews found a fascinating artwork on Dunkerque beach, a world war II bunker that has been covered with pieces of broken mirror. It must be amazing to suddenly come across this when you are out walking and it is a dramatic way to remind you about the war.

Image Credit - Madhouse Family ReviewsThanks to everyone who linked up last month. A new linky will be live tomorrow and it would be lovely to see where you have been visiting in March.

The Death of the Fields

Last week the sign appeared. It looked innocuous until you read it. It announced the death of the fields. Housing development was imminent. For me the fields were like a taste of country in the city, an ever changing landscape. A place where I could catch glimpses of beautiful sunrises.

Sunrise

Sunrise

A place where I could watch the changing crops and seasons, one year the fields were yellow from the rape seed flowers, another year they were golden from ears of corn.

FieldsA place where wildlife could be seen, butterflies dancing among the nettles, a pheasant making a break for it and running giddily across the field into the distance. Once I disturbed a heron standing in the stream, contemplating the water, before it took off with its wide wings beating the air. A place of tranquillity, where a morning walk is filled with bird song. A place with hidden secrets, where we found hidden apple trees and blackberry bushes. We picked the bounty and went home to make apple and blackberry strudel. A place filled with memories.

We went for a walk by the fields before they disappeared. Taking in the view under brooding skies that were filled with foreboding. The dog was happy to run and play along familiar paths. Happy to be off the lead and exploring. My son ran with him, they raced each other, seeing who was faster.

FieldsThe skies grew darker as we walked, the sun doing it’s best to shine though. Beams of light being filtered thought the clouds.

Fields

We reached the dipping pools, nothing stirring in the water, no pond skaters or dragonflies until the weather gets warmed. The floor was muddy as it had been raining and the dog turned from white to brown. We stopped at a bench for a while, taking in the view.

Fields

As the skies grew darker we decided to head for home. We had left it late, hail rained down, stinging our faces and turning our hands numb. We ran, trying to find cover. Heading for the woods where we might find shelter under the trees.

FieldsIt stopped before we made it, leaving a frosting of hail over the ground. A frosting that soon disappeared, as if it had never been there. Pretending it had been sunny all along.

FieldsWe got home and made hot drinks, cold but happy from our walk. Enjoying the fields for the last time. Now the diggers and bulldozers have started to appear. Orange lines mark where the houses will be built and portacabins are being put into place. The work will begin soon and the fields will die.

Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall