Mexican Party Food for Cinco De Mayo

Today is Cinco de Mayo, the fifth of May which is a party day in Mexico and the United States. It  commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla and you will often find parades, mariachi music performances and street festivals going on to celebrate it. It is a great excuse to create some Mexican party food which would be perfect to serve at Summer barbecues. Santa Maria, who create a great range of herbs and spices, sent me some recipes to try out along with some of their spices. I have tried the Santa Maria Mexican range before when we had a  film night and was looking forward to trying some more.


HotdoguerosFirst I tried a Mexican twist on hot dogs, hotdogureos, which originate from Sonora in North West Mexico. First you need to cook your sausages. I used pork sausages from our local butcher for added flavour. The sausages are then wrapped in warm Santa Maria Soft Plain tortillas. A range of toppings is then added, choose from crushed pinto beans, chopped onions, mustard, mayonnaise, guacamole and top with Santa Maria Salsa or sour cream. I added fried onions and home made corn salsa to my hotdogureos which made them really tasty. These would be great fun at a barbecue and everyone could add the toppings they wanted.

Hot Coleslaw

Hot coleslawEveryone knows how to make coleslaw. My mum always let me chop the white cabbage and grate the carrots when we were having salad. Add some salad cream or mayonnaise and you have a perfect side dish. To spice it up and make it more Mexican I added a grated apple and some Santa Maria Chipotle paste. This added a lovely smoky spicy kick which made it more exciting. It was the ideal side to serve with the hotdogueros.

Lime Salsa

SalsaI have been experimenting recently with salsa. A while ago I made cucumber, tomato and lime salsa. Recently I have been trying tomato and spring onions. I discovered if you chop the tomatoes and spring onions finely, add some rosemary and a little rock salt and then sprinkle over some lime juice you get a really tasty salsa. For a more Mexican feel I jazzed up the salsa with some sweetcorn before adding it to the hotdogueros. It worked perfectly.

Crisps and dips

Every party should have crisps and dips and among the spices I was sent I found some cheese dip seasoning mix and some guacamole dip seasoning mix. All I needed to add was some sour cream, and for the guacamole some avocado.

crisps and dipThe cheese dip was simple to make, I just stirred the seasoning mix into sour cream for a really tasty dip. The guacamole required a couple of avocados to be mashed up with some sour cream and then the seasoning mix added. Both were really quick and easy to make and were great side dishes.

Santa Maria spicesSanta Maria’s Herbs and Spices range is available in Tesco. The Mexican range is available in all major supermarkets including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons and Waitrose. Are you going to be making any Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo?

I was sent the Santa Maria spices to try out some recipes, the opinions and photos are my own.


Regional Recipes April Round Up

For a while now I have been recreating regional recipes. This month quite a few of you joined in with the Regional Recipes linky and I have really enjoyed seeing the range of different foods you have all created. This month there are several recipes from the UK but also recipes from China and Mauritius. I am looking forward to trying out some of these recipes myself, they look really tasty.

Galina at Chez Maximak created Oxfordshire Trout which is a lovely mixture of trout with bacon which she has adapted from a locally published cookbook Oxford in Europe. It looks like a simple and tasty dish that would make a talking point at a dinner party.

Image credit - Chez Maximka

Image credit – Chez Maximka


Charlotte at My Recipe Book made some beautiful Yorkshire puddings. I love Yorkshire puddings but always struggle to get them to rise and look as tasty as these. For the secret of making Yorkshire puddings this good every time you will have to pop over and read Charlotte’s blog.

Image Credit - My Recipe Book

Image Credit – My Recipe Book


Claire from Yet Another Blogging Mummy made a tuna and cheese floddie, which is a nice twist on a traditional Durham recipe. Floddie is normally served as the potato part of the meal but this recipe makes it into a main course. It does look tasty.

Tuna and cheese floddie

Image Credit – Yet Another Blogging Mummy

I attempted a local recipe for Sly Cakes. These fruit filled pastries are very tasty and have a lovely story behind them as well. They do have other names so you may well have tried them without realising their history.

Sly cakesEileen at ET Speaks From Home treated us to two exotic recipes. The first was an almond and cinnamon cake from Mauritius which is made without flour.  It looks lovely.

Almond and cinnamon cake

Image Credit – ET Speaks From Home


When I hear the word sago my heart drops. This is a dish we were often served at school and the canteen managed to destroy it. Eileen has changed my mind with her Chinese dish of sago pearls with melon. It looks really light and tasty, the perfect end to any meal.

Image Credit - ET Speaks From Home

Image Credit – ET Speaks From Home


Regional Recipes Linky

If you have a regional recipe why not link up? I would love to learn about different recipes from different regions and countries. The linky will be open until the end of the month and then I will create a new one. Why not tweet using #regionalrecipes and I will retweet for you. It would be nice if you could grab my badge and let other bloggers know about the link up. It will stay open until the end of the month. I have another local North East recipe to try and this will be coming shortly. I look forward to seeing what you all make.


Dragons and Fairy Dust


Out and About April Round Up

We have had lovely weather this April and it seems everyone made the most of it. This month we have had a lot of visits to the outdoors from theme parks to forests to National Trust buildings. The weather seems to have got a little grey and dull again but hopefully it will pick up for May. With two bank holidays in May there should be plenty of chances to explore.

Getting out and about

Galina at Chez Maximka had great fun playing with shadows on a walk with her son. Some of the pictures look as if they should be in a modern art museum, like this one. Can you guess what it is? You will have to visit Chez Maximka to find out.

Image Credit - Chez Maximka

Image Credit – Chez Maximka

In April I made a visit to Wallington Hall. If you watch Tales of Northumberland with Robson Green you may have seen this National Trust property on the show. It is an amazing place with plenty to see, both indoors and outdoors. We only managed to see a little bit of the huge estate and will have to go back again soon. My favourite part was finding out it had dragons.

Wallington HallSamantha, at North East Family Fun had a visit to Belsay Hall in Northumberland over Easter. This National Trust property seems to have everything from a grand hall, to beautiful gardens and a castle. The family had great fun hunting down clues to find treasure chests and it looks like a great family day out.

Image Credit - North East Family Fun

Image Credit – North East Family Fun

Fiona, from Coombemill visited Cotehele, a National Trust property in Cornwall. This is an amazing Tudor property with a working watermill and gorgeous gardens. It is fascinating see that the house has lots of deliberate cracks in the wall for defending the building with bows and arrows. It really makes you think what living in these times would have been like.

Image Credit - Coombe Mill

Erica at 92three30 explored the Superworm Trail in Wyre Forest and met up with an old friend, The Gruffalo. These trails can be found in Forestry Commission forests all over England and are a great way to get children out enjoying nature. I must make a visit to our local forest soon.

Image Credit - 92three30Samantha at North East Family Fun made a visit to Newcastle Castle. This is somewhere I have been meaning to visit for ages but it has been closed for a couple of years for refurbishment. It has reopened recently and looks absolutely fascinating. The views from the top of the castle look amazing. I will definitely be making a trip to see it soon as I know my son would love it.

Image Credit - North East Family Fun

Image Credit – North East Family Fun

Chris, from Mummy of Three Diaries visited ThomasLand and met the Fat Controller, Thomas and friends. If you have children who love Thomas the tank engine this would be a fabulous day out with plenty of rides and fun for all.

Image Credit - Mummy of Three Diaries

Image Credit – Mummy of Three Diaries

Zoe at Splodz Blogz is preparing to undertake the Lyke Wake Walk which sounds like a difficult challenge. As part of her preparation she undertook a long walk along the water railway from Lincoln to Boston. She passed plenty of gorgeous scenery and also found a number of interesting sculptures on the way.

Image Credit - Splodz Blogz

Image Credit – Splodz Blogz

Cheryl at Madhouse Family Reviews visited the circus zoo with her kids. They got close to some gorgeous animals, stroking a zebra and feeding an elephant.


Eating Out

When you are busy visiting interesting places you need to stop for food as well. Fiona at North East Nerd found an amazing looking barbecue restaurant when she went to Leeds. Red’s True BBQ served up an amazing looking burger called The Donut Burger. It looks like a real feast and I know that my husband and son would love to visit if we ever get to Leeds.

Image Credit - North East Nerd

Zoe at Splodz Blogz took a break from walking and visited Bettys to have afternoon tea. Bettys is situated in a grand looking building in Harrogate and the tea looks gorgeous. With plenty of sandwiches, tea and cake it is somewhere everyone should experience once in their lives.

Image Credit - Splodz Blogz

Image Credit – Splodz Blogz

I really enjoyed reading all the adventures everyone had in April and am looking forward to reading about where you visit in May.

Out and About Linky

The out and about linky is a linky for places of interest you have visited, restaurants you have eaten out at, days out with the kids or holidays. Anywhere that gets you out and about. It is co-hosted with Chez Maximka and stays open until the end of the month.

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


Win £100 Pets Pyjamas Vouchers #MyJobYourJob

It is hard to believe Eddie has been part of our family for over four years. I was a little unsure about getting a dog before we got him. It is a responsibility owning a dog, they need to be looked after, walked and fed. You are responsible for them and have to make sure they are kept happy and healthy. What I didn’t know was how much a part of our lives and our family he would become.


It is a joy to wake up to a happily wagging tail and to come home to be greeted with excitement. I have learnt to enjoy long walks in the countryside watching Eddie explore. He loves to chase birds and rabbits, with a woof, always surprised when they disappear. He patrols the garden and if any birds dare land in the tree he chases them off with an authoritative bark. He will happily bound on his toy and shake it wildly, then brings it to you to throw for him. He will snuggle on my lap for ages, just wanting a cuddle, his soft fur a pleasure to stroke. He has become so much part of our lives it is hard to imagine life without him. I do worry about him getting ill when he is older, or having an accident which is why I have pet insurance for him to help if the worst should happen.

Every member of the family needs to have a job from doing the cooking and cleaning to tidying their room. Eddie has a number of jobs, from cuddling you when you are upset to making sure that everyone gets up in the morning, whether they want to or not. Petplan have teamed up with PetsPyjamas to provide a lovely treat for my readers, one reader will receive £100 voucher to spend on the PetsPyamas website. All you need to do is to guess Eddie’s job.

Guess Eddie’s Job to Win

Eddie's job

The picture above shows Eddie doing a very important job. Can you guess what it is? For a chance to win £100 vouchers for PetsPyjamas I want you to come up with a fun job for Eddie based on the photograph and add a blog comment below letting me know what it is. This entry is mandatory. When you have commented on the blog come and fill in the rafflecopter widget to ensure your entry is registered. There are other entries available for following on twitter, visiting facebook and tweeting but these are optional. To get inspiration for possible job ideas have a look at the PetPlan video on YouTube, it made me smile watching all the animals.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The Rules

  • There is one prize of a £100 voucher to spend at PetsPyjamas  – the prize is non-transferable and no cash alternative is offered.
  • Open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding employees and relatives of Dragons and Fairy Dust and PetPlan.
  • Closing date for entries is on 11:59pm BST on 15th May 2015
  • Only one entry per person
  • Entrants must log into rafflecopter and leave a comment on the blog answering the question.
  • Optional entry methods are to follow on twitter, visit facebook and tweet on twitter
  • The winner will be chosen at random from all valid entries.
  • Automated entries will be disqualified.
  • The winner will be informed within 14 days of the closing date and will need to respond with a postal address within 28 days or a new winner will be chosen.
  • The winner’s name will be available on request.
  • PetPlan is responsible for prize fulfilment. The prize will be sent within 28 days of receiving the winner’s address.
  • This is a joint promotion between Dragons and Fairy Dust and PetPlan
  • Entry to this confirms that participants have read, understood and agree to be bound by these Terms and Conditions.

Jam Jar Cheesecakes

Just occasionally I have a flash of genius and this weekend I had one. When I was shopping I saw some jam jars on sale. They were little jars with clip on lids which I thought would be perfect for jam. The lids were rather pretty, blue and pink with little pictures on. I wanted to find a use for them straight away so came up with the idea of making jam jar cheesecakes. The thinking behind this was that I could pack these in a cool box when we have a picnic and have a lovely dessert ready to finish the meal. Did I mention it was a genius idea?

Jam Jar DessertsI started with a biscuit base. As the cheesecakes were going to be eaten from the jam jars I decided to just use biscuit crumbs. I suspect if I had made the base firmer by adding melted butter it would have made the cheesecakes more difficult to eat and the jars harder to clean. I set my son to work bashing some oat biscuits into crumbs. He was happy doing this, a few biscuits escaped into his mouth. You could use any  biscuit, I used oat biscuits as I though they would be crunchy. Digestives would work just as well. When the biscuits had been bashed into submission I placed the crumbs in the bottom of the jars.

jam jar cheesecakesRecently I had been sent some food items from Holyart.  This site sells food items that have been produced by monks and nuns from different Italian monasteries. They have a range of different products  from chocolate to liqueurs and wines, honey, tea and olive oil. I was surprised at how wide the range was. I was sent a bar of chocolate that had been produced by Trappist monks and some prune jam that was made in a Carmelite monastery. I thought these would work really well if I added them to the cheese cakes along with some fruit.

jam jar cheese cakesI made a no bake cheese cake mixture by mixing together cream cheese, icing sugar, double cream and vanilla essence. I placed the mixture on top of the crumbs in three of the jars followed by a spoonful of the prune jam.  I kept enough of the cheesecake mixture for one jar and mixed it with melted chocolate to make a chocolate cheese cake. This was topped with oranges for a chocolate orange dessert. The others had toppings of raspberries, blueberries and strawberries. You could also add flakes of chocolate to the top if you wanted a little extra sweetness.

Jam Jar Cheese cakesI have to say the desserts were really tasty and ideal to pack for a picnic. They would also be ideal for guests at barbecue and make a great talking point.  With the lid on they take up hardly any space and the jars were easily washed afterwards ready to be used again.  The great thing is the basic recipe can be varied any number of ways. By using different jams, fruit or biscuits you can get a different taste every time. You could add bananas and caramel to make a banoffee dessert for example. Perfect if everyone in your family likes different things.

Jam jar dessertsJam Jar Cheese Cakes

Jam Jar Cheese Cakes
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  1. Packet oat biscuits
  2. 200g cream cheese
  3. 200ml double cream
  4. 6 tbsp icing sugar
  5. 2 tsp vanilla essence
  6. jam
  7. selected fruit for topping
  8. To make chocolate cheesecake about six squares of chocolate melted.
  1. Bash the biscuits into crumbs and add to the bottom of the jam jar
  2. In a bowl whisk together the cream cheese, vanilla essence, double cream and icing sugar until it is thick.
  3. Add on top of the biscuit crumbs.
  4. If you want chocolate cheese cake melt the chocolate in a bowl over boiling water and then stir into the cheese cake mixture.
  5. Add a spoonful of jam and top with fruit.
Dragons and Fairy Dust
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Modern Family Baking

I was sent the chocolate and jam to use in a recipe, the photos and opinions are my own.