Monday, April 22, 2019

Design Your Own Invitations with Paperless Post - Review

You may have noticed that I love to make birthday cards, and have even made other greeting cards and invitations by hand. You may also have noticed that I haven't had a lot of time lately! My daughter is 13 months old now and takes up most of my time and attention, and when she's with my husband or having a nap, I'm doing housework or preparing her meals or one of a myriad of other chores.

So the opportunity to review Paperless Post couldn't have come at a better time. This is a site that allows you to create online cards and invitations, either by using one of the thousands of designs they offer, or uploading your own.

I had a go at making a few cards - I started with an invitation to my birthday celebrations and a photo upload Easter card.

The site is very easy to use and the end result looks really professional. The cards are received as an email where you can watch an envelope opening and the card coming out, and there are options to reply or leave a comment on the site. My friends and family thought the cards were lovely and I was impressed with the site.

The card are fully customisable. To make my birthday invitation, I searched for 40th birthday invitations and chose one of the designs. I was then not only able to enter the text I wanted but change the font, colour and size of the text, choose a background pattern to go behind the card, and pick the design of the envelope. You can also add a particular stamp and postmark to the card if you like.

For my birthday invitation I included a RSVP card; if you are making wedding invitations and want extra options like a card for guests to fill in their menu choices you can add that as well. You can also use the site to send messages to guests if there is information or a change of plans (or just send them an event reminder) that they need to know.

I was pleasantly surprised at how many different cards are on the site with themes like invitations to a barbecue or picnic, a hen party, a moving house announcement and so on. There are even designer collections like Oscar de la Renta and Kate Spade cards. I can definitely see myself using this on a regular basis!

There are also lots of cards were you can upload a photo so I also created Easter cards for friends and family featuring a photo of me, my husband and our daughter and a giant Easter bunny from a farm we visited recently. This is what the card looked like:

The site uses its own currency called 'coins' which you buy in packages, starting at 25 coins for £8 but the price per unit decreases eg 100 coins for £18 and 200 coins for £28. You get 25 coins free when you sign up for an account and can get extra coins for doing things like liking Paperless Post on Facebook.

My fairly simple birthday invite plus envelope and reply card cost 6 coins per invite. There are e-flyers which are free of charge to make and obviously the more you add to a card (eg extra sections for a wedding invite) the more they cost, but these are still pretty reasonably priced and much cheaper than buying and posting a physical greetings card - plus they are better for the environment. But if you do want a physical printed invitation or card there is an option on the site for that as well. I was very happy with the online cards and another benefit is that they are very quick - I didn't do the Easter cards until Good Friday and they only took a few minutes to create and send, whereas if I had bought cards and put them in the post, they wouldn't have arrived until after Easter!
 Thanks to Paperless Post for some coins to use on their site. All opinions are my own.

Saturday, April 20, 2019

Pinoy Creamy Pork and Chicken Curry

Pinoy Creamy Pork and Chicken Curry. I am not sure if someone has ever used Nestle cream on a Pinoy version of curry. The idea came about when I decided to cook a usual Pinoy Pork and Chicken Curry and I forgot about the coconut cream or milk ingredient. Without the coconut milk I decided to use what was available that I thought would make a good substitute, I had in the cupboard a can of

Thursday, April 18, 2019

Kinamatisang Daing at Nilagang Saba

Kinamatisang Daing at Nilagang Saba is my suggestion for a meat free holy week dish. Most Pinoy Christians in particular observed the Holy Week with meat free meals and dried fish is the choice of food next of course to the fish. Some of would rather have fresh fish for the reason of course people like fresh food. But for those who have been in the tradition of having dried fish meals during

Friday, February 15, 2019

The nation's dining habits... revealed!

How often do you eat out? I have to admit now I have a baby under a year old I can't remember the last time I went out for dinner, though we do manage the occasional lunch out usually for a family birthday! Have you ever thought about how much eating out in restaurants costs each year and does that make you want to make more effort to cook at home, or is the cost worth it for the experience and quality of food?

This infographic from Sunny reveals some of the nation's dining habits including our favourite cuisine - some of the stats might surprise you! #sponsoredpost

DIY Dine Out
Provided by Sunny

Monday, February 11, 2019

Meal Planning Monday 2019 Week 7

I've got laryngitis at the moment so we had to cancel the visit to my parents last week and plans for this week are a bit up in the air until I get my voice back! So I am going to plan meals as if we were going to be at home every day but hopefully we will get to visit my parents at some point.

Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S peanut butter sandwich and apple slices with cinnamon
Lunch for us hotdogs
Dinner for baby S butterbean and veg stew followed by quark and fruit
Dinner for us fish pie for me, chicken wrapped in bacon for him

Breakfast for baby S porridge with fruit
Lunch for baby S crumpet and soft cheese
Lunch for us soup and bread
Dinner for baby S lentil, coconut milk, butternut squash and chicken curry based on this recipe
Dinner for us rest of fish pie for me, sausages for him

Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S cheddar and butterbean bites with bits of finger food
Lunch for us just me as my husband is out - I'll probably have a sandwich
Dinner for baby S homemade risotto from the freezer
Dinner for us chicken goujons and prawns in breadcrumbs and chips

Thursday Valentine's day
Breakfast for baby S cereal with milk
Lunch for baby S  baked beans and toast
Lunch for us full English with heart shaped toast if I can be bothered
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer (I've got lots of batch cooked meals for her)
Dinner for us TBA

Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S  puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Lunch for us puff pastry with tomato puree and cheese
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us pasta and meatballs I didn't do last week

Breakfast for baby S porridge
Lunch for baby S at a birthday party
Lunch for us at a birthday party
Dinner for baby S something from the freezer
Dinner for us  sole with new potatoes for me, chicken mini fillets for him

Breakfast for baby S cereal
Lunch for baby S pitta bread, cucumber, her favourite finger foods
Lunch for us bacon sandwich
Dinner for baby S sole with potato and sweetcorn
Dinner for us chicken mini roast

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Why Iberian ham deserves a place on the British dining table

How much do you know about Iberian ham? I have to admit I was a little hazy - I knew it from restaurants and deli counters as a wafer thin type of cured ham from Spain but that was about it.

In fact it's the pigs that are Iberian. They have dark skin and look black rather than pink, with long slender hind legs. They live in freedom and graze on acorns in certain parts of Spain, which apparently gives the meat a unique taste.

It's quite interesting reading about the process to produce the ham from salting to washing, then the pieces are left for up to three month for the salt to permeate. The really unique bit is the way the hams are cured - hung up and exposed to the natural climate conditions for 18-24 months and after that aged in a cellar for at least another 12 months (usually 18). The secret of curing is passed down in families from generation to generation.

It's also part of the famed Mediterranean diet - Iberian ham is high in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, zinc and vitamins B1, B3 and B12, according to the information leaflet I received.

I was sent some Iberian ham by Ibeham, a project promoted by the Denomination of Origin Guijuelo (Spain). There are plenty of recipes on their site suggesting how to enjoy the ham but I wanted something fairly pure and simple, so tried it on a piece of fresh bread with some mozzarella and a little olive oil.

The slices are so wafer thin they are almost transparent, separated in the packet by pieces of plastic so you can peel the ham off. Each slice has a ribbon of fat which dissolved on the tongue and the taste and texture were both top notch. There are a lot of recipes you can use this in but I just want to savour the flavour by itself!

If you can get hold of some proper Iberian ham - and you don't have to go to specialist shops, Waitrose has some - then I highly recommend it as a little bit of luxury if you're just having a sandwich, or a platter for guests if you are entertaining.

Thanks to Ibeham for the ham to review


Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Review: Thomas Fudge flatbreads