Zuccotto Panettone and Ricotta Cake

Festive Food Swap

Baking is not my strong point and for anyone who knows me baking with kids stresses me out; flour everywhere, egg shells in the batter and sugar on the floor.


So, when we were asked to take part in Tesco’s Festive Food Swap, which encourages people to try different tastes from around the world, I was secretly pleased the Italian recipe I received, from Giulia Mulè,  was more of an assembly job rather than a full on baking experience, no need to even preheat the oven.

The Festive Food Swap  was also a great opportunity to introduce my daughter about different Christmas Traditions from around the World.  She was intrigued by ‘Befana’, a friendly witch who delivers sweets and toys on the 5th of January instead of Father Christmas.

We were asked to make a Zuccotto Panettone and Ricotto Cake, which is a traditional dessert from Florence, Italy.  It seems that, it’s a good way to use up all of the left over Panettone after the Festive Season.  I have to admit, it felt rather strange cutting up a perfectly good cake to make another one.


We had a lot of fun putting it together and narrowly avoided using the wrong size bowl, no idea why I was thinking in inches, a 16 inch layered Panettone Cake would have been massive.


I’ve had a look on Google and ours seems to look like it should so we were happy.  However, I have to be honest, I’ve never been a lover of dried fruit and don’t tend to eat a lot of chocolate or puddings in general,  so it wasn’t to my liking, but you could definitely taste all the different flavours and can see the a ‘peel’.


I think my daughter was put off by the Marsala wine (Fortified Italian Wine) even though it took Google, a Tesco Employee and myself to find it, she obviously doesn’t take after her mother who would never turn her nose up at wine.

It’s starting to look a lot like Christmas!


Thanks to Giulia and Tesco for the opportunity.

40+ Meal Ideas for Busy Mums

Planning my weekly meals is one of my least favourite things to do.  I spend ages trolling the internet looking for inspiration for child-friendly recipes.  However, I do find that planning our weekly meals saves us time, money, waste and ensures we eat a little better.

I recently asked a rather large group of local mums for some inspiration for meal ideas.  If I’m honest, I was rather humbled by the things they’re cooking their kids and it put my efforts to shame.  Below, I have compiled a list of their favourite meal ideas with suggested recipes.

Child Friendly Chicken Recipes

Homemade chicken and apple burgers with sweet potato mash

Chicken and vegetable couscous

Baked Spanish risotto

Homemade Chicken Nuggets

Spanish Chicken tonight and rice

Rice with chicken in cinnamon and Bechamel sauce


Chicken and veg stir fry

Surprise chicken (tomato, courgette, pepper, chicken stew) with rice

Lemon marinated chicken grilled with sweet potato mash/chips and veg

Katsu chicken

Chicken with a korma curry sauce and noodles

Chicken fajitas

Chicken and Chorizo cooked with Passata 


Family Meal Ideas - Pork

Sausages with mash potato cheese bake

Sausage and bean casserole

Bacon and veg pasta bake

Toad in the hole gravy and a dollop of cheesy mash with broccoli or peas

Easy Sausage casserole

Pasta with bacon and a tomato sauce

Autumn Sausage Bake


Child Friendly Beef Recipes

Speedy Meatball stew

Beef stew and dumplings

South African Bobotie

Cottage Pie

Child Friendly Lamb Recipes

Shepherd’s pie with baked beans 

Grated Apple Lamb Burgers

No-Fuss Shepherd’s pie


Child Friendly Fish Recips

Spaghetti with shredded surimi

Tuna Pasta Bake

Fish pie

Steamed salmon with sweet potato mash

Sweet chilli noodles with salmon

Fish fingers

Teriyaki salmon and new pots

Creamy pasta with broccoli, salmon and peas

Jamie Oliver’s Salmon on Lentil and Spinach


Child Friendly Vegetarian Recipes

Butternut Squash Risotto

Simple pasta with peas, butter and grated parmesan

Jamie Oliver’s ‘Hungover Noodles’


Thank you to all the SAMS for your suggestions.  If you have any other meal ideas you would like to share please do add them in the comments.





Mini Toad in the Hole Recipe

Easy Mid Week Meal Idea for Kids

Miniature Toad in the Hole Recipe

Planning our weekly meals is the bane of my life!  This week I was inspired by an image that I saw on Pinterest of these Mini Toads in a hole.  I’m not normally one for ‘Cute Food’ but  it looked relatively easy and I was fairly confident my daughter would eat it as she loves Yorkshire puddings and sausages.

In my quest to add green things to her food, I did add a sprig of fresh rosemary to each, but if I’m honest you really could skip this.  If you’re dubious about cocktail sausages you could probably use better quality regular sausage and cut them into small pieces.

Mini Toad in the Hole
Recipe Type: Mid Week
Author: Mediocre Mum
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 12
  • 24 Cocktail Sausages
  • Sunflower Oil
  • 140g Plain Flour
  • Flour Eggs
  • 200ml Milk
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Fresh rosemary (Optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.  Place two cocktail sausages in each opening of a muffin tin.  Drizzle with Sunflower oil.  Pop in the oven for 15-20 minutes.  The trick is to make sure that the oil is hot.
  2. In a separate bowl add the flour and beat in the eggs until smooth.  Gradually add the milk, season with salt and pepper.  I tend to then transfer the batter to a measuring cup as it’s easier to pour.
  3. Carefully remove the tray from the oven. Pour the batter into the holes, filling them about a third full.  At this point you can add a sprig of rosemary if you like.  Then place back in the oven and cook ‘UNDISTURBED’ for 20-25 minutes until the Yorkshire is golden brown.  Do not be tempted to open the oven door to have a sneaky peak.
  4. Serve with gravy and your child’s favourite greens.

Do you have any other quick mid-week meal ideas?  If so, please do leave a comment.  I could really use the inspiration.

The Loss of Innocence at Halloween

We were just baking some Halloween Biscuits?

It such a shame that as adults we lose our sense of innocence as we’re sharpened by experience and shaped by reality.

I was baking with my daughter this afternoon, a sure sign that Half-term has broken me, as I find baking incredibly stressful.

‘Don’t get shells in there, Stop flicking the batter everywhere and Don’t lick your fingers if you have raw egg on them’

Like any good mum, we hit Google images (filtered of course) and found some Halloween themed biscuits AKA cookies that looked easy enough.

We were happily attacking one of those just add water baking kits, when it all of a sudden dawned on me I wouldn’t be able to post pictures of them online. It would come across brash and incentive with recent news reports.

If you’re wondering, we made headless gingerbread men and skeletons. How could I be so intensive with the recent IS attacks and yes, I did guiltily think about the reference to eating disorders! Insane!

Easy Halloween Cookies to make with Kids

Luckily, I had a friend reeled me back in and reminded me that for my 7 year old it was just baking and she’s oblivious to the IS beheadings.

‘Hey, she’s just a child and she doesn’t need to be aware – she’s happy doing her baking and that’s what childhood should be about’.

I’ve decided that I would rather live my life through the eyes of a child.

Do I worry too much?

How to Train Your Dragon 2 – Tears and laughter!

At what age do children show empathy?

To give myself a bit of a break on the weekend, I’d checked the weather report and it looked grim, so I booked my daughter and hubby into the Cinema to see How to Train Your Dragon 2.  She’d watched the first one and has also watched How to Train Your Dragon Legends on Netflix along with countless other kids films on there.

Textbook lesson in ‘How to Do A Sequel.’

My husband came home and raved about it, saying it was just as good if not better than the first. He said she was sitting on the edge of her seat most of the time smiling, totally taken by the story.  However, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but there was a part that made her cry, apparently someone dies but I’m not going to tell you who.  It sounds like the writers have taken it to a deeper darker level, maybe they realise the children who watched the original in 2010 have grown up a bit.  As I haven’t seen it, do you think it’s too dark for littlies?

Personally, I think it’s a sign of a good movie if it can make you laugh, cry or think.

With School Holidays looming, I’m doing my usual panic of things to do, especially if it rains.  I’ve been trolling the net looking for Dragon Activities and was inspired by the movie How to Train a Dragon 2 and it’s characters.

All Things Dragon – How to Survive Summer Holidays

How to Get Rid of Hiccups

Teach her how to get rid of hiccups by drinking a glass of water upside down.  I’ve done this for years and it really does work.


Create  a Joke Book

How to Train Your Dragon Jokes – my daughter is really into jokes at the moment.  We may sit down and create our own Joke Books and see if we can make Toothless Laugh.

Shadow Puppets

Shadow Puppet Template from British Museum

We hope to do a fair amount of camping this summer and shadow puppets are genius at night in the tent with a torch.  You can find instructions and a template for making your own at the British Museum.

Play a Game of Tag

If we can get a few of her friends around I love the idea of playing Dragon Tag.  It requires to teams, children form a human chain, with a scarf as a tail and try to steal each other’s tails.  Chains can’t become separated.

Learn a New Song

I may take the opportunity to introduce her to one of my all time favourites ‘Puff the Magic Dragon’ by Peter, Paul and Mary.

Bake a Cake

How to Make a Dragon Cake

Personally I think this one would push me over the edge, but if we’re really desperate we could have a go at making this Dragon Cake.

Dragon Boat Festival

I’ve never been to one but I’d love to check out a Dragon Boat Festival.

I really have gone off on a tangent but now have a few more things in my arsenal to survive the school holidays.  :-)