Cigarettes and Calpol

Attempting to make sense of parenthood, life, love, and my own mind.



Some of my favourite recipes for cooking with or without kids – we can all cook!

Recipe – Croque Monsieur

Saturday morning we were catching up with Masterchef The Professionals, and they were making Croque Monsieur. After about 30 seconds of looking at gooey, oozy Croque Monsieur on my telly, we were heading to the shop for ingredients.

I shared a quick snap on Instagram and have had hundreds (12) requests for the recipe, so here ya go!

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Christmas Dinner Perfection

Last week I was very lucky to attend a roast dinner cookery class at Leith’s in London courtesy of Buster, yep, the plughole unblocker. Might not be the most glamourous brand but it’s bloody useful! (Especially when you have long, constantly shedding hair like me!)

I like to think I know my way around a roast dinner, but I learnt some tips that blew. my. mind. and have upped my roast game to eleven. Christmas dinner can be a bloody stressful affair (last year our electric shorted and sent the burglar alarm into tamper mode…) so I thought I’d share some of the things I learnt (and some things I already utilise) to try and make Christmas at least a tiny bit less stressful for those of you who are cooking. (This isn’t in order of cooking, I’m not that helpful, it’s just a list of tips.)

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Mexican Breakfast

This is our absolute favourite weekend breakfast (excluding chicken and waffles but that takes far too long!) and it’s so easy to do. It’s the perfect hangover cure and really great to do for bigger groups as well as just two.

It’s pretty spicy (you can obviously add more/less chilli as suits you) and if you’ve got someone who’s being a wimp throw some sour cream at them and tell them to fem up.

It goes well with beer too. When that hangover is really bad.

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Chicken Noodle Soup

I have never had so many requests for a recipe, which is pretty bloody flattering!

This was the first time I’ve made a soup from the leftovers of a roast, and I will be doing it every time from now on. It’s so easy and so tasty – plus any saving on waste is a win in my eyes!

You could definitely whack the stock on in the slow cooker over night to save you some effort the next day.

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Super Simple Chicken Risotto

Yesterday I had zero inspiration for what to do with the two chicken breasts sitting in my fridge. I hate trying to come up with ideas for dinner at the best of times but when overdue in the ridiculous summer heat it seemed even more of a challenge.

So I asked Instagram to decide.

Loads of suggestions came flying my way (all of which sounded delicious and actually made my job harder) but when Harriet (from Life With Mrs Lee) suggested risotto I suddenly remembered probably the easiest recipe in my collection. And it’s delicious! Oh and super low fat and healthy, if you’re into that kind of thing.

So risotto is what we had and as a few of you asked – here’s the recipe!

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Unicorn Cake

This cake nearly drove me to a mental breakdown.
This cake nearly got thrown out of the window at 11pm.
This cake caused me to cry five times and bleed once.
This cake almost lead to me cancelling my daughter’s sixth birthday.
But some of you asked me for the recipe, so here you go.
It involves a lot of butter

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Matt’s Mega Mackerel

You know when somebody has that one dish that they just totally nail and it’s so good you could eat it forever? This is that dish in our house. Thanks to Honest Fish and morning sickness ruining fish for five months we have a freezer that is still pretty well stocked with the most beautiful, local mackerel.

This is the perfect dish if you’re not to sure about mackerel or are fairly new to fish (which I was, I’m such a fish wimp!), the sauce stops it being too ‘fishy’ and the super crispy skin is amazing! Even my mum liked it, and my mum is the ultimate fanny when it comes to fish.

You may notice something different about this recipe post, there are shit loads of photos. Matt is so much better at this blogger life than me (although funnily enough I still have to be the one to type it up…)

There was a disagreement on the name of this recipe. Matt wanted ‘Matt’s Mega Mackerel Surprise’ or ‘Roger’. This is my life. Sympathy flowers welcome.

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Damn Fine Lasagne

This is another recipe that’s taken from a Jamie Oliver one and adapted to be easier, less pretentious, and (not to toot my own horn) more delicious!

I’ve made a lot of lasagnes in my time; from the basic, shit, sugar-filled jarred types with associations of a certain (quite racist?) puppet family, to the most dry, bland, homemade attempts – usually with added peas, why did I add peas?! The one thing that’s always gone to shit with my lasagne attempts is they always go sloppy. It’s more of a soup with some pasta sheets. They might have tasted good but it don’t look pretty on a plate! Finally I think I’ve cracked it with this one!

This recipe looks long and complicated, but it’s not actually that bad! Plus you have leftovers to freeze and there’s a dinner ready for another night. Boom! Mum win!

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Fish Fingers

Fish fingers. Every parent’s go to ‘shit I forgot to cook dinner’ dinner. Nobody is denying the use, ease, and tastiness of a certain bearded man’s frozen fish finger. However, there’s something really satisfying and fun about making your own. Especially if you have one of your kid’s friends round for tea, you’ll look by far the most accomplished in the playground.

Luckily, it’s also really bloody easy (as we know, my favourite kind of cooking) and you can get the kids to do the messy bits! Hurrah!

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