Tag Archives: wine

So many meals …so little time..and a curveball


If you are still reading my blog …then all I can say is thank you. Gosh life sometimes throws a curve ball and an uphill struggle.
I am still here..still loving to write…and still cooking.

I think that may be one of the reasons I love food..it doesn’t matter how hard life gets..how little there is..how many arguments there are. For me there will always be a dinner to make. Its my rock I guess, I don’t want to gush..but I write and cook from my heart…and when it feels like nothing is going right for us..I can still make dinner.

Tonight it was meatloaf.
I will be honest, it wasn’t the best. My daughter loved it and asked if we could have it again. I ate it with pickles and salad, and a small glass of wine. dear son moaned, but he is in a bad place…however he got through two slices. There was garlic bread and homemade chips..no one was going to starve.

whatever life throws at us..there is still washing up, but I shall be glad there is because it means we have eaten. There are grumpy children to wash and tuck in bed.

Our tummies are full, puppy is walked, we have comfy beds to go to ….for now I shall be just glad of that.

love and hugs

Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com602895_643067089079481_1048687437_n

Happy Good Friday…it seems I cannot keep it simple :)


A strange day…not a particular festival day for us, but always grateful for a day off…..BBQ time I think.

I am full of cold (and grumpy..ask my boyfriend lol )..but the sun is shining and it is family dinner day.
I suggested BBQ..we will keep it simple I said….but oohhhh I cannot do simple!!!

It will just be burgers and sausages.. (no steak, chicken, prawns.) but whilst My Love is at the Big Shop..I am secretly boiling Bantam eggs (it is Easter after all). There will probably be a potato salad….Hummus….cous cous??? Brownies…maybe millionaires shortbread…hey I am not going mad I am ill ..it will be a lovely distraction..unobligated cooking makes me happy.

I can’t do simple…It is a feast for the people I love…there is no better celebration than that..I shall cherish every moment

Whatever you celebrate….have a happy one

Love and Hugs
Sky @ http://www.skybendelow.com


Saturday morning…I don’t like early…


Wow. I am struggling this morning….puppy was up way too early!!
I am going to have to quit my late nights and late mornings….on a plus side..I can fit in an extra breakfast.

I am very lazy and not a breakfast lover generally. However reading an interesting book on French culture, I am adopting a fab idea.
French bread and dark chocolate. That’s sounds good to me, and will go with my high morning coffee intake. I didn’t tell the children, they were still sleeping (oh, the jealousy lol).

Second breakfast, brunch, call it what you will…shall be omelette, stuffed with bacon, egg, and/or cheese.
We need to eat more eggs or get rid of some chucks. I often sell the eggs, but with the mud, people get fussy having to wash them. For me the taste out weighs the 2 seconds it takes..but hey that’s just me 🙂

Mid afternoon, there shall be rock cakes, scones and tiny sandwiches, full of new flavours. (today I shall try to get them to eat tuna).

Dinner…well I don’t know lol…I am tired already..If I grab a nap (unlikely). I shall make homemade pizzas and dough balls. If I am weary I shall pour a glass of wine and make scampi, fishfingers, chips and peas. judge me if you like…I am too tired to care.

Lets enjoy the lazy days, sunshine and company.

Have fun.
Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com


It’s a life lesson…


It’s a life lesson…


I always make a proper roast on a Sunday. I have had the odd occasion where I decided not to bother, but it doesn’t feel right. I love it too much…the sneaky glass of wine whilst prepping the veg, picking herbs from the garden, listening to the radio, the delicious smells. Everyone popping in and out of my kitchen pinching tasty titbits, fighting over who gets to lick the spoon.

There is a lot of chat about eating together as a family, We are a bit of a disjointed family..Sometimes just 3.sometimes many more. I like to think whoever sits at my table is family. A lot of focus is put on the meal, but it’s not just the food that is important.

I know I have said this before, but even if you are just sitting down to egg and chips it is important to sit together if you can.

It’s about learning manners, sharing, no mobile phones (yes, you can live without them for an hour). It’s about talking; it’s about being responsible for nurturing others (I expect just as much from the little ones as the big).

It might mean more to me that others, my son has aspergers, and sometimes needs a little encouragement in the use of a fork and actually eating. I feel supported around my table. My little community of love. A small triumph at the end of the week, where we all get a chance to catch up and make sure everyone knows we are there for them.

I am old fashioned I guess. I like proper napkins and sauces served in bowls. I am not posh or glamorous, but sometimes I think a little bit of ritual help it feel like home. I love that our kids help dish out. I love that they ask to leave the table…and no matter how much they think its funny, comedy burps have no place in my kitchen lol. I hope they are learning to enjoy food, and company, and real life, interacting with each other and hopefully having fun…

There is so much to be learnt around a table…

Happy Sunday

Best wishes

Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.comnapkins…I love em..

Give me some mussel…


Give me some mussel…

What a day, the sunshine brought hope. My beautiful, but fierce daughter brought force a storm; a torrent of lava and upset…. it has passed now but drained a lot of energy. My enigma boy was happy enough, especially when we almost produced real lava with bicarb, vinegar and a model volcano. Then something happened, he forgot to save a computer programme and his world of Aspergers collapsed beyond measure. A favourite pizza refused, not even a crème egg could tempt him…Chloe happily devoured a freddo and cheese and ham toasties…fine until the next saga. (She had grapes and carrot too; I’m not a totally terrible Mother lol)

I have dished out love and hugs, I have tried my best to explain the world, I have coloured pictures, I sadly ended up shouting…’My Bad’ as the kids say…but how far are we pushed as a parent before the Temper frays? I can honestly say I shall never understand how someone can physically harm a child no matter how wrong the day goes.

I bundled them into the car and we had a little quiet time, I stopped for Mussels, French bread, parsley…I have chorizo, garlic and wine in the fridge. It will be a quiet reward for my testing day. My easy, but soul restoring supper.

Nearly bath time and bed..YAY
Love from a very Knackered Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

Valentines Day is fast approaching…What to cook?


Valentines Day is fast approaching…

Now I’m a bit of a grump on Valentines Day I will be honest. Not because I don’t have a boyfriend..I do. Honest. But I think its commercialism has kind of ruined it. When you walk into a supermarket overrun with heart shaped cushions and cheap roses, well I kind of think it loses it touch…but obviously millions disagree.

So for my love and I, we will honour the tradition with a good dinner…because any excuse to celebrate round my table is always welcome. (Note to my Love…please bring wine.)

The dilemma of what to cook..

Should I go twee with a pink shrimp cocktail, a champagne risotto, and heart shaped chocolate cakes?

I could go sinister with cured spicy sausages, casserole of heart and devils food cake, however I would quite like him to stay in my life not run screaming from the kitchen.

I think I will play it safe…. He is a keeper after all, and go for the most romantic style of eating I can think of. Sharing food, a plate of steaming mussels cooked in white wine and garlic, followed by tiny bowls of olives, chorizo, fresh baked bread, new potatoes and homemade mayonnaise. Will we want pudding after that? Well there’s always room for pudding isn’t there? Maybe just a little chocolate mousse laced with brandy. It is a celebration after all 😀

Happy eating and thanks for reading

Love Sky @ http://www.thesideplate.com

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is it all in the timing??


Timing is not my strongpoint,

I often eat delicious dinners at midnight. They are never planned this way of course, but when a new recipe is in progress I kind of go with the flow.

I always underestimate the time taken to make a risotto, (so my partner claims anyway lol ) I say dinner will be at 9, but then a friend calls for a chat, or a cheeky monkey that cant sleep decides to tug my apron and heart strings. Last night I was just disorganised and forgot to factor in the sautéing of the onions, then 40 minutes for the rice.

It was one of those recipes that started out with my saying “we have left over roast chicken, what kind of meal do you fancy?” (Lucky for me he didn’t say steak and chips.)

Risotto was the choice and it kind of evolved from there. I do usually put Parmesan in this lovely soothing dish, but I also had some prawns loitering in the freezer, so instead we tried something new.

Try it; it was pretty damn tasty…however long it takes to cook.

Happy Cooking

Sky @ thesideplate.com

all things rice

As usual, its still a work in progress, so here’s a vague recipe.

Large mug of paella rice (I would normally use Arborio, but its hiding somewhere at the back of the cupboard, and It was already 9pm)

Large mug of leftover roast chicken

Cup of raw king prawns

Cup of frozen peas

An onion finely chopped

½ bottle of dry white wine

250ml chicken stock

25g unsalted butter

I tsp of preserved lemon (lemon juice may work?)

½ tsp smoked paprika

¼ tsp white pepper

Fried Parma ham to serve.

Sauté the onion in the butter until soft but not browned,
Add the rice and cook for 5 mins, stirring to coat the grains.

Add the white pepper and paprika and give it a good stir.

Pour in a quarter of the stock and stir until absorbed into the rice.

Add the rest of the butter and the lemon and another quarter of the stock

(You should technically keep stirring, but I do generally find time to keep nipping into the lounge to annoy my boyfriend with inane chatter)

Once this is absorbed add the rest of the stock and the chicken and cook for about 10 mins.

Once the rice has absorbed all the stock and has been cooking for about 35 mins, throw in the prawns and the peas.

It will be ready, when the prawns are pink and the rice is just soft.

I topped it with a bit of fried Parma ham, because I was feeling fancy.

How’s that for Timing (ish)

my tastebuds are tingling


Awaken your taste buds…

For some insane reason I decided to give up alcohol in January. Well it seemed like a good Idea in December, when I was discussing it over a glass of wine or three.

Please don’t think I am knocking it, I’m not, I have saved a heap of cash, (always welcome at this time of year.) and I am sure my body is better for it, (although sadly there is no visible difference.) But what I haven’t managed to do is purge the symbolism that I seem to have attached to my wine glass. I know when its wine o’clock I can kick back and relax. Its a symbol of me time in a busy, busy day.

I liked my wine glasses, they were nothing fancy, as I am lazy and tend to stick them in the dishwasher and ruin them. But then at Christmas when this all seemed like a fun plan, I was given the most beautiful set of crystal wine glasses (hand wash only from now on :S ).

Now those of you who have had the dubious pleasure of meeting my good self, will know Sophisticated is not a word that springs to mind should you find the need to describe me, neither is pretentious, posh or classy, however I do appreciate quality…and I am quite picky. I know what I like. So I had the challenge of finding something non-alcoholic, but worthy of being consumed from such delicate vessels.

Oh boy, and believe you me, It is a lot harder than you think. What I call “fake wine” was out; it pretends to be wine without the alcohol…. I found it disgusting and I just wished it were the real thing. The usual fizzy pops and cordials are too sweet for me. Schloer too gassy. Sparkling water was ok, but obviously tasteless, my quest almost drove me to Drink!!

Then I found it; I actually bought it when I was visiting a farm shop. I liked its label to be honest, and was writing a piece about the Famous Five…so I just had to have Ginger Beer.

This was no ordinary Ginger Beer I had found. …This was Fentimans Traditional Ginger Beer. What could be more perfect?

Now this is a drink that is Classy, Sophisticated and Bubbly….it also packs a punch. It was like meeting Dame Judy Dench, then finding out she is also a ninja, Awesome!

This delicious brew is as far removed from a chemically flavoured, carbonated beverage as you can get. It is fresh and vibrant, but not over powering, with just the right amount of bubbles to put a spring in your step. It has a history (it tasted so good I even visited the website to find out why.J ) It has charm, you can taste that it has been made with care. Apparently it is good for you, (although it tastes so heavenly you wouldn’t know). I read the list of ingredients and I knew what the all were, not a mystery food or liquid to be found. It would be a drink that I would be happy for my children to drink. But to be honest they will have to find it first. (No chance I have hidden it well. Naughty Mummy)

It is so good I will still drink it when wine is freely available.
Slowly slurping from my finest crystal. Pretending that I’m posh.

Cheers From Sky @ thesideplate.com

Ginger Beer..buy some!

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