Friday, 29 March 2013

This April Why Not…?

Melt down your surplus chocolate. What do you mean, you didn’t know that there was such a thing? At this time of year, especially if you have small children, you many have a glut of Easter eggs in your house. When my children were younger, we melted these down and stirred in cornflakes or rice krispies to make chocolate crispy cakes. Melted chocolate is also ideal for spreading on sponge cakes or plain digestive biscuits to turn them into chocolate digestives.  For a ‘healthier’ option, place pieces of fruit on skewers and dip them in melted chocolate – yummy!

Take a walk along the prom. It may not be warm enough to sit on the beach or take in a dip in the sea as yet, but you can still enjoy the sea air by taking a walk along some of our great British seafronts. I love to have a stroll at Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, which has a substantial prom overlooking a large expanse of sandy beach, two piers (one with amusements and one with a bowling alley) and various seaside attractions to enjoy. Other great seafronts to go for a walk include Herne Bay (Kent), Eastbourne (East Sussex), Bournemouth (Dorset) and Bridlington (Yorkshire).

Visit an outdoor gym. I’m really not a fan of gyms – an onslaught of Lycra, one-upmanship and sweaty bodies – but I think outdoor gyms are a great idea. Many parks now have small outdoor gyms with various items of exercise equipment, which are fun and easy to use, combining a workout with fresh air.

Make a chicken & vegetable pasta bake. Chop about 350g lean chicken breast, brown in olive oil together with a little garlic, a small finely chopped onion, a thinly-sliced courgette and a chopped pepper (any colour). Stir in a can/carton of chopped tomatoes with basil (including juice) and add some extra herbs if desired. Meanwhile, cook about 200g fusilli pasta in boiling water until tender. Combine the chicken and veg mixture with the pasta in an ovenproof dish. Stir in a jar of creamy cook-in sauce (such as Creamy Mushroom Chicken Tonight or Tesco White Wine and Cream Sauce), and top with a little grated cheese and fresh breadcrumbs. Cook at 200C, Gas 6 for 20 minutes or until lightly browned. This makes plenty for 4 (though we often serve 5 out of it) and is a tasty, filling meal.

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