Monday, 20 April 2015

Kids the Kitchen - Pear Tart Tatin

Welcome to this weeks Kids in the Kitchen. We love to share our recipes and invite you join in with our linky to share yours. We have a fabulous Pinterest board where I post up everyone who links up. I will also share posts on Twitter and here on my blog.

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Pear Tart Tatin

I've never made tart tatin before so I decided to ask Boo to help me make one. We chose pears for our fruit. There is some hot pan cooking to do so it's probably not a good recipe for little ones, but Boo is getting very good at stirring hot pans. If the Little Man had been able to tear himself away from Minecraft to help he could have rolled the pastry, all kids love that job. 

So, after looking up loads of recipes I was surprised at how easy making a tart tatin was. Basically you cook your filling and put it in a pan and then cover it with puff pastry and cook it in the oven...upside down. Then you turn it over to serve. This keeps the fruit nice and juicy and the pastry dry and puffed.

We kept ours quite simple, but now we've made one I'm sure we will be experimenting more.


100g butter
100g caster sugar
3 pears, peeled, cored and cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
1 packet of puff pastry


roll out the pastry and use the tin to cut around a circle 
put the butter and sugar in a large frying pan and cook until hot then add the cinnamon stick
add the pear pieces and stir until covered
turn down heat a little and cook pears until soft and caramelized
arrange the pears in the bottom of the tin
cover with the pastry circle
bake for around 20 minutes until pastry is golden
leave to cool for about 10 minutes then put a plate over the tin and turn upside down until the tart comes out onto the plate.
serve warm with whipped cream

Not the prettiest of desserts, but very tasty.

So now it's over to you, get in the kitchen with your kids and come and share what you've cooked,
I'd also be mighty grateful if you included my badge in your post so others can see it and come along and join in. (although adding the badge is not compulsory to joining in)

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Saturday, 18 April 2015

My Sunday Photo

This week I bring you the Bell Tower of the wonderful Bournville Carrilon

The tower is actually the entrance to a primary school.

The copper cupola above the tower houses 48 bells, but this is no ordinary bell tower because the bells are not rung by ropes but by a carillon. The bells are fixed and don't move, the sound is made by the clippers or tongues of the bells and these are worked by a kebyoard called a clavier.

Here is a short video of the Carillon being played. The sound doesn't really do it justice as it's much nicer from the outside. It's an amazing instrument though, I'm sure you will agree.


I am very lucky to live near the Bournville Carillon and on a sunny Saturday afternoon there is nothing nicer than sitting on the village green opposite and listen to it being played.

If you ever visit Cadbury World in Birmingham be sure to take a look, it's just across the road.


Wednesday, 15 April 2015

The Gadget Show Live 2015

I've always been a big fan of the Gadget Show and was thrilled to be able to attend the Gadget Show Live this year at Birmingham NEC. The Gadget show is filmed in Birmingham and aired on Channel 5. It's been around since 2004 and each show offers advice on the latest consumer electronics to hit the market and the latest development in gadgets. The Gadget Show is sponsored by Currys PCWorld.

As well as visiting the exhibition and having a nosey at all the latest new technology I also got to see the Live Show in the Super Theatre, get to take a look around back stage and meet and greet with the stars of the TV show. Truly a day to remember.

The show was really good fun, there was some audience participation with some chosen kids in the audience being asked some very difficult questions in return for some nice prizes. (They were given a lot of help with their answers!) We also had a race which was noise activated and we had to shout at the microphones to move our cars into different lanes on the big screens.
There was music provided by Afishal, a visual DJ...check him out,he's brilliant!

and dancing by Feeding the Fish, also brilliant, a visual treat.

Throughout the show prizes were being added to a golf cart for one lucky audience member to win at the end.

Then they had feature on Back to The Future. In the films the main character travels to the future...2015, so they talked about the thing that were mentioned in the film that have been invented now, and those that haven' the hoverboard!
Then they brought on Jason Bradbury's brilliant DeLorean made up just like the time machine from the films.

The show finished with more music and dancing and the winner of the prize bundle was announced.

After the show I was able to get a closer look at the DeLorean which was a thrill as I am a huge fan of Back to the Future. Then we went back stage to see how things worked which was all really interesting. I've never been backstage before.

Finally we had a meet and greet with the presenters of the show.

All the presenters were really lovely. I didn't get a photo with Amy Williams M.B.E. but my daughter did. She was thrilled to meet a female group and stated that most females that turned up were either dragged along by their partners or their children. Then she seemed to assume that my daughter had dragged me along when actually it was the other way around. So, yay for female gadget geeks, but don't forget they can also be middle aged female gadget geeks.
We also had chats with Jon Bentley, who has promised to read my blog, Ortis Deley and Jason Bradbury. It was really nice to meet them all.

Then it was time to take a look around the exhibition. I do love going to exhibition and the Gadget show is great in that it's not all focused on buy this buy that but there is so much more to see and do. We watched a great round of Robo Challenge where we watched Little Hitter, Mini Mighty Mouse and Wedgie battle it out, with Little Hitter winning the round.

There were retro games consoles and retro computers you could take a go on. Nothing I'd not really seen before, but nice to see again.

I was fascinated by the 3D printers.

I'm sure that these will soon be quite the norm in many households in the future.

At the Gadget Wheels Race Track you could take a turn on a Segway, a Hovertrax, an Airwheel or an Evolve Skateboard. It looked fun but queues were long.

For the younger kids there was the Kids Tech toy Trail which included Crayola Colour Alive, Real FX, I Que and My Friend Freddy Bear.

The show was a real treat with so much to see and do, and things to buy as well. I'll definitely be going again next year.

Disclaimer: I was given tickets to attend the Gadget Show Live, all thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

My Sunday Photo

I'm a Back To The Future Fan....This is a DeLorean made up just like the one from the films. This is when it arrived on stage at the Gadget Show Live, I got to see it close up after the show....more about that very soon.


Thursday, 9 April 2015

Our Top Five Family Favourite Video Games

When I was 18 I used work as a bingo caller and after work I loved playing the video games in the arcade. This was a long time ago and *gasp* there were no games consoles available to play at home. Well, actually there was the ZX Spectrum but it wasn't really like the console gaming you see today. Think 'Pong'

My favourite Arcade game was Dragon's Lair featuring Daring Dirk on his amazing adventure through the lair to rescue his Princess Daphne from the Dragon. I completed the game Christmas 1983.

We didn't really have a games console at home until the kids came along. First it was the NES, then the Super NES, then the N64, Gamecube, Wii and WiiU. It was a while before we started adding Playstation to the collection but we've had them all too, and the Xbox. The Nintendo consoles have always been the family favourites though as we've always enjoyed playing games together. 

As the kids have grown and become more ardent gamers, they even play ones in Japanese because they've not been released in this country, we still make time to play together and include the little ones too. 

So here is my list of our all time favourite family games. Yes, we do get the old consoles out sometimes but a lot of them can be downloaded on the newer consoles too.

1. Super Smash Bros

Super Smash Bros was realeased in 1999, followed by Super Smash Bros Melee in 2001, Super Smash Bros Brawl in 2008 and Super Smash Bros for WiiU in 2014. 
This has to be the Little Man's favourite family game. It's basically a key bashing knock 'em out the ring game. There are tons of characters to choose from (well, 51 in the latest edition) and loads of different playing fields. You can even make your own. 
All the family join in with the battles and we have loads of fun. I like playing a Villager (from Animal Crossing, another favourite game of mine) you plant a seed, grow a tree and then chop it down and throw it at your enemy! Of course, it is possible, if your enemy happens to be another villager, for them to catch the tree and put it in their pocket....then they can throw it back at you!

2. Mario Kart

Marion Kart is always a huge favourite. we started with Super Mario Kart back in 1992 and have since enjoyed Mario Kart 64, Mario Kart Double Dash, Mario Kart Wii and Mario Kart 8. It's just a super fun family racing kart game with loads of characters to play on lots of different courses including the infamous Rainbow Road.

You start by choosing your character, then your kart and finally your course, or set of courses if doing a grand prix. Then it's time to race avoiding obstacles like chain chomps, penguins and snowmen and picking up items from the item boxes which you can use to attack the other racers, like shells, or help your race, like speed-up mushrooms.

 I remember my older kids mocking me in the earlier days because I would move my controller around like a steering wheel, but I had the last laugh when they brought out the steering wheel for the Wii remote, I'd had years of practice. We all get very competitive when playing Mario Kart, but it's always good fun.

3. Mario Party

First released in 1989, Mario Party is now on it's 10th Addition. We love it! A classic board game set up, you roll the dice take your move and collect things along the way. There are also mini-games galore where you all compete against each other (or with each other against the computer) and games of chance. Between the games you see most of Nintendo's much loved characters such as Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Gumbas, Ba-bombs the list goes on and on. 
As some of the games can be a little complicated they are not generally aimed at younger children but with the family helping out we've had no problems playing this together with the little ones so long as they know how to hold a controller. It also teaches kids about fair play, taking turns and what it feels like to lose...because not everyone wins, but playing is loads of fun.

4. Mario and Sonic Olympics

Mario and Sonic first appeared at the Beijing Olympics with a game released for the Wii in 2007. We didn't catch up with them until the Winter Olympics in Vancouver 2010. The girls absolutely adore this game and still play it loads. They love the ice skating and have both gained a passion for Tchaikovsky because of this game. We also have Mario and Sonic at the London 2012 Olympics which is much played, we all get very competitive but just as in any sport we have different strengths and weaknesses. Ironically, I'm good at swimming and I can't swim. We have yet to buy the 2014 Winter Olympics at Sochi but I'm sure we will. 

5. Just Dance

There is nothing more fun than getting out our wii remotes and putting on a Just Dance Game. You can get a little exercise while you follow the characters on screen and bop along to some groovy tunes. With up to four people playing at the same time it's a great family game but one that the girls particularly love as all little girls love dancing. There are plenty of versions available with songs old an new to choose from, and if you do well you get rewarded with more songs to dance to. The characters on the screen are fun and pretty easy to follow. You can choose to do a harder version if you wish or if you are feeling lazy like Daddy you can sit on the settee and wave the remote around and still score ok. The game is also fun at parties.

Do you have family gaming fun? What are your favourite games? Have you tried any of our favourites?