Our burger & chips family mealtime with McCain | #WeAreFamily

This is a sponsored post
Once you have a child, meal times go though a bit of an evolution.

Continue reading Our burger & chips family mealtime with McCain | #WeAreFamily

What to eat when enjoying a Movie Night in

This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods.


This time, dad went to Iceland to pick up some party foods to compliment a movie night in.

Having the right snacks on hand when watching a movie is important, because there’s nothing worse than a) being distracted from the story because you’re hungry, and b) coveting the delicious looking food onscreen. Given this, I wanted to have food related to specific movies.

I browsed the aisles at my local Iceland store for food that inspired movie choices. I remain happily surprised how tasty their frozen food is. The #PowerOfFrozen means that we can have these foods to hand to cook straight from the freezer. There’s no compromise on flavour because of this – and as you will see many of these foods surpass their non-frozen counterparts.

Anyway, first up we start with a classic combo.

Harry Potter – with mini-Hogwarts feast of Chicken and Sausages

We’ve only just started on the Harry Potter series with the 5yo. My wife read has read her the first book at bedtime, and we have subsequently watched the first movie.

A memorable food scene is the annual Hogwarts feast. There are many dishes on display, and from Iceland’s Party Food range I chose chicken drumsticks and sausages for our chosen snacks.

The chicken drumsticks were Iceland’s southern fried chicken ones, and there are definitely lots of chicken drumsticks on offer at the feast. These ones have a really moreish peppery herby coating. My daughter and I can attest to that.

The sausages are classic cocktail ones, so perfect finger food. I’m used to buying these pre-cooked from the supermarket, so it was great to have oven fresh ones.


E.T. – with Pizza and M&M’s

Steven Spielberg’s E.T, The Extra Terrestrial is one of those films that should be in everyone’s childhood, and is certainly in my daughter’s as we have enjoyed it together many times already.

There are two iconic food moments in E.T.

First, when Elliot first encounters the alien, it’s whilst collecting a pizza that he ends up dropping – and ruining. I always lament the demise of this pizza, so having one of your own is important so you can get over this loss quickly!

Iceland have an exclusive Pizza Express range, and I chose our favourite pepperoni & sausage one – which is the same topping choice in the movie. Iceland’s Pizza Express range is really tasty, with great toppings and a nice sourdough base. I was really surprised how much I liked this range, and they are way better than the branded Pizza Express products available in other supermarkets.

The other memorable food scene is when Elliot tempts E.T. into his home using sweets. In the movie, they are Reese’s Pieces, which are hard to come by in the UK – and frankly M&M’s are better (and were Spielberg’s first choice), so I bought those instead.

This combo is enough to stave off any food envy while watching the movie.


Howard the Duck – with Duck!

Perhaps turkey would be a better pairing with Howard the Duck (1986), a twisted curiosity from Star Wars creator George Lucas. The Marvel comic character has been enjoying a renaissance since his cameo in Guardians of the Galaxy, but his first onscreen outing was in fact in this 80’s misfire – which is a movie I have a real soft spot for.

There’s only one choice to eat with this – Duck! Baked in the oven straight from the freezer, these duck spring rolls were nice and crisp, and the perfect accompaniment to consume while watching the misadventures of Howard – a humanoid duck from another world stranded on earth, and the somewhat intimate relationship he strikes up with a human woman (believe it or not – this is a kid’s film).

To be honest, dusting off the movie was a good excuse to try out these tasty duck rolls. With a nice dab of sweet chilli sauce, these sweet meaty treats are delicious.

If you’re in the mood for more duck (not Howard), then these duck steamed buns are also available at Iceland.


So there you have it. These were my pairings from Iceland’s party food range. Any ones you can think of?

Dad’s Night In: Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce #PowerOfFrozen (ad)

Like other families, we have a routine to most nights. I make our daughter dinner before my wife gets home from work. She then does our daughter’s bath & bedtime while I get our own dinner ready. On those evenings when my wife is working late or is away, I tend to make a joint dinner for myself and our daughter.

But sometimes on these occasions, I prefer to give the kid her dinner as normal, and after packing her off to bed I indulge in a treat dinner for myself. A day of parenting can be tough, so unwinding with a dinner completely of my choice – that I don’t need to select with either my wife or daughter in mind – is all I want for an evening. Ok, that and wine. And a movie.

Iceland’s chicken nuggets served with homemade BBQ sauce would be a typical dad’s night in dinner for me. It’s a slightly grown up version of a childhood comfort food favourite – only this time consisting of Iceland’s chicken nuggets and my zingy BBQ dipping sauce.

Iceland’s frozen chicken nuggets are pretty tasty, which isn’t surprising as they’re made from 100% chicken breast. Having them in the freezer is not only really convenient, it also means I can cook only as many as I need (well, ok – want) while the rest can be stored for longer. That’s all part of the #PowerOfFrozen.

While the nuggets only took 15 minutes from freezer to plate via the oven, prepared earlier was my BBQ dipping sauce. It has real oomph, but if you’re less of a garlic & chilli fan than me, you can dial those back – especially if serving to kids (this would even be too much for my chilli eating daughter).

Homemade BBQ Sauce

Most of the ingredients are available from Iceland, and are easy to find & purchase either in store or online. This makes a big batch, but it can be frozen to use at a later date – perhaps with some frozen chicken nuggets for a last minute dad’s night in dinner?

Homemade BBQ Sauce

  • 1 small onion
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 red chillies (or equivalent of chilli flakes)
  • olive oil
  • 1tsp fennel seeds (crushed)
  • 1tsp english mustard
  • 1tsp ground ginger
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 50ml dark soy sauce
  • 300ml tomato ketchup
  • 250ml apple cider
  • 1tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 55g brown sugar (can be light, dark, or a mix)
  1. Finely chop or blitz onion, garlic, chillies
  2. In a medium pan, fry on a medium heat for five minutes
  3. Add fennel seeds and ginger – stir in
  4. Add ketchup, soy, Worcestershire sauce, and cider – stir in
  5. Add sugar, stir in
  6. Bring to the boil, and simmer for 10-15 mins
  7. When thickened, remove from heat
  8. Stir in mustard, and allow to cool before serving
Iceland’s Chicken Nuggets with Homemade BBQ Sauce


This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods. Their 100% Chicken Breast Nuggets are available to purchase either online or in store. 

Boxing Day Movie Ideas, Matched with Iceland Party Foods (ad)

Once again, dad’s gone to Iceland. This time I went to the party food section.

Like many, we tend to consume a fair amount of party food this time of year. Iceland’s frozen range is a very convenient way to have these on hand should you be entertaining – or just looking for snacks to whack in the oven to eat while watching a movie.

While Christmas may be a time of goodwill to all men & all that, to me it’s also a time for kicking back and indulging in food and movies. Boxing Day is a particularly good day to just veg out as a family.

Looking at the Iceland range of party foods, I thought some of them would go perfectly with some of our favourite movies.

1. Tempura Prawns & Chicken Gyoza with the films of Studio Ghibli

(Lightsaber chopsticks optional)

To go with the Japanese Tempura Prawns and Chicken Gyoza, the films of the legendary Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli would be a perfect match. They are required viewing in our house, and we have pretty much all of them on hand to offer up as an alternative to Disney.

Food is always an important aspect of them, and my daughter and I are always intrigued by the delicious dishes the characters are often preparing and eating – whether it’s the bento breakfast made by Satsuki in My Neighbour Totoro, Shizuku’s school lunch in Whisper of the HeartPonyo‘s love of noodles and ham, or the daily feasts prepared in From Up On Poppy Hill.

Even the horrific scene of Chihiro’s parents eating so much they turn into pigs in Spirited Away has some mouth watering looking food. Having these Iceland party snacks on hand to enjoy while watching will at least stop you coveting this animated food so much.

From ‘Spirited Away’ (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), directed by Hayao Miyazaki, © 2001 Nibariki

Anyway, speaking of pigs…

2. Party Sausage Rolls, Mini Pies, and Toad-in-the-Hole with BabeAnimal Farm

Porktastic party food

Some may find this pairing a little twisted.

I loathe Peppa Pig, probably as much as my daughter loves it, and I frequently remind her that the ham she loves to eat so much is actually from dead pigs. But we do love pork products in our house. I found it hard to choose which porky Iceland frozen party foods to pick, so I chose a few – Mini Toad-in-the-Holes, Chicken & Bacon mini-pies, and the classic Sausage Rolls.

But what to watch with it all? Don’t worry, I’m not going to suggest a binge watch of Peppa Pig.

A great counterpoint to the cute humanised Peppa Pig are the machinations of Napoleon and his acolytes in the the 1954 cartoon version of Animal Farm.

Many would think that this movie – based on George Orwell’s infamous allegory of the Russian Revolution and the Stalinist era that follows – is unsuitable for a 4-year-old (or older) child. I would disagree. It’s also worth noting that the film is rated U.

Also rated U, centred around a pig on a farm, and based on a book by a famed English author is the 1995 film Babe. It’s a delightful tale of an orphaned piglet who upsets the natural order of the farmyard by training to become a sheep dog – a sheep-pig if you will.

In his own way, Babe is a bit of a revolutionary. I quite like the idea that he grows into the old major of Animal Farm – so while the happiest way to view these movies is to end with Babe, ending with Animal Farm is the most satisfying.

And what better food to accompany these two porky farmyard tales than these porky party treats.

3. Breaded Cheese Selection with Wallace & Gromit

Breaded cheese – including Wallace & Gromit’s beloved Wensleydale

For the breaded cheese selection, there was only one pairing it could be – especially when I spotted one of the breaded cheeses was Wensleydale.

Yes, Wallace & Gromit (who are only in one film to date, the 2005 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit) love cheese and Wensleydale in particular – though quite what they’d make of it mixed with apricot, and melted into a breaded parcel is another matter.

Also in this selection of breaded cheese bites are Mozzarella with Red pepper & Jalapeño, plus Camembert with sweetened onion.

I’d recommend a bit of wine or spirits to go with this one. And why not – it’s Christmas after all…


This is a sponsored post in collaboration with Iceland Foods. Their full range of party foods are available to purchase with ease either online or in store. 



“We Don’t Eat Peppa Pig… Do We?”

I rather mischievously call venison sausages Bambi, and more recently have taken to naming any pork one as Peppa Pig. When shopping, and given a choice, my 3-year-old daughter generally chooses the Peppa Pig sausages. She didn’t know why they were Peppa Pig sausages, just that they were.

I was wondering when the first question about where meat comes from would happen. She understands that fruit comes from trees, vegetables are grown in the ground, and eggs are from chickens. I assumed that a knowing question about where chicken or lamb comes from would be first, as they don’t have a secret identity in the way beef/steak (cow), venison (deer), and pork/ham/bacon (pig) do. Chicken is chicken, and lamb is a baby sheep (awww).

So, while we shared a lunch of a ham & cheese rolls, my daughter asked me “Where does ham come from?”. From a pig, I answered. “How does it come from the pig?”.

While I may be disingenuous at times with my daughter, I never want to lie to her. So I set about telling her an admittedly sanitised and idealised explanation.

“Ham is actually a piece of pig who was raised to be our food. A farmer looks after a pig from when it’s little, gives it good food and treats it very nicely. When it is big, the farmer decides it’s time for the pig to die, and after it does it gets chopped up into pieces. The farmer sells them, people buy them, and we cook and eat them.”

She mulled that over for a moment and then carried on eating her ham roll, seemingly undisturbed.

I was quite glad to get this out of the way relatively early. I have friends who’s children have stopped eating meat when they realise what it is.

The other day, on our walk to nursery, my daughter had by this time made a few connections, and then asked me – “We don’t eat Peppa Pig… do we?”.

It’s fair to say I don’t really like Peppa Pig. We’ve never seen the show, but the books are so poorly written I have refused to read them aloud any more. They are read the books at nursery from time to time. I also had a copywriting job where I went a little mad with all the Peppa and George tat I had to gush about. I understand the TV show is better, but I’m too preoccupied with showing her the likes of Star Wars, Studio Ghibli, and (currently) Dinosaur movies.

So I was very, very tempted to answer “Yes, we eat Peppa Pig”. But on consideration I replied “No, we don’t eat Peppa. Or George. Or their mummy or daddy.”

“But we do eat other pigs. Sausages, ham, bacon, are all from other pigs who are dead”.

Again, she pondered that for a moment, and then our walk to nursery continued.

I appreciate that as a society, we have become increasingly removed from the fact that meat is part of a dead animal. My wife has made a better go at facing this head on. When 7 months pregnant, she took it upon herself to skin, decapitate, and joint three wild rabbits that a friend had hunted – just to prove to herself that she could. We don’t have a photo of any of this, as I was hiding in the living room until the dead animals were transformed into meat, which I was then more than happy eat.

My daughter has the beginning of an understanding of where meat comes from, and so far it hasn’t conflicted with her love of cute animals. Or annoying ones like Peppa.

You Baby Me Mummy
Little Hearts, Big Love