Mr Meks Fakeaway – Daddy Baked Chicken!

Like most people I love a good takeaway, however the problem with a take away is the cost both to your pocket and your waistline.     What if, however I could make my own take away food?  Not only could I make it healthy and tasty but I could also do it on a budget.

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This Saturday I decided to do my own fried chicken meal.   Firstly I researched various chicken recipes across the internet and decided to take the best bits of each recipe and make my own delicious Daddy fried (baked!) chicken!   I spent £3 on the Chicken and 75p for the buttermilk at Sainsburys (see recipe at the bottom of this page).

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In order to bulk it out I needed some delicious sides to go with my fantastic chicken so I cut some potatoes into chips and popped them into the Actifry with a couple of sprays of Frylight to make them a healthy alternative to fast food fries.  I also made up a packet of Curry flavoured savoury rice and added a tin of BBQ beans.   Finally I found a recipe for some American style gravy which was delicious (see this recipe)

 

The kids loved this the taste and flavour of the chicken and the gravy and both mum and dad enjoyed the savings made on our bank account and our belt straps!

 

 

Daddy Baked Chicken

 

Ingredients

12 Chicken Drumsticks

Marinade

  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 tablespoon of thyme
  • 3 cloves garlic, Crushed
  • 1 tablespoon of Paprika
  • 1 teaspoon of Onion Powder
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Coating

  • 3 cups crushed corn flakes
  • 2 teaspoons thyme
  • 1 teaspoon of Veg stock
  • Salt.

 

 

Directions

 

Mix together the marinade ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken and sauce into a zip locked bag and then move the chicken around in the bag until it’s coated with the sauce (Removing chicken skin will reduce calories however I love the skin!).   Place the sealed bag in the fridge overnight or for about 4 hours.

 

Preheat the oven to 200 celsius. Fit a sheet tray with a wire rack and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

 

Add corn flakes, veg stock, salt and thyme together in a blender and blend until the mix becomes crumbs.

 

Remove chicken from the marinade, letting the excess drip off, and dredge through the corn flake mixture, until it’s coating in crumbly goodness. .


Place on the wire rack-fitted sheet tray and bake for 40 minutes until golden and crisp.

My Xbox Role of Honor

I was kinda of bored today so I was messing around with my Xbox profile when I came across my achievement section which shows all the games I have ever played on my trusty Xbox 360 and Xbox One so I thought I would share that list with you!

So here it is (In no particular order!)

Elder Scrolls – Oblivion

Elder Scrolls – Skyrim

Dead Rising

Dead Rising 2

Saints Row

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Bioshock

Call of Duty 3

Mass Effect

Call of Duty 2

The Bourne Conspiracy

Scene it? Lights Camera Action.

Zuma

Soul Calibur 4

Viva Pinata

Smackdown Vs Raw 2007

Spiderman Friend Vs Foe

Grand Theft Auto IV

Grand Theft Auto V

Lost Via Domus

Ghostbusters the Video Game

Hexic HD

Assassins Creed

Assassins Creed 2

Assassins Creed Brotherhood

Assassins Creed 3

Max Payne 3

Call of Duty – Modern Warfare

Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 2

Call of Duty – Modern Warfare 3

Red Dead Redemption

La Noire

Army of Two

Prince of Persia

Dead Space

The Simpsons Game

Guitar Hero 2

Guitar Hero 3

Guitar Hero World Tour

Left 4 Dead

Batman Arkham Asylum

Batman Arkham City

Dragon Age: Origins

Teken 6

Alan Wake

Dante’s Inferno

Fallout 3

Fable 2

Fable 3

Viva Pinata Party Animals

Dorito Dash of Destruction

Street Fighter IV

Scene it?  Box Office Smash.

Pro Evo 2009

Street Fighter 2

SoulCalibur

Halo 3

Halo 3 ODST

Sega Superstar Tennis

Viva Pinata – Trouble In Paradise

Bejeweled 2

Mass Effect 2

The Beatles Rockband

Bioshock 2

Lego Indiana Jones

Final Fantasy 13

Darksiders

Halo Reach

The Sims 3

Marvel vs Capcom 2

Fallout New Vegas

Kinect Adventures

Dragon Age 2

Lips

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles – Classic Arcade

Yoostar 2

Mass Effect 3

WWE12

Need for Speed – Hot Pursuit

Marvel Vs Capcom 3

Left 4 Dead 2

Kinect Sport

Kinectimals

The Orange Box

Goldeneye Reloaded

Ghostbusters Sanctum of Slime

Dead Island

Metal Gear Rising

Tomb Raider Legend

The Maw

Toy Soldiers

Rayman Raving Rabbids

Mortal Kombat Vs Dc Universe

Bioshock Infinite

Civilization Revolution

Crysis

Borderlands 2

Scarygirl

Castlevania

Bully

King of Fighters XIII

Super Street Fighter IV

Minecraft Xbox 360

 

Xbox One

Need for Speed Rivals

Dead Rising 3

Call Of Duty – Ghost

Assassin’s creed IV – Black Flag

Ryse – Son of Rome

Fifa 14

Forza 5

Crimson Dragon

Thief

Lego Marvel Super Heroes

Titanfall

Watchdogs

Max the Curse of Brotherhood

Peggle 2

Lego Hobbit

Battlefield 4

Destiny

Minecraft Xbox One

Chariot

Alien Isolation

Killer Instinct

Middle Earth – Shadow of Mordor

Halo The Master Chief Collection

Dragon Age Inquisition

Worms Battlegrounds

Assassin’s Creed Unity

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

A few months ago I decided to take a leaf out of my wife’s book and try the joys of comping to see what I can win.

Comping is where people enter a large number of competitions on the internet in order to win something.. simples!  The idea is that the more competitions you enter then the more likely you will win one of them.    I could never be bothered with it before just because it involves a lot of registering to sites which results in a lot of spam in your mailbox plus it can become increasingly boring to enter your details again and again.  I had won stuff in the past including tickets to the World Tour Tennis championships in London but I just couldn’t be bothered entering my details again and again.

Around November time I had a little operation so had a bit of free time and was looking for something not too energetic to do to pass the time.     The wife’s comping hobby had paid off in a big way and she had won a £399 Yamaha sound bar off a Facebook competition.    I couldn’t believe how cool it was when it arrived,  It was state of the art and the bass reminded me of being at our local cineplex!

On the back of my wife’s win and the the fact I had all this free time I decided to give it a whirl again and put some effort into it.    I went onto the Moneysavingexpert forums as they had a dedicated forum for all comps as well as giving you the time they end and the all important answer’s to any questions needed.    I must have entered about 400 competitions in my first two days!    I kept checking my email box and facebook and twitter accounts but no “Congratulations” or “You’re a winner!” but i kept going and eventually I had my first win which was a pack of Curry Sauce!

You might be thinking “is that it?”  but to me it was still a win and it energized me to keep going.   During November and December I won three travel board games from Deichmann shoes christmas competition,  Five expensive megableu games,  A £200 Debenhams gift card from an Aviva facebook competition and a M&S bubbly choccy santa!

Megableu-range

I am afraid I have not been an active comper since January due to work and family commitment however it just shows that in order to win it you need to be in it!

Daddy and Daughters Day Out – First Football Match!

A few weeks ago my middle daughter said the words that all Daddies have longed to hear,  “Daddy will you take me to a football match?”    I was surprised to hear these words from any of my daughters as, just like their mother they have never shown any interest in the world of sport at all!

 

What had happened was a few months ago I had won tickets to watch the ATP World Tour final (Tennis) at the 02 and had taken the eldest.   My middle daughter therefore felt she was due some daddy daughter time and knew that I love football as much as tennis so decided to ask if we could go.   I mentioned this to a friend that had joined us for Sunday dinner. He is an avid Wolves fan and told me that they were doing a family day when they play Blackpool and would I like to attend with middle D so I jumped at the chance.

 

A few days before the match I started to feel nervous.   This was the first football match that I had attended as a father and I was worried on how she would take it and if we might have to sit next to some idiot with a foul temper and a fouler mouth.   Also the week before the match Sir Jack Hayward the former owner of Wolves had passed away and therefore before that match there was going to be a special memorial for him.

 

We arrived at the match which was packed to the brim with supporters both old and young.   A panic set in as my little girl felt like a dot compared to all these football supporters.

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We entered the ground and sat down in our seats when my daughter said the words all dads dread “ Dad I need the loo!”.  Being a father with three girls means taking your innocent sweet darlings into the dreaded mens toilets which are usually a smelly, wee soden place in which no man or child would want to sit.   Taking your daughter into the mens toilet at a football stadium however is like this but 100 times worse!    We had to queue up and wait for a cubical and then I had to hold her in the air because no child should have to sit on what was available!

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We left the toilet and sat down again and the watched the celebrations of Sir Jack’s life.    The crowd began to sing “ He is one of our own,  Jack Hayward is one of our own” and some balloons were released and then the match began.   Ten minutes into the match my daughter said those dreaded words again “Dad I need another wee!”.   We had to push past all the supporters and make our way to the toilets which this time was deserted and she did her 2nd mid air wee!

 

We sat back down and started to enjoy the match… Well I did!   My daughter spend the first half of the match enjoying her packet of sweets and the 2nd half of the match trying to beat up our friends teenage son while he enjoyed the action.     With the match still 0-0 I noticed a father behind me who had taken his daughter to the match.   He too must had heard those dreaded words and was making his way to the toilets.   I felt sorry for the guy as during that visit Wolves scored a goal and the whole place went mad,   When he returned he looked slightly miffed!
After the match I asked my daughter if she had enjoyed the game which she replied no and that she thought it was lame!    To be fair I doubt I would take her again as I think she was more interested with the singing in the crowd and the sweets than with the football.   Also there was a lot of swearing during the match.  Blackpool have a player called Jamie O’Hara who used to play for Wolves previously and left under very bad terms with the supporters therefore every time he had the ball he was subjected to a load of abuse comparing him to a oversize ladies front bottom!     I love sport and I enjoyed the match even if it wasn’t my beloved Liverpool however I had to accept the fact that just like my wife, my daughters just ain’t the sporting type.

Smoking’s bad mmmkay…

This month it’s Stoptober which is another way the government is trying to encourage people to give up smoking.    It’s been nearly 7 years since I gave up the evil weed and I honestly have to say I have never looked back!

I started smoking when I was 14 as my mother was a chain smoker and I had regular access to them.    When you’re 14 everything changes, you start doing stupid things in the vain hope of attracting girls and at the time I thought smoking would make the girls come running!   As the years went on my smoking habit stopped being a way to impress the ladies and more of something I needed to get me through the day.   If I was stressed then I would have a fag, Tired then I’d have a fag,   bored then bring on the fags!

Roll on February 2008 and I faced a choice which would shape my future.  I was due to get married in October and I wanted to give my bride to be the wedding she deserved however things like big white dresses, fancy cars, Chocolate fountains, posh balloons and DJ’s cost money and with my £6 a day habit I was having difficulty meeting the deadline.   Something had to give so I smoked my last cigarette and destroyed the rest in the packet and started my journey to phlegm free lungs.

I decided not to use any nicotine replacement patches or gum as they had never worked for me in the past and decided if I was going to do this then I needed to go cold turkey.   The first week was hell!    At one point I called my wife to be pleading for her to give me the go ahead to smoke!   Then came the point of no return for me and the reason why I have never picked up a fag since.    I became very ill with a fever and vomiting.   My views are that I suffered the same illness as drug addicts and alcoholics suffer when they go cold turkey.  This is why I will never smoke again as the fear going through that illness keeps me on the straight and narrow.

Since I have given up smoking a number of things have improved in my life.   Firstly my lungs have improved and I notice that I seem less prone to chest infections than I use to be.   My health has also increased and so has my weight! My finances have improved as I am saving about £200 a month and I don’t smell like an ashtray which is always nice!

The best thing however is the knowledge that my children will never be brought up in a smokey environment the way I was and hopefully they will never be encouraged to take up the dreaded weed.

Meals your mum use to make – Scouse.

There are certain dishes that you grow up with that give you memories of childhood, parents and grandparents.  Some are traditional classics like fish in parsley sauce which always reminds me of time spent at my Nan’s while others are regional like Scouse!

For people who are not from Liverpool and unfamiliar with Scouse then it’s basically a lamb or beef stew which has been served in Liverpool for many a years from generation to generation and hence why Liverpudlians are known as Scousers.

Scouse like most things in Liverpool was imported from abroad or most specifically Norway and is actually a dish called Lapskaus.    It was brought to our shores by Norwegian sailors who docked in Liverpool and because the dish was cheap to make it took off with the poor.

As I no longer live in Liverpool and have settled down and had a family in the midlands I still like to make this dish every so often for my Children so that they will never forget their scouse heritage.

How to make Scouse :-


INGREDIENTS

Serves 4-6 people

Half a Pound of Stewing Steak
Half a Pound of Lambs Breast
A Large Onion
1lb of Carrots
5lb of Potatoes
2 teaspoons of Stock or 2 Oxo Cubes
2 Teaspoons of Vegatable Oil
Worcester Sauce
Salt and Pepper
Water

Cut the meat into large cubes and fry in the vegetable oil until lightly browned all over. You may wish to add some Worcester Sauce at this point for added flavour.

Transfer the meat to a large stock pan and add the onion that should have been chopped into large chunks. Follow this by chopping the carrot into medallions and place this on the meat. Peel and then finely dice 1lb of the potatoes and place on top of the carrots.

Fill the pan with cold water until it is half full. Break up the Oxo cubes or add the stock and sprinkle into the water. Add salt and pepper for seasoning. Let the pan simmer gently, stirring occasionally. The large pieces of onion will start to break up and the potato will become soft and will make the final sauce thick.

Simmer for a total of two hours, and then add the remaining potatoes that should have been peeled and roughly chopped, along with a few splashes of Worcester Sauce. Then simmer for another two hours until the early potatoes are mush and the later potatoes are soft boiled.

Serve with a crusty cob & beetroot!  Nom nom nom.

The BBC Good Food Show Summer

We attended the Good Food Show Summer a few months ago so I have decided to write about my experience and my top four of the fantastic foods we tasted!

Hiver Beer

 Hiver

Let’s face it the best thing about these types of shows are the free samples and boy there is a lot on offer!  One of the samples we tried was Hiver beers.    It’s a specialist beer brewed with honey.  The beer tastes fantastic, very crisp and goes down a treat while leaving an after taste of honey.   I purchased three bottles which I drank during the World Cup however I now wish I had more L

Essential Cuisine

esscus

If you like to cook from scratch as I do then sometimes you need good stock cubes or powder to give your meals a bit of flavour.   The stocks tubs provided by Essential Cuisine are excellent and this is the second time that we have attended the Good Food show and have gone home with a few pots of stock.    You only need a tea spoon so they last surprisingly long and give my homemade Scouse a lovely taste.

The Handmade Scotch Egg Company

scotch

These Scotch Eggs were lush!   The have different varieties of eggs , too many too choose from but in the end we decided on: Tickled Pink, the eggless imposter which is smoked salmon and cream cheese wrapped in mashed potato.  The Old Fart which is egg wrapped in sausage, bacon and beans, The Chieftain which is an egg wrapped in haggis and finally a Ploughman’s which as you guess is egg wrapped in pork, cheese and chutney.  The eggs were delicious so we hope they are back again for the winter show.

Perfick Pork

strawberry-jam-and-black-pudding-sausages

What’s not to love about sausages!  Perfick Pork sell sausages so they were always going to be good in my eyes however they sold an unusual sausage which I fell in love with.   Their black pudding and strawberry jam sausages are just to die for and made a fantastic father’s day breakfast this year!  All hail the sausage!!

This is just snapshot of a few of the fantastic foods that were on offer at the BBC Good Food Show when we attended but there was a lot more including tons and tons of Toffee Vodka which I found particularly nice!   Also on the plus side the wife met Mary Berry…. Which was nice!

Maryberry

Roll on BBC Good Food Show Winter we shall return….

80s/90s cartoons that should be turned into films!

With the Transformers becoming a hit film series and the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles coming out soon I started thinking about the cartoons I grew up with and which ones should be transferred to the big screen.

Visionaries: Knights of the Magical Knight.

Who remembers this?   The cartoon was about a gang of good knights called the Spectral Knights who were always battling the evil Darkling Lords.   They had holographic chest pieces which contained the spirit of animals and would give the knights special powers!

Defenders of the Earth

>Clears Throat< “Lord of the jungle, the hero who stalks! The beasts call him brother, the ghost who walks!
Phantom!”.  With a theme tune that contains classic lyrics like this how can it fail!    With the recent success of Guardian’s of the Galaxy and the Avengers maybe the tales of Flash Gordon, Phantom, Mandrake and Lothar could prove to be a hit?

Jayce and the wheeled warriors

The battles of Jayce verses the evil plant-like robots called the monster minds was a classic kids program when I grew up.  With todays CGI a film version who wouldn’t bet against the movie being epic!

Dungeons and Dragons

Now I am a geek if you haven’t established that so far in this blog!  I loved this cartoon as a kid and have often thought that this could easily be a hit film or tv series. The tale of six friends who ride the dungeons and dragons ride only to be transported to a mystical realm which contains a evil vampire type baddie,  A three headed dragon and a little dwarf like dungeon master.   Classic film material if I do say so myself!

Thundercats

How Thundercats has not been made into a film as yet still baffles me!  Its a tale of Lion-o and the Thundercats who as the song tells us are loose and ready for war against the evil Mumm ra.   It has cat people,  a evil Egyptian mummy and a cool sword.   Oh give me sight beyond sight!

Choosing Secondary School but which one?

Ok so my eldest is in her sixth year at primary school which means, as parents we have the hard task of deciding what senior school to send our daughter.

It only seems like yesterday that we were walking her into Nursery and then reception and now we will have to walk her into her senior school and her journey to adulthood. However an important decision needs to be made and we need to decide which school to send her to.

There are four main candidates at the moment:-

School Number 1 – It’s a school with Christian values and has connections to the church in which we married.   It requires a small bus journey to attend but the school offer a free bus service. The school got average scores on Ofsted which advised it needs improvements however it’s a school in which some of her friends will be attending.

School Number 2 – Is a little further a foot however it has good reviews.  It’s a catholic school however the drawback is that none of her school friends are going to this school.

School Number 3 – It’s quite far away, in fact it’s a whole motorway junction away however Ofsted advise this is an outstanding school.  One of our friends is looking at sending their son to this school so she wouldn’t be alone however she would have to get two buses to this school.

School number 4 – This is the school that all her friends are going too however it’s basically Chav High.  Has a reputation of being underachieving and did not score high on Ofsted however she could walk to school and she would have all her friends.

You see the dilemma we have!  Do we go for School 1 or 2 which are average schools but near and she might have some friends following her up.   Do we go for School 3 which is an outstanding school however there it’s not guaranteed she will a place and its quite far or do we send her to School 4 who is a bit pants but means she will have all her primary school friends!   If I am honest School 4 is out and School 3 appeals however does she want to leave her friends and how safe would she be traveling to school 3?    It’s a decision we both dread however we will attend the open days and check these schools out and hope that we make the right decision for our daughters future.

The Children Love…. Happyland!

When buying the kids toys I have three rules.  Rule one will they play with it,  Rule two will they break it and rule 3 does it cost a lot?

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Happyland ticks all these boxes!   Over the years our children have acquired so many Happyland figures and sets that we now have four boxes full!     The kids love to get each box out and set up play towns and villages.  Sometimes it will be the Happyland Castle being attacked by the Happyland Dinosaur or other times the Happyland train might be visiting the Happyland Rocket or Treehouse!

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Mum loves them because our daughters play with them together regardless of the age difference and I love them because it frees the TV up so I can play my trusty Xbox!   However in the end both mum and dad eventually join in the fun!