Healthy recipes to enjoy with your family

Bonfire Parkin Recipe and this week’s meal plan

bonfire parkin recipe meal plan


Hello Everybody,

Happy Guy Fawkes/Bonfire night!

Oh dear, it’s been a while since I’ve written a post for you.  The reason – well, there isn’t one really!.  You know, sometimes life just gets in the way.

I’ve been busy with my ‘day job’ plus spending time with the kids over half term.  At times like this, it would be very easy for me to wallow in feelings of failure but I know this will just make the problem worse.  If I allow a failure mindset to take hold,  I know I won’t take any steps to get on with motivating myself to take action.

If you are struggling with making lifestyle changes, then I’m sure you’ve experienced a similar problem.  It’s very easy to ‘fall off the wagon’ when making changes, and then feel it’s just not worth going on because you’ve failed.

If you are facing this problem, then the best approach to take is to just shrug your shoulders, recognise that things didn’t quite go to plan and then pick yourself up and crack straight back on with your goals.  We only fail if we don’t try again.

Whilst I was spending time with the kids yesterday, I made some Bonfire Parkin and thought I would share the recipe with you.

Parkin is a sticky, ginger cake that originates from Yorkshire and Lancashire.  It’s usually eaten around this time of year as a Bonfire treat.  It’s believed the recipe dates back to Pagan times, when baking with oats and spices was part of the celebration of the start of winter.

Bonfire Parkin Recipe

bonfire parkin recipe


100g dark brown sugar

150g plain flour

150g porridge oats or oatmeal

3 teaspoons ground ginger

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g butter

3 tablespoons golden syrup

150ml milk


  1. Grease and line a 20 cm square baking tin.
  2. Preheat the oven to 130°C/250°F
  3. Place all the dry ingredients into a mixing bowl and stir together well.
  4. Place the butter and syrup into a pan and gently melt over a low heat.
  5. Pour the syrup and butter mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then add in the milk to form a runny batter.
  6. Pour the batter into the baking tin and bake for about 1 hour to 1¼ hours or until the cake is firm to the touch.  Don’t open the oven door for the first hour, or the cake won’t rise.
  7. Leave the cake to cool in the baking tin.  When cool, wrap in foil or place in a storage tin for about 2 hours before slicing.  Parkin does improve with time if kept wrapped in foil or in a cake tin for 2-3 days.

Enjoy by the Bonfire with a hot chocolate!


this week's meal plan

This week’s meal plan:-

I haven’t posted a meal plan for a while.  I’d love to know whether these meal plans help with your meal ideas for the family.  Let me know in the comments or on my InstagramFacebook Page

  • Crumbed chicken, sweet potato wedges and veggies
  • Chinese roasted pork, stir fried veggies and rice
  • Shepherds pie
  • Chorizo and mushroom pasta
  • Pork with peanut butter and sweet potatoes, rice and green veggies
  • Creamy chicken pasta bake
  • Baked salmon, potatoes and veggies


Wishing you all a wonderful week.

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This week’s meal plan and pulled pork and Mexican sauce recipe

this week's meal plan


Hello Everybody,

I hope you all had a super weekend.

Pulled pork and Mexican sauce recipe:

This week I thought I would share with you a simple pulled pork with Mexican sauce recipe that I created at the weekend.

Firstly, a little cheat tip – I thought I would try out this new seasoning mix by Wahaca.  The ingredients listed are pure spices, with no added nasties! Verdict: it tasted pretty good and worked well.

Wahaca seasoning, pulled pork and mexican sauce recipe

For the pulled pork, pop a suitably sized pork loin joint into a roasting pan, cover the top with the seasoning mix (tomato and chipotle).  Then add a cup of water to the base of the pan to help keep the meat juicy whilst it’s roasting.  Cover with foil and put into a preheated oven at about 140ºC.  I left mine roasting for about three hours whilst we went out for a walk.  I then increased the oven temperature to about 200ºC and left it roasting for a further two hours, or until the meat begins to fall away.

Pulled pork and Mexican sauce recipe and this week's meal plan

For the Mexican sauce:-


1 garlic clove diced

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon of oregano

2 tablespoons of brown sugar

2 tablespoons of cider vinegar

1 cup of chicken stock

2 tablespoons of tomato paste

Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and gently fry the garlic until browning.  Add the cumin and oregano and stir for about 1 minute to release the flavours.  Add the rest of the ingredients and then simmer the sauce for about 15 minutes or until you are ready to serve the meat.

Use the  sauce like a gravy to pour over the pulled pork meat.  The sauce has a spicy, slightly barbecue flavour.


This week’s meal plan:-

  • Chicken breast in a tarragon and cream sauce with roasted new potatoes and green veg
  • Slow cooked pork with Mexican sauce, roast potatoes and veg
  • Spicy pork and egg carbonara and garlic bread (made with leftover pulled pork)
  • Green Thai chicken curry and rice
  • Home made lamb burgers and salad
  • Smoked haddock and pasta bake
  • Tuna steaks with a Malaysian style rojak pineapple salad



I hope you all have a super week.

Please sign up to the New Leaf newsletter to receive regularly updates, healthy tips, special offers and recipes HERE.

Did you check out last week’s recipe for gluten free fruit loaf?


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This week’s meal plan and a recipe for gluten free fruit loaf

this week's meal plan


Hello everybody,

I hope you are all keeping well and healthy.  How are your New Year resolutions and health goals going?  If you feel like you’ve fallen off the wagon and need some motivation, come and join the New Leaf 52 weeks healthy motivation camp.  Every week you will receive a Monday lifestyle challenge to do, a healthy recipe to try, some fitness and general health and wellbeing tips.  It’s completely free and is a private group so you can comment and connect with people in total privacy.  I hope you can come along and join us  right here!

This week I thought I would share with you a gluten free fruit loaf recipe, although I didn’t make it gluten free for our family.

Gluten free fruit loaf Recipe


1 cup dried apricots, halved

½ cup roughly chopped dried figs

½ cup dried raisins

½ cup  sugar

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 cups gluten-free or ordinary self-raising flour

1¾ cups milk

½ cup of chopped nuts of choice (I used walnuts)


Combine the apricots, figs, raisins, sugar, cinnamon and flour in a bowl.  Add 1½ cups of the milk.  Stir to combine and then cover and leave in the fridge overnight.

The next day, bring the mixture to room temperature for about 10 minutes.  Add the remaining ¼ cup of milk and the nuts.  Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin and cook in a preheated oven between 170ºC-190°C.

Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.  Leave to cool slightly in the tin for about 5 minutes.  Turn out to cool on a wire rack.  Serve sliced, with optional butter.

This passed the husband and children test, so hopefully your family will enjoy it too!

This week’s meal plan:

  • Prawn Pad Thai
  • Sundried tomato and basil stuffed chicken breast, potato wedges and salad
  • Sausage and bean bake
  • Thai chicken and pineapple with rice and salad
  • Pork and hoisin sauce stir fry with rice
  • Beef casserole, jacket potatoes and vegies
  • Glazed chilli fish, rice and steamed veg


I hope you all have a super week.

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Don’t forget to sign up for the New Leaf newsletter here to receive regularly updates on our posts, recipes and recommendations HERE


Signature from Janine x