Autumn used to mean the return to school, then later college and finally university, but this year both my son and daughter have completed their education and my daughter is starting her first job in London. She has finished her 3 years at Norland College and will be on her NQN (Newly Qualified Nanny) year before graduating with her Norland Diploma, she has already finished the degree part of the course and her graduation ceremony is in March! So whilst I used to love the summer holidays, I also loved the return to normality in September but this year it has been later happening and I have been feeling a bit overwhelmed! Emily has been at home since June and with my son not living far away I have been cooking for the whole family for longer than expected - and I have needed easy dinner ideas! Fortunately my daughter does help with cooking our family meals and of course being a Norland Nanny she has learnt lots of easy recipes suitable for children and is very happy to take over cooking one night of the week, often more!
This is a sponsored blog post.
Easy family meal ideas!
One of my biggest challenges is coming up with ideas for healthy meals. I have spoken about how I meal plan on the blog before but sometimes I just run out of inspiration! It is therefore lovely when Emily is happy to share suggestions for easy dinner recipes! I am not a natural cook and look for simple ingredients and minimal prep time. My son has always loved simple meals and comfort foods, what my mum used to call 'nursery food' and of course Emily is happy to cook this kind of meal, family favourites include spag bol, chilli, fruity chicken curry and roasts!
At this time of the year, as the nights draw in and summer becomes autumn, we all start to look for an easy way to prepare a family-friendly meal and is there any better comfort food than a delicious pie?! Pie and mash, pie and baked beans, pie with buttery new potatoes, pie with mixed vegetables ... hands up who makes a pie from scratch these days? I used to, well sort of! Does ready-rolled pastry count?
The ultimate comfort food, a pie ticks all the boxes for any season and so I was very happy to write about Higgidy on my blog and review a selection of their delicious pies.
Feel good comfort food from Higgidy
Higgidy sent me three different pies to try ... Chicken & Ham Hock Pie, Cauliflower Cheese & Broccoli Pie and Spinach & Pine Nut Pie. And the best part, no need to think about what to cook that night! On busy weeknights it feels amazing to have that decision taken away from you!
My children weren't particularly picky eaters, and still aren't, my son maybe slightly more so than my daughter, but then girls do tend to lean towards a healthier approach don't they!? But a pie always suits the entire family.
All about Higgidy
Higgidy started back in 2003 when Camilla Stephens, who had always loved cooking, saw a gap in the market for delicious, wholesome pies. Having trained at Prue Leith's Cookery School she then went on to write recipes for Good Housekeeping, before she started making her premium pies in her West Sussex home.
Camilla understands the demands of juggling family and work and agrees that life is too short to cook everything from scratch. From a chicken pot pie for one to a full meal for a family of four, Higgidy has something for everyone and they are developing new recipes all the time. They offer a vast range of ideas for easy family meals making readymade pies that include vegan pies, vegetarian pies and quiches as well as sausage rolls or vegetable rolls.
The Higgidy pies are generous and deep-filled - Emily and I could have shared one - and they come out of the foil containers really easily. The great thing about their pies is that the pastry is strong and holds up when serving so rather than collapsing it safely encases the tasty fillings, making the pies quick and simple to serve.
Okay so pies aren't the healthiest meal on the planet but neither are they the worst, they are the perfect way to indulge a love of comfort food. If I am eating a pie I tend to serve with steamed vegetables or a side salad and leave out the potatoes or you could roast up some delicious butternut squash or sweet potatoes for lower carb. I am not a gravy adder either but my husband loves extra gravy!! It is all about being flexible and finding family dinner ideas that everyone loves!
And the feedback from my family on the pies we tried from Higgidy ... well they agreed the pastry was really nice and tasty, their favourite pie was the Cauliflower Cheese & Broccoli Pie, followed by the Chicken & Ham Hock Pie and finally the Spinach & Pine Nut Pie, which is filled with tasty feta cheese and was actually my favourite, it is ideal for a summer evening meal served with a side salad. We all thought that Higgidy Pies make a really easy Sunday lunch, even though my husband never cooks, he agreed that less washing up is always helpful. The pies are very well presented, they look good on the plate, so I would be quite happy to serve them for guests too. I might even own up and admit I didn't make them from scratch. The three pie varieties we had to try only took 25 minutes in the oven, so I roasted up a few new potatoes and cooked some vegetables to go with them.
Having looked through the different pies and recipes from Higgidy, I am rather loving the look of the Spinach & Roasted Tomato Vegan Quiche, not that I am vegan but I am happy to eat plant based more often now. So I might add that one to my Ocado shopping list. And I can't resist a steak pie ... so the Steak & Sussex Ale Pie really appeals to me for a Sunday dinner!
The pies I tried from Higgidy (left to right)
Cauliflower Cheese & Broccoli Pie, Chicken & Ham Hock Pie and Spinach & Pine Nut Pie
Higgidy have B-Corp Certification
The Higgidy pie range is available in most of the big supermarkets, like Tesco and Waitrose, I always get mine delivered from Ocado. Higgidy make the ultimate feel good food. They are delighted to have been awarded a B-Corp Certification in 2021! Which means they have been recognised as meeting high standards for both people and planet.
An interesting fact, from a young age we always tried to eat together as a family, certainly Friday, Saturday and Sunday, and we insisted that we all sat at the dinner table. I believe it encouraged both Alex and Emily to eat a bigger range of meals and it meant at the end of the day we all chatted and listened to the news from school, work or friends. Fast forward to Alex now 25 and Emily nearly 22 and neither of them will eat a meal on their lap in front of the TV! Alex has a proper table in his flat and when we were looking at student houses, Emily always rejected them if they didn't have a table! I guess I didn't do too badly bringing them up and teaching them proper manners then.
What do you think? Let me know in the comments below what your favourite pie is! And don't forget to subscribe to my emails so you never miss a new blog post!
Disclaimer: this blog post is part of a paid collaboration with Higgidy, however all views and opinions are my own.
Welcome to Fifty & Fab, a lifestyle blog to inspire you. I am a blogger with a passion for writing about health, menopause, fitness, beauty and style with a focus on the over 50's.
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Hi, I’m Michelle and my blog Fifty & Fab is all about my journey into and through my 50s. I started this blog in 2016 with the purpose of helping other women at this stage of life. I’m delighted that my blog has grown to over 13k visitors per month. Visit my Work with Me page and request my Media Kit for details of product reviews, blogging services and social media content creation.
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