You'll know by now that the seaside is one of our favourite places to be - whatever our moods, the sea air, and the heaving crash or gentle roll of the waves can calm us, and provide respite from the stresses of life.
As well as heading there on the not so good days, we go there on the good days to make memories, have fun and relax, so when there was warm weather forecast for Bank Holiday Monday, where better to head? And what better to do there than picnic? There was no question this was to be our plan.
The NC would be in charge of handling the bucket and spade packing, the retrieval of the picnic hamper from the loft and the cool box from the shed. Oh yes, no plastic bags or rucksacks here, and if we were going all out with the hamper, then hey, why not go the whole hog and take the barbeque too?! So he was also in charge of packing the charcoal, barbeque and appropriate tools.
As it happens, I was also chosen to be a #MorrisonsMum, and so armed with a handful of vouchers (thanks Morrisons and Britmums), I headed to my nearest Morrisons (which handily is less than half a mile away) to buy not only our usual shopping, but a few extra bits for said barbeque.
So in went the lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber, a couple of packets of peppers, some Jersey Royals for a potato salad, some strawberries and a pineapple. Everywhere I looked were new little signs; 'I'm Cheaper' they boasted. Some lovely looking ready made mocktails - Mojito and Strawberry Dacquiri would provide liquid refreshment. In went the loo rolls and teabags, the cereal and the cheese. Then biscuits and frozen peas, cling film and washing up liquid.
Up and down the aisles, these little yellow pointers stuck out from the shelves letting you know where prices had been reduced...and many of them on things I actually buy anyway, so I know I'm going to be saving money.
I'm lucky in that I get to shop pretty early in the morning - I usually drop the kids off at school/nursery and go straight onto the supermarket, and so they're well stocked, and not too busy.
Shopping done I headed home, preparing to go back to Morrisons on Sunday morning to pick up some fish...like most of the supermarkets around here (and we have all of the major ones) Morrisons has it's different counters, and the fresh fish counter is always full, fresh and laid out nicely. But I didn't want to get it too soon...
Now food planning. Salad bought, fish planned, I needed something else, something celebratory, something different....
Stuffed Layer Loaf
A vegetarian loaf, filled with roasted peppers and onions, layered with homemade pesto and mozzarella
A round loaf (Morrisons do this lovely sesame seed cob)
6-8 bell peppers, deseeded, cut into large pieces
2 mozzarella balls, sliced
3tbs pesto (I used homemade wild garlic pesto, but any will do)
2 onions, cut into chunks.
A little olive oil
Cut the top off the loaf, reserving for later. Scoop the bread out of the bottom part of the loaf, leaving a shell (but keep the bread you take out).
Spread pesto inside the loaf, then when the vegetables are cool enough to handle, layer them inside the shell, followed by a layer of mozzarella. Alternate until all veggies and mozzarella are used up.
If there is space left in the shell, then break up the bread you removed earlier and stuff back on top of the layers to fill the shell. Pop the lid back on.
Wrap tightly in several layers of cling film. Leave in the fridge overnight.
Et voila...on the morning of your barbeque, your loaf will be ready to slice into wedges.
All in all this should cut into 8 pieces. It works out at a little over 50p per portion which, for a celebratory loaf, filled with delicious veggies is pretty good. (Though I did already have the pesto and olive oil at home).
So on the Sunday we picked up our fish - salmon for the children and me, a stuff mackerel for the NC, and on the Monday with everything prepared and packed, we headed to the seaside. And of course, first things first - the barbeque was lit straight away...
Lunchtime - fish, salad, layer loaf, grilled corn, mango salsa. Mmm.
Then pudding - marshmallow, strawberry and pineapple kebabs on the cooling coals...
Oh, and of course playtime - jumping the waves, writing in the sand, sandcastle building, digging, and collecting precious shells and sea glass...
What a wonderful day - the sun shone, we all got a little bit browner, the kids enjoyed playing (only one tantrum and one stamping on sandcastles moment) and we had delicious food - thanks Morrisons, and Britmums too. If you want to find out more about Morrisons - you can just here.