In my kitchen – The Willow Tree

In my kitchen – The Willow Tree

Today I’m sharing my last guest blog post in my “In my kitchen”. I’ve really enjoyed putting this series together and I hope you have enjoyed reading it too. I’d like to thank all the bloggers who have written a guest post for me over the last 5 months. Anyway, on to this weeks post.This week I’m joined by Michelle from The Willow tree. I hope that you enjoy reading this weeks post.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family.

Hi, I’m Michelle and I am 31 years old and live with my husband and my three children. My son is 7 years old, my daughter who is 3 and my baby boy who is nearly 1! I have a very busy home! I am currently on maternity leave and enjoying the last few months off before returning to work part-time. I am a total foodie and love to eat! I love experiencing with new flavours and food and my husband and I love to cook!

Who does most of the cooking in your house? Do you enjoy cooking?

It’s properly 50/50 in our house as my husband works shifts so sometimes he is not at home to cook.  On the weekends we tend to cook together or my husband will cook me a meal.  he loves to cook and try out new recipes.  His inspiration is Jamie Oliver!  His current favourite is beef wellington which is beautiful!  We also love to cook Mexican and Thai food.

I enjoy to cook but not as much as my husband.  I like to cook roast dinners on a Sunday and take my time rather than feel rushed in the evening when the children are going to bed.  We will always eat together too which is lovely.

Do you meal plan?

Sort of. It can be hard when my husband is working shifts as sometimes he is not at home during the evening so therefore ill tend to cook something simple like salmon and veg or filled pasta and will not tend to meal plan.  I will try to be organised as best as I can be at the beginning of the week especially when we are all at home so I know what night we are waiting together as a family or when the kids are in bed.

What are mealtimes like in your house? Do you eat together as a family?

We will eat together with the children at least once or twice a week, especially on a Sunday.  I think it is so important for that family time around the table and to talk about our day and what we did and didn’t enjoy.  Its lovely to see the children eat a wholesome meal that we have cooked too – it’s rewarding! My children tend to want to eat earlier than myself and my husband so most of the time we do eat when they have gone to bed.

We also love to eat out, although we don’t do this a lot, its lovely to do something exciting and for a change.  We recently took our kids to an Indian buffet where they enjoyed poppadoms, chicken tikka and rice and nann.  My 11-month-old love chicken tikka masala!

What are your favourite family meals to cook?

Our favourite family meal is:

  • Roast dinner – my children love roast dinners especially the Yorkshire pudding

Our favourite meals to cook as a couple are

  • Steak with triple cooked chips and veg
  • Spinach and paneer curry
  • King prawn and rocket pasta

I love to use my slow cooker too which is great if I haven’t got time during the day to cook and prepare for a meal – we can just throw everything in and it will be ready for the evening.  Aldi does these great pre-packed stew pots with the meat and the veg already chopped. Perfect!

Do you cook the same meals frequently or are you always trying new recipes?

We are ALWAYS trying new foods and recipes. We have been signed up to receive the Simply cook boxes for nearly 1 year now and this has transformed our eating at home! We have tried so many new recipes and we find that we do not order takeaways as much anymore as we are cooking a lot of Asian and Indian inspired meals that take amazing! Simply cook offer four meals each month with three pots that may include spices, stocks, reductions, pastes to make the meal. All you’ll need is to have the ingredients. You also receive a recipe card to keep explaining about the disc and how to cook it. And like the company says, these dishes are super simple to cook – Simply cook!

Do you have any tips for dealing with fussy eaters?

I think forcing your child to eat something they do not want will not work. I think offering them new foods is a good way of allowing them to find out for themselves if they like/dislike certain foods and I always say to my older two ‘Give it a try’. As long as they have tried it then I’m ok with that. Fortunately, I haven’t had to deal with fussy eaters and my children will tend to try new foods. By now, I know what they like and dislike so tend to offer my children what they prefer. My three children love sweetcorn, chicken, sausages, roast potatoes, spaghetti bolognese to name a few.

Do you have a favourite cookbook?

We are currently using Jamie Oliver 5 ingredients cookbook. For obvious reasons, it has to be Jamie Oliver as my husband is a huge fan but this book is also great as every recipe only needs 5 ingredients and sometimes when we don’t have much and we want to cook something simple, we will reach for this book. The creamy mustard chicken is amazing!

Do you enjoy baking?

I love the idea of baking and I certainly give it a go!  But I’m not the best baker!!! I did a campaign earlier this year to promote a baking website – I had to bake a Peter Rabbit showstopper cake!  And I managed! (Check it out over on my blog!)

My kids love it though – and sometimes a chocolate rice crispy cake it just enough!

Do you have any tips for making feeding the family easier?

I think using slow cookers are an easy and time effective form of cooking. I tend to find that most meals we use the slow cooker for are ‘winter’ meals so tend to not use it much in the summer. BBQ’s are a great way of pleasing everybody (and its easier for me as hubby does it!) But pre-planning makes meal times that bit easier as well as using leftovers from previous meals.

Do you get your kids involved in the kitchen?

Yes, I’ve always encouraged the children to get involved. Even if it means just sitting in the kitchen and playing whilst we cook, explaining the process. The older two love to get involved in any cake baking and my daughter W loves to cut up soft vegetables such as mushrooms. I think it’s important to show children how cooking a meal works and to show them it can be fun!

Where can we find you?

Thank you so much for reading!

I blog over at

I also have instagram



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