For me, November has been about biscuits, pasta bakes and being really impressed with a kids menu.
Dark chocolate hobnobs have been a bit of a saviour this month - they've been a good thing to reach for at those moments when making anything more complicated is impossible. They are healthy too - oats and dark chocolate - good for vitamin C absorption and milk supply.
We fall back on Dolmio pasta bake when we need something fairly quickly to the table. Its quick and easy and tasty. Meals like that have taken over a bit while evenings are very much being taken over with one child or the other needing attention. When Sacla al Forno came up on offer, I felt it was worth a try. It falls into one of those put it all in a dish, put it in the oven and hope for the best category, rather than needing to cook the pasta first. I have to be honest - I don't like doing it that way around as we always seem to end up with the odd piece of uncooked and crunchy pasta.
However, in this instance, I feel I can forgive it. The Homepride sauces are very disappointing - nigh on tasteless, but these are very good. They come in three different flavours. My favourite so far is the tomato, mozzarella and pesto. Husband would probably prefer the one with chilli and we haven't yet tried the four cheese with black truffle - but how delicious does that sound?
What I also quite like about this is that it comes in a two person serving - rather than four. Far more appropriate for our evening meals. Al Forno Bakes can be bought for £2.49 direct from Sacla.
Talking of pasta... I am really impressed with the new kids menu and activity pack at Carluccio's. Carluccio's have always been a favourite of mine, good for chatting late into the night with friends over a bottle of wine or having a relaxed family meal. You never feel like it is difficult taking children there - the staff are super friendly. Anyway, I feel that Carluccio's have ramped up the child friendly atmosphere with the little book provided to children. It's high quality and has a lot of different pages to keep them entertained between courses.
The pages inside were numerous and included information such as a comprehensive list of pasta shapes and space to design your own.
Then there were these doodle pages and lots of spaces to draw whatever you would like. For D, that meant drawing a picture of me (on the left) pushing Roo (in the middle) with him on the right.
I also loved these swanky little pencils.
...and here's D enjoying his choice - spaghetti with pesto. It's another one of these meals that entirely disappears. I like that he can choose from a range of sauces and pastas so that it feels personal to him. I also like that they have a bit of a wider range of dishes. My only disappointment is that I'm sure they used to have more of a choice of pasta shapes available in the past.
Their authentic spinach and ricotta ravioli in butter sauce for grown ups is definitely a bit of a draw too...
We'll be back. Carluccio's is fast becoming my favourite Italian restaurant, particularly with little ones as it really draws on the Italian love of family that we've experienced when visiting.
Any new products you've discovered this month?