Tag Archives: Cooking

5 Things I’m Loving Right Now (June 2012)

Bloomin’ Heck…. is it really the end of June already?

Here is a little vloggeroo about what has made June particularly wonderful for me.

Here are the info bits!

Bio Oil – available on the high street & online…everywhere!

Coconut Cocoa Butter Bar – Facebook or her website…. ONLY 1 BLOOMIN’ POUND!

Primark Tights – £2.50 a pair… a fab Henry Holland dupe

Ginvera BB Cream

Nigella Instant Chocolate Mousse

Enjoy fitfaces!

A Week in Pictures

Merry Christmas Eve Eve! Tonight I head for the hills, laden with gifts for all of those I love. This will be my last post before Christmas, so I thought I’d make it a first…

This is my first ever week in pictures post… hope you like it!

1: A little peek of some of my creations for my first business venture next spring!

2: Desperate times call for desperate measures. Never have I needed toasted marshmallows more….

3: Our gorgeous little tree, before we packed up the presents to deliver to family and friends. (And yes, the bottle of Hendricks gin…a present from P to us both…)

4: I haven’t been lying about how much I’ve been in my kitchen. Our fridge is full of yummy gifts and VERY wilty celery apparently…

5: P built me a Bourbon Bungalow. He’s perfect.

6: Helping P’s Mum sort out her wardrobe came with rewards. Vintage costume jewellery of hers, her mothers and her grandmothers.

Hope you all have an absolutely fabulous Christmas. Love to you and yours!

xxx

How I Spend My Christmas Vacation

Today was the last day of term (I’m in tomorrow to do a care shift…but lets glaze over that shall we?), so work for me is finished! HUZZAH!

So from finishing one job, to starting another. Time to crack on with my christmas hampers.

My jams are already done, and my relishes are relishing. What I wait for ages to do are my sweet things as I’m always afraid my biscuits will go soggy and my truffles will get….well…. scoffed.

The first thing I’ll start making are my homemade chocolates. These are possibly the easiest of all my goodies to make, but this year I’m adding a little flavouring to make mint and orange delights.

Brrrrrrrilliant

 Last year, P had bought a penguin shaped ice cube silicone mould for making…you guessed it…penguin shaped ice cubes.

Due to being totally amazeballs and full of great ideas (check out MY SELF-ESTEEM!) I pinched it to make Choccy Penguins for my friends children and my younger brothers as seen last christmas here. Since last year, we have bought LOADS of different silicone moulds (IKEA you legend!) for my christmas chocolates and I’m most excited about using the heart shapes.

1: Take 200g of chocolate (any flavour, how about chilli chocolate for the menfolk? – I’ve done plain white & milk shapes as they are for children) – 200g does one ice cube tray. Keep the empty ice cube tray in the freezer till you are just ready to put the chocolate in it.

2: Break it up into squares and nuke in the microwave until completley melted. You can do it the traditional way over a pan of hot water, but I feel it takes too long when I’m in this festive rush! (At this point, stir in a few drops to taste, of peppermint or orange essence, if you fancy some flavoured chocs)

3: Using a teaspoon, scoop and dribble molten chocolate – it has to be runny or it will make silly blobs too quickly, into the mould…halfway you can add a nut, or a sweetie if you wish, dependent if you want them to have a centre. You could also do half white and half milk…etc etc, just stopping halfway through before adding the different layer.

4: Ensure you are as neat as possible as this will save you neatening them up after they come out the freezer. Clean up the edges with a flat butter knife. Give the mould a little wibble to make all the chocolate fall into the cracks.

5: Whack in the freezer for about an hour.

6: Pop out of the mould (you may have to be a bit rougher than you think) and place in bought or homemade bags or boxes lined with greaseproof paper.

Do try not to scoff them before you finish….mine get stored in our drinks fridge (that doubles as an end table) ready to go in their cute cellophane bags. I have to wrap them pretty quick else P thinks they are fair game and scoffs them all!

Midweek Munchies: Slow Cooker Veggie Chilli

Until this weekend, I thought I was an odd 25-year-old for asking for a slow cooker for my birthday from Papa Pigeon. That is until some of us went to visit our gorgeous best friend last weekend in Manchester, and she whipped hers out with glee! What followed was an epic hour-long conversation between 4 women about food and the amazingness of slow cookers….. we obviously need to get a life right?

Slow cookers are honestly an amazing invention. Whack it on before you go to work (or an epic shop-a-thon like we did last Saturday), come home to amazing yumminess with minimal effort.

Slow Cooker Veggie Chilli

Ingredients

This recipe is only what I used THIS TIME. You can chuck ANYTHING in here! Change the quantities of veggies to suit you and your household!

  • A medium courgette – chopped into chunks
  • 2 medium Green Peppers
  • Half a large Onion (chopped)
  • x2 tins of Sweetcorn
  • 2 cloves of Garlic (crushed)
  • 2 tsps of chopped chilli (I use the Lazy kind)
  • 4 leaves of Basil (Chopped)
  • x2 400g tins/cartons of chopped Tomatoes
  • x1 tin of Kidney Beans or Mixed Bean Salad

Method

  1. Whack it all in the slow cooker.
  2. Stir
  3. Cook on low for 9-10 hours or high for 4-5
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls, and cover with grated cheese!

This recipe fed us for one LARGE bowl of chilli each, and I froze two portions for quick meals-for-one for Him Indoors when I’m working late.

I do plan to use one of these portions next week by frying off some beef mince and mixing it with the veggie chilli. Quick and easy meat chilli or Spaghetti Bolognese! BAM!

 

Buried in a book about food in books…

Sometimes I am highly aware that I am on another planet, and that my friends, family and P are all looking at me and shaking their heads.

I find this happens a lot when I read cookbooks like ACTUAL books.

I snuggle up on the sofa, cup of chamomile tea in hand, blanket wrapped around me and a big fat hardback with Nigella’s face plastered all over it. To me that sounds like bloomin’ heaven.

Imagine then, teamed with the knowledge of how much I LOVE children’s literature (Yes Ms Blyton and Mr C.S. Lewis, I am gawping at you AGAIN), that there is a cookbook all about the delicious foods in children’s books. I KNOW RIGHT?!

Who wouldn’t want to run around solving mysteries and then scoff macaroons like Fatty in Five Finder Outers? NOBODY. That’s who.

This amazing book is not imaginary. I was given it, earlier this month, as a birthday present by one of my wonderful best friends, Louise, and I had to try so hard not to sit and pour over the pages before I opened anything else!

Cherry Cake and Ginger Beer: A Golden Treasury of Classic Treats is written by Jane Brocket, and it is a must Christmas buy for those you know, who like me, can’t say no to Elevenses.

Midweek Munchies: Chickpeas as a Snack Food?

I stumbled on this fahhhhhbulous recipe for Sweet & Salty Roasted Chickpeas by Stef over at The Cupcake Project and I cannot wait to get home after our trip to Disney (I leave tomorrow morning! Eeeee!) to have a go at these as an alternative to popcorn.

Stef’s blog is wonderful and I urge you to head over there and get lost for an hour or two.

Midweek Munchies: Tomato & Mozarella Spaghetti Bake

Now, this may not look that appealing – that is partly due to my poor photography – but it tastes DIVINE.

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsps olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 400g chopped toms
  • A good pinch of chilli powder or a chopped chilli
  • 400g of Spaghetti, snapped down into little bits
  • 250g of mozzarella, sliced
  • a handful of basil leaves
  • Other grated cheese (optional)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 200ºC/Gas Mark 6,  and put water on to boil in a pan.
  2. Heat the oil in a large pan and then fry the garlic for about a minute.
  3. Chuck in the toms and chilli, bring to the boil and then simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Whack your broken up spaghetti into the now boiling water and let cook according to the packet instructions.
  5. Drain the spaghetti and mix with the tomato sauce and the basil.
  6. Add half of the tomato spaghetti to an ovenproof dish, layer half of the sliced mozzarella on top, and then repeat the layers, finishing with some optional grated cheese.
  7. Bake for 15/20 minutes. Scatter with extra basil leaves and serve.

YUMMY

Midweek Munchies: Chocolate Reindeers

Well, I’m totally in the hamper mind set here at the Nest. I am starting to need a bigger pantry (or an ACTUAL pantry and not just a tiny cupboard – hint hint P) to store the homemade goodies in.

Having my face TOTALLY in Pinterest at the moment, I stumbled upon these cuties, that I may just HAVE to make to add in at the last minute.

Click here for the source AND THE RECIPE!

Made by Kristin last year, when she was still blogging over at Betty Crocker Wannabe, I cannot wait to try these out.

I may have stalked Kristin a little bit, and her new blog ‘A Simply Klassic Home’ is just as fabulous ( AND VERY THRIFTY). Please please go check her out.

Have a fab Wednesday!

Midweek Munchies: Bara Brith

After my week in Wales, I felt the need to cook some Welsh Tea Cake, also known as Bara Brith. This is perfect with a cuppa, slathered in butter. The cake…don’t ruin a good cup of tea this way…

This recipe takes some time…some overnight time….so be prepared!

Bara Brith

Ingredients

  • 80z Sugar
  • 12oz Dried Fruit
  • 1/2 pint of Tea (I find English Breakfast works best…but PG Tips would work just as well!)
  • 10oz Flour
  • 1 Egg

Method

  1. Brew up 1/2 a pint of tea. Let it cool.
  2. Pour the tea into a bowl, add the sugar and dried fruit, stir and leave stood (covered) overnight.
  3. The next day, set your oven to 170ºc (or Gas Mark 3 if you are that way inclined) and allow to preheat. Grease, and line a loaf tin. (I use my silicone one…BAM!)
  4. Mix your tea/fruit mix (the fruit should have sucked up most of the tea, making it all plump and squishy) with the flour and egg.
  5. Pour into your loaf tin and then bake for 1 1/2 hours.
  6. Always check your cakes by skewering them (I use a fondue pick – Classy eh?) and ensuring the skewer comes out of the cake clean.

I’m about to go shove some more of this in my face! YUMMY!

Midweek Munchies: Potato & Cham Frittata

If it has got cheese in it, you can bet your last quid that it won’t last long in our house. We are cheese fiends.

Which is why we loved this Potato & Cham Frittata, that I cooked last week.

(Cham = Cheese and Ham!)

Apologies for shoddy picture – P wolfed his down before he could even think about his camera…so they are done with my shocking point & click.

Ingredients

  • A good old glug of oil
  • 4/6 leftover cooked potatoes, sliced.
  • 4 eggs, beaten.
  • Loads of cheese
  • 4 spring onions, sliced and diced.
  • A good few slices of ham, hacked to bits.

Method

  1. Heat your oil in a non-stick frying pan.
  2. Add your potatoes and fry until beginning to crisp (about 8 minutes)
  3. In a bowl , mix your eggs & your spring onions together.
  4. Whack on the grill.
  5. Tip your eggy onions into the fry pan, mix quickly and then turn the heat down.
  6. Scatter your cheese on top.
  7. After about 8 minutes, once the top side has almost set, pop the pan under the grill for 2-3 minutes until fully firm.
  8. Slide out of the pan and devour!

This was great with some ketchup to dunk! x