Wednesday, 23 October 2013

Let them have cake........ Autumn style cake

My first attempt at photo editing!
Autumn is, it's really hard to miss it in blog world, I'm embracing it all - i love autumn.  One of my favourite scents that reminds me of my favourite season is cinnamon.......... and then that leads me on to Apples! Because Apples and Cinnamon are as perfect for one another as Salt n Pepper (Group or seasoning you wonder). In the past I’ve always gone for my favourite Autumn double act in puddings such as pie and crumble but I decided they would work perfectly in a cake. I did quite a bit of research across the tinternet and found all kinds of variations which included golden syrup and cream cheese in the ingredients list?! All that inspiration and here’s my own little recipe I came up with. It’s lovely and moist and crumbly and best served warm from the oven with a glug of cream…. Autumn on a plate

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

275g self-raising flour
125g butter, diced and best straight from the fridge
125g cinnamon sugar (if you don’t have this just use caster or light brown sugar with two tsp. of ground cinnamon
2 medium eggs (beaten)
6-8 tbsp. milk
2 - 3 Bramley apples, peeled, cored and diced (granny smith would work here as well and maybe Golden delicious
2 handfuls of sultanas or as many – little as you want
Demerara sugar (optional)

 Preheat oven to 180C/ 160C fan and grease a cake tin (you can line it as well but I didn’t bother – I am a lazy baker).

Put flour into bowl (I didn’t bother sieving, again Lazy baker me) Add butter and rub until it looks like breadcrumbs, as if you were making a crumble.

Stir in the cinnamon sugar. Beat in egg and combine. You want to achieve a smooth thick batter and so add as many tablespoons of milk it takes. Then add in your apple and sultanas and make sure it’s all combined. Dollop into your tin and level it out. Sprinkle a layer of  Demerara sugar over (this will add a lovely crunchy topping to your cake.

Bake for around 40 mins, I checked mine after 30 with my knife and it defo needed those extra 10 minutes. Let it cool down a little, I think I lasted about 5 minutes before I had to get it out of the tin and serve it up to my hungry housemates!


P.S Your whole house will be filled with lovely cinnamon and apple scents when you bake this, it’s rather lovely and homely perfect when you’re home and its cold and wet outside. I LOVE British weather

Whilst cooking this cake I listened to Seasons of love from the fabulous musical Rent and a bit of David Grey including Babylon and This year’s Love (I have to be chilled when baking)

Thursday, 17 October 2013

The Carbonara Wars......

 A text message conversation happened between my good friend Paul and me yesterday afternoon:

Paul: You still coming over tonight?
Me: Sure, about 6ish, can’t wait to see you
Paul: Me too, I haven’t got anything sorted food wise tho! Minced beef is still there or we could do Carbonara?! Let’s decide over a glass of wine (how all good decisions are made)
Me: Ok mi amore! I make a mean Carbonara though. No cream anywhere near it URGH please note my correct spelling of the word though, I can’t abide text speak – I know I’m a snob!
Paul: Ha ha!! Me too! A traditional Sicilian recipe! A proper Carbonara never has cream never has a truer word been spoken
Me: Mines a traditional Roman recipe Leilo taught to me the first time I went to stay with them in Italy
Paul: My Sicilian friend taught me when I stayed there! *pokes tongue out* it’s probably the same recipe! Lol  I also never use LOL although the men in my life seem to
Me: Haha we will compare and together we will come up with the best Carbonara recipe ever and I will blog it!

 So here it is my friends bought to you from myself and Paul with the assistance of a couple of glasses of wine

Spaghetti Carbonara

This was for the two of us but there was enough to serve 4 people

Pancetta – you can buy the cubes - in this instance we had the rashers and I used about 6 finely sliced
1 onion, diced into small cubes
3 cloves garlic, chopped finely
Glug of wine
Spaghetti, boiled in lots of salty water
Parmesan cheese, grated 
2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, beaten together
Put your pasta on to cook. Add some olive oil to the pan and add the pancetta. Get this to start to brown (about 7 mins) and then add the onions. Stir regularly and when the onion has browned ever so slightly add the garlic cook for about 3 minutes before adding a glug of wine.

Drain the pasta and then grab you eggs and beat them into the pasta – this needs to be done when the pasta is steaming hot and you have to beat the egg in really briskly so it doesn’t go scrambled. You can always add a bit of the drained pasta water if you need more glossiness. Add the pancetta mix and some Parmesan along with lots of cracked blacked pepper and a pinch of salt and voila you have Roman / Sicilian / DELICIOUS Carbonara.  

You’re Welcome.

Linking up with Alesha for Delicious Dish Tuesday

 Full Time Mama

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

I hate wasting food - it's why my freezer's jammed packed of meals ready to be reheated. When preparing this soup I decided not to throw away the seeds form the pumpkin and instead make a healthy snack!

Spicy Pumpkin Seeds

So take the seeds from the pumpkin and spread them out on some baking paper in a pan. Don't worry about washing them just shove them into the pan.

bake them on a medium heat for about 30 minutes (I put them in underneath the vegetables I was roating for the soup). Once they are nice and dry and roasted and then add a teaspoonful of coconut oil in a frying pan. Add the seeds with some cracked black pepper, some sea salt and some Cajun spice mix and stir over a moderate heat for 3 minutes of so. Put in a dish and allow to cool,

A healthy, delicious snack which uses up part of a vegetable that you would usually discard!

Monday, 14 October 2013

Pumpkin Passion

It's been a while I know, a long while...... I'm still not really sure about blogging, I know it's hard work and I'm not sure I have the time to really dedicate to blogging but I do know I've missed cooking and I've missed writing about food. I was talking to my man (there's a change in my life already) last night, almost wistfully, about this blog and what I wanted it to be. He read some of my old posts and told me that I have a voice and I should use it. So this post is a bit for him but mainly for me, in the hope that this little old blog of mine comes back to life......

Pumpkin fever is the only way to describe my blog list, twitter, Instagram etc etc I think the Americans are a lot more into the whole pumpkin thing, it seems to be everywhere over there. Here in Blighty it is not so crazy, but Autumn (Fall) is my favourite season and I love that pumpkins are readily available in the produce aisle.

Today I was tired and cold and feeling not that great so I decided the best thing to do with the pumpkin that has been sitting in my kitchen for the last couple of weeks would be to make a soothing soup with a bit of a kick to help sweat out the cold I think may be coming.....

Spicy Pumpkin Soup


1 small pumpkin
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 1/2 red onion, diced
5 cloves of garlic
Some red chillies (I used the jarred ones as I wanted a subtle flavour rather then lots of spice)
Sprinkle of cumin
Sprinkle of Paprika
Approx 1 pint of vegetable stock (I used a low salt version)
Couple of bay leaves
Greek yogurt and chrizo for garnishing


Cut your pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds - DON'T waste these, I'll be posting a recipe for these tomorrow! cut in to chunks and add to roasting tin with the peppers, cut in to chunks as well, and the garlic cloves (don't worry about peeling them). Slosh a bit of olive oil in the pan and mix so all coated. Roast in oven for about 45mins, turning occasionally, until the pumpkin is soft.

In a separate pan slowly cook of the onions in olive oil until soft. Stir in about a teaspoon of the red chillies and the paprika and cumin. Place in blender and then add the roasted pumpkin, peppers and squeeze the roasted garlic in if you wish. add some stock and blend, adding stock bit by bit until you get the consistency you wish - I like mine quite thick. Add soup back in the pan and gently simmer with the bay leaves - ad more stock if you wish.

I served this with some cubes of chrizo I fried of in a pan and a spoonful of Greek yogurt - perfect!

This makes about 4 servings - some for lunch tomorrow and some for the freezer!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Scrub in the tub - recipe for the skin

A girl has to exfoliate. Fact
Body scrubs are expensive, between £5 - £8 a pot. Fact
Making your own is really easy. Fact

My skin gets hungry for moisture, it can get very dry and it’s not fun. I have always been a bit of an exfoliating queen in order to achieve lovely soft skin. I love using sugar scrubs (especially the soap and glory ones) to achieve silky soft features but man are they expensive especially when you use lots in one sitting (greedy me).

Therefore clever ole me decided to create my own, which looking through reams and reams of suggestions on the internet turned out to be a pretty damn good idea. Points to me. I already have ideas for other mixtures I can make (it’s all a bit Georges Marvellous medicine in my world) and friends putting in orders for me to make them some.  Seriously I am never going back to buying scrubs cos my skin is even smoother using these homemade, natural versions! I’m raving now, but seriously just like my Buffalo wings, there are some things worth raving about!

Sweet and salty

200g Brown Sugar
200g Salt (I used Cornish sea salt)
¾ cup Coconut Oil (I warmed it in the microwave so it was pourable)
1 TBSP vanilla paste
2 TBSP fresh lemon juice

All I did was mix the dry ingredients in the jar and then pour the wet ingredients on and give it a mix. Simples!
This is probably my favourite as it makes my skin so soft and I love the smell of coconut

Brown Sugar and Avocado

Eating avocado is great for your skin so why not just rub it in?!

300g Brown Sugar
40g Granulated Sugar
100ml – 150ml Avocado Oil
1TBSP vanilla paste

Just add it all together and give it a mix! Perfect!

With these scrubs you can mix them up a bit – for example Olive Oil works well. Instead of vanilla you could use an essential oil. Orange instead of lemon. Play around and enjoy it! You’ll never go back to the shop bought stuff again…

PS if you like to fake tan (ain’t no judgement here), please exfoliate first to avoid patchy skin!!

Just letting it all go....

Only two more days left of Blog Everyday in May (although I didn’t quite manage every day – what’s a girl to do)!

Today the prompt is “react to this term – letting go”

When I first started writing this post it was going to be quite light hearted but then when I was looking for an image to use I came across this little beauty:

And I don’t know it spoke to me in quite a profound way. I kind of felt the need to get serious. I can only apologise.

I met a man a while ago now and fell for him so very hard. And I learnt amazing things from him and he was wise and calm and he was kind to me even though he’d spent a lot of his life being cruel. He was never ever going to be mine forever, In fact he was never really mine… but I digress. So when the time came for us to move on it was really, really hard to let go. For both of us. And it literally took us another 6 months to let each other go, to go through the process, to stop holding on to each other.

But this is why he had to let me go, because by us still being a part of each others lives I couldn’t move on, I couldn’t grow, I couldn’t become the woman that he encouraged me to be. I miss him, I do, everso much – sometimes when its quiet and I’m alone the grief that he is gone overwhelms me. I can’t talk about him, few people even know about him (which is why this post was actually really hard to write). But through it all I never doubted that it wasn’t the right thing to do.

So now I move on with my beautiful and busy life and I’m more prepared, better equipped, more resilient, more aware of whom I am, of what I want. I have confidence in who I am, in what I can be, of what I can give. I am strong. I look around and I see people holding, clinging on to ideals, to partners, to friendships and I know that sometimes the strongest thing you can do is just let go.

Linking up with Jenni for “Blog every day in May”

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Hey Mr DJ....

Put the record on...

But before I proceed with day 29 of "blog every day in May" Let me advise you to go check out my recipe for Buffalo Wings that I blogged yesterday - shameless self promotion but they were amazing!

Today we are sharing 5 important songs and I'll be damned but this was a toughie. Mainly because I have questionable eclectic taste in music and there are so many songs I love; Songs that remind me of amazing times, amazing people, heartache, happiness... the list goes on.

Here are my five;

Lullaby - Shawn Mullins

Oh jeez, this takes me back to my teenage years, I used to listen to this over and over in my yellow bedroom, with the sunlight streaming in and I was so damn hopeful about life and had that unfailing belief that everything would indeed be, "alright". I still love this song so much it makes my toes curl and I must confess I have two versions of it on my i-pod.

Stay - Lisa Loeb

"You say, I only hear what I want too" "You said that I was naive and I thought that I was strong"
Great lines, great song. I feel like I've love it my whole life and when Charlotte and I became friends we realised we both loved this song, sang it at karaoke and cemented our friendship. The other day I put it on the jukebox in our pub and when it came on all I could hear was her calling out "Rah, Rah, where are you", so what was once one of my favourite songs is now mine and Charlotte's song.

Go Your Own Way - Fleetwood Mac

Best album ever, best band ever.
Could have picked any of their songs as I love them all but this has some great lyrics "baby if I could, I would give you the world"
My Dad loves Fleetwood Mac, my brother loves Fleetwood Mac, my sisters love Fleetwood Mac. Its like the family band and they're great!

Luke Sital-Singh - Dark

Bringing the mood down but I have to include it because its such a beautifully sad song and it reminds me so strongly of someone it almost makes me cry every time I hear it. It contains the lines - "you are never ever ready, and I've waited for eternity and I want it all, yes I want it now". And how true that is.

Ian Clarke - Hypnosis

Now this is a bit of a left- field choice. But I love a bit of classical music and I love piano music and jazz and flutes, really love it all. This was a piece of music that I heard played at a concert I attended the other day and I thought it was just hauntingly beautiful.

I hope you enjoy my choices, I'm looking forward to reading other peoples and maybe being introduced to some more t-unes!!!

Linking up with Jenni for “Blog every day in May”

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Finger, licken', chicken!!

I have a confession, ever since I went to LA I've had an obsession addiction a love affair with buffalo chicken wings and blue cheese dip. Charlotte loves them, my brother loves them it only makes sense that I love them. So much that I decided I had to come up with my own lil' recipe for the bad boy's of the wing family. And man does this work..... I spent a long time figuring out how to get the crispy skin yet still have the heat and stickiness from the sauce  - the way I've cooked the wings in the flour before adding the sauce has achieved this.

I pass this on to you now with a happy heart because this dish makes me smile and my taste buds explode

Buffalo chicken wings 

You will need:
Chicken wings - I used 8 large ones but be aware I didn't need all of my sauce
Plain flour
Splash of oil - I used mild olive oil
Sprinkle of Cayenne pepper
6 TBSP Hot sauce - I used Franks
4 TBSP unsalted butter
1 1/2 TBSP White wine vinegar
1 DSP brown sugar
1 TSP Tabasco sauce
1/2 TSP garlic paste
1/2 TSP Worcester sauce
squeeze of lemon juice

Place a few spoonfuls of plain flour, a few shakes of cayenne pepper and a tiny bit of salt and pepper in a freezer zip bag and add the chicken wings. Give them a shake

Take a splash of oil, rub it into a baking tray and place the wings onto the tray, making sure you shake off the excess flour.
Place into a hot oven (about 200) and put timer on for 10 minutes, after 10 minutes turn them and set timer again for 10 minutes. Whilst this is happening put all of the other ingredients into a pan and warm it up until it bubbles away

I would recommend even when you taste it, refrain from adding any salt, once it cooks it will be saltier than it seemed possible at this stage. Once the wings have been cooking for 20 minutes take them out and turn them again. Spoon some of the sauce over the wings

Place them back in the oven for another 10 minutes. Take them out again and turn them once more spoon a little more sauce over. As I said before, I didn't need to use it all, use as much as you think you want. Place back in the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes. When I checked them after they were perfectly crispy and cooked through but you can always put them in for longer if you need to. Serve with blue cheese dip, celery and a beer and make sure you just use your fingers. Shmazing!!

I wish I could say these are just as good cold the next day, but I wouldn't know. They all managed to be devoured. And yes all by me.
Diet starts tomorrow.....


Oh Bank holiday, how I love thee

Day 28 of "Blog everyday in May" and I know that I've been rubbish and missed loads but life has been strange recently and a bit complicated... things will figure themselves out I know. I'm practising patience. So today's prompt is "Just pictures". So here is my Bank holiday weekend (my how I love an extra day  off) in just pictures..... Enjoy (I certainly did)

Friday evening shift at pub, shots it is...

I find doing my nails on the train highly effective!
Listening to some amazing Jazz and Delta Blues at Jamboree - coolest jazz club in London

Tadah! My wonderful weekend 

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Listen up kiddos!

Day 23: Things they don’t teach you in school (and should):

 I actually dressed up in school uniform for my 25th birthday. True story

1. Its really sucks but you have to budget, so that your outgoings are not more than your incomings. I could really rant about this. We spend hours and hours in school learning Maths and yet most people can’t budget, or save, or add up charges on credit cards. Its stupid, why not make maths relevant and teach us these things?!

2. When you are drunk, put your phone away. Don’t ever drunk text. Especially ex boyfriends (or that being said even current boyfriends). Just. Put. The. Phone. Away.
Have another drink instead.

3. It is possible totally possible to down a jagerbomb in 3 seconds flat. Once you have achieved this you have to slam the glass down on the bar hard. Them be the rules.

4. You can never fundamentally change a person, so just accept them for who they are. And if you don’t like who they are then don’t have them in your life, and certainly don’t date them!

5. All the stuff you worry about at school; your friendship groups, how you look, your grades etc, well you worry about the same stuff when you leave school but throw in a massive dose of RESPONSIBILITY. Enjoy these years when it’s ok to ask your parents for a fiver, you don’t get hangovers, when you have long holidays, when you don’t have bills to pay. Jeez I miss school

6. Fake eyelashes are not tacky and they make your eyes look amazing. Red nail polish is also not tacky.

7. Your siblings make the best friends.

8. Don’t create drama, cos one day the shit will hit the fan and you will have no control over it. Then you’ll wish for a calm and drama free life. So just leave the drama well alone, life is hard enough.

9. He’s your ex for a reason, there’s a reason he wasn’t lucky enough to make it into your future, a reason he’s in your past. 2nd time rounds don’t work, you are just wasting your time

10. You are responsible for yourself, you have to make stuff happen but you’ll never get to do it all. Find beauty in the small things in life. And always, always take your makeup of before bed

That’s all I got kids…..

Thing is at school you spend all day not listening so even if I had been told all this I probably would have paid zero attention!

Linking up with Jenni for blogging every day in May….

Monday, 20 May 2013

Just getting real!

So I skipped a couple of days on blog every day in May. One because this weekend has been crazy and whilst I like blogging about my life I refuse to stop living it in order to write it all down! Two the prompts just didn’t inspire me at all. Cop out much

To be honest I almost skipped today’s as well; “Get Real, something you’re struggling with right now”

Jeez really?! Isn’t life a struggle in general? – work, office politics, relationships with family and friends, organising two hen do’s, money, long hours, lack of sleep……

So yeah life is a struggle but it’s also a hell of a lot of fun and brings me so much happiness and joy. And no matter how much of a struggle I think it can be, there are so may people fighting much harder battles so I am not going to complain about my lot in life – I know how lucky I am.

And that, my friends is all I really have to say on the subject. Just getting real.

Friday, 17 May 2013


Day 17: Favourite photo of yourself and why?

I'm not gonna lie or dress it up for you - I am a complete whore poser when a camera is around. I'm one of these horrible people who is aware of the camera and I'm always ready to strike a pose. Don't judge me its one of the few talents I have.

So its hard for me to pick a favourite but this was taken on my most recent birthday:

A balloon, Charlotte and Me

I love this because its me and one of my best friends and we love each other, and we're having a great night and we are so excited cos we knew in a couple of days we would be heading of to LA (a whole other story).  Chars had a rough old ride this year so the fact she looks so happy makes my heart pleased. It was an amazing birthday filled with lots of laughter, friends and love but this night, my party, was the highlight. I loved it and this photo perfectly captures the love! 

In other news, the pub where I work has a new puppy!

 Everyone meet Scrumpy, isn't she just too cute!

Thursday, 16 May 2013

Its all about me.... no really

Day 16 and today’s prompt is: 'Something difficult about your 'lot in life' and how you are working to overcome it.

I’m a lucky lucky girl; I can’t complain about my lot in life, really I can’t. Sure my life isn’t perfect, there are tough times and I’m not exactly where I thought I would be at this stage in my life BUT I’m blessed.

So this post was a difficult one to write however I guess my biggest difficulty recently has been making time for myself. This may sound inherently selfish but it comes from the fact that I hate being selfish. I pride myself in being there for my friends and my family whenever they need me, I have 2 jobs, I’m learning a new language, I’m trying to pick up on the blogging because it’s something I love, I cook from scratch, I’m trying to loose weight - my long long list keeps on going. A wise man once told me “kid, you’re a feeler” he was right. I like making people happy, I find it hard to let people down, I like to listen, I like to help and I try and keep the peace. But I’m tired, I’m too thinly spread and I’m also missing out on some important “me time” which I think is essential to be happy within myself.

This is how I’m going to try and overcome it….

1. Keep an up to date diary. This sounds strange as it gets filled up quickly but it helps me to see what I have planned, I don’t double book and having it down in paper also helps me see how much I have going on, so I know when to chill it out a bit. Planning my time also helps me make the most effective use of it.

2.  Learn to say no. This is such a hard one for me, I hate saying no. I hate it. I hate that when I do try and say no I then get backlash (this is my fault for always being such a yes person). I have to remember that its not a crime for me to want to spend some time by myself or doing something I want to do as opposed to doing what someone else wants me to do.

3. Have a lovely hot bubble bath and pamper once a week.  All over this like a rash. I’m such a shower in the morning before work kindda girl, who has time for bubbles?! Well I guess I do now. It’s nice and my skin is better and my nails are painted properly and my hair is glossier. It’s silly but these little things all add up to make me feel better about myself and calmer about the world.

4. If your struggling TALK. This needs to start is still a work in progress. I need to learn to depend on people as I let them depend on me. I also need to stop saying “yeah, I’m fine, don’t worry” when I’m not fine. This is a challenge for me and I’m not sure if it’s in my nature but at least if I try it may help.

5. Work on a recipe to blog at least once a week. My brother said that I should focus on one good recipe a week rather than trying to blog loads all the time. I think he has a point! I’m looking at how I can incorporate this and I think that I have a good idea for a blog series… watch this space!

6. Have TWO evenings a week to myself. Phew, two?! Usually I’m relieved if I have one night. But I need to do it. Even if I have to go to and do some shopping or going for a swim if I’m doing it by myself then its quality “me time”.

I think that’s about all – Any tips on how to have quality “me” time? How do you achieve the perfect work/life balance? I’d love some more ideas

Maybe I’ll revisit this in a month or so and see how I’m getting on…..

Linking up with Jenni for “Blog every day in May”

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Hump Day

Day 15 of blogging and we're halfway through the "blog every day in May challenge"
Its also Hump Day cos its Wednesday
Here's my day in pictures - it was a busy day so I apologise for the lack of words I'm just so sleepy writing this post....
7am: Up and showered, getting ready for work. I apologise for the lack of make up

8am and I'm walking to work - the sun was shining (this didn't last). I usually get to the office at about 8.30am

9am: Breakfast at desk - coffee and yogurt
10.30am I receive a call from Clarins and I finally get round to booking the massage that C & P bought me for Christmas - something to look forward to in a couple of weeks
11.30am: I take a short break from market analysis and catch up on some blogs (just for 10 minutes or so)! Here I am commenting on Rachel's blog (she has the best name)
1pm: Best time of the day!! Lunch time with my lunch bunch. Today I have the strangest lunch as I was so disorganised this morning! Minestrone soup then a salad with cucumber, avocado and hot smoked salmon. Washed down with lemon spa water. Told you it was odd
2pm: Having a little freshen up after lunch (I'm rubbish at taking selfies) then its back to work work work
3.30pm(ish): My favourite supplier calls, I think about screening the call as he keeps on saying he's sent me samples of pens but they never turn up. He also told me once he would send me pop tarts, they never turned up and i was sad. I decide to answer despite this and we chat for all of 2 minutes - I get the distinct impression he's too busy to listen to me chatter away. Despite all of this he is still my favourite and I dig his hoodie Fridays
6.30pm: After work I go to Bluewater to do some shopping, I race round the shops and after I relax over dinner in Wagamamas
7.30pm: After finishing dinner and a bit more shopping I have a yummy frozen yogurt - lush
8.30pm: Im on the bus home listening to some tunes
9pm: Home with all my loot although most of it are presents.
I lie the Forever 21 bits (wahoo for that American import, now all we need is Target and I'll be happy), the ritual shower foam and perfume and the nail varnish are all for me! Haha!
 I write the cards and wrap the presents.
10pm: Now I'm blogging and I'm tired and I shall read a bit and then hit the hay.
Gotta love hump day.
Linking up with Jenni for “Blog every day in May”