Thursday, 14 February 2013

Pitta bread pizza's

 I've not had pitta bread pizza's in years! they're something I always had at my friends house when we were younger, and we'd always make them ourselves which added to the fun :)
They're super easy to make and providing you have pitta breads, then you can usually make these with your store cupboard items!
Pitta bread
tomato puree or left over tomato pasta sauce
grated cheese
optional - basil leaves

Spread the puree or sauce over the whole pitta bread. You could cut them in half if you like but i think the thickness is fine on a whole one! Grate some cheddar cheese and sprinkle over the pitta and puree. Sprinkle a few shakes of dried oregano onto the pizzas and a few basil leaves if you have them.
Put under a hot grill for 5-8 minutes, (or until the cheese is browned and bubbling).
And that's it!

Scott, myself and mum had these over the weekend and they really warmed us up on a cold afternoon! I'm sure if you have kids they'd also be great as I always loved putting them together and eating them when I was little!

A trip to Paris

Last week I went to Paris with my course mates for a couple of days as part of our next project! I had a good time, but unfortunately had a stinker of a cold was was probably not the best company for my course mates... but i'm better now and enjoying looking sat the photos I took in-between swallowing cold and flu tablets and sneezing!

 I went to the Louvre and saw the mona lisa, the iconic glass prisms' and the Venus De Milo!
 Unfortuantly the cold restricted what i couls taste, but it didn't stop me sampling some delicious goodies (as usual). The fruit tart was really good and cheaper than back home! it even had a lovely sprinkling of pretty green pistachios which was a nice touch.

Notre Dame! All I could think about was the Disney film 'Hunchback of notre Damn, which is one of the films I practically spent my childhood watching! That and the lion King, of and Matilda were my three favourites (they still are actually...)
The 'eyes of Notre Dame' :) for all those Disney fans ;)
Beautiful stained glass windows.
Candles that you can buy and light in Notre Dame for loved ones!

 On one of the bridges in Paris where couples and friends have locked padlocks onto the bars and written love message onto them which was really cool to see. I think it's a lovely idea and took a few snaps to show you all!
 More padlocks :)

A yummy French baguette with ham and cheese salad! Being in France really made me want to learn French properly. I did have a few lessons in high school, and did remember a couple of words and phrases, but nowhere near enough to have a conversation! Maybe one day I will learn another language, hopefully french of Italian!
 Lastly a quick snap of the type of chairs in the tube station. I love brightly coloured plastic chairs and really want some in my own house (when I can afford a house....) 

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Whilst at home this weekend Scott and I baked gooey chocolate chip cookies and they were scrummy!
Usually when we decide to bake I end us baking and Scott fafs about, but this time he was very helpful and helped equally which made the biscuits/cookies extra special. Cookies are extra specially nice when their warm and the chocolate chips are still soft, and they remind me of break time in school where we'd all que to get the best warm cookies form the canteen!
250g (9oz) plain flour 
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
170g (6oz) unsalted butter, melted 
200g (7oz) soft brown sugar 
100g (3.5oz) caster sugar 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1 egg + 1 egg yolk 
250g (9oz) chocolate of your choice, chopped into small chunks
Optional - Desiccated Coconut  
Preheat your oven to 170°C / Gas mark 3-4. 
 In a big, dry bowl, sift your flour, bicarb & salt together. Set to one side.
In a separate bowl mix together your sugars & butter. 
Next beat in your eggs & vanilla extract.  Add to the dry mixture and stir thoroughly! you can add your chopped chocolate and nuts/dried fruits if you fancy (hazelnuts are good!!).
Line a baking sheet with greasproof paper and make small ball shapes out of the dough. Place on lined baking sheet quite spaced apart and cook for 10 - 13 minutes (until they are lightly bronzed at the edges). I sprinkled a little desiccated coconut on some but thats up too you!
Leave to cool on a wire rack (if you can!!)
I really like separating the yolk from the white!

I had mine once they had cooled slightly but were still soft and warm :) yum!
Scott was a big fan too and has devoured quite a few already :P...

A weekend at home..

I was lying in bed on Friday morning in Uni, and had not planned anything for the weekend. so I thought why not go for for the weekend?! It was a very spontaneous decision resulting in me packing like a maniac and hot and bothered-ly (new word) running to catch the next train at Leicester Station. But it was well worth it as I had a lovely few days with the family :) I was also glad to use a washing machine that dosnt charge me £2.50 to use each time i wash my clothes... Uni problems..
Anyway! i pulled my weight and made a lovely roast Lamb dinner for us on Sunday which was very scrummy, and went for a lovely walk with Scott, mum and the dogs.
I love the colourful orange carrot peelings! I roasted carrots and parsnips with butter, olive oil, and honey and they were DELICIOUS! Have I ever said that my favourite vegetable is a parsnip? If not i'm saying it now! Theres is no comparison to a overly roasted parsnip :)

I just drizzled a little olive oil over the lamb, seasoned it and added a few sprigs of rosemary from the garden!

Mum took a few snaps of us on the walk! This never happens.. I'm usually the irritating one that likes to take pictures of EVERYTHING ...
Scott and the dogs were quite excited to be walked ;)...

I really like this photo of Scott, and Ella running on ahead as she does :)
Molly (Seabear) patiently waiting until we turned around so she could carry her lead home ... this happens every time, and she refuses to walk unless we let her carry it :)

The girls and myself! I wasn't expecting to be snapped in my lovely painting coat and farmer wellies but this is the kind of terrible dog walking outfit I usually wear so theres no point kidding anyone I guess!
And lastly Molly basking in the delightful, stinky, Sheep poo ridden pool she manages to always find on any walk we go on....

Simple Brownies

Chocolate Brownies..... Need I say more?
They `re my ultimate cake, yes I have finally decided (for now at least) that brownies are my favoruite kind of cake. I've never been a massive sponge fan, and I'm defiantly a chocolate lover, so naturally I tend to dip towards brownies as my go-to cake when i'm out.
I've made brownies a few times myself, but never really found a recipe that worked quite right for me - until now people :)...
185g Butter
185g Dark Chocolate
85g Plain Flour
40g Cocoa Powder
100g chocolate (white,milk,or dark)
3 Large Eggs
275g Caster Sugar
Melt the butter and dark chocolate in a heatproof bowl over some hot water (on the stove/hob) or in the microwave if you prefer. Leave the melted mixture to cool.
Preheat your oven Gas Mark 4, or 180C   Line the bottom of a 20cm square tin (or the nearest size you have).
Mix together the flour and cocoa powder. In a separate bowl mix together the eggs and caster sugar. It's best to use a hand mixer/machine so the mixture becomes thick and creamy.
Poor the egg/sugar mixture into the cooled chocolate and butter. Fold in gently (I hate this bit). Chop the 100g chocolate into chunks (I use a sharp thick knife on the chopping board to do this). Sprinkle over the mixture, along with the dry ingredients and again fold.
Poor carefully into your lined tin. I topped mine with a few chopped pistachio's! 
Bake for 25 minutes. (ours took a little longer as Scott kept opening the oven.... The mixture should be left a little gooey, but if its still wobbling when you take it form the oven, give it another 5 minutes or so!

This is the pretty marbling effect that happens when your 'gently' (Im so impatient with folding) the brownie mixture.
I drizzled a few chopped Pistachio nuts on the top for a little colour pop! But you could try and nut or dried fruit you fancied! Cranberries and freeze dried raspberries work great too.
And then it's ready :) Ideally you should leave the brownies to cool before eating as they do taste better that way and are a lot easier to cut!

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Carrot and Coriander Soup

Just a quickie-
Here is one of my favourite soup recipes, its dead simple and one I make quite often.
7 large carrots
1 large onion
chicken/vegetable stock (enough to cover the carrots and onions)
tsp dried coriander
1 tbsp butter
fresh coriander
salt & pepper

Chop the onions and sauté in butter until translucent. Whilst the onions are sautéing, chop the carrots and add them to the onions. Stir for 2-3 minutes and ensure carrots are coated in the butter. Pour over the stock, season and add the dried coriander. Cook on low until the carrots are soft (about 20 minutes) Remove from heat, add the fresh coriander and blend your soup. If the soup is to thick, you can thin it down with a little milk or cream, depending on how healthy your feeling....
Serve with a little chopped fresh coriander and soup bread and butter, because lets face it, what is soup with bread?!

Monday, 7 January 2013

New Years Resolutions

So the time of year has come again to start some new resolutions! I always like to have some aims to stick to, but I don't beat myself up if they all go to pot as they're just a bit of fun and usually positive :)
I've had a really great year in 2012, Distinction in my foundation course, starting Uni, the tearoom opening, and lots of lovely times with my family and Scott etc, so fingers crossed for another good year, but if not, there will always be more!!so anyway... Here are my 'resolutions' for 2013......

I've always been into art and sculpture, but never really photography, but recently i've found a new pleasure in taking photo's to document the little and big things that happen to me and I think it's wonderful to look back on and see (e.g the reason I keep the blog). The blog was intended more for DIY'S and arty things originally, but seems to have morphed into a form of photo journal which is ok with me! So this year I want to learn more about photography and make more of an effort to keep clicking away until I hopefully get better, wether it be by Canon, instax or instagram .... It's still only a hobby and something I do for fun, but I think eventually it will help with the kind of work I intend to do 'when i'm serious and have a job and that'.

The old faithful. It's pretty darn hard to not put on weight when your such a foodie like myself and surrounded by other foodies! But I want to try this year to shed a couple of the uni/christmas pounds and get back to a weight I feel comfortable in. I mean i'm never gonna be a skinny thing, nor do I want to be, but I want to feel good and eat nice things which requires a better balance than i'm currently managing..... I've recently been watching the Hairy Dieters (the hairy bikers on a diet basically) and really like the way they've managed to keep eating the food they love, but changing the way they cook it to reduce the calories. I think thats more the route I want to take here, as I still want to enjoy my food, I just need to watch out for the extra drizzle of olive oil and cut the fat off bacon etc. I've also started playing Rugby with the women's team at DMU which is super fun and will hopefully get me a little fitter!

This is one I said last year, and it remains something I really enjoy doing. Especially recently as i've been flicking back and seeing past posts which really remind me of all the happy times i've had over the year and remembering things that might have otherwise been forgotten. I'm going to post more often, and include some more DIY's and recipes etc too.

See these are not nasty scary resolutions, they're all about making time for whats important! For Christmas this year Scott and I decided not to buy each other presents, but to put some money aside in a jar so we have some money for the summer to hopefully go somewhere nice on holiday. We had THE most wonderful time in Malia last year and hopefully we can find somewhere equally as special this year. Also make more time for the caravan as we barely got to go to Abersoch this year, and it's such a wonderful escape from everything else!

Cooking programmes-
Another pleasant one, but one which I fell really teaches you a lot in a fun way and can be used almost everyday! I could sit and watch cooking/food programmes all day (what was I saying about weight..anyway) , anything from Sophie Dahl, Jamie Oliver, River cottage etc are so invaluable when it comes to improving your own cooking. They teach you about new ingredients and interesting ways to prepare them, and how to spice up recipes you already make into something new and exciting! The one I should probably avoid is Man V's Food, as it's one of those programmes that practically leaves me and Scott drooling over. But cooking is also a major hobby of mine, and combing that with beautifully presented food, and some useful knowledge, i'm on for a winner :)

Good luck to all those with resolutions :) And wishing you all the best for 2013 !