Monday, 30 November 2015

MADE: Mushroom, Chickpea and Carrot Stew

 
I was a little naughty, I threw some pancetta on here...but I was craving a little bit of meat in my life BUT this did begin as a veggie meal. I've mostly given up meat and opt for vegetarian or fish now. Over the last year or so, I have just got bored of the taste of most meat. I mean, throw a nice rare steak in front of me and I'll probably still eat it but with veggie/vegan dishes being tasted, fish dishes being so good for you and the likes of quorn products so readily available, it's easy to see why meat has taken a bit of a backseat.

This dish is one of my new favourites to make, teamed with a couple of lemon slices and my favourite quinoa and buckwheat mix, is a great weeknight meal as it is healthy, filling and quick to whip up. It's a hearty dish for the colder months and the leftovers are great for lunch the following day.

To create 4 servings:
1 tin of chickpeas
2 carrots. peeled and sliced
1 1/2 box of button mushrooms (around 500-600g), quartered
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
400ml of boiling water
5 tbsps of tomato puree
2 tsps of turmeric
2 tsps of cumin power
2 tsps of chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves, crushed
a big handful of parsley, chopped
2 lemons, plus extra to serve
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

Let's get started...

1. Heat a teaspoon of coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Add the peeled and sliced carrots. Turn the heat down low.

2. Immediately add the crushed garlic, turmeric, cumin, chilli flakes and the olive oil/coconut oil. Stir well.

3. Add the chopped tomatoes and puree, stirring well and allow to bubble. Also add the boiling water and mushrooms. Allow to simmer.

4. Allow to simmer for 25 to 30 minutes. When it reaches 20 minutes, add the chickpeas (draining them first) and chopped parsley. Stir well and leave for a further 15-20 minutes or until the carrots have softened. If you are cooking quinoa to serve on the side, do this now to allow 20 minutes cooking time.

5. When the simmering time is up, squeeze in the juice of the lemons. Also save a bit to serve on the side.

Dish up and dig in...
 

You don't have to add the meat to this but it got me thinking...chorizo would be a FABULOUS addition to this dish.

xo

Friday, 27 November 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #44

 
THE MACCABEES - BOYS, I LOVE YOU. I've loved the Maccabees since they came onto the scene ten years ago. In the back of my mind I hope, that one day, Felix will notice me and decide I'm the love of his life. All joking aside (although not joking...) they were fantastic but, then again, they always are. Their new album Marks to Prove It is my favourite one to date and after watching numerous interviews, it was written with the end result of sounding AMAZING live. It totally doesn't disappoint. I felt like I was in another world for the duration of their set and I genuinely cannot wait to see what else they bring in the future.

VISTING CAMBRIDGE - The main point of the trip was to see the Maccabees at the Corn Exchange but fortunately we went the night before and stayed with one of Cherilyn's friends. We ate Japanese food, drank a lot of wine (mulled and non-mulled), stayed up until the early hours on singstar (something I never do due to being tone deaf) and had a mooch around Cambridge on the Sunday before the gig. I'd never been to Cambridge before so it was lovely to see all of the beautiful historic buildings, drink more mulled wine, have a delicious breakfast, watch people punting on the river and basically just explore a new place.

HAVING SOME DOWN TIME - Burning the candle at both ends eventually hits you and that's what's happened to me lately. Obviously I had a busy weekend but during the last week I've tried to grab extra sleep and extra rest time where possible. I feel like this time of year the excuse of 'I need a rest' is more valid - it's dark, it's cold - nobody wants to be here, there and everywhere in that kind of weather!

BEAUTIFUL SUNNY (BUT FREEZING) MORNINGS - There's nothing more beautiful than a beautifully sunny but crisp Autumnal morning. My drive to work through the countryside is amazing at the moment with the morning frost on the fields with the sunshine rising over.

BEING TOO COSY IN BED - Yes, I know have reached that point in the year where getting out of bed in the mornings if proving impossible...and I've also reached that point where all I want to do is be in bed because it's so cold outside. I bought a furry bear-esque throw from Tesco this week that has just made my bed feel like I'm laying in an amazingly comfortable marshmallow. It's fabulous.

I hope you've all had a lovely week and have Autumnal (and hopefully Christmassy!) weekend plans

xo

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

LOVING: Mio Skincare

I always struggle with finding new skincare products. I have really sensitive skin so am loathed to try anything too strongly perfumed or products that aren't natural. In my experience, I've found that these products just dry my skin out more or leave me with sore, rashy skin.
 
Then I was introduced to Mio Skincare.
 
Their aim is to make women feel confidence with their great quality and effective product range. It's all about leaving women with that 'glow'.
 
The company originally began 8 years ago with Mama Mio, a pregnancy skincare range full of clean and safe skincare products to hydrate, nourish and calm skin - all containing safe ingredients.
 
Then the Mio range was born.
 
Mio, meaning 'for me' (which I love!) is designed to give you fit and healthy skin that can cope with the everyday stresses, strains and joys of life. It's aim is to keep your skin strong and healthy with that 'glow' that leaves you oozing positivity.
 
My favourite thing about these products is their 'no nasties' mantra. Not only that, they don't test on animals. Something that makes me love Mio even more!
 
 
The Activist - The smell of this is beautiful and it slides onto the skin, almost like it works instantly. It doesn't leave your skin feeling greasy, as with most body oils and I do feel that after a few usages it's made a difference to my skin. It's true what they say - it definitely leaves your skin feeling moisturised and strong. This is definitely my favourite product of the bunch.

The Activist Contains: Organic Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis) Oil, Organic Argan (Argania Spinosa) Oil, Carrot Seed (Daucus Carota Sativa) Oil, Cranberry Seed (Vaccinium Macrocarpon) Oil, Safflower Seed (Carthamus Tinctorius) Oil, Organic Coconut (Cocos Nucifera) Oil, Jojoba Seed (Simmondsia Chinensis) Oil, Calendula Oil, Vitamin E
 
Double Buff - So far I've only had the chance to use this product once but similarly to The Activist, you can see results. I'm useless when it comes to body exfoliation - I know you're 'meant' to do it regularly but it feels like SUCH a chore. But I've come to realise, when you're met with a great body exfoliator, it doesn't feel like such a hardship to do it once a week. After one use my skin felt much smoother and brighter. Again, the smell of this product is lovely.

Double Buff Contains: Pumice and Micro Volcanic Lava, Bamboo (Bambusa Arundinacea) Stem Extract, Pineapple (Bromelain) Fruit Extract, Papaya (Papain) Fruit Extract, Organic Sweet Almond (Prunus Amygdalus Dulcis)Oil, Fig Extract, Organic Shea (Butyrospermum Parkii) Butter

Future Proof - Over the years I've tried many a body butter. Typically as a teen I was obsessed with Soap and Glory but after a couple of years of use, my skin began to react to the strong fragrance and I can't use it anymore. So, I stuck with 'safe' body butters or creams that had little to no fragrance but I knew wouldn't leave my skin looking a mess. But now, I've discovered Future Proof and I'm not sure I'll turn back to a boring smelling body butter. The moisture this provides your skin is crazy. I honestly looked like I had totally new skin after a few uses. And, especially at this time of year, my skin never looks its best. The cold air and change of season dries my skin out leaving it dull. After a few uses of Future Proof, again as with the other products, there was a noticeable difference.

Future Proof Contains: Organic Sweet Almond Oil, Organic Olive Fruit Oil, Organic Argan Kernel Oil, Reishi Mushroom (Ganoderma Lucidum) Extract, Blueberry (Vaccinium Corymbosum) Seed Oil, Hyaluronic Acid, Pomegranate (Punica Granatum) Seed Oil, Organic Coconut Oil, Organic Shea Butter, Oakmoss Lichen (Evernia Furfuracea) Extract

Next up is the Liquid Yoga Soak.

Mio Skincare Liquid Yoga Bath Soak (200ml): Image 01
Being somebody that practices yoga anyway, I was instantly intrigued when this product arrived.

I've always stuck to natural bath products such as Lush or even Johnson's baby bath soaks.

Relax - Ease Muscles - Re-Energise - exactly what I need.

I'm a busy person, I work hard and most days my body aches, I'm absolutely shattered and I definitely don't give myself enough time to relax. Thankfully this product eases those aches, makes me relax and leaves me exiting the bath feeling completely refreshed.

This bath soak contains some beautiful ingredients, all smelling fantastic (I'm not being OTT - all of these products smell incredible). After having a quick browse at the benefits on the ingredients, I begun thinking, why would I resort back to using my original products?

Epsom Salts (Magnesium Sulphate) Magnesium is amazingly effective traditional remedy.
V-Tonic TM An incredible blend of essential oils and extracts, including Mentha Arvensis Leaf Oil, Citrus Lemon Peel Oil, Cypress Leaf Oil and Lavender, to help ease and relax muscles, helps you de-stress and unwind.
Murumuru Butter Omega-rich, mega-moisturising.
Arnica Renowned for its soothing properties.
Andiroba Oil (Carapa Guianesis) Naturally deep penetrating moisturiser especially good for helping ease muscular aches and pains.
Horse Chestnut (Aesculus hippocastanum) Seed Extract Rich in Escin plus Quercetin to boost antioxidant protection.
Fig Extract Contains antioxidant Vitamin A.

My skin felt soft and even looked calmer - which I honestly didn't think was possible just from a bath soak.

One thing I will mention - make sure you shake it around a bit before pouring it in with the running water. I forgot the first time and didn't get as much of the Epsom salts in as I'd have liked.

So there you have it four new products in my life and a crazy-positive review of them. I know it's easy to read these kind of reviews when a blogger has received products to try and think 'well, they aren't going to knock them if they're free?' and I get that but as somebody that does suffer with skin problems, I wouldn't even risk giving misguided information on products.

Skin reactions and issues are not a joke and that's why I'm incredibly grateful to the Mio team for creating such fantastic products and for being introduced to them.

With Christmas around the corner, I'd seriously recommend popping this on your Christmas list or investing in some Mio skincare for your loved ones.

I've already put their whole Cellulite and Firming range on mine. Oh the troubles of reaching your mid twenties!

For more information on their product range, visit their website: www.mioskincare.co.uk

*These products were kindly sent to be by the Hut Group and all opinions are my own - if I didn't love it, I wouldn't praise it so highly*

Monday, 23 November 2015

MADE: Courgetti Quorn-Bolognese


In my quest to cut down on meat, bad carbs...I know what you're thinking, everything that tastes amazing...Let me explain. Just lately I've lost my appetite for red meat or poultry. Completely. I'm not sure what's changed. The only thing I actually fancy is bacon or chorizo. In general, I've been feeling really lethargic, which I imagine is due to the change in seasons but my body has just not felt quite right. I'm a believer in listening to what your body is telling you and mind told me it needed a break. So, with that in mind, I've been going spinning twice a week, having a dairy smoothie for vitamins/nutrients, aiming to get 8 hours sleep where possible, not eating anything stodgy and upping my vegetable intake. I also decided to cut out meat as much as possible to see if it has made a difference. So far, I don't feel any less tired necessarily but my body doesn't feel as heavy and full after meals anymore.

So after completely diverting from the actual recipe I've whipped up...

I love Spaghetti Bolognese. Pasta is one of my favourite dishes and one I very, very rarely allow myself. The Bolognese sauce is also another favourite. I always find with lean beef mince it can be made into SO many dishes, it's very versatile and the taste can be changed so dramatically with herbs and spices.

Anyway, with these ingredient combinations being a firm favourite, I decided to embark on a healthier meat free version - Quorn Bolognese with Courgetti.

One of my favourite things about Quorn is that the texture really isn't too dissimilar to actual meat, in this instance, and it still tastes delicious.

This is probably one of my favourite dishes I've made in the last few weeks so I hope you enjoy it too.

All you need to serve two:
300g Quorn Mince - I usually opt for frozen.
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 carrot, peeled and diced
1 onion, diced
1 tbsp Worchester sauce
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp tomato puree
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 organic vegetable stock cube (low salt)
400ml boiling water
Large handful fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp dried Oregano (or Italian mixed herbs)
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

For the courgetti:
2 courgettes
1 tsp olive
2 tsp water
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

Equipment: Sprialiser (or you could use a Julienne peeler)

1. Heat a small amount of extra virgin olive oil in a medium frying pan on a medium to low heat. Add your diced onions and mix with the oil. Turn the heat to low and allow the onions around 5 minutes to soften but only brown slightly (add more oil if necessary)

2. Add the garlic and chilli flakes to the frying pan and stir well. Once the garlic has had a couple minutes to cook. Add the basil, oregano and chilli flakes.

3. Next, pour in the tinned tomatoes and tomato puree. Allow to reduce before crumbling in the stock cube and adding the boiling water. Add the diced carrot at this point.

4. Allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so before adding the Worchester sauce and seasoning. Stir everything well.

5. Put a pan cover over the saucepan and allow to simmer for around 30 minutes, stirring every now and then. While the sauce is simmering, spiralise your courgettes and add to a medium saucepan with a teaspoon of oil and two teaspoons of water. Also add the black pepper and sea salt.

6. Placing the lid on the saucepan, turn the heat down low and allow the steam to soften the courgetti. This should only take around 5 minutes but make sure you stir once or twice to avoid the courgetti sticking to the bottom.

7. Now's the time...dish up and dig in - a generous bed of courgetti with a helping of Bolognese sauce. Add a little basil on top for decoration.

I genuinely hope you recreate and enjoy this recipe. I know Spaghetti Bolognese isn't the most original recipe in the world but this alternative recipe for the health conscious, non-meat eaters amongst you this is a delicious dish.

xo

Friday, 20 November 2015

LET'S TALK: Growing Up

 
It's a weird thing to contemplate whether you're a grown up. What actually constitutes being a grown up? A 'career', a mortgage on a house, marriage, children, being debt free, going for brunch at weekends, walking the dog everyday, making sure you wash the dishes every night...all of these things? None of these things? 

I used to think this was what being grown up was. Looking up to your older family members, your friends parents, teachers, lecturers and putting them on a pedestal because they're older, have more experience, they have authority, they're 'grown ups'. They do adult things in their adult lives and because you're 'the child' you don't have any right to question; I'm sure all of us have said 'I can't wait to be grown up' or 'I am not a child' at some point in our lives. We spend so much of our youth wanting to be grown up, wishing we were older, wishing we had more responsibility or simply, more freedom. But the thing is, no matter what age you are - you're only human. Every human makes mistakes, every human does good things, bad things, silly things, exciting things. Age is just a number. Sometimes we forget that.

What I've come to realise about growing up is that you don't necessarily feel 'grown up'. Cherilyn and I laughed the other day about being adults. We have adult lives. We own cars, rent a house, pay bills have careers. Does this mean we're adults? Who knows. Just because we have these adult things in our lives, does it mean we are grown up? I think feeling grown up is more than obvious, physical things. It's more of a psychological acceptance - learning to be calm in situations you used to lose your cool in, being able to admit you're wrong or that you've made a mistake, allowing yourself to not be judgmental and understand a situation from both sides, putting your own needs to one side for a loved one when they need you more and also, allowing yourself that time you need to be selfish too. Maybe growing up is more about a sense of maturity than anything. Being mature in finding that line between right and wrong, being patient, being kind.

I think growing up is about realising what you need and what you don't. But a big part of growing up is sometimes not having a bloody clue what you want or what you need. Sometimes feeling lost in life helps that process of growing up. 

As people, we are always growing. I believe we spend our whole lives growing up. We learn new things everyday - about ourselves, about our loved ones, about those people we dislike. Each day there are things that make us laugh, make us sad, make us happy, make us question what we believe or what we are being told. Everyday we learn and these findings help us grow. Sometimes we grow into the person we want to be, sometimes we don't.

But everyday we are growing up. Nobody is ever completely 'grown up'. Don't let anybody fool you. People can go from having their shit together to not in a matter of hours. There's no shame in that. We all make mistakes, bad decisions, good decisions, silly decisions. There is no rule book on how to be a grown up, no guide to being an adult.

I read a quote once:
"we might not have it all together, but together we have it all."

I think sometimes, it's important to remember that - most of the time it's not even important to think you're an adult, a grown up. Sometimes it's just about being happy with your lot, through the good and the bad. It's important to remember that we won't always feel grown up or in control or like the adult in the situation, and that's okay. Everyday we can work on growing up together.

xo

Thursday, 19 November 2015

MADE: Super Healthy Fishcakes - No Oil, Butter, Flour or Dairy!


So, in my quest to be healthy and fit again, I've been taking a big, long look at what I've been eating as well as trying to up my exercise.

You'll have maybe read about my favourite fishcake recipe a while back - they still remain my favourite. The taste is sensational.

These bad boys are tasty too and really good for you. I'd also go as far as saying there is absolutely no need to include the fish either, if you don't feel like it or you're not a fish lover.

The texture of them is lovely - soft in the middle, with a slight crunch on the outside. They're perfect with a nice side salad.

All you need to make roughly 6 fishcakes is:
1 salmon fillet
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
2 garlic cloves
A handful of fresh basil
1/4 fresh chilli (or 1/2 tsp chilli flakes)
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
A small handful of spinach leaves

For the 'coating':
80g mixed seeds - I use Lidl's, they're such good value!
1-2 tbsp sesame seeds

Equipment:
Mini chopper (or similar), baking tray, tin foil, medium saucepan, small saucepan, garlic crusher.

1. First things first, preheat your oven to 180 (fan assisted) and line a baking tray with tin foil. At the same time, boil a medium saucepan of water and cook the peeled and cubed sweet potato for around 5-8 minutes until it softens.

2. In a medium/large mixing bowl flake the salmon fillet and remove the skin from the bottom. Once all flaked into the bowl, mix in the garlic cloves, basil, chilli and chopped spring onions.

3. In a small saucepan, heat a tablespoon of water on a medium heat. When it begins to steam, add your spinach. Place the lid on, turn the heat to low and allow to wilt for no longer than two minutes. When done, mix in with the rest of the ingredient mixing bowl.

4. When your potatoes are softened, drain and then add to the mixing bowl. Mash the potato in with the rest of the mixture and make sure everything is mixed thoroughly.

5. Grab your mini chopper (or equivalent) and blend the seeds for around a minute. You could also use a Nutribullet with the milling blade, only doing so for less than a minute so there is still some texture there.) When they have been blended a little, pour onto a large plate ready to coat the mixture.


6. Separate the mixture in the mixing bowl into 6, rounding them into patties in your hand. When you have the desired shape/size, place in the seed mix and coat. Put the patty on the foil lined baking tray and press down slightly to flatten - only slightly! Repeat for all six.


7. Cook in the preheated oven for around 15-20 minutes until the outside of the patties have crisped a little. Make sure you flip them over half way through.


 
Serve up with a salad and enjoy! They're super tasty and full of goodness!

xo

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

MADE: My Favourite Go-To Hummus

I am a hummus addict. I've loved it for as long as I can remember. It is, however, very difficult to make the perfect recipe with both taste and texture. BUT I've cracked it and this is the one I make at least every other week...probably more...because I eat so much of it.

There are also LOADS of health benefits to hummus. Chickpeas can help lower cholesterol and it can be used as a spread alternative to butter which helps if you're watching what you're eating. It's not only a good-for-you-carb but it's also a good source of fibre. And it's tasty...I don't know about you but if something's good for you AND tasty, well, you're onto a winner. I always think there's something comforting about making your own dips too - you know bad stuff isn't going in there!

SO, my favourite hummus - inspired by my go-to health guru, Deliciously Ella.

All you need for enough hummus to serve 4 or enough for the week (depending how quickly you eat it...)
1 tin of chickpeas
2 medium lemons, juice only
2 tsp paprika
1 large garlic clove
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp water
1 tbsp tahini
Himalyan Pink Salt, to taste

Equipment: a mini chopper, or similar.


1. The recipe is SO simple - basically all you need to do is drain your chickpeas add them to them to the chopper/blender. Add the rest of your ingredients and blend.

2. I usually blend mine so it's ALMOST smooth. I leave a tiny bit of texture there as I think it leaves the taste even more authentic.


Serve up with some carrot and celery sticks, with a salad, on toast..whatever. It's delicious!

xo

Friday, 13 November 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #43


For once, this week hasn't been quite as busy. I've been feeling a bit grumpy all week which I'm pretty certain is because of the dark nights. The SAD is creeping its way back guys. I know a lot of people say they have SAD or joke about having it but seriously, this time of year is hard work. Yeah, the colours are nice, it's nearly Christmas, it's nice to wrap up warm etc etc. but the dark mornings, dark nights, grey weather, the gradual cold that creeps up on us - it's tough.

Whinging over.

This week, like I said, it's been quiet really. I had a really lovely weekend in the countryside than a crazy long drive back down South. Work-wise this week I've kept myself to myself. We have the launch of our exhibition on Wednesday which was pretty cool. It's such an interesting concept and nobody's put anything like it together before. Tonight I'm off for a fancypants dinner on the HQS Wellington on the Victoria Embankment, which is pretty cool. It's hosted by the Worshipful Company of Pattenmakers as part of their Young Manager of the Year Award.

Next week? Next week is CHAOS. I've got a day of holiday on Monday to spend some time at my parents house. Tuesday I'm in London allday, Wednesday I have meetings, Thursday I have a client dinner in London, Friday I haven't a clue where I'll be. CHAOS!

This week's Five For Friday:

A WEEKEND IN THE COUNTRYSIDE- at the weekend D and I went to stay with his mum up North for the weekend, spent some time with his sister and her husband, went on a little walk, did a bit of shopping etc. It was so nice to get away with the weekend and relax. It's no secret that I love the North and the countryside, team that with an Autumnal walk and I'm a happy girl.

POST-BEST-NIGHT-OF-MY-LIFE EXCITEMENT - I went to the Houses of Parliament to watch a fashion show as part of graduate fashion week. Yes, you've read this correctly. And yes, it was as wonderful as it sounds. The HoP on Bonfire Night, with the CEO of BURBERRY?! It was a real *pinch yourself* moment and I'm SO grateful for the experience.

WILD FIG AND CASSIS CANDLE - Best candle EVER. This time of year I'm all about the candles. Cinnamon smells, comforting fruity smells...you can't beat coming home and lighting a candle to scent the house. Check out the candles from Muji this time of year, reasonable prices and amazing scents. And obviously, my all time favourite Yankee Candles.

SPIN CLASSES - I've been banging on about getting fit for ages now. Over the past 6-9 months I've become incredibly unhappy with my body and I've reached the point of needing to do something about it. Last week I went to my first spin class in almost two years. The best bit? I absolutely loved it. I mean, I'm not entirely sure you're meant to enjoy those things but I really, really did. I've been again twice this week and really feel like this is the way to not only lose that bit of weight I want to get rid of as well as toning up, but also to get my overall fitness up.

GREEN SMOOTHIES - this week I've been treating myself to a green smoothie a day to try and perk myself up. I've been finding I must prefer the taste of a green smoothie rather than an all-fruit smoothie. They really do perk you up and leave you feeling refreshed and perky afterwards.

Have a brilliant weekend!

xo

Thursday, 12 November 2015

MADE: Courgette, Pea and Quinoa Burgers with Homemade Guacamole

It's no secret to those that know me that I've become a HUGE fan of Ella Woodward, the brains and beauty behind Deliciously Ella. And I'm sure, unless many of you have been living under a rock, you'll ALL know about Ella.
 
I know there's been a lot of controversy lately about 'clean eating', healthy bloggers/public figures etc and their advice not actually being that good - but I do believe a lot of what Ella says can help your body and prove that healthy food can be tasty and nutritious. I still think most things in moderation does you no harm but as I'm attempting to get fit again, look after my body and also tailor to a couple of intolerances I have, the Deliciously Ella recipes suit me down to the ground.
 
Back in January I attended Fare Healthy, a fantastic event where I was lucky enough to sit in on one of Ella's talks. Her way of thinking about food isn't just down to her own health reasons, it also involves a way of cooking to make life easier (ie. bulk cooking vegetables, rice etc one night of the week to last you several meals but for different recipes) and healthier alternatives. I really think Ella highlights one of the most important things about food and our relationship with it - tailor the way you eat to what your body is telling you. She started this journey with food after discovering she suffered from a rare illness. I'm not saying everybody should totally change their diet but listening to our bodies is key. I'm intolerant to dairy - so I avoid it 90%. Sometimes I'll have a greasy, cheesy pizza after a night out then feel on deaths door straight after and for a couple of days after. Is it worth it? NO! It definitely isn't. And that's why I'm glad people like Ella, Madeleine Shaw and The Hemsley's have brought into the limelight different ways of eating and alternatives to our favourite meals (quinoa and cauliflower based pizzas - YES PLEASE!)
 
My opinion, however, has not changed completely because of the advise and influence these people have had. I still don't think, unless you're intolerant or simply don't like something, you shouldn't cut it out of your diet completely. Like I said, everything in moderation.
 
I'm rambling now...and this is a recipe post, so here's your recipe:
 
Makes 4 large burger patties:
1 cup of peas
1 small courgette, grated
1/2 cup of ground flaxseed
1/2 cup of quinoa - I use this one from Tesco and it's my fave!
1/2 lime
1 desert spoon of apple cider vinegar
1 desert spoon of tahini
A handful of fresh parsley, chopped
Sea salt (or Himalayan Pink Salt) to taste
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 shallot, diced
 
Serve with - salad, guac and hummus or in a bun with sweet potato fries on the side.
 
Equipment - large mixing bowl, baking tray, tin foil, chopper/blender (you will be fine if you don't have either), two small saucepans
 
To make my homemade guac for 4 people:
2 avocados
A few plum tomatoes, diced
1 shallot (or half an onion), diced
1/2 tsp chilli flakes or 1/4 fresh red chilli
1 lime, juice only
1/2 tsp paprika
 
1. First things first - preheat your oven to 180 (fan assisted) and line a baking tray with tin foil - coat this with the tiniest bit of oil so the burgers don't stick.
 
2. Grab a small saucepan and cook the quinoa for 12-15 minutes - I always use more water than suggested as I don't think it cooks properly otherwise. For 1/2 cup of quinoa I would recommend 2-2/12 cups of water. If the quinoa is still hard and the waters nearly absorbed, add a little until it softens.
 
3. Dice the shallot and add to a large mixing bowl. Mix in the flaxseed, chilli flakes, parsley and grated courgette.
 
4. When the quinoa is also done, cook the peas for a couple of minutes in a small saucepan of water. Once these are done, use a mini chopper like mine (or alternative) to blend the peas. I add a drop of water to this so it blended more. If you don't have something like this, just mash them up on a chopping board with a fork.
 
5. Once the peas are blended, add the to the large mixing bowl along with the quinoa. Mix everything together.
 
6. Now add the apple cider vinegar, tahini and lime juice. Mix well. Add the salt for seasoning.

 
7. Once everything is mixed together, separate the mix into four and shape into patties. Once shaped, place on the foil-lined baking tray and pat down a little.
 
8. The patties will need about 20 minutes in the oven to cook through and become firm. Whilst they are cooking, make your guacamole. Mash up the two avocados and add the diced tomatoes and shallot. Stir everything together before adding the chilli, lime juice and paprika. All done!
 
9. Once the patties are done, dish up with a salad, your homemade guac and whatever else you fancy. If you're doing sweet potato fries, obviously allow 30-40 minutes for these to cook.


 
And there you go, a deliciously healthy burger alternative - perfect for midweek dinners or a weekend treat!
 
xo

Wednesday, 11 November 2015

MADE: Seasonal Butternut Squash Courgetti


It all began with a lone butternut squash that had been sat around in my kitchen. Unsure of what to do with it and loathed to stick to my favourite, traditional butternut squash soup or stuffed butternut squash, I wanted to branch out.

Butternut squash are a really good vegetable for you - full of fibre, potassium and vitamin A. As well as that, they're really tasty and give a sweet flavour to your recipes. They're definitely one of my favourite Autumnal vegetables.

Digging through the fridge and finding a courgette, glancing to the windowsill and seeing my basil was still alive...the recipe began to come together and my season courgetti was born!


All you need to serve 2:

A spiraliser or julienne peeler to ribbon the courgette - I would totally recommend investing in a spiraliser though!
Mini chopper, blender OR food processor for the sauce

1 courgette, spiralised
100g Greek feta cheese
50g pine nuts

For sauce:
1/2 medium butternut squash
2-3 tsp organic natural yoghurt
1 large handful basil
1 garlic clove
1/2 organic vegetable stock cube
1/2 cup of water
Sea salt and cracked black pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 180 (fan assisted), line a baking tray with tin foil and de-gut/slice up your butternut squash. Once the oven has heated, drizzle some extra virgin olive oil over your squash, salt and pepper the slices and bake in the oven for 30-45 minutes.

2. While the squash is cooking, grab the bowl of your chopper or blender and throw in the rest of the ingredients for the sauce. Once the squash is done, allow it to cool for 5-10 minutes before throwing in and blending.


3. Spiraliser your courgette. I have the Hemsley and Hemsley spiraliser and it's probably one of the best kitchen gadgets I've ever bought. I use it at least a couple of times a week.


4. Grab a medium size saucepan, drizzle a tiny bit of oil in and add a teaspoon of water before allowing to heat on low for a minute or so. Throw in your newly spiralised courgetti and coat in the water and oil. Once coated, put the lid on the saucepan and allow the steam to soften the courgetti for around 5-8 minutes. You'll need to stir once or twice so it doesn't stick.

5. Once the courgetti is softened, take the lid off and add the blended sauce to the courgetti - alternatively you can heat this in a small saucepan and top the courgetti rather than mixing everything together. Keep the heat on low so nothing sticks.

6. Heat a little oil in a small saucepan and add your pine nuts. Allow to brown for a couple of minutes before taking them off the heat and placing the pine nuts on some kitchen roll to soak off the oil.


7. Once the courgetti and squash sauce are heated, dish up, throw your pine nuts on top and sprinkle crumbed feta over the dish. Season with some extra crack blacked pepper. I also added a little chopped spring onion for decoration.






Monday, 9 November 2015

MADE: Sweet Potato, Parsnip and Carrot Soup


This time of year I live off soup. It's so versatile, it's filling and it's really bloody good for you (in most cases!). You can throw anything in with a bit of stock and, nine times out of ten, come out with something delicious - or at least edible.

Some of my favourite soups, other than a traditional vegetable and my go-to seasonal pumpkin/squash are some past recipes - Courgette and Tomato, Moroccan Chickpea and a hearty Leek and Potato. I recently made an amazing lentil and chorizo soup too, but silly me forgot to snap it!

This sweet potato, parsnip and carrot soup is really good for a filling lunchtime dish or an evening meal and it's so simple to make.

To make around 5 servings:
1 onion, red or white, diced
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
4 carrots, peeled and sliced
4 parsnips, peeled and sliced
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped into cubes
1 organic vegetable stock cube
1 pint of hot water
A handful of fresh parsley - or dried mixed herbs if you haven't got fresh
Sea salt and cracked black pepper, to season

1. Grab a large saucepan or soup pan and heat some EV olive oil on a low heat. Add your diced onion to the pan and stir. Allow the onion to soften for around five minutes.

2. Add the chopped carrots and parsnips and mix in with the onion for a minute or so. Add the stock cube to the hot water and mix well until the cube is dissolved.

3. Add the stock to the saucepan and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. At this point, add the cubed sweet potato.

4. Add the fresh herbs and seasoning. Leave the lid on for 10-15 minutes and allow to simmer.

Serve up with some fresh bread or dish up into tupperware pots to eat throughout the week. It only needs a couple of minutes of reheating in a saucepan or in the microwave.

xo

Friday, 6 November 2015

FIVE FOR FRIDAY #42

 
...the first is FOOD, obviously.
 
This week has been a really good one. Halloween weekend was loads of fun. On the Friday I headed home for one of my oldest friends 24th birthday. It was so lovely to catch up with school friends I don't see that often and we had a lovely meal at a local restaurant. I spent some time with Caitlin the following day and caught up with family before heading back to Northampton for a Halloween night out. We stayed local and it was a mixed bag of effort with the fancy dress. I decided on Wednesday Addams but ended up with a completely white face, dark eyes and black lips so I went a bit rogue with my chosen fancy dress. It was a really fun night and led to the whole of Sunday being spent in bed watching Modern Family.
The rest of the week has involved a lot of driving around collecting shoe samples for work as we are hosting this exhibition at Northampton Uni for the next three weeks. If you live nearby or are in the area, go and check it out. It's not been done before and the concept is really quite brilliant. It's all about the influence of the Ivy League style and how Northamptonshire companies are still manufacturing men's welted shoes of the Ivy League style.

OMG. I have had literally the best and most unreal moment of my life this week. Yesterday I went to THE HOUSES OF PARLIAMENT for a fashion show as part of graduate fashion week. It was an incredible experience. Everybody from Henry Holland to Christopher Bailey, Burberry CEO, was there. I can't believe that night actually happened to me. I mean, the setting, Bonfire Night, the people. It was crazy and so, so good. Cannot thank UK Fashion and Textiles for inviting me to celebrate the amazing lines coming from Fashion Graduates across the UK.

I'm really looking forward to a relaxed weekend up North with D and his family. We've got country walks and a nice dinner planned but knowing us we'll end up staying in drinking wine or napping. Hopefully some fireworks will be on the cards too!

THIS WEEK'S FIVE FOR FRIDAY:

FANCY DRESS - I usually have really mixed feelings about fancy dress. I always have an idea really early on and then am rushing around at the last minute to sort something out. I'd originally decided on Cruella but happily changed my mind two days before our night out to Wednesday Addams. I loved having a painted face and black wig on - it's made me kinda like fancy dress again after being bored to death by it throughout uni (being a VERY blue smurf whilst living in halls resulted in blue facepaint on walls, bathrooms, furniture, EVERYTHING, for weeks).

QUORN SPAG BOL...WITH COURGETTI - I don't eat a lot of meat anymore and genuinely like the taste of quorn so I thoroughly enjoyed making and eating this dish. I always feel so bloated after a bowl of pasta so use courgetti (and my fantastic spiraliser) whenever I can. I'm going to blog this recipe because if you don't eat meat or simply want a healthy alternative to spag bol, this one is great.

MY HOMEMADE GRANOLA - A few weeks ago I made some granola whilst at my parents house and it's delicious. I never really stick to a recipe so it's a bit of a mish-mash of nuts, seeds, oats, honey and this one has gluten free cornflakes in too (and a couple of squeezes of agave nectar, for good measure.) So tasty, especially with almond milk!

LUSH FACEMASKS - Lush make the best skincare products that not only look after your skin but smell AMAZING too. I recently bought a Peppermint facemask from the Kings Road store to help clear up my spotty chin a little bit and it's worked a treat. The staff are always so friendly and helpful in there - and also very good at their jobs as I end up leaving with several new products!

POSITIVE THINKING - My dad sent this present ages ago now. I'd just been promoted and I was having a huge confidence blip that I was taking on more than I could handle. The last couple of weeks have been a bit stressful with a lot of multitasking involved and it's made me wonder whether I'm not doing as well as I'd hoped. Having these framed words of wisdom on my desk to glance at every now and then makes me realise how far I've come and that I really can do whatever I put my mind too if I allow myself the belief that it's possible.

Have a great weekend! I hope you've got lots of lovely things planned.

xo