Wednesday, 13 February 2013

trying a web recipe - espresso doughnuts

Shutterbean is one of my most favourite food blogs, so when I saw Tracy's recipe for espresso doughnuts I had to try, you can find the recipe here, I even bought a 6 hole doughnut pan (pretty cheap on amazon/ebay) which was well worth the investment, even better these things are baked so much more healthy!

Friday, 1 February 2013

a quick slow dinner - ham and lentils

Tastes like it took ages, when in fact it took minutes, ham and chestnuts are one of my favourite combos.

Ham and Lentils with Leeks and Chesnuts
Serves 2 

400g Tin Lentils (or 200g lentils, soaked overnight in salted water)
1 Leek
1 Onion
Half packet of Chesnuts (I use the vacuum packed precooked kind)
150g Ham Hock
Fresh Thyme
Lemon Juice (half a lemon is plenty)

Thinly slice the onions and leek and fry gently in oil.  Add the lentils now and cook if your not using tinned.  When everything is soft add the chopped chestnuts and precooked lentils.  Warm through, then add the ham and choped thyme and heat for another 2 minutes.  When ready to serve check the seasoning (some ham can be very salty so no further will be required) and squeeze over a bit of lemon.  

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

trying a new medium - fimo beads

Over last summer and during the winter rounds of the craft fairs I was really taken with the bold shape and coloured jewellery avaliable (I fell in love with this maker's work at the time).  At the time it was hard to decide what to buy, then after admiring a friend's homemade christmas decorations I was inspired to give fimo a go!  I kept it simple this time, for a trying out craft this is really cheap, easy and requires very little time (or patience, which I lack!).

Fimo Beads
I shaped by beads by hand, then used a cocktail stick to make the holes in the beads.  I also added ribbed detail to the triangles by pressing down with the side of the cocktail stick.  I baked them at 110 degrees for 30 mins on a piece of baking parchment, then allowed to cool.  For the triangle necklace I plaited 1mm leather string and wove the beads in, I used an existing silver chain for the balls.

I noticed my hands got glittery very quickly when using the metallic fimo, this did transfer a bit to the other pieces but I quite liked the effect.

Monday, 28 January 2013

an evening cocktail - green paloma

We have recently been testing tequila based cocktails to go with an evening of Mexican food, this one is a personal favourite! It leaves a strong hint of chilli heat on your top lip (which I love, but can see why others are less fond) so to make it cooler add the chilli after shaking or leave it out altogether.

Green Paloma
Add the following for each person

50ml Tequila
50ml Grapefruit Juice
50ml Lemonade (Or soda and half a lemon juiced)
1 Green Chilli, split down the middle and halved

Shake with ice then pour over fresh ice in a lowball glass, serve ice cold

Saturday, 26 January 2013

changing your space - bedroom update

Our bedroom has always been the last room in our house to be properly decorated, probably because it's the room most visitors never get to see (how lazy of us)!  After sorting out the conservatory I was determined in this house we would have a properly organised relaxing space just for us.  I eventually intend for this room to be a mixture of black, white, bold pattern, wood and with lots of texture (a bit of sheepskin, bedlinen and this headboard in mind), for the moment we are living with the transition and going with a mixture of things we have now and a few new cheap makes and bits and pieces.  Eventually I would love to paint the bedside tables very dark, maybe even with a bit of sparkle, who knows!

P.S. We just bought touch base lamps for our bed (John Lewis) with some of our wedding gift money from our lovely work colleagues,  for anyone thinking about them they are THE nicest way to put the light on in the morning, really gentle pretty light with 3 settings.  Little things make the biggest difference to your day, don't you find?!


Friday, 25 January 2013

days out - tower of london

It's always good to find time for days out with good friends, nice food and a bit of culture.  I even nearly came home complete with souvenir tacky pencil with jewelled top but at £3 it was a bit over budget!  The crown jewels (sorry no photos allowed) were amazing, they even have Queen Victoria's teeny tiny top of head crown, even better as it was quiet we got to go round twice!

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

quick updates - washi tape bathroom storage

My teeny 1 1/2 bed house has a whopping 3 bathrooms, to my mind you really don't need more toilets than people that live in the house but clearly some folks think different!  Our downstairs toilet come wine cellar is was intended for visitors but at the moment is still home to a mountain of bottles from our wedding (we even hosted new years and still have not drunk it all yet, yikes)!  We have had to result to keeping the other 2 bathrooms pretty and guest friendly, and as we have a houseful in a few days I thought I might spruce them up with a bit of colour and indulge my washi tape addiction at the same time!

Boxes - brown paper wrapped glossy boxes
Cups - dishwasher cleaned nutella jars

Monday, 21 January 2013

window shopping - january

I keep telling myself these are just to admire, not to buy, although the jacket is pretty tempting :)

Dumbells, Tripod Lamp Set, Stump Stool, Leather Jacket, Geo Necklace, Cookbook, Copper Ring. Crop Jumper, Moon Clock (in honour of the late Sir Patrick)

KC x

P.S Whilst we are on a Sky at Night note I just saw this amazing lamp!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

staying in

Living in the south of England means no matter how many times it snows we can still use it as an excuse to get excited about gloves, hats, snowballs and wellies.... and then decide to stay inside and drink hot chocolate!  I was planning a get together with some friends tonight too (sorry guys) but we will reschedule, instead I had a lovely day in with my husband, tidying and catching up on marking :)

Friday, 18 January 2013

winter sunshine

dress - dorothy perkins, duffle coat - topshop, boots - jones, necklace (just seen) - craft market

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

a quick cheap make - diy geo frame

Just after Christmas I bought 3 frames intending to paint them with white patterns (chevron, dot) but the paint was awful and did not take well to the frame.  After a few attempts I worked out that if using tape (I used washi tape as it is nice and thin, but any masking tape will do) to mark out your designs then 1 thick layer of paint is by far the most smudge free.   I tried out a few things from around the house, but by far the best turned out to be nail polish, I tested them out on the back of the frame to see which colours worked best then painted in and let dry for a few minutes before peeling back the tape. I originally intended to neaten the edges with a cotton bud dipped in polish remover, but this removed the varnish so I outlined the edges in gold permanent marker instead!  Hey presto, a simple Geo Frame!

Monday, 14 January 2013

making your own - smoked salmon and spinach quiche

Basic Quiche Recipe
Serves 2 (in a 6" quiche tin, double for 4)

Shortcrust Pastry
(I use frozen, 1/2 a block, here's a link if you want to make your own)
2 eggs
200ml Double Cream
80g Grated Cheese (Gruyere, Grand Padano, Parmasan all work well)
Your choice of filling (I went for 2 handfulls of spinach and 100g crumbled smoked salmon)

Roll out your pastry, the thinner you roll the healthier the quiche! Use to line a small tart tin, cut the excess pastry away by running a sharp knife around the top, keeping it horizontal. Fill with baking beads or dried beans in a scrunched up piece of baking parchment to keep the base flat. Blind bake for 8-10 mins, 170 in a fan oven,

With a fork gently whisk the eggs into the cream, grate the cheese into the mixture in a jug.

Once the case is part cooked (it will still look slightly soft, but should hold it's shape) remove the baking beans in the parchment then sprinkle in your filling (I went for the salmon followed by the spinach). Pour over the egg/cream/cheese mixture over the filling until the case is full. The mixture will puff up in the oven but should not stick to the sides of the tin so don't worry if it overflows onto the edges a little, or if your case has any gaps.

Turn down the oven to 150, then bake for 20 minutes, more if the middle is still runny.

Friday, 11 January 2013

enjoying leftovers - japanese style chicken katsu

Leftovers at my desk, quick, simple, tasty!

Simple Chicken Katsu
Serves 2 for dinner plus 1 portion leftovers
(modified from recipe on BBC Good Food)

3 Chicken Breast/Thigh Fillet
1 Egg (whisked)

Soy Beans
2 Spring Onions (finely chopped)

4 tbps Ketchup
2 tbsp Honey
1 tbsp Soy Sauce
2 tbsp Curry Powder
2 Cloves of Garlic (finely chopped)
2 tbsp Corn Flour
500ml Boiling Water

Set the rice to boil

Flatten the chicken by beating with a rolling pin if needed, then dip in flour, then egg then breadcrumbs (and repeat if you like it extra crispy!).  Shallow fry the chicken on both sides for 2 minutes to seal the breadcrumbs, pat dry with a kitchen roll and move into the oven at 180 for about 12 minutes (or until cooked).

Set up a wok, fry off the garlic and curry powder in oil for 2 minutes (add a few drops of seasame oil if you have it for extra flavour).  Mix the ketchup, soy, honey, corn flour and a little boiling water in a cup.  Add this to the wok, then slowly add the rest of the boiling water whilst stiring (it seems like a lot but it cooks away quickly to leave a tasty sticky sauce).  Leave to simmer.

When the rice has 5 minutes to go add the soy beans.  Take the chicken out of the oven and slice to your desired size.

Once the rice is done, drain and add the spring onion (I like my soy so I add a few drops to the rice here too).  Plate up the rice, then sauce, then chicken on top and serve, set aside your leftovers.

I keep the sauce in a seperate little pot in with the leftovers to stop the chicken getting soggy, when heating up pour over the sauce and microwave for 2-3 minutes.

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

renovating renting style - dining room / conservatory

I dream of owning my own home, a space for me and my husband to make our own, although a good part of this I am sure is my love of the smell of paint and our longing for a savannah cat!  For now at least I have to be content with renting, our current little house is the first place in a string of eight rentals in the same number of years that we have felt truly at home.   We have never wanted to invest in specific furniture for a place that we don't intend to stay for a while (decorating in this house is also out of the question) so our style has always had to have moving in mind, but slowly we have been making this little place our own.

Monday, 7 January 2013

returning to a past love

Having drifted away from being a regular blogger in a past life where work, housekeeping and netflix did not take up such a huge amount of my time I never really thought I could come back.  My old blog, although a moderate success  grew into something that I was living bits of my life for rather than a place for sharing things I enjoyed, at the time moving on was a no brainer.

I had not really though about blogging again until a few weeks ago.  I was listening to a work colleague speak about his frustration at being one of those people who likes to try new things to the extent that he is passable to good at many things but can never focus or dedicate his time to become truly great at just one.  I really admire his ability to dive into the unknown so was surprised he was so negatively preoccupied with not achieving virtuoso status.  At the time I did not make the link between his experiences and  mine when I was blogging, but over the following weeks I realised that I had once felt very much the same, that instead of sharing my moderate successes I had to polish my life for my blog, not share off subject topics and force creativity or post regularly when I had neither the time or inclination, my blog was intended for friends and family first yet I wasn't even sharing the real me.

I still keep up to date with blogs every day, I love reading and trying new ideas and am constantly inspired by the creativity shared by other bloggers.  Another great friend and blogger has shown me over the last year that you don't have to make the compromises I did in the past, her unique and personal style of blogging and strength to fight for positive attitudes in the blogging community is refreshing.  Don't get me wrong, I love the perfect hair, make-up, food, homes and photography on professional blogs and read them regularly, but I also love the honesty and personality of the others, and that's where this is aimed, not a food blog or a style blog or a home blog or a beauty blog but a 'my life' blog, so I can share my real ideas and achievements, imperfectly (as Steph would say).

KC x