Happy 2014!

Happy New Year to you all! I hope you all had a lovely Xmas holiday and managed to get home to family and friends, especially because this year the rain caused terrible disruptions on the roads and rail-lines! It was also sad to see homes that were flooded or had power cuts. It caused me great anxiety but luckily everyone managed to get here, albeit their journeys weren’t smooth sailing!

In this post I wanted to talk about one of the presents I received from my sister. One day I was looking at Pinterest recipes for crockpots (in Britain we call them slow cookers) and then my sister texted me asking what kind of things I would like for Xmas. This was her second time asking me, it usually takes me a while to think about what I really need so I thought why not a slow cooker!

Therefore I got this slow cooker for Xmas:

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It’s one of the smaller ones and it’s made by the Crockpot brand, I’m not 100% clued up on slow cookers but I was really drawn to the Crockpot brand because apparently it’s the original slow cooker. It’s one of the basic ones but I like the polished chrome and simple style. You can get fancier ones that is digital and has a timer for automated cooking but they tend to be the bigger ones, which wouldn’t suit our household.

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The first recipe I cooked in my crockpot was bolognese, we had some garlic bread to eat up so the decision was made to make spaghetti bolognese!

Ingredients:
1 medium onion diced
1 finely grated carrot
5 mushrooms diced
300-500g beef mince
1 tin tomatoes
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/2 organic beef stock cube
Worcester sauce
Ketchup
1 teaspoon brown sugar
Salt & pepper

Method:
1: Sauté onions in frying pan with a little oil, then add mushrooms and carrot, once mushrooms are softened add the mince to brown.
2: Once mince is browned pour into slow cooker and then add all the other ingredients.
3: Cook for 3-4 hours on high or 5-8 hours on slow.

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I had good reviews from my husband who is extremely honest with my cooking! So thumbs up!

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Home made gyoza

I’ve been craving gyoza (also known as Wor Teep in Chinese) but I’m not keen on the frozen ones you can buy in the supermarket. Mainly because I’m wary of what they put in there! Although it took me a while to make these (roughly 50 minutes from start to finish) it was still tasty and definitely satisfied my cravings!

Here is my recipe for you to try at home too!

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Click here to see my Instagram video on how to wrap!

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Let me know if you try this! 🙂

May

Wow it’s nearly been a month since my last post! I’ve had a really busy month at work which means I’m usually knackered by the time I get home, so the last thing I want to do it use my brain a write a post. I really wish I have the energy to post regularly, I’m going to try to at least blog once a week… We will see how that goes!

Ok so lets see what I got up to in the month of May:

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I’ve been helping my friend with her wedding photography business, she’s based in Taiwan and I’m helping her promote it in the UK as a pre-wedding destination for engagement photos. It’s really popular for the Chinese to take a load of pictures before hand and Taiwan is a go to destination for it as it boasts a variety of amazing scenery. It’s also great as it has delicious street food too! I’m hoping to visit her in December. Do check out the Facebook page for more pictures and information, oh and I’d be most grateful if you like the page too! 😘😞

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I’ve been hanging out with Ziggy and taking pictures of him being cute!

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There’s been a lot of murals graffiti style dotted around the city, I like this one of a fox and birds.

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I’ve been obsessed with cute socks lately, I’m still not over it and on the lookout for more!!

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Talking about obsessions, I’m also into these way too much! We got one last Saturday and I was hooked, we went back to the supermarket yesterday and I bought 3 bars! Lol

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Last Sunday we went out with the family for lunch at Bill’s, everything I ordered was great, apart from the banoffee pie, so I’ve shown you in the picture above the dessert I should have ordered, creme brûlée!

My take on bulgogi!

These past few days I have been craving Korean cuisine as I’ve been addicted to watching Korean Masterchef! It’s really interesting to see what food they come up with and unsurprisingly there’s a lot of Korean and Asian influences! I’ve become less interested in the British version. Last year two Korean ladies I met through work cooked some delicious beef bulgogi (grilled marinated beef) and courgette pancakes (they were like fritters), I was delighted when they gave me their recipe! So today after my back massage appointment I had a look around town and popped into M&S for a few bits to recreate this dish.

On a side note I saw the well known Japanese Kewpie mayonnaise in M&S, still as pricey as the Chinese store though!

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I came away with more than planned so had to buy this cute bag.

Method
Put the rice on and then make the marinade (I adapted this):
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sesame oil
1/2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp puréed pear (I used tinned pears in juice and added 2 tbsp of the juice)
1 tbsp rice vinegar (I forgot to put in photo)
1 inch fresh ginger
1/2 fresh chilli
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
Salt (only a little) & pepper
(I left out garlic as I didn’t have any)

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Next, follow the step-by-step photos (Bulgogi is usually made of beef but I’m using pork this time):

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After cooking for about 10 minutes until meat is cooked through, you’ll have something looking like this (I found some green beans in the fridge so added these for colour and vitamin C & K):

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Now enjoy!
It’ll be nice to know if you make this dish, so feel free to leave me a comment or email. 🙂

Easter Break

I’ve not really done anything exciting lately, just spent my time sleeping, playing on Just Dance, watching Food Network, eating (a lot), and reading. It’s been relaxing, I love spending time on myself to do what I like, I can stay indoors and not venture out for a good few days, I believe I may be called a hermit! However today I did venture out and bought a few bits from Waitrose, Superdrug and TK Maxx.

Here are things I’ve been doing in pictures:

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I bought these watercolours last summer and felt that it was about time I got them out again! I’m doing a little project for myself so want to get back in to drawing and painting.

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Whilst getting bits for lunch in Waitrose the idea of using our raclette popped into husband’s head at the cheese counter. Great idea, I enjoyed our little raclette party (of two).

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I went into buy Superdrug to buy Bourjois foundation (my Bobbi Brown Skin foundation is running low and I wanted a cheaper everyday one for work) but came out buying products from Gosh (using the 3 for 2 promo) and a MUA highlighter.

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I’ve been reading John Wyndham books lately as I finished Life of Pi (lovely book!), my husband enjoys Wyndham books and have been trying to get me to read some of his favourites. The first book I read was Chocky which was enjoyable and rather interesting as the story is about a boy who hears voices in his head! I’m now onto The Day of the Triffids.

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We saw some globe artichokes at our local Morrisons and decided to buy them as a treat, we’ve both not had these since we were young. We had one each and it was mega filling!!! I would recommend you share one. I just made a butter dip, I say made, what I really did was melt it!

Pie and Mash

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Despite the rain on Saturday we ventured out to pick up a few bits for Xmas and to do a food shop. The shops were surprising mellow, I was anticipating crowds of manic shoppers! After the shops we had lunch in this nearby quaint independent pie and mash shop called Pie and Vinyl. It isn’t a typical London pie and mash shop, it’s more of a cosy bistro with Victorian knick-knack decor.

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There’s only room for about 14 people in total but that’s quite nice as it’ll never be too annoyingly overcrowded, and means the service will always be good! We looked at the menu outside before getting a table so we had some idea what we would order. The pies were either from Pieminister or Buckwells (local butchers). However because its a small establishment they have a board with what pies they have in on that day. Unfortunately my Moo pie (steak) was not on the board, so I ordered a Kate and Sidney (steak and kidney) and bf ordered Fungi Chicken (mushroom and chicken). We both went for the meal deal at £6.50, it includes pie, mash and mushy peas, it’s served with gravy or liquor. Liquor is what London pie shops traditionally served as gravy, it’s made from flour, chicken stock and lots of parsley which makes it green. We dislike parsley so opted for the brown gravy! For drinks we had a pot of Mr Fitzpatrick fizzy cream soda cordial to share (£1.75), there was enough for 3 glasses each!

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The service was prompt and the waiter and waitresses were very friendly. There was music playing in the background, it wasn’t too loud or off putting, I assume they were playing vinyl. I spent the short waiting time eyeing up all the vinyls and posters on the walls and the knick-knacks that decorated the room. I particularly like the cat salt and pepper shakers (I saw these in Urban Outfitters).

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I enjoyed eating here, the food was served hot (I can’t stand warm food) and the pie was exceptionally good! It was flavoursome and generously filled, the pastry was hard and crisp. I ate it all even though my stomach was at bursting point! The mash let me down a bit as it was a tad grey in colour and a little too wet for me. There’s no taste of cream or butter, I’m not sure whether it’s made from powder?! Anyhow this doesn’t put me off eating here again! I think I’d like to try the Pieminister’s Heidi pie which consists of goats cheese, sweet potato, spinach, red onion and roasted garlic. There’s 5 vegetarian and 22 non-veggie pies to choose from on the menu. Thanks for the treat B!