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Friday, 29 November 2013

Simply the Best Gluten-Free Pizza


Hello Lovelies,


As you may have guessed I love a good pizza, especially when there is a large gaggle of friends to share it with, so when a couple of months ago I found out I needed to cut wheat from my diet my proper pizza was something that was going to have to go.  But fear not fellow gluten-free babes, I did a lot of experimenting and after many many failed attempts I finally found the perfect pizza mix.  This recipe has no trickery or weird ingredients that try and compensate for the lack of wheat, I tried many of them, but they all seemed a bit lackluster and left me with a funny taste in my mouth (not good!)  This literally swaps the bread flour for gluten-free bread flour, easy peasy and seriously delish, so lets get cracking hold onto your hats ladies and gents, lets go gluten-free!  

Ingredients:

3 cups of gluten free flour
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 Tbsp sugar, divided
1 Tbsp yeast (sachet)
1 1/4 cup of warm water, divided
1 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 190 C


In a small bowl, combine yeast and 3/4 cup of warm water - too hot and it will kill the yeast.  Let it sit for 5 minutes to activate, then sprinkle in 1 Tbsp of the sugar a few minutes in.

In a separate bowl, combine the gluten free flour, salt, baking powder and remaining 2 Tbsp sugar, then whisk until it is well combined.



Make a well in the dry mixture and add the yeast mixture, a wooden spoon then add your oil and an additional 1/2 cup of warm water before stirring. Mix your dough with a wooden spoon until it is all combined, at this point I normally need to add a little bit more flour as it is always slightly sticky. 



Once your dough is combined lightly coat an upside down baking tray (or a pizza stone if your really fancy) with olive oil then rub some onto your hands, as this recipe calls for squishing rather than rolling of the dough.

Now flatten the dough with your hands, it wants to be pretty thin about 1/4 of an inch thick.



Once it is flattened put the pizza in the oven to pre-bake, it needs about 20 mins on 160 C until it begins to look dry.  Cracks may appear, but its completely normal. 


Once you have your base, you can start betting creative, I like a tomato and basil sauce (tinned tomato and fresh basil) a smattering of goats cheese and scrummy buffalo mozzarella, then topped with a few basil leaves when it comes out of the oven, BLISS!



Just a bit of food porn to make your mouth water.


 Will you be trying a bit of gluten-free cooking?


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Friday, 22 November 2013

Pukka Original Chai Latte


Hello Lovelies,


I love Chai Latte, it is my favourite drink however as I have to drink goats milk rather than cows and I don't eat sugar a Chai Latte at a coffee shop is out of the question.  Sugar is the main ingredient in the mix that they use so it is definitely a no no. 


So instead of filling my body with rubbish I thought I would knock up my own.  Pukka tea is one of my favourite brands so their organic Original Chai was my tea of choice. 


For this mug of goodness I half filled my mug with water and popped in my teabag, then got started with the milk, I filled another mug with goats milk and heated it in the microwave, when it was suitably hot I used this snazzy little milk frother from Ikea, however if you don't have one of these little gadgets you can use a normal whisk and rub it between both hands like making a fire Bear Grylls style, a little more work but it will give you the desired effect.      



This drink is lovely, its warming, comforting and due to the cinnamon it satisfies any cravings for sugar I may have.  I t is definitely my favourite winter warmer. 


What is your favourite winter drink?
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Thursday, 21 November 2013

Jo Malone Peony & Blush Suede Cologne


Hello Lovelies,


It is no secret that I love Jo Malone, they are an innovator in perfume, they were one of the first brands to use extracts like basil in their fragrances, so for me a new cologne launch is always something that gets my senses excited.  

Although Peony & Blush Suede has been out for a while I haven't been anywhere near a Jo Malone counter so I was rather excited to give it a smell.


While I was in John Lewis the other day I spent a good 20 mins sniffing all the colognes, I finally came across the Peony & Blush-Suede, I'm normally an Orange Blossom kinda girl but the Peony & Blush Suede drew me in and ended up in my basket.


The Jo Malone website describes this scent as "peonies in voluptuous bloom, exquisitely fragile.  Flirtatious with the juicy bite of red apple and the opulence of jasmine, rose and gillyflower.  Mingling with the sensuality of soft, blush suede.  Luxurious and seductive."   



The first hit that you get from this fragrance is powdery, juicy and very girlie but as the day progresses and the scent dies down it becomes much more warm and sophisticated.  I love this scent and have been wafting it wherever I go.


One thing I just have to mention about Jo Malone is the amazing packaging, it's all very swanky. In my opinion there is nothing better than seeing that cream and black box with a big black bow under the Christmas tree. 



What is your favourite perfume, have you ever tried Jo Malone?
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Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Honeymania : Body Butter


Hello Lovelies,


I used to have a ton of 'The Body Shop' products when I was younger, and their body butters were my favourite, but as I got older and found new products they were forgotten and relegated to the back of the bathroom cabinet.  

However when I opened my Glamour magazine this month and found a £3 voucher to The Body Shop I decided to grab myself a body butter.  So after having my hair cut I pootled down the road and popped in to grab one, after having a good smell to reacquaint myself I settled on Honeymania. 



The top note of Honeymania is a floral, wildflower scent and the bottom note is honey, not the super saccharine sweet stuff you stir into your porridge in the morning, it is more of a grown up scent, which is lovely on the skin.

If you own or have previously owned a body butter then you will know how luxuriously smooth and buttery the consistency is.  This lovely stuff melts into your skin and leaves you all silky smooth without a greasy/oily film being left.  Honey is fab for your skin, it is known for its antibacterial properties and is great for softening and soothing skin.  Each pot of Honeymania is made with Community Fair Trade honey, which is one of the things I really appreciate now I'm older.


I have to say I love this stuff, I have only used it once but I can see myself going out to buy another pot when this runs out.   



Are you a body butter fan?
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Monday, 18 November 2013

NOTD: Bad Romance : Deborah Lippmann


Hello Lovelies,



I know my posts have been rather foodie recently so I thought I should pop up some of the beauty reviews I have been working on, the first of which is my NOTD, I haven't worn any nail varnish for the last few weeks as my nails weren't looking to healthy.  But after a varnish hiatus, I decided to come back with a bang, a big fuchsia glittery one.

I had never actually tried a Deborah Lippmann nail varnish before but regularly see them in in tk maxx, but never see any that grab me. However yesterday while I was mooching around the beauty section I spotted three varnishes for £4, a complete bargain, there was a dark red (you guys know I love red) a nude and this gorgeous glitter.  In the bottle, it looks like a clear polish with glitter pieces, but in reality it is a black jelly polish full of fuchsia micro and hexagonal glitter, which adds a little girly to what could be a rather vampy nail varnish.


As with all jelly polishes, the first coat is always streaky, but 'Bad Romance' went lovely and opaque after two coats, with really good glitter coverage, although if you wanted a very dense glitter three coats would do the trick.


Unlike some glitter polishes where your nail is left feeling rough from spiky glitter pieces, this glitter all seems to behave itself and lie flat, so Deborah Lippmann definitely deserves a clap for achieving that. 


This nail varnish is going to be a festive fave, it would be perfect with a LBD for a Christmas party.        



What is your favourite glitter nail polish?

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Friday, 15 November 2013

The Humble Peanut Butter Cookie



Hello Lovelies,


I was getting serious baking withdrawal as I haven't baked since I received my food plan from my nutritionist which was three weeks ago, but as it has a strict NO SUGAR rule I won't be enjoying these peanut bites of goodness, they will be popped in the biscuit tin for others to eat.  That aside these really are my favourite peanut butter cookies so I thought I would share this little gem of a recipe with you.

I wasn't very snap happy when baking these, but I am sure you won't have any difficulty as it is a one bowl recipe  you just shove it all in.

Ingredients

1/2    cup granulated sugar
1/2    cup of packed brown sugar
1/2    cup of peanut butter
1/2    cup of butter
1      egg
1 1/4  plain flour
3/4    teaspoon baking soda
1/2    teaspoon baking powder
1/4    teaspoon salt


First mix your sugars, peanut butter (best to use natural peanut butter), butter and egg in a large bowl, then stir in the dry ingredients (add a pinch of cinnamon for a cheeky twist).  Once it is all mixed, cover your bowl with cling film then put in the fridge for around two hours or until firm.

Heat your oven to 190 C, then shape the dough into 1 1/4 inch balls, then place on a silicone sheet 3 inches apart.  Once they are placed on the street flatten in a crisscross pattern with a fork dipped in sugar.

Then bake 9-10 mins or until light golden brown, when they are out of the oven cool for 5 mins on the baking sheet then remove and place on a wire rack to continue to cool.


These cookies come in at 110 calories each so they are definitely a naughty now and then treat, but one that is seriously worth it, especially if you are a peanut butter fan.



What is your naughty treat of choice?
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Chicken Soup || Recipe


Hello Lovelies,


I was feeling a bit poorly yesterday and needed a bit of tlc, so I knocked up a quick batch of chicken soup.  When I was little and my brother and I were sick we would curl up on the sofa bed in our playroom with a snugly quilt and watch videos like Mary Poppins and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang while Mummy bought us hot Ribena, these days when I'm under the weather my day is filled with my guilty pleasure TV shows (hello Kardashians!) and chicken soup with copious amounts of tea.  


This soup is super yummy and fab for those chilly days.

Ingredients


Knob of butter

2 onions
3 sticks of celery
2 carrots finely diced
1 tbsp plain flour 
2 pints chicken stock
2 chicken breasts 
1 tbsp of freshly chopped parsley 
S+P



First you need to dice your veg then throw it in a casserole dish with your butter on a medium heat until it all starts to soften.  While the veg is softening you can sort out your chicken, I cut the two breasts into large chunks so it cooks quickly. 

Next stir your flour into your veg and cook for a further 2 mins. Pour your chicken stock over your veg and bring the mixture to the boil, stirring as you do so.


Season the soup to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper, then pop in the oven until the veg is tender.  


After the chicken is cooked, chop it up into small pieces and let it join your veg in soupy heaven.  I normally give it another 30 mins in the oven at 160 C then take it out.




After you have ladled your soup into your bowl add a bit of fresh parsley, to give it a little bite.



Then it is time to enjoy, make sure you have your snuggliest socks and jumper on then revel in its soupy goodness.  


What is your favourite Winter soup?

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Monday, 11 November 2013

Creamy Beef and Squash with Rice


Hello Lovelies,


It's my mothers birthday this month, so my brother made a little pit stop home on the way back from a party so we could give her an early birthday.  I was however rather stuck on what to cook for supper, but a friend of mine pulled this blinder out of her hat, I gave the original recipe she gave me a bit of a tweak and it was so yummy that I thought you all deserved to have it in your cook book.   

Ingredients for 5 people:

Pre-heat oven to 160C

1 squash
2 onions
3 rump steak
1 chicken stock cube
1 bayleaf
1 pack of green beans
basmati rice 
single cream


First thing you need to do is roast your squash, cut it into cubes and pop it into the oven with some olive oil, I don't actually know how long it took, but just keep checking, you want to take them out when they are a lovely golden colour.  




Next you want to dice one of your onions and pan fry it with a little oil until they become translucent.  Once cooked add them to your squash. 



Next season your beef, and start to fry your second onion, once cooked push your onion to the side of your pan and start to cook your beef, I cooked mine 2 1/2  mins each side as I am not a personal fan of rare beef. 

While you are cooking your beef you will want to start cooking your rice, pop it in a ban with one chicken stock cube and a bay leaf. 







 Once your beef is cooked you can cut off the fat and slice, I then pop it in a warming oven with the squash and onion, while I whip up the sauce and cook the beans.
The sauce is cooked in the same pan as the beef was so the cream and onion absorb all those lovely flavours, you don't want it to sit in the pan for to long as it will curdle, it just needs to be stirred with the onions until it is hot then pour over your beef and squash.  
As you start to serve up you can pop your beans onto boil so they are nice and hot when your ready to eat.   





Its a nice dish to pop on the table and let everyone serve themselves, but this time we served out the rice and just put the beef on the table for everyone to dig into.


Has anyone else cooked anything new recently that has been a hit?
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Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Homemade Honey and Vanilla Sugar Scrub


Hello Lovelies,


We all know that sugar isn't good for our healthy, however it is very good for our skin, this is why department stores and spas charge outrageous prices for a scrub that realistically cost pennies to make.  Homemade sugar scrubs are an incredible beauty product, they are great for exfoliation and can be incredibly moisturising and gentle on your skin unlike some scrubs that you can buy on the high street which tend to do the job of exfoliating but then leave my skin all dry.  So I now save my pennies and make my own super moisturising scrub, that can be used on both my face and body.  


The Basic Recipe:

Use 2 parts sugar (regular white or brown, I use brown as it is less coarse so therefore not as abrasive) to 1 part oil (almond, olive or coconut are fab), add 1/2 teaspoon of Vitiman E oil or the gel from three capsules, then any other optional ingredients. 

I personally like to first mix my sugar, oil and Vitamin E so I have a good base then start playing with the extras.  This scrub is for my Auntie so I wanted to play it a little safe as I'm not sure what scents she likes to use on her skin, so I opted for 1 tsp of vanilla extract and 2 of honey, honey is fabulous for your skin thanks to its antibacterial properties and hefty serving of skin saving antioxidants, so it was perfect for a sugar scrub.  You can use so many different scents, two of my favourites are lemon (fab for the kitchen) and lavender for a relaxing facial scrub.  The world is basically your oyster so get playing.   



These scrubs last on the counter for up to two months and smell good enough to eat... well they are but don't...  remember sugar isn't good for you!


These are also fab as Christmas prezzies, just add a ribbon and a scoop and there you have a lovely prezzie and a pinch.



Will anyone else be making their own sugar scrub?
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