I must say, I think last week’s post went better that Week 5’s! This week I am attempting to use up all of my fresh food, so (1) we have a bit of a mish-mash, and (2) it is very likely to change!
This is also the last What’s Cooking post for a few weeks. Next week is the last week of term, so I’m planning out all meals til I go back, and then I’ll be at home (and so not having to meal plan too much). I’ll be back with this series in January!
Wednesday – Southern Fried Chicken, with Homemade Wedges & Coleslaw
I’ve had a craving for homemade coleslaw for weeks, I have red cabbage to use up, I had money off breaded chicken. Win win, craving = sorted. This dinner is the kind of dinner I really enjoy, but don’t let myself have too often. Homemade coleslaw = the best!
I’m afraid I didn’t get a picture of this – but my coleslaw was good!
Thursday – Christmas Dinner
As you know, my house does a Sunday dinner, and this weekend it was due to be our Christmas one. However I have an important event on Monday which I need to prepare for, so we’ve moved it to Thursday. I’m excited for all the trimmings!
Friday – Dinner In London: WAHACA Time!
I’m meeting my boyfriend in London (because, well, I miss him!) so its to our favourite restaurant. I need to email them tonight to re-check their menu for tomato-free ness!
Saturday – Sausage & Chicken Pie, Mash and 3 Types of Cabbage
Sunday – Mushroom Risotto, Salad, & Garlic Bread
Monday – Leftover Risotto
I possibly might do this in a bake-form, which a crunchy breadcrumb and cheese topping.
Tuesday – Sausage & Mash with Vegetables
Wednesday – Curry Night
It is a housemate’s birthday, so we’re ordering a take-away. Obviously I can’ risk ordered too much off-menu, so I’ll be cooking my own curry sauce and just buying rice and naan. This also marks the last day of proper lectures and assignments, so a bottle of cider may be in order!
Thursday – Home Time!
I’m hoping to be home by Thursday night, so that is the end of my ‘week’ – Merry Christmas meal planners!
What recipes do you have for using up ingredients?
I love making up hampers and gift-sets as presents for friends and families – it looks like so much more effort has gone in that picking something up off of the shelves, and you can personalise it to their individual tastes. I thought over the next few weeks I would do a few posts on some of the gifts I have made up over the years, and some products I would recommend. First up is a girly-night-in pampering set!
Basically, this little series is going to be all about what I would love to receive in a gift like the ones I am describing!
If someone was going to make me a gift set of pampering goodies, I’d love them to go more on the treats rather than the beauty products (I find they are such a personal thing – I for one hate really scented body lotions, which are commonplace in most pre-made budget options).
I’d love a pair of slippers (I treated myself to the ones in the picture in Primark, for £2), some girlie magazines (if they have freebies, so much the better!), a cute mug (Cath Kidston is the obvious choice, but Wilkinson’s have some great ones too!), and some chocolate goodies.
On the beauty side of things, I personally would prefer to be given nail polishes, maybe a nail file – things that aren’t going to irritate skin or cause fear that the recipient smells! This set was £2 and I talk more about it here.
I reckon you could make a great set for £10, and I know this is the type of present I love to receive!
I was shocked when I moved to university (apparently I’m seen as a Northener down here, despite only being from the Midlands!) as no-one, absolutely no-one, seemed to know what bubble-and-squeak is. To those who don’t know – it’s leftover mashed potatoes, mixed with leftover finely chopped green vegetables and bacon, fried until crispy, and you need to try it. For those who do know, it always seems to be a favourite. I know it is for me!
We have this quite often at home on a Monday (which reminds me – meatless Monday’s make no sense to me, as it’s the day you have meat leftover from a Sunday roast. I get the meatless thing, just not the Monday for sake of alliteration!), and it’s a Boxing Day staple in my house. It never fails to remind me of home, even the smell just seems so homey. It’s also a fab way of using up mashed potatoes and vegetables if you’ve cooked too much, or if you have vegetables going past their best, it’s great to cook them fresh and use them in this rather than chucking them away.
Granted, this isn’t a sophisticated dish (especially when serving the potato mixture on top of good crispy bread smothered in butter…) but it sure tastes good! Like this ‘leftovers’ post I won’t be writing a proper recipe, but here goes…
Take some leftover mashed poatoes, some leftover green vegetables (I have savoy cabbage and curly kale here), and some diced bacon.
Fry the bacon in a little oil until crisp.
Meanwhile mix the potato and greens together with a fork. When the bacon is done, add a small knob of butter to the pan to melt.
Tip the potato mixture into the bacon-y-butter-y pan, and mush together into a cake, making sure the bacon is distributed throughout.
Fry on a medium heat for 20-30 minutes, stirring up to get lots of crispy bits.
When done, it should look something like this:
I served mine with sausages and sweet chilli sauce (I loved ketchup with this dish, but that’s a no-no now!). It’s also good with pickles, and good cheese and bread, with leftover cold meat (my Boxing Day meal!) or grilled gammon. Yum yum!
You might be able to tell from last week’s post that I didn’t keep it updated very well! Here’s my excuses – firstly, the ‘beginning’ of the week was busy for me, as I was trying to get uni work done so I could enjoy my weekend at home. Once home I didn’t really want to start taking photos of all my meals, as I just wanted to dive in. Readers, chipotle ribs are amazing! Then, arriving at my birthday meal on Monday, my housemates surprised me hugely. They’d arranged for my boyfriend to travel down and stay for a few days. They’d been planning it for weeks, I knew nothing about it, and so had no food in. I pulled together a pretty decent meal though, cooking some of the pies I’d frozen a few weeks ago.
Hopefully this week’s post gets updated more successfully!
Boyfriend went home today, but took a late train, so I needed something quick for when I got back in – relying on my freezer again I pulled out a serving of Tomato-Free Bolognese, served with spaghetti, stirred through some fresh spinach, and added a bit of garlic bread too. I really enjoyed the addition of the spinach!
Thursday – Something with Leftover Mash
A housemate gifted me some leftover mashed potatoes, and I’m not too sure what to go with. I quite fancy being inventive, so may give gnocchi a try!
I did end up giving gnocchi a try, and I think it turned out quite well, although it was a little too greasy. It definitely wasn’t perfect, but I think I did better than most of the professional chefs on Masterchef a few weeks ago! I served it with bacon and sausage balls, and plenty of cheese – I think it would have been better with the addition of some wilted spinach too!
Friday – Cottage Pie
I ended up moving this from Saturday – and making six meals! I will be posting a recipe shortly!
Saturday – Mac’n’Cheese
I tried a new recipe, and it was amazingly good. There is already a blog post scheduled!
Sunday – House Dinner
It’s K’s turn to cook, and I think we are getting Toad in the Hole. It’s one of my favourite meals, so really looking forward to it!
Monday – Sausage Casserole Cottage Pie
Due to an emergency doctor’s appointment I didn’t have time to make my casserole (moving it to tomorrow instead!) so reheated a cottage pie, and served with; curly kale, red cabbage, savoy cabbage, and broccoli. With the veg already in the pie too, it felt like a very healthy dinner!
Tuesday – Sausage Casserole
I didn’t take a photo of this, nor did I photograph the lovely Pear & Raspberry Hazelnut crumble I made. I think that’s an excuse to make another just so I can share it with you!
How do you cope with cooking when circumstances unexpectedly change?
As you all know, I love saving money. If I know I can get something cheaper I will, so I really enjoy comparing budget buys with branded products. Recently I’ve been branching out in terms of where I buy my beauty products, and have ended up finding some very cheap and surprisingly good little gems. Here we go…
First up are my beloved Rimmel Soft Khol Kajal Eyeliners (can be found easily, especially in Boots). I’ve used these ever since I started wearing eyeliner, simply because my mum always used them too! Granted they smudge easily, yes they aren’t the longest lasting, but they offer what I think is a great everyday look, but also look great when used heavily to define eyes. I have worked out they heavily applied, powdered, and applied again makes them last longer. My everyday look is to line my upper waterline with the grey, then add a light coat of mascara. Eyes done!
Next is a BB cream by Lacura, found in Aldi. I’m actually not sure if they stock this anymore, because I found it on it’s on, with a greatly reduced sticker on it – I paid £2.99 for this tube.
Even at the original price of £4.99, I would still consider this to be a bargain. It does seem as though regular use of it would break me out, so I save it for special occasions as the coverage is surprisingly good. It works well for a day out, when you don’t want to be too made-up but still want to look nice, and it lasts all day too! I’ve found it works really well mixed into my normal foundation (Bourjois 10-Hour Sleep Effect) as it adds the pink tone my skin needs.
I hope the above photo portrays the best thing about this BB cream – the fact that its pale! I have a huge problem getting BB creams to match my skin tone, but this one really is pale!
Back to eyes now…I have used Natural Collection mascaras for years, and at £1.99 you really can’t go wrong. My absolute favourite is the Lash Curl one, as I prefer the wand. I do find them gloopy when new, but a wash of the brush under the hot tap and a shake of the tube normally helps!
Next up is a set of my new favourite nail colours – from Primark. I absolutely love these colours, they look classy and elegant, but are still different. However the formula is pretty bad (though for 50p each, can’t complain!) and even with a base and top coat they chip within a day. That said, my top coat is pretty cheap, so I’m hoping the Seche Vite one will come my way soon!
That rounds up my current favourites. Would you like to see more beauty posts?
If you made my Chicken & Sausage Pie recipe, or indeed any pie recipe, you might find yourself with some spare pastry hanging around. I certainly did! Rather than throw it away (I have a ‘thing’ about throwing perfectly edible things away) I decided to make something, and raided my fridge/freezer for other things to use up. I have to admit though, I was very, very tempted to just make some Cinnamon Swirls…
I found some Pesto (from my Tomato-free Bolognese recipe), chorizo, and cheese, and so some version of Pizza was going to be born. I also decided I wanted something portable, so I could use it for lunch the next day, so had a little google and found this recipe…and improvised. Here’s my very quick version, which taste delicious. They are easily adaptable for your own tastes, and whatever you have in too!
I’m not going to write this properly, with a full ingredients list, because it depends on what you want to include, but I’ll outline what I did and the basic method – the rest is up to you!
Take your strip of leftover pastry, and roll in out a little, so it’s long and thinner. Spread with the pesto.
Sprinkle with grated cheese, and top with the chorizo slices. This did make it quite greasy, so next time I’m going to try ham instead.
Roll up tightly – a bit like this:
Then cut into slices – mine worked well at around 1 cm width. Place on a foil covered baking tray.
Bake at 180C for 15-20 minutes, the cheese should be bubbly, the pastry golden and crisp. All totally yummy!
Try to resist eating, if you can. These would be great served with a salad as a main meal, but I’m going to enjoy them instead of a sandwich in my lunch box. This is definitely an idea I’ll be trying again, with lots of possible variations!
This post was really well received last week, so I’m hoping it’ll be a regular occurrence. I really enjoyed writing it, as although I always read LOADS of blogs (it helps pass time in boring lectures…) I find noting down what ones to include made me pay a lot more attention!
I have, however, decided to only do this once a fortnight, just to prevent my blog from getting samey. Plus I do have some studying to fit it! So, what am I loving this fortnight?
My boyfriend picked up an order in Cath Kidston last week (a birthday present for me apparently, looking forward to it!) and I persuaded him to give me the bag it came in, as it’s so damn cute and festive. I am normally a bit of a bah humbug about Christmas, and being an early-December baby I like my birthday first, but this year I’ve been getting very excited about Christmas already! I still have three weeks left of this university term, so it’s a long way off, but I’m already planning outfits and festive baking! I have have a few budget gift guides scheduled for posting, so keep an eye out for those!
Related to the last post, I’ve been getting out and about doing little bits of Christmas shopping lately, and last weekend we headed out of town to do a mammoth present shop. A new dress may have slipped in the basket too! There’s been some great bargains around already this year, which I’m hoping to blog about soon.
As a student, I’m often on a tight budget, so saving money where I can is a must for me. I realised this past fortnight that some of my methods have saved me a ridiculous amount over the last term, and I’ll definitely be sharing these ideas with you soon! Not only do I feel smug, I’m also able to treat myself. That new dress feels more justified now…
And now to the blogroll – what I’m loving from other blogs:
I know I link to her quite a lot, but I really do love Rosie’s posts (plus she’s probably my favourite blogger, end of!). This Mac’n’Cheese sounds just up my street, gloriously unhealthy and easy. Plus as it’s made with less milk than normal, it should agree with me more (dairy overload does not agree with me!). I’ll definitely be adapting this recipe to my student budget soon!
I should stop reading beauty blogs, as I’m becoming a sucker for high-end products that I really, really just cannot afford. I’ve fallen in love with Naked 3, with the best preview I’ve seen being on Vivianna Does Makeup. If anyone wants to treat me to this (my birthday is next week, it could be a joint birthday/Christmas present!) then please feel free…
I’ve been reading Miss Budget Beauty’s gift guides with great care recently, as I’m on a very tight budget. Check out her Under £10 guide here. However I saw these vintage-style brush rolls and fell in love. I know I’m getting lots of make-up brushes as a gift this year, and something like this would be perfect for me! I’m now browsing that website and wishing I’d never found it…love so much of their products!
It’s amazing how quickly the weeks go by when you do this type of post!
This week’s menu is based on trying to spend as little as possible, as it is my turn to cook on Sunday. My plan is to start eating up what is in my freezer, slowly emptying it down for the Christmas break (despite it being a long way off!). Remember to check back as the week goes on to see how my meals went – last weeks post is now fully updated.
No picture of this, but it wasn’t the most attractive of dishes – tasted good though!
Thursday – Mushroom Pasta (with Spinach) & Garlic Bread
This is my comfort dinner – I love a creamy mushroom sauce. Mine is made by slow-cooking a can of condensed mushroom soup with half a tub of chopped fresh mushrooms, a chopped onion, a tub of creme fraiche and loads (five cloves!) of garlic with some herbs too. This makes five or six servings for the freezer, and as long as you stir it well when reheating (as it does split) it is absolutely fine.
Friday – Out at McDonalds!
Me and the girls are heading out to an 8.30pm showing of the new Hunger Games film, we have McDonalds vouchers, so thought we’d make a cheap night of it – I’m looking forward to some junk food!
Saturday – Noodle Stir-Fry
Again, not the most attractive of dishes, so no photo. But see my basic stir fry here!
Sunday – Chicken & Sausage Pot Pie, Mash & Veg
It’s my turn to cook this week, and I thought I’d go with this. I made it at some point from a Times Newspaper recipe, but I’m hoping I can find a similar one elsewhere as I’ve lost it! This meal definitely went down well, and I’ll be blogging about it soon!
Monday – Bubble & Squeak with Sausages
I changed my menu plan to accommodate leftovers, and it was definitely yummy!
Tuesday – Mushroom Risotto
I was in need of a treat/comfort me, and this is my go-to ‘recipe.’ Made enough for Wednesday’s lunch too!
I’m a huge fan of a statement lip colour against other natural (i.e. none) makeup for general day to day wear. It is very quick and easy, looks great, and as long as you get the shade right, extremely wearable for everyone. I can’t help you find the right shade for your colouring, but I can recommend the products I love.
First up, you need to take care of your lips. I recommend a good scrub of them a couple of times a week to get rid of dead skin. My preferred method is a toothbrush, but Libby has a recipe for a wonderful homemade scrub. I’d love a scrub in a tube format (run on and wipe off without getting messy) so would welcome any suggestions! Then you should layer up with a decent balm at least once a day. I like to put on an extra thick coat before bed (and before I shower/bath) and also a light coat as soon as I wake up. In the past I have been a big fan of Vaseline, but since reading a little more into ingredients, I’ve tried to go for something natural, which allows moisture in and out rather than acting as a barrier. I also prefer tube applications, and so my current favourite is Dr Organic’s Pomegranate offering;
I find this lip balm to be lovely and moisturising – it does have a bit of a wiff of ‘lip balm’ about it but not as obvious as some of the ones I have previously tried (I’m looking at you, Nivea!). One thing I love about it is that is it ever so slightly tinted, without being too glossy, so it gives a lovely sheen to the lips. You can buy this for £3.25 in Holland & Barratt, but they quite often have excellent sales and deals.
Now onto the far more important and interesting bit – colour time!
I have been a long time user of The Body Shop’s Lip and Cheek Stain in Rose Pink. I find it is a really good shade on my skin, is easy to blend out on the cheeks, and gives the lips a nice hint of colour that doesn’t come off easily. It lasts a long time too – I have had a tube for two years, and it is still going strong (I did, however, repurchase over summer, leaving the emptier one at home). There is only one problem, and that is leakage. It really isn’t a bag friendly option!
As you can see, the colour looks extremely bright in the tube and on the applicator. It IS bright, but it looks natural on my pale skin when blended well, and it definitely suits my lips. I don’t find this formula drying either, though I wish it would last everso slightly longer seeing as I can’t carry it around. This stain is £10, but it lasts such a long time that I personally see it as a massive bargain!
Because of the lack of portability of the lip stain, I spent summer trying to locate a slightly neater version, perhaps a highly pigmented balm. I failed on the balm front, but I’ve definitely found something that (kind of) means I can carry a favourite lip colour around. Tony Moly is a makeup company that ships from Korea, and from what I have read sells some pretty good quality products at some pretty amazing prices. When I found that they sold a product that seemed perfect for me, I couldn’t help but ordering. I first read about it on Makeup Savvy, and ordered pretty much immediately. At roughly £3.70 from Ebay, it would have been a crime not too, right?!
My package too FOREVER to get here. Well about 3-4 weeks, definitely within the time stated, but bear the long time in mind if you are ordering for Christmas. Like, order now! When it did arrive it was ridiculously well packaged in lots of bubble wrap (huge bonus points – I doubt anything will ever arrive damaged!) and included a cute note.
And some free samples – a fragrence and a BB cream. I’m on a bit of a foundation ban due to some pesky spots, but I will definitely be trying this soon!
Now onto the actual product! The packaging is really, really impressive. It looks stylish, feels well made, and in general I was just really surprised at the quality for the price. I am definitely not a snob when it comes to makeup, but I know too well that cheaper makeup packaging often means cheap and (to put it bluntly) shoddy packaging.
The colour is a huge pop – very similar (virtually identical in fact) to my favourite Body Shop stain.
The texture inside is quite hard and gel-like (reminds me of Vaseline on a cold day), but easy to apply to the lips. It is quite sticky, and definitely more of a gloss than a stain. And the colour pay-off is pretty damn impressive – far more pigmented that Body Shop!
In fact, the pigmentation is a teeny bit of a problem. It stays on the lips for hours, to the point where last night I had to remove it before bed. But it also stays on your finger. It doesn’t budge with soap, leading to a bright pink finger…so definitely not as portable as I hoped. I’m planning on purchasing a mini lip brush for carrying around, but I reckon this is definitely going to become a staple in my makeup bag – its perfect for travelling too!
This product has definitely opened up my eyes to buying ‘new’ and ‘different’ foreign makeup brands – it’s definitely something I’ll be doing again!
Whilst I highly recommend all of the products discussed on this page, and I truly believe they will be favourites of mine for a long time, I also have put this little treat on my Christmas list. I’d definitely not a 1D fan, but the shade just seems so perfect for Christmas. As a little hint, my birthday is at the beginning of December…
Does anyone have any recommended lip products? Do you buy foreign make-up brands?
I have another favourite blog I want to share with you, Lavender and Lovage, this time through the guise of their monthly cooking challenge to cook/bake with herbs. This month I am taking part with one of best dishes I’ve ever made, and the first roast chicken I have ever, ever cooked. To say I was excited at this feat would be a rather large understatement.
I have always been really cautious about cooking chicken in general, checking it multiple times to ensure it is properly cooked (and thus serving up overcooked tough meat in the process) and before summer I would have never cooked a whole chicken. I then found this recipe on the lovely Lottie’s blog and resolved to make it over my holiday. Then my operation got in the way of things, and I didn’t get the chance. Until my turn to cook Sunday dinner in my house. I decided to test my meat cooking skills on my housemates who probably weren’t of full realisation that they were at risk of food poisoning. Luckily that didn’t happen!
This chicken turned out to have a lovely flavour, and was incredibly moist. I would have liked it to get a bit more bronze and crisp…but I’m blaming the oven for that one! If you have never roasted a chicken before, I highly recommend you try this recipe as I think the coating really stops it from drying out. Definitely a hit!
And on the thrifty-ness, saving money, budgetting side – I really think a whole chicken is great value for money! Our large chicken cost us £4.57. It fed five people at dinner, and then I filled three freezer bags of shredded meat for use in stir fries etc at a later date. Pretty sure spending £4.50 on chicken breasts would not get 8 meals! Per serving that equals 57p, which is a bargain in my books! I’d have loved to have made a stock out of the bones, but unfortunately I didn’t have a pan big enough to do so – that will be a holiday project I think!
1 whole chicken – it should be at room temperature when you start cooking, so take it out of the fridge about 90 minutes before
300ml of creme fraiche
5 cloves of garlic (I upped the amount!)
Some fresh herbs – I chose to use thyme (which I got at a marvelous discounted price in Waitrose) and some rosemary
A little oil
So how do you make a flavourful and moist roast chicken? Read on!
Preheat your oven to 180C. Lightly grease a roasting tin, pat your chicken dry with kitchen towel, and place in the tin.
Make the coating – finely chop the garlic, and the herbs (we used about four sprigs of each), and add to a bowl with the creme fraiche. Mix together well.
Untie your birds legs, and stuff some of the creme fraiche mixture into the cavity. I warn you this isn’t the most pleasant experience!
Smother the rest of the creme fraiche mixture all over the rest of the bird. Massage it in and, if you can, get some under the skin.
When your chicken is fully covered, it should look a little like this:
Add some less finely chopped herbs to the top, just for fancy-pants decoration.
Then roast for the length of time your chicken packaging should indicate. Ours took 1 hour and 45 minutes.
If you check out Lottie’s post, you will see how it SHOULD look. Crisp and bronze – not pale and insipid! But mine still tasted good, it just lacked the visual wow factor…
Resist temptation to dive straight in – cover with foil and leave to rest for 10-20 minutes (we used this time to crisp up our potato dauphinoise). Then carve up and serve.
Remember to strip off all the meat from the bones – it would make great sandwiches, and I’ve shredded it for use in stir fries and maybe a risotto in the coming weeks.
So that’s it, a simple and delicious garlic and herb roast chicken recipe. Don’t be like me and let a fear of food poisoning put you off cooking whole pieces of meat – I really regret not doing this sooner!
Does anyone have an other easy and delcious roast chicken recipes?