Do I Don’t I?

 

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Hmmm….

So I’ve been thinking.  Do I? Do I start writing again? Or is it just going to become one more thing? Or is it what need to calm that constant chatter in my brain?  Should I express some of those thoughts, let them out, let them let off some steam and not bubble inside anymore?

Well, I’ve changed the setting back from private to public and I’m wondering what next.  I hate the title now.  But do I start again from scratch?  I don’t know.  I wonder if anyone will read this, if you do, what do you think?

Let’s see, testing 1…2…3…

Lamb and Carrot Pilau – Midweek Supper

I’m sure I’ve done something similar here before but I wanted to share this simple supper that I made last week.  It’s full of flavour, economical and easy to pimp up with some extra sides and sauces.

lamb pilau x

Serves 2/3

Ingredients:

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 200g white basmati rice
  • 125g lamb mince
  • 2 carrots, sliced into batons
  • A tablespoon of oil
  • A heaped teaspoon of cumin seeds
  • a heaped teaspoon of medium curry powder
  • Half a veggie stock pot
  • 400ml of boiling water
  • Salt

Method:

Soften the onions until translucent then put to one side.   Fry lamb mince in heavy bottomed pot until browned and crispy, add softened onions, spices and fry for a minute.  Then add rice and carrots and stir well so that the rice is coated in the oil.   Add the water stock  and cover with lid.  Cook for about 14 min, turn the heat off and let it stand for five minutes.  Open the pot and you should be engulfed in a steamy, lightly spiced cloud, mmmm, fluff gently and season to taste.  Serve on its own, with yoghurt, chilli sauce, chutney or as part of a feast.

What are you having for dinner tonight?

 

Falafel – Gluten Free

Had you been wondering if I did any cooking anymore? Well I have to admit, I’ve been a bit slack, I do still cook, I just been sticking to staples and not really bothering to take pictures and remember recipes.  But here we have a simple little falafel recipe, perfect for summer days as part of a mezze or stuffed in a pitta.

falafel

So for the recipe…

Ingredients (makes 10 small falafel):

  • 1 400g tin of chickpeas
  • 2 cloves of garlic chopped
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 tablespoons of gram or gluten free flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground coriander
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cumin
  • a handful of mint
  • salt
  • oil for frying

Method:

First soften the onions and garlic, I do this in a microwave because I find it easy but gently frying in a pan has the same results, you just want them soft and translucent.

Then add all the ingredients bar the flour to a food processor.  Blitz, you may need to scrape down any stray chickpeas or you might want to keep it chunky.  Then depending on the wetness of the mixture I add two to three tablespoons of flour, now my plan was to have chickpea flour (gram/besan) but  mine was out of date so I substituted gf plain flour, if you’re not coeliac then plain regular flour would work too.   You want a thick but not too wet mixture that you can easily manipulate, see picture for clarity there, it’s awful hard to describe!

Once you’ve got the right consistency, scoop out walnut size blobs if you want to emulate mine, but frankly any old size will work, you could make big fat burgers or round footballs or cut them into star shapes should you desire but flat patties was what I was after.

Then chill the patties for a while (time constraints permitting, I’m sure they would be fine fried straight away should you need to).

Shallow fry for about 3/4 minutes each side on a medium heat.  Then serve hot stuffed into a pitta with chilli sauce and yoghurt.

falafel stages

You can freeze these and heat up in the oven at a later date should you need to, I made too many for me and my little dinner guest so I’ve stashed the remainder away for a mid-week dinner.

Ok, so that was the first recipe for a while.  It felt good, what do you think?

 

‘Sun is shining, the weather is sweet…’

The sun has come out and it’s just got me wishing and dreaming of an outdoor life full of bright colours, comfy outdoor seating, BBQs and ice lollies.

Here are a few outdoor essentials I’m currently coveting:

hammock-accessories

Oh how I want to lounge, swing and snooze my hours away in one of these.  This rainbow coloured beauty is from www.handmadehammocks.co.uk, and I’m so in love with it.

rattan furniture set

Now at the moment in our garden we have a rather modest but functional picnic bench tucked away in a shady corner but as the sun shines and I day-dream some more I think I’d love a big old comfortable rattan set of furniture like this one from Tesco.com.  Clearly I’d need to win the lottery but a girl can dream can’t she?

lights

Twinkle, twinkle little multicoloured lights, I’m a fan of these chains of fairy lights for everywhere, I hate having to take down the Christmas lights and this year most of the lights I left around the house got to stay for all year round sparkles.  These bright and colourful globes are from Ikea here.  They have some great outdoor lighting options including stars and bird shapes (I know!) and the best thing about them is they are not only glamour for your garden but are solar powered so totally eco friendly and boring battery free!

oven

Now in dream land I am totally desiring one of these amazing wood fired ovens by The Stone Bake Oven Company, fancy that, a gluten free pizza in the oven, wood fired roast chicken on a Sunday, uhhhh my mouth is watering just thinking about it.  But in reality a BBQ would do and something like this one below would be just dandy….

bbq

This simple BBQ is all I really need and at the moment it’s reduced to £49.99 from £99.00 at Argos here.  But as I was looking for BBQ  I happened to stumble upon this genius idea…

.dsiposable eco bbq

This is the eco answer to the disposable BBQ, I have to admit to buying lots of these as we haven’t committed to a BBQ of our own yet but this would be fantastic to take camping or have at a party.  You can cook your burgers on it and/or use it as a camp fire.  It’s called the  Ecogrill from www.notonthehighstreet.com available here at a bargain of £10.

So that’s it my wish list so far this week, what have you been dreaming of as the sun has come out?

Dreaming of Dresses

I am a dress fiend, yes I AM, I love them, I love to swish, I love their simplicity, I love that you just whack one on and da-dah! You have an outfit.  So here we have it, another potential regular but this time I’m introducing some awesome frocks.

I’m also introducing a brilliant little online shop, Clarence and Alabama.   Now I have to come clean, Amy-Jo who runs this  fine emporium is a very good friend of mine but I wouldn’t share with you just any old shizzle.  Her shizzle, her beautiful vintage style dresses, are handpicked stunners.  And not only are they beautiful they are also affordable too so go check out her wonder shop.

So here we have a couple I have had my beady eye on recently:

 

lindy-bop-josefine-breton-top-swing-vintage-1950-s-style-dress-clarence-and-alabama_grande

This this chic, French inspired little number is a Lindybop dress called the Josefine Vinatage Style Breton Top 1950s Swing Dress and is priced at a very reasonable £34.99.  Personally I think it’s just perfect for flouncing around doing just about anything with or without a baguette under your arm, sorry for the hideous stereotyping there.

 

Vanity_Project_Clarence_Alabama__Hawaiaan_wiggle_Dress_Peacocks_with_Gilt_Inlay_grande

Hawaain Wiggle Dress £99

This second beauty is actually currently sold out, but I couldn’t not show it as I have had my heart set on it for quite some time.  However the good news is she is bringing it back, oh yeah, and if you follow this smart little shop owner on Facebook or email her here you can even request a choice of material and have the god darn delicious dress made to your special requests.  In fact that’s not all this fantastic little shop offers, if you happen to be getting married and are after some vintage style matching bridesmaid dresses she can do that too.

So what do you think?  Any thoughts?  Got any recommendations of great dress shops or dresses out at the moment?

 

 

 

 

Adventures in Half Term

So this week, as well as whipping by like lightning, has been blissful. I love holiday times with my little lady and feel very lucky to be able to spend most of these days with her.

Monday began the holidays with Twycross Zoo, just a 40 minute drive from us and a guaranteed fun day out.  Tuesday found us wandering down our local canal, feeding the ducks and muttering about how we really should do this more.  Wednesday with more rain, was spent with a quick trip to the supermarket and a potter round the newly housed local library then an afternoon slobbed out on the sofa watching Tinkerbell (living the dream!).

half term fun
Then today, well today was a special day. We began with a trip to the morning showing of ‘Charlie and Lola’s Extremely New Play’ at the REP theatre in Birmingham, well wow, it was simply magical. I won’t give away too much but I highly recommend this production, the puppetry is amazing and I found myself grinning from ear to ear throughout the whole show. It’s on until Saturday here in Birmingham, see here for details. We have seen this company before in Wimbledon at the Polka Theatre, an awesome children’s theatre in south London so I was so excited to hear they were touring and dropping by on old Brum with their new production.

day out 29th may

The second wonderous event today ( I won’t count the unfortunate trip to Monsoon and the calamitous accidental purchasing of not one, but two, oh ok, three items of beautiful clothing in between, that is to be kept between me and you ok?).  Anyway, if it wasn’t for my stumbling on a few bargains, which may have hampered our chances of being seated immediately at a couple of other restaurants,  we wouldn’t have been forced to try the new burger joint in the Bull Ring shopping centre . So Five Guys, oh my. It. Is. AMAZING. I had thought the delights of such dirty, filthy American burgers would never come to the tropical climes of Birmingham, but they have. AND…drum roll please, they only go and cater for coeliacs. Now don’t go all ape on me dear readers they didn’t go so far as offering gluten free buns, although their website does state you can bring your on should you wish. They do however offer god damn delicious, delectable and down right d__________ (you fill the blank with an appropriate alliterative adjective, go on spoil yourself) bun free burgers with ALL the toppings and frankly fantastic chips, golden brown, skin on, crispy, salty goodness (most importantly for us coeliacs, not cross contaminated by any other frying, just pure glorious potatoes). I’m dribbling salivating just thinking about them.  *Sigh* People of Birmingham, people of anywhere, seek this place out, it’s awesome.

Ok, and onto the third and final, ok maybe less monumental but equally wonderful flavour revelation of the day, and feeling rather virtuous too I might add.  I may be a tad late to the party on this one, but when seeking out a naughty little sweet something before we popped on the train home, we found Yoomoo frozen yoghurt stand in the Food Hall in Selfridges.  I don’t know why I’ve never tried this before but boy is it good, we had a vanilla pot with strawberries, white chocolate buttons and chocolate sauce (good choice lil m) and I have to say me and my little companion were mighty pleased with our choice.

So after another classic game of eye-spy on the train back, we are home, cartoons might be on the telly, we might well be planning to *forget* we have washing to sort and we may have turned a blind eye to the mounting  toy covered carpet in the living room, but who cares, we had an ace day and I hope you didn’t mind me sharing it with you.

What have you been up to this week?

 

Changes Afoot…

If there is anyone out there, I just thought I should let you know I’m making a few changes.  I haven’t written a blog post here for quite some time because it just wasn’t working for me, partly because my life changed and things got a bit hectic but partly because I felt a bit limited.  So, a change is as good as rest, so they say, and that is what I’m up to.  I’m hoping to expand my repertoire, give you a little window into more that makes me and just have a place to put stuff, you know STUFF, other things apart from food, well, as well as food (I wouldn’t desert you like that dear food).  So to start we have change of name.  Ice Cream Castles, a lyric from one of my favourite Joni Mitchell songs.  Google it. 

See you soon jelly spoons…