Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Let's Cook - Leek Lasagne.

Hi there Folks,

So I thought I would share a super yummy alternative to Lasagne, we've basically substituted the lasagne sheets for leeks! I first saw this recipe on The Hairy Dieters and thought I would give it a whirl. I didn't follow the actual recipe they did, I just made it up as per my usual style but I've linked it there for you in case you did want to follow the original recipe.



It is super simple to make, it basically involves just your standard mince bolognese, which I made in my slow cooker...in fact it doesn't even need to be mince really, it could be anything you like! And then your cheese sauce, so that could be a basic roux, or you could just put spready cheese like philadelphia on it, or whatever you fancy! The only bit that really requires work is getting your leeks prepared.

To make the leek sheets its best to use the widest leeks you can find as these will give you the wider sheets. Trim the ends off and rinse out any dirt that's collected between the layers. You then need to slice the leek lengthways, but only go half way through the width of the leek. This means that once they've been boiled, your leek sheets will be as wide as the whole circumference of the leek. You need to take the inner most layers out as they're too small to do anything with, so I just trimmed these up and put them in the bolognese. Once your leek is sliced, pop it into a pan of salted, boiling water - I did this in frying pan that was wide enough to lie the leeks down in. Boil the leeks for a good 10-15 minutes, you need to make sure they're nice and soft otherwise they can be a bit tough to cut and chew. Once they're cooked just separate and dry them with a clean tea towel and there you have your leek 'lasagne' sheets!

So basically you just then assemble your lasagne as you would do with a pasta lasagne - I do meat, sheets then cheese. Get them layered up, top with cheese and pop in the over for 15 mins to melt the cheese up :] One thing I will say is, try to make sure your bolognese and cheese sauce are a thick and sticky as possible. The leeks don't absorb any liquid like pasta sheets would, therefore I can turn out a bit watery.

Here's just another shot of the finished product for you to drool over!


Please let me know if you try this or if you have any more alternative pasta dish ideas!

Ciao for now,
JB

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Eat Like A King.

Hi there Folks,

So I'm a student. Students are renowned for living off 10p noodles and generally eating rubbish...in my first year of uni, I'm pretty sure some of the guys I lived with literally lived off chicken dippers and toasties. But not me. I love food and really couldn't cope with the idea of not being able to eat well. So I thought I'd share how I manage to live on a student budget and still eat like a King!

Now before I start, I must say that I'm not really your average student. I live with my boyfriend and neither of us really drink. I know alcohol plays such a big part of being a student, but I really can't justify going out and spending £30 on a night out. I don't feel that I gain anything from doing that apart from a massive hangover (which I hate) and a guilty feeling that I could have put that money to better use.

I generally budget up to £50/week for food shopping, which is for both me and my boyfriend. This buys more than enough food for both of us and also allows us to keep our cupboards, fridge and freezer well stocked. Jake's Grandma always used to say that your freezer is your bank. Which I totally agree with. When it gets to the end of the month and things are a bit tight, we always have a selection of meats just chilling in our freezer ready to make something with. 

Now I know if you live in student halls you're really limited on fridge and freezer space, in my first year I literally had half a shelf in the fringe and half a drawer in the freezer. I tended to take stuff out of packets where I could, I cut mince into single servings and freezer bagged it etc so I didn't have loads of plastic taking up valuable space! 

Meat can get quite expensive, I'd love to be able to buy free range chicken and eggs, but at the moment I simply cannot afford to. To save money, I buy basic range frozen chicken breasts, where you get around 2kgs for about £4. I also buy basic range chicken portions which are even cheaper at about £3 for 2kgs. These are really handy as you can just take one or two out to defrost whenever you need them. I also buy whole chickens or ham joints when they're on offer or available at a good price. I tend to slow cook these, shred or chop them and then keep them in tupperware in the fridge and use it in place of sandwich meat. I've come to realise that sandwich meat is really expensive! If you want to buy anything that looks remotely like a real piece of ham you're looking at about £2 for 5-6 slices. Whereas you can pay maybe £3 for a whole bacon joint that weighs 1.5kgs and would last so much longer! Then you can make yourself a really good looking sandwich to take to uni which means you don't have to pay the extortionate sandwich prices!

I also buy reduced meat wherever possible. This is key. If you go to the supermarket at the right time of day you can get some absolute bargains. In the past I've got silverside joints of beef reduced from £7 to 80p! These reduced items are so worth investing in if  you've got the freezer space to store it. I also buy reduced bread wherever possible too...I don't think I've bought bread full price for months. I find that I can then freeze it and use a slice at a time or put it in tupperware in the fridge where it can stay mould free for ages! A few weeks ago we went to Asda just as they'd reduced a load of bread and croissants down to 5p a pack! We filled a trolley up and it came to £1.45...needless to say we won't need to buy any more bread until at least next year. I find that things tend to get reduced around lunchtime and then again towards the evening. Evening time is when you get the best reductions as they obviously have to sell it before they close otherwise it just goes in the bin.

When it comes to fruit a veg, I like to try and got to my local fruit and veg stall as I find it you get so much more for your money. I can got and buy enough salad for a week (and my boyfriend eats it everyday, sometimes for lunch and dinner) and it'll cost about £3.50. And its really good, locally grown produce. My university also does a fruit and veg box scheme, where for £5 a week you can get a box full of fruit and veg that is all grown locally. Failing that I get myself to my local Aldi and see what they have on the 39p/69p deals and buy that.

Finally, if you want to eat well, I think its really important to know how to cook. I've lived with people who really have no idea how to cook a meal (I got asked how to cook bacon and make mashed potato when I lived in halls), and they therefore end up living off 10p noodles or domino's pizza. Now the noodles are cheap but they have no real nutritional value and Domino's is not only expensive but so so bad for you (although I will admit it tastes amazing lol!). I think knowing how to cook really benefits us as we can just throw whatever we have in the fridge together to create something tasty, which will really help save you money and allow you to eat tasty, home cooked food every day!

I hope this helps guys, please feel free to share any tips that you have in the comments!

Ciao for now,
JB



Friday, 2 November 2012

M.I.A.

Hi there Folks,

So I've been slightly MIA for the last few weeks...ooops! I started back at uni at the end of September and they really upped the ante this year! I knew final year would involve a lot of work but blimey...I  think I spent about 2 weeks just reading articles. So yes, that teamed with trying to juggle three jobs and keep my house looking reasonably presentable and spend some time with my boyfriend meant I was struggling to find time to blog. I didn't realise before I started this blog how much time it actually takes up writing posts and promoting and networking etc.

So I'm going to start trying to blog regularly again, but instead of posting everyday, I'm just going to aim for 3 times a week as I think I have enough time to do this and produce posts that I'm happy with.

Hope you're all well!

Ciao for now,
JB

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Coming Soon...

Hi there Folks,

I just thought I'd give you a sneak peek of what's coming up at JB's Eats & Treats in the next week or so...








Teehee, this is all I will say for now, keep an eye out for the posts coming shortly!

Ciao for now,

JB

What I'm Loving #3.


Hi there Folks,

So its What I'm Loving Wednesday numero tres!! I realise that is it now actually Thursday which is a stinker but I just didn't have time yesterday to sit and get this post written and posted so I'm afraid it's a day late, but there will be 2 posts today to make up for this!

The first thing I'm LOVING this week is tiffin! It's official, I'm a little obsessed. I made some of this on Sunday because my friend was coming round for tea and it was all gone by lunchtime Monday. It was just so yummy but so bad for me!. There will be a recipe up shortly, I highly recommend that you give it a go!!



Now, last week I was loving my Heat Holders, but my lovely new slippers have now arrived so I'm going for a double whammy slippers and Heat Holders toasty, warm combo!! I got them from here.



My final love is having more time! I'm back at uni now and although I'm still working quite a bit and I have quite a bit of uni work to do, I have a lot more time to myself to do what I like, so I've been crafting and cooking up a storm. I'm going to post a few of my projects in the coming weeks for you all to see!

Hope you're all well, please do share what you've been loving this week in the comments.

Ciao for now,

JB




Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Bargain Beauties #2.

Hi there Folks,

A couple of weeks ago I posted about the nail varnish that I'd managed to pick up in Poundland and today I thought I'd share the few little bits of make up that I'd managed to find too!





So these are the bits that I have, I've got 2 Revlon ColourStay 12 Hour Eyeshadows in 03 Pink Opal (top) and 04 Champagne (bottom). Then I have the Sally Hansen Diamond 12 Hour Lip Treatment, I think the colour is Gem but its a nice peachy colour. Next I have the Collection 2000 XXL Volume Sensation mascara. Now I'm sure you can still buy this one in Boots full price so this was a steal, I really like it too! 

I also have one of the controversial Stila products that they weren't meant to have, this is the Angel Light powder refill in shade B. Then finally I have these Revlon Mix & Mingle lip gloss pot in 280 (top) and 265 (bottom). These are great just to keep in my bag for those times I may fancy something a bit nicer on my lips. I'm fairly low maintenance with my make up most of the time so something like this can just make me feel a bit more done if I'm wearing minimal make up.

So there you have it, some bargain beauty products and I enjoy all of them! Have you found any bargain beauty products recently? Please share!!

Ciao for now,

JB

Monday, 1 October 2012

DIY Salt Spray.

Hi there Folks,

So as someone who has hair in that awkward 'growing out of pixie crop' phase, coupled with the fact that although I have a lot a hair, it's quite fine, I find that I'm needing a little help to make it look how I want it to.

Now, before I was a student I used to buy Lee Stafford's 'I Hate My Hair The Day It's Washed' spray which is great. But at over £6 a bottle it's something that I'd rather not buy and use that money towards something else. So I make my own. Now the Lee Stafford spray isn't a salt spray, but it does take away that slippery, fly away texture of hair when it's washed and just gives it a bit of hold without making it greasy. And I find that the salt spray does virtually the same thing, plus it adds a bit more texture rather than my hair just being straight. 

So what I do to make it is take an empty spray bottle (this one cost 39p from Home Bargains). Add some sea salt to it, I personally use sea salt but I guess table salt would work just as well...it's the same thing after all! I then add a dollop of hair conditioner and also a dollop of hair gel just to add some extra hold and protection. Then fill your bottle up with warm tap water (not boiling...as I discovered the first time it may well just melt the bottle!) and give it a shake to dissolve the salt and mix the conditioner and gel in.



And there you have it, your very own salt spray to give you that lovely texture and hold if you have unruly hair.

Have any of you made your own salt spray before? Or have any other recipes for other hair goodies that I could try? Please share!

Ciao for now,

JB

Sunday, 30 September 2012

Lets Cooks - JB's Super Simple Minestrone.

Hi there Folks,

So as soon as the weather starts to get a little colder and the nights get darker I find myself craving soup. I love the stuff, it does wonders for putting that cosy, warm feeling in your belly. So this week I decided to make a super simple Minestrone soup.

Now personally, I'd say this soup is brilliant for students to make. Being a student myself (albeit not a proper one who only eats baked beans and super noodles) I think that the ingredients of this soup can be found loitering in most student's cupboards and fridge. Also, if you have a pan big enough to make a massive batch you can freeze some for a later date, although I know how stingy halls are on fridge and freezer space but if you've got room it's a winner! Another bonus is that if you're very organised and have a Thermos flask you can take some to uni with you to save you having to buy lunch there as the canteen's can be quite expensive.

So, for this super simple soup you'll need:


2 celery sticks

1 onion

1 pepper

2 garlic cloves (or garlic powder)

2-3 new potatoes (or one normal potato, I only have little ones!)

1 tin of baked beans

2 cartons/tins of chopped tomatoes

Small stack of spaghetti (or any other pasta you fancy)

1 litre of stock (I used fresh chicken stock but vegetable stock cubes are fine!)

Any other vegetables you have floating around in your fridge that need eating up (i.e my green beans!)

Oil

Salt, Pepper and Mixed Herbs for seasoning



So here's how it's done:


1. Chop all your veggies up into bite sized chunks. It doesn't need to be super neat but remember your soup isn't being blended so they can't be too huge!

2. Start by lightly frying the onion and garlic in some oil until softened. Then add the celery, pepper and green beans (or other veg) and cook for a few more minutes. Finally add the potatoes and cook for two minutes.

3. Add the baked beans and chopped tomatoes to the pan and stir through. Then add your stock, stir and place the lid on and leave to simmer for 15 minutes. 

4. Break the spaghetti into small segments and add that and whatever herbs you would like to use as seasoning (I just used mixed herbs). Leave the lid off and simmer for a further 15 minutes or until the spaghetti is cooked.

And there you go...you have some yummy minestrone to warm you up during the chilly days. Serve nice and hot with some bread and butter...yum yum!


Please feel free to share any other yummy soup recipes you love to eat in the colder months!

Ciao for now,

Saturday, 29 September 2012

I Think I Go To The Cinema Too Much!

Hi there Folks,

So as I may have mentioned, I love the cinema! My boyfriend and I go near enough every Wednesday...because we're cool! Now I'm pretty sentimental and for some reason or another decided to keep every set of cinema tickets for near enough every film we've been to see since January 2011. I know, I really am just too cool!

So anyway, I had all these tickets floating about the house and I decided that I really should utilise them in some way otherwise they'll just sit in a box forever more. So this is what I did...


I made some wall art to hang proudly in our home so all the world can see what film nerds we are. And we have spent some nice dinner times reminiscing on all the films we've seen together. It was really simple to make and literally just involved me arranging them into some kind of order and sticking them down with double sided tape. I then popped it in an Ikea frame and Bob is your Uncle.

Please tell me there are others out there who are as nerdy as this? I'm not the only one that hoards cinema tickets and cards am I?!

Ciao for now,

Friday, 28 September 2012

Film Review Friday #2.

Hi there Folks,

So it's time for another Film Review Friday! This week I watched Killing Them Softly. I had high hopes for this film, its got 94% on Rotten Tomatoes which is a brilliant score so I was expecting something super. 

Now then, don't get me wrong, it's a good film. A bit bloody and gorey, but good. But I just didn't feel that there was much of a story to it. But that's just my opinion, my boyfriend really enjoyed it, but I just didn't seem to get it. I just felt like I wasn't following it or something. To me is just wasn't memorable, I mean I watched it on Sunday and it's now Thursday and I couldn't tell you a single characters name. 

On a more positive note though, Brad Pitt (as always) was as cool as a cucumber, and it was quite funny in parts. I also thought that the direction was great, there was some great effects and creativity there which I did really enjoy, but it just wasn't for me I'm afraid.

So overall, I enjoyed it, but probably won't be in a hurry to watch it again.

Have you guys seen any good films this week? Please share!

Ciao for now,

JB

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Lets Cook - 'Spaghetti Bolognese'.


Hi there Folks,

So this is my twist on a classic recipe that I have altered a smidge. As I mentioned in my pulled pork post my boyfriend follows a low carb diet...that means pasta is a definite no no! So to make sure that we can still enjoy our favourites, I switched out the pasta for something a little different!

What you will need:




Packet of minced beef (or lamb or turkey, whatever you please)

1/2 an onion (chopped)

2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)

1 carton of passata

5 tomatoes (chopped)

2 peppers (chopped)

3-4 sun dried tomatoes (finely chopped)

5 mushrooms (I used button - chopped)

2 leeks (thinly sliced lengthways)

Oil

1/2 teaspoon of smoked paprika

1 teaspoon of dried mixed herbs

1/2 teaspoon of chilli flakes

1 beef oxo

Salt and pepper to taste.





1. Add some oil to a pan to heat up over a medium heat. Add the chopped onions and garlic and fry gently. Then add the chopped peppers, sun dried tomatoes and mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes. Finally add the chopped tomatoes, stir in and cook for 2 minutes.

2. Add the minced beef and fry off until it is entirely browned (approximately 5 minutes).

3. Stir in the carton of passata and add the smoked paprika, chilli flakes, beef oxo cube and mixed herbs. Stir thoroughly, turn the heat down to low and leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes. The bolognese should be sticky but not too dry, so stir in a small amount of water if you feel it is drying out. Season to taste before serving

4. Wash your leeks and cut them in half length ways. Then shred them so they're in long thin strips. Add the leeks to a large pan of boiling, salted water and cook for 10 minutes or until tender. Drain thoroughly (they're very wet!)

Serve your bolognese up, add cheese and enjoy!




Although its not the same as pasta, the leek really does make a great alternative for those who are wanting to eat lower carb or maybe have a gluten allergy. Please do let me know if any of you attempt this or if you have any other similar recipes!

Ciao for now,

JB



Wednesday, 26 September 2012

What I'm Loving #2

Hi there Folks,

So it's Wednesday again, which means it's time to share what I've been enjoying this week!

First up is my beloved Heat Holders! The weather in the UK is just beyond ridiculous, it's not even October and already it's pretty chilly. And wet...very very wet! So while I'm in the house I'm living in these babies (until my new slippers arrive).



My next love is this checked shirt that I bought at a Gap outlet last week. It's from the menswear section and cost all of £7.99. I love it, I got an XS which I feel fits me great, its a lovely purpley colour and it was a great price.





My final love is Boardwalk Empire. I love this series and I'm so glad series 3 has now started! Roll on cosy afternoons on the sofa with a blanket, my heat holders, a good brew and some Boardwalk...bliss!


Photo from here

So these are my top faves this week. Please feel free to share yours in the comments, I'd love to get in on some of the things you guys enjoy!


Ciao for now,

JB

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

A Fun Day.

Hi there Folks,

So this Saturday just gone, my boyfriend and I attended our local food festival. We didn't really know what to expect as neither of us had been to a food festival before, but it was GREAT! There was lots of local food producers selling lots of lovely, tasty treats, in particular sweet ones (always my downfall!)

We ate the most scrumptious tiffin, which I'm definitely going to try making this week, both Jake and I loved it. Unfortunately I was so excited to eat it that I forgot to take a picture, but hopefully there will be a post on it in the not so distant future.

We also tried wildebeest...


And camel...


And some of the juiciest grapes I've ever eaten...


This beautiful cupcake which looks like a fairy has exploded all over it. Apologies the quality is poop...I forgot to take a photo until I got in from a night out and devoured it. It was white chocolate flavour...


From Cupcake Palace


And last but by no means least, the best ice cream I've EVER eaten! It was from Ginger's Comfort Emporium and was the Salted Caramel and Peanut Butter flavour. Now I'm not even that keen in peanut butter, we chose that one because Jake loves the stuff, but I must say, it was divine!!


So all in all the food festival was a hit! Then we came home and chilled and napped in the afternoon which was, again, delightful! I wish I could have every Saturday off work!! Then as I mentioned earlier I went out in the evening. It was a leaving party for one of my work collegues and we had booked a karaoke booth...it was great fun!

Here's a shot of my outfit of the night :]

Dress - Ebay, Shoes - Matalan, Bag - Accessorize (very old!)

I hope you all had a lovely weekend! Please feel free to share your weekend adventures!

Ciao for now,

JB

Monday, 24 September 2012

Home Style - Cheap Stationary Storage

Hi there Folks,

As both myself and my boyfriend are students, we have a lot of stationary floating around our house. And I'm sure that if you're students or have kiddiewinks then you're in the same boat.

So I thought I would share a cool but inexpensive way to store your pens and pencils which incorporates a bit of recycling and a yummy treat too!


That's right, Ben and Jerry's pots! After we finished with them we just gave them a really thorough rinse out and let them dry properly and there you have it! They look really cute and funky and it also means you can indulge in a little ice cream time to boot! You could always coat the inside with PVA glue or something similar just to protect it, but we didn't and they're still going strong after 2 years.

Does anybody have any more recycled storage tips that they would like to share? Please do!

Ciao for now,

JB