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

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Out of This World.

Hi there Folks,

I first discovered nail polish jewellery through SayAnything Br00ke's YouTube where she talked about a seller on Etsy called Ginger Kitty Designs who makes nail polish jewelley. After watching some of the videos on them, I decided that seeing as I have an abundance of nail varnish I should have a try myself.

Now I love Galaxy nails...they're a whole lot of effort but I think they look so wonderful when they're done. So I decided to do my take on a Galaxy design, but in necklace form. I really love how they always turn out a little different than the time before, so I thought I would make you a picture tutorial so that you could try it out at home if you wanted.

Firstly you will need the following:

Polish Colours (L-R): No7 Stay Perfect Top Coat, Revlon Galaxy, MUA Shade 1, Collection 2000 Hot Look Sherbert Lemon (30), Miss Sporty Lastig Colour (No Name), Natural Collection White, MUA Shade 2.  




A clear glass cabochon 


Silver plated cabochon back



Small silver plated jump ring (approx 3mm)



Silver plated chain (any size you like)



A blob of Blutac



Nail polish (see above colours for reference)



You will also need: tweezers, 4 small pieces of sponge, a piece of paper and super glue.



Now for the photo tutorial.





1. Place your cabochon upside down on the Blutac to secure it. Paint one coat of clear polish and let dry and then one coat of your chosen glitter polish and again let dry.

2. The galaxy needs to be build up in layers. Firstly place a small amount of the dark blue polish on the paper. Use your tweezers to hold a small piece of sponge, dab in the blue paint and stipple along the outside of where you want the centre of your galaxy to be. The black line is where I'm planning to have the centre so the blue is acting as a blending colour into the black background. Let the blue dry.

3. Take your pink polish, dab on the paper and stipple as before, this time along the inside edge of the blue you placed down previously and let dry. 

4. Then take the yellow and stipple it alongside the pink and also a little further towards to centre and let dry.

5. Next take your white and stipple it down the centre of the galaxy, i.e. along where the black line is running, then let dry.

6. Finally, once all the stippled layers are dry paint two coats of black polish over the design. Let this dry then place another coat of clear varnish over the top and leave to dry thoroughly.

7. Once entirely dry, flip your cabochon over and your galaxy will be revealed! You now need to decide which way up you would like you galaxy to sit. Add a small amount of super glue to your cabochon back and glue the cabochon into place.

8. Finally, attach your galaxy pendant to your chain using the jump ring and voila! You have your very own galaxy necklace.

Here's a close up of the finished product :]




Have any of you ever tried this or would like to try it in the future? If so please share! I've made quite a few different designs and think it gives such a lovely effect. I may well do some more tutorials on these in the future.

Ciao for now,

JB



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Saturday, 22 September 2012

Lets Cook - Pulled Pork.

Hi there Folks,

Today I'm going to share with you how I make pulled pork. I saw the original recipe whilst watching Food Network UK (you can find that here) and decided to adapt it a little to what I had in my cupboards and what I knew myself and my boyfriend would enjoy.

My boyfriend follows a low carbohydrate diet and so therefore the creamed beans in the recipe were out of the question. So I served my pulled pork with cheesy swede mash and pan friend sprouts as I know he thoroughly enjoys these low carb foods.

On with the recipe....you will need:

A pork belly joint (whatever size is suitable for your family)

500ml chicken stock

2 onions

Oil (I use canola, but olive is fine)

Salt and Pepper



Now the first step I'd never done before until I read the original recipe, but I've tried it twice and had some yummy crackling so I'll keep doing it. You need to boil a full kettle, hold your pork belly vertically with some tongs and pour the whole boiled kettle over the skin of the joint.

I then generously add oil, salt and pepper all over the pork belly and skin and give it a good rub down.

Peel and cut your onions in half and place them in your roasting tray to act as a little seat for your pork belly to sit on.

Place the pork belly on the onions and put into an oven preheated to 220˚C for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes add half your stock and return to the oven for a further 20 minutes. If after this your crackling still looks like it needs a bit of work, add the rest of your stock and return for a further 20 minutes again.

Once your crackling is nice and crispy (be it after the first 40 minutes, or after 60 minutes) turn the oven down to 130˚C and place your pork in for about 2.5 hours. Keep checking and topping up the stock if needed.

Once the pork is cooked, remove from the oven and leave to rest for 15-30 minutes. Once rested remove the crackling and shred. Serve your pulled pork with whatever you do so desire and ENJOY! (I certainly did!)

Ciao for now,

JB

Friday, 21 September 2012

Film Review Friday #1.

Hi there Folks,

As with my 'What I'm Loving' posts, I felt I wanted a couple of posts that I could do on a weekly basis for you all. Now I LOVE going to the cinema. The invention of Orange Wednesdays means that me and my boyfriend can enjoy and lovely date night without breaking the bank! Although we haven't been able to go to the cinema as much recently due to us both working throughout the summer, but we both start back at uni on Monday so our regular Date Wednesday can resume...yaaay!

So as I didn't get to go to the cinema this week I'm going to talk about the film I got to see last week which is Lawless. I don't want to give anything away about the plot lines in these posts so I'm just going to tell you whether or not I like them and if I would recommend them or not.

I thoroughly enjoyed this film, I went into the film having not seen any trailers or read anything about it, so I had no clue what it was about. I think Shia LeBeouf played an excellent role and I really enjoyed his character. Tom Hardy was also really good. He plays a hard man so well! And Jessica Chastain was just beautiful, so glamorous and gorgeous.

I'm not sure you would enjoy this film if you're only into 'girly' films because it certainly isn't girly. I'd say its mainly drama, with some action and romance thrown in. But I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you don't mind that genre of film.

Has anybody else seen any films recently that they recommend? I need to choose one to watch next Wednesday!

Ciao for now,

JB

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Bargain Beauties.

Hi there Folks,

As a student, I really like to try and save money where I can. But the thing is...I'm a girl. A girl who loves make up, nail varnish and pretty much anything shiny! So you can bet that I was super excited when I discovered that Poundland sells a stash of pretty decent make up and nail polish products for, yes you guessed it, £1!! (I know that after the documentary on it the other night it might be a bit controversial...but I don't care!)

I reguarly read AThriftyMrs' Blog and she has posted several times about the little gems she's found chilling out in Poundland, so I thought that I too would share the little treasures that I have found.

Today I'm going to show you my nail varnish. I love love love that you can pick up Revlon nail varnish in Poundland. Below is my little stash, I managed to pick up some lovely pastel colours for summer time, a lovely jubbly shimmery purple with foil style flecks in it and also a beautiful emerald green which has a matt finish that I intend to use once they weather starts getting a little more wintery.

So the colours are (L-R): Blue Lagoon (004), Minted (028), Sunshine Sparkle (042), Royal Cloak, Emerald City (032), and Rendez Blue (745). 


I will definitely try post some pictures in the future of how they look on the nails too. And stay tuned for an upcoming post on my Poundland make up goodies.

Has anybody else picked up some bargains from Poundland recently? If so please share!

Ciao for now,

JB