dinner · lunch · quick and easy · recipes

Chicken and Bacon Salad with Cajun Mayonnaise

This is an individual portion, increase ingredients as necessary.

4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon

4 slices of roast chicken

Butter for frying

2 handfuls of rocket leaves

6 cherry tomatoes

1 stick of celery, chopped

1 tbsp mayonnaise

1/4 tsp Schwarts Cajun seasoning

In a dish, mix together the seasoning and the mayonnaise.

Place the rocket on a plate and sprinkle on the tomatoes and celery.

Next fry the bacon, crispy is best for this. Once it is done remove from the pan and keep warm whilst you fry the chicken slices. Use the bacon grease for this as it adds more flavour.

Once the chicken is ready, place it and the bacon on top of the salad and then dollop on the mayonnaise.

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drinks · quick and easy · recipes

Pink Lemonade

1 1/2 large lemons, sliced

1 medium orange, sliced

225g fresh raspberries

10 tbsp Splenda

350ml cold water

Chilled sparkling spring water or soda water for diluting to serve.

Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a rolling boil for 8 to 10 minutes. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to stir continuously.

Set aside to cool before straining the liquid and pressing the pulp through a metal sieve into a jug or bowl where it can be left to cool completely before being bottled.

Make sure the bottles are glass and have been sterilised, you can do this by pre-heating the oven to gas 3/160c, washing the bottles in hot soapy water and rinsing but not drying. Place them on a baking tray and heat in the oven for 10 minutes. The lids can be soaked in boiling water.

Store the bottled syrup in the fridge for up to a week, and dilute to taste with either sparkling spring water or soda water.

Goes particularly well with Gin!

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will need a little shake before use.
just needs a gentle tilt to mix it.

Bits and Bobs · Christmas · drinks · festive treats · quick and easy · recipes

Cutting Down on Caffeine

My tea habit has got a little bit out of control. I worked it out and it turns out I’m drinking 8 to 10 mugs of tea a day!

This is way to much caffeine for me. So last Friday at lunch time, I decided to go cold turkey with the tea.

It was fine until I woke up Saturday morning with the mother of all headaches which persisted all day. I also felt nauseous and extremely tired. I didn’t realise how big an effect caffeine was having on my body until this point.

Luckily for me, the effects were gone by Sunday, though when I had a look online, apparently the symptoms can last for two weeks, what a nightmare!

I don’t want to go completely caffeine free, I enjoy tea and chocolate too much. But I do want to minimize how much I’m consuming.

So, I had a look through my cupboards for an alternative hot drink that would be quick and convenient. I had a jar of instant decaff coffee but I’m not a great coffee-lover. I find the taste a little bitter. The solution though is Jordan’s Skinny Syrups.

I had picked up two bottles a little while back, Salted Caramel and White Chocolate. I don’t drink milk but instead have 2 dessert spoons of double cream (about 20ml), so I have that with a large teaspoon of the syrup and it makes a delicious coffee.

I also have Creamycinos!

Basically it’s hot water, 2 dessert spoons of cream and a large teaspoon of White Chocolate syrup, thats it, but it tastes amazing! The double cream stops it tasting ‘thin’ and the syrup is just right for making it taste like white hot chocolate.

I have a whole load of the syrups I want to try, there are lots of flavours to choose from and all sugar free.

Its lovely to have a choice of hot drinks, though tea will probaly always be my favourite, I just have to find a decaff brand I like, but until then it’s Creamycinos for me!

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Christmas · festive treats · pudding · quick and easy · recipes

Irish Cream Tiramisu

You will need the vanilla version of the Butter Cake for this. Click on the menu button above for the recipe.

600ml double cream

250g marscapone

75ml Irish whisky

4 tbsp splenda

100ml strong coffee (use 1 &1/2 tbsp of instant coffee)

25g 85% dark chocolate

Using a hand whisk, beat together the cream, marscapone, whisky and splenda until they are completely combined and is thick as whipped cream.

Next slice the cake and layer it over the bottom of the dish, a 7 inch by 7 inch dish is ideal. Then spoon over the coffee, a small amount at a time so that the cake can absorb it fully.

Then grate almost half of the chocolate over the top.

Next add half of the cream mixture and smooth over. Then put a layer of cake on top of the cream and add the coffee and grated chocolate as before.

Finish with the remaining cream and grated chocolate.

Refrigerate for around an hour before serving.

Store covered in the fridge for up to 3 days or can be frozen.

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Bits and Bobs

Christmas and Low-Carb eating

Above is one of the low-carb mince pies I’ve just made.

And now eaten!

I think I have got it right this year, last year’s attempt was ok, but not quite right so I’ve been playing around with some other ingredients.

Eating low carb at Christmas can be tricky. There’s so much temptation around, but it is possible with a little planning and with setting aside plenty of space in the freezer.

Over the coming weeks I will share with you my favourite festive treats which will give you a real feeling of indulgence but without the carbs.

Christmas should be all about love and sharing, and I think food is an essential part of how we show our love. Cooking for the people you love best in the world, and having them enjoy what you have made is one of the nicest feelings ever.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

Dried Wreath

To make a dried wreath you will need:

Copper wreath base

Cardboard (packaging type is ideal).

A selection of dried seedheads

Small pine or fir cones

Small amount of moss, dried

Glue gun

Florist wire

Tweezers

Craft knife

Snips

Scissors

Optional:

Feathers

Dried fruit slices

Cinnamon sticks

Faux berries

Spray paint

Glitter

First you need to choose what you want to decorate with, and then spray and allow to dry any painted items.

Next you will need the cardboard, draw around the wreath base and cut out. Use the florist wire to attach it to the wreath base.

Then, with the glue gun, begin sticking each piece to the card. Make sure to overlap the edges and any gaps can be filled with a little dried moss.

It might help to roughly lay out what you would like to use before you start gluing to ensure you have enough material and that you are happy with the placement.

These wreaths are perfect for indoor decorations, either hung on doors or as a centre piece on a table. Battery powered candles are probably the safest option.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

A Quiet Sunday

Today has been lovely and sunny though quite cold. I’ve been out on my scooter again, this time to a different lake in the heart of the woods.

I haven’t been here in quite a while so it was a real treat.

Afterwards I went to breakfast with my family in Ross on Wye. As we were pottering back to the car, we came across a lovely little shop full of beautiful bits and pieces. Heavenly Homes & Gardenwares

It is perfect for gifts and treats for yourself and also for craft projects.

I found this gorgeous little leaf which has put the finishing touch to a simple Autumn display in my living room.

As you have probably noticed by now, I adore vintage, The other treasures I came across today were some lovely old dinner plates and a mixing bowl in a charity shop. They will be making an appearence here soon!

I also will be having a sort out this week of my craft supplies. I still have pinecones, poppy seedheads, crocosmia seedheads and a few other bits, but a foraging trip is still going to be required.

I won’t be gathering holly and ivy until December, I like to ensure my Christmas wreaths are as fresh as possible.

But dried wreaths can easily be made now before all the Christmas preparations get too hectic!

Reindeer moss, copper wreath rings and florist wire are the basic essentials you will need for making decorations. A glue gun is also extremely useful, as are varnish, glitter, spray paint, cinnamon sticks and faux berries. But you can build up your supplies over time.

A walk in the woods or local park along with bits from your garden will provide you with a rich bounty of pinecones, grasses and seedheads. It will need to be left somewhere to dry before you work with it though.

I will describe the method for making this wreath pictured above in my next post.

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Bits and Bobs

Light the Fire

It’s so cold here today. I woke to a heavy frost which then gave way to chilly rain. So, on returning from my grocery shopping, logs have been added to the fire and a warming lunch eaten.

I was going to have sausages with my left over celeriac chips from last night (I had a lovely supper of steak fried in butter with the chips and a gin and soda water, yum!), but because its wet and cold I decided to make soup.

I had one pumpkin (or squash, I’m not sure which, but it was a lovely shade of green!), left from Hallowe’en so I used it, along with cheese and warming spices to make a Rainy Day Soup, I’ll share the recipe in my next post.

I have a list of chores to see too, but I think some time in front of the fire is called for.

My toes need a little toasting!

Tomorrow is forecast to be cold but sunny, so I will be out adventuring on my scooter again.

I will also be trying out some new recipes and planning a few craft projects.

Hope you have a lovely weekend.

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Bits and Bobs · craft projects

Saturday Sewing

Today I’ve finally got round to finishing two sewing projects which I’ve had prepped for weeks. I have been rather busy over the last month, so it’s been a real treat just to be able to sit quietly with the radio on in the background and get them done.

Garden print fabric from Makower UK

This little bag was really simple. A rectangle left over from making a tea towel.

I hemmed the top edge and then folded it in half (right side to right side), then stiched the bottom edge and side. It is fastened with two pieces of ribbon stiched to the inside top edge.

Bumble bee fabric.

I used the same method for this small cushion cover.

I have acquired rather a lot of cushions over the years, and changing the covers on them is a quick and easy way of updating colour schemes for the changing seasons.

I think I will have a go at making a duvet cover and pillow cases in the future. The straight forward design is something my novice skills will be able to manage, hopefully!

Now, I think it’s time to use that cushion. I’m going to curl up with a cup of tea and a book. It’s raining here and chilly, definitely reading weather.

I hope you have a restful weekend too.

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Bits and Bobs · quick and easy · recipes

Hallowe’en

Here we are, on the most magical night of the year. The night when the veil between the worlds of the living and the dead is at it’s thinnest.

Witches, shapeshifters and all manner of sprites, goblins and faerie folk are roaming the land.

This is the time for casting spells, divining the future and making mischief.

Or, you can just stay in and eat something nice!

For this easy and delicious treat you will need Munchkin Pumpkins, butter and grated cheddar. The Munchkins can be found in farm shops and supermarkets at this time of year, but are also easy to grow (I’ll be adding some gardening posts in the future).

Simply cut carefully around the stalk of the pumpkin and remove it, along with the seeds. Leave the skin on as this tastes lovely when it’s cooked.

Then fill the pumpkin with grated cheese and a knob of butter. You can also add some chopped, fried bacon or sausage, and then roast in the oven for 30 minutes on gas 6/ 200c/ 390f.

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