Thursday, 29 March 2012

Sun dried tomato, cheese & egg baguette

Fresh baguettes

On my way to London the other day, I had the most amazing baguette at Cardiff central from a place called "Upper Crust" I think. AMAZING. I've been craving it ever since so I went and got the ingredients to make one in my very own kitchen. They turned out pretty well. The key is probably to get some really good quality sun dried tomatoes, they make all the difference. Maybe attempt to make your own? That's a project for another day though. 

Sun dried tomatoes

My board of ingredients

Final Product

Ingredients and How to:
Grated cheddar and and Mozzarella or any cheese that you like
Hard boiled egg
Sun dried tomatoes
Salt to taste
Fresh baguette

Chop the egg up and mix it with some mayonnaise (I prefer Heinz salad cream actually) then spread it out on the baguette. Layer with grated cheese followed by the tomatoes. Depending on how seasoned your sun dried tomatoes are, add salt to taste. Microwave for 45 seconds or grill for 3 minutes. Serve!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Cupcakes for Fun Week

This week is Fun week at Cancer Research which basically means we'll be trying to raise as much funds as possible through various activities outside the usual day to day routine. Tomorrow is cupcake day! So I decided to make some simple vanilla cupcakes with butterscotch frosting. They turned out wonderfully, and purple.

Jumpers and a pond

Light knits from Gap

I went to drop off a few CVs for some retail jobs in Cardiff a few days ago and passed by the Gap in St. David's and it had a huge "75% OFF" sign plastered all over the front. I tried to restrain myself, I really did. But I'm always SO cold and I caught a glimpse of knit sweaters in every colour and shape spread out in front of me and I had to have a look. I ended up with just two things, forcing myself to put back the bright red jeggings (cringe) and other weird things that I pick up just for the fun on it.

Hanging precariously on the edge of my blinds

The brown plum coloured one is so soft, you just want to live in it. Which I am currently doing, actually. Perfect to layer over a racer back tank and some leggings. I got a size medium which is about 2 sizes too big for me in Gap, so it gives a nice slouchy effect and can be worn of one shoulder. The striped one is probably a bit too warm for the weather right now but knowing the UK, we'll have a few chilly days soon enough. Both were £14.99 each, down from about 30 and 40 I believe.. I do love a bargain.

I went to explore the pond near my house on the way back. When my mum said pond, I had an image of a tiny somewhat green watered pool filled with mud and toads. I was quite impressed at what it did turn out to be. Looking forward to jogging here!

Pen Y Fan, Oakdale

Saturday, 24 March 2012

All things red

Hottest chilis I've ever tasted

I made some burgers for lunch today and threw these gems into the mix. Amazing. Almost blew my head off which is exactly how I like it. Can't be very good for my stomach though.

And a smoothie to cool things down, sunny days have been abundant lately. Not that I'm complaining!

Mixed berry smoothie

Splash of orange juice
Splash of apple juice
A handful of frozen mixed berries

Blend. Serve :)

Friday, 16 March 2012

Cheesy fries in a hurry

Today was one of those days where I had so much to do and just not enough time to do it. Doctor's checkup in the morning, then the post office, then studying and all of a sudden its lunch time and I'm starving. I rush downstairs, fling open the fridge with such hope and anticipation, to find it empty. Sigh. No leftovers, nothing. So I had to make something quick, and its pretty amazing what you can do with stuff you have lying about in your fridge. Such as:

Freshly grated extra mature Cheddar cheese

Mixed with:

Oven baked thick potato chips

Produces this:

Homemade cheesy fries

I made a really small quantity for myself and it took about 20 minutes or less.. Its simple and easy. A bit high on the calories but I make myself feel better by saying I baked the chips instead of frying them. Enjoy!

Ingredients: (Enough for 1 person)
Two handfuls of frozen chips (I used Aldi's Three Way Cook Oven Chips which I found in the freezer)
1 Cup of grated Cheddar cheese
2 Tbps Grated Mozzerella 
50g Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
3/4 Cup of milk
A little ketchup (for sweetening and colour)
Salt and Paprika or Chili powder

Spread your chips out on an oven proof tray and stick them into the oven for around 20 mins. (Follow the instructions on your pack). While those are baking, take a little sauce pan over medium heat and melt the butter. Add the flour and and stir for a little while. It should look like squigy balls of dough. Start adding the milk and whisk it as you are pouring to get rid of the lumps. Don't worry, they will eventually dissolve, just keep whisking until the milk sort of thickens. Then add the cheese and stir until melted and then remove from the heat. Squirt in a LITTLE ketchup to give it that artifiual unhealthy orange sauce look and take away a bit of the tanginess of the strong cheddar. Sauce is ready!
Take the chips out, season with salt and paprika then pour the sauce over. Serve.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

A Rosy Cupcake Adventure

Pretty pink cupcake cases

Cupcake cases, I think that's where most of my money goes. I just buy them for no reason. I bought a pack of a 1000 cases a few months ago. I mean, seriously, when am I EVER going to need a 1000 cupcakes? On top of the other hundreds of colourful and patterned ones I already have crammed in the kitchen cupboards. But they're so pretty.. *googly eyes* I just can't resist.

Today was one of my baking failure days. There is a little event going on at the place where I volunteer and I decided to make some cupcakes so of course, they all turned into a complete mess. The first batch had a terrible consistency because I used warm milk and I think the eggs curdled a little and, well, it was just.. ew. The second batch were beautiful fluffy rose cupcakes.. for about 2 seconds.. Then they sunk in the middle and looked like misshapen Yorkshire puddings. Sigh. Thank God I have a dad who pretty much eats anything. 

I sat down and had an iced latte with some leftover espresso shots I made for my floppy, lumpy espresso cupcakes.


But, not one to give up, I finally managed to make a lovely batch of Rose cupcakes with Rose frosting. Not my best work but I was just too tired to try again. Plus I had to study. And blog. And make a networking card for the Career Fair next week. Oh my brain is going to explode.

Almost there! No lumps at least.

Lumpless :D

Final Attempt, not so bad :) 

I'll have to perfect the recipe first and figure out where things are going wrong, then I'll post it up here!

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Lazy day and an old film

Homemade ice lemon tea on a warm afternoon

Sundays are always quiet days for me, normally spent in-doors reading books, watching films, spending time with loved ones and planning for the week ahead. Today we settled in with a pitcher of ice tea and a good old movie from 1961, The Parent Trap. Now, the newer version with Lindsay Lohan (when she was still cute and likable), has always been a favourite of mine but I found myself laughing just a little bit more at the scenes in the original. I suppose you can't really beat old cinema. Which one do you prefer?

Walt Disney's "The Parent Trap" (1961) - Still shot found on

Walt Disney's "The Parent Trap" (1998) - Still shot found on

Sunny Saturday & A Little Shopping

My new Limited Edition Warm Sugar Yankee Candle

A sunny day in Wales. Now that's something you don't see a lot of, but to be fair, we've had quite a few nice days lately. Hopefully a bunch of beautiful spring days will make up for the rubbish (read, no snow) winter that we had. I decided to go out for a drive and ended up at Festival Park in Ebbw Vale. I'd never been there so it was a nice change. I was really excited to go to the Gap Outlet over there since I practically live in Gap hoodies but I ended up coming out empty handed. Too many things I wanted so I forced myself to get out of there before emptying the bank. Plus I'm supposed to be developing a style and Gap Hoodie Girl is not the style I had in mind. I did manage to get a Candle from Hallmark which was half off, and its slowly burning in the corner of my room. The scent isn't as strong as the usual Yankee Candle but its very pleasant, sweet but not overpowering. I wouldn't recommend buying it at full price though ( I think its around £19? ) because as I said, its not that intense. I picked up a few other things as well:

Thorntons' Lemon & Sea Salt, White and Ginger Chocolates

I don't have a very sweet tooth but the Lemon and Sea salt chocolate tastes AMAZING. I know a lot of you may be going, uhm ok, no thanks but Its sweet and lemony then crunchy salty, every bit is like a weird yummy explosion. I haven't tried the other two yet but if this one is anything to go by, I will be making another trip to Thorntons VERY soon. (Not too sure about the ginger though, can't stand ginger)

Mother's day card for the lovely Mum

Yep, Mother's day is coming up. Don't forget to get something special for your Mum. Poor mum, plagued with me.. Sigh. Least I could do was get a card and gift. Now if I could only remember where I hid it, I'd be sorted.