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Skittles Pinata Cake

Remember the Pinata Cake? If not Click Here.

I could never bake properly in my old flat due to not having a dishwasher. No matter how much I hand washed icing bowls they were always left sticky. However now I have a dishwasher and baking can commence!

I ended up making a skittles Pinata Cake. I needed to make a cake that was both Halal and Vegetarian so found myself looking for a gelatin free alternative to my usual pinata cake. Not too sure how I ended up with skittles, I think it was the fact that I was surprised that they were suitable for vegetarians without any traces of gelatin.

My friends Ellie and Nikki helped me make a lovely fluffy buttercream to fill between the layers of the cake and around the outsides. We then filled the centre of the doughnut with skittles. We used the rest of the buttercream to “dirty ice” the cake. I do not know if that is the correct term for the first layer of buttercream that goes on the outside of the cake but that is what I learnt from my time watching Cake Boss so that is the term I am going to go with.

After the weeks I endured with dust all over the kitchen I actually didn’t mind the thin dusting of icing sugar which coated every possible surface of the kitchen. When it comes to cake decoration I always end up making far too much buttercream through fear of running out!

I iced the cake with different coloured flowers, leaves and some little butterflies before attacking it with even more skittles. This was quite a relaxing cake to make actually.

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I took this photo on my phone and it turned out that I have created a very photogenic looking cake!

Little bit of Storage DIY

Been a very long time without a post. I do not know what has happened! Too much work and not enough sleep I think!

However I finally have a solution to the space under the stairs dilemma.

Good old IKEA comes up top again and thanks to a very talented Dad we sliced the corner off to make it an under the stairs storage solution. So glad I did’t give up and make it a cupboard!

Veggie Spaghetti Bolognese

People always ask me “so if you can bake completely from scratch you must be able to cook?” I never know how to answer as I can cook, but I have never really attempted much cooking completely from scratch so thought I would give it a go. Normally I use sauces out of a jar to make most things as it is quick and easy but it often works out a lot more unhealthy this way. First attempt of cooking 100% from scratch was a success and I finally got to try out the long awaited spiralizer. After many accidental sliced fingers with a manual spiralizer I have invested in the Morphy Richard’s Spiralizer Express. I discovered vegetable spaghetti (or veggetti) about a year ago as a great low fat and healthy version of spaghetti. It is also a great way to cram in some of those 5 portions of fruit and veg we are apparently supposed to eat each day.

I have never made a spaghetti bolognese completely from scratch before but it seemed like quite an easy place to start. I took inspiration from my Mum’s cooking and tried to cram it with as much vegetables as possible.

  • Onion (1)
  • Garlic (2 crushed cloves)
  • Celery (2 Sticks)
  • Mushrooms (a few)
  • Carrots (4/5)
  • Courgette (When describing this to one of my colleagues at work I could not remember the name and ended up referring to it as a “vegetable cucumber” even though I am pretty sure a cucumber is also a vegetable. (2)
  •  Tomato Puree (1 table spoon)
  • Chopped Tomatoes (small tin)
  • Vegetable Stock with 200ml of boiling water
  • Red Wine (Or double up on the stock if you do not want to use wine)
  • Quorn mince
  • A sprinkle of mixed herbs.

Chop the onion, garlic, celery and carrot and gently fry in a pan with olive oil for 5 minutes. Then add the mushrooms and fry for 2 more minutes. Add the stock, red wine, tomato puree, chopped tomatoes, mixed herbs. Stir, put a lid on and let it simmer away for 5 minutes then add the Quorn Mince. Let it all simmer for another 5 minutes. It really was as simple as chucking everything into the pan and letting it do the rest itself. I think I could get used to this cooking stuff.

While the bolognese was cooking I finally got to try the spirilizer! It simply clips together and the blade spins round slicing the vegetables into lovely little spirally shapes which collects in the bottom. In my opinion it’s worth every penny and has just become my favourite kitchen gadget.

I cooked the spaghetti in a pan with a tiny little bit of oil as I find when it is boiled you have to take it out at precisely the right moment or it overcooks and you are left with nothing. It only needs 2 minutes in the pan and you are done!

Ta-Da! So much healthier than out of a jar and I actually enjoyed cooking it too. 100% vegetarian, crammed full of vegetables and without the cheese it’s vegan too. Vegetable spaghetti is such a good alternative to actual spaghetti and a great gluten free option too. I may not be Gordon Ramsey just yet but you never know, give me a few more months and I might be!

The Last Binge

So for anyone who is not aware me and my lovely friend Jenna have undertaken a year long challenge for Children In Need. If you are interested you can visit our fundraising website at www.CINChallenge.com. Unfortunately this means it is time to get fit. Even more unfortunately this means saying goodbye to most of the stuff that I actually enjoy eating. Therefore I thought it was acceptable to partake in one last unhealthy night with a friend of mine. This unhealthy binge consisted of a bottle of wine and a rather interesting snack which I had stumbled upon at the local shop across the road. Up until then I had no idea that pizza could actually come in a dessert form. So with no further ado I present to you the Goodfella’s Sweet Fella’s Delicious Dessert Pizza. In fact there is a little bit of ado as I have now had to partake in a rather lengthy conversation with my flat mate about the difference between “ado” and “adieu”. Turns out “ado” is a lovely little English word meaning without fuss or unnecessary hustle and bustle (think Shakesphere, Much Ado About Nothing”. “Adieu” is a dramatic French farewell, think of it as a last goodbye. So here I am with now a little bit of ado but that is okay because it is not a French goodbye. Easy mistake to make, don’t judge me too harshly and trust me I am a lot more intelligent in Spanish than French! Muchas Gracias.

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So this was my choice of a final unhealthy snack. I have to say that I disagree with their slogan that “the best things in life are worth sharing” because that pizza was amazing and I would happily not share. But I am a sharing caring individual and shared. After looking at the calorie content I am very happy that I did.

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Outside of the box it looked a little bit like a pizza which had gone mouldy. I fought the urge to cover it in magic stars and maltesers and put it in the oven for 14 minutes.

14 minutes later and this calorific and chocorific (if that is not a word it is now) specimen emerged from the oven. Was it an acceptable last binge? Definitely so! Could I have eaten it on my own? 100% definitely not! Goodfella’s I am sorry and I agree with your slogan. Now I know that these are hanging out in the freezer at the Tesco across the road I don’t know how I am going to be able to leave them alone. However I think that the fear of not actually being able to complete this Children In Need challenge slightly outweighs the unhealthy pizza chilling in the freezer! Can’t even remember the last time I ran!

Why do IKEA not sell Coasters?

I have really been procrastinating and avoiding making decisions. That is why I think Dad decided to take matters into his own hands one evening and drag me off to Reading to buy some bathroom storage and a mirror. I had been putting this off because I am a genuinely indecisive human being when it comes to purchasing things. Pretty stupid excuse as I am putting off purchasing things to go inside the biggest purchase I have ever made to date. I bought a flat with less indecision than I am currently having around purchasing somewhere to store my shampoo. Dad collected me in the van after work and he had also accosted Nan on his way to get me which was nice. I had quite a random list of stuff still to get. I needed bathroom storage for both bathrooms. Lots of people have told me that you do not need storage in a bathroom but I have always had a lot of bathroom storage. This has its downsides because it has allowed me to acquire a rather large collection of different shampoos, shower gels and other bath & shower related things which now require a home.

So this is what I ended up with. There are so many options with IKEA’s Kallax and it looks really smart. I love how you can take the basic shape and then add doors, drawers and storage containers as you see fit. You can also leave cubes empty which looks really nice if using in a living room or bedroom as you can put photos, candles or ornaments in them. However as I was using these in a bathroom it was important to protect things from condensation. I now just have to decide what to put on top of them. Thinking along the line of candles or a bowl of that nice smelling stuff (I believe it is called Potpourri but do not quote me on that). I did initially buy this lovely little specimen to do that job:

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Introducing Dobby the House Plant. Dobby was supposed to brighten up the bathroom but unfortunately when I got him home it just seemed a shame to leave him in the bathroom. So now I have another living room plant and a continuation to my Harry Potter references. At least if I ever burn myself I’m never more than 1 flight of stairs away from a nice dose of aloe vera. I have always wondered if the Aloe Vera plant is able to regrow back the bit that we break off. May need to do some aloe vera research.

The strangest thing I have found about IKEA is that they do not really sell coasters. I am now left to wonder if the Swede’s use coasters. Maybe I was bought up strangely but a drink always went on a coaster. Not only would that stop that really horrible ring that you get left behind when a glass is wet or a drink is knocked it protects the surface underneath. In that massive store there was the grand total of 1 coaster. This coaster was round and made of cork which I’m sure would have done the job but it just was not the coaster I’m looking for so it got left behind. I did however pick up some multicoloured place mats for the table and one of these is currently doubling as a rather large coaster on the coffee table.

I also went to pick up the mirror which had been looking at the past two times I had been to IKEA. I was very lucky as I managed to get the last one of these mirrors from IKEA Reading. So overal this was a very successful shopping trip. I even managed to treat my Nan to dinner in the restaurant!

However the next day when we went to put the mirror up there was the horrible realisation that it was broken. I went online hoping that maybe I had not been looking correctly when I thought I had bought the last one. Sadly for once my eyes were not paying tricks on me and the only way I was going to get this mirror was going to be by driving down to IKEA Southampton. Not ideal but it did allow for an evening of family bonding as my brother lives halfway between me and Southampton so he came along too and it became a bit of a family trip. I took back my broken mirror with no problems and went hunting for a shiny new one. I could not find it and was starting to panic. I got to where all the mirrors were and there was not my mirror anywhere. By now it was 20:30, we had been there over an hour and I only had half an hour left so I had to ask someone to help me track down this mirror. There was no way I was leaving without it after driving all that way. Luckily for me they had some somewhere in the warehouse although they did not know where. This must have been why they were the only IKEA in this half of the country to have it! I was “that customer” who was hovering in IKEA collections half  an hour after closing refusing to budge without the mirror while they tried to find it. Anyone who works in retail or who has ever worked in retail will know what I mean by “that customer”. So Apologies to the people of IKEA Southampton for making you late home. At least I was not tapping my contactless card on your non-contactless card machine despite you warning me it was not contactless. It could have been worse.

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However I am now a very happy customer with a lovely abstract mirror hanging on the wall in the hallway. Not too sure why it has been discontinued but I love it!

Anyway I still do not have an answer to my question which was why do IKEA not sell coasters. After visiting two in the space of five days I have not managed to find an answer so if anyone knows the answer to this question please let me know. If you were by any chance looking for cork round coasters to put your drinks on then IKEA is your place. You’re Welcome.

I solemnly swear that I am up to no good…

I wrote a while ago about some canvases that I was going to put on the Living Room wall. They arrived last week but due to life being so busy I forgot to upload them! I am a massive Harry Potter fan, in fact it is some sort of miracle that the flat is not decorated from top to bottom to resemble Hogwarts. However I could not resist putting a little bit of Harry Potter magic into the living room via the words of the amazing Albus Dumbledore.

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I bought the photos off of Etsy and then had them made into canvases by Photobox. I think they turned out really well and I’m so happy with them! A little bit of Dumbledore wisdom can Always be helpful in many circumstances whether you’re a Harry Potter fan or not.

Mischief Managed.

 

Day 15 – Nearly looking like a Home!

Hello! I have spent the past few days either getting a little bit tipsy at a work conference or recovering from the self induced tipsiness. As a result my lovely little flat has been a little bit neglected for the past two days. However today it definitely got an awful lot of love! Over the past two weeks I have been so happy with the flat as it is everything I have worked for over the past 8 years but I walked into it today after the carpet had been laid and it actually looks like a home now. I am completely unashamed to admit that I cried! I’m just going to let the pictures speak for themselves as I am completely besotted with my new home!

I am so happy with the choice of carpet, it is so soft and lovely to walk on and the colour really compliments the paint colours on the walls. The stairs are a plum stripe which I love. I never thought I’d have a stripey carpet but then my parents had stripey carpet put up their stairs and I actually really liked it so took inspiration! The carpet still needs a few more hoovers but the living room has come together so well. I came back from work today and got the surprise of a lovely TV stand in the living room! My parents went and got it while I was at work. Walking into the living room and just seeing it complete was lovely, they really have worked so hard for me today. We just need to now get a nice big mirror for above the dining table and a nest of tables and the living room is done!

So if you ever come to visit me it is shoes off to protect my lovely new carpet! I am wondering how far I can take this and have found myself looking at little booties and converse for dogs online. Check these out:

Dogs don’t wear shoes outside, so maybe the answer here is for him to wear shoes inside! He would hate me too much I think… Bobby you can be an exception to the shoe rule.