Thursday, 20 February 2014

Spring Styles You Can Wear Now

I do it every year. Every year I get over excited for spring and buy clothes only suitable for the three days of spring sunshine we have in May. So this year I am doing something a little different. I am only buying spring styles if I can wear them all year round. Here are my top 5 picks:

Topshop Boilersuit - £68

River Island Boots - £40

H&M Cardigan - £34.99

River Island Dress via Asos - £25

Boohoo Jumper - £20

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Sweet Like Chocolate

Now I know we said we weren't going to celebrate Valentine's but I can't let the occasion go by without so much as a how's your father. If you're in need of a little gesture but are short on time (it is the 13th after all) then these flavoured chocolates are perfect. No need to fork out loads of money for a decadent box from a chocolatier, these little beauties can be made at home for under £10.

What you'll need:

  • 150g dark chocolate
  • 150g milk chocolate
  • 150g white chocolate 
  • A jar of stem ginger pieces in syrup
  • 50g butterscotch pieces 
  • 50g pistachios 
  • Sea salt flakes
(Makes roughly 36) 

I have made three different types, white chocolate and pistachio, milk chocolate and salted caramel, and dark chocolate and ginger, but you can mix and match any flavours you like. Don't melt all the chocolate at once it is easier to do one flavour at a time (especially if you only have one mould like me). I used a silicone heart mould like this one.

Dark chocolate & ginger:
Melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Take a piece of ginger out of the jar and chop into small squares and place one in the bottom of each heart. This way when you turn out the chocolates you will have a piece of ginger peaking out the top. When the chocolate is melted stir in about half a teaspoon of the syrup to infuse the chocolate with ginger flavour, tasting as you go (as if you need an excuse). Spoon the melted chocolate mixture into the moulds and leave to set in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour.

Milk chocolate & salted caramel:
This is my personal favourite. Whoever came up with this combination I salute you. It's the same idea as before, melt the chocolate in a bowl over simmering water and sprinkle a few butterscotch pieces into the moulds to line the bottom. Mix the rest of the butterscotch into the chocolate until they have softened slightly (they won't completely melt). Then add some sea salt flakes, again tasting until you have the right combination. Pour the mixture into the moulds and leave to set in the fridge for 45 minutes to an hour. 

Pistachio & white chocolate:
Easy peasy. Remove the pistachios from the shells and lightly ground using a pestle and mortar or roughly chop. Sprinkle the pistachio pieces into the moulds and then pour over the white chocolate, melted in the same way as the milk and dark. Leave to set in the fridge for 45 minutes. 

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Heart Warming Leek & Potato Soup

Isn't it miserable out there? Rain lashing down, and even a hint of snow calls for a soup that warms you right down to your toes.

What you'll need:

  • 50g butter
  • 1 onion
  • 3 large leeks
  • 2 medium potatoes
  • 900ml chicken stock (use water if you are veggie)
  • 2 large handfuls of rocket
  • 150ml double cream
  • Salt & pepper
(Serves 5)

Dice your onion and leeks using a food processor if you have one (this saves so much time!) and cube your potatoes. Melt the butter in a large heavy-based pan and then add the chopped ingredients, stirring until they are coated in butter. Once sizzling reduce the heat to low, cover and sweat for 15 minutes. Pour in the stock and then bring to the boil, reduce the heat again and simmer covered for 20 minutes until all the vegetables are tender. 

Whizz the soup using a hand blender. If you only have a jug blender or a food processor you will need to wait until the soup is completely cool before you blend it. Return to the pan and reheat, stirring in most of the cream and season. 

Transfer to bowls and add a handful of rocket with a swirl of cream.