Wednesday, 31 July 2013

My homemade tangy salsa.

This salsa was just thrown together whilst experimenting and just happened to taste delicious! Experimenting seems to be working very well for me lately, especially when it comes to my cooking (both for my blog and Pie Magazine). This is a lovely chunky salsa with a tangy taste and is very simple to make. Great for spreading in sandwiches, wraps or burgers or piled high on nachos or crispbreads! I naughtily ate the leftovers on its own, as my Mum and sister both aren't very keen on avocado and I had no one else to share it with, but it's not very calorific, so I indulged guilt-free!

This salsa is approx. 150 kcal for all of it! If you share it, just divide 150 by however many people you share it amongst.


- 1/2 a small-medium avocado
- 1/2 a red pepper
- 1/2 a medium red onion
 - juice of 1/2 a lime
- generous squeeze of ready-made sweet chilli sauce


1. Firstly peel the skin off of the avocado. Now dice the avocado, red pepper and red onion and then mix it all together in a bowl.

2. Now squeeze in the fresh lime juice and the squirt of sweet chilli sauce. Mix it all together so it's all nicely coated in the sauce and it's all quite shiny looking. Leave to sit for 10 or so minutes to let the flavours soak a bit, and then you have your chunky, tangy salsa ready to eat!

I spread my salsa into a wholemeal wrap with some Quorn 'roast style sliced fillets'. Very quick and easy and extremely tasty and filling! Great for a light, summery lunch.

Friday, 19 July 2013

Homemade gooseberry jam.

Using the gooseberries I picked at Bake Farm (click here for blog post), I decided to use part of my day off to make some gooseberry jam. I have never made any kind of preserve before, so this was very new to me. It was so much simpler than I ever imagined. I thought you'd need lots of fancy equipment, but I was wrong. Do you own an empty jar, funnel, saucepan, saucers, cooker and a wooden spoon? Yes? Well you can make this jam!

This recipe makes about 1 jar of jam. Each tablespoon of this jam is approx. 50 kcal.

- 320g gooseberries, 
- 320g granulated sugar
- juice of 1/3 of a lemon
- 200ml water


1. Although this recipe fills about one jar completely, I would sterilize two, just in case. To sterilize the jars and their lids, wash them with hot, soapy water and then rinse them off with very hot water. Now place them on a tray lined with baking paper and put into a cold oven. Once in, turn the oven on to 120°c. Place two saucers in the freezer, which you'll use to test the jam later.

2.  In a medium saucepan on a high heat, put the gooseberries, water and lemon juice in and bring to the boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down and simmer for 10-15 minutes until it turns pulpy.

3. Now, on a very low heat, pour in all of the sugar and stir until it dissolves completely. Once dissolved, turn the heat up high and bring to a hard boil. Boil for about 7 minutes. The jam mixture should start to turn a reddy/pinky colour.

4. To test if the jam is ready, take out one of the chilled saucers and put a little blob of the jam mixture onto it. Leave it to cool slightly. Run your finger through it, if it wrinkles, it's ready. If it doesn't, boil the mixture for a further 3-5 minutes and test again. Keep repeating this until it's ready.

5. Take the jars out of oven and leave to cool slightly. Using the funnel, pour the jam mixture from the saucepan into the sterilized jar(s). I managed to only fill one jar perfectly to the top. Remove the funnel and screw the lid on tight and leave to cool overnight. This jam should keep for about 6 months.

Enjoy your yummy, sweet, homemade gooseberry jam spread on toast, ricecakes or crackers. :)

Monday, 15 July 2013

Trip to Bake Farm & smoothie recipe!

Last Monday, my best friend, Emily, and I went fruit picking together at Bake Farm. I had never heard of this little place before, but Emily goes quite regularly and I asked if she'd come with me one day. The weather was perfect - nice and hot. It's such a beautiful, peaceful place, tucked away from busy main roads and houses. There are rows upon rows of strawberry plants and sooo many different varieties of strawberries to pick from! There's also gooseberries and raspberries to pick too (there's a couple other plants too, blueberries and runner beans I think, but they weren't ready for picking quite yet). It is surprisingly cheap. Coming to the till, I was expecting the fruit I picked to cost at least £10 or more... I picked a whole punnet of strawberries (mixed varieties) and about half a punnet each of raspberries and gooseberries for under £8! I will definitely be getting all of my strawberries and raspberries from here in the future - they are just too delicious to go anywhere else for them now! I have made mini lunchbox fruit salads and smoothies from the strawberries and raspberries (plus a few other ingredients from elsewhere), and I'll hopefully be making either some jam or maybe a tart with the gooseberries, if I get time to do it.

Here's the recipe for one of the smoothies I've made using the fruit I picked. I've called it 'Bake Farm Smoothie':

This recipe makes 1 smoothie (roughly a pint glass worth) at approx. 250 kcal.

- 200ml almond milk
- 1 banana
- 80g strawberries
- 35g raspberries
- 25g porridge oats
- handful of icecubes

1. Put the almond milk, banana, strawberries, raspberries and porridge oats into the blender. Blend until smooth.
2. Now put all of the icecubes in and blend again until smooth. Pour into a glass, serve immediately and enjoy!

I made another smoothie, very similar to this one, using more of the strawberries and raspberries I picked from Bake Farm. I used the same recipe as above, but I removed all of the porridge oats and added in 1 small avocado. It was delicious, very smooth and creamy! Just in case you want to give this a go, this smoothie serves 1 (roughly a pint glass worth) and is approx. 300 kcal.

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Sunny Magaluf, June 2013!

Last month (5th June - 13th June), my boyfriend, Jago, and I went to sunny Magaluf together. We booked it only three weeks before we left for the holiday (very last minute for us)! We booked a week, self-catering, in the Mallorca Rocks Hotel. I hadn't read any reviews on it, but out of curiousity, two days before leaving, I decided it'd be a great idea to read the reviews about the hotel on TripAdvisor... Seriously bad move! I then got myself in the biggest panic as every other review seemed to be extremely negative and talked about getting their rooms broken into, getting their money/passports/etc. stolen, being mugged on the way home, prostitutes hanging around the front of the hotel, etc. etc. I wish I never read them! I get pretty nervous when leaving home without my Mum anyway, so having this to worry about too felt awful.. Having come back now though, I'm not too sure why I got so worked up, as I had an amazing time!

Whilst rather intoxicated at the 2wenties welcome meeting (hard to turn down free, unlimited jugs of cocktails) we bought a package deal. The package included a foam party, a carwash party, tickets to the Pirates Reloaded show (which was AMAZING to watch!), tickets to BCM, a pub crawl and a booze cruise. This made us really start to get in the mood and excited for the week ahead! Also as we were staying at Mallorca Rocks Hotel, we had access to their gigs and W.A.R. nights. We saw Baauer, Rizzle Kicks, Ms Dynamite, Mistajam, etc. live, which were all pretty good! All things we booked with the package were epic and so much fun! I have never drank so much alcohol in such a short space of time. 8 days in a row I was drinking... I blame the free bars for this (after midnight, until 6am)! Outside of the package deal, we went down to the beach, went on a banana boat, dipped in the hotel pool, spent hours and hours sunbathing, went for meals together, went on the bungee ball ride thing (not sure what it's called), went on a 'bucking bronco' ride (which I was totally awesome at) and went to Western Water Park. The water park didn't have many slides, but the ones that were there were a tad crazy! One was terrifyingly high, but I managed to push myself to do it (after having a panic about how high we were half way up the stairs to the top). I'm proud that I did it, but I doubt I'd ever do it again!

Being a pescitarian, I did not have much choice in what food I had to eat. Most days we just bought food from the Spar shop to eat at lunch times, and then we ate out for tea. For lunch, every single day, I had brown bread sandwiches filled with tinned tuna and sweetcorn, mixed up with mayonnaise and slices of cheese. By the end of the week, I was sick of the sight of tuna! Meals out had a bit more to pick from, but nothing that exciting... The majority of most menus were meat dishes. I tried calamari, which I'd never tried before, but that was about it. Everything else was things that I could easily find in England. There was so many takeaway places! We had a takeaway most nights (bad, I know.. But I mainly blame the alcohol for this).

All the food and stupid amounts of alcohol throughout the week made me gain a total of 5 and a half lbs! I was a bit upset by this, but wasn't expecting much else really, considering the amount I drank each night. I have now lost all of this weight since coming home, so all is good again, and I am back on track! Last year, after returning from our holiday to Turkey, it took me a seriously long time to get back on any kind of track... I didn't manage to get back to the weight I was before leaving for Turkey at all. But this year it's going a lot better. I also came back from Magaluf with the worst chest infection (I think I may have caught it on the plane as their were a lot of sick/coughing people on the plane back). It's pretty much gone now though, thank God!

Overall it was a really fun, fantastic holiday. The mega-hangover I suffered when I got back was well worth it. We made some really great friends whilst out there too, which is a bonus! Only tiny downside is that the tan I got is rather pathetic compared to tans I've had from previous holidays, despite frazzling in the sun for hours on end.. Oh well. I would definitely love to go somewhere like this again! I really don't know what I was worrying for. Note to self: Next time, don't judge holidays by just focusing on solely the negative reviews on TripAdvisor - go experience it for yourself and make your own opinion on it!