Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Apple crumble Recipe

Moving away from home has meant that I now do all the cooking for myself and my partner and I'm missing all my home comforts and the things that my mum used to cook for me. McCarthy & Stone Independent Living set me a challenge of making something that reminded me of home and there are few dishes as homely as a freshly baked apple pie with custard.

I wanted to make the ultimate version of the apple pie but it all seemed like a lot of effort so I asked my mum for her recipe which I grew up eating and it was surprised at how simple it was. The apples are not pre-cooked and you just pop the crumble mixture on top and bake it. It can't be any easier than this and it's a firm favourite in my house. I used to go picking wild berries with my mum as a child and we would add these to the crumble too for an extra sharp kick.

a picture of apple crumble

Ingredients


For the crumble

200g plain flour

100g oats
175g brown sugar

200g unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

Knob of butter for greasing/marg


For the filling

450g apples, peeled, cored and cut into ½in pieces

50g sugar ( I sometimes do a 50/50 mix with splenda to reduce calories in the filling and crumble)
1 pinch of ground cinnamon

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C
  2. Place the flour. oats and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar and cinnamon and stir.
  4. Butter a ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.
  5. Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned.
  6. Serve with thick cream or custard. (I think bright yellow, super thick Birds custard is the best because I grew up eating that stuff)  

I'm definitely missing my mum, brother and the dog Sookie since moving out but I'm also enjoying starting up my own home and  I know that my favourite family dishes will become well loved in my new home.

Look at my coral outfit in Florida circa 1995, I was so cool ;)

Gemma
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Thursday, 24 April 2014

Outfit post & day in Caerleon

This is a picture of a M&S black dress

Dress: M&S - Shoes: Clarks - Belt: New Look - Bag: Vivienne Westwood


Now that I've moved house I have lost my reluctant blog photographer, my brother. I now have to persuade Martyn to take photos but I don't think he did too bad a job. My very overgrown garden provided a nice spot for some photos of my new favourite dress. I picked the dress up for a tenner in the M&S sale and have worn it a handful of times already. You really can't go wrong with a plain black dress. I've worn it to work and for my day out in Caerleon with friends.


I headed to Caerleon over the bank holiday for a catch up over lunch with my best friend and to explore the history of the village.


Isca Silurum was a Roman legionary fortress and settlement, the remains of which lie beneath parts of the present-day village of Caerleon. It's only about a 5 minutes drive from my new house and close to Newport. It's now called Caerleon which is derived from the Welsh for "fortress of the legion".

I visited the National Roman Legion Museum and you can also see part of the military bath house in the Roman Baths Museum, the most complete Roman amphitheatre in Britain (photo above)
and the only remains of a Roman legionary barracks on view anywhere in Europe at Prysg Field. It's pretty impressive that all this is so close to my house and around 2000 years old. There was a Roman presence here from around 75-300 AD.


I went for a pub lunch in the Hanbury Arms where Idylls of the King was written by Lord Tennyson and wandered around the pretty town, enjoying some rare Welsh sun. There are buildings from so many different eras in this town and lots of interesting little details like the air rail shelter sign I found. Caerleon is the perfect place to visit and I had a lovely afternoon there.



Gemma
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Friday, 18 April 2014

Dorset holiday - Sea Life Centre & Lyme Regis

This is the final post sharing photos from my holiday to Dorset, I can't believe it was nearly two months ago. A lot has happened since then and the holiday was a good test to see if Martyn and I would be able to live together. We hadn't spent seven days in a row with each other before that and we managed to cope with each others bad habits and living together is going pretty well so far. 

During our holiday we went to the Sea Life Centre in Weymouth and got to see some wonderful creatures including this lovely little Humboldt penguin.

a picture of a humboldt penguin

Sadly, over-fishing and habitat destruction have left the Humboldt Penguin vulnerable. Numbers are declining and the current population which live near Peru and Chile, may only be up to 12,000. Very sad indeed.

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a picture of a star fish

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I'm really glad that I went to visit during term time, this place would have been a nightmare with children running around screaming like they are probably doing this week. The highlight of the day was definitely penguin feeding time, seeing those guys waddle is the best.

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On our final day we headed to Lyme Regis for a stroll along the beach and a ice cream which was the perfect way to end our lovely week in Dorset.

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If you want to see any more of my Dorset posts click here.

a picture of lyme regis pebble beach

I'm hoping to spend time with friends this weekend, enjoy the great outdoors and scoff plenty of chocolate. Hope you all enjoy the long Easter weekend and get up to something nice.

Gemma
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Thursday, 10 April 2014

Pastel Jumper


Jumper: c/o Bon Marche - Skirt: New Look - Boots: Shoe Zone - Necklace: Dorothy Perkins

Bon Marche might not be the first place you think of to get an on trend item of clothing but this fabulous pastel jumper proves you can find some real gems there. I've been wearing this a lot and love the hint of glitter in the knit and have had a few compliments while wearing it. I don't normally wear knitwear as it makes me feel a bit bulky but this is nice and light. The necklace is something I've never worn before and discovered it when I was packing to move house recently, can't believe I forgot about it! The move has helped me rediscover loads of lovely items and I'm sure that once I've settled in I will be able to share some of my lovely items that I had forgotten all about on here with you. 


As I said, knitwear isn't something I normally wear and I avoid pastels and light colours completely and opt for black and sometimes a splash of red so I was really out of my comfort zone wearing this.  I wasn't sure what to pair this jumper with and I really wish I had known about a new site called Motilo at the time I was deliberating about this outfit. Motilo is the world’s most interactive, intelligent and exciting solution to your styling needs. The company has a team of fashion advisers that are ready and more than able to provide quick feedback on any style worries— from the type of clothes you should wear to a specific event to which handbag you should match with a particular outfit.  When shopping on the high street you often have a friend or relative who can give an outfit the thumbs up or thumbs down. Motilo’s team provides that human touch to the online experience which I would say is the downside of shopping online. I love the convenience but shopping online always results in my sending loads of items back because you can't really tell if it's going to go with the rest of the outfit from a photo online. This site lets you get feedback before clicking 'buy' which is a pretty nifty idea. It's a mix of magazine, social media and an expert you can trust. 

log the fact that you can specifically ask a question and get an answer. Some sites just encourage people to share photos of outfits but you can ask how you can wear pastels, pumps, the Americana trend etc The possibilities are endless. But there’s also some highly interesting editorial to get you in the shopping mood; Anna dello Russo, Bip Ling and Valentine Fillol Cordier are all on the roster of ‘Motilo Girls’ so the site has plenty of content to fill your fashion needs. Have you headed over to this site yet? I'm finding it a pretty handy tool. 


It's been a truly mad week because it's the end of term so lots of students have stumbled into the library for the first time this year to get books for their essays. How can someone doing their dissertation not know where the journals are? Madness! I'm really looking forward to a weekend in London to see the Manics with Hannah and do a little shopping and sightseeing. I'm around all day Saturday and Sunday so let me know if you fancy a bit of a blogger hangout. I'm thinking burgers and a chat :) What are you up to this weekend?


Gemma
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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Way of Wagamama - Cardiff Review

We all have a favourite dish at Wagamama and like to stick to something tried and trusted. Have you ever tried something other than katsu curry, pad thai or yaki soba?

Before attending the evening we were asked what our favourite dishes were and then the ‘Way of Wagamama’ evening involved trying some fab new dishes. Executive chef Steve, and nutritional psychologist Christy Fergusson were on hand to help us and explain more about the food we were tasting.
The ‘Way of Wagamama’ campaign was launched earlier this year to encourage customers to try dishes beyond their usual repertoire, by demystifying the sheer range of options on the menu and putting lifesize photos of the food and their components on the place settings.

My favourite dish is the super hot Firecracker and it's what I normally opt for but I occasionally go for the katsu curry. Christy explained that my love of spice means I'm a thrill seeker. While I'm not into any extreme activities I am open to trying any types of weird and wonderful food and speaking in front of large groups so I would say that is spot on.

The first dish that I got to try that evening was the chicken raisukaree, chicken stir-fried in a coconut curry sauce. It's one of Steve's favourites and contains tender marinated chicken breast stir-fried in a coconut and lime curry sauce with mangetout, peppers, red and spring onions, red chillies, ginger and garlic. It's served with rice and garnished with mixed sesame seeds, red chillies, coriander and lime. This was much more fragrant and delicate than a curry dish I would normally eat but I adored it. The fresh chilli added some oomph and I loved the crunchy mangetout and peppers.


a picture of chicken raisukaree in Wagamama Cardiff

Steve talking to Laura about the mushroom ramen.


The second dish I tried was the Duck Ramen. The duck was incredibly tender and just fell apart onto the spoon as I fished it out of the huge bowl. Steve explained that the duck is actually from the Rhondda and is slow cooked for over 7 hours there as there simply isn't the time to do this in store. I loved this dish despite its lack of spice. The coriander, citrus ponzu sauce and distinctive duck added more than enough flavour to the dish without the need for too much chilli. I would definitely eat this again.

a picture of duck ramen in Wagamama Cardiff

I had such a nice time at the event, it was so relaxed and fun. Steve was such a nice guy and really looked after us, he even managed to get us to eat coconut ice cream covered in katsu curry! I've definitely been inspired to try something new next time I eat there.


Do you stick to your favourite dish when you eat out? Will you be trying something new on your next visit to Wagamama?

Gemma
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Friday, 4 April 2014

Red Zatchels Bag


Dress: Topsop - Bag: c/o Cloggs

Sigh, I used to adore this dress but after a year off from the diet it's a tad too tight now. Definitely not a dress I can wear after a big meal. I have however noted all your feedback on this post, got myself an exercise mat and I'm hoping to start working out at home a little bit. The 30 minute walk to the train station from my new house will help shift some podge too.

a picture of a red satchels satchel

I'm a huge Zatchels fan and I've already got a few of their bags, one in gold and another in purple. What I love most about them is that they are handmade in England from the finest quality leather, using expert craftmanship. It's pretty rare to get something made in the UK these days and I think it's important to support homegrown industries. This bag was ordered from Cloggs and was dispatched the same day and arrived within a couple of days. Pretty impressive. I love this bag, the bold colour can lift a drab outfit and make a statement.


I'm looking forward to a weekend of DIY on the new house, trips to IKEA and a rare weekend where both Martyn and I don't have work. I'm planning on making a nice big toad in the hole with lots of fresh veg on the side and spending the evenings relaxing.  Hope you have a wonderful weekend whatever you are up to.

Gemma
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Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Dorset Holiday - West Bay

I said I had plenty of photos to share from my holiday and I meant it, I've posted about Lulworth Cove and Corfe Castle so far but here are my photos from my afternoon at West Bay. The last time I visited they sky was a dull grey and 70mph winds made it impossible to get on the beach let alone go for a stroll so it was great to return on a sunny day and make the most of it.

a picture of west bay broadchurch dorset

We enjoyed lovely views of the East Cliff from the harbour. It has been calculated that each metre of rock would have taken about 20,000 years to accumulate on the seabed where it originated. So it would have taken about 860,000 years for the depth of the rock exposed in the cliff to accumulate. This all happened about 200 million years ago. Geology normally isn't my thing but I loved the contrast between the orange layers and the bright blue sky. 

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Dress: Dorothy Perkins - Cardigan: Primark - Jacket: Barbour - Wellies : Short Gloss Hunters

a picture of west bay broadchurch dorset

I can honestly say that in the sun this was one of the most beautiful posts I've had the pleasure of visiting. I do love a holiday abroad but you have to admit that the UK has some lovely beaches.

a picture of west bay broadchurch dorset

I'm now back in work with no major leave booked until September, dreaming of another holiday in Dorset. Sob. I do wish I was sitting on that rock looking at at the sea right now.

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You will be glad to know I'm all settled in my new house with only a bit of painting left to do. Hurrah! This means nobody has to hear me talking excitedly about moving anymore.

Gemma
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