Indulgent Asian food

It’s not often that I get to cook with my mum, it’s always an opportunity to experiment with new recipes.
This particular weekend we decided to make some homemade vegetable samosa’s with homemade pastry followed by some instant homemade jalebi. It was a completely indulgent weekend because both the samosa’s and the jalebi are fried so copious amounts of tea were drunk to help the delicious food to go down but then it’s the best way to eat this type of food.

The samosa’s were more my mum’s idea I simply assisted. She had already boiled the potatoes 20170604_132135before I arrived I simply had to make the filling. I had no recipe to hand so in my usual style I winged it, making it up as I went along tasting to see if there were enough spicies, salt etc.

For the pastry my mum found this YouTube video, (please note it doesn’t have any sound) my mum watched it mostly for the technique the lady in the video used to make the samosa pastry. She rolled out the round discs and cooked them slightly on a flat pan! It sounds odd but the technique worked, you have to watch the video because the way I would describe the technique wouldn’t do it justice.
This is a time consuming method and much easier when there are two of you making them or if you make them in bulk then freeze them but the end result is work it. The pastry when fried was light and crispy just how a samosa should be. My youngest sister is extremely fussy and even these won her seal of approval.

Jalebi is one of my favourite Asian sweets, it’s sticky and very sweet. Using a piping bag or squeezy bottle a batter is piped/squeezed into hot oil in a swirly round pattern until a nice golden colour then soaked in a sugar syrup to give it’s sweet sticky taste and texture. It is because of it’s sweetness that I can only eat one of two at a time so thought a homemade version to suit my taste would be ideal. A normal jalebi batter is expected to sit overnight to allow so the jalebi once fried is light in the middle and crispy on the outside. I didn’t have the time or the patience to wait almost 24 hours for a jalebi batter to be ready, luckily I found this instant jalebi batter recipe from Tarla Dalal, you can add colouring to the batter if you want but I left mine au naturel. This was my first time making them so my piping technique needs some work but I did make some interesting shapes and patterns with the batter.

This is how they are meant to look. 220px-Awadhi_jalebi

This is how mine looked.

20170604_170253

The texture of the finished jalebi’s is slightly different to the overnight batter mixture but they taste just as good and quite addictive. They were sticky, crispy and the right amount of sweetness for my taste. I personally found they weren’t as crispy the following day but still nice to have with a cup of tea.

This type of food it a treat, I couldn’t eat like this every weekend but it doesn’t hurt to be a bit indulgent now and then.

Healthy = Grumpy

It’s amazing how quickly the weekend goes, come Sunday evening you realise that you haven’t actually done a great deal.

Saturday, the heavens opened up and rained constantly. Heading to the town centre was out of the question, in my mind Christmas is still a while away yet members of the public are already in a frenzy trying to find that ‘Christmas bargain’ whilst in the process forgetting all manners and etiquette. You know the type of people I mean; they come out en masse sometimes in packs to make the rest of us shopper’s lives a misery. Hence no weekend shopping at any shopping centre/complex. I did temporarily entertain the idea that I may brave a shopping centre one evening then woke up from that nightmare. Online shopping it is, shopping online isn’t necessarily cheaper but it is much safer and better for my health and wellbeing!

Slimming World

A few people at work have joined slimming world, one of them being the lady I sit next to. I have tried to be supportive and eat healthier, the fruit got eaten but the rest of the healthy eating and no crisps just made me grumpy. Dieting of any kind isn’t for me, think I’ll stick to trying to find a balance. I need to do something until I can motivate myself to get back into exercise which hasn’t happened yet. If anyone is curious the Fitbit is still in its box.

Some of the meals that are suggested by Slimming world don’t look too bad but then there are some that look like the person needs to paralyse their taste buds before tasting as the picture alone is enough to put you off trying it. I’m being unfair as many people have successfully lost weight through Slimming World and look great for it. To me it looks like it’s not only helping people to lose weight in a structured way but to also learn to cook more from scratch and forego relying on ready made sauces.

pixlr_201611141123386101Most of my meals are already cooked from scratch just not always by me. Sometimes the ingredients used can be considered a bit rich/fattening depending on which way you look at it. I had a very nice slow cooked lamb dinner over the weekend that was marinated in double cream and yoghurt, the marinate was also used to create the sauce and had a strawberry trifle for dessert; this was shop bought. Neither the lamb or the trifle would be considered healthy and would count as a lot of sins in slimming world but tasted really good!

While I’m coming clean I also baked these oat biscuits and drizzled some dark chocolate over a few of them, I did share them at work.img_05701

I am trying to get the lamb recipe down on paper but I mostly assisted. The oat biscuits I can help with, this was the recipe I used from Allrecipes, the biscuits are quick, easy and only uses four ingredients!

 Christmas Bazaar

Guess who has a biscuit stall next month?

Meee!

These is a local school where since last year I have had a biscuit stall at their summer fete & Christmas bazaar, I must be doing something right as each time a member of the PTA has contacted me to ask me if I’d be interested in coming back each time. The baking does usually take me a day and it is a bit of hard work as I want the biscuits to look visually appealing and then creating the decorate your own gingerbread person kits but I do also have a lot of fun on the actual day, I get to dose up kids with sugar, send them home with their parents who at times are equally dosed up on sugar and caffeine, and I make a bit of pocket money.

Speak soon!

Spicing up my taste buds

img-20161101-wa00011It was my nicer others half’s brother in laws birthday as the team that we have become he made a lamb curry for his family and I made the dessert. This was a big thing for him as this was the first time he had ever cooked for his family, in fact I’m not even sure they thought he could cook! Since we’ve been together home cooked food has become a big thing, neither of us want to spend too much money by always eating out and we’ve found with a bit of practice home cooked food tastes so much better.

The lamb went down a treat, he was nervous but he needn’t have been as it was cooked well and everyone was impressed with his new found culinary abilities.

14925355_1416464105033938_7384611710921232604_nFor my part I made a strawberry cheesecake, cakes have been a bit hit and miss lately so cheesecake was the go to plan. I used a James Martin recipe as a guide then tweaked it to suit me, I used half mascarpone and half normal full fat cheese and added double cream, very creamy & tastes good. I was a bit concerned it would come out of the tin easily but after a bit of gentle coaxing it came out fine, and everyone enjoyed it. I doubt me and other half will ever be one of those couples who host dinner parties, we’re not exactly what you would call social butterflies but for a handful of people on the rare occasion we don’t mind contributing.

20161106_1531541Whilst we’re on the topic of being unsociable, I’ve not been seeing friends and going out as much of late. So when a close friend invited me to her baby shower I was in two minds of going. another close friend was also going so we car shared, we did spend more time travelling than we did at the baby shower but it nice to see her and her family. I also won the ice cube baby challenge.

Biryani Update

img_05651As promised in my previous blog I would update you on the success / failure of the biryani. I am pleased to report that all we winged the recipe it was a surprising success. We used the cook the meat and rice separately then layer and pop in the oven method and it was faultless, but then I am biased with the results. Lots of spices and seasoning was used so not for the faint hearted or those who’s eyes start watering just from look at a green chilli but a good way to clear out those germs! I will share the list of ingredients and method once we get them written down somewhere, but there are so many excellent blogs and YouTube videos out there you too can easily wing making your own biryani.

What happened last week…

Last week was a complete dud. I caught a cold which meant I was good for nothing most of the week, no kickboxing, I had planned to go wall climbing but had to give that a miss.

By the weekend I had somewhat recovered enough to handle a visit from my nephews and niece, visit a friend in Kent and….paint the inside of my shed a nice yellow. I’m a female and it’s my shed so I can paint it any colour I like, and it was the only colour I already had enough tins of at home. I also managed to start filling up the shed, I can now say I have a shed with some junk in. 😀

Birthday Cake

It will be nephew #1 birthday soon, time has gone quick! He is going to be starting primary school in September, forget his mum; my sister, I don’t think the rest of the family are ready for him to go to primary school!

Whilst nephew #2 hijacked my phone to watch Thomas the Tank Engine on YouTube, nephew #1 and I discussed his early birthday party with his nursery friends which is going to happen end of August. It was a serious discussion about the type of birthday cake he was to have, we looked at various pictures and designs online. We settled on cupcakes with wafer sugar toppers, I had already ordered them, and a superhero birthday cake. Not sure yet if the cake will be for the nursery party or his actual birthday in September, oh and I’m going to be attempting to make it!

Kent

That evening I visited my friend who is about 4 months pregnant, she just looked a bit bloated 😉 This friend wanted to make some cookies, bearing in mind she didn’t have all the ingredients or owns any weighing scale. Using a jug to measure ingrediants we winged it, threw in some crushed malteasers, cinnamon powder and hoped for the best. We couldn’t be bothered to make individual ones so spooned the whole mixtures onto a baking tray to make one large cookie. What we ended up with was not something you could call a cookie, it wasn’t a cake either, it was more like a chocolaty, cinnamony pancake that tasted good. I think I may have to try and replicate it.

By now we were hungry and neither of us had tried Lebanese food before so decided to give that a go. We tried a restaurant / cafe style place at Bluewater shopping centre called Comptoir Libanais, there I discovered I’m not too keen on falafel and that when a description says lamb, mozzarella and tomatoes on a pitta bread it means pizza! It was a nice pizza, but still a pizza. All the food, drink and staff were very nice and accommodating. I think I would like to try Lebanese food again but maybe somewhere else with a larger menu option.

Shed

Sunday was shed painting! By the end of it all I was exhausted! Pleased and completely chuffed with myself but still my body felt broken to the point that even the stairs to drag myself up to bed seemed so far away. I was ok until I sat down, then the excited energy started to wear off and the tiredness kicked in. Still it was worth it!

I also found out that my neighbours like to use their shed to go and have a smoke, at one point point I thought about saying smoking is bad for but I don’t really know them all that well, I don’t think they speak English and they look a bit scary with their whole empty death stare look. So I just put my music on and carried on with painting and fighting off the spiders with the broom who weren’t too impressed with me ‘invading’ their space.

This week

I would like to say that I’m on better form this week and hope to go training, wall climbing etc but right now I am modelling the ‘bunged’ up look teamed with a Rudolph red nose. It’s not a look I imagine will be seen on many beauty shows but is the look I am currently promoting.

Too much food, scenic route through central London & Father’s day!

The weekend went so quick! I ate far too much food, the sat nav took me the scenic route through central London and it was Father’s day!

20140613_VietKitchen[1]Friday night I met up with some friends for dinner at a Vietnamese restaurant in Colchester called Viet Kitchen. It was a nice little place, the menu was small but that suited us. I liked the starters but wasn’t too keen on my main, I had lemongrass stir fried prawns, it was a bit gritty for me, if I had told a member of staff I think they would have tried to replace it. I liked what my friend ordered, if I go there again I’ll have that instead.

Saturday I drove to see a friend who I now know lives in Surrey, the postcode she gave me sent me to Twickenham, yep she gave me the wrong postcode. We only discovered this after the sat nav had given me directions to drive all through central London, I saw The Ritz, Trafalgar Square, Embankment. I didn’t have a panic attack, cry though I may have wanted to, I did swear a little bit and eventually ended up in Twickenham. There I phoned said friend to let her know I’m lost, from there we discovered the mistake, fortunately I was only 30 minutes away from the correct address. What should have taken me approximately 1 hour 30 minutes took nearly 3 hours. It’s a good thing my friend had a cup of tea and a selection of muffins waiting for me! It’s safe to say the rest of the day went nicely, I tried salmon sushi rolls, these were nice, and a huge bowl of prawn dumplings in broth with salad. I tried using chopsticks but was just embarrassing myself so stuck with conventional cutlery.

Friday was Father’s day, we headed out to Pizza Express for dinner. Skipping lunch is the only excuse I have for eating as much as I did. Normally the mains alone fills me up, not this time. I had starters and a main but opted for a tea with a mini cake for dessert, I was satisfied and also a bit sleepy afterwards. 🙂

The Surrey friend made a very nice rich fudgy chocolate cake which used beetroot as an ingredient. I would not have ever noticed as there was no hint of a beetroot taste. Looks like experimenting baking with beetroot could be next on my list. 😉

I wouldn’t say I’m overly health conscious but I do like having a go at making beauty products. I been wanting to do this for a while now, it was seeing Friday’s friends that encouraged me to go ahead and have a go at making my own body lotions. I found a simple recipe online and ordered the ingredients over the weekend. Will let you know how it turns out, the guys at work have already said they are not willing to play guinea pig. One of the ingredients is beeswax which I found out I can also use to make candles!

So many things to try, so little time! I need to marry into money and become a lady of leisure. 😉

20140616_WorldCupPredictions[1]If you don’t know the world cup is going on, where have you been hiding?

I don’t have a clue about football, it doesn’t interest me in the slightest but in the name of team spirit I’m taking part in the office World Cup Predictions ‘thing’. If anyone has any logic I can attach to this can you let me know by mid-day tomorrow, thanks 😀

Sugar cookied!

Too much food!

Have you ever over eaten to the point you have to undo the top button on your jeans and are practically comatose from over indulging? That’s how I was bank holiday weekend, but in my defence the food was reeaally good, even though my stomach was screaming nooo I kept going. For the rest of the evening I was good for nothing, I couldn’t even look at food. If you ever venture to Essex try the Chinese restaurant in Wickford, Jade Palace you make push your stomach to its limits but it will be worth it. 😀

Project Tidy up!

Anyone who knows me is well aware that I am no domestic goddess and if I can get away with ‘disguising’ clutter I will. However the time has come that even the clutter needs a little bit of order. I know some people like the whole sterile environment where you can’t see anything but that isn’t me, a home should look like a home and look like it is lived in. I like having my books on show in their bookcase and my dvds in their place, when I’m not using my exercise ball is doubles up as a foot stool!

It’s a slow going process but steadily I am getting there. I honestly did not know how much junk I had until I started sorting through things and either filling bags for the charity shop or binning them.

I haven’t tackled the bits and bobs cupboards (yes there is more than one) yet as I am a bit scared to open the door in case things come tumbling out! I also have a bits and bobs draw which is more manageable to sort through so fingers crossed I’ll have an extra kitchen draw at my disposal all ready to fill up again 😉

StarI’m a good friend Star

A friend of mine is moving house and needed to do a bit of decorating in her rented property before she gave back the keys and get her deposit back. This friend has two kids who had done a bit of decorating of their own hence the need to leave the house in the same condition it had been rented out to her.

We had planned to meet up at her place to make sure everything was ok before she returned the keys to the estate agents but then I got a message asking if I minded doing a bit of grafting.

At first it was going to involve painting which then becoming wallpapering. Luckily I know how to wallpaper and my friend had roped someone else in to also help.  I went to my friends straight from work, it was a loonngg day.

By late evening I was starting to flag so the third person was going to finish off the rest of the wallpapering. The room was looking good when I left and I got fed so all in all a productive evening.

Baking

20140420_Bread[1]I’ve been playing with the bread machine using already mixed flour. It turned out nice, there are plenty of bread recipes I want to try with so little time!

I also had a go making sugar cookies using a Nigella Lawson recipe, quick, simple with little faffing around. I think these biscuits are popular in the USA as they can also be iced with royal icing, I skipped the icing stage this time. To me and others who tasted the end results thought the biscuits were similar to shortbread but according to the many articles out there sugar cookies and shortbread are not the same and have a few significant differences.

Shortbread uses a lot more butter, less sugar and are heavier in texture.

Sugar cookies are meant to be made using eggs though Nigella’s recipe didn’t use them. The mixture doesn’t need to be rolled out, you can place spoonful’s of the mixture onto a tray and bake. The biscuits can be decorated using icing, sprinkles anything you want really.

Whichever biscuit you go for they are both;

–          Addictive, one is not enough.

–          Bad for the waistline

–          Easy to make

If you want to try a sugar cookie recipe using eggs I always like the recipes from the website Joy of Baking usually there is also a YouTube video for you to also follow. I’ve not tried this recipe, but I haven’t gone wrong with a recipe from this site yet. While you’re there you might want to also try out the chocolate muffin recipe. 🙂

My first barbecue

What a busy weekend. I caved and went to the mehndi I was trying to avoid. I guess at least I got to eat and made a new friend; a young baby who seemed to send a lot of smiles my way.

Sunday morning I was not in the best of ways. The previous evening I arrived home late from the mehndi and from dropping my sister and mum off home. I still had to remove the mound of make up I had put on to make myself look presentable, in between messaging my brother and sister eventually falling asleep quite late.  I think I was also dehydrated from the previous day hence the headache Sunday morning.

This was the final weekend before one housemate moves out and leaves for France to study. She had been going on about wanting to have a barbecue for some time now. The sun was making an extremely rare appearance myself and both housemates decided to have our first barbecue.  I have to admit it was a pretty good first attempt and the food tasted good too! I’m almost encouraged to try and make my garden look a bit prettier with flowers so i would want to sit out there more often…maybe next year 😉 Down side I was exhausted.  There are days when I am sure I go to work to rest.

It’s one of my sister’s birthday today. Usually I have things like birthday card, maybe a cake all planned but this year I haven’t even remembered a card. Hence the lunch time run to the card shop, one of the few shops this little village does have. I most likely will not be seeing my sister tonight but she will be round with the little demons tomorrow. 🙂

Take my germs..please!

I’m all for getting rid of a cold by passing on the germs to others, I’m just that caring sharing type of a person. However there are some exceptions to the rule; a minor cold with a few sniffles we can let that go, germs that can lay you out for a few days; keep them at home! These said germs came from one main source and have already taken down two managers. Despite being in close vicinity of the germ incubator, I’m doing my best to fight them off.

Last week was the sore throat that felt like I had swallowed pins with the disgusting metallic taste. That has been replaced with sniffles, headaches and the occasional need to get my head down. With the aid of drugs; paracetamol and the chocolaty goodness of a mini roll, I’m resembling a human of sorts. It’s just a case of here in body, spirit I have no idea where it’s gone it didn’t even leave a note.

I have nothing against sweating out the germs by going for the first of my weekly kickboxing class only I’m not yet convinced I would even have the energy to put my boxing gloves on let alone punch a pad, or anyone!

Being a Tuesday my darling, demonic nephews are at my parents so I doubt I would find solace there today…I’m the auntie that even at my age still runs around with them like a kid, none of that will be happening today. Plus side I will get food and some kind of magic potion from my mum to make me feel better. 😉

I am at work and determined to return the germs to its original host…by coughing over his mug. Childish? Maybe. Satisfying…of course! 😀

Yummy yummy, food in my tummy!

Every weekend I say ‘I’m going to take it easy this weekend’..doesn’t happen. I seem to find something to keep me occupied. Guess there will be plenty of time to rest when I leave this world! 😉

I knew snow was heading my way again but hadn’t expected this weekend! Fortunately it was more like a dusting. The bitter wind was more of a shock to the system than the snow.

Pakora

20130323_134241pakora[1]Saturday the only real thing on the agenda was to go see my nephews and make some cake with them. Earlier in the day a friend was popping round briefly to drop off some money for the spa vouchers we’d booked through Groupon and  Cake International-The Sugarcraft, Cake Decorating and Baking Show we’re going to at the London Excel next month. As usual, she was running late. I was hungry and fancied some pakora, so made some. In the end I decided a few more so there was plenty for my friends and housemates. This is not an asian snack you should really eat on a regular basis as it is deep fried..but they taste soooo good, especially in a sandwich! 😉

To make them I used Gram flour (Chick pea flour) added some water, chilli powder, salt to make a medium consistency paste. Then added finely chopped onions, sweetcorn and mix till coated. I didn’t measure anything out, made it up as I went along till I thought it all looked ok 🙂

Using a tablespoon dropped little portions into a pan of hot oil for deep frying until golden brown. You can experiment with finely sliced potatoes, fish, spinach, add a bit of lemon juice. Give it a go.

Nephew’s Cupcakes

I still went to my sisters, though a bit later than planned. Nephew #1 is quite the little baker. He likes to get in there with the mixing and the whisking. He did have to use both hands to hold the mixer whilst I poured in the eggs a bit at a time, the point is he did it and the beaters stayed in the bowl.20130323_200632[1]

He had wanted Power Ranger toppers but we didn’t have time to make to them. He was content with the icing and chocolate sprinkles.

Here are nephew #1 vanilla cupcakes, not bad for a demonic 3 year old ;-).

Brother’s blog

Sunday me and my youngest brother braved the elements and went into town. That afternoon me and brother setup up a blog for him to show case some of his art work, he’s posted his earlier drawings and drawings he’s done more recently so you can see how his skills have and continue to improve.

Seems a blog is a good format to showcase an online portfolio to potential university / employers. I like his work, but then I’m biased, his tutors like his work, even the teacher at the art class he attended liked his work but he doesn’t see it. Hoping this will help boost his confidence. Feel free to share the love and visit his blog, but shhh don#t tell him I directed you there, it’s a secret.  Brother doesn’t need to know his eldest sister is singing his praises and shamelessly touting his blog. 😉

After setting up the initial stage of his blog I came home to my housemates preparing food for our evening feast.

Dinner with housemates

Before housemates started cooking I made some cakes. You’ve heard when tired you shouldn’t drive, operate heavy machinery…the same applies to baking! For some reason teaspoons of baking powder became tablespoon! To my horror it was too late to do anything but carry on. The cakes did grow and I used a knife to coax the cake off the cake tin where it had spread out.

The cakes tasted ok at the time but crumbled when you peeled away the cake case.20130324_180148[1]

I wasn’t going to make any icing, but housemate wanted some…she just likes buttercream icing. I hadn’t taken any butter out of the fridge so used the stork stuff.20130325_071837[1]

Don’t ever use the stork stuff. Not only did the icing resemble a runny gloop that would not hold any kind of shape but also tasted awful. Both housemates have politely said when making the buttercream icing next time use butter.

I tried one of the cakes….Lets just say I think the only place for these cakes is going to be the bin. I don’t think even the local wildlife will want to go near them 😦

Back to the good food of the evening. Housemate #1 has given up meat for lent so made vegetable spring rolls. Housemate #2 make a Caribbean treat that 20130324_184017[1]resembled pakora called akra containing white fish and prawns. The recipe used by my housemate was given to her by her grandmother and different to the recipe attached. It was more to give an idea of what we ate. 🙂 Everything was fried. By the end of the evening we were all very full. I had even changed into  trousers with an elasticated waistband, but even they had been stretched to the limit.

We all had work the next day but were so full up we couldn’t move to go up to bed. Needless to say we all got up late for work.

I was still recovering the next day, but it was so worth it. 😀

Little by little.

I finally have a name for my Facebook business page; ‘Just Have Cake’. I’m currently working on tidying up some of the cupcake and cake pictures using the free photo editing tool, GIMP. This is essentially does the same thing as Photoshop and Fireworks but is free. I’ve used Photoshop and Fireworks many moons ago so have been re-learning how to tidy up backgrounds which is taking longer than my patience allow. I haven’t invited anyone on my personal Facebook page to ‘like’ my business page, but think it’s OK to share the link with you all 😉

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Just-Have-Cake/609582885722068?ref=hl

Ideas / suggestions are welcomed 🙂

Putting the Facebook page together is taking longer than I had hoped, slowly but surely I’ll get there.

20130303_143818_20130303163759497[1]

Adding to my collection of bakes I found this excellent milk chocolate fudge cake  recipe from a fellow blogger; Homemade with Mess. If you there is only one chocolate cake you have a go at making I recommend this one. The recipe is easy to follow and is definitely one cake that will have you going back for seconds, thirds, fourths….

This was my attempt. Not too bad for my first attempt, need to work on smoothing out the icing skills.

I made it to the gym last night, first time this year. I can honestly say it felt like I was being punished. Today, joints, muscles, just everything is suffering. Along with diabetes, heart disease, kidney problems, I can also add arthritis to the list of ailments that have been passed through my family! Fortunately I’m diabetes and heart disease clear and have healthy kidneys though I do fear the possibility of developing arthritis so am doing all I can to prevent it.

I will be going back to the gym on a more regular basis as last nights experience has shown though petite in stature I am unfit.

I have to do something especially if I am going to continue eating the way that I do. I am not yet ready to start waddling like a penguin just because my legs, bum and tum decided to take on an enlarging life of their own!