Flour Tortillas (Go on, have a go)

If you think making tortillas is a waste of time, a hassle, too much effort, think again! Ok, it will take you a bit of time if you make a large batch, but it’s upfront time recouped when you can enjoy the leftovers from the freezer for weeks to come. If you’re pushed for time, make a smaller batch. The texture and flavour of these is a good couple of worlds away from anything you buy wrapped in plastic in the supermarket. They go stale much faster, but can be warmed up again in an oven (sprinkled with a little water) or microwave. The texture is almost like a very think flatbread, slightly flaky, but soft and light.  Though if you eat them around something hot and liquidy, like chilli, prepare to get messy as the delicate middle can split under pressure! 

You will need (for 8-10 tortillas):

400g plain flour

1 tbsp butter

1 tsp baking powder 

Good pinch salt

175ml boiling water

 

1. Measure out the flour and rub in the butter, like you’re making shortcrust pastry or crumble topping. 

2. As the baking powder and salt and mix in.

3. Pour in the hot water. Leave for a minute or so and then knead together. Be careful here. The dough will be really hot. If you can’t touch it relatively comfortably, allow it to sit until it cools a little. 

 

4. Knead well until the dough is smooth and elastic. Oil and place back in the bowl. Cover with cling film and allow to rest for half an hour. 

  
 

5. Once settled, flour a clean dry surface and grab a smallish ball of dough, squash and roll out to 1-2mm thin. 

 
   6. Repeat until all rolled out. 

 
  7. Heat a large, flat pan on a pretty high heat and add the rolled out dough one piece at a time. Once bubbles appear on the surface of one side, flip over to cook the other side.  
  8. The result should look like this; a bit like a piebald pony.  Keep warm inside a hot tea towel or leave to cool.  

I wouldn’t recommend keeping these for more than 2 days without freezing them because they’ll go stale, and they can be rewarmed with a few minutes in a hot oven with a sprinkle of water.

Serve with fajitas or my beef or turkey chilli with sour cream and guacamole.

 

Smile, It’s Sunday!

So it looks like I have a bit of a Sunday blogging series going on here. There’s just something about a big cup of home brewed coffee and an overworked oven that gets my writing buzz on.

I bought this orchid last weekend for the princely sum of £5 and I’ve very glad i did as I got back to a dead rosemary plant and dried up old roses. 

  
Today, I had to skip my lie in. Well, I still had an extra hour in bed than I would if I was working, but still, who sees 8.30am on a Sunday morning! There was a good reason, to be fair, with my potential wedding photographer to be met. 

He’s a great guy with an over-flowing enthusiasm for what he does, so a nice way to spend an hour and a couple of cups of coffee. Fingers crossed, that’s the next thing to tick off the list! 

  
I also discovered Apple Music today, by starting my free trial. I have my iPhone 6 back, by the way, and it has made me very happy, especially as it had managed to back-up all of my engagement-moon photos. Anyway, I haven’t heard great reviews about it, but I’ve been listening to a couple of the “Activity” playlists and have been pleasantly surprised. It basically allows you to pick out a playlist from a group designed to fit the mood of whatever activity you’re planning to get into. It won’t play your favourites, but it will give you some new or retro surprises.

  
I had to do some revising for my Financial Services exams earlier so I picked on one of their “studying” playlists. After finishing my Blogilates calendar workout, I decided I should add in some extra cardio because today’s group of workouts only gave you 8 minutes or cardio. I picked out a track from one of the working out lists and filled it up with 6 minutes of star jumps, bum kicks, skipping, boxing, knees up and jumping twists. Much better. 

  
Next, I set about getting a chicken in the oven to roast. I won’t share the recipe, as it was a fairly basic one and I think I’ve probably roast- chickened you all out a bit. Basically, I rubbed grated garlic and ginger into some butter with parsley and seasoning and rubbed it under the skin, stuffed with a lemon and roasted with a clementine, an onion, more garlic and a sprig of rosemary.

  
I picked out the Subday brunch playlist under the cooking section and enjoyed some sing-along classics from Celine, Tina and James Taylor. Excellent times. 

Anyways, I’m off to prepare some of my shopping for the freezer, cook supper and make banana bread. Playlist time! 

For anyone dreading the new work week, I’ll leave you with some excellent words from Freddie (Sunday meme) and wish you a very happy September (for Tuesday).

  

Chilli Con Turkey

Sooooooo…you want something tasty, spicy and lean that you can prepare ahead. Guilt free turkey chilli, here you are. I was seriously worried that this would be dry, but it wasn’t at all. I did cheat a bit by adding two rashers of smoked bacon and some chorizo because I had them in the fridge, but if you want this to be super skinny just leave them out and add some extra paprika! 

  
Ok, let’s begin! 

 You wil need:

2 peppers, I used 1 red and 1 yellow

1 medium carrot

1 brown onion

1 clove garlic

1 knob ginger

Splash vegetable oil

2 tsp tomato purée

1 cooking chorizo (sausage sized)

2 rashers smoked bacon

2 packs turkey thigh mince 

1 tin chopped tomatoes

1 jar passata

1 stock cube of your choice, I used chicken

1 tin kidney beans

2 tsp mild chilli powder (or real chillis if you can stand the heat)

1 tbsp cumin

Salt and pepper

Pinch oregano

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp cocoa powder

1 espresso shot 

Don’t be put off by the mammoth list of ingredients.  Most of these things are simple store cupboard ingredients for me. If you don’t have something you can absolutely leave it out or make a substitution. The world is your chilli pot. 

 

1. Slice the onion, carrot and peppers, not too finely as they’ll all cook down. Heat a large soup or casserole pot and add a dash of vegetable oil or whichever unflavoured oil you prefer. Cook out until translucent. 

2. Grate in the garlic and ginger, allow to hear through, then add the tomato purée, stirring through and turning the heat down to low.

 
3. Meanwhile, whip out a small frying pan band put it on a medium heat. Chop up the chorizo and bacon into small chunks and chuck the chorizo in the pan whilst it’s still cool to make sure the far renders out. Ditch any excess you don’t want (though keeping some of it will give you some nice flavour) then add in the bacon until cooked. Add to the casserole pot.

 
 4. In said same frying pan, brown off the turkey thigh mince in small batches on a medium to high heat. You may need to get rid of any excess water released and add a little more oil partway through. This is time consuming, but worth it. If you overcrowd the pan, things will get too wet and you won’t get any colour, and colour is flavour. 

 
5. Add the mince to the casserole pot and add the cinnamon and cocoa powder. Stir through, add the chopped tomatoes and passata.

6. Put the stock cube into the tomato can and add the hot water, stir well and add to the mince. Be careful as the tin will get hot! If the mixture is still looking dry, swirl some water around the passata jar and add to the pot. 

 

7. Add the rest of the herbs, spices sbd seasonings and simmer (lowish heat) for half an hour to an hour. Drain and add the kidney beans and simmer for at least another half hour. As long as you keep the heat low, the mince will tenderise rather than drying out. 

8. Serve up however you choose. I had this one night with corn, sour cream and homemade guacamole, as well as a flour tortilla (please note, I’m not trying to sound American; I’m just trying to differentiate from the eggy Spanish tapas deal). If you want to know how to make flour tortillas, stay tuned for my very next blog! 

P.S. This freezes and reheats really well. 

Sunday, Sunday, Sunday

Sundays seem like a day for blogging. Sundays are for getting lunches and clothes ready for work, yes, but they’re also about snatching those last precious free weekend hours for yourself. Sundays are for reading, for baking for cooking. And soon, Sundays will be for watching a film, with a cup of tea and a blanket. Bliss. 

My Sunday started with a ridiculously long lie-in which I’m both ashamed of and at peace with. If you don’t have to set an alarm, it’s healthy to sleep for as long as your mind and body will you to. Every now and again. I felt guilty about it at first, but I still managed to have my grocery shopping done and packed away by 12.30 so it’s not all bad. 

  
Today’s food haul involved replenishing some bakery supplies, stocking up on fruit and veg for the week ahead, and finding some protein-rich goodies to base some weekday meals around. Mr Brooker will be very cross indeed when he realises I’ve strayed from prudently choosing recipes and shopping for them, but I just didn’t have the time or inclination I had last weekend, so I’ll be making it up as I go along this week. That said, I do know I have the ingredients for pad thai, which is no longer new to me but is infinitely satisfying. I do have some recipes from last week to share though so worry not. 

My day went a bit off course from there, however, as my aunt texted me to invite me for an impromptu lunch. So I shoved the rest of my shopping on the fridge, ran my straighteners through my hair, changed my top and hit the street for a wonderful warm duck salad, wine and coffee. I know, I know, that isn’t the way to whittle your waist into a wedding dress, but I’ve made my peace with it today. After all, I could have had a pizza! I grabbed some water as soon as I got back and have resolved to replace my planned ribeye steak and corn supper with something leaner. Besides, it means I’ll skip my Sunday coffee and small chocolate biscuit later on. 

Pushing back my workout until my food has digested, I’ve been hitting the books ever since. I’m now two exam passes and an application away from becoming a Chartered Financial Planner, and that means a lot of time spend looking at words, numbers and charts. 

  
Not to worry, eight more pages then I can get back to this lovely piece of ice cream and jelly (that’s what my English teacher used to call chick lit – there’s a time and a place for it as long as you finish your meat and two veg).

  
Then workout, Nashville and who knows. 

By the way, I noticed Vivianna blogged a week or so ago about how to get out of an exercise rut. I’ve dropped a dress size by combining Jillian Michaels’ 30 Day Shred with No More Trouble Zones, and I’m considering jumping into Blogilates given we’re nearly at a new workout calendar month but I’m a little be scared since Jillian has been so good to me. I’ve switched over to Blogilates for two workouts this week and have found that I spend more time on it but that the time seems to go much more quickly when I’m doing it, if that makes sense. I’m just worried I won’t get enough cardio in. I’d love to hear about your experiences if anyone has anything they can recommend!

Anyway, I’m off to do my eight pages! Catch you later, lovely followers. 

Malteser Refrigerator Cake

We had a massive family barbecue last weekend and I was in charge of desserts and sides, whilst my uncle was king of the grill. I can’t begin to describe how incredible his food always is – in fact he was the first person, other that my Nana, who I actually sat and watched cooking when I was a child. His ability to turn out a banquet for 5 in no time at all fascinates me to this day.

   
Anyway I put this together quickly after work one evening to serve alongside chocolate tarts, strawberry tarts, chocolate dipped marahmallows, strawberries and cherries and, of course, a mighty summer berry pavlova. I’m afraid it was a bit of a frantic day so I forgot to take a lot of the photos I mostly would to let me share the progress of my recipes, but not to worry, this one was done ahead! 

Whilst this type of baking isn’t really baking as there is no oven involved, I still think there’s a time and a place for a chocolatey slice, whether it’s for a charity baking sale, an extra to keep in the tin or just something messy to make with kids, traybakes will always be around. 

  
You will need:

100g salted butter

200g good quality milk chocolate, or a mix of milk and dark 

3 tbsp golden syrup 

225g digestive biscuits

225g maltesers 

200g milk or dark chocolate (for the topping) 

100g white chocolate, for drizzling. 

   
1. Line a traybake tin or rectangular baking tray with greaseproof paper.

  
2. Place the digestives in a freezer bag and bash up, making sure you don’t have huge lumps, but you need a variety of sizes of pieces, not just powder.

   
3. Find a glass bowl and saucepan which are the right size to allow the bowl to be suspended in the saucepan in a way that will allow you to hold a couple of inches of simmering water in  the saucepan without the bottom of the bowl sitting in the water. Break the first quantity of chocolate into the bowl along with the butter, which should be cubed. Set the hob to a low to medium heat and put the saucepan on the hob, with the bowl suspended over boiled water as described. Stir the chocolate, syrup and butter together as they gently melt then remove from the heat.

   
4. Meanwhile, carefully slice a few of the maltesers in half to decorate the top, but leaving most to be mixed in. 

5. Once the melted chocolate mixture has cooled a little, stir in the digestives then the maltesers – I find it’s better to make sure the chocolate isn’t hot enough to melt the malteser chocolate at this point.

   
6. Once mixed together, pour into a tray and spread evenly. Repeat the melting routine with the rest of the milk chocolate (melt only until just melted to ensure a shiny finish) and pour over the top. Place the malteser halves on the top to decorate.

   
7. Melt the white chocolateand drizzle over. Allow to cool completely then slice. 

   

Pendant le Weekend….

With the back to school fever hanging in the air, it’s time to get a bit nostalgic about returning to school when I was a kid. I love stationery. I always have. And the end of the summer holidays brought shopping for new stationery, including that elusive brand new pencil case. (Mmm…fresh box of pencils). A treat, however, which did nothing to shake off the uniform and shoe shop. 

One of the first pieces of homework we would be given, was to write a diary of our summer holidays for French and Spanish. This invariably started off “pendant les vacances, je suis allé…..avec ma famille…”. However, given I was at a public school (private school, America), everyone else has much more exciting stories than me!  J’ai fait du ski, je suis allé a Phuket avec ma soeur….all much more thrilling than “I spent most of the time at my family’s nursery school. We went to the zoo one day”. 

This weekend, my Saturday involved a trip to Broughty Ferry to see a Ron Lawson exhibition. He is my very favourite artist and I have 3 of his prints already. I won’t bore you with the details, in case it’s not your thing, but it was a nice way to spend an hour, breathing in some culture, although I suspect he thought I was some sort of raving teen fan girl the way he was speaking to me. Next, to the most low rent wedding dress shop I’ve ever encountered. And finally off to lunch at the Ship Inn, where I enjoyed a huge bowl of Cullen Skink, loaded with smoked haddock and new potatoes. Delightful. Only to arrive at my parents’ to be dragged into fixing their broadband. 

Last night, we all watched Gone Girl, which I have to admit I enjoyed, despite the ending being entirely unsatisfying, and having to go through that awkward situation of graphic sex scenes flashing up while you’re sitting with your parents. 

Sunday mornings are for glorious lie ins. Waking from a dream naturally, no alarm clock and a text from my lovely fiancé to begin our exchange of things we’ve seen on Facebook whilst trying to wake up.

  
From him. 

  
From me.

Then on to start the day, getting a workout done and onto preparing healthy lunches for the rest of the week. Finally some time to rest, reading in a sunbeam, before supper, ironing and off to bed ready (or not so ready) for another week, hoping to wake up to sun.

Nevertheless, weekends at the end of summer still have that melancholy feeling once you’re an adult, even though you’re at work all the days in between. No more sneaky drinks outside a bar on the way home; no more barbecues promised when it’s likely to rain, every second person in the supermarket lugging about boxes of beer and basket full of rolls; fewer and fewer colleagues talking about how difficult it will be for them to be at the airport to fly off the Spain at 2am the very next day. 

Personally, I’m celebrating the last few weekends of buying piles of salads to make light summery lunches, which take hours to prepare and eat, at looking gleefully across at the mountains of paperbacks which have been abandoned in favour of “doing things” at the weekend. Bugger that! Bring on the cold, the wind and the rain. Bring on afternoons in front of a good film while the sky storms around the house. Bring on British winter misery!

The best part of autumn, for me, is the change in farm produce, from cucumbers, strawberries and lettuces, to squash and leeks and potatoes. I think the autumn is my very favourite time for cooking: giant pots of soup, hearty casseroles and pies, with the smell of the first frost in the air, but while the golden glow of autumn remains.  Sundays in the kitchen in front of a bubbling pot is so much like home, and so far from chopping fresh and zesty foreign ingredients. 

  
The only challenge will be keeping up the healthy eating with all that pastry around! 

Light Sweet and Sour Pork 

My prevailing memories of Sweet and Sour when I was growing up were the sticky, cloying bright red sauce with guilty pleasure battered chicken balls or my Mum’s Sweet and Sour Chicken, which was basically dry chicken breast in a jar of Uncle Ben’s Sauce, served with boil in the bag rice. Weird I ever got a taste for it, right?!

However, my first forays into stir frying (again with experience led by my Mum who can’t have stir fry without a sachet of sauce) had me reaching for a sachet of Blue Dragon Sweet and Sour Sauce, which is arguably of better quality. 

  
Most recently, I’ve learned how to make it myself, and that means I can make it however I want! No green peppers, lighter, thinner and with a bit of a kick. If you want to recreate that old fashioned taste, you can easily do so. Just leave out the ginger, garlic and chilli and add a bit more cornflour to get a thicker sauce.

You will need (for 1):

1 small piece of pork fillet (tenderloin). I used a leftover piece I had in the freezer) this should be out of the fridge for half an hour or so before you cook it. 

1/2 brown onion

1/2 red pepper

1 small carrot 

1 clove garlic

1 knob fresh ginger

2 tsp tomato purée 

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp Shaohsing rice wine (or sherry)

1 tbsp honey

Pinch mild chilli powder 

1 tsp cornflour 

1 small tin of pineapple slices or chunks in their own juice 

Splash groundnut oil

  
I used to make this recipe with fresh pineapple and pineapple juice (which is delicious) rather than tinned, but I’m not really one for drinking fresh pineapple juice so it made the recipe much more expensive and it meant running out for particular ingredients rather than trying to pull something together with what’s in the cupboard. 

1. Slice the onion, chop the pepper and peel and chop the carrot. Size is up to you. Some people like to julienne the carrot but I just prefer to cut discs from the narrow end, the half or quarter lengthways and continue to slice. 

2. Grate the ginger and garlic. Cut the pineapple into chunks, unless you bought it in chunks.

3. Add the groundnut oil to a large frying pan, allow to heat to a high heat and toss in the onion. Once it has started to turn translucent, add in the pepper and carrot. These actually need quite slot of cooking and will still stay nice and crunchy. 

  
4. Allow the veg to cook down a bit, stirring or tossing every now and then depending how dexterous you are with this…I’ve finally nailed the one handed toss with even my biggest frying pan and am feeling pretty chuffed with myself! Anyway, add the grated ginger and garlic and cook out for a few minutes, reducing the heat down to low to medium. 

5. Mix together the soy, honey, mirin, chilli powder and cornflour. 

6. Thinly slice the pork. I like to do this widthways but whichever way gives you thin smallish pieces is absolutely fine. You can cook this in the same pan if you like, but I decided to use a medium pan for the veg and my smallest frying pan for the pork, just to give it the best chance of really searing and taking on colour without being affected by the moisture in the other pan.  If you want to minimise washing up, push the veg to the side and use the same pan, but use the largest one you have. You want the pork to sear on one side then turn over to brown the other side. As soon as it is just cooked, take off the heat.

  

6. Meanwhile, add the tomato purée to the veg, stir in and allow to cook out at a lowish heat. 

  
7. Add it the sauce mixture along with the pineapple and pineapple juice and stir, stir, stir to avoid the cornflour catching of become lumpy. 

  
8. Add in the just cooked pork and heat until it just comes through the boil again them serve with noodles or rice. 

 

Summer Favourites and Failures

The biggest failure of this summer has to be my phone breaking. Frustrating. Very frustrating. Or as they say in “In the Loop”: ‘difficult, difficult, lemon difficult’.

Whilst my favourite moment of the summer was seeing one of my best friends get married. Tears. Lots of happy tears. But lovely all the same. 

  
At the beginning of July, I shared some of the products I picked up in Boots in an attempt to try some new things and get our of my rut. As usual, some of these worked and others have me a hefty dose of buyer’s remorse. I’ve also been using other products for awhile longer, and have bought a few more things since. So here’s a summary of what worked for me and what would be in the bin if that wouldn’t waste even more money!

  
Simple has given me a game of two halves lately. I’ve been a loyal customer for a number of years, simply (see what I did there) because I have pretty dry to sensitive skin which can flare up at any time. Whilst I love moisturisers which offer a fresh scent, facial moisturiser is just something I can’t really risk. I usually use the replenishing moisturiser for both day and night, though I occasionally by the day any night creams which come in the plastic tub. They are so heavy for travelling though so the bottle of replenishing has done me fine over the summer. However, these were on 3 for 2 when I went to a Boots to stock up, so you have to try something new and something pricier, right? I’m not sure if my logic is flawed, but if something’s going to be free, it might as well be an expensive something. 

The age resisting night cream is miraculous – I didn’t realise how un-moisturising the replenishing cream was until I met this guy. The green tea extract is refreshing too. I’m not convinced that it’s helping me to resist any form of aging, but I wake up with a soft face and need much less product than usual. It comes in a pump action container, so I’ll report back about how difficult it is to squeeze the last drops out when I get there. 

The day cream, however, well, it’s like night and day (I’m on fire today). I’m not having a great time with the day cream. It isn’t as nourishing, although perhaps that’s because it doesn’t deal too well to being immediately applied to freshly washed skin and I think it might also be irritating my skin, although that may have something to do with the primer I’ve been trying (see below). I’ll keep trying because I don’t like waste (maybe I’ll try it as a night cream if my quasi OCD will allow it) but I’m not convinced! 

  
One of you lovely ladies commented that you would be interested in my review of Dove Summer Glow. It may be because I chose fair to medium, being Scottish of the skin, but I simply haven’t noticed this giving me any colour at all. It smells good though, and leaves dry calves smooth, so for £2.99 it isn’t bad. 

This Frizz-Ease Oil Elixir is another story though. I bought it after being wowed by argan oil. Unable to find more of the pure stuff, I gave this a shot (again on a 3 for 2 with my shampoo and conditioner). Do not buy this, unless you like sticky, heavy hair. In fact I think it dried out my hair more than not using it. The one thing it is good for, though, is smoothing fly-aways once your hair has been styled.

  

Maybelline Master Sculpt is pretty good for the money, letting you easily create a subtle powder contour and highlight, but it won’t be for you if you want to be really bronzed and glowy.

  
This Barry M Gelly Shine Nail Paint in Sugar Plum is a luscious pink glossy polish however it’s lasting power is pretty feeble. You’ll probably be fine with it for a day, but it will chip fairly readily after that, which makes for high maintenance nails. 

The Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipliner is beautifully creamy and smooth, however the colour range is pretty limited to very dark shades or pale baby pink shades. None of which do it for me. However I may yet play around with blending this with a more nude lipstick or gloss to see if I can make it suit. 

This Collection Lasting Colour Tafetta Rose lipstick is almost the colour I wanted it to be – perhaps still a shade too dark but it works. It’s a great bargain at £2.99, but it can be a bit drying so you might want to apply some Vaseline or lip balm over the top, if you don’t mind a bit of shine. 

  The Porefessional from Benefit offers so much but delivers little really. It’s a sticky formula which is hard to blend around your face and I think I might be allergic to it. A very pricey primer. 

The next two, on the other hand, are delightful! The Seventeen Eyeshadow Brush is £1.99 and is as soft and fluffy as you’d like it. They have a range of different sizes so it’s likely I’ll try se more of these, but this one is really designed for crease and transition and for carefully blending out. 

The Collection Lasting Colour Concealer is a godsend at £4.99 with plenty of coverage. I bought this in Cool Medium (shade 2) and have used it pretty much every day (as you can see by the state of the packaging). I’ll be buying it again instead of the Maybelline FitMe Concealer, which was about £7.99 and hasn’t impressed me. 

The Maybelline Age Rewind roll on gives good, even coverage. I bought this a shade too dark but it’s fine once blended in with the Lasting Colour guy and set with powder. This was £9.99 but I feel a lot of the price went into the packaging. 

  
Finally, the king of all things: St. Ives Apricot Scrub. I actually bought this in tesco and use it about 5 times a week. It’s gentle enough to feel like you’re getting a really good face wash and exfoliate without causing too much redness about the face. And it smells glorious. And (touch wood) it has kept my skin much clearer that normal. This is a welcome addition to my skin are routine. 

If you have any favourites or fails this summer, I’d love to hear from you!

Easy Peasy Spaghetti and Meatballs

You will not like this recipe if you don’t eat pork! However I suppose you could try it with beef sausages (oh yeah, the secret ingredient here is really good quality sausages) but the texture and flavour would be much, much different. 

  
To me, sausage and pasta is a match made in heaven. In fact, I was at Grand Italia last week and ordered the Penne Norcina instead of the Penne Piccante, just because I had a hankering for pasta and sausage. Needless to say, it didn’t quite hit the spot (I’m blaming the rich, creamy sauce for that) and I decided I had to whip up a portion of this guy to feed the craving. 

You will need (to feed one):

2 good quality pork sausages

Half white onion

Half red pepper

1 clove garlic

Glug of white wine

Tin chopped tomatoes (or a about half a jar of passata if you like your sauce smooth)

1 tsp mild chilli powder

Salt and pepper

Splash Worcestershire sauce

Splash balsamic vinegar

Pinch caster sugar

Dash lemon juice

Sprinkling of dried or fresh parsley and basil (fresh is best)

Half teaspoon dried oregano

Small dash olive oil for the pan (tiny tiny because the sausage will release a lot of fat)

75g or so of spaghetti to serve (I had wholewheat spaghetti as I’m having to make up for lots of “holiday” eating and drinking.

 
1. Slice the onion and pepper into your preferred shape. Sauté at a low to medium heat until starting to soften then add in the grated garlic clove and cook for a further 10 minutes or so, or until the onion and pepper starts to soften, being careful not to burn the garlic. 

  
2. Squeeze the meat out of the sausage skin (you could also cut the skin open and remove the meat but it isn’t as fun) and roll into small balls. Add to the pan and gently brown on a sides. This will let the sausage become crispy on the outside.

  
3. Add the wine and heat until the liquid has mostly cooked out and reduced away. You may need to turn the heat up a bit for this.

4. Add the tomatoes, stir and turn the heat back down to a simmer. Add all the seasoning apart from the fresh herbs. Put the spaghetti on to cook. Continue to simmer.

  
5. Taste and add anything you think is missing, then add the fresh herbs and cook for another 5 minutes or so. If the sauce dries out, swill a little water round the tomato can and add to the sauce.

6. Drain the spaghetti, offering up a tablespoon or so of the pasta cooking water to emulsify the sauce, stir, serve. 

  
Buen provecho!

Technical Issues (and a whirlwind fortnight)

I have been so technologically frustrated over the past two weeks it is unreal. I was so delighted in February when I took delivery of my shiny new iPhone 6 after my 5’s battery life be and too unreliable. However, for about 6 weeks or so, my 6 has been ruining my day on a, well, daily basis. Firstly, it started to tell me it had 100% battery life all day before dying suddenly bad without notice. Then it recovered a little, and then, all of a sudden, the battery decided to die every 2 hours. Not helpful when you have a lot on! 

  
So, I have returned to my iPhone 5 and all is forgiven until I can get my 6 repaired (that is another story – currently trying to charge it enough to back up and restore as a last ditch attempt at self-help, but it looks like the battery is fried).

I’ve been trying to blog with my 5 in the mean time but the Word Press app has not been happening for me, despite being desperate to share some stuff with you (never mind the photos currently lost to my 6). After troubleshooting, I settled on deleting and re-installing and …you know the rest. 

Because I work full-time and have a lot on just now, I’ve been relying on the app most of the time so I can get my blogs up on the move or basically as soon as I crash down at home in the evening. 

So…other than that, I have had so much on in terms of family and friends this month. My lovely fiancé came up to visit for a few days and we went out for a lovely meal, visited our wedding venue, went to a good friend’s wedding and also a family meal. Then I headed back home with him for a couple of nights and we just had a lovely time all round. 

  
This week has been crazy too, back to work, seeing Kevin Bridges and getting prepared for my Nana’s family barbecue and anniversary party this weekend. 

  
Anyway, I’ll leave it there today, bit I haven’t gone anywhere – more to come soon, including a couple of recipes and my July hits and misses!