Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Summer Cocktails.

It feels like summer. Its warm(ish), the sun is shining and all that I want to do is find a terrace somewhere and have the chance to sit back with good friends, good drinks and enjoy myself.

It is in the spirit of this, I'm sharing a couple of the easiest cocktail recipes ever. All recipes make one glass, just multiply for pitchers, and serve with ice (and lemon/lime if you really fancy it.)

The Woo-Woo 
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of peach schnapps.
- 1 dash of lime juice.
- Top up with Cranberry juice.

The Sex on the Beach
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of peach schnapps.
- Half of the remaining glass filled with Orange juice.
- Top up with Cranberry juice.

The Blue Lagoon
- 1 shot of vodka.
- 1 shot of Curacao.
- Top up the glass with lemonade.

So sit down, set up and start drinking.

What's your favourite cocktail?!

Friday, 17 April 2015

10 tips for winning with assignments.

1. Work with the marking criteria next to you - Most lecturers will give you a copy of the criteria that they are going to mark you against, and by working with it along side you, you can see what they're after and make sure you get it.

2. Break the assignment into small manageable chunks - By breaking the assignment into smaller more bitesize chunks, you'll find that you can complete even the most unmanageable of tasks. I did this with my dissertation and it became a whole lot easier.

3. Take Regular breaks - Don't  overwork, you'll get bored. It's easier to take 5 minutes out then go back to it.

4. Work with other people - Study or write with people around you who are also writing (even better if they're writing the same essay as you...) you'll find that you write more and get yourself into the right frame of mind.

5. Remove all distractions - Take away the distractions; the TV, facebook, twitter or tumblr. The sooner you knuckle down and get started, the quicker you'll be finished!!

6. Avoid working through the entire night - By the end of the night I'm guessing the writing you write will become harder and harder to understand and less and less like the work needs to be.

7. Set an 'internal' deadline - Set yourself a deadline before the actual hand in and try and get it done for this date. This just saves the stress of getting to the hand in office on time when you've been up all night trying to get the essay finished.

8. Have food and drink to hand. - When you're working through an essay there is nothing worse than finding you have no food that is easy to cook. Exams and assignments are the perfect time to have ready meals (I tend to avoid them the rest of the year...)

9. Ask for help sooner rather than later - If you need help from your lecturers, don't leave it until the week before because that is when everyone else will want the help and they just won't have time for everyone. Plus they might just outright refuse to help to close to the deadline...

10. Don't leave it until the last minute - Avoid the stress and get it done early. Its better to have the bulk of it done and have time to edit, rather than trying to write right up to the last minute.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Hidden Butternut Squash Cake recipe with Jamie Oliver

Jamie Oliver's Moshi Monster
Counterpart - Jammie Olive
By now, I'm hoping that we've established that I like food and that I enjoy cooking. It gives me great pleasure to be able to make something that other people enjoy eating my food when it goes right and trying foods that surprise me. So when I was approached to create and try some butternut squash cupcakes I was unsure. (Vegetables in cake? Whatever next!) But ultimately I decided that I had nothing to lose...

The recipe was one of the simplest ever and I was shocked that I enjoyed them so much. Thankyou Jamie Oliver, creator of these veg-cakes...!

Jamie Oliver is well know as that guy who promotes healthy food and singlehandedly sorted out our school dinners to get them healthy. Jamie's back and has teamed up with Moshi Monsters (Anyone with kids/who knows kids/has an awareness of the outside world will know that they are something pretty major in the world of children) in a attempt to continue to promote healthy eating among kids.

I obviously don't have kids, but I do have several flatmates who are all students that love eating somewhat unhealthy foods so I thought we could all benefit from getting more vegetables into us.

What do you need for the Butternut Squash cakes?
- 200g of butternut squash with the skin on
- 150g of plain flour
- 2 eggs
- 175g soft brown sugar
The Finished product.
- 1 tsp of baking powder
- A handful of walnuts
- Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
- 5 tbsp of olive oil
-75g of sour cream
- 1tbsp of icing sugar
- Seeds from one vanilla pod

All that you need to do:
- Preheat oven to 180 degrees/gas mark 4
- Throw the Squash into the food processor. Blend until chopped finely.
-Add the flour, eggs, sugar, baking powder, walnuts, cinnamon and Olive oil.
- Blend again to bring ingredients together.
- Spoon into cases and place in the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown. (Or a skewer comes out clean)
- Whilst they cool down you can begin to make the icing.
- Mix the sour cream, icing sugar and seeds from the vanilla pod. (To get them slice down the middle and scrape out)
- Ice the cool cupcakes.
- Enjoy!

What do you think? Would you try this? Have you got any other hidden vegetable recipes to share?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I received a hamper with all the ingredients to be able to try the recipe however all views are my own.

Friday, 10 April 2015

University is almost over: Plans for the future.

The view of how massive Portsmouth from the Spinaker
Tower and how big the idea of next year really is.
I have made it to literally my last few weeks at univeristy. All I have left is one more assignment to complete and submit and three exams to do and I'm done which is terrifying. I started this blog to help me on my way through univeristy and now that I'm finally at the end I've found people asking me what my plans are in the future. As far as I can see it, I only have a few options.

1. Apply for a postgraduate degree. Well this is definitely won't be happening in my case. I have no interest in paying for another degree when I'm not 100% sure what I even want to with my life and future. Plus I'm not sure I could cope with another year of the stress. I'm just about ready to start living.

2.Travel the world. This year, I've given travelling a lot of thought. I've always wanted to see the world and get the chance to experience new things and although I'm nervous about the idea of being the responsible adult for massive trips abroad when seeing the world and new places, I know that I'll get there. Eventually. I've decided not to take a year out to backpack, I can travel in my own time with money!

3. Get a job. I already have a job that pays the bills and that generally I enjoy so I'm going to keep this one up and hope that I can progress. I've thought about applying to graduate programmes but seeing as from the moment I graduate until the moment I die I'm classed as eligible for these programmes and so I haven't really had a good look. Maybe next year I'll start and see what comes of the applications.

My plans for next year are to stick at work, move into a flat, blog and save so that I have the chance to go on holidays and buy houses/cars/other material goods before I settle down and have kids (which I'm assuming will happen somewhere in the distant future). I have learnt so much at university which I will take forward with me, no matter what I land up doing. The blood, sweat and tears I put in here will not be a waste.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Fish Pie in a Flash

Generally after a busy day, the last thing I want to do when I get in is spend an age in the kitchen and so this is the perfect meal for filling yourself up whilst not slaving over a hot stove for hours.

All that you need:
- 200g Frozen fish (Either a fish pie mix which you can pickup from the supermarket or just one type of fish if you're fussy and that's what you prefer)
- 1 Saucepan full of peeled chopped potatoes.
- 1 Tsp of butter.
- 1 Vegetable stock cube.
- 150ml of milk.
- A handful of grated cheese.
- Peas to Serve.

All that you need to do:
- Boil the potatoes on the stove until soft.
- Place the fish into an ovenproof dish with 100 ml of milk and place in the oven for 15 minutes. After this time whether the fish is cooked through (It will be soft and flaky, if not place it back in the oven until it is)
- Make the stock cube into stock using the instructions on the packet and pour into oven proof dish. Stir.
- Drain and mash the potatoes adding the butter and the rest of the milk.
- Place the mash on top of the fish mixture.
- Sprinkle with grated cheese.
- Place under the grill until the cheese is melted and golden.
- Serve!

Friday, 3 April 2015

The Ultimate Cheese on Toast with Lea & Perrins

We've all been hungry, rummaged through the fridge only to find that it is practically empty and that all you want is something tasty to eat. We've all thrown some cheese on toast and hoped that that would fill the hole. Today I've teamed up with Lea & Perrins to bring you the Ultimate Cheese on Toast which is definitely something more special that chasing that last chunk of cheese around the back of the fridge.

All that you need:
- 1 loaf of bread
- 200g Grated Cheese
- 25g Butter
- 25g Flour
- 1 egg yolk

(This is where is starts to get special....)

- 2 tbsp of Lea & Perrins Worcestershire Sauce
- 150ml Pale Ale
- 1 tsp of Wholegrain Mustard
- 2 tbsp double cream
(I'd grab some onions and caramalise them to go with the cheese!)

All that you need to do for the ultimate cheese on toast:
(- I'd recommend you weigh all the ingredients out before you start so that you don't land up stressed mid-cooking like I did...)
- Melt the butter in the pan on a medium heat.
- Beat in the flour to form a paste.
- Stir in the beer, bit by bit, keeping the mixture smooth. The rest of the bottle is all yours to drink whilst you cook!
- Simmer for a few minutes then add the mustard, egg yolk, Worcestershire sauce and double cream. Stir.
- Add cheese little by little so that the cheese melts completely.
- Place bread under the grill until one side is golden brown and crisp.
- Place chopped onions in a pan with a dash of oil on a low to medium heat. Allow to soften and go brown.
- Turn over the bread and spoon on the mixture, placing back under the grill.
- Grill for a few moments until the cheese mixture is bubbling.
- Serve!

What do you think? Is there anything you would add to the ultimate cheese of toast?

Disclaimer: I was not paid to write this post. I received the ingredients to cook the ultimate cheese on toast and add my own twist. 

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

The Launch of Asda's Summer Food!

The sun is shining and it is finally beginning to feel less like winter and more like the summer is on its way which makes me seriously excited for BBQ's and days out.

This excitement just got better and better when I went along the the Spring/Summer Food Launch at Asda and tried some of the pretty impressive foods which are just perfect to be tucking into in the coming months.

The perfect steak. A Choice between Wagyu (which is definitely not as expensive as you think it should be!) and Aberdeen Angus. For someone who tends to avoid steak like me to want more, it has to be good.

Pretty Impressive Hotdogs. 
A packet of the hotdogs (proper ones at that... with several different flavours) and two sides for just £3. And with such a wide range of sides from onion straws, to baconnaise to american mustard, there's a huge choice in hotdogs to have!

The American BBQ theme didn't end there. The new BBQ range includes Mac & Cheese burgers, a chicken wing selection with varying degrees of heat (from mild, right up to a heat that would blow steam out of my ears), potato cubes with a cola dressing (which I'm somewhat unsure about although my other half is in love...) and sweet potato fries which somehow are amazing and crispy even though they are oven cook-able!

 For those more healthy eaters out there, the Good & Balanced Range at Asda has a whole new range of foods from a fresh and vibrant Morrocan Chicken Salad to fruit & vegetables prejuiced so that you can get that juicing effect with half the work.

 For those with a sweet tooth, the puddings are amazing too! Frozen yoghurt for a tiny amount of calories and the most amazing birthday cakes! From a steak pie with floating gravy boat to the cutest little pug Asda really seem to have it all..

I was blown away by the choice of summer food, and the quality whilst it being cheap - which everyone including us students need! What's more is the bottle of prosecco for just £6!