Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Post!

Belated Merry Christmas to everyone! I hope everyone had a great day and got spoilt rotten and ate loads of yummy food and drank loads of Christmas drinks and just had an amazing time in general! This is the obligatory Christmas post, telling everyone about the great time I had!

Should probably start off my post with my flight to Singapore seeing as thats when the Christmas presents started to arrive!

As you can see from that picture... I managed to get an upgrade! Not just one mind you, but two! I got upgraded for both legs of my flight! From Glasgow to Dubai and then from Dubai to Singapore. Because I fly to and from Singapore so much I thought it would be a good idea to get an Emirates card and I've had it for a while now. Its a great idea if you know you're going to be flying a lot because you rack up points which can get you free flights or upgrades, so anyone flying a lot with the same airline should definitely look into getting one of their members cards!
Anyway, because I have an Emirates card, I'm at the higher end of the list of people that could get upgraded if the flight is overbooked which it was in this case, so.... lucky me! I got upgraded! Not only is the food amazing in Business Class but the major thing about it is that you get a seat that can fold all the way down so you can lie flat which it makes it so much easier to sleep on long flights. As you can probably tell, I was a happy bunny and it was a great way to start off my Christmas break. 





We have a tradional family Christmas movie which we watch every year - Miracle on 34th Street (the newer one with Richard Attenborough in it, not the original). So thats what we did on Christmas Eve after church. We all snuggled up and watched the movie together. It was amazing, as per usual and it was a good way to try and calm the kids down before they had to go to sleep because they were so hyper! Obviously they were majorly excited about Santa coming!









I was expecting to be woken up at some ungodly hour on Christmas morning but I was actually the first one awake! I woke up and went downstairs to get a drink, expecting to run into Faith and John on my way but I peeked into their rooms and they were still fast asleep! As I snuck downstairs I took a picture of the living room - Santa had definitely come! I was very pleased with my pile of presents.





My main presents were my Apple TV Box and my wireless keyboard. I will most certainly be using those all the time when I'm back in Glasgow! I also got two boxes of bath bombs from my Aunt and Uncle so I'll be having loads of nicely coloured and smelly, bubbly baths! Basically all of my stocking fillers were beauty related. I got heart shaped bath beads from Sephora, eye-make-up remover and nail varnish remover from Sephora, a Sephora 'Perfect Night Out' eye set which includes black pencil eyeliner, gold liquid eyeliner and black volume mascara, a waterproof mascara from Sephora, and three OPI nail varnishes; one in a deep pink colour, one in a very dark purple called 'Lincoln Park After Dark' and one in a light brown colour called 'You Don't Know Jacques!' I also got a Clarisonic set which included a deep pore brush head and faciail sonic cleansing machine, deep pore daily cleanser and a decongesting clay mask. I've used it already and its really good for your skin! I also got vanilla creme brulee scrub and body lotion from the Body Shop and it smells amazing. I could eat it, it smells so good! 





I also got loads of really nice clothes! I got these two midi skirts and cropped jumper sets in black and grey from Missguided...






.... this red checked dress and grey fitted jumper dress from Missguided (both of which were on my Christmas wish list)....





.... and this gold and pink leopard print combo outfit and black and white shorts and jacket combo from Missguided. 





I also got a gold and black leopard print dress, a black playsuit and a green and black skirt from Urban Outfitters which I picked out for myself. I think the dress is going to be my New Years Eve dress!





I got this green jumper from American Eagle and maroon boots from Public Desire from my sister, Megan. I love them! I got two lipsticks from my other sister, Colleen but I don't have pictures of them on yet so I'll make another post about those soon!



The day started off on a strong note with a Christmas cocktail made by my mum.... She filled the entire bottom dipped section with gin and then the tiny top part of the glass was a 50/50 mixture of champage and cranberry juice. It took me ages to drink because it was so strong! The playsuit that I'm wearing in the picture with my mum was another Christmas present - its from Urban Outfitters as well.  Whilst sipping on our cocktails, we watched Frozen with the kids.



And who could forget Christmas dinner. Probably the best part of the day. My dad did it all himself! I helped by setting the table (look how pretty it looks) and making the starter which was salmon roulade (salmon with cream cheese inside), on a bed of lettuce. The main part of dinner was the best though. Turket, stuffing, pigs in blankets, carrots, green beans, roast potatoes, parsnips, brussels sprouts with bacon bits, cranberry sauce and lots of gravy... mmmmmmm. It was amazing.




After the kids were in bed, me and my parents settled down and watched White Christmas. A Christmas-y classic to finish off the day with. Even though my older sisters weren't here this year it was still a great day.

What did everyone else do for Christmas? What presents did you get? What was our favourite part of the day? Would love to hear from you!



Thursday, 18 December 2014

Cappuccino Fudge Cheesecake!

I just want to start off by saying... I'm done with exams!! Yaaaay! I'm officially on Christmas holidays. Woo!
Anyway, on to the point of this blog post. I was down in Edenbridge a few weekends ago, visiting my sister and her fiance. Her future in-laws were coming over for dinner on the Sunday for a roast and I was in charge of dessert, so I decided to make a cappuccino fudge cheesecake. Its a pretty decadent dessert and it takes a while to make so this is definitely something you would only make on special occassions. However it is definitely worth it cause it looks really impressive and it tastes so good. Its ridiculously rich so you only need a tiny slice, but that slice will be so good. I guarantee it.






There are so many different stages to  this dessert, but the first one is to make the biscuit base and then the chocolate layer. You have to let it cool for a wbile till the chocolate layer has solidified. 





Next you have to make the filling which has loads of different ingredients in it, and pour it on top of the chocolate ganache. Put the cheesecake into the oven for an hour until it looks like......





..... this!






And now onto the topping! This part only has 3 ingredients in it so its not that much work.





Pour it on top of the cheesecake and put it back into the oven for 10-15 minutes until the topping has set.




 And voila! The finished product. Its pretty big and like I said, its so rich that you only need a tiny slice so this will last you for ages. The recipe calls for you to reserve some of the chocolate ganache to decorate the top of the cheesecake with but I couldn't be bothered to do that and I knew it wouldn't look as good as the pictures in the recipe so what was the point? Well, that was my thinking.





Look how pretty it looks! I love that you can clearly see the different layers. I was so impressed with myself when I made this, if I do say so myself! Its a good dessert to make if you're looking to impress someone with your culinary skills.







Anyone looking to make this really yummy, rich, chocolately mocha flavoured cheesecake, here is the recipe: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2009/11/cappuccino-fudge-cheesecake/

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lemon Ricotta Chicken Parmesan!

Despite the fact that in my previous post I talked about the hassle of coating things in egg and then breadcrumbs/flour etc. I made another meal that required just that. I call it procastinating cooking. When I have stuff to do I make dinners that require more stages/effort so then I still feel like I'm being productive even though I'm not actually doing work... Its a bad habit. Although actually revision went really well today!
Anyway, tonight I made a really yummy dish. It was soo good. Although it was unbelievably filling and I made too much pasta so I couldn't finish it all :/ Oops.





First of all you coat the chicken in egg then breadcrumbs then fry it till both sides are crispy. 






Next, you cover it in ricotta cheese, followed by mozzarella. Look at all that cheese piled up.... Yummmm. Put it in the oven for 25 minutes till all the cheese is melted and the chicken is cooked through.




 The sauce for the pasta was really easy to make and super yummy. Butter, garlic, flour, chicken stock, parmesan cheese and lemon juice. Did you know that garlic frying in butter is like, the best smell ever? Cause it is. Also, thats 3 types of cheese in this dish. Ricotta, mozzarella, and parmesan. Yummy. This is definitely a meal for cheese lovers. You could definitely mix it up and put whatever cheese you wanted on the chicken or in the sauce. Blue cheese on the chicken might be really good...





Pour the sauce over the pasta and mix it all together and you're done! All you have to do is plate it.




It may not be the prettiest meal to look at, but boy is it good. So cheesy and crispy and then the pasta and the sauce is just so good. I think this is a new favourite of mine. I'll definitely have to make this again when Ashleigh gets back.

http://www.cinnamonspiceandeverythingnice.com/recipe-index/?recipe_id=6061169 - there's the link for anyone who wants to try this recipe out

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Baked Sweet and Sour Chicken!

So like I said in my last post, I am really behind on my blogging. I have so many meals to write about that I just haven't gotten around to doing! I hate exam time. It totally sucks the fun out of everything. I'm not even feeling in a Christmas-y mood yet because I'm just so focused on exams and to top it off, I've been finding it really hard to get to sleep recently because of revision. My brain is so switched on because of it that it starts thinking about different things and I can't get it to stop doing it and it just keeps me awake. I have an exam (labour law) on Friday and I only got 4 hours of sleep the night before it! I was so exhausted, I was actually falling asleep during the exam. But despite that I think it went well (fingers crossed). I can never tell with these exams. Sometimes I come out thinking "I have definitely failed that.." and I manage to pass and other times I come out feeling so confident and thinking that its gone so well and I end up just manging to pass. So we'll see in January/February how I've actually done. One more exam to revise for (International Private Law on Thursday) and then I'm getting my nails done and going out for a Christmas lunch on Friday with Ashleigh and Carmen and then its off to Singapore on Saturday! I think when I'm home its going to finally feel like Christmas. Although this is the first Christmas that my older sisters won't be there :( Sad times. They're both spending their Christmas' with their husband/fiance so it's fair enough but its going to be sad sleeping alone cause I normally always share a bedroom with them during the holidays. The house is going to feel so empty on Christmas day! But I'm sure everyone will still have a great day!

Anyway, to get back on track - I made baked sweet and sour chicken a few nights ago. My stomach is actually rumbling thinking about it. It was really good.





To start off you have to cover the chicken pieces in cornflour and then dip them in egg and then pan fry them. I always find it so much of a hassle coating stuff in flour/cornflour and then egg because its all messy and there are so many different plates/bowls that you have to use which you then have to end up washing... but to be fair, it is worth it because you get that crispy skin around the chicken which adds a little something extra to it and you're not just left with boring chicken pieces.



You then have to make the sauce. I was expecting that you'd had to do it in a saucepan but of course it goes into the oven for 50 minutes so there's no need. You just mix all the ingredients together in a bowl and then pour over the chicken pieces. Although the sauce was really yummy, it was missing the tangyness that sweet and sour sauces normally have - that wasn't anything to do with the recipe though, that was just because I didn't have apple cider vinegar, I only had apple juice so I used that instead. It was still really good though! It would have been even better if I had had the right ingredients, of course.





And then lastly you put the dish into the oven for 50 minutes, making sure to turn the chicken pieces every 15 minutes so all the sides get all covered in the yummy sauce.













This was a really good dish and I highly recommend that you try it out! You should definitely pair it with the egg fried rice that I've blogged about previously because that would be a great combination! I only had it with plain rice this time. Although you have to go through the extra hassle of coating the chicken pieces and then it has to go into the oven for quite a while, I really think that its worth it. Ashleigh and I both really enjoyed it so I'll definitely be making it again.

http://damndelicious.net/2014/01/18/baked-sweet-sour-chicken/ There's the link to the recipe if anyone else wants to give it a go!

Saturday, 6 December 2014

One Pot Mac and Cheese Chilli!

After writing a few deep and meaningful posts, I'm behind on my cooking ones. I've actually not written up quite a lot of the meals I've made but I'll get round to doing that eventually.. I've got exams coming up in the next two weeks though so I might be pretty busy :/ But then its back to Singapore for Christmas! Yay!

Last night I made a really warming pot of chilli but with a twist. Ashleigh has teased me before about how I always make the pasta equivalent of everything and this meal was no exception. I made a recipe I found that added mac and cheese to a normal chilli recipe. Basically you just add pasta and chicken stock to cook the pasta in and a bunch of cheese at the end. I'm a massive fan of carbs, can't you tell?


 What makes this a really easy recipe is that you cook everything in one pot (or in my case, a wok). Normally you have to boil the pasta in a different pot and then add it in at the end but not with this recipe! It just makes it so much faster and less washing up has to be done at the end!


 Look at all that cheese! The recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cheddar but I'm pretty sure I added quite a bit more than that... plus we had some fiery red cheese in the fridge to use up so I added that in as well, as you can probably tell from the different colours.


After the cheese has all melted in, it just makes the pasta all gooey and thick and yummy... just the kind of warming meal you need when its cold and rainy outside and you're not feeling too great!

Its that time of the year when everyone is getting cold's and its getting grey and wet and miserable outside and all you want to do is curl up under a blanket and watch Disney movies (which is currently what I'm doing if anyone wants to know... Mulan to be precise). And nothing goes better with that then a nice cup of tea or a warm bowl of something that has loads of carbs in it. Studies have shown that when it gets to the winter months, people crave filling foods that tend to have a lot of carbs in them e.g. pasta, cheese, stews, mashed potatotes. This is probably to do with the fact that in order to get through the drop in temperature we need to up our internal body temperature and therefore we go for foods that will warm us quickly and will put an extra layer of body fat on us.

If anyone wants to try this yummy recipe and gain some of those extra winter pounds, here is the link to it: http://damndelicious.net/2014/03/15/one-pot-chili-mac-cheese/

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

For the Girls Wounded by the Boys Who Won't Commit

Its bound to happen in your life. God knows its happened a few times in mine and I'm not even 21 yet. Its part of growing up and therefore part of your learning process and it sucks so badly but I guess its necessary because it helps you to distinguish between the immature idiots and the ones who are actually worth your time and effort. I'm not at that point yet. I probably won't be for a while but I'll get there. And so will you.
This post is mainly for girls, not that it doesn't apply to guys as well but obviously I'm writing from my own perspective and therefore from the perspective of a female.

If its not happened to you yet it probably will do. Its just one of those stages in life that you have to go through. You'll end up falling for someone who doesn't want to commit. Maybe you'll know that beforehand but you're so convinced that he'll end up falling for you as much as you've fallen for him that you convince yourself that he'll/she'll change their mind. Or maybe you won't know it beforehand and you'll find it out much further down the line when its too late and you're in too deep. That's the worst one. That one kills you. I've happened to have experienced both, more recently the former. 

For the relationship where they won't commit and you have no idea that that is the case until its too late, there's nothing that can be done about that. You can't see that coming and it will hit you like a train when it does. But for the guy who tells you upfront that they 'don't want a relationship right now' or words to that effect, please do not convince yourself that you are the one girl that will change his mindset. Because you're not. That's not me being harsh because I've been there and I've thought that, very recently in fact, its just that it doesn't happen. Just because you've made someone your world, doesn't mean they've made you theirs. If they don't want a relationship it means they want to be able to do what they're doing with you, with plenty of other girls as well and not have to feel guilty about it. You are not the exception. You are not the one that is going to make them turn around and go 'oh I've been wrong all along, this girl is amazing and is exactly what I want in life'. No one is going to make them change their mind other than themselves. And maybe they'll get to that point eventually but it will be long after they've left you behind and left you thinking 'silly girl, what made you think the boy who doesn't care about anything would care about you?'
Not only does this type of relationship leave you feeling broken hearted, but it also absolutely kills your feelings of self-worth. You start to question whats wrong with yourself and why no one wants to be with you and you come to the conclusion that it must be because you're not good enough. But thats not it at all. The only thing wrong with you is that you fell for the wrong person. Its all on them. Its their issue that they have to fix, its got nothing to do with you. You didn't do anything wrong and there is nothing wrong with you. You deserve someone who goes out of their way to make it obvious that they want you in their life.

So for all those people out there (including me) who have found themselves in this kind of situation: stop wanting someone that doesn't want you back - you're wasting your time, love. And for all those people who won't commit to someone who so clearly would do anything in the world for you: (on a very personal level) fuck you, I was worth it and fuck you for making me think for the slightest second that I wasn't.