Roasted pepper and carrot soup | Recipe (Slimming World friendly)

Roasted pepper and carrot soup

It’s definitely that time of the year right now, where I’m eating a lot of soups. Sometimes I will just open a tin for convenience (though not very often these days, as most have syns with following Slimming World) but I don’t think there’s any soup better than home made soup. The smell of it bubbling away on the hob, and the delicious flavours we can create depending on our mood.

I usually make a pot big enough that it does 5 or 6 bowls, or freeze it so I have got some ready for when I actually can’t be bothered to make any. Because the pepper in this roasted pepper and carrot soup is roasted, it gives a lovely charred flavour to the soup along with the sweetness of the carrots.

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Refreshing coconut and mango smoothie | Recipe

Coconut and mango smoothie

I know it’s kind of not exactly the weather for smoothies any more, but that doesn’t stop Jacob asking for them! So I thought a smoothie would be the perfect first recipe to try in the High Power Blender that I have been sent from the Panasonic Kitchen. The great thing about this coconut and mango smoothie recipe in this blender is that you can just chuck all the ingredients in, press the smoothie programme, and off you go. No need to pulse or anything to break ingredients up, as it does it all for you.

Coconut milk is a perfect addition to a smoothie, and I went even more tropical by adding mango as well. I also chucked some oats and chia seeds in for a bit more goodness, and voila; a tasty coconut and mango smoothie that is wonderful as part of breakfast or for a quick snack during the day. This is one of those lovely thick smoothies where the straw actually stays stood up –  love those!
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October Degustabox | Subscription Box Review

October Degustabox subscription Box review

It’s always an exciting day when I know our Degustabox is on its way. I love opening it up and seeing what’s inside. There hasn’t really been any that I’ve been disappointed in; I think there has only been 2 or 3 products over the last few months that I haven’t particularly liked. So for the amount you get in each Degustabox, I think that’s pretty good going!

  • Enjoy 10 to 15 surprise products, many are completely new to the market!
  • Receive your Degustabox every month filled with goodies.
  • All for much less than you would pay in the shops!

So what was inside the October Degustabox?

October Degustabox contents

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Slow cooker 5 bean chilli | Recipe (Slimming World friendly)

Slow cooker 5 bean chilli recipe. In slow cooker

I love my slow cooker, and especially at this time of year it comes out a lot. One of my favourite one pot meals to cook in there is a chilli. It’s usually a beef chilli but I decided to do a veggie one this time using the beans I received in my September Degustabox. I added a variety of tinned beans to make a 5 bean chilli – it’s totally syn free on Slimming World too, and makes a great EESP meal 🙂

This one is fairly hot but you could use mild chilli powder instead, or halve the amount of hot chilli powder. I love spicy food so I don’t mind the heat factor! You don’t have to use the same beans I’ve used either; whatever is available will be fine.

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Orange & lime battenberg | Recipe

Orange & lime battenberg - NSIWE

It’s been a few weeks since I joined in with the #GBBOBloggers2016 bake along; it was The Husband’s birthday, then the week after it was my birthday, and this week I am very last minute as I have been having Internet connection issues and getting incredibly annoyed! Anyway. It seems to be working again for now, so here I am!

We’ve all been feeling under the weather and with it being Tudor week, everything just looked… well, complicated! I didn’t really fancy any of it to be honest, but in the end I decided I would have a go at a battenberg; it does contain marzipan so hopefully it’s allowed! It’s not exactly a marzipan showstopper, but never mind…

Instead of the traditional pink and yellow Battenberg, I’ve gone for orange and green, seeing as it’s approaching Halloween too! I matched the colours to lime flavour and orange flavour. I only added zest rather than juice, so they aren’t powerfully citrus, just a delicate flavour.
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September Degustabox | Subscription Box Review

September Degustabox review

As you may be aware, I really love receiving a surprise Degustabox through the door once a month. September was no different, but I also decided to do an unboxing video which you can find below; you will see I had a little helper who was very noisy! But he’s cute so I’ll let him off 😉 The boys and The Husband also tried some of the products with me this month. I can also say this box had one of my favourite products so far.

  • Enjoy 10 to 15 surprise products, many are completely new to the market!
  • Receive your Degustabox every month filled with goodies.
  • All for much less than you would pay in the shops!

So what was inside the September Degustabox?

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Late Night Hunger Pangs – Light Bites To Eat

Late Night Hunger Pangs

Usually the most romantic part of the day – night time – can bring out the best of our thoughts. The silence in the night can also heighten our senses and it is one of the best times to indulge in some food for pleasure. As the clock ticks into the night, we can’t help but naturally succumb to our hunger pangs. Often, our options are fairly limited, and we usually end up eating the first thing that we see in the fridge, perhaps a bowl of leftovers – a massive mistake! Instead, it’s a great time to let the creative thoughts of the night flow out in the kitchen and treat ourselves to some late night gastronomic experiments that the city has to offer.

Cook

Close up of fried English breakfast

Late night cooking at home can usually be divided into two categories. Firstly to satisfy our  immediate hunger pangs or secondly, to experiment with new recipes. The majority of insomniac foodies see the second option as their favourite hobby. If you have all of the ingredients necessary, it can also be great fun! Post-dinner menus can be anything from regular comfort food to exotic experimental dishes. It’s the effort factor which always needs to be minimal, simply because effort and late night don’t go hand in hand. So what are your options? You could create a fancy Spanish omelette or alternatively go for a meat option and bake it with some delicious barbecue sauce. For a lighter option, prepare a nice salad or opt for a simple sandwich. If you find that you are close to dawn, then you could choose to cook a traditional English breakfast.

Late Night Restaurants

Mexican Food

If you don’t want to get your kitchen or your hands dirty, you could also go out and experience the late night food scene of London. The city has various culinary delights lined up for those late night hungry souls. Many of these places are located in the busy and active streets of London. The choices are endless; you can follow the neon lights to end up in a grand restaurant or alternatively opt for a more a low-key food place.

  • The Delaunay, near the Royal Opera, offers classic renditions of European dishes. The ambiance and elegance are also on the plate to enjoy.
  • Balthazar is one fantastic restaurant near Covent Garden and serves authentic fresh cuisine. They serve until quite late and it is a charming place to reinvent your appetite.
  • There are other food havens like the comfort food paradise Duck & Waffle, the Uber-exotic Hakkasan Mayfair and the famous La Bodega Negra.

Takeaway

chinese take out in boxes

But if you’d rather stay at home then a takeaway is probably the best road to take. With a takeaway you can also find the joy of home deliveries. Additionally sites such as Hungry House also offer you the convenience of being able to order a takeaway online. There’s no need to have to compromise on the variety of food available as there is a plethora of restaurants to choose from, as well as a wide-range of cuisine to explore. Takeaway food is a great option if you prefer to enjoy the London food scene from the comfort of your own four walls.

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Guide to cooking the perfect steak | with Barbecoa

I don’t know about you, but I do love a good steak. Medium rare for me, please. The thing is, I can never manage to cook one to perfection. I’m probably not managing to go to the right restaurants either as I haven’t found a steak I really love yet. How about you? Luckily for us, Steve Pooley, Chef Director at Jamie Oliver Barbecoa, has put together this beautiful guide to cooking the perfect steak. I’m definitely going to follow the guide next time we have steak for dinner – fingers crossed for a perfect one!

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Coconut coffee triple layer cake | Recipe

Coconut coffee triple layer cake

You may remember a few weeks ago that I reviewed a steam combi oven from Panasonic. I cooked so many things in it – including (but not limited to) chips, fish, chicken, bacon, beans; but the thing I was most excited to try in it, was baking a cake! Obviously, you could also make this in a normal oven. I was so impressed that I could actually bake a cake in the combi oven though!

One of my favourite cakes is coffee cake. I love coffee. I love cake. Put them together – I’m in heaven! I also had some coconut flavour Beanies coffee to review so I thought I would do a twist on the classic coffee cake. I do love coconut in a cake too. In fact, I just love any cake. Instead of two layers, I decided to go for a triple layer cake. The middle layer of frosting uses coconut oil, so it is kind of healthy…
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Bakewell tart with lemon pastry | Recipe

Bakewell tart with lemon pastry

As soon as I heard what the challenges were going to be for pastry week of GBBO, I was drooling. Danish pastries? Yes please! I was really tempted to try to make them but then I watched the show and, well… My mind was swiftly changed, ha! I think I’ll stick with ready bake ones, thanks… Anyway, I didn’t fancy fiddling about with filo either so I decided I would go with the technical (again!) of a bakewell tart. I made mini bakewell tarts a couple of months ago for my Macmillan Summer Lights fundraiser, but I’ve never made a big one before. It couldn’t be that hard, right?

I wanted to make it with a traditional almond topping rather than icing and feathering, like on the show. Rather than the usual plain pastry, I made flavoured pastry that I saw in one of my Lorraine Pascale cookbooks. Lemon and almond flavour, the perfect match for a bakewell tart. I was a bit dubious as this recipe used egg yolks, and the one and only time I have used egg yolks in pastry, it was really wet. But I thought I would give it another go. I also decided that I would make my own jam, for the first time ever! I think the frangipane was the easiest part…
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