Sunday, 18 August 2013

RECIPE: Duerr's Peanut Butter vegan cookies

Duerr's sent me some of their crunchy peanut butter to try and although the Boy jumped on it and used it in a delicious Thai curry, there was only one thing for me realistically to do. Peanut butter cookies! I made mine vegan but you could make yours with dairy. They'd be great half dipped in chocolate.

Peanut butter and oat cookies
Makes 12

Ingredients
50g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
50g sugar
75g oats
150g Duerr's crunchy peanut butter
Dash of vanilla
Grate of nutmeg and cinnamon
Splash of almond milk to bind

Method

  • Preheat the one to 180'C
  • Mix the dry ingredients in a bowl
  • Add the peanut butter and combine to a damp breadcrumb texture
  • Add a splash of milk to combine to a crumbly, light dough
  • Roll into 12 balls and squidge them flat on a baking tray
  • Bake for 15 minutes then cool on a wire rack
Estimated nutritional info per cookie

100 cals
5.7g fat
0.9g sat fat
82mg potassium
11g carbohydrate
5g sugar
3.5g protein

My Holiday Hidden Gem

We visited Mallorca in March this year. It is a lovely little island, where you can easily avoid the masses of British partygoers to have a peaceful holiday. On one of the days, we hired bikes and rode into the capital, Palma. It was here that we discovered our hidden gem. 

 

We had locked up the bikes and visited the beautiful gothic cathedral, La Seu. After this we decided just to have a wander around the streets away from the main drag to get a feel for the place. We came across the Plaza Porta Santa Catalina completely by accident - a quiet park area which contained a number of quite fun sculpture pieces, due to the proximity to the contemporary art museum. There was a giant stone pigeon and an upside down church, stuck in the floor at a kooky angle, through the steeple. 


We decided to stop there for a drink and a nibble as it was already passed lunchtime and we hadn't replenished our energy after the long cycle, so a tiny little bar on the corner of the square caught our eye. I can't even remember what it was called, but it was the only little local place on the square. We went in and were greeted by a table full of local housewives gossiping over a coffee and a neon orange canary called Bruno who whistled out the most beautiful song.


We put in an order at the bar - una cana y un vino tinto - and took a seat ready for our drinks to be served. It was exactly what you would expect for an everyday Spanish bar - plastic furniture, a mix of dark wood and cream decoration and the now ubiquitous gambling machine and wide screen TV. Behind the bar, the elder stateswoman of the family knitted and observed while her son served the drinks. Mainly, while not serving, he stood outside chatting and smoking with his friends, one of whom had the smallest dog I have ever seen!
La Seu in the background
Our drinks arrived, along with a dish of complimentary tapas - some deep fried white fish that was seasoned to perfection and tasted absolutely heavenly. In our ravenous state, this was just what the doctor ordered. We sat chatting for about 45 minutes while we drank our drinks, and about 20 minutes in, to our surprise, they brought us some more of the fish to eat. After that we were at our ease and decided to have another drink. The guy running the bar caught our attention and asked if we wanted to watch the Grand Prix. It took me a while to understand what he was saying as I had never heard the Spanish word for race before, la raza!

We all settled down to watch the race and we chatted a little with the family and the locals. They brought us yet more tapas - some tiny fish fillets in an oil and vinegar dressing. They were served with some fresh bread and again tasted completely heavenly. It's not the sort of food I would normally eat, so I was so glad to try it and have my world opened to new things!

The race was already halfway through when we turned it on so soon it was over and we left, smiling and wishing goodbye to everyone in the bar. Our tab came to around 6 Euros - about £5. It was a great experience, completely random and unexpected. I got to meet new people, try new food, feel welcomed by the locals and generally have a really good time - all the things that for me make up a true holiday hidden gem.

I would recommend this bar to everyone, but more than that I would recommend everyone takes a mapless walk next time they take a trip. You never know what you'll find - including upside church sculptures.

This is my entry to the Tuscany Now holiday hidden gem competition, I hope you liked it!

#silentsunday



Saturday, 17 August 2013

Kiss Fancy Dress



Before

In a long year of many people turning 30, one of my loveliest Leicester friends celebrated her 30th this week and let us know it would be 80s fancy dress at her house party. We ruminated on this for some time. At first I looked into She-Ra as a possibility but we soon realised that we'd be better off doing a couple's job. We toyed with Bill and Ted for a good while, but the outfits would have taken a lot of preparation to put all the component parts together, and we're simply not that organised.

Then thanks to a conversation with another friend in the pub we hit upon the idea of going as Kiss. Simple, yet brilliant. Initially, we were going to go as all of Kiss, having half the makeup of each of the four members, and sewing different half outfits together, but we knew that taking a simpler approach would probably be more effective.

Our mantra this week has been 'go hard or go home', so we decided to go for it and dye our hair. It seems that you can't get wash in wash out black hair dye these days - so we went for the sensible semi-permanent option. Just 24 short washes and we'll be back to our normal hair colour lol.



A quick dye job later
Turns out that when you use black hair on my hair, it goes METAL black of DOOM immediately, but The Boys just goes a sort of darker brown. Typical. I'm going to be stuck with this colour for months and his didn't even take!

The next day it was the day of the party, so we started constructing our outfits - using black clothes, finding studded leggings in the charity shop, adding tinfoil to our shoes and as vambraces, and using my old uni gown as a cape for The Boy.

We put on black nail varnish and I did us a little bit of a Kiss logo embellishment. Already we were looking like metallers. I brought some volume to my hair with the Bedhead Queen For a Day thickening spray and then set it at a height with Get2B blast freeze spray.

To get his Gene Simmons on, I sectioned off the top of the Boy's hair and gave him a top knot with a section loose at the end. I used the freeze spray again to make the top knot stick out more and then to raise up the rest of his hair. 

Following this, it was time for our makeup. We bought some oil based face paints for 99p, but they were crap! You can see this in the bits of white we were able to muster. So I used an eyeliner for the black and silver eyeshadow for my CatMan nose.


There are loads of pictures of the Kiss boys online for you to copy your design. I shan't bore you with the details, hopefully the results speak for themselves. A dash of red Barry M lipstick for me and we were ready to cycle to my friend's house. Over dressed, surprising for motorists but ready to make an impact. Of course, we were wearing our hi-vis jackets - Kiss say stay safe! 




Ta da!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

COMPETITION: Discover Dairy



I'm pretty gobsmacked to discover that almost a third of primary school children think that cheese comes from plants, and over one in five has never visited a farm. It's pretty terrifying to hear how disconnected our children have become from their food, it's production and rural environments. 

This research was done by the British Nutrition Foundation. I think it really demonstrates that we all need to take more responsibility in educating the next generation about food origins and also about cooking and eating in a way that is healthy for both themselves and for the environment.


DairyCo has created thisisdairyfarming.com, to help people understand a bit more about cows and where dairy products come from. It is presented by Adam Henson, who actually has a farming background himself. They've created a number of accessible films about cows, which they have also put on a youtube moovie channel. For people wanting to interact with DairyCo directly, you can also get hold of them via twitter using the @thisisdairy account or #Discoverdairy hashtag.

And to help spread this message far and wide and to help you to access these resources to teach your children more about food production and the dairy industry, DairyCo have given the opportunity for two of my readers to win £15 worth of shopping vouchers. Just answer me a simple question about the above video using the Rafflecopter widget. If you have any problems with it loading, do refresh the page and try again.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
The giveaway is open to UK Residents only.
Ray Mears Extreme Housewifery takes no responsibility for prize delivery, 
the prizes will be delivered directly by DairyCo.
I will verify entries have been completed correctly. 
Invalid entries will be disqualified and cannot win a prize.
Only one prize per person.

Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Holiday Postcards

My holiday postcard of my favourite holiday moment would have to be from Spring 2009 when we 'accidentally' went to Chile and Argentina before getting back on our itinerary in Peru.

Picture the scene - swine flu was spreading and we were due to spend three weeks in Mexico City and the surrounding area as part of a round the world trip. The time to move on to Mexico approached and things looked more and more hopeless. 
Leaving Singapore
"Don't come," our friend in Mexico City facebooked us two days before we were due to fly over from Singapore. "Everything is closed - bars, museums, schools - everything."

What were we to do? We spoke to the airline and they advised to carry the journey through, but just not to stay in Mexico and get the first flight off to Lima, Peru. That way we wouldn't incur any penalties with the flights. It seemed reasonable advice, and so we proceeded on with our journey.

Things started to get a little hairy when we got to Tokyo airport and we were filmed by the local TV channels for being in the check in clue for the last flight out from Japan to Mexico for a while. We started to think that perhaps going to Mexico City was not a good idea.


Tokyo Airport
We arrived and the airport was at a standstill. Contrary to what the airline had told us about their own flights, there was no connection for us. Peru had shut its borders to flights from Mexico already. And so had Ecuador, our next planned stop. Was this the end for the Mojo Brigade: Ultimate Global Division? Would we have to give up the ghost and head back to the UK?
Mexico City airport - note the face masks!
We sat around the airport and waited, desperate for another option. In that time we attracted a group of like minded people - English speakers from all around the globe - English, Canadians, Americans and Australians. We were the Gringlish. All with Peru as our ultimate goal, we used our numbers and pooled our knowledge of Spanish to try and find a way forward. Many people were desperate to get to Cusco to make connections for expensive tours of Machu Picchu that they had booked. We were fortunate to have time on our side.

Then, after many hours waiting, a ray of light showed through the clouds. We could be flown to Santiago de Chile - and after that we'd be on our own. None of us knew the first thing about Chile, but it was in South America, and we'd be out of Mexico and safe from the pandemic so it seemed a chance worth taking. This was the point where I finally learned to let go of worry and go with the flow instead. This attitude has remained with me and I'm much less of a control freak as a result!

Ironically, the plane we were put on was used to ferry the last few Peruvian nationals out of Mexico, so we spent approximately 7 hours stuck on the plane at Lima airport, exactly where we wanted to go, but unable to leave! And then we arrived in Chile. A number of the Gringlish disbanded, buying tickets on to the next flight up to Lima (thankfully the terrible rumours that our April 2009 Mexico passport stamp would prevent us getting in to Peru at all proved untrue). But some of us remained and took a three week adventure through Chile, Argentinian wine country, cable cars, Peruvian road blockades and up to Cusco in time for our trip to Machu Picchu.


Oh I do like to be in a Peruvian road blockade...
We had some of the best times on that trip. I spent a birthday with new friends we had picked up along the way, we shared a bottle of rum with local villagers when stranded for 17 hours in a protest against water privatisation in Peru. We spent the time in the comforting shadow of the Andean mountains and saw more goats dressed up in traditional dress than we thought possible. And best of all, we met our new best friend, a Californian who was only going to Peru for 3 weeks but ended up travelling with us for 5 and then going on to his own path afterwards. We have since been to California to see him get married. Who knew the swine flu pandemic would bring us such adventure and a new lifelong friend?



This is my entry into the Travel Supermarket Holiday Postcards Competition. I hope you enjoyed it and I hope I win, so we can go on another travel adventure!

Saturday, 10 August 2013

RECIPE: Superfood Quiche Lorraine

A delicious, creamy and tasty quiche with a broccoli hit! We had a load of broccoli in the freezer that I needed to use up, so I hit upon the idea of blending it up to avoid it becoming mushy when I cooked it.

Superfood Quiche Lorraine
Serves 8

Ingredients
250g Jus-Rol shortcrust ready rolled pastry
Two eggs
100g curd cheese
75ml semi skimmed milk
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 large leek
75g ham (I used Red Lion Foods crumbed ham)
40g parmesan cheese, finely grated
300g broccoli
A sprinkle of fresh thyme
Salt and pepper to taste

Method
  • Set your oven to preheat at 180'C.
  • Use the ready rolled pastry to line a 30cm flan pan. I used my favourite Pyrex job that never needs lining or greasing, but you will know if you need to prep your pan! Put the pastry in the fridge to chill while you make the filling.


  • Mix your curd cheese with your eggs until smooth. I guess you could strain some cottage cheese and use that if you cannot get curd cheese or make your own. Once this is smooth, mix in the milk, half of the grated parmesan and the thyme. Season the mixture and set to one side.
  • Finely mince your garlic and chop your leek and ham. Sprinkle them evenly over your pastry.


  • Blanche your broccoli in a touch of boiling water for a couple of minutes, then use a stick blender to blend it to a thick paste, with a couple of tablespoons of the cooking water. Add a pinch of salt to the broccoli mix.
  • Pour your eggy, cheesy, milky mix evenly over the quiche filling and then spoon the broccoli paste over the top. I choose to do this in what I artistically consider to be 'massive splodges'. Next time I would perhaps thin the broccoli down slightly further with milk and egg mix and then marble it through the main quiche mix.


  • Sprinkle the remaining parmesan over the top and bake until still slightly wobbly in the centre, but not runny. The last bit will set as it cools.

Serve this with a dressed salad - it's perfect summer food!

We had quite a bit of pastry left over so I made that into little blackcurrant tarts using the berries out of the garden that we had been using for ice cubes in our gin and tonics with a sprinkle of sugar - also delicious!!


Per serving (the recipe serves 8), this is another sub-300 calories recipe. Per slice, the quiche has the following nutritional information:
225 calories
13.4g fat, of which 1.7g sat fat
1.8g fibre
1.8g sugar
10g protein
18% RDA vitamin A
62% RDA vitamin C
12% RDA calcium
5% RDA zinc

Not bad, for a naughty old quiche!


COMPETITION: The Cushion Union Greetings Cards

My friends at The Cushion Union have just launched a new set of greetings cards, making new use of their unique and funky designs. They sent me a pack over to have a looksee for myself and I'm pretty happy to say they are delightful!



At the time of launch, they are being sold for £9.00 a pack, with free UK delivery. At 75p per card, this makes them a LOT cheaper than buying the equivalent high design single cards in a contemporary gallery shop or somewhere similar.



As with their cushions, this 12 pack of cards includes designs which are vintage, kitsch, cutesy and fun. They have a really strong high design feel and the quality of the cards and envelopes matches up to this. 



They come simply packaged with a decorative sleeve. You get 12 The Cushion Union cards and envelopes, each with a different design. They are all printed on a nice, light cream card with a good feel and are blank inside so that you can include your own message. The quality of the prints is good, but not super finished or glossy so they feel a little more rustic - and therefore a bit more high end than your usual mass produced card. I would definitely give them 9 out of 10 Extreme Points in terms of design, quality and unique appeal.

Since these cards are so lovely, you'll be pleased to know that I've blagged a pack for three of you lovely people out there in the blogosphere! Just complete the entries on the Rafflecopter widget below. If you don't see it, try refreshing the page. Good luck pop pickers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Competition open to UK residents
Ray Mears Extreme Housewifery takes no responsibility for safe delivery of the prizes,
prizes will be delivered directly by The Cushion Union.
Three winners will receive one pack of 12 greetings cards each.
I will verify entries. Invalid entries will be disqualified and will not one.
Only one prize per person.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Discovery of the Summer

Gin and tonic with frozen blackberries I picked last week acting as ice cubes. They keep your drink cool, and a they melt they do not water it down - but try do add a pleasing blackcurrant flavour to the last half of your drink.


They also float to the top as they defrost - interactive.

It's 29 degrees and my husband is a genius. Happy Summer everyone.

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