Friday, 28 February 2014

Recipe: Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Chorizo

I've always been a big pesto fan and I started cooking this dish during my student days, when I wanted something comforting and filling to prepare me for a long night of studying... or drinking, whichever.

It's so simple to make and doesn't take more than twenty minutes from start to finish - plus, it only uses a frying pan and a saucepan so there's hardly any washing up, bonus!


Ingredients:

  • Pasta (I use fusilli, it really doesn't matter what kind you use but I'd suggesting picking something that isn't too noodley)
  • Pesto (I swear by Sacla, there are cheaper options out there and, as you can see, I used the Asda own brand this time but it really wasn't as good. This is one time I'd suggest going for the more expensive option as it really does make a difference!)

Those are the two essential ingredients, so now you can add whatever you fancy. The recipe I'm going through uses the following, but you can chop and change as you see fit. Mushrooms work really well in this as well:

  • Chicken
  • Chorizo
  • Pine nuts
  • Sweetcorn
  • Cheese (to top)

Method:

1. Get your pasta going. You know the score, boil the water, sprinkle of salt (if you want), whack the pasta in and away you go. Stir every so often to stop it sticking and keep an eye on the ├ąclock so you don't overcook it if you prefer it al dente.

2. Prepare your chicken - I chop into chunks



3. Oil your pan and start cooking the chicken

4. After the chicken is sealed all over (usually after five minutes or so) I cut up the chorizo (I'll chop one slice into about four) and add it to the pan. As soon as you add it you'll get such a gorgeous whiff in the kitchen. It smells amazing



5. Leave the chicken and chorizo cooking for another five minutes or so (make sure the chorizo doesn't burn). By this point your pasta is probably cooked so leave it draining in a colander



6. While the pasta's draining chuck in a handful of pine nuts and some sweetcorn. Pine nuts can burn very easily so keep an eye on them!



7. Whack your drained pasta in a big bowl and mix the ingredients from your pan in with the pasta. Make sure it's mixed evenly - you don't want to end up with one serving that doesn't have any chicken or there'll be hell to pay!



8. Now, pesto time! Pesto is a bit of a love/hate taste so go heavier or lighter depending on what you prefer. I'm a big pesto fan and so is my boyfriend, so we do add quite a lot. Stir everything through thoroughly so make sure it's all distributed evenly



9. Serve! A shaking of pepper and a sprinkling of cheese is the perfect way to top this dish. It tastes great on its own but goes nicely with a side of garlic bread

Thursday, 27 February 2014

26th Birthday Photos

Birthday face // Amazing sparkler candles! // My gorgeous mum and her dog, Ernie // My beautiful nan // Fantastic decorations my boyfriend made to decorate our living room on the day // More cheese, of course // My hottie boyfriend pretending he doesn't want his picture taken

This post is a little late...two months late, in fact! I turned 26 at the end of last year and had the most beautiful day. I was lucky enough to be given a new camera as one of my presents so I took a few snaps throughout the day to try it out. I've just got around to organising them so thought I'd make a little collage of my favourites to share with you.

As you can see from the photos - food featured heavily, of course! After my boyfriend made me a giant stack of pancakes (with chopped banana and Nutella, yum!) for breakfast, me and my mum went for a lovely cream tea at my favourite tea rooms in our local town. After unwrapping my presents and playing with my camera my family prepared a brilliant buffet tea that involved a LOT of cheese - perfect!

After far too much food I settled down with my boyfriend, mum, nan, the dogs and a hefty glass of champagne to watch Love Actually and enjoy the rest of my night. It was an absolutely perfect day and I'm glad a took a few photos so I can remember it in years to come.

What's your idea of the perfect birthday? Mine doesn't stretch much further than family, food and relaxing but do let me know your ideas in the comments.

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Date Night Outfit


 Something a bit different today! I've decided to go for it with my first ever outfit post, eek! Please forgive my shoddy photography skills; I took these before my tripod arrived last week so...yeah, next time it should be a lot less shaky and a lot more in focus but you get the gist, right?

My boyfriend and I went out for a lovely dinner so I decided to whack on my go-to dinner dress, which is from New Look and paired it with a Matalan blazer, River Island cut out patent heels and an ASOS coral clutch.

For my make up I kept it pretty simple, as you can see, teaming black eyeliner (Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-On Eye Pencil in Zero) with pink pretty pink lipstick (MAC Girl About Town) and keeping my skin base neutral.

So there you have it, a quick little date night outfit post. Look out for more outfit posts soon - minus the shakes!

P.S. Cor, if those eye bags aren't a reminder to get more sleep I don't know what is!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Pedikur Herbal Hand & Foot Cream


 Hello guys! Today I wanted to tell you guys about a product that might not be glamorous but is certainly something every beauty lover should have in their cosmetic drawers - good old foot cream.

This hideous weather we've been having is not good for our skin in general (thanks cold weather and horrible wind for my chapped laps and dry forehead!) but it can really take its toll on our feet. Yup - if you're looking for a glam post today is not that day, my friends.

I have a bit of a thing about feet, like I think most people do. They're just not very attractive, are they? Might as well keep them looking as nice as possible and a great way to do that is to use a foot cream, and in the winter months maybe invest in an industrial strength cream to keep cracked heels at bay!

The lovely chaps over at Beauty Chamber recently sent me a pot of the Pedikur Herbal Cream* to review and this has been my cream of choice for the last few weeks. It's full of sage, thyme and rosemary so you can imagine the gorgeous smell! I'm a big herbal fan so this is the perfect scent for me - I can't get enough of it.

The pot looks quite small but you can use this sparingly and it still does a great job; I've used it every day for about three weeks and you can see from the picture below that I've still got a load left. The cream came with some cotton moisturising socks, so I apply the cream before bed, pop the socks on and let it do its magic while I have a snooze. Easy!

When I first had a look at this one I have to admit that I wasn't struck on the packaging; there wasn't anything in particular that put me off but when I compared it to my usual foot cream (Soap and Glory's Heel Genius) it seemed a bit lacklustre. However, this has taught me not to judge a book by its cover (or a cream by its packaging!) as this is a great little product to keep your feet nice and smooth. I'll definitely be reaching for this when/if we get any sort of summer this year, as it'll be perfect for getting my feet flip flop ready!


To have a look at the Pedikur Herbal Cream in more detail you can click here to have a gander on the Beauty Chamber website.

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

A Weekend Away and a Writing Update

So I've had a little blogging break! It's lovely sometimes, isn't it, to just switch off for a bit and recharge your batteries? I think we all need it every once in a while and I certainly recharged mine in a big way last weekend.

I headed off to a gorgeous cottage in Wiltshire for a long weekend with my writing group, which is made up of three of my best friends in the whole world. We spent three awesome days writing, gossiping, eating, drinking and, most of all, laughing until our faces hurt. It was brilliant and absolutely what I needed.

I'm just over 12,000 words through the first draft of my latest novel so I'm just coming out of that honeymoon period that so often accompanies the first 10k. I'm into the flow of the story, I'm getting to know my characters really well and it's all working rather nicely. Long may it continue, I say! I'm setting myself a deadline of March 31st for finishing the first draft, which I think is perfect. It'll keep the pressure on me but it's definitely doable - 50,000 words in seven weeks, piece of cake.

Maybe. Possibly.

We'll see.

Monday, 3 February 2014

January Favourites!

At the risk of sounding like every single person blogging today, didn't January fly by?
As tradition dictates, I wanted to share my monthly favourites with you guys, so you can hopefully get tempted into buying a couple of these gorgeous products yourselves, because if I can't enable you to spend your cash on cosmetics then I'm failing as a blogger!


So falling under the make up category we've got:
Lancome Hynpose mascara, which makes my lashes super curly and thick.
Rimmel Match Perfection foundation, which hides my pores, is the absolute perfect match for my skintone and provides the perfect medium coverage all day long.
Benefit Sunbeam, which is providing a much needed bit of glow to my face when these dark, rainy days make my skin look lacklustre and dull.
Skin and body care: 
Emma Hardie Cleanser, which makes my skin soft and moisturised and removes every single trace of make up. Every rave review you've read of this is oh so true.
Herbal Essence Clarifying Shampoo, which has saved my roots from being a lank, greasy mess. Definitely interested to try other clarifying shampoos now I've seen what they can do!
Lush Rose Jam Shower Gel, which I picked up on a whim in the post-Christmas sale. Dear lord, this smells incredible (it's the same scent as Ro's Argan Body Conditioner).
And, finally, tools and misc. products:
ELF fan brush, which is perfect for dusting highlighter on my cheek bones to inject a bit of somethin' somethin' into my make up look.
Tangle Teezer, which means I no longer destroy my hair by brushing it while it's wet. This glides through any tangles and really is as good as everybody says. I already have one for my dressing table and one in my shower and I want to get another one for my handbag soon. Addicted!
Diptyque candles, which unfortunately are just as beautiful as everybody says. Oh dear. That's one expensive candle habit I've picked up...
So, what have you been loving so far in 2014? Let me know. And to finish, a picture of Bertie look very 'Monday morning' indeed.