Monday, 27 July 2015

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

Good morning everyone.

I won't be sharing a baking recipe with you today, instead I decided to share one of my favourite recipes that I have been making for a while.

I make it at University and it's great as I manage to get 4 or 5 meals out of it every time...

It's so quick and easy to make and I love it!

Quorn Chilli Con Carne

I'm not a vegetarian, however we switched to Quorn for a healthier meal plan and we can never tell the difference so I've never used anything else.

For this recipe you will need:

  • 1 jar Uncle Ben's Chilli Con Carne (Mild or Medium I go for)
  • 1 tin Red Kidney Beans (in chilli sauce is better than water)
  • 1 packet Quorn Mince

I honestly love Quorn Mince, I think it takes great and you cannot tell that it isn't meat once it's in a chilli or a bolognese.


Step 1:

First of all, you need to brown the mince for around 5 minutes on a high heat. I put a good glug of oil into the pan for this as it needs a good coating, due to the fact that it hasn't got any of its own fats or juices to cook in.

Step 2:

Add the jar of Uncle Ben's Chilli Con Carne sauce and give it a good stir. Turn it down to a medium heat and let it cook through for a couple of minutes and allow the Quorn to soak up the liquid.

I'm not a fan of hot chilli so I tend to buy the mild one. However, on occasion I will go for the medium heat one, in which case I normally add sour cream to the basket as well to tone it down a little.

Step 3:

Add the tin of kidney beans.

I love kidney beans! They are really good for you too, I started adding them to chilli purely because I like them and it also bulks it up a bit and means that I could get a few extra meals out of it but on researching them, I found that kidney beans are really good for you.

They're loaded with potassium, fiber, iron and protein. They can help keep blood pressure in check, reduce cholesterol and fight off heart disease! They can also help with weight loss as they slowly release carbohydrates and are sometimes called "starch blockers" by dietitians.

Step 4:

Once you have done this you can leave it for 10-12 minutes on a low heat to simmer. Give it a stir every few minutes to keep it all moving and preventing the bottom from burning.

Serving suggestion:

I am a big fan of Jacket Potato filled with chilli but I also have this dish with rice.

These single portion packs of microwavable rice were absolutely perfect for me at University. It was just the right amount and they lasted me a long time too! They only take 90 seconds to cook so it's a quick and easy meal, but it's still really healthy! Not like microwavable chips like some of my flatmates started to eat!

This is one of my favourite meals, especially in the winter when it's cold and you want a good home cooked meal to warm you up! I like to have it with rice and sometimes I like to sprinkle some grated cheese over the top and let it melt!

Another of my favourite ways to eat this is on a buttered jacket potato with sour cream and grated cheese! That was always my winter Saturday night meal when I came home from work before I left for University.

Meal 1 of 5:

As I said earlier on in my post, this will last me for 4 or 5 meals at a time! It depends on the size of mince packet I buy. All I do is spoon it evenly into plastic boxes and let it cool and then I stack them in the freezer with the date on and what it is...

I hope to hear from anyone who has had a go at this, especially if you're at University!

I also would like to know what everyone thinks of Quorn as a substitute!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Easter Nest Cupcakes

Hello everyone.

I hope everyone had a good Easter.

Today I am going to share a recipe with you for some cupcakes.

When I was younger, my mum and I used to make Easter Nests at Easter time and over the past few years I have spent all the upcoming weeks to Easter saying that I would make some Chocolate Nests and the proceeded to forget about them and have not made any. But this year I was determined to make them and I thought that I would go one better and put them on top of some cupcakes.

For 24 Easter Nest Cupcakes, you will need:

  • 230 g (4 oz) butter
  • 230 g (4 oz) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 230 g (4 oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 4 shredded wheat biscuits
  • 200 g chocolate (melted)
  • Mini Eggs


Step 1:

Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl (an electric whisk is normally the best way to do this). Do this until the mixture becomes paler and smooth.

Step 2:

Add the eggs one at a time and beat the mixture after each egg is added.

Step 3:

Carefully sieve in the flour and baking powder and fold them into the mixture.

Do not beat or whisk the mixture as you will knock out any air you have put into the cakes when beating the eggs.

Step 4:

Divide the mixture equally between paper cases. I usually start with 1 teaspoon in each and then half a teaspoon until they are all pretty even.

I like to use silicone cases to stand my paper cases in. I find that the cupcakes are less likely to slant and cook on an angle when they have something to support them.

Step 5:

Bake the cupcakes in a preheated oven at 190⁰C (170⁰C fan or Gas Mark 5) for 20-25 minutes.

Step 6:

When the cakes are baked they should be golden and springy to the touch, leave them to cool whilst making the nests.

Step 7:

To make the nests, melt the chocolate either over a saucepan or in the microwave, whichever you are more comfortable with.

Step 8:

Break up the shredded wheat biscuits into the melted chocolate and stir it in and make sure it's all well coated in the chocolate.

Step 9:

Take a heaped teaspoon of the chocolate/shredded wheat mixture and place it in the centre on top of each cupcake. Use the handle of another teaspoon (to prevent sticky fingers) to make a hole in the chocolate mixture to look like a nest.

Step 10:

Place 2 Mini Eggs in each nest.

They are a great idea for Easter and like I said, you can always just make the nests without the cupcakes. Just use the same method and spoon the nests into paper cases instead of on top of a cupcake.

If you're not a fan of Shredded Wheat, it works just as well with Cornflakes or even Coco Pops and Rice Krispies.

Please leave a comment and let me know if anyone tries this recipe.

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 2 March 2015

England v Italy - Six Nations 2015

Good afternoon everyone.

I have a 6 hour gap between lectures today so I thought I would share some memories with you.

On Valentine's weekend we went to London to see the Six Nations Rugby at Twickenham Stadium.

It was a great day and the trip was well worth it due to England winning:


With a surprising free bus service to the stadium and a great atmosphere when entering the ground, joined with a gorgeous hot dog to warm up before the game the occasion seems to last all day and not just the 80 minutes of the rugby game.

This is me with my mum before the game started:

Kick off was at 14:30 so there was plenty of time to look around the Rugby Store and get a pint of Guinness (not me personally - not my cup of tea!)

Mum and Gareth ready for the match complete with newly bought England Rugby hat:

I know it's cheaper and less crowded watching it at home on the television but nothing would ever compare to the atmosphere in this stadium.

The fireworks when welcoming England onto the pitch:

82 601 people (if I remember rightly) were in this stadium at the time.

The singing of the National Anthems. I have to say that I've never felt more patriotic:

Half time score was England 15 - Italy 5

A couple of bad injuries (Mike Brown) throughout the game lead to a late finish but they came straight back and nobody was stopping them now!

This is probably my favourite picture! Casual:

Victory walk around the field at full time!

This is me and Jake waiting for our train home at Kings Cross, when mum says

"Look at the camera...":

All in all a great weekend and I would definitely recommend it if you ever get the chance!

I've been 3 times now and I intend to go again!

Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, 23 February 2015


Hi everyone!

As I am sure you are all aware, last Tuesday was Pancake Day or Shrove Tuesday if you prefer!

One of my favourite things to make is pancakes! I get a craving for them sometimes and I just can't resist whipping up a batch.

A lot of people ask me why I make them when you can just buy them, but it's obviously better when it's home made (isn't everything?!) and with pancakes being one of the simplest recipes to make, you may as well make them from scratch.

I must admit though that I am not very experimental with flavours of pancake. I am more a fan of changing the fillings rather than the recipe.

To me, a plain and simple pancake is the best!

I use the simplest and, in my mind, the best recipe for a pancake mix.

For these pancakes, you will need:

  • 4 oz/ 100 g plain flour
  • ½ a pint/ 250 ml whole milk
  • 1 medium egg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 Cal Oil Spray
  • 1 large bowl
  • 1 small bowl and a fork (for beating the egg)
  • 1 whisk
  • 1 non-stick frying pan
  • 1 silicone spatula/fish slice
  • 1 ladle

Step 1:

Sieve all of the flour into a bowl and add the salt.

Step 2:

Break and beat the egg into a small bowl.

Step 3:

Add the egg to the dry ingredients and then the milk. It doesn't have to be added gradually or anything, just throw it all in!

Step 4:

Whisk well! I use a whisk because it allows the air to get into the batter and make the pancakes light and fluffy!

Step 5:

Leave the batter to rest for around 30 minutes. Room temperature is fine or in the fridge if you prefer, but when you are ready to make the pancakes, give the batter another good whisk for 2 minutes to prevent the dry ingredients settling at the bottom of the bowl.

Step 6:

Turn on the oven so that it is warm, it only has to be on to keep the pancakes warm as you are making the rest. Place a plate in the oven to put the pancakes on. Turn on the hob to low/medium.

Step 7:

Spray the frying pan with 1 Cal Oil Spray (I usually give it 2/3 sprays) and let the pan warm up for a couple of seconds on the hob. Then, depending on the size of the ladle, half fill the ladle with pancake batter and pour it directly into the centre of the pan.

The 1 Cal Oil Spray is the best for this as it means that your pancakes don't end up oily and soggy and also it provides good protection for your frying pan. I have never ever had a problem with pancakes sticking to the pan either when using this Oil Spray.

I know that everyone thinks that you have to be super quick when making pancakes and to quickly spread all of the batter around the pan before it cooks but if you have the hob low enough you don't have to rush at all.

If you are rushing and the pancake is cooking before you have chance to put the bowl down containing the pancake batter then the heat of your hob is too high.

Step 8:

When you see the pancakes start to cook it will probably go a little brown on the very edges but that's because it's thinner batter around the edges. Very rarely should you have to use the spatula to release the edges but I tend to run the spatula around the sides just to prevent it from burning. 

Hopefully with your non-stick pan and 1 Cal Oil Spray you should just be able to shake the pan to release the pancake. If not, just carefully slide your spatula under the pancake and ease it off the pan.

Step 9:

Are you brave enough to flip the pancake? If you are then go ahead. I flipped every single one for the first time this year and only folded 2 pancakes out of 16 which I don't think is too bad!

Cook the pancake on the other side until it is golden brown.

You can always flip them a couple more times if you want them to cook a little more, but after a couple of pancakes you should have the timing right and only have to flip them once.

Step 10:

Remove the pancake from the pan and place on the plate in the oven to keep it warm until you have made the full batch.

Step 11:

Leaving the pan off the heat (before each new ladle of batter), spray the pan twice with the 1 Cal Oil Spray and then off you go again from Step 7.

Here are the finished pancakes. I made a batch of 16 pancakes which went down well with my mum and grandparents.

Due to moving house, my mum and I are staying with my Nan and Grandad so I think that they were pretty happy with my making tea for them for a night. Although my Nan still reminds me how she wasn't pleased with Oil Spray on her hob! She enjoyed the pancakes though!

They are so quick and easy to make, depending how many you have to make obviously. This batch was made with double the recipe as it was for four people.

My favourite fillings include:

  • Chocolate Spread
  • Lemon Juice and sugar
  • Ice cream and berries
  • Freshly squeezed orange

I hope you all had a great Pancake Day and hopefully there were no disasters with pancakes on the ceiling and stuck mixture on the pans.

Please feel free to leave comments and let me know what your favourite flavours and fillings are!

Thank you for stopping by!

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Scone or scone?

Hi everyone

Please take some time to vote on my poll to find out what the best scone flavour is.

Please read the word "scone" in whatever way you like!

The distinction between scone and scone doesn't really work on paper but personally I say the word "scone" that rhymes with "cone". I know some people prefer the sweet treat that rhymes with "con"...

A poll by Oxford Dictionaries said that "cone" was the winner.

I still find that peoples pronunciation and regional dialects are very interesting in matters such as these which sparked debates in my lectures and seminars before Christmas.

But onto the point of this post!

Please vote for your favourite flavour scone (you can choose multiple flavours if you can't choose one) and then I will make that flavour of scone and post it on here when the poll has finished on the 10th March 2015 at 18:00.

You can find this poll underneath 'Popular Posts' down the right hand side of the blog.

Thank you!

Monday, 9 February 2015

Berry, Banana & Spinach Smoothie

Good afternoon everyone!

As promised I am posting weekly on my blog, as baking is not as common for me nowadays it could literally be anything but I promise to post every week!

So today, I am going to share one of my smoothie recipes!

After my boyfriend and I booked our first holiday together, I decided to start eating healthier and blitz the belly for a bikini body. I've never been a fan of slimming down for the 'Summer Body' but Christmas and University binge eating has taken it's toll.

The recipes that I post for smoothies are merely ideas and you can literally put anything into a smoothie. As long as all the flavours work together, it will taste great!

For Berry, Banana & Spinach Smoothie, you will need:

  • 1 apple
  • 1 banana
  • Fresh spinach
  • Frozen summer fruits
  • Fresh cranberry and raspberry juice

  • A smoothie blender
  • A chopping board
  • A chopping knife
  • A cup for your smoothie


Step 1:

Start by peeling and chopping up your banana, it doesn't have to be equal or anything as they are going to be blended anyway.

Make sure you don't take too much off when chopping the ends of the banana, some people don't mind them but me personally, I don't like to eat the ends.

Add to the blender.

Step 2:

Chop up your apple into quite small chunks. I found that they tended to block the blade if they were too big.

Be careful not to get any stray apple pips into the blender.

Add to the blender.

Step 3:

Add a cup full of the frozen summer fruits to your blender.

It is best to use frozen ones as then the smoothies is nice and cold and there is no need to add extra ice to the blender.

Seal up the packet to go back into the freezer. Frost-bitten berries don't taste very good!

I put the packet into a freezer bag and then twist it tightly, getting rid of excess air and put a food clip around the twisted bag.

Step 4:

Take a hand full of spinach and put it into the blender.

(I know this might sound a bit weird but you can't even taste it in the smoothie).


Spinach is a super-food and Pop eye was definitely onto something! Dark leafy greens like spinach are important for skin and hair, bone health, and provide protein, iron, vitamins and minerals.

One cup of raw spinach contains 27 calories, 0.86 grams of protein, 30 milligrams of calcium, 0.81 grams of iron, 24 milligrams of magnesium, 167 milligrams of potassium, 2813 IUs of Vitamin A and 58 micrograms of folate.

Spinach is one of the best sources of dietary potassium, weighing in at 839 mg per cup (cooked). To compare, one cup of banana has about 539 mg of potassium.

A lack of iron in your diet can affect how efficiently your body uses energy. Spinach is a great non-heme source of iron, along with lentils, tuna and eggs.

Make sure you keep your spinach fresh by sealing the bag with a clip or a twist tie and put it in the fridge.

Step 5:

Finally add the juice, this is just the water down the fruit so that it blends properly and isn't too thick.

You can use water if you like but I prefer to add to the flavours further by using juice.

Step 6:

One word... Blend!

I bought the Salter - Personal Blender with 2 bottles. It was a great price and I thought it was the perfect size for me being at University.

It's quick and easy to use, so it's great to have one at breakfast because I can whip one up in 5 minutes and then take it to my early morning lectures with me to wake me up and kick start my day with a tasty nutritious smoothie.

Now you can enjoy a healthy and great tasting smoothie. I've never really thought of having smoothies but when the holiday was booked and I realised that I wasn't eating anywhere near enough fruit, I decided to give it a go.

I've been having smoothies 4/5 days a week now for 3 weeks and I feel so much better in myself. It's a great way of getting the minerals and nutrients that you need and only having to have one drink instead of 5 pieces of fruit separately throughout the day.

They make for a very filling snack at dinner time too!

Step 7: 


I want to start getting more adventurous with my smoothie recipes so hopefully soon I will attempt some strange recipes, maybe with vegetables.

Thanks for stopping by and please feel free to leave a comment.