Romance the Romanesco

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“It is not exactly a cauliflower, nor is it exactly like a broccoli, it is somewhere in the middle”, told the man who was fighting me at our local farmers market to buy the last one left. When I told him, I have never tried one of them before, he very kindly let me buy it.

So here I am, in total admiration of this beautifully green vegetable full of vitamin c and rich in fibre. And here is how I cooked it.

Vegans – avoid dairy, add a bit of soya milk if you really want.

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Ingredients:

1 head of Romanesco, cut into florets and washed

1 medium onions chopped

2 cloves of garlic

few mint leaves

1 knob of butter

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil

1 tsp ground pepper

2 tbsp vegetable bouillon (or stock cube)

Salt to taste

2 tbsp heavy cream (optional)

some cheese (optional)

Method:

Heat the pan. Let the butter melt in hot olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until translucent. Then add the chopped romanesco. Add bouillon, mint leaves salt and pepper. Pour water and cook.

Once the romanesco is cooked, blitz it into a fine puree. Add the cream and cheese and let it all melt.

Serve hot or cold with garlic bread.

Please let me know if you liked the recipe by leaving a comment below.

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“Mum, I want to marry you”

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I remember having this conversation with my son when he was about 5 years old. He went through the phase where he didn’t like daddy touching mummy etc etc.

But yesterday, after school on the drive back home, my little 6 year old daughter said, “Mummy, when I grow up I want to still live with you”.

How sweet!! (I thought)

But before I could respond, my son jumped on to say, “But you might find a boyfriend and move out or get a job or go to university away from home.” (I think he must have learnt those possibilities from me, guilty)

So Irene said, “I don’t think I will have a boyfriend.”

Irene: “Mummy, I want to marry you”

It was a statement. No she wasn’t proposing! This is not how I accept marriage proposals.

Me: “But I am already married to daddy , love”

Irene: “Oh” (Caught ya)

After a looooong awkward silence she spoke AGAIN, ” but he is a MAAAAAAAN.” (we are moaning a little out of desperation here)

Me: “So? What are you saying, What do you mean ?”

Irene: “You said you are not allowed to marry another man, but I am going to be a woman. You can marry me and then I will even get to sleep with you in the same bed.”

Right this was getting a bit crazy and a bit out of my comfort zone. I miss daddy. I need rescuing.

Me: “I would love to have you living with me as long as you want Irene. Even if you do go to university and then want to come back to me, you are welcome. As for the marriage is concerned, you can’t marry until you are a grown up anyway.”

Irene: “When will I be a grown up ?”

Me: “You will be an adult when you are 18, how about we talk marriage then?”

I, couldn’t resist but cuddle her lots when we got home!

I love my children, even though they scare me with their love sometimes!! 😀

Step – Mother in Laws Party Toss !!

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Well, I am not sure why she calls it a party toss but I think simply because it is child friendly and pretty quick and easy!

Today, it was one of those afternoons where the little siblings in my household were just not getting along and I was too tired and cheerful to be stressing my throat to shout at them to tell them off!

So I decided to get them engaged into cooking and what was meant to be a mac and cheese turned into a party toss, simply because there isn’t much to do for the kids in mac and cheese!

My kids enjoyed every bit of it eating as much as they did cooking! Here’s my version of my (step) mother in law’s party toss with a twist! (twist because she uses ham, cream and parmesan and I used chicken, no cream and cheddar). I am sure it will go just fine without any meat for the vegetarians.

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Serves 6

Ingredients: (instinctual)

1 and half tbsp Plain flour

3 tabs of butter

2 cups of milk

Lots of Cheese (get the kid to grate it)

2 onions

1 bell pepper

5 to 6 cloves of garlic

handful of mixed vegetables (I used from frozen pack)

leftover chicken from sunday roast (get the child to shred them)

400gm Penne Pasta

Salt and black pepper to taste

Method:

Cook the pasta al dente in boiling hot water with a pinch of salt. Drain and toss it in olive oil. Set aside.

In a pan, heat the butter with a dash of olive oil (to avoid the butter from burning). Sauté the onions and garlic until translucent. Add the flour and sauté for 2 minutes in very low heat (let it not get brown). Add milk and stir until all the lumps disappear. Add the mixed veg, chicken (or ham) and peppers. Cook for about 3 to 4 minutes and then add cheese, salt and pepper. That’s your sauce ready. Turn the heat very low.

Toss in the pasta into the sauce and cook for 2 minutes on low heat or until the pasta is thoroughly cooked.

Voila! Serve hot!! Preferably with a sprinkle of parmesan! 🙂

I hope you enjoyed the recipe. Please let me know your comments below.

 

 

 

 

My Christmas Chocolate Cake with Fruit Peel

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I think I have found this year’s Christmas Cake.

With the festive season just a couple of months away and supermarket’s decorating themselves in Christmas mood, I have obviously been tempted towards thinking about Christmas. One of the toughest things for me to do is deciding which cake is going to be celebrated this year.

At my home, a traditional Christmas fruit cake with Marzipan isn’t enjoyed by all. Infact, it is just my husband who scoffs it all off. So, we have a very nice arrangement, mother – in – law bakes for her children and I bake for mine.

This year I wanted a chocolate cake with a hint of fruitiness in it. Something chunky, soft in the middle and not sickly sweet.

Ingredients:

  • 175g salted butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 200g dark chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 100g milk chocolate, broken into pieces
  • 250g sugar (I used fine granulated for texture)
  • 3 medium eggs
  • 70g self raising plain flour
  • pinch of baking powder
  • 200g mixed fruit peel (lemon and orange mostly)

Method:

Preheat the oven on Gas Mark 5.

Melt the chocolate with a spoonful of butter in the microwave. Set aside.

In a bowl, mix the butter and sugar. Then whisk the eggs into the mixture. Add the dry ingredients and mix well until the butter, sugar, eggs are all blended in properly with the flour. Stir in the chocolate gently and add the mixed fruit peel (I used the Asda fruit peel for £74p, soaked in sugar syrup which brings the hint of marmalade like flavour but less bitter).

Once the batter is ready, line the baking tin with greaseproof paper or greaseproof it with some butter which is what I did. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes. Check after 30 minutes with the skewer. If it comes out clear, cook some more. I turned it off when it was slightly gooey in the middle, but not raw! That way it acquires the texture of a brownie. Rich and gooey in the middle and crusty on the top. A dollop of frozen yogurt or clotted cream – YUMMMMMM!!!

Please let me know if you like the recipe and leave your comments below.

 

 

 

How to tame frizzy hair – Autumn/Winter Hair Care Routine

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If your hair goes all frizzy and puffy the moment you step out of the comfort of your well-heated home, this post might be helpful.

I am about to talk and introduce eight different products, so brace yourself!

And no there is no easy or quick way to tame your frizz. If you have frizzy hair, it means a change in lifestyle! You have to be prepared to spend at least 20 to 30 minutes after your shower, drying and styling your hair. And a good 10 to 15 minutes in the morning as well, regardless of what style you opt for. The only easiest and quickest thing without straightening my hair every morning, is tidying it up in a bun! But even then I can see fly-aways.

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So here is what I do.

1. Haircut – This is a no brainer! Regular hair trim is even more vital during this season. One of the two big reasons for frizzy hair is split ends, apart from the dry weather. Getting rid of those split ends, is half the job done!

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2.Shampoo/Conditioner/Scrub – I am not very particular about my shampoo really. Popular notions suggests, people with dull, dry hair must opt for a product without sulphate. I couldn’t find one in the stores, so I brought what smelt nice!

At the moment, the miracle worker in the shower is Garnier’s Ultimate Blends range with Vanilla and Papaya . It smells so divine, you just want to chill it and eat it, but don’t!

It says it is for mid – long hair with split ends. Perfect for me. Also, one of the coolest things the range offers is a scrub. I have never heard of a scrub for your hair before but this sounded interesting. And so after shampooing and conditioning, I use the scrub and gently massage it on to the tips of my hair, slowly working myself up but not touching the roots.

One other important tip and part of this shampooing ritual is that I use relatively colder water on my hair compared to the rest of my shower. I think that helps too! I won’t get technical as to why – use your friend google! 🙂

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3. Blowdrying: Your hair will not behave if it’s not dry and no you cannot enjoy the luxury of air drying it. I know sounds unfair but it is true. That is why people like me, don’t like it when it rains on our head! We can’t dry and straighten our hair on the road and hence, end up with frizz and puff! Frustrating!

As soon as I get out of the shower, I massage a few drops of Morrocan Oil into my scalp and rub the leftover on the rest of the hair. Don’t be scared of the oil, frizzy hair needs moisture and oil does exactly that (chose your own favt. oil). Then I spray a little bit of Tresseme’s Blow Dry Lotion with heat protector before blow drying my hair.

4. Straighten/Curl: At this stage, depending on what I prefer I style my hair. I prefer straightening these days as it lasts longer than the waves. Once styled I gently apply Body Care Grapeseed Glossing Serum for the shine. It settled down the fly – aways and leaves the hair shiny and fragrant.

5. Dry Shampoo: In between my washes, I use Batiste Dry Shampoo and Loreal Elvive Full Restore Leave In Conditioner (Don’t go mad with it, I use it only if I feel my hair is going flat and extremely oily, a little bit of oilyness is frizzy hair’s best friend).

I know it sounds like a lot of products and labour intensive, because IT IS!! But it is worth it.

People with dry/dull and frizzy hair aren’t supposed to wash their hair as frequently as others. But in the past my hair would go frizzy in a matter of 24 hours and I was forced to wash and style my hair all over again. But with this new routine, I can go on for three days without washing my hair. I only wash my hair twice a week I would say. I do have to give my hair a quick press every morning though, and a dab of serum for the shine.

I have spent years trying to find a hair care routine that actually works, but I think I have finally figured that one out!

I hope you find this post helpful.

This was not a sponsored post. If you liked it, please leave a comment below.