Tuesday, 30 April 2013

Roasted Red Pepper Soup & A Giveaway!

Soup is a wonderful, magical thing. No matter what mood you find yourself in there is a soup to match. When you are feeling under the weather there is earthy vegetable or chicken/noodle varieties. When you might have overdone it with cake and chocolate there is light miso or broth.

This weekend I was completely bitten by the fitness/health bug and knew I had to consume as many vegetables as I possibly could so decided to make soup!

The timing of this could not of been more perfect as I had just received my shiny new hand blender. The lovely people at Littlewoods sent me this beast of a blender to road test and review.

I have been eyeing up hand blenders for a while now. Previously I had been using this old smoothie blender that I acquired when me and Paul moved in together. It was not particularly powerful and always smelled like burning when you used it in anything more than short bursts. I had a brief flirtation with one of those £5 supermarket hand blenders but it broke during a particularly thick butternut squash soup recipe. Not ideal.

This beauty came with a few different attachments; the regular blendy one, a whisk, and a mini food processor bit, which will be great for making pesto. At 700W it certainly is powerful and it made short work of the below soup recipe.

I also made a quick smoothie and a tarka dahl with it and it was flawless everytime. It was very easy to clean and easy to store as it comes apart into quite small pieces.
My only criticism would be with the mini processor part. It didn't seem very powerful, although I do have a Cuisanart mini chopper/processor which would be hard to beat. To get your very own Tefal 700-watt Hapto Hand Blender, enter using the rafflecopter widget below

I have to say I would never of thought of buying homeware or electricals from Littlewoods but I was impressed with their small collection of brands. *pst* they also have a sale on at the moment...

Anywoo, back to the delicious food...

I decided to make something light yet flavour packed. I popped to my local food market in search of vegetables on Friday and saw these amazingly huge red peppers. I decided to run with this and grabbed some red chillies, plump tomatoes and a handful of basil. I salivated all the way home.

I started by roasting all of the above with some garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.

print recipe
Rad Red Soup
a fresh and flavourful summer soup.
Ingredients
  • 1 XL or 2 regular. Red Pepper
  • 1 (whole) Red chilli
  • 4-6 cloves Garlic
  • 3 medium Tomatoes
  • 1.5 Pints Stock (veg or chicken)
  • A glug Worcester sauce
  • 2 good pinches Kashmiri chilli powder
Instructions
Roughly chop and roast all the vegetables in a drizzle of olive oil. Keep the garlic cloves in their skin. I slit the chilli down the middle and left it whole.Bring the stock to a boil and add the Worcester sauce and chilli powder. Boil for around 10 minutes until reduced by just under half.Take stock off the heat and squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin into the stock.Add the rest of the roasted vegetables (I de-seeded the chilli before adding) Blend with the hand blender until smooth.I added a pinch of salt and pepper to taste.

I served my soup with a handful of peppery rocket and a sprinkling of Parmesan.

This soup is jam packed with flavour, with a beautiful warmth. It is not too heavy or thick so perfect for a light summery supper.

To win your very own Tefal hand blender worth £69 enter below:

UK participants only I am afraid.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, 15 April 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 15th April.

Its been all quiet on the blog front for the last few weeks, for which I can only apologise. I have been a little lacking in kitchen related inspiration. I do have a couple of recipes posts lined up for you, I just need to sit down at my laptop long enough to write them.

Feel free to give me a swift kick up the arse.

I have also been a little lax on the weight watchers, I think once you have been doing it a while and lose a bit you get a little complacent with it and think you can relax the reigns a little. Well, I have learned that this is not true (at least not for me) and I have lost absolutely no weight for about 4 weeks.

So here is me trying to be good and planning my eats for the week...

Monday

Breakfast: Cup of tea and a banana - 1pp
Lunch: Porridge made with soy milk and cinnamon - 5pp
Dinner: Off to an ice cream party at Lauren's house this evening, which I am pretty excited about. Lauren is testing out her new Kitchen Aid ice cream attachment, so a few of us selflessly volunteered as guinea pigs.

Tuesday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Tesco Light Choices lentil and veggie soup - 5pp
Dinner: Quorn chilli with brown rice 10pp

Wednesday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Leftover Chilli and rice - 10pp
Dinner: Garlic Chicken Thighs with sweet potato mash and green veg - 14pp

Thursday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Tesco Light Choices Falafal ready meal - 12pp
Dinner: Veggie pasta bake - 11pp

Friday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Tesco Light Choices curry ready meal - 12pp
Dinner: Pork loins with rocket salad and homemade spicy potato wedges - 14pp

I haven't fully planned my weekend yet, I think I have a night out to factor in and we will definitely be having a roast chicken on Sunday. I also hope to squeeze some baking in.

I will be tweeting and instagramming my meals using the #WWfooddiary hashtag, as will my fellow ambassadors, so if you need a bit of inspiration, check it out.

I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Cleaning tips for the inherently lazy.

Due to lack of appropriate pictures for this post, here is one of Ruby lounging on some freshly washed sheets

I am not one of those people who loses sleep over a messy house. I remember as a child my Mum repeatedly asking me to do my chores and me screaming that I didn't even notice they needed doing. She would swear I was being deliberately lazy to avoid being given more chores but honestly I just don't notice things until they get to the "oh dear god, what is that smell?" stage.

Luckily I do live with a bit of a neat freak, he isn't too OCD about it but likes to keep things at a respectable level. So our house is not awful but looks appropriately lived in.

I have over the last year or so - since moving to our lovely new house - been making more of an effort to keep things nice, so thought I would share my tips on cleaning for those who may not be naturally inclined to do so - or people who are a bit lazy, like me.

Clean as you go...
I know, I know stating the obvious here but seriously putting shoes in the cupboard when you take them off, rinsing that glass you just drank out of right away, hanging that dress you tried on this morning but didn't like back up instead of throwing it onto the growing pile on the floor... These are all things that build up over time to make you look like you belong on a particularly bad episode of hoarders.

Break it down...
Break down the jobs through the week, so you don't spend your whole weekend cleaning (or in my case out of the house to avoid the cleaning). One of my favourite blogs A Thrifty Mrs did a great feature called Daily Housewife Prompts which broke down all the tasks into small manageable chunks through the week, which took 5 minutes. In rare moments of organisation I do make myself a list and try to tick at least one off each day.

A Place for everything...
Having a set place for all your crap to go really helps with the clutter pile up. We have this bowl in our living room which we throw clutter into, hair pins, necklaces, spare change, post, etc... Which helps in the short term making the house seem less cluttered, but eventually this bowl overflows and needs sorting. So now we have a cute pink mail thingy for keeping important letters in, my necklaces and hair pins have their own pot upstairs etc...

Make it fun...
Cleaning is never really fun and everyone would rather be sitting watching Gilmore Girls right? No? Just me? Oh.

No seriously though, if I have some music blaring I am 100% more likely to wash dishes, I even have my very own cleaning playlist on spotify which is packed full of cheesy dance tunes and Britney Spears to get my up and moving.

Invite family round..
And finally, nothing gets my cleaning juices flowing than an impending visit from the in-laws!

So the reason for this lovely little insight into my messy home is to enter the Foodies100 competition to win a Morphy Richards steam cleaner from the above video. I mean, imagine how clean and sparkly my house could be if I had one of these suckers? I may even begin to *cough* enjoy *cough* housework!

Feel free to share your own cleaning tips below, because I really do need the help!

Monday, 8 April 2013

Meal Planning Monday - 8th April

I have been rather disorganised of late, the run up to the long Easter bank holiday and all that time off led to some rather questionable food decisions and absolutely zero planning. This is basically how my 6 day Easter went;

Paul: What are we doing for dinner later?

Me: Ummm, I don't know, what do you fancy?

Paul: Chippy?

Me: Yes please.

So I am back on the Weight Watchers and meal planning bandwagon today and hoping that my naughtiness won't refelct too poorly on the scales or my bank balance.

So here is my meal plan for this week...

Monday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Lentil and veggie soup and an apple - 5pp
Dinner: BBQ chicken thighs with new potatoes and greens - 16pp

Tuesday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Veggie pasta in homemade tomato sauce - 8pp
Dinner: My special fried rice (with leftover chicken) - 14pp

Wednesday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Leftover rice with extra veggies - 10pp
Dinner: Toad in the Hole with sweet potato mash and veggies. - 12pp

Thursday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Subway - 8pp
Dinner: Leftover Toad in the Hole with roasted new potatoes and veggies. - 12pp

Friday

Breakfast: 40g Porridge oats with unsweetened soya milk and fruit - 5pp
Lunch: Sushi - (not sure of the points yet)
Dinner: Pork loin with mashed potato and cauliflower cheese - 12pp

I have yet to plan the weekend, but I am away in leeds on Saturday and will be doing a roast dinner on Sunday.

It is amazing how in control I feel just by writing and pointing all of these options. Even if I do not stick to it 100%, or swap days around. At least I know I have these choices open to me.

I will be tweeting and instagramming my meals using the #WWfooddiary hashtag, as will my fellow ambassadors, so if you need a bit of inspiration, check it out.

I have entered my meal plan into Mrs M's linky.

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