Macaroni Cheese is probably one of my all time favourite meals and it is so easy to make! I add mustard to give it an extra kick…
- 400g macaroni pasta
- 180ml single cream
- 100g half fat crème fraîche
- 1tsp English mustard
- 200g half fat medium cheese, grated
- 4 slices cooked ham, cut in 1cm cubes
- 1tsp olive oil
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 1 pinch salt
Method to the madness
Fill a large saucepan with water. Add a splash of olive oil and bring to the boil. Add the dried macaroni and cook as per packet instructions. Once cooked, drain and set aside.
In a separate pan, add the single cream, English mustard and crème fraîche and slowly melt over a low heat.
Add most of the grated cheese to the cream mixture, reserving some for later, and stir until all the cheese is fully incorporated.
Add the chopped ham to the cream mixture and season with a pinch of salt and black pepper.
Mix the cooked hot macaroni pasta with the cream and ham mixture and place in an ovenproof dish.
Sprinkle some more grated cheese on top and place under a hot grill for 4–6 minutes until a golden crisp surface forms. Gobble up as quick as you can.
Yes I’m aware that the above just says ‘Rice’ but I didn’t know what to call this recipe and when in doubt saying it in French always makes it sound good…….
So this is a simple recipe to make and I’m going to be taking it into work for lunch as a welcome change from salad for a while. I’m allowed 50-75g of rice but as I’m just having it as a lunch meal I might take portions of 40g and have some fruit after
I made 2 different types - a fish and a meat but you can add whatever you want and it will work.
So the actual recipe…….
- 300g brown rice
- 1 red pepper
- 1 courgette
- Large handful of spinach
- 5 mushrooms
- Spring onion
- 1 large tomato
- 4 Sausages (meat version - chicken would work too)
- Tin of Anchovies (fish version - I had a tin in my cupboard but you could use any fish)
Method to the madness
So very easy really - boil the rice (remember brown rice takes longer!) Chop up all the veg and chuck it all together in a pan. If you are filling the dish out with meat pop your sausages under the grill. Roughly cut up some spinach and leave to one side.
Cook the vegetables until soft, drain the rice, and mix the 2 together. Chop up the sausages or fish and also stir in. Chuck in the spinach and season with salt and pepper.
See told you it was the easiest recipe I’ve ever posted. It’s very tasty though :) and it looks so colourful as well. I’m really looking forward to having this for lunch tomorrow!
(pink plate - fish option / green plate - meat option)
As a bonus here is a picture of me cooking - just because I thought I looked like I knew what I was doing in my apron….
· olive oil
· 1 finely chopped onion
· half a block of frozen ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
· 150g crumbled feta
· 100g chopped sundried tomatoes
· 1 tablespoon mixed herbs
· 4 eggs
· 175ml single cream
· cracked black pepper
Method to the Madness
Preheat oven to 200°C. Lightly grease a muffin pan with olive oil. Chop the onion place in a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat, cook for 3 minutes or until soft and translucent. Set aside to cool. Using a 8 circles to fit and line muffin holes with the pastry .
Combine the cooked onion, feta, sundried tomatoes and mixed herbs in a small bowl. Divide feta mixture between pastry shells.Place eggs and cream in a small bowl and whisk until well combined. Season with pepper. Pour over feta mixture until it’s all covered.
Bake for 20 minutes or until cooked through and golden.
These are so good served warm with a side salad. Leigh polished off 2 and asked for more! :)
So I thought I would document our whole moving/decorating process as it’s something I’ve always wanted to do. That is, to make a house a home. I know that we are still only renting so it isn’t all ours but the landlady has said we can do what we want so it’s close enough for me.
The first exciting part was trying to figure out my colour scheme. Unfortunately because I am in a relationship and there is only so far I can push his patience I cannot make my house pink and cream but I have tried to find colours which reflect my need for girlie whilst keeping it slightly muted.
The living room had horrible old carpet, yellow walls, blue borders, horrific furniture and even worse curtains.
But we pulled down the curtains and replaced them with chocolate ones. We also covered the wallpaper in white lining paper before painting it cream and adding ‘Chocolate Fondant’ to the fireplace. This ties in perfectly with our new brown corner sofa, which is so comfy and lovely. The landlady replaced all the carpet so we will have a really nice clean, neutral room now! Leigh practiced the art of wallpapering which he is now a pro at so the room looks great.
The kitchen is my favourite room of the house, and for me it was one of the selling points of, especially as there is a cat flap already installed in the back door. There was some quite kitsch wallpaper on the walls which I did contemplate keeping but the room does look quite tired and it really needed freshening up, like the whole house really.
We have painted the walls a very pale yellow, the paint is called ‘Citrus’ and the kitchen filled will all my things and with the dining room table and added bunting has made it a really bright room.
Out the back there is a little garden, or concrete plot, but although it’s small there are still two levels to it and room for a table and BBQ which is all we really want anyway. There is also a tree for Pumpkin to climb which she has already started doing now she is in the big wide world!
In the main bedroom the walls were blue with a yellow border, with a blue carpet and yellow curtains. Quite frankly it was a mess and in desperate need of a little bit of love.
We have now painted three of the walls ‘Dusted Damson’ and the back wall a rather shocking shade of ‘Grape’. It is very bright but an amazing feature wall and we are picking out the white of the skirting board by having a white bed, curtains, and wardrobe which should look quite striking. My parents bought me a bed and mattress as a house warming present which was a huge help. It’s lovely being able to buy our own furniture but it’s bloody expensive!
Top tip: Apparently you can buy beds on Amazon! Who knew! The whole room looks so much better now it’s done and it’s nice to wake up and think, I painted all of this!
Moving on to the bathroom which we like to call an en-suite, although it’s actually a shared. It very nearly put me off the house because you have to go through a bedroom to get to it but then we had a think and the majority of the time it is just going to be us and if people do come over then we can send them through the spare room/study. The room is a good size and the shower is really powerful which is fantastic because the shower in our place at the moment is appalling and we have been having baths for the last 2 years so I’m looking forward to that. There was blue wallpaper up which makes the room quite dark so we stripped that back and we are painted it white to make it seem brighter in there.
Walking into the spare room through the bathroom the walls are currently wallpapered magnolia so I think the whole room just needs a bit of fresh paint and a clean and it will look much better. We are going to make the room into a spare room/study so we will have a sofa bed in there and my bookcase has already taken pride of place.
The whole house now looks completely different, it took ALOT of hard work, most of which we probably shouldn’t have done ourselves but I just think, ‘We want to live here for a couple of years so we might as well make the effort’. I love coming home and I am so proud of us :)
• 2 tsp olive oil
• 2 medium leeks , thinly sliced
• 200g chestnut mushrooms , sliced
• 2 garlic cloves , crushed
• 300g wholewheat spaghetti
• 140g low-fat soft cheese (I used Philadelphia Light)
• 85g wafer-thin smoked ham , shredded
Method to the madness
Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Chop the leeks then chuck in the saucepan along with 2 tbsp water and some seasoning, Cook for 5 mins over a medium heat until softened. Add the mushrooms and garlic, then cook for 3 more mins. Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti according to pack instructions, then drain, reserving a little of the cooking liquid. I used wholemeal spaghetti which took a little longer to cook so keep this in mind.
Stir the soft cheese into the leek and mushroom mixture, adding enough of the reserved pasta liquid to give a sauce-like consistency. Add the ham, then toss in the spaghetti. I then seasoned with pepper once plated up.
This dish was so good Leigh asked if there was more!
2 lb (1 kg) red cabbage
1 lb (450 g) cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped small
1 lb (450 g) onions, chopped small
1 clove garlic, chopped very small
¼ level teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ level teaspoon ground cloves
3 level tablespoons brown sugar
3 tablespoons wine vinegar
½ oz (15 g) butter
Salt and black pepper
Method to the madness
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C).
First get rid of the outer leaves of the cabbage, cut it into quarters and remove the hard stalk. Then shred the rest of the cabbage finely, using your sharpest knife or food processor if you are feeling lazy. Then de-core and peel the cooking apples and chop the onion up.
Next in a large casserole, arrange a layer of shredded cabbage seasoned with salt and pepper, then a layer of chopped onions and apples with a sprinkling of garlic, spices and sugar. Continue with these alternate layers until everything is in. Now pour in the wine vinegar and lastly add dots of butter on the top.
Put a lid on the casserole and let it cook in the oven for 2-2½ hours, stirring everything around once or twice during the cooking. This seems to take forever but it is worth it! It will come out in a lovely smelling purple dish.
You can also freeze this so I’ve put portions into bags to defrost when I need them.
Guess what - my internet hasn’t been installed. I am having to submit posts at work and I can’t upload pictures here so I cant slot them into posts so there may be a delay in getting to see pictures of my new home :(
We will get there!
The last month of my life has felt so stressful, I’ve got myself into a right panic about things that I wouldn’t normally but it just felt like everything needed to happen at once. If it wasn’t work deadlines, it was decorating, or doing my essay, or packing. It just seemed never ending. It all got a bit better after my essay was in but I am so glad it’s all over.
Leigh and I took a couple of days off work and hired a van, after shopping around we managed to get one for 2days for £54 which was a brilliant deal (although we then had to pay £80 to refill the tank after we were done!) We had to get all over the country in 2 days so it was going to be tough but the company said that we could bring back the van Saturday morning instead of Friday night at 7pm if needs be. We needed to go to Bath and West Sussex in 2 days!
So we set off, Leigh getting used to the van driving quite quickly – we headed over to IKEA and managed to get there before they had even opened the ‘Marketplace’ so we grabbed a pastry and a cup of tea and then strolled round the show rooms. I love IKEA so much and I wish we had lots of money because I would of brought everything. Having said that we still managed to spend around £300 on all the bedroom furniture we needed plus a lovely cream throw :)
After we were done (which took longer than expected) we went back to the flat and started to move all the stuff into the van – the amount of STUFF we have! There just seemed to be so much. It took us a good couple of hours to pack the van up and we weren’t even done. We drove round to the new place and managed to throw everything out of the van in about 30min! By now it’s 4 o’clock which was when we were meant to be in Bath but instead we are trying to leave London at rush hour. We finally got to Bath at about 7pm, picked up the sofa, saw our new nephew William who was only born a month ago, stopped in for dinner at Leigh’s parents and then left again. We got back to London at 11.30pm and decided change the plans and not drop the sofa off at the house because it was so late.
Instead the following morning we packed everything else into the van which took hours! There were just lots of bits and pieces and bags everywhere. We lived on the first floor as well, so it was up and down the stairs which was knackering. Again running very behind we dropped the sofa and all of the STUFF (I dont think there is any other word for it) off at the house. Again it only took us about 30min to unpack the van because we were just able to chuck stuff in to deal with later. We finally set off to my parent’s house at about 1pm, several hours behind schedule and panicking because we wanted to drop the van off at 7.
Once at my parents we packed everything my brother had managed to get for us, a chest of drawers, dining and outdoor table, chairs for both, a bed, a mattress, hundreds of books and my best friend into the van and set off at 3. This gave us 4hours to get back to London, pick up the cat, unpack the van and drive it back over to Wembley. I still stand by the fact that we could of done it. We would have made it if we hadn’t tried to come back to London at 4pm on a Friday. Surely rush hour traffic is meant to go OUT of London not into it!!! It took us 3 hours to get back to London :( Our drop off time was never going to happen. So we slowed everything down after that. We got to the flat and packed up the last of the stuff, whizzed the Hoover around, picked up the cat and said goodbye to the flat. It’s been a good little home for the last 2 years, I got a bit upset actually because it was mine and Leigh’s first home together and that’s special. I headed to the van with the cat and Leigh locked up for the last time. I waved as we drove past and on to our future home.
Once we got to the house we unpacked everything else piling it into the living room and kitchen to be sorted with later and then we set about the task of trying to get the round dining room table through the front door. Leigh tried to unscrew the legs but they were stuck on (damn well made tables!) It was raining and cold so we abandoned the table in the front garden with the hope it would still be there the next day and we went inside to watch comic relief surrounded by boxes.
The original plan had been to make the bed up that night but we were so tired that we made up the mattress on the floor and slept there! Waking up the next morning Leigh went to take the van back while I started on the kitchen – it took me 6 hours to get everything unpacked! Once Leigh got back we tried the table again, taking the top off and the feet but it just would not fit. We even tried to get the front door off but it was stuck to the hinges. Then someone above taking pity on us sent round a very friendly neighbour who took the table into his own house and then roped the 3 houses between ours into passing the table across the garden fences and we finally got it in through the back door!
The whole weekend was spent unpacking and making the house look decent but we are finally there and I can come home and relax and not have to worry about a bloody thing.
I am not moving again for at least 5 years.
I have been so busy cleaning,packing and moving that I have had no time for blogging :(
I am writing a massive ‘cribs’ post though becaise we have done so much to our new home. Unfortunatly we dont have any internet for 10 DAYS! so its going to be delayed but I will get there eventually I promise.
Just made a to do list as long as my arm.
There are most definitely not enough hours in the day! Struggling to imagine that I will ever get everything done and I am so stressed out.
Still managing to find time to procrastinate and look at tablecloths for my new dining room table though.
There is so much to do in my life right now. There aren’t enough hours in the day I believe the saying goes.
Not only do I have to pack and decorate I have an essay due in 2 weeks so I have to try and allocate some time for that as well. Only that’s the one thing I don’t have.
I have tried to make a timetable but everything keeps changing so it’s hard to pin down when we will be able to get everything done. Luckily we have got a week between being able to move into the new place and moving out of the old so we can get most of the packing done then but the flat will have to be cleaned as well to pass our inspection to get the deposit back.
If I’m not stressing about cleaning, it’s Uni, or decorating, or finding money. Unfortunately all of this busy-ness is not helping me on my weight loss mission. Indeed it is having the opposite effect of making me want to eat lots of pasta and cheese which is my go to comfort food when I feel like crap.
So much to do!
Leigh bought me sunshiney flowers for valentines day ♥