Sunday, 31 October 2010

Cooking With LouLou - Halloween Edition - Redone

When it comes to Halloween I really take it or leave it, I'm not big on dressing up as an adult, and skulls to be honest give the creeps, what I can get on board with though is Halloween food. Have a look on You Tube or on Pinterest and there are loads of spooky themed recipes for both sweet and savoury treats. I'm not sure I fancy spooky severed finger hot dogs though, so today I'm sharing one of my favourite Halloween recipes, and a recipe that I could literally eat every day of my life.

The first recipe is based on a recipe in one of my favourite vegetarian cookery books, Delia's Vegetarian Collection by the queen of TV cookery herself, Delia Smith. if you're a veggie and you haven't read it I thoroughly recommend this book that you track it down, I believe it's out of print now but I regularly use it and it features everything from soups, and stews, to main meals, and cakes and desserts.

For so many people carving a pumpkin is all about the art and for creating the most perfect Instagram approved pumpkin but I carve mine with the aim of extracting as much pumpkin flesh as possible. As pretty as they are Pumpkins are food, they're good for you and they should be eaten, so show it some respect extract the flesh, cook it and eat it - please don't throw it away! There are so many pumpkin recipes online but this one is a real winter warmer and it's so easy to make. 

Delia Smiths Pumpkin Soup With Toasted Sweetcorn

1lb 8oz (ish) Pumpkin or Butternut Squash Peeled, De seeded, de gunked, and roughly chopped
1 Can Sweetcorn (Drained)
2 Corn Cobs Stripped
1oz  Butter
1 tsp Butter
1 Onion Peeled and Roughly Chopped
1 Clove Garlic (optional)
A Sprinkle of Chili Flakes (optional)
275ml Milk
About 1.5 Litres of Vegetable Stock
Salt and Pepper To Taste

1. Add 1oz butter to a large pan (I am using a pressure cooker pan here) add the roughly chopped garlic and the onion - cook for about 5 minutes to soften

2. In the meantime strip one corn cob and open a tin of sweetcorn

3. When the onion is soft add the pumpkin to the pan I usually leave it for about 5 minutes till it starts to soften

4. Add the stripped corn cob and the can of sweetcorn bar 2 tbs to the pan -season and cook for about 10 minutes or so with a lid on till the vegetables start to soften (the pan will look quite full don't panic it will cook down)

5. Meanwhile prepare the stock

6. Add the stock to the pan, give it a quick stir and then pop the lid on for at least 20 minutes (this is pretty flexible I've left it for up to an hour and it's fine) then add the milk x

7. Make sure all the veg is soft then turn the pan off the heat for a little while - your going to blend it and you don't want to be too hot

8. Blend the soup to your preferred consistency - I use a stick blender which is easier for me but you could always carefully pour it into a blender

9. Once it's blended add the remaining 2tbs tinned sweetcorn for a bit of texture and return to a gentle heat

10. In the meantime strip the remaining corn cob and put the corn onto a baking tray sprinkle it with salt and pepper and the remaining teaspoon of butter and put it under a hot grill

11. Keep watching it as it will turn very quickly - you wanted it nice and toasted, but not too burnt - it sometimes pops a bit but it smells amazing like hot buttered popcorn

12. Check the seasoning on your soup - then serve with a spoonful of the toasted corn on the top

Hints and Tips 
* Delia uses all fresh corn but I find it a little tasteless and dry so I only use half and
half - For the toasted corn the fresh stuff works best but again I've used a combination of the two just make sure that you drain the canned stuff really well and pat it dry with a piece of kitchen paper
* Neither does she use the garlic or chilli but I think it gives a nice kick
* You needn't be too precious about quantities - add what you have soup for me isn't an exact science I used about 2/3 of the huge pumpkin that you can see above - if you have any spare pumpkin just throw it in and add some more stock - or blanch it and freeze it so you can make soup anytime you like
* This soup freezes really well (for up to a year in my experience and it will also keep for a few days in the fridge
* Obviously if your veggie like me use veggie stock but it would also work with chicken stock
* You can also use Butternut Squash but Pumpkins are plentiful at the mo and they may even be reduced tomorrow ;) What am I saying of course they won't be reduced - my local supermarket sold out days ago!

So that's what I do with my pumpkins but what about the seeds, well as you probably know you can eat them, but how do you get from the soggy, orange coated goop in the pumpkin to the things you buy in health food shops well this is how I do it - first of all wash the orange goo off, then put them in a bowl with some salted water overnight, next day drain them and dry them the best you can I usually wrap them in a tea towel and squeezy, next put them on a baking tray sprinkle with salt, and pepper, maybe add a bit of garlic salt or some chili flakes and a swig of olive oil and put them in a hot oven till they brown :)

You can take the seeds out of the kernels but there really isn't a need they are perfectly fine the way they are, they are a really nice snack :)

As well as my Pumpkin based treats I also made something I try not to make too often the reason being it's so addictive, you don't always fancy bread with soup, often in my case because some gluten free breads aren't that great but this is gorgeous with soup, with chili or even on it's own, and it's a good alternative to a cheese scone. From another fabulous vegetarian cookery book this time by the late Linda McCartney comes Spicy Mexican Cornbread from Linda's Summer Kitchen, again it appears to be out of print so I'm doing the honourable thing and I'm sharing my version of this fabulous recipe with you x

Spicy Mexican Corn Bread

1 Egg
2 tbs Olive Oil
1 tsp Chilli Flakes
6 oz (175g) Canned Sweetcorn (about a can, drained)
125ml Plain Yogurt
4oz (125g) Yellow Cornmeal (Polenta)
1 tsp Sea Salt
1 tsp Baking Powder
8oz (250g) Cheddar Cheese - grated, cubed or crumbled (reserve a little for your topping)

1. Put the cornmeal, salt, chili flakes, baking powder, cheese and sweetcorn into a large bowl and mix together

2. Crack your egg(s) into a jug, then add the yogurt, and the oil and mix well

3. Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and mix well till all the cornmeal is covered, you might need to add a bit more liquid I sometimes add an extra egg

4. Put your mix into a loaf tin I used my trusty silicone here, and sprinkle with a bit of cheese, then pop it into the oven at about 180°C/ Gas 4 for about 40 minutes till the top is browned

5. Serve slightly warm or cold, you can also heat it up for about 30 seconds or so in the microwave

Hints and Tips
* In the original recipe Linda McCartney uses 1/2 oz of fresh green chili and 125ml of Creme Fraiche but it works just as well as chili flakes and plain yogurt
* Cornmeal or Polenta is available in most major supermarkets (try the world foods section) and health food shops - you can can different textures so try them and see what you prefer I must say I prefer the a finely milled one for this recipe
* The original recipe uses cheddar but to be honest I have made this with what ever cheese I have in the fridge - here I've used Cheddar and a bit of Feta, but it works with pretty much anything you have Spicy Mexican Cheddar is particularly nice and so is Mozzarella especially when it's served warm :)
* This recipe is gluten free providing you check the cornmeal and the baking powder x
* Again the quantities can be altered - I've doubled the recipe here but it's pretty flexible
* As well as making it into a loaf you can also make into a tray bake, muffins or buns ;)
* It's best eaten within a couple of days and to be honest I've never tried freezing it because it never lasts that long in my house

So there you go my Halloween eats - they work perfectly together but they work just as well on their own x The Trick or Treaters have been a bit thin on the ground this year so hopefully there are lollies, and mini Mars Bars left x Hee Hee Happy Eating and Happy Halloween xx

Saturday, 30 October 2010

Lovea Bio L'Argan Healing Butter - A Review For My Pure x

The second product I chose to review for My Pure was another product by French brand Lovea Bio. I've done a few reviews from this brand so far and apart from a few quirks I've generally been quite impressed. Lovea as you probably already know are a certified organic brand who respect not only the wider environment but also the people within it, they are a real feel good company.

The product I chose this time was the Lovea Bio L'Argan Healing Butter, as well as containing Argan Oil, it also contains popular, natural moisturising ingredients such as Sunflower Seed Oil and Beeswax

I'll start at the first thing you notice this product and that is the packaging - I have to say I love it, an old fashioned shoe polish style metal tin - so retro and I have to say it looks great on the bathroom shelf.

I selected this sample as a body butter but in reality it has much more of a balm, wax type texture as opposed to the traditional butter feel.

With a waxy balm texture it feels quite thick and greasy initially but it melts quickly on contact with the skin and applies easily to the skin. It does take a while to sink in and it does leave the skin a little tacky but it leaves a lovely sheen to the skin, and leaves it fragranced with the traditional citrus, nutty Lovea fragrance

Recommended for the drier areas on your body such as your feet, elbows and knees, I have to say after my holidays I used this all over my arms and legs to try and keep my tan a bit longer, but before hand I used this as an intensive foot treatment, wearing cotton socks and as an intensive hand and cuticle treatment, putting it on my hands and then wearing some gloves overnight.

I have to say I've used this a fair few times and as you can see there is loads left in the 100ml tin. If you just used it say as a hand and foot treatment it would of course last must longer because you really don't need very much to see results.

The only drawback is a say is that it does leave the skin a little tacky, but Lovea and My Pure do recommend that you apply this after a bath or shower, I am sure putting on a pair of cozy pyjamas after a nice bath would help you to see the maximum benefit of the butter, without worry about the residue on the skin. The Lovea Bio L'Argan Healing Butter retails at £7.99 for 100ml from My Pure Any questions please ask x

(The product was provided for review purposes - this hasn't altered my review in any way)

Outfit and Face Of The Night,and A Bit Of Crafting - Pic Heavy x

Last night I headed off to my Godmothers 80th birthday party :) I had a lovely family evening that just makes you appreciate what you've got :) I took quite a few pics of my make up and my outfit and also of a few cards I made for her - First up cards - I love making cards and scrapbooking but I have to say it's something I haven't been showing as much love lately as I should, still I've made a couple this week and it will soon be Christmas :)

I used a few QVC kits here including a fabulous one by a company called Kanban - as well as the perfume bottles, you also get some shoe and handbag embellishments, card and  papers, so me and so cute and a really good quality kit :)

OK the outfit, embracing a bit of animal print and plain black, I went for this little combination, including my new clutch bag from Dorothy Perkins - just as well I was indoors tho the weather last night was awful really, really cold and windy. - Excuse the mess behind me eek

Yesterday I Wore

Black Jersey Dress - La Redoute
Animal Print Jersey Cardigan - ASOS
Brass Ring Necklace and Bracelet - Made
Black Opaque Tights - George at Asda
Animal Print Ballet Pumps - Primark
Black Clutch Bag - Dorothy Perkins
Black Silky Parka - Primark } Not Seen But
Animal Print Scarf - Bought in Cyprus }Worn Outside

OK Make Up - bit boring a naked eye a bit of liner and mascara, pale lips and lots of shimmer almost a la Edward Cullen I have to say tho it didn't look half as bad irl lol :)

Today I Wore

Models Prefer Light Diffusing Foundation - Medium
No7 Trio Concealer - Darkest Shade Only
Laura Geller Balance n Brighten - Regular (to set)
ELF Studio Blusher - Peachykeen
Prestige Mineral Bronzing Powder - Pure Shimmer
Urban Decay Eyeshadows - Sidecar, Darkhorse and Virgin
Urban Decay 24/7 Eye Pencil - Zero
Bourjois Coupe de Theatre 2 in 1 Mascara - 51 Noir Exceptionnel
YSL Rouge Volupte - No1
Revlon Lipgloss - 150 Peach Petal (added later)

Any questions on anything please let me know xx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

It's Time To Say Goodbye

Putting on a bit of slap this morning I finally realised that the end was near for two of my favourite make up items. Whether we like it or not liquids, creams and mousses just don't last as long as we would like, and sometimes you just have to admit defeat. So today I bid farewell to two of my favourite products, a Stila Mousse Eyeshadow in Honey which is drying out and applied this morning like a flaky mess, and a MAC Lipglass in Gold Charm - a long discontinued colour that to be honest taste more like a plastics factory now and has the texture of congealed glitter :( Never mind at least I can use that one as a Back 2 MAC but it makes you think doesn't it I used the lipgloss sparingly trying to save it for best, it's not worth it, use your favourite things everyday to make you day a little brighter -  a lesson learned me thinks x

Alva Coleur Organic Baked Foundation Powder - A Review For My Pure*

Well it's that time of the month again, no not that time tut tut, it's time for the first of my My Pure reviews. September was the first month where we could pick the products from the site that we wanted to review, so if there is anything from the site you'd like to see me review please let me know.
Anyways on with the review, the first item I picked for my September / October review was a make up product. I've recently talked to an increasing number of people who are looking towards trying out more "natural"  based make up products. My Pure offers an array of natural and organic make up brands including Alva. Established in Germany in 1988 as predominantly a skincare brands, they've recently branched out into natural and certified organic based make up, which is also Vegan, and both talc and carmine free. All the Alva Coleur make up products also include a exclusive complex called Wellmune, a patented beta glucane that aids the immune system making their cosmetics suitable for those with sensitive skin conditions including eczema and dermatitis.

The product that I chose was the Alva Coleur Organic Baked Foundation Powder in Light. Packaged in a shiny black compact with a mirror and a separate section for the sponge, this powder is a similar product to the MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural, a baked, domed powder which you can use either on it's own or over a liquid foundation

As well as the patented Wellmune formula the powder also contains extracts of Evening Primrose. Red Grapevine, and Macadamia Nut Oil.

The first thing I noticed about this product was the smell - it has a nutty creamy smell almost a bit like cocoa butter - it was quite distinctive but not unpleasant but it did have a tendency to linger on the skin

Like a lot of baked powders you do need to scrape a tiny bit off the top to really access the powder properly but when you do it has a light texture that isn't as powdery as some I've tried - you have a choice of 2 colours I chose the lightest which is surprisingly enough called Light, and there is also a Medium shade -  it's a pretty good match to my skin normally but I have a tan here so hopefully you'll be able to see it a bit better

Hopefully as you can see it isn't a completely matte texture it does have a slight bit of sheen to it which unfortunately does tend to emphasize your pores a bit.

Although it does come with a velour puff I found it much easier to apply it with a kabuki brush. The velour puff didn't seem to grab enough powder compared to the buffing action I used with the kabuki.

Now a few first of all a scary, no make up picture :)

Afterwards with just the powder foundation , the redness has pretty much gone and the skin tone is much approved

This picture was taken the following day and shows the powder used to set a liquid foundation, again a decent coverage and you can probably see a little bit more of the glowy finish here

So what do I think well this is certainly a decent product, as with a lot of baked products it takes a little bit of perseverance to get it going but the coverage is good and I actually like the fact that it isn't as powdery as some, I also don't mind the smell, what I am not so keen on is the eventual finish. If your like me and you like a true matte finish this probably isn't for you, despite been described by both Alva and My Pure as a matte finish I do find it a bit glowy and sheeny, this isn't a bad thing but it does tend the emphasise the pores a bit. This is one of my first forays into natural make up and based on this it certainly won't be my last.  Any questions please ask.The Alva Coleur Organic Baked Foundation Powder retails at £18.50 for 9g from My Pure.


Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Jewellery and Clothing Goodies From ASOS and A Fellow Blogger

Hey my loves as I promised a more cheerful post - a haul :) I've had a few parcels so far this week and a few disappointments with certain companies grrr never mind first up a beautiful parcel from a beautiful lady

Beautifully packaged in cute mesh bags and with fairy confetti I bought a few bits of handmade jewellery from the lovely Dainty Dollymix :) Apologies for the poor pics they are much more beautiful in real life - damn you autumnal light. First up earrings I love the little rose style of earrings and these are the lilac ones :)

and this gorgeous little envelope pendant and chain, I've wanted something like this for a while and this was cute and affordable x

Thank you so much Sinead I am so happy with the things that I ordered - If you have checked out her jewellery yet please have a look xx

I also got a few parcels from ASOS, I don't know what has gone wrong with ASOS at the moment but I have had 3 separate problems in less than 2 weeks - first of all I received an email telling me my parcel was delayed fair enough they gave my a discount code which I decided to use on a few Christmas gifts, I placed an order only for them to cancel one of the items, and then this morning I received one parcel only to find my order is coming in several parcels - grr sort it out ASOS

Anyways what did I get first of all I have to say all my pics are taken from ASOS, the autumnal light is playing havoc with my pics - first up a jersey animal print cardigan I am loving animal print at the moment and this will be great over plain black :)

Next up more jewellery first up a few bits from the sale including this Kitson Love pendant on a red cord

and this L charm pendant

and also this silver beaten hoop necklace - this is much bigger than I thought it would be - a real statement piece

and finally this Mirabelle necklace which alas wasn't on sale but I have been hankering after if for a while :)
So there you have it another haul :) I have a couple more to come before my spending diet resumes next month so I'll keep you posted - next up a review xx