Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

There are days when you need comfort food and there are few things as comforting as Cajun fried chicken, peppers, mushrooms, onions and pasta in a delicious creamy sauce. I cannot explain what a magical combination this is. It isn’t low calorie or particularly nutritious (veggies though!) but sometimes you don’t care about that and you want creamy pasta and fried chicken. This is for those days. Whilst not looking spectacular, trust me on this and just make it. Ok? Ok, good.

Cajun chic

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Bara Brith

In honour of St David’s day I decided to make a bara brith for the first time, inspired by having a Welsh best friend and Gingerbread Jenn posting a delightful recipe this week. I found a recipe on BBC good food and made a little tweak or two; I decided to use cardamom tea instead of black tea to add that extra spice (cardamom is such a lovely spice), gluten free flour and glaze it with honey. It was a touch crumblier because of the gluten free flour but it was still ridiculously delicious. I love a fruity tea loaf and this one is divine. Bara brith can be made as a yeasted loaf or with self-raising flour like here. I love that this is proper bowl and spoon recipe, I always like to make traditional recipes without fancy electric whisks because back in the day they didn’t have those things. Bara brith is traditionally served with a nice coating of butter. A quick word of warning, the fruit needs to soak overnight, so get it soaking now ready to make a bara brith on St David’s day morning!

Bara2

The recipe states 300g of dried fruit, what dried fruit is up to you though. I went for a mix of currants, raisins, sultanas, mixed peel and cherries. My favourite dried fruits are dried cranberries and dates, I’m already plotting a version using those and perhaps a more vegetable based fruity tea loaf batter. Watch this space!

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Baked Beans

I’m a huge advocate for home made, unprocessed, clean food. Whilst these are far from growing the beans and tomatoes yourself, they do have less rubbish in them than shop bought baked beans. They are also so much tastier! The sauce is a delicious, rich tomato sauce, equally as at home on your toast, with your English breakfast or on a baked potato with a little cheddar and a handful of kale (my lunch of choice every day this week and I have looked forward to it without fail). The great news is that they don’t even take that long to make. The recipe is one from my newest and treasured cook book ‘Deliciously Ella‘ by one of the queens of whole foods, Ella Woodward. The book comes out in a few days in the US, so any of you in the US, keep your eyes peeled!

Baked beans

Can I just talk about how tasty the sauce is again? I’m not a huge ketchup fan and always opted for baked beans to provide any kind of sauce with chips or breakfast. These baked beans though, it is a whole new level of delicious sauce for dipping your chips or sausages etc into. I will be making these regularly from now on, that’s for sure.

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Chocolate Orange Bundt Cake

It is no secret that I have a cake tin addiction and no tins quite compare to bundt tins, in my opinion. I also am a total chocoholic (since Valentine’s day I’ve eaten more than I have in years, oops!) and have a soft spot for chocolate orange; it was my hot chocolate flavour of choice this winter. I guess you could say that chocolate orange is ‘in’ this season. I had oranges that needed using up and I’d been wanting to make a chocolate cake using raw cacao instead of standard cocoa powder, to see how it compared (favourably!), hence why when I spotted this recipe for chocolate orange bundt cake on Tux’s blog Brooklyn Homemaker, I was TOTALLY sold. I have confessed before and I will do so again, I don’t really like chocolate cake. I love cake and I love chocolate but when combined, usually I’m not a fan. When I say chocolate cake, I mean chocolate sponge, serve up a gooey winning hearts and mind cake and my whole year will be made. I did enjoy this cake though, it perhaps wasn’t the richest chocolate cake in the world (probably too rich for some kids but I like very rich chocolate cakes) but the dark chocolate chips and orange glaze combined with the ridiculously light and fluffy chocolate sponge was a magical combination. It’s an adapted recipe by Joy the Baker, so I knew it’d be a goody (definitely going to have to make the original soon too).

CO bundt

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Spiced Winter Porridge with Carrot

I first saw this post on Joy the Baker’s blog and she found it in Whole Grain Mornings and adapted it slightly.I spotted the picture on Joy’s blog and thought it looked delicious, then I read the ingredients and got very excited! There are all my favourite spices in here (cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg) along with currants, brown sugar and carrots; I love sneaking vegetables into unsuspecting dishes, it’s a hobby of mine. What a heavenly combination of ingredients! I renamed it to spiced winter porridge because it just screams Christmas to me. James loved this porridge now and was a star for not even questioning why I was grating carrots to make breakfast. The real treat came when we had the leftovers for breakfast the next day, it tastes even better the next day, like lasagne but nothing like lasagne. I made a second double batch to last us the week, I can’t wait!

Carrot

It is gluten free and vegan friendly too! I adapted the recipe to use rolled oats and fresh ginger but ground ginger will be just fine too.

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Accessory Shelf D.I.Y

This post is a little different, it is my first D.I.Y post! When I have the time, I love crafting, sewing and generally making things. I’ve been trying to think of a way to tidy up my drawers that double as my dressing table; there were too many bottles of perfume, moisturisers on them and my jewellery box was always a tangle of necklaces. As such, in the mornings when I was rushing to get out the door, I never bothered trying to untangle them to wear one. I vowed to resolve this; I had a number of decorative ideas but we’re a little low on storage where we live so they’ll have to wait. In the mean time I’ve gone for something more functional, but I do also think it is quite an attractive feature. I got a drill for Christmas that I’d been itching to use, this was the perfect excuse.Ta da!

I completed the project in a day but it is very easily done in stages (I had a week off work in which I sorted out our flat and baked a lot of cakes). I actually put up two shelves but the other one was just a plain shelf. The perfumes and moisturisers live on that one.

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Pecan Praline Bundt Cake

So, this cake tin; I’ve been lusting after it for the longest time. Is that too weird? Pretend I didn’t say anything. Anyway, this cake tin is a thing of absolute beauty and after all thing hinting, James very kindly bought me it for Christmas. Since then it has been sitting on my shelf, looking gorgeous and waiting for a special occasion. I like to save the first time I use a cake tin for a ‘special’ occasion. That special occasion happened to be Valentine’s day; we ate so many delicious treats that day (always thankful calories don’t exist on Valentine’s day).  As much as we’d have liked to have eaten half of this cake each over the weekend, we cut it into sections and took some to work each. It swiftly went, to the sound of several yums.

Pecan bundt

It was far too dangerously good and this is one of the tastiest cakes I’ve made so far (probably because it was one of the most decadent, with cream cheese, sour cream AND butter). I had some salted caramel and brandy sauce from The Cotswold Pudding Company which I used as a glaze/drizzle but I’ll add a recipe for my favourite toffee sauce (brandy optional).

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