24 November 2013

Pumpkin Pie

Before making this pumpkin pie I had never even tasted it. I wanted to make it purely to try it, and it turned out I really like it. Pumpkin pie is very popular in America but in this country it seems very few people have tried it. When asked what it tasted like I've described it as a cross between an egg custard tart and carrot cake...sounds strange, but trust me when I say it's good and you should at least try it! It is a very seasonal treat for Autumn and especially around Halloween when we see so many pumpkins around. If you don't go to the effort of making your own shortcrust pastry, this is very quick and easy to put together.

You will need:

400g Ready-made Shortcrust Pastry
425g Tin of Pumpkin Puree
340g Evaporated Milk
2 Eggs
¾ cup Granulated Sugar
1 ½ tsp Cinnamon
¾ tsp Ground Ginger
tsp Ground Nutmeg
tsp Ground Allspice


Preheat your oven to 220 C. Start by lightly greasing a 9-inch tart tin. Dust flour over a clean work surface and roll out the pastry in a circular shape until it is about half a cm thick. Wrap the sheet of pastry around your rolling pin and use it to lift the pastry onto the tin. Lower the pastry into the sides of the tin without stretching it and lightly press into the corners. Trim any excess pastry off leaving about 2 cm around the edge. Fold the edge back on itself. Using a fork, carefully prick the pastry on the base of the tin.
In a large mixing bowl measure out all of the remaining ingredients. Using a hand or electric whisk, mix all the ingredients together. Pour the mixture into the pastry lined tin, leaving about cm gap at the top of the pastry. (I had a small amount of pastry and a small amount of filling left, so if you have a small tartlet tin you can make a mini pie with the leftover.)
Put the pie into the oven. After 15 minutes turn the temperature down to 175 C. Leave the pie in the oven for a further 50-55 minutes. The filling should still be wobbly when it is done. Take it out of the oven and leave to cool completely before taking it out of the tin. Store in the fridge, as it is best eaten chilled.

8 November 2013

The Beauty of Going for a Walk

I have many memories of going on walks with my family. It was something we often did. Something to get us out the house, get some fresh air and blow the cobwebs away. Maybe it was something to wear us out when we were young and full of energy, and something free that we could all do together.
More often than not we wouldn't even get in the the car. We would simply walk out the front door and see which direction took our fancy.
I remember walking to primary school. There was a few others from the village that also did and we would sometimes be all walking together. Even though it was at least a half an hour walk, only the rain or lack of time would stop us. In the Summer we would enjoy the walk more, playing and chasing each other on the way home. I remember the steep hill we had to walk on the way out of the village and the many times that I fell and injured my knee. In the Autumn we would collect conkers and play with them in the school playground.
I remember many of the walks we took as a family to Meanporth beach. I specifically remember the time when my Dad taught me how to whistle. He spent the whole way there showing me with persistence how to shape my lips and blow, demonstrating himself, until I finally mastered it. I then spent the whole way back whistling, so pleased with my achievement. 

When we got a dog, I would walk him to the beach with my Dad almost every day of the week. I would love running across the beach with Sam, chasing him and throwing sticks.
On a cold windy day we would often get wrapped up warm and walk along the cliffs, or drive to kennack or cadgwith and take a walk through the woods. We would appreciate our nice warm house all the more when we returned.
If I ever needed time to think. If life ever felt like it was getting too much. If I just need time alone. I would take myself out for walk, usually with Sam, to the top of the cliffs. I would sit on a bench up the there looking out to sea, listening to nothing but the wind and waves, and the thoughts in my head.
It didn't even matter if it was wet outside. We would dress up in waterproofs and embrace whatever the weather was. 

In the autumn our walks would often take us blackberry picking. This was something me, James and Dad normally did and then Mum would make a lovely apple and blackberry crumble with our pickings. On cold days we would sometimes stop to get a hot drink from a cafe on the way back.

I've realised I don't go on walks hardly at all anymore. Where I live now is quite different to the cliffs and valleys and beaches of Cornwall. I had lived in Cornwall my whole life and so knew the place well. I knew all the places to go on a day out, all the beaches along the coast, all the footpaths we could walk along. There's certainly advantages to where I'm living now but there's also many thing I miss in Cornwall. I suppose after time, and a lot of exploring the area we will get to know the place we live now better.

1 October 2013

Back to University

Please forgive the lack of posts this month, I plan on getting back on schedule by the end of this week. I started back at university on the 19th of this month and the following weekend my Mum came to stay with us for 3 nights, so I've been a little busy.
It's really good to be back at University. After such a long summer holiday it's nice to be busy again and to get back into a routine. It did feel strange going to lectures again though as it'd been about 5 months since the last one. It was pretty horrible weather on the first day back and I got soaked, so I really hope it's not going to be like that all winter!
It was really great to see Mum, even if it wasn't for long. I'd been missing Cornwall and my family over the summer, especially as living so far away I don't get to go back often. The first afternoon I showed her around where we live here in Seaford. On the Saturday we spent the day in Brighton doing all the typical touristy things, and the day after we visited Eastbourne.

After a full week back at University, me and Michael realised that it's going to be harder to get days off together with his shifts being different every week and me mostly just getting the weekends off. So we took the chance last Sunday to have a day out together. We went to the Sealife Centre in Brighton as we had a 2 for 1 voucher to use. I really enjoyed our day together, and looking at all the animals in the aquarium. We took a lot of photos but it was hard to get any good ones with such low lighting.

After visiting the aquarium we brought doughnuts from the pier before heading home. We ordered chinese for dinner and watched a movie. I really do look forward to the the days we have off together, or even the time we spend together everyday.

9 September 2013


You will need :

About 4 Ready-Made Filo Pastry Sheets
65g Pistashio Kernels
65g Walnuts
40g Soft Light Brown Sugar

 ½ tsp Ground Cinnamon 
¼ tsp Ground Nutmeg

For the syrup:  
225g Granlulated Sugar
150ml Water
Juice and Zest of 1/2 an Orange


Chop the nuts up to a coarse texture. (I did this by putting them in a plastic food bag and using a large knife to chop them, although it would be easier to use a food processor if you have one.)
In a bowl, mix the nuts with the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
Cut the filo pastry into rectangles about 20cm x 25cm (or a similar area to fit the baking tray you are using). Lay the first piece on a baking tray. Brush with melted butter before placing the next piece on top. Repeat until you have 4 layers of filo pastry. Spread the nut mixture over the filo base. Cover with a piece of filo pastry, and brush with the melted butter. Repeat until the top layer has 6 layers of filo pastry. Make sure the top is well brushed with melted butter and then cut a diamond pattern through the top layer of pastry. Bake in a preheated oven at 180 C for 20-25 mins or until the top is golden in colour.

Meanwhile, prepare the syrup. Put the sugar, water orange juice and zest into a saucepan. Heat gently while stirring until all the sugar has dissolved. Continue to simmer until the mixture becomes thicker in consistency, much like a runny syrup (it will become more syrup like when it cools down). This may take up to 20 minutes.

Let the baklava cool for 5 minutes after taking it out of the oven and then pour the syrup over the top, making sure to cover it evenly. Leave until it has completely cooled down before cutting into individual pieces.

1 September 2013

Brownie Cheesecake Bites

Makes 14

You will need:

225g Unsalted Butter
100g Dark Chocolate (broken into small pieces)
2 Eggs
225g Caster Sugar
½ tsp Vanilla Extract
Pinch of Salt
1 tbsp Cocoa Powder
100g Plain Flour

For the cheesecake topping:
85g Cream Cheese
1 Egg Yolk
1 ½ tbsp Caster Sugar


Prepare a cupcake tray with 14 cupcake cases and preheat the oven to 180 C.
Place the butter and the chocolate into a microwaveable bowl and put in the microwave for 30 seconds. Stir well and replace in the microwave for short periods of time, stirring in between, until the chocolate has just melted completely.
In a seperate bowl, beat together the eggs and sugar using a manual or electric whisk.
Slowly mix the melted chocolate into the sugar and eggs mixture. Finally add the salt, cocoa powder and flour and stir until it is all combined.
Divide the mixture between the 14 cupcake cases.
Beat the egg yolk, sugar and cream cheese together. Divide this mixture between the cupcake cases placing a small spoonful on the top of each.
Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes.

24 August 2013

Spring Onion, Feta and Chorizo Couscous

This couscous salad is very simple to put together and is great as a lunch or light meal. The different flavours and textures work well together and I love how the oils from the chorizo give the couscous so much flavour.

Serves 1

You will need:

50g couscous

Equal volume of hot chicken stock

5cm of chorizo sausage, cut into small chunks

2 spring onions, sliced

2 slices of feta cheese, broken into small pieces


Put the couscous and the chicken stock into a bowl (can be the one used to serve). Stir once to make sure all the couscous is emersed in the stock and leave completely for 5 minutes.
Add the chorizo to a medium/hot frying pan while the couscous is soaking to release the oils.
Stir the couscous with a fork to fluff it up. Add the chorizo with all the oils from the frying pan, stir to combine. Finally add the spring onions and feta cheese to the mixture and stir once again to combine.
Serve immediately while warm.

17 August 2013

Brown Rice and Chorizo Stuffed Pepper

Serves 1

You will need:

1 red pepper

35g brown rice, cooked according to the packet instructions

1/2 a small onion, diced

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

5cm of chorizo sausage, cut into small chunks

small amount of grated cheese, cheddar or parmesan

olive oil 


Start by preparing the pepper. Trim the very bottom of the pepper, just enough so that it will stand upright. Cut around the sides of the pepper near the top and pull out the center removing all the seeds. (Chop up any pepper leftover from what was cut of the top and bottom of the pepper and add to the filling.) Remove any of the white membrane from the inside of the pepper. Put the pepper on a non-stick baking sheet ready to be filled.
 Heat a small amount of olive oil in a frying pan. Add the onion and garlic and cook until soft. Add the chorizo, chopped red pepper and cook for a further 3-5 minutes before adding the rice. 
Make sure to mix all the ingredients in the filling well and then stuff the pepper until it is mounded slightly on the top (it will shrink down a little while cooking). 
Place in a preheated oven at 180 C for 30 minutes. Serve immediately and enjoy while hot.

9 August 2013

Strawberry Smoothie

During the summer months I've been really enjoying all the fresh fruit that's now in season. We were given a lot of homegrown strawberries by our neighbor and a smoothie was the perfect way of using up the not so good or overly ripe looking ones. I find that a smoothie is the perfect refreshing drink on a hot summer day, and they're so easy to make.

Serves 1

You will need:

1/2 a banana

handful of strawberries

1/2 cup of almond milk


Blend all the ingredients in a smoothie maker or using a hand blender. Serve in a glass and enjoy. It's that simple!

I like to put the smoothie into the freezer for a short while to making sure it's nice and cold before drinking.

5 August 2013

July Favourites

We've had a heatwave over the past month here in England. It's been super hot but I've not been out much. I'd never tried any kind of fake tan product before but thought I'd give this Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion a try to add a bit of colour to my skin. I really like the colour it gives to my skin as it looks completely natural and slightly tanned.
On my face I've been using the Maybelline Dream Fresh BB Cream everyday as a base. It blends in seamlessly to my skin, and although this is the lightest colour it adds a slight warmth to my skin. To give my face a sun-kissed look I've been using the Rimmel Natural Bronzer in the shade '022 Sun Bronze' on the high points of my face where I would naturally tan.
Sticking with the bronzed theme I've often been reaching for my Maybelline Color Tattoo in 'On and On Bronze' to sweep all over the lid and blended out at the edges. Also, almost everyday of the month, I've been using the Rimmel Scandel Eyes Waterproof Kohl Kajal to line the upper and lower waterlines.

Songs of the Month:

4 May 2013

Always make the effort...

I think it's important that we always make the effort in every part of our life. It could be anything; our education, our job, our relationship, our goals. If we always know that we tried, did our best and put effort into everything we do we can never feel guilty about the outcome.
It's not easy to put the effort in all the time, not unless you really want something and are motivated. We feel guilty when we know we could have done better. I feel that way about many things, but I know there's no one to blame but myself.
It also goes that if you're going to do something you should do it well. If you choose to help some one you shouldn't do it half-heartedly, you should show someone that your happy and willing to help. If your working for someone, doing a job, you should be the very best of whatever that role is that you can be. If your in a relationship and you love someone you should never stop showing them that. If you've got a goal to achieve something, it's up to you put the work in to getting to your goal.

19 March 2013

Daily Diary: 18th March

This morning seems like such a long time ago. It felt like more than a day had passed between the time I said goodbye to Michael this morning and the time we spoke on skype later tonight. Last night was so short it feels like just a dream, but an amazing one at that. I miss him already. It was like as soon as I realised he was actually here, he was gone again.
I can't wait until next week. Twelve days together is going to be unbelievable. It'll be great to show Michael the places where I grew up and where I love most.

11 March 2013

Daily Diary: 11th March

Most days are pretty similar; get up, go to lectures or labs, come back to my room, attempt to get some work done, make myself some dinner, spend far to much time on the internet and watching youtube videos/tv programmes...and the part I spend all day looking forward to, talking to Michael on skype. Those days, for the most part, are quite boring. At a later date I won't remember anything specific about what happened. It takes something special to make a day memorable. I remember everyday me and Michael have spent together. Each and every one of those days was special, more than special but I can't think of a word.
He came to stay this weekend. It was special for no more than the reason that we were together. He left this morning and tonight we were back to talking on skype. It doesn't feel right, we should be together. I can't wait until the day that we do move in together and can be with each other everyday.

Not as good as it looked on the plate (as this was leftover), but this is what Michael made on Saturday. Minted lamb courgettes, with potato dauphinoise.

5 March 2013

Daily Diary: 5th March

Though it did not last long enough, I slept well last night. I slept peacefully, happy, with so much hope for the future. With Michael, we've talked about our hopes and dreams and made plans for the future. The way we talk about these things and both want the same things gives me hope that one day they can happen, that our dreams can come true.
It was a bit bright outside walking to my lecture this morning. It was also quite possibly warm enough for me not to have been wearing my scarf, although I think that's just habit. The weather's lovely today and I hope it continues until the weekend. It does seem a shame that i'm spending the day sat in lecture theatres.
My favourite subject that we're currently studying at University is cell biology. It's been interesting learning about the various organelles within the cell and the processes going on. When I turned up to the lecture this morning and found out it was a lecture on photosynthesis I instantly lost interest.
We unfortunately had the same lecturer talking about a similar topic for the next lecture. He put on the slide show of the presentation but found the writing was a faded grey colour that we couldn't read. He then went to change this but didn't know how to get out of the slideshow. The only thing it seemed he knew how to do on the computer was to press 'Ctrl' + 'Alt' + 'delete'. So the next 5 minutes were wasted waiting for the lecturer to work out how to use a computer.

1 March 2013

Daily Diary: March 1st

Michael, my boyfriend, came to stay with me last night. It was short but sweet, and i'm so happy that I didn't have to wait another week to see him again.
He didn't arrive until around half past seven last night. It wasn't until a couple of hours later that we decided that getting something to eat was a good idea. Michael made a sausage casserole using what little food I have stocked in the kitchen. I tried to help out where I could and it turned out tasting very good. Whilst it was cooking in the oven we went down to Asda quickly to get ingredients for dessert, also made by Michael. Both were very filling and I couldn't eat that much.

Sausage Casserole...tasted very good!

Shortbread, mascarpone cheese, honey and blueberries...yummy dessert!

 It was a late and sleepless night, but I didn't mind as I got to spend the night laying beside the person I love more than I can believe. When the alarms started going off in the morning I spent about an hour trying to get Michael to wake up and get out of bed. The last thing I wanted was for him to leave but I knew he had to. The worst part is saying goodbye, I hate it. I spend the following days missing him and looking forward to the next time that we see each other.
Right now i'm in a lecture on metabolism. So far the lecturer has spent the first 20 minutes repeating the second half of the last lecture. Then he's just amazed me by including photos in his presentation slides! Usually it's just black writing on white slides...boring!

25 February 2013

Daily Diary: 25th February

I lay in bed this morning debating whether to drag myself out of bed to go to a 9am lecture or get the extra couple of hours sleep I really wanted. I got up. I went to the lecture. It was definitely not worth it!
When pretty much all a lecturer does is to read out what is written on the presentation slides you just think what was the point. I could quite easily sit at home and read a presentation, I don't need them to do that for me.
Then had to go for another blood test this morning. Fourth one in three weeks, starting to get fed up of them.
Made myself a very nice toasted cheese and ham sandwich for lunch, so good I wanted another, before heading out to the next lecture.
After the lecture a couple of my class mates were talking about the various states of falling asleep during a lecture. I could totally relate as very often it's me who feels like that, but for some reason I was quite awake and actually paying attention today. I even made some decent lecture notes for a change!
We then had a lab, which seemed to go on forever but in fact only lasted 3 hours.
Now my feet ache and I really can't be bothered to do any more work. I have to though.

19 January 2013

My Thoughts on The New Year

It's the start of another new year, 2013...that sounds strange. I had the most wonderful start to the year, and I really hope the rest of the year continues to be just as amazing.

Although I believe that if there's something you want to change about yourself, your life, then there's no better time to make that change than right there and then. You can give yourself a fresh start at any time, start over. Every day is a new day, another chance to make that day and everyday after better than the ones before. Even though I think this, I do also think that the new year is a good time to reflect on the previous year and think about what you would like to achieve and improve on in the following year to come. Which is why I wanted to use it as an opportunity to write about the things I would like to do this year.

Put more time and effort into my studies at University.
I want to do well and get a good degree from going to University. In the long term it will make it easier to get to where I want to be in life, what I want to do. I find it hard to be motivated sometimes and don't always enjoy doing the work even though the topics being studied may be interesting. I know the work has got to be done, but I always get distracted far too easily and end up doing other things. So simply for my own benefit, I would like to put more time and effort into my studies so that I can do the best that is possible from me and I know I will pleased with myself if I do.

Don't be so lazy and be more organised.
 Sometimes I feel like I'm far too lazy, which is not a good thing! I want to be more motivated, do things there and then not keep putting things off. This means being more productive, using my time better, not thinking "I'll do it later" but get things done now. I would also like to be more organised. Not just as in keeping my notes organised so I can find everything...I'd like to think I do that pretty well already, but a more organised life. Making plans and sticking to them, that way I would get a lot more done.

Make healthier choices and cook more.
Quite simply, I would like my diet to be healthier. One thing I would like to do is to try and incorporate more vegetables into the meals I make. I would also like to to aim for three proper meals a day and less snacking. I would like to try out some new and different recipes and for most of my meals, to make everything homemade. I used to not buy any cakes, biscuits or desserts and just make them myself. I would like to do this again as it normally works out cheaper and healthier.

Experience new things.
This is something I want to do a lot more of this year. Doing things I've never done before, going to places I've never been, meeting new people, trying foods I've never eaten before, learning new things...experiences, creating memories. I'd love to travel, see another country, another culture. Do a lot more of what I love, maybe find new things I enjoy and love. I'd like to have a lot more moments which make me just think...wow.

Read more.
Reading is something I remember always enjoying. Reading fiction books for pleasure, quotes to inspire, a factual article which interests me and makes me think about something. Reading can teach you something new, take you to another time, another world, inspire you, make you feel something. For all these reasons, I would like to get back into reading and read more often in my spare time.

Write more.
I've always written a lot. When I was little I loved writing stories, I remember they would go on forever and never have an ending, I would just write and continue the story as I imagined it. Then throughout most of my teenage years I loved to write song lyrics. I would write them about anything, things I dreamed of, feelings I had, things that had happened. I have whole notebooks just full of songs I've written. Then last year I started writing this blog and found that I loved writing about anything, my life, my thoughts on things, experiences. I would love to write more. It's a way I can be creative and express myself.

Take more photos.
If you knew me well, you'd probably think I'm crazy to say this, that I already take too many photos. Recently though I've been taking hardly any, in fact my camera is quite rarely used nowadays. I used to take a lot and really enjoyed it so I would like to get back into it. I'd like more to look back on, just for the memories. I'd like to get some more photos printed and create another album. I'd also like to take some more of those photos I can just be creative with and proud of for how they look.

I know that changes don't happen overnight and it's unreasonable to think these things can happen instantly, but I am going to try to work towards doing these things over time.