What’s in my handbag?

Hiya huns! How’s your weekend been? Mine has been quite outdoorsy for a change. It’s been really sunny and warm which I think is a little bit weird for the UK nearing the end of October; considering it’s usually a bit colder and wetter around about this time!

I thought for today’s post I would share an absolute blogger favourite AND blogger basic. It’s almost like a rite of passage to bloggerhood to post the notorious ‘what’s in my handbag’ post.I fancied throwing it back to my old blog days with engaging in more tag posts and more personal posts so you can get a chance to get to know a little bit more about me. Or if you want to mug me in the not so distant future, think of this as a preview or what you could have won.

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For my everyday handbag I actually have a backpack from H&M I purchased last year. I like a handbag or a shoulder bag but sometimes I find that it makes my arms and shoulder really ache whereas I can just shove all my stuff in a backpack and carry it with ease. So many shops have such funky types these days. Especially ones that really don’t look like you’re about to hike up Everest which is always a massive plus.

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Aside from the loose change, endless wrappers, hairbands and receipts stashed in my bag I nearly always carry these items. I always like to make sure I’ve got paper, in the form of this lovely red leather bound notebook I picked up in TK Maxx last year and a pen. It’s so useful if I need to write a list or if I need to remember something. I mean a pen and paper are always going to be handy?! I always carry a pair of sunglasses with me as you never know when you might need some shades!

I’ve got a River Island tapestry style purse that I purchased YEARS ago actually. I like it because the pattern is a bit different and it’s actually reaally big with a clasped section one side and a card holdeer on the flap as well as a big coin section.

I carry some perfume at the moment I’ve got Paco Rabanne Black XS. It’s quite a sweet, fruity and floral scent you can wear either day or night so it’s perfect for any occasion.

I think it’s always super handy to keep a little pot of Nivea’s all purpose body creme. I love the smell it always reminds me of my Mum. Plus it’s great to use as a hand cream, to feel a bit fresher or even in the colder months to dab onto skin to avoid it drying out.

I’ve pretty much always got a couple of lipsticks floating around the bottom of my bag usually in nude tones and a pair of earphones.

Lastly, and probably most weirdly. I carry dog kibble. I have a dog and I think I must have left them in their from when I take him out on his walkies. I always carry them with me now, luckily they don’t make my bag smell!

What are your essentials you always carry with you?

MUCH LOVE. X

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Blogtober day 19.

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Hiyaaaaa can you actually believe it is it day 19 of Blogtober and I haven’t forgotten/given up/been blocked by the whole entire Internet for constantly rabbiting on, on here. I’m not going to lie, there have been occasions where I’ve come close, overcome with the thought of what am I ACTUALLY doing this for, all it’s doing is clogging your reader page and probably annoying you. Plus I’d usually get way too deep into the thoughts of why I’m actually blogging and whether it’ll ever really pay off for me or whether I am just genuinely wasting my spare time by talking about cake and cheese on the internet. The latter is a thought I try and quash quite regularly just in case it’s the truer of the two options.

I was hoping to use this month or Blogtober debacle to showcase my writing, my skillz and impress you all with some thought provoking, good fun, good humoured content that would result in at least 5 Pulitzer prizes. It’s built in my very core to aim high even if I’ll spectacularly fail. I’ve got an embarrassing amount of drafts on here filled with half written entities that I honestly don’t know what I’m going to do with. Some of them are complete jargon I was writing at about 5 am when I wake up ridiculously early, some of them read like the ramblings of a drunk crackhead and some of them are just dog memes I don’t know where to save. Maya Angelou eat your heart out, I think not.

For me, I just love writing. Even Christmas cards, notes to the DPD driver as I’m just heading out or customer feedback surveys for restaurants and stores I’ve shopped in. I suppose one of the side effects of becoming/being a writer is the inevitable ‘struggle’ that you have to go through or face at one stage or another. Struggling writers and struggling artists are what the creative arts are almost built on. No one wants to know about Little Miss Sophia that had it all. People like to hear stories about someone that worked tirelessly, that came from nothing, that typed their fingers to the bone whilst working 3 deadend jobs and an internship, raising triplets and living on the streets all for the off chance it might make a difference and they might actually do that thing, where they work their dream job. No pressure huns.

I think I read something online recently that said that the majority of Millennial’s (‘scuse me whilst I go gag,  I actually hate that word so much. Usually because it is twinned with an equal ridiculous sentence like ‘..Millennial’s can’t afford to get on the property ladder because they’re buying too many avocado’s…’. Firstly who is making these correlations?! Secondly unless you haven’t noticed rising house prices and a dire minimum wage don’t exactly go hand in hand. Thirdly….Iceland sell a bag of 8 avo halves for £3.50.) are a lot more likely to be working in jobs they don’t want to be doing compared to the older generations. I went to a school where they practically drummed it into you to aim high, aim high, aim high and basically saying that you don’t want to aspire to work in McDonalds or as a bin collector. Shady school I know but that’s a subject for another day. But can *every* single person chase their dreams and get what they want? Surely someone has to aspire to be a happy go lucky bin collector. The ones who do it in my village look like some of the happiest people I’ve ever seen. They’re always smiling, laughing and joking with each other. They carry dog treats in case they see a dog and they get to hang about in the fresh air for a living.

Has this sense of seeking perfection always been prevalent or is it because it’s nearly 11pm on a Friday night and I’m overthinking and questioning all of my life choices up until now. Like if only I stuck with my recorder lessons back at primary school I could be the first person in the world selling sold out stadium tours with me and my recorder. If only I actually paid attention in History in my GCSEs rather than looking out the window and trying not to drift off under the spell of my teachers monotonous voice. I swear that man could make a chess game between a seal and a top hat wearing grizzly bear sound dull.

Or maybe it’s just me, overthinking everything as per usual. Feeling very much like I’m the only person in the world that isn’t living their best life or travelling Greek islands via super yacht every single summer. Wondering what if I never achieve these hopes, goals and dreams and will spend my final years cursing my younger self in my youth for not working harder and for wasting too much time toiling away in a job I despise. But maaaaaybe it’s also the weather. Like I’m just feeling a little bit lacklustre at the moment. Almost as if it’s the calm before the storm and I’m waiting for something huge to come along and shake me up and set me in a new, much more exciting direction. Or maybe I’m just sleep deprived. Who knows.

So for now, I’m going to bid you goodnight.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

Spooky things to do this October!

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Host a Halloween Party.

If the thought of being the hostess with the mostess doesn’t make chills run down your spine enough at the thought of all the clearing up the next day, then plan a spooktacular Halloween party with all your nearest and dearest. Scary costumes are a must, make a awesome witches punch bowl cocktail and play games like apple bobbing, hold a pumpkin carving competition with some mini pumpkins, beer pong but fill some cups with some nice things and maybe some not so nice things or just play some good old fashioned drinking games, like never have I ever or one of my favourites if you get everyone around a table and tear up lots of little bits of paper everyone writes down as many famous people’s names as you can and put them all into a hat or a bowl. Each player gets 60 seconds to try and get through as many pieces of paper as they can, describing the celebrity without saying their name. All made so much more fun with drinks and against the clock.

Go to a Pumpkin Patch.

I think these are becoming a lot more common over the years in the UK and they seem to be sprouting up all over the place, especially across my Instagram feed at the moment. They’re really child friendly if you want to take your little ones along for a fun afternoon picking your favourite pumpkin. Or even just go along take some snaps for the ‘gram and get into that Halloween’y spirit. Did you know pumpkin carving started from an ancient Celtic tradition to help ward off evil spirits  but back in the day they used turnips. Everyday is a learning day with Abfab.

Visit a psychic medium.

I’ve visited a psychic twice and had my tarot cards read once, I’d like to think I’m quite a spiritual person and strongly believe in things like this. I went for the first time last May and wasn’t really sure what to expect nor was my friends. But we went into it with an open mind and the lady we saw did get quite a lot of things eerily correct, however she did say that I was going to get pregnant within the next 18 months and that was May 2017…

Fancy dress club nights

Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Tickle your tastebuds with a dining experience.

I don’t know about you but this sounds like an absolute HOOT. This 4 course banquet at the Ivory Vaults complete with unlimited drinks and a medieval show, acrobats and live music. Find out more from their website here. Alcotraz Penitentiary bar in London acts as a BYOB style cocktail bar decorated JUST like Alcatraz itself along with the orange prisons jumpsuits too. Check out their website here to book tickets to visit.

Scary film marathon.

Staying in is the new going out and if you’re anything like me and the thought of cuddling up on the sofa by the fire and lots of snacks sounds way more appealing than covering yourself in SFX makeup to look like Harley Quinn after a night in a Yates then Netflix or Amazon Prime have a load of great selections of Horror or Thriller films at the moment. Or scour your local charity shops and see if you can any second hand dvds to watch.

Spend a night at a museum.

Fancy getting your inner Ben Stiller on and go to a museum after dark? The Museums at Night festival is sweeping through the UK from the 27th to the 29th of October check out if there is somewhere near you just here. Similarly if these type of spooky shenanigans are up your alley why not check out the Tower of London or if that doesn’t tickle your haunted pickle why not brave the London Dungeons.

Visit a Haunted House or Haunted Hotel.

Ok for the majority of people this probably sounds a liiiiittle bit terrifying. But if you’re like me and are super intrigued and interested by the paranormal have a look on Haunted Happening’s website (Here) to see if there is somewhere near you to channel your inner Yvette Fielding. Or if you’re really feeling brave you could even stay overnight in a haunted building. Gives me the chills just at the thought of this!

Escape rooms.

Most big towns or cities have one of these and they’re a super fun way to spend an evening with friends putting your heads together to work through complicated challenges. Or if you’re after something with a bit more of a bump in the night Immersive Events are running an event in Shepton Mallet Prison called The Hole (more info here) offering several activities through the evening as well as a bar! There’s loads of these style dotted around the country. I simply typed in Halloween events near me on google map and this was the first one that shot up.

Fright Night at Thorpe Park.

I went to this on Halloween last year with one of my best mates and we had such a blast. We got there about lunchtime ish so we got through a fair few of the rides by the time it got to the evening and the fun began! We ended up queuing for the Derren Brown Experience ride for about 3 hours and by the time we were about to step foot through the door the ride had a malfunctioning problem. But luckily we got issued a fast track ticket for any one ride so decided to use it on that if it reopened again which it did and it was so good, I’d definitely recommend checking it out! They really dress the place up for Fright Night and if that is your cup of tea, as well as rollercoasters obvs, you’d really enjoy this! There’s a handful of things there specially for Fright Night including several scare mazes and the whole place has this spooky feel to it. Maybe cos it’s after dark and it feels a bit weird to be there too! It was so much fun!

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Alton Towers also have their Scarefest which I’ve just seen which looks SO COOL. I love the fact they cater for both little kiddies if they want to get into the Halloween spirit as well as for thrill seeking adults too!

Ghost walk.

I haven’t ever done one of these but I’ve always been really interested in doing one. There’s the famous Jack the Ripper walk tour you can do in London on a pinpointed route and I believe you finish off at the pub The Ten Bells where the infamous serial killer murdered two of his victims. There are many others ghost walks similar to this style in towns and cities up and down the country From Bristol to Liverpool, Bath to York it’d be a really interesting insight into the place you live.

Club nights.

Most clubs will do some sort of Halloween dress up event or something so if you fancy getting totally Chaka Khan’d dressed up as a scary zombie Noel Edmonds (Or whatever you want to go as butttttt that’s a totally good suggestion fyi). Or if you wanted to get your Halloween in true Horror film spirit Bunker 51 in London are hosting the first Purge:Lockdown event, hideout in the only safe house in London and party the night away with a selection of the best DJs and live performers.

Now if none of these options frighten you enough, you could always sit at home, with a bottle of Echo Falls and facebook stalk your exes and people you went to school with. I don’t know about you, but I know which one sounds the most haunting to me now….

What are your plans this Halloween?

Ps, sorry if I haven’t included any fun things to do in your country, I wish I could have researched everywhere because I found it honestly so interesting and so much fun! But this is almost at 1500 words as it is and I doubt people will actually read this far! It’s crazy to think I would have rather eaten my own liver than have written a 2000 word essay and now look at me, doing this type of thing for FUN. Madness isn’t it?!

Much love x

Recreating seasonal hot drinks at home.

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I love hot drinks and have at least three cups of tea each day. To some that may seem like loads or to some it may seem like hardly anything at all. A warm drink is like a hug in a cup so when the Autumn/Winter months roll around, the red cups in Starbucks come out to play it can only mean one thing; seasonal drinks time!!

I love a gingerbread latte, the subtle warmth and spiciness makes me feel so cosy. Or a black forest hot chocolate puts me in the wintry mood instantly. In an effort to save money because those £3 coffee shop treats do add up!! I’ve decided to try and recreate these at home for a fraction of the price, you can make them just how you like them, to impress family, friends and guests at home plus you could put it in a funky travel mug for commuting to work or college.

Anyone who knows me knows that I adore TK Maxx/Homesense and they stock SO many gorgeous homeware pieces and such an interesting foodie section. I used to be a little bit sceptical of the food section in a TK Maxx, where was it all from? How long had it been there for?? But then I thought if I thought the same about foods in an actual Supermarket would I actually want to know that answer? Probably not!

They stock so many wonderful teas, coffees and so many syrups too. They have such a huge variety of them as well so you’re literally so spoilt for choice. Most supermarkets and even some coffee shops like Costa stock bottles of syrups you can add to your hot drinks to make them that extra bit more decadent.

I want to share with you a simple, easy way of making barista style drinks from home and you don’t need any fancy machinery. I got ya covered!

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So for a super rich hot chocolate I usually measure the milk out in the mug I’m using and warm it in a pan with a split vanilla pod and the seeds scraped out on the hob. Bring it to the boil and then add in 1tsp of cocoa powder and 40g of chopped dark chocolate shards per serving. Stir it all together off the heat and whisk it vigorously til it’s frothy on top. If you wanted to add a syrup you could pop one or two pumps into the bottom of your glass/mug/travel mug/shoe/I do not mind what container you use. Or you could put it straight into the milk before you warm it.

To make this extra decadent you could use equal quantities of cream and milk or if you want it extra chocolatey try using a chocolate milk with the same quantities of chocolate shards, cocoa powder and cream.

To make a white hot chocolate just don’t add the cocoa powder and substitue the chocolate for white chocolate instead. If you’re aiming for mad gainzzzzzz try using a skimmed milk or oat or coconut mylk with a scoop of chocolate/unflavoured/vanilla protein powder and some chocolate and cocoa powder.

If you’re like me and are lowkey obsessed with the black forest hot chocolate, use your normal hot chocolate and add a pump or two of

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Ok so this was the one that I was most looking forward to because it is super simple to get a frothy coffee at home. Without any technical thingymibobs and you can totally show off to your guests with your fancy pants coffee. If they want a ultra tricky macchiato with camel milk welllllll you’ve come to the wrong blog but I can teach you a simple way to make a latte.

So not too dissimilar from the hot chocolate, I pour milk into the cup/mug/glass whichever receptacle of choice measuring out how much I’ll need. I usually fill it about 3/4s full. I love a milky coffee.

I boil the kettle and add a teaspoon of coffee granules into a mug. At that point if you want any sugar, syrups, jazzy bits etc now is the time to add that in. Fill the cup about a third full and mix it altogether making sure all the coffee granules have fully dissolved and it’s smooth.

Going back to the milk bit,  you can either warm it up in the microwave first or wait to shake it up first. I actually then put it into a protein shaker or the breville active blender (use some sort of bottle or container with a lid that can also go in the microwave) and shake the milk up for about 30 seconds until its grown frothy and bubbly on top.

If you’ve warmed up your milk first you can then shake it up and pour it into the glass or if you haven’t you can then warm your shaken up milk in the microwave until hot.

Pour the milk straight into the glass and then quickly pour the coffee on top of that. Careful not to knock out any of the lovely froth. If you want to make better coffee art then I do, as you pour the coffee, pour it narrowly down one side of the glass and then filter it off into the middle and it’s supposed to make a heart shape.

 

If you want to get your hands on some syrups or extras or even find some great places to get some teas/coffee granules/syrups other than supermarkets, tea shops or the OG TK Maxx I’d recommend:

Next Day Coffee

Discount Cream

The Protein Works

Skinny Mixes

Verde Coffee

Cardiff Sport Nutrition

Syrups and Stuff

You can also try Amazon or just using food essences or even more naturally with herbs and spices, I love popping in a cinnamon stick. So yum!

MUCH LOVE. X

Blogger Recognition Award #3

Hiya you! Yes you! This whole blogging thing is a bit mad sometimes isn’t it? Look at me typing away right now as if we’re actually having a conversation, cos to me we are having a conversation right now, like two middle aged women catching up on the high street. Plus you guys are my pals, my internet friends, some of the coolest people I know and why wouldn’t I want to stop and say y’alright love to you!? Anyway enough about me and that weird ramble…How are you? Have you had a good week? TELL MEEEEEE?!

I’ve only been nominated/tagged in another Blogger Recognition Award haven’t I?! This was from Michael who I actually began chatting to from a twitter chat, I think it was the CBeeChat actually which is on Monday evenings! It was really great fun to chat to likeminded people and make new Blog connections and friends. He has a really great blog (just here, give it a read, love it, inhale it, all the above) which I’d really urge you to check out plus he is active across his social media channels so feel free to send him some LOL gifs on my behalf please and thanks.

It sounds really cringe, probably massively so to everyone else, but it does genuinely warm my heart when I get nominated or mentioned for anything for my blog or even a #FF on twitter or Instagram. It makes me feel so proud that I am getting recognised by my lovely fellow bloggers among the blogosphere.

Anyway! So if you’re new around here or new to the blogging biz, the Blogger Recognition Award is basically an idea that started up (I should really have looked more into the history surrounding this before I started chit chattering on about it) in order to recognise, celebrate and share 15 of your favourite bloggers to let them know how brilliant they are. Share why you started blogging and two tips you’d give to newbie bloggers. I really wish I came across this type of post when I first started blogging.

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Why I started blogging:

So this is a short story all about how my life got flipped, turned upside down and I’d like to take a minute, just sit right there and I’ll tell you how I became the creator of a blog called What Abbie Says….LOL sorry about that it had to be done. So I started blogging back in 2012 actually on a completely different blog page under a different name and I was only 17 at the time and I really didn’t have a clue what I was doing. Not that I really do now to be honest! I used it as somewhere to share my thoughts on everything from nail varnish to my Topshop hauls to why I decided not to go to University. I took a bit of a backstep from it as life kind of got in the way and then I restarted here last year. From the beginning I never really thought of blogging as something more than a hobby or something to do to share my thoughts and feelings on pretty much anything that I wanted. I’m passionate about writing and creativity and have always wanted to be a writer of sorts. I’ve never really given it much consideration about if this could ever become a full time thing or give me a fixed income. Obviously if it did it would be amazing but I’m not holding out much hope at the moment!

If I had to share two pearls of wisdom with a new blogger:

  1. Have fun. Don’t worry about keeping up with the others in terms of what your blog should look like, what you should write about, how you should photograph things. It is your space, make it yours and as long as you’re happy with it, babe you do what you want! If you want to talk about model airplanes DO IT, if you want to write about why peanut butter is so much better than almond butter then DO IT (and you’d have my complete and full backing on cos peanut butter is honestly the glue that holds my life together)
  2. Self Promo. This is something I really need to get better at and usually post a link to a latest blog post once or twice onto my twitter page and that’s it. To get the best engagement for your blog, be your own showman and PR and leave a link on you Instagram bio if you want other bloggers, PRs and brands or readers to find you that way then it’ll be so much easier. Similarly sharing your blog links via Pinterest or Bloglovin’ does wonders in getting long lasting views!

I’m going to nominate a small handful of wonderful bloggers that I follow. These guys really deserve so much more credit and praise and I wish I could promote them or be a cheerleader for them day in day out but I might look like a bit of a weirdo and like a crazy fan. Which is half true. No shame. Well without much further ado. I’m going to tell you about some of the best internet people this side of Shane Dawson.

Vixxy

Laura

Shay

Kamilah or K (I don’t know which one she prefers but either way she is VERY cool and I stan her pure existence)

Kate

Lyd

Ar (After days of an extensive search turns out that’s just a nickname and there’s me with my Dorset twang pronouncing it like ARRRRRRRRRRRRR)

Hannah

I adore each and every single one of these gals. I am so truly thankful for blogging and social media for being weird and wonderful but for also introducing me to such fabulous people like these brilliant girls.

MUCH LOVE. X

 

Winter Warmer Bean Chilli.

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Chilli con Carne is one of my all time favourite dishes to eat and also to make. It’s so versatile and you can change up the whole meal with different sides, different ingredients and different spices every single time. Also in my opinion it makes it one o the harder dishes to recreate as I’m always adding in different little bits every time I can never go back and make the same bowl of it. Everyone in my household eats meat apart from me but whenever I cook I always like to do something non meaty for them. Hence why I decided to treat them to this fab bean chilli this evening. I should add that I’m not one of those hardcore veg heads that force everyone to eat tofu and quorn (I mean I am trying *very* hard for them to all try a Linda McCartney sausage even just a tiny bite but no such luck so far.)
The great thing about chilli is that there is so much room for personalisation, if you like yours with some spice and a bit of kick then you can add as many chillies and chilli flakes as you like, I’ve heard of some people adding a couple of squares of good quality dark chocolate to make the mixture smoother and creamier or even a dollop of marmite to give it that salty, well marmitey, flavour.. If you can’t face a meal without meat (my sister to a t) then you can add some diced bacon or pancetta. The possibilities are endless.
So I thought I’d impart my wonderful knowledge and wisdom of this with a fab chilli recipe because it is so ridiculously easy to make and is so tasty and warming especially in the coming colder months.This was to die for and literally a one pot dish. I honestly thought they were a myth or clickbait seen on Pinterest.
I’m not one for complicated recipes if I have to flambé anything I’m out, this one pot dish is super duper simple there’s literally no room to go wrong.
 Oh I should also add that these measurements may seem proper huge but this made 12 portions so was perfect for leftovers the following day, lunches or even popping in the freezer cos you never know when you might need an emergency bean chilli??

You will need:
  • 1 large carrot.
  • 1 large celery stalk.
  • 1 medium red onion.
  • 1 clove of garlic, finely chopped. I roasted it as well so it was easier to squish with a back of a knife. I’m getting proper technical here, watch out Gordon Ramsey.
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes.
  • 1 tblsp tomato puree.
  • 1 tsp chilli powder.
  • 1 tsp ground cumin.
  • 1 tsp ground coriander.
  • 1 bay leaf.
  • 1 tsp cinnamon.
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika.
  • 1 400g tin butter beans.
  • 1 400g tin kidney beans.
  • 1 400g black beans.
  • 1 small tin baked beans (cheating IKR but it works).
  • Handful of chopped coriander leaves.
  • sweetcorn.

HOW TO:

To start off I finely diced a stalk of celery, a carrot and a small red onion and fried it off in the pot with a good glug of olive oil, crushed garlic and a pinch of salt. Once that had cooked through and turned a more translucent colour which took about 10 minutes. After that I poured a tin of chopped tomatoes into the pot. Leaving that to simmer a bit, I actually used my handheld immersion blender and just blended the mixture a handful of times. That was more for my personal preference as I didn’t want big tomatoey lumps. (also what I look like on holiday. A big tomatoey lump..)
From there I added in all of the spices and the bay leaf. I never really thought much about cooking before but you are really building flavours upon flavours. That way you can taste a bit see if you need to add anything else or realise your culinary expertise that you’ve made a pretty banging pot of flavours so far.
To save time and energy I use tinned beans. You can use dried beans but it just takes a bit longer as you have to leave them soaking overnight aaaaaand I couldn’t be bothered for that. Sooooorrry.  So yeah where was I? I added in all my funky tins of beans. Even my baked beans, ok I know the whole of Texas and Southern American states will be wanting to burn my kitchen down for that but in my opinion it really works. I had put a sprinkle too much chilli into this and when I say a sprinkle it was practically like a truck had reversed up and dumped a whole skip full of the stuff. Plus I  really needed something to reduce it’s thickness and flavour.
I throw that in the pot. Not literally that would be messy and not to mention reckless. Pls don’t throw anything on my recommendation. Yeah so add in all the tinned things or the beans you’ve been soaking overnight, if you do that…I just want to say I’m already so proud of you. Leave it to simmer gently over a low heat for like 20 minutes, enough time to peg some washing out. I sound like Bree Van Der Kampf but that is genuinely what I did.
In that time you can come back stir it all through and be delighted with the delicious smokey smells filling your kitchen as we speak. And that is literally your one pot chilli done. I don’t even know if I can call it a chilli? Maybe like a bean stew would be more appropriate.
If you want to make yours a bit thicker, I mix a spoonful of polenta (or flour whatever suits you) with some water until it forms a slurry like that consistency and then combine that with the chilli. If you mix the flour or polenta or whatever thickening agent right into it it can create just lumps and pockets of flour and that is really not ideal.  (I’m using some cracking terminology here aren’t I)
Once made you can either eat it immediately, don’t even bother putting it in a bowl just grab a spoon or ladle, depending on your mood and eat it ALLLL. Or heat it up just before serving, y’know whatever you’d rather.
SO hey presto. You made yourself a delicious, heart warming, good for the soul bowl of food. I’ve served this to the meatiest of all meat eaters and they even went back for seconds. I’m fairly certain lions on the prowl for their next slither of food would rather eat this than their usual prey (once again, do not hold me to these ridic claims)
So sit down with a good book and a big spoon or gather round the dinner table for some wholesome home cooking. You can serve this with rice, cornbread which I made for the first time today and it is absolutely divine. On top of a jacket potato or even batch prepare on a Sunday for a whole week of meal preps If you’re that way inclined. I am forgetful and lazy I don’t think I’ll ever be a meal prepper unless it’s cooking a pizza and separating the leftover. cold slices for work lunch. Jokes there’s never any leftover slices. This is great family food as you can lay the table with guac, salsa, tortilla chips and sour cream and all dig in and have a Texan feast.
MUCH LOVE.

Irish Apple Crumble Cake.

I saw this recipe online a few months ago, from Donal Skehan’s website here,  and it quickly became one of my favourites and one of my family’s too. Even though I live in  Dorset so you may have thought that the famous Dorset Apple cake would have stolen that top spot for me however I enjoy the cake/crumble hybrid that comes with this teatime treat. It has a light, fluffy sponge, delicately spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger topped with a smooth, buttery crumble top adding an extra dimension of texture and flavour.

This bake isn’t really for the fainthearted judging by the amount of butter and sugar you throw (not literally) into the bowl. It won’t be one you can take to a weight watchers bake off to be honest but it’s so deliciously decadent that it won’t even matter. I based my recipe off of Donal’s, he’s one of my favourite chefs with his fun approach to cooking and baking. I have added a bit of a twist to this recipe which some Irish folk may think is absolute blasphemy and I’ll be banned from the Emerald Isle for life but i’ve baked this for family and friends and it went down a treat.

For this bake you will need:

  • 110g butter, I used unsalted.
  • 150g soft brown sugar or demerara sugar whatever is easier or what you’ve got in your cupboards.
  • 2 eggs
  • 210g self raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp of almond or vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon, 1 tsp ginger, 1tsp nutmeg.
  • 300g peeled, cored and sliced cooking apple is Donal’s recommendation but I tend to use 2 or 3 small eating apples.

For the crumble top you will need:

  • 50g caster sugar
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g cold, diced butter.

 

HOW TO:

So first off I would recommend preheating your oven to 180 degrees and lining a cake tin. Then you can peel and dice your apple. Depending on how apple-y you like your bake you could add more or less. We like ours quite fruity so add a good amount. To keep them from browning I put them in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon juice until I add them to the mixture.

Like any other cake, cream the butter and sugar together until pale and smooth. Add in the eggs with a spoonful of flour with each egg. This helps the mixture from not looking claggy and a bit gross and enables it to mix together more smoothly.

Add in the rest of the flour along with the salt and baking powder too. Once that’s all fully combined I pop in the almond extract and the spices too. I really like these flavours so sometimes adjust the amount I use depending on my personal tastes and whether I want to use some of these Christmassy flavours too. I think the cinnamon is definitely a good addition but things like ginger, nutmeg or even something like allspice or mixed spice are all optional.

Draining the apples from the water completely and patting them dry in a tea towel, stopping any excess water getting the batter wetter than it needs to be, I pop them straight into the batter giving it a quick stir until it’s completely combined.

At this stage you could also add things like a handful of crushed mixed nuts, raisins or other dried fruits like raisins, cranberries or chopped apricots or even jewel the lined cake tin with blackberries or raspberries ready for when you pour the mixture over it.

Once the cake mix is evenly spread into the tin you can sprinkle on top the crumble mix.

To make the crumble mixture all you need to do is rub the sugar, butter and flour to a rough breadcrumb consistency. I like to add some spices to the mix of mine too, giving it that lovely golden sand colour. Similarly if you want an extra crunchy texture, crumble in some crushed up biscuits or shortbread, flaked almonds or even some rolled oats then evenly coat the top of the cake batter.

Cook in the oven for 40-45 minutes or until you poke a skewer or knife in and it comes out clean. I sometimes find that bit difficult with a recipe with fruit in so sometimes it’s easier to poke a couple holes in just to be on the safe side.

Once cooled it is perfect served with a generous dollop of cream or even have it slightly warmed up too. It is glorious. If I do say so myself.

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