Archive

2013

Browsing

2013 is almost ending and at the start we all (well… almost all!) of us made some resolutions for the year. Did you make any for this year ? Instead of resolutions, I tend to make a list of things I want to achieve in the year. That way, it doesn’t seem as forced and if I’m not able to tick them all off, they can just roll over until next year 🙂

This year, the list of things I wanted to achieve were pretty simple but rather affective, I ticked them all off my list. They involved:

  • be happy
  • get a pay rise
  • stop saying no
  • go out more
  • make new friends
  • take more chances

Next year? Well… I think I may just keep the same ones. What about you? What do you want to achieve in 2014? Do you stick to your resolutions? The infograph below gives you a little insight into how realistic or unrealistic our resolutions can be, do you agree with it? I’m surprised the weight related resolutions aren’t higher. After all, we do all gorge ourselves during the holiday season!

New Year Resolutions

 

Credit: Infograph courtesy of Farfetch.com

Ever since watching Scottish Ballet’s The Nutcracker last year, I have fallen in love with the Ballet. I’ve been a few times since and couldn’t miss the chance to see the latest production, Hansel & Gretel at Theatre Royal. I was invited, along with other bloggers to an indulgent day of Afternoon Tea and Mini Spa treatment at Blythswood Square Hotel before being whisked away to the Theatre to watch the show.

Eve Mutso, Remi Andreoni, Constant Vigier and Sophie Martin in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

When I arrived at Blythswood, my day kicked off with a Woodcutter’s Wife Cocktail. The hotel especially created the cocktail which is inspired by the childhood story. They combined  Martin Miller’s Gin with Amaro Nonino, fresh lemon juice, lemon curd and ginger syrup, candied peach pureé and a splash of egg white with crumbled puff candy on top (£9.75). Who cared that it was 11am and I was already drinking. It was a special day, after all.

We had time to mingle with fellow invitees before being taken to the private movie screening room within Blythswood (ever so slightly jealous of this!) to watch short “Making Of…” movies to gain a closer insight into what it takes to put on a ballet production of this scale. I loved seeing the creation of the sets, utterly beautiful on film and even better up close and personal at the theatre.

If the morning couldn’t get any better, we sat down to a Hansel & Gretel inspired Afternoon Tea complete with a beautiful display of sandwiches, fresh clotted cream scones and sweet treats such as gingerbread men, carrot cake and macarons (£22 per person). Everything looked too good to eat and the hardest part was deciding what to eat first. My sweet tooth took over and I just had to try the cakes first!

As we were tucking into our Afternoon Tea, we each took turns to get arm and hand massages by the lovely spa staff which was extremely relaxing. I definitely need to go back to the hotel to try out their spa in all it’s glory. I’ve heard great things about it. Who doesn’t love a spa day?

Before we were whisked off to Theatre Royal, we had the chance to chat to Scottish Ballet’s Principal dancer Christopher Harrison and Artist Constance Devernay with Christina Riley, Scottish Ballet Marketing and Communication Editor asking a whole host of questions about life in the ballet, costumes, their careers and productions. It was great having that insight into their lives and seeing behind the scenes rather than just attending the ballet (not that that isn’t wonderful in itself!). We also had the chance to see some of the outfits up close. The detail is utterly stunning.

 Scottish Ballet’s Principal dancer Christopher Harrison and Artist Constance Devernay with Christina Riley, Scottish Ballet Marketing and Communication Editor

Scottish Ballet- Hansel & Gretel Outfit

As time went on, it was nearly curtain time at Theatre Royal and we were whisked away with our very own pick n mix in true Hansel & Gretel fashion.

Unwrap a tasty new Christmas treat with the world premiere of Christopher Hampson’s fantastical Hansel & Gretel. A small town, all the children have disappeared. Plucky Hansel and Gretel embark on an exciting adventure venturing deep into the enchanted forest to find their friends.

This delightfully inventive brand new Hansel & Gretel takes creative twists and turns inspired by the Grimm Brother’s famous fairy tale – and the stories and imagination of the people of Scotland. A carousel of delicious treats from start to finish,Hansel & Gretel is full to the brim with magic and wit; with toys that come to life and a beautiful bewitching ballerina who is not at all as she seems. Scrumptiously surreal and with more than a sprinkle of festive magic – take an enchanting journey with Scotland’s national dance company this winter.

Humperdinck’s evocative score is performed live by the Scottish Ballet orchestra.

Source: Scottish Ballet

Bethany Kingsley-Garner as the Dew Drop Fairy in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Eve Mutso and Company dancers in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Sophie Martin, Constant Vigier and Nicholas Shoesmith in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Eve Mutso, Sophie Martin and Constant Vigier in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Sophie Martin and Constant Vigier in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Eve Mutso and Constant Vigier in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Constant Vigier and Sophie Martin with local dancers in Christopher Hampson’s Hansel & Gretel

Hands down, this was by far the best Scottish Ballet production I have seen. The set designs were mesmerising, the dancing  impeccable and the costumes were utterly stunning. It was a truly magical performance and I sat in awe throughout. I couldn’t fault a thing.

The Glasgow shows are now over but the production is touring various locations from next month. If you get the chance to attend, I would highly recommend it. I’m not just saying that because I was a guest of Scottish Ballet in this instance, I’m saying it because I’m 100% sure you will not be disappointed. It is breathtaking from start to finish.

Festival Theatre, Edinburgh · Wed 8th – Sat 11th January 2014
His Majesty’s Theatre, Aberdeen · Wed 15th – Sat January 2014
Eden Court, Inverness · Wed 22nd – Sat 25th January 2014
Theatre Royal, Newcastle · Wed 29th January – Sat 1st February 2014
Grand Opera House, Belfast · Wed 5th February – Sat 8th February 2014

Note: If you love Afternoon Tea or want to spoil someone, Blythswood Square Hotel are offering the Woodcutter’s Wife Cocktail and Hansel & Gretel Afternoon Tea until the end of January 2014. It is delicious!

Photo Credit: Thank you to Andy Ross for the production photographs.

I have a love/hate relationship with winter, I love looking at snow but I hate being cold. That is where big chunky cardigans and sweaters (jumpers doesn’t quite sound right to me!) come in. Curling up on the sofa, fluffy sweater, hot coffee (or hot chocolate, if you’re picky) and a good ol’ Christmas movie sounds pretty good to me just about now.

Trouble is, it is hard to find ones that I really like, not to mention ones that don’t make me itch like I’m covered in fleas. Not a nice sight, is it?

I adore Cashmere sweaters, it is so soft and fluffy that you’d think you’re wearing a big blob of cotton wool. Granted it is rather expensive but it is also extremely good quality that it will last for years, unlike a £10 jumper from Pradamark (aka Primark). Not that anything is wrong with Primark, I do frequent the store for socks and cheap shoes.

One step too far is the new Marks & Spencers Cashmere Onsie for £199. I don’t get the whole onsie thing, but each to their own. Would you wear a Cashmere one? I also cannot fathom how the onsie can only cost £199 if it is pure Cashmere due to it being a rather luxurious wool.

Cashmere Onsie

For Christmas this year, my mother was asking for long sweaters. It’s always hard trying to figure out what to buy her every year so I’m glad when she rather bluntly tells me what she wants and sometimes while we are out shopping actually picks up a few sweaters and tells me she wants them before putting them back on the rack. Aaah mothers.

Sadly my bank balance won’t stretch to buying Cashmere this season but I have a few favourite picks above that I desperately want when my bank balance is more inviting.

Do you like Cashmere? Any favourites that you’ve seen in stores this year? Let me know 🙂

Glasgow is a magical city all year ‘round, but there’s something a little extra special about it at Christmas. From the frosty cobbled streets of the West End, to the lively winter wonderland of Georges Square, Glasgow boasts some rather special events come Christmas time, so make sure you take time away from scouring the shops and scoffing mince pies to check them out.

Christmas Cartel

Street Food Cartel

Street Food Cartel is every Glasgow foodie’s favourite pop-up, so when it comes around at Christmas time, well that’s just one awesome double whammy. A Christmas Cartel will take place over two weekends in December, the 6th and 7th and the 13th and 14th at cool West End warehouse, SWG3. Along with Scoop’s “Silver Bullet” kitchen on wheels, BKK will also be providing the festive eats with their Thai street kitchen. Set to be a very cool, very Christmassy, and very delicious winter warehouse party.

George’s Square Ice Skating and Hot Tipples for Afters

Glasgow on ice

So ice-skating is splendid ‘n all, but we’re rather partial to the hot toddy afterwards. Luckily for us in Glasgow, the two go hand in hand. Glasgow On Ice has arrived once again, under the twinkling lights of Georges Square. You and your beau can make a romantic night of it, by getting your Torvill and Dean on, or maybe join your pals and make like the Mighty Ducks instead. Cap off the evening by easing your aches and bruises with mulled wine or hot cider at cosy bar Browns – niftily located right on Georges Square. Handy!

Fest End Twist

Fest End Twist

West End Twist is a cracking club night every Saturday of the year, but throughout December, it’s even better. DJ Snafu will break out the festive funky beats for one storming retro dance party, with zero cheese and lots of Latin, motown and rhythm and blues. This Saturday sock-hop is sleigh-loads of fun, and this month the quiffs will be higher, the jeans will be tighter and the lippy will be redder. This is the perfect alternative Christmas party in Glasgow.

Spangled Cabaret Christmas

Spangled Cabaret Christmas - Christmas

Another quirky Christmas celebration will kick off in cool (sort-of) secret bar, The Flying Duck. This fun mish-mash venue has always got something weird and wonderful going on and Spangled Cabaret is one of its best-loved nights. The 20th December edition will be extra spangled will a carnival of cabaret talent. Performers on the night include Dolly Tartan, Kim Khaos and the Glasgow Glam Bangers along with a host of other salacious stars. This is going to be one wild winter party.

Movies at Blythswood Square

Blytheswood Movie Club

Square Eyes Film Club at the Blythswood Square Hotel is probably the most opulent cinema in Glasgow, from the tweed and tartan seats, to Prosecco and canapés for movie snacks. Lots of venues are showing Christmassy films over winter, but this is probably the most decadent setting to enjoy them. Get into the yuletide spirit with festive flicks throughout December. Our pick for the ultimate Scrooge-quashing movie? It’s a Wonderful Life on Christmas Eve. If this doesn’t warm your cockles, nothing will.

Note: Thank you to Design My Night for compiling this list of events running in December. I’m definitely going to a few of them!

Last week, I heard that Olympus were doing an Autumnal Master Class in Glasgow which was free to attend. Since I’m always looking for tips of photography, I jumped at the chance to learn from the best.

Award Winning Photographer Neil Buchan-Grant was running two two-hour long classes for budding photographers, giving us tips and tricks of the trade along with getting to know what type of photography we like to take.

After a brief chat, he took us upstairs informing us that we’ll be doing a fashion shoot. Gulp. I rarely take photographs of people because they move too much. I don’t like things that move. I learnt the hard way when trying to take photographs of my little (almost) 2 year old nephew. Nightmare. Don’t get me started on shutter speed, ISO and exposure. I turn into a giant photographic dyslexic. I’m learning though, slowly but surely.

This is when Aidan Mayne from Olympus came in handy. We could use our own camera for the Master Class OR we could get our hands on some shiny Olympus cameras. Naturally, I couldn’t resist eyeing up all the shiny cameras. Aidan asked me what type of photography I take the majority of the time and after telling him I love food photography, he recommended the EP5 camera with a 45mm lens. Oh how right he was. I fell in love with the camera while playing around with it before the master class. It’s compact in size but comes with killer features. The 45mm lens is magical and I can honestly say that it’s one of the best cameras I’ve ever had my hands on. I want it. Badly.

Back to the Master Class…

The models Abi Barr and Emily Shakarji were still getting ready when we arrived in what would be our studio in South Block. Gillian Galbraith was doing finishing touches to their makeup and Euan Plater was making sure the outfits were fitted perfectly.

Due to terrible weather conditions, lighting was pretty poor, however, for me it was perfect because I wanted to learn how to take really good photographs in bad lighting. How many restaurants actually have great lighting? But alas, no food around, just two rather stunning models.

We started our fashion shoot outside in the cold for around 15 minutes before doing back inside into the (semi) warmth. I managed to get some really good shots outside of Emily before it got too cold and we went inside.

As the theme was “FALL”, leaves were surrounding the set of two sofas and the models were posing for 20 people at a time making sure they got in direct eye contact with all the lenses a few times. Leaves were thrown, wardrobe malfunctions happened, wet leaves were sat on but the two models worked perfectly for us and we could ask them at any point to pose or look at us in a particular way.

Neil went around everyone in the class asking us if we needed any help, gave us positional tips to get the best shot due to lighting, gave us tips on camera settings to change to and took some shots himself along with us.

All in all a very good day. I’m really happy with the shots I took, especially since it was my first time shooting models. It was fun and I can’t wait to do it again sometime… hopefully with that very same camera (Oh Santa!!!) There is also a “Fall” competition going on over on Olympus Impressions for your pictures to be featured within the Olympus Magazine and you could win a camera.

Below is a sneak of some of the best shots I took on the day. I took over 200 in total but I wouldn’t want to bore you with them all!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA





What do you get when you bring a group of friends together, feed them nibbles & drown them in alcohol? A rare old time, that’s what!

I was recently contacted by Social & Cocktail who were launching SoCocktail Events where they help you host your own cocktail party in your home. For £25 per person, you get five cocktails each, your own dedicated fully trained cocktail bartenders, mobile bar, ingredients, glassware, ice and they even clean up after themselves! When asked if I wanted to host my own party, it took me less than a minute to say YES!

Before the event, you’re given the cocktail menu which you have to pre-order from so they have all the ingredients ready and you leave the rest to them. It was a tough choice, but I had to pick 5 cocktails from the list. I finally settled on: Toblerone Martini, Moscow Mule, Raspberry Mojito, Caipirinha and Old Fashioned.

I stole borrowed my friends apartment in Merchant City for the evening and invited 5 of my friends along with my friend inviting 5 of his (plus a few added extras that turned up on the night). Pre-party I made lots of finger food for everyone to counter attack the amount of alcohol we were about to have and cracked open some red wine (in hindsight, bad bad idea!) and beer (for the guys).

Chris & Emma

Our bartenders for the night; Chris and Emma were lovely. We all had a huge laugh with them and they worked really well as a duo. At times it didn’t even feel like they were bartenders, we were all chatting away like they were part of the party & in a way, they were! They were very accommodating when a couple of extra people came to the party and made them a couple of cocktails with spare ingredients and we even got Chris to whip up some Margarita’s for us with our own ingredients near the end of their allocated time with us (approx 3.5 hours).

Chris

Emma

After Chris and Emma left, we all continued drinking more alcohol and by this time, I’m surprised I could actually stand up with the amount of mixing I was doing. Mixing alcohol is bad idea. Very bad. I later found out that I fell over the sofa onto the floor and had to get picked up. Heh.

Friends

The night wasn’t to end quite yet and we decided to pop along to The Polo Lounge (a local gay bar in Glasgow for those not in the know) to drink & dance the night away until I realised that it was time to call it a night at 2am.

Highlights?

  • Having a blast with my friends
  • Being one of the first to check out SoCocktail Events (100% recommended!)
  • The novelty of having your very own bartenders for the night!
  • Looking at photographs on my iPhone the next day asking if that ACTUALLY happened?
  • Laughing at Charlene and Rachel fall and then roll around the floor with cake everywhere (photographic evidence lol)
  • Dancing with a transvestite in Polo (let’s ignore the part when she (he?) kissed my lips)
  • Waking up with next day fully clothed with a banging headache which didn’t go away until 10pm that night

I had a wonderful night and it was mainly thanks to Social & Cocktail. They are great for small parties in your house, hen or stag parties, birthdays or even a “just because” party.

Note: I received the cocktail party (£25 pp) free in return for a review. All opinions are my (rather drunken in the end) own.

Running throughout November in Ortak stores across the country, this Saturday marks the start of two customer shopping days being held at Ortak within the St Enoch Shopping Centre, Glasgow.

Customers pay £15 for a ticket (available in store) which entitles them to a Neptune Pendant (shown above) which is worth £55. Along with this, customers also get 15% off all purchases on the day including the brand’s new AW collections, entry into a prize draw to win a £150 Ortak gift voucher and a complimentary glass of wine.

Ortak has launched 10 new collections for autumn/winter. Created by in-house designers Clare T Goodall and Laura Christie, the ranges are now available now in Ortak’s 12 stores throughout the UK and online at www.ortak.co.uk.

If you aren’t in Glasgow then details of upcoming days throughout the country are shown below:

Ortak Event

I’ll be popping into the St Enoch’s store on Saturday to take a look at the AW range and do some rather early Christmas (yes, I said it!) Shopping, it’s the perfect opportunity!

 

I was recently contacted by the people behind Grow Wild who are in the process of starting a four-year campaign to bring people together to sow UK native wild flowers. They believe that they can transform areas in which we live by bringing colour and surprise to our streets. Funded by the Big Lottery Fund and led by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, three Scottish sites have been shortlisted to win £100,000 of funding to redevelop communities.

Earlier this year, we asked people to nominate a site in their community that would benefit from a Grow Wild transformation. We heard from enthusiastic community members who’d actively rallied local people to decide what their community should do with the Grow Wild funding. Youth groups, community associations and residents groups, artists, high school design students, and landscape architects all worked to pull together some really inspirational plans.

The three shortlisted Scottish sites are:

Belville Community Garden, Greenock

The community wants to create a great big garden of native Scottish wild flowers, all looked after by an on-site community garden officer.

The garden will re-establish a lost link with nature and this brownfield site will become a green sanctuary for locals. Young people will learn about biodiversity through training and education, and there’ll be community events and workshops in outdoor pods made from customised shipping containers.

Frog Pond, Dedridge, Livingston, West Lothian

This project is hopping forwards in time to transform a tired-looking pond into a beautiful wetland and meadow, offering an inspirational focal point in a local park. The idea is to clean up the area, planting wild flowers to fill the park with colour and animals. Young people are designing a special bridge that will also be used as a stage. Plus there’ll be planting days for everyone, so the project will spread throughout the community.

The Water Works, Barrhead, East Renfrewshire

This project puts some TLC into the WC. They want to transform a disused sewage works into a quirky garden. Playing on its industrial past, the site will use the huge sewage tanks as giant planters with beautiful displays of Scottish native wild flowers.

Tanks will recreate different environments such as wetland meadows. Young people will work with a retirement club, and there’ll be cycling and walking links, so young and old will work and play together.

How to vote?

vote

To decide who wins a £100,000 Grow Wild transformation, go to vote.growwilduk.com for more information on each bid as well as voting for your favourite. Voting runs until midnight on 3 November with the winning Scottish Grow Wild site will be announced in mid-November and will open in May next year.

 

As my last post stated, the dish I picked to make was Lamb Fillet with Crushed Potatoes & Mint Sauce or as #WhamBamThankyouLamb calls it “Butterflied Lemony Lamb Fillet”. It’s a quick & simple recipe but most of all, it’s delicious!

Ingredients

I’ve never cooked Lamb Fillet before so I was a little wary about cooking times but I went with my gut feeling and it came out a beautiful pink colour. Phew!

Cooking Lamb Fillets

Let’s just ignore the “little” mistake I did by accidentally adding sugar to my lemon rind when I was supposed to add it to my finely chopped mint leaves. Easy mistake to make when the two bowls were next to each other, right? Oh well…. easy mistake to fix, I’m now a whizz at lemon rinding.

I’m definitely going to make this recipe again. I’m now also converted to mint sauce. Let me know if you’re going to make the dish and if you are, follow my top tips below to help you along your way… especially if you’re a lamb cooking newbie!

My Top Tips:

  • When buying lamb, try choose the leanest cuts. Try and avoid cuts with excessive fat that looks crumbly.
  • Buy meat from a good local butcher instead of your local supermarket as they generally have a bigger variety of cuts and you can also order what you want and how you want it.
  • Ensure your frying or griddle pan is VERY hot
  • Lightly oil the lamb before cooking, don’t put too much as lamb is already oily in itself.
  • While cooking, press down on the pieces of meat to ensure they cook evenly and the browning is evenly distributed.
  • To know when the lamb is ready to your liking, use your fingers to press the piece of meat. Rare lamb does not resist your touch, medium rare slightly resists and well done is firm to the touch. I like my lamb medium rare, just as I like my beef.
  • Lamb Fillet with Crushed Potatoes & Mint Sauce

    Prep Time: 10 minutes

    Cook Time: 15 minutes

    Total Time: 25 minutes

    Serving Size: 2

    Ingredients

    • 1 x 300g Scotch Lamb fillet, all fat removed
    • Finely grated rind of 1/2 lemon
    • 1 clove garlic, very finely chopped
    • 1/2 tsp coarsely ground black pepper
    • 2 tsp olive oil 3
    • 300g new potatoes, halved if large
    • 20g butter
    • Large handful of fresh mint leaves
    • 1 tbsp sugar
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 75 ml cider or malt vinegar

    Method:

    1. On a chopping board with a sharp knife split the lamb fillet down its length but don't cut all the way through. Open out the lamb as you would open a book to its middle and press it open with the heel of your hand. Mix together the lemon rind, garlic and pepper and loosely sprinkle this all over both sides of the meat. Press the flavouring lightly into place.
    2. To make the mint sauce, finely chop the mint and scrape it into a small bowl, sprinkle the sugar and salt onto the mint and squash it all together firmly with the back of a spoon, to make all the juices run from the mint into the sugar. Add the vinegar and stir together well. Set aside until needed.
    3. Cook the potatoes in lightly salted boiling water for about 10 to 15 minutes until tender, while you heat a griddle to searing hot. Rub the olive oil onto the lamb on both sides and sear it on the griddle pan for about 2 to 3 minutes per side. It should be pink in the middle. Remove from the pan and keep it warm. Before serving, slice to your liking.
    4. Drain the potatoes and melt the butter on them before serving with the lamb. Don't forget the mint sauce.
    https://ananyah.com/2013/10/26/lamb-fillet-with-crushed-potatoes-mint-sauce/

    I was recently invited to attend my very first cooking class at Edinburgh New Town Cookery School courtesy of Scotch Lamb and Quality Meat Scotland along with other food bloggers. The aim of the day was to educate the invitees on Scotch Lamb, to help change perceptions about lamb and highlight that it is easy to cook, vestatile and simple to use.

    When I arrived at the Cookery School, we were introduced to the chefs, other food bloggers and then given a short introductory talk all about Scotch Lamb. QMS started the #WhamBamThankyouLamb campaign to encourage more people to eat lamb. Beef is established as Scotlands favourite red meat – on average, Scottish households only buy lamb 5.9 times a year – and QMS is out to change this [source]

    Scotch Lamb has Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) status which means:

    • Quality Guarantee: this guarantees a specific production method and controls which are stricter than those required by legislation.
    • A Superior Character: which also guarantees our meat to have specific characteristics or quality that is superior to usual commercial standards.
    • 100% Traceable: complete traceability of all our products.
    • Clear Labelling: this allows you to identify quality products, their origin and their characteristics.

    We then watched the Head Chef Jess re-create three simple lamb dishes: Lamb Biryani, Lamb Meatballs and Fillet of Lamb with Crushed New Potatoes & Mint Sauce. Jess talked us through each step, giving us her professional tips and making us feel at ease. While Jess was cooking away, I got the chance to chat to some of the other food bloggers who I’ve followed on twitter for a while or read their blogs. It’s always good putting a face to the name and finally meeting someone after “following” them for years.

    Jess from Edinburgh New Town Cookery School

    Jess made the dishes look so simple to make and in fact, most can be cooked in 30 minutes (after you’ve found all the ingredients, chopped them up and figured out that you’re going to be doing… so make that an hour!). After the three dishes were created, we had a taste test (my favourite part!).

    Lamb Biryani

    Lamb Meatballs

    Fillet of Lamb

    After lusting after the Le Creuset pans and Aga Cooker, we were then set loose in the professional kitchens to cook our favourite dish from those demonstrated. I decided to make the Fillet of Lamb with Crushed New Potatoes & Mint Sauce. I’ve never cooked Fillet of Lamb before but after seeing how quick & easy it is to cook, I am a convert.

    Cookery School Kitchens

    We were shown our stations, given a recipe sheet and given all our ingredients. It honestly felt like I never set foot in a kitchen before and it took me a few minutes to get into the swing of things. Let’s just forget the part where I accidentally put a tablespoon of sugar into my bowl of lemon rind instead of my bowl of chopped mint leaves. All was well in the end & I quickly fixed my mistake. I shall just blame the strange surroundings, yes?

    Ingredients

    After we all finished cooking our dishes, we sat through in the lovely dining room with some wine eating our creations feeling very pleased with ourselves at a job well done. I had a lovely day and a great first experience at a Cookery School, so much so I really want to go to another class soon. The recipe for the Fillet of Lamb dish will be in another post along with more photos, so look out for that soon!

    My attempt at Fillet of Lamb with Crushed New Potatoes and Mint Sauce

    I do love lamb and it used to be something I just ordered in a restaurant but after learning some tips from professional chefs and learning more about lamb, I’m going to try cook more of it at home. It is lambing season after all!

    Do you eat lamb? Do you have any tips? What is your favourite thing to do with lamb? Let me know!

    I’m all for quick & simple cooking and what better way to do this than with a Crockpot slow cooker! You can poach, stew, braise, simmer, infuse, roast and bake in a slow cooker. It’s perfect is you’re too busy or running short on time and want to throw everything into one giant pot to cook while you’re out.

    So today, I’m giving one of you the chance to win your own 4.7 Litre Crock-Pot  (RRP £89.78) which feeds up to 5 people and also includes recipes created by TV Chef Phil Vickery, thanks to Choiceful.com.

    “Choiceful is an online marketplace with products in categories ranging from home and garden, computing, electronics, music, book, health and beauty plus more. They also let you sell your unwanted items at competitive rates”.

    Crock-Pot Slow Cooker Features

    • 4.7 Litre capacity – ideal for up to 5 people.
    • 2 heat settings and keep warm function.
    • Removable pot can be used on the hob, in the microwave, oven, freezer and refrigerator.
    • Includes 15 recipes exclusively created by Phil Vickery.

    Terms & Conditions:

    1. The competition ends at midnight (GMT) on 24th September 2013, four week from today.
    2. The giveaway is UK only.
    3. Choiceful will be posting the prize to the winner.
    4. You must enter via Rafflecopter below.
    5. The winner will be announced on both my blog & on my twitter account (@ananyah) on 25th September 2013.
    6. Once the winner has been announced, they have 24 hours to claim the prize, if no one claims the prize in that time, we reserve the right to select another winner.
    7. Please ensure you use your correct email address when entering as this is how we will contact you to mail the prize.

    Enter:


    I like recipes that are quick, easy and taste wonderful, especially if I’m working throughout the week. The last thing I want to do is spend hours in the kitchen so this is the perfect dish to create when you’re short on time.

    I like to think of it as an upmarket version of a Chicken Kiev. You could really stuff the chicken with anything you like. I just so happen like cheese, pesto and more cheese. I added rocket & parmesan salad to the dish before serving and relaxing for the rest of the night.

    Garlic & Lemon Double Stuffed Chicken

    Garlic & Lemon Double Stuffed Chicken

    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Serving Size: 4

    Ingredients

    • Oil
    • 4 chicken breasts
    • 1/2 packet of cream cheese (I used Garlic & Herb Philadelphia)
    • 4 slices of cheddar cheese (or more if you wish!)
    • 4 tablespoons of Pesto
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs (I used Ruskoline but Panko would be my preferred choice)
    • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
    • 2 teaspoon minced garlic
    • 4 tablespoons melted butter
    • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
    • Pinch of garlic salt
    • Pinch of Paprika

    Method:

    1. Preheat oven to 180º degrees. Lightly coat a large, shallow baking dish with oil.
    2. Butterfly each breast by slicing in half horizontally through the center, cutting almost but not completely through. Place cheddar, cream cheese and pesto in the center of each breast.
    3. Fold the chicken together and set aside.
    4. Pour milk into a shallow bowl. In a separate bowl, combine breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese. Carefully dip each breast into the milk, then in breadcrumb mixture, patting lightly to firmly coat. Secure with a cocktail stick so it doesn't fall apart.
    5. Place breasts side by side in a single layer in pre-oiled baking dish, tucking edges under to seal.
    6. Melt butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir in lemon juice and garlic, and drizzle evenly over chicken. Season breasts with garlic salt and paprika.
    7. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until juices run clear.
    https://ananyah.com/2013/08/18/garlic-lemon-double-stuffed-chicken/