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What’s cooking

It’s been a while since I’ve made an What’s Cooking roundup. I talked in July about my weekly shopping, but I didn’t share any recipes. So, today I’m going to talk about the last things I’ve cooked. This week I’ve been invited to the Chef Challenge at Shoryu Ramen in Manchester and I made my own Japanese bun. It was so exciting that I plan to get a steamer and make my own buns.

Besides the recipes with pictures, I baked bread a few times, I’ve made pizza using the same dough as the one for the Thick Danish Pancakes and it was delicious. I made basic houmous too, lots of smoothies. A few days ago I’ve made a cottage pie with a huge marrow (it weighted 1.6 kg), I’ve used a can of baked beans and lots of spices, on top I put mash potatoes. It was almost vegan, but I’ve added leftover cream to the potatoes (so I don’t waste the unused cream). Next time I’m making it vegan.

What's_Cooking

From top left: Vegan Ramen, Carrot houmous, Orange and Strawberries Cake, Upsidedown Pear Cake with Port, Deviled Eggs and Danish Thick Pancakes.

I love Ramen, but I’m not making it as often as I want. This week I had it twice though. I tried carrot houmous after seeing the idea in a TV show with Michel Roux Jr. called Hidden Restaurants. The cake was made for a special occassion and this time I’ve used  a whole orange, boiled. The cake turned out delicious. So did the Pear cake. The last two recipes are for stuffed eggs, something both my husband and I enjoy a lot and it reminds us of our childhood, and danish pancakes. I think everybody should try those pancakes, they are so different to make, the recipe is quite unique.

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Weekly Shopping

I saw a blog post written by Dana about her weekly shopping and I’ve decided to write a similar post, as an alternative to “What’s cooking”. It was an interesting experiment for me too as we don’t usually buy everything we need for a week in one day. As we eat a lot of fresh fruits and vegetables, we have to go shopping quite often.
I think we spent a little more this week as I bought vanilla paste, chocolate spread, snacks and honey and I don’t buy those weekly. Those would add up to a bit over £10, so we might be in the average spend category.

01 Weekly Shopping

This was our main shop with another couple of small top-ups. Some of the things in here will last for more than 1 week and some are not on our usual shopping list, more of an impulse purchase. The total for this is £54, considering the top-ups, it got to approximately £65 per week for 2 adults. I obviously didn’t include any alcohol and the dog’s food is not included either. That is higher comparing to the £52.20 an average household spends on food on a week (average household has 2.4 people, so the spend should be under £50 for 2 to get close to the average). I took the information from ONS, if you want to have a look.

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Greener Cleaner Products review and giveaway

I like Eco-friendly products, it’s better for the environment and for us too, as it means we are living in a greener world. I was excited to receive this bundle from Greener Cleaner Products for review and to host a giveaway, so one of my readers would have the chance of winning a bundle.

For me, cutting down waste is important, regardless if it’s food waste or anything else. I am washing and removing the labels of glass and plastic jars, so I can reuse them again and again, prolonging their lives with a couple of years, even more when it comes to plastic. So, I’m obviously delighted to see that more things can be done with plastic stuff after they’re no longer needed.

Greener Cleaner Products review and giveaway

These products are 100% made with wood pulp and recycled plastic using Eco-Flex, a patented technology. I think it’s wonderful, a good way to use plastic which leads to a reduction in waste and in what goes into the landfill. By using ready made plastic, there isn’t the need to use fresh raw materials. Also, according to their website, less energy and water are needed, hence there is a reduction in pollution from incineration. The products are made with sustainable wood and recycled Polypropylene.

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1 year of daily smoothies

1 year of daily smoothies, sounds like a lot. It was never my intention to do it. In June 2015 I’ve started a Colourful Smoothie Challenge with an American blogger. During that month she wasn’t as keen to keep us on track. I did the first 10 days, then the next 10 days. After that I had another couple of smoothies and I stopped.

The next year, in June, I thought I should make my own Smoothie Challenge: 30 days of smoothies, hubby joined in. I’ve mentioned about it on a forum I’m active on and went from there. Someone else said she wanted to do a similar challenge, but not with smoothies every day, but smoothie or soup. As it offered more flexibility, after I successfully finished the first 30 days of the challenge, I continued with the smoothie/soup option. I didn’t set up a target from the begining of going for 1 year, but only after 5-6 months or so. There were days when I had soup and smoothie, there were days when I had 2 soups and a smoothie.

1 year of daily smoothies

I’m so happy I took the challenge again. This year I had more than 500 soups and smoothies. If I consider, in average, 2 portions of fruits/vegs per smoothie/soup, that means I had more than 1000 fruits and veggies. That is impressive. A small bowl of soup has 1 portion of vegetables. I would add another portion by tossing in some roasted mushrooms in a mushroom soup, for example.
When it comes to smoothies, I usually make them like this: 1 banana + 150ml juice (no added sugar) + 1 fruit or 80g of frozen fruit/veg. That means a total of 3 portions in a glass like the ones in the picture. To that I add Chia seeds or oats. As an extra healthy kick, I would add spirulina, cinnamon, turmeric, cocoa powder, pollen, hemp seeds. It’s so easy and the taste is amazing.

To celebrate the year of smoothies, I made these 7 smoothies in the colours of the rainbow. You can see all the ingredients on my food blog: Rainbow of smoothies.

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Cookies and Muffins by Paul Hollywood

I spotted the mixes made by Paul Hollywood in shops the other day. I’ve wondered if I should get them. I don’t use mixes because I don’t see the point for them. When we are away with the caravan, I would make my own mix, basically I weight in the flour, sugar, baking powder, cocoa and put it in a zip bag or in a jar. I love baking, my husband loves baking and between us, we manage to make some desserts each day.

Cookies and Muffins by Paul Hollywood

That being said, I’m a blogger and these are mixes from Paul Hollywood and my husband agreed with me that surely my readers want to know what are my thoughts about these mixes. With that in mind, I bought the Luxurious Belgian White Chocolate Cookie Mix and the Luxurious Belgian Chocolate Muffin Mix. I’ve decided to respect the recipe as much as possible on both, without any other additions.

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Agnes Vase by Normann Copenhagen

I like to decorate my home with vases. My living room is quite minimalist: white walls, grey carpet, white and black fireplace, white and black speakers, white furniture, grey dinning table and an ivory & dark grey sofa. I would have bought a white sofa, but the only light colour faux leather sofa that was available in their range was ivory.
I prefer adding colour with accessories and flowers. My favourite type of vases are handmade, as you might know from the post about Rose Dickenson’s vases (I bought a 3rd one from her this year). I like that they aren’t exactly the same, they have character and there was a lot of passion behind their creation.

Agnes Vase by Normann Copenhagen

I fell in love with this Agnes Vase at Normann Copenhagen* from the moment I saw it. I though it will be great with my decor. There are 7 sizes available and I picked the one that is 20 cm high as the other vases I have are slim and it can be tricky when I have a big bunch of flowers. I think the vase with the red Amaryllis flowers looks amazing.

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Makeup organizer

This month’s review is less a review and more of an idea, just because the make up organizer I have sold out in shops. I got it from B&M. Similar one can be found online though, at Home Bargains for £5. I wasn’t sure if it will be of good quality as it has a low price. In the end, I was so happy with it and I end up buying two.

Makeup organizer

I got the first one a few months ago. It was a little bigger than I wanted but it fit in a cabinet and I had to rearrange a few things to make space for it. I have enough space for everything I need to store in it and there is still a little bit of space left for anything else I might decide to get and use.
I used to keep my nail polish in my bedside table. Some of the makeup was in the bathroom and the rest in a drawer. Now that I have everything in one location is great. I keep in the bathroom only the makeup remover and, of course, the cleansing products, like face wash, lotion, masks. Because I moved all the makeup in the bedroom, now I can see and use easily the things I have in the bathroom. The samples and new items are kept in my bedside table until I decide to use them.

After having it for a couple of months, I bought another one for the caravan.

Makeup organizer

In the caravan, the makeup organizer, was a life saver. I have a traveling makeup bag that I’m using, but it’s so much easier to have all the makeup and cosmetics within easy reach when I’m looking for them. Before having the makeup organizer I used some glasses for the toothbrushes. I found that in the caravan, the makeup organizer was even more important as I keep there all the cosmetics and stuff for my hair too. As you can see, the organizer has more things in it, as I have there the shower gels and so on.

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