Choccie Cupcakes with Nutella Frosting and Cookie Crumbs

baking, cupcakes, food, naughty recipes

Yup. I went there.

I’ve been feeling SO tired lately. Not in a sleepy sort of way, more in a ‘it’s been 6 months since I had a break from work and if I don’t inject a hit of something different into my life soon I’m going to fall apart and it won’t be pretty’ *sharp intake of breath* sort of way. And in the most minor of ways, these cupcakes are that hit. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still counting down the days until my week of annual leave starting August the 3rd; but I think this will keep me going until then. Also see: Lucy, disperse your annual leave more wisely across the year.

It might seem a bit bullshit-esque for somebody who predominantly blogs about food and baking to describe baking cupcakes as something different, but actually, I can’t remember the last time I baked cupcakes. For a long time I had a bit of an axe to grind with them. I kind of just saw them as sponge cake with a fancy hat on, and I’ve never really been a hat person. However, nutella hats are quite a different beast.

This recipe is from sallysbakingaddiction, a blog I am ridiculously late to the party on. I love it though! I love that she ‘translates’ her ingredients list for us UK folk who are too lazy to download a conversion app. The only things I changed were swapping out granulated sugar for soft light brown sugar – just a preference, I think it adds more depth of flavour to chocolatey cakes; and skipping the double cream in the frosting recipe – because I forgot to buy it. The cookie crumb was my own little ‘sod the diet it’s a Sunday’ addition. I’m quite looking forward to taking these into work tomorrow. I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it but I’m currently on a temp contract but will be interviewing for permanency this Summer. Our business manager has a sweet tooth. You connect the dots. Anyway, here is a 3 part architectural journey of these delicious little treats:

Slutty Naked Cakes:

Showing Off My Limited Skills with a Piping Bag

Hiding My Limited Skills with a Piping Bag in the Best Way Ever  

In other news, I still haven’t ran since I felt my ankle start to weaken. I’m supposed to have a 3.5 miler tomorrow, but I think I’m going to walk it instead, to test the waters. Ohhh I don’t know though. Maybe I could walk a mile, run a mile, walk a mile, run half. From a mental health perspective, I’m finding that I’m really missing the benefits that regular cardio brings. Dilemmas, dilemmas. I wish I had a little Personal Trainer Fairy hovering above my right shoulder at all times, telling me what the best thing to do is.  I now have images of my old PT, Will, who is heavily tattooed, shaved headed and very much PT looking, wearing fairy wings, a wand and a tiara with his sports gear. I think he would look fabulous.

WELL. That took a turn I was not anticipating when I began writing about cupcakes. I think I’ll go now, but enjoy the food porn!

Advertisements

Prawn n Corn Friday Night Tea

cooking, dinner, food, Uncategorized

Friday night was my last night of freedom. By that, I mean my final night of being the sole occupant of my house. That’s right, on Saturday 20th June 2015, my boyfriend moved in with me. It’s the first time I’ll ever have lived with a boyfriend, so there is quite the heady mix of emotions going through my head. Excitement, nerves, fear that my nicely gingerbread scented living room will become overcome by the waft of boy stench. The usual.

So when Friday night swung round, I wanted to cook myself something ‘nice’. Not going to lie, partly because it was my last night of freedom, partly just because it was a Friday night. After trawling through pages of recipes, I found one on the Ocado website, for a king prawn and corn parcel cooked in baking parchment with coriander and chilli butter. That’ll do the trick.

I couldn’t find raw cook prawns in my supermarket, so I opted for those cooked with the tails still on – does anybody else eat those and relish the crunch they provide, or is it just me? Because the prawns were precooked, I didn’t add them in as soon as the original recipe suggested, in order to avoid mega disappointing prawn shrinkage. To check out the original recipe, click here: clicky click

Here’s the results of my attempts:

   
 

The Tired Foodie

food

The problem with being a foodie is that sometimes, you just can’t be arsed. Now, don’t get it twisted – you will never, ever find me skipping dinner because I can’t be bothered to cook, or microwaving a tin of macaroni cheese after a hard day at work. Not because I’ve got some sort of superiority complex but because I’m obsessed with food. Every single day I wake up, and my first thought is usually what food I’m going to eat for breakfast. I plan out my meals for the week – not to save time, money and effort (although those are bonuses), but because I hate being sat at work at 3pm, not knowing what’s for tea. I like to gently prepare my pallet, like an athlete would warm up before a workout.

Unfortunately though, on days like today, my incessant need to have a home cooked meal that isn’t a) boring or b) processed junk food, is a bloody curse. For some unearthly reason I woke up at 4am instead of 5, when my alarm was actually set. I arrived at the venue of the event I was coordinating at 7am, rallied around for 3 hours setting up the venue and signing in delegates, then worked until 3.30pm. I’ve just gotten in from my day, and I know I have a 3 mile run on my training schedule to complete this evening. The thought of chopping up fiddly bits of onion and garlic, or grinding herbs in a pestle and mortar is just not something I can entertain at this point. Or at least not without wanting to punch myself in the face.

So today I tried out a Jamie Oliver recipe. He has recipes on his site that specify that they serve one person. I chose the roasted chicken with lemony bombay potatoes. A dish that pleasingly uses one bowl and one pan! Hurrah! Take that, washing up bowl! You can find the complete recipe and method by following this link to his website. It literally took me about 7 minutes to prep this dish, and 30 minutes to roast. Which was conveniently just enough time to write the bulk of this post. Sometimes, life just works out nicely doesn’t it?

I’m just saying that yes, sometimes being a foodie can be a plague, because you don’t want to faff around, but you also don’t want to settle for a naff tea. Recipes like this one really prove to me that you can cook a tasty meal for one, that isn’t just a run of the mill tuna jacket potato, even when you’re absolutely knackered. You just have to find the recipes that work.

Cheddar, Sweet Potato and Kale Mash 

food

Have you ever had an accidental moment of genius? Because today I did. On Sunday, I cooked myself some lamb loins, sweet potato mash, roasted carrots and kale. I had leftover mash and kale, so I had planned to make bubble and squeak cakes with gammon and fried egg.

However, just after I got home from work I remembered it’s my Nan’s birthday tomorrow, and my parents are holding a good old fashioned BBQ for her. Not wanting to turn up empty handed, I decided to make a recipe I found via the Shayloss YouTube channel – quinoa, tomatoes, coriander, jalapeño, onions, garlic, lime, cumin, olive oil, corn and black beans. It’s a pretty simple recipe, but involves lots of prep. So by the time I’d chopped all of the ingredients, cooked the quinoa, washed the pots and done all of the boring, grown up things associated with cooking; the last thing I wanted to do was fiddle around forming perfectly shaped bubble and squeak cakes and then attempt to cook them in a way that was healthy, but would allow the cakes to hold their shape. No fanku.

Instead, I chopped the kale, added 20g of mature cheddar and microwaved. And oh. my. god. if my tongue could leap out of my throat and do one of those Michael Jackson grabby crotch thrust things with a *heeee heeee*, I swear it would have done! Such a simple accompaniment to gammon but such flavour pay off. As I said, I chose to have it with a gammon steak with the fat removed and a dry fried egg (do not attempt to do this without a good none stick pan – it will only lead to heartache). Seriously, anybody reading this HAS to try this recipe. Sweet potato can be counted as a portion of vegetables, and so can kale. That’s two of your five a day in one incredibly tasty recipe. I mean come on. That doesn’t happen very often. TRY IT!

IMG_4399

Overall verdict: The trophy cupboard of top comfort food recipes has gained a new bobby dazzler.

Chorizo and Monkfish Salad

food, weight loss

This is probably the most middle class lunch I’ve ever made, and I feel like I should spend the rest of the day watching reruns of The Simpsons, eating pom bears and drinking panda pops, just to get the balance right. I mean, I won’t, but I feel like I should.

Last night I went back to my parents house for dinner and to hang out a little while. It was nice, but my mum told me I look like I’ve gained weight on my face, which bummed me out well and truly. She didn’t mean it to upset me, it’s just one of those things that only really mums and sisters can get away with saying. Even though I got quite upset about it, I’m actually really, really glad she said it. For a while I’ve been sliding on a slippery slope back to my bad eating habits, and I’ve recognised it but not had that kick up the bum to do anything about it. I think somebody else being brutally honest with me is actually really beneficial for me in the long run. Sure, the initial statement stung, but I can now use that sting to motivate me to get back on track so I don’t have to feel it again.

So with that in mind, today I got up and made myself an egg white omlette with mushrooms and about 20g of mature cheddar. Not the most exciting breakfast but satisfying none the less. Lunchtime however was a different story entirely. I have just consumed this glorious feast of chorizo and monkfish salad, pictured above (and below). Whenever I make a salad I like to use the 3 basics as a base. Leaves, cucumber and tomatoes. Then I start to think about ingredients I can add that provide a whole bunch of flavour. I tend to go for garlic stuffed olives and artichokes, as I did here. I also added some red onion, although sometimes I’ll add spring onion, grated carrot, sweetcorn, herbs such as corriander or parsley or anything else I can find lurking around my cupboards that takes my fancy.The final step in salad building 101 with Lucy is to add the protein. I’m probably one of the least fussy eaters in the entire world, so the world is really my oyster here. Chicken, tuna, feta, mozzerella, nuts and seeds, salmon, eggs, hummus, prawns – I’ll pretty much take anything. Today I had a couple of posh ingredients though, as a result of my Ocado shop last week. Chorizo is unfortunately very high in fat, but more fortunately very high in flavour, so you really don’t need to use a lot to get that flavour packed punch you want to create. Once the chorizo was cooked I added that to the salad. After draining the pan of the excess chorizo fat, I then cooked the monk fish. Draining the fat meant getting rid of the excess calories, but retaining that smokey paprika flavour. It really was a lovely little Sunday treat.

The rest of the day is going to be very Sunday-esque. I envision a lot of youtube, netflix, getting my clothes sorted for the upcoming work week, dinner and a Sunday night workout before a shower and bed. I might even squeeze a nap in there somewhere. Bliss.

LDN Marathon and Rice & Peas!

fitness, food, london, running, weight loss

So…today I did something ridiculous, and entered the ballot for the London Marathon. Although I know full well that there’s a slim chance of being selected, even typing about it gets me a little unnerved. It’s something I’ve always wanted to do, but never had the guts to commit to. I’ve heard numerous runners advise that the way to train for a race is to book one. Something about the pressure of knowing that in x amount of months, weeks, days you’ll be out there running it; that motivates the shit out of you.

I’m currently training for the 10km race for life, so I figured I’d just keep training, keep chipping away and see what happens. I mean, logically speaking, assuming I don’t break any limbs or get mowed down by a car whilst training, the worst that can happen is that I increase my stamina and invest more time into a hobby that makes me happy and is good for my health. It’s hardly cause for regret is it? So we’ll watch this space and see what happens. I’m excited though!

In other news, today I made tradition (I think) Jamaican rice and peas to have with my pork chop and broccoli for dinner, and it was with ease one of my top five favourite things I’ve cooked in 2015 so far. It was so simple too! For some reason, I had this perception that cooking traditional (I think) rice and peas was quite laborious, in a risotto stirring sort of way. Not at all! Just pop 200g of brown rice, 400ml coconut water, 300ml regular water, 2 cloves of chopped garlic, a few chopped spring onions (although I used half a red onion), a teaspoon of allspice and a sprinkle of dried thyme into a sauce pan, bring to the boil, whack a lid on it and cook until the liquid has been absorbed, stir in your kidney beans and bob’s your uncle! I added a bit of sweetcorn to mine for an extra veggie – although somebody told me a while ago that sweetcorn no longer counts as a vegetable because its starch content is too high. Although that makes me very sad, so I’d prefer to ignore such heinous comments. Love me some corn.

As a side note, I’m feeling much, much better mentally today. Even yesterday, when I thought I felt better, I still wasn’t 100% myself. Today though, I woke up filled with positivity and light, and I’ve been in a good mood all day. Accentuated Friday feeling perhaps? Whatever it is, I’m clinging on to it.