Sunday, 22 March 2015

Cuisinart ICE30BCU Ice Cream Maker Review

An ice cream maker is the stuff of my childhood dreams. I always wanted to open an ice cream parlour, I even had (still have and cherish) the Paradisa Ice Cream cafe Lego set and spent endless hours deciding what flavour Lego ice cream cones my little cafe was serving. 

My Ice Cream Bar
The dream is real! I now have my very own ice cream machine to conjure up all manner of fabulously flavoured ice cream and I love it. 

When I had friends visiting recently I indulged even further into that childhood fantasy by setting up a little ice cream bar on the side in the kitchen. Flakes, marshmallows and chocolate sauce, I was definitely more excited about this than the guests. Move over cocktails, ice cream bars are the new party must have.

Ice Cream Maker Video Review

The best thing about the ice cream machine is being able to control what goes into your ice cream. Dairy free, yoghurt based, sugar free and sorbets are all really easy to do and experimenting with a range of ingredients, (savoury ice cream anyone? ) is so much fun. I'm quite certain there is no such thing as bad ice cream so you really can't go wrong.

Family Fever

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Project Life Allotment Journal

I just discovered the Project Life system and decided to try it for documenting my first year on the allotment. I usually scrapbook or bullet journal, Project Life seemed like a perfect compromise between the two.

I was initially drawn to the idea of pocket journalling because I liked the idea of keeping seed packets and pressed flowers with out the glueing and sticking of scrapbooking. I'm hoping to create a tidy layout that I can reference next year when I'm picking out seeds and deciding what to grow again.

I took the leap and purchased a value kit of cards and one set of pockets to see if I thought it was a system that I could make work for me. Once I'd decided it was for me I also bought the 6x8 album and a We R Memory Keepers corner chomper to get the classic round edged corners on my photos.

Video of how I've set up my gardening journal

I've been printing my own photos at home on our old Epson printer but ink is fairly pricey and the picture quality could be better. I've heard that the Canon Selphy is great for instantly printing your photos at home and that might be one to look into in the future. Project Life is expensive to get started with and the availability in the UK isn't great. Although, there are plenty of online sellers which is where I bought everything from.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

March Meal Plan

With the days getting longer I'm slowly being lulled into thinking spring is here but it's not, it's still very cold. It's not warm enough for light salads yet and digging the allotment is hard work that needs a good filling hot meal.

March Meal Plan

Trevor plans to start increasing his triathlon training this month which usually means mini meals in addition to the meal plan and some homemade energy bars.
Last year, I bought a book on triathlete nutrition but I haven't read it all yet so I'm planning to do that before next month and add some fresh meals into our meal rotation.

I don't feel like there is anything new on the meal plan this month probably because I wrote the plan after I ordered the shopping. I hadn't realised that I was bothered by the lack of new meals until I started writing this post. Sitting down with all my cookbooks and recipe box is one of my favourite parts of the month. I'm sure I'll end up changing them all around and creating new dishes myself and next month I'll be sure to carve out some recipe reading time well before I need to put the grocery order in.

What's your tried and tasted old faithful recipe that shows up on your meal plan every month. Mine is the chorizo risotto.

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

3 Reasons You Don't Need a Spiralizer

I'm tempted on a daily basis to buy a spiralizer when beautiful coils of perfect courgette spaghetti fill my Instagram and Facebook newsfeeds, I lust after a spiralizer of my own to recreate pasta free spiralized courgette vongole. Plus, just think of the other uses for a spiralizer like cucumber spirals and erm... more courgette spaghetti.

Spiralite Vegetable Spiralizer by Spiralz is £29.95. Perfectly priced for an impulse buy gadget. Expensive enough for you to vow to use it everyday but not so pricey that you'll miss it when it inevitably ends up gathering dust at the back of that junk filled kitchen cupboard where must have kitchen gadgets go to die. Those gadgets that you loved for 5 minutes but then realised they are a pain to clean or too fiddly to use. Empanada maker, pasta machine, and chip dicer I'm looking at you.

Despite knowing a spiralizer would probably end up in the junk cupboard I'm still tempted, I blame Pinterest for brainwashing me into thinking my life quality would improve and my family would love me more if I served spiralised vegetables. Wouldn't they?

Moments away from checking out with the spiralizer that is already in my Amazon basket and I give myself a shake. I do not need this, I'll write a blog post about how much I do not need this and why I won't be suckered in again and then I'll probably forget all that logic and buy it anyway.

Waste what happens to all the non spiralised bits?

How many dishes use spiralised vegetables?

Ok it's pretty but is there really any need for spiralised vegetables?

Do you have a spiralizer?
What kitchen gadget did you think you couldn't live without but now rarely use?

Saturday, 28 February 2015

Allotment in February 2015

This month has been all about digging the plot again and I'm completely fed up of it! The evenings are getting longer and there are signs of spring creeping in, there are beautiful snowdrops everywhere but all we do is dig, dig, dig and the weeds don't seem to getting any less.

 I've started an allotment Project Life journal to keep track of what we are growing and how well it grows. I want to document everything we do on the plot and that includes mentioning how dull weeding is. I'm sure everyone faces this before they get the seeds in and I know I'll get over it once we have a plot sprouting lovely veggie life but I wanted to jot it down so this time next year when I'm looking back I'll remember how fed up of it I was, just in case I feel the same way then.

When we inherited out plot it was in a bad way so hopefully next year the digging won't be quite as arduous. In one fit of bad temper I may have been heard moaning to my sister that it was all a waste of time, a bag of carrots only costs £1. That was a pretty big low from someone who spends most of their time singing the praises of all things organic.
My resentment really doesn't show in the vlogs and that's because once I drag myself to the plot I really do enjoy it but I am very much looking forward to having everything dug over.

What jobs do you dislike doing in the garden?

Friday, 27 February 2015

Big Allotment Challenge & Gardening On TV

I thoroughly enjoyed the Big Allotment Challenge this year and was eagerly looking forward to another. We put our names down on our local allotment waiting list a few weeks before the show aired last year and it was a good job that we did as the waiting list jumped up to 20 people after The Big Allotment Challenge had been on the TV. When the first season aired we didn't have a plot of our own and this may have been why I quickly lost interest in it. When I saw it was on the TV this year I didn't pay it much attention. I've joined  several gardening groups on Facebook and kept noticing people posting about the Big Allotment Challenge and decided to give it another look.

Big Allotment Challenge Winner Rob
Image Credit; BBC/Silver River/Janine Warwick Image Copyright: Silver River

I was charmed. The show focused on three elements; a county fair style exhibiting challenge, flower arranging and cooking. Each element used produce that the contestants grew on their allotments and every week the contestant that had not come up to scratch had to leave. The format was more like The Great British Bake Off than a gardening show.

I found out about the show on social media

The Big Allotment Challenge did have plenty of growing tips but there was not very much emphasis on the contestants out there tending their plots instead we saw what happens to the vegetables and flowers after they were picked. I would have liked to see more of the growing parts of the show. Perhaps a pre show before the challenges started would have worked to show the graft the contestants put in. The contestants tended their plots for several months before the judging started.  I wonder what happened to all the growing footage? Especially the footage of the contestants that went home. That could have been another show in itself.

Despite the lack of gardening I did enjoy the show and was sad to hear there will not be another season next year. These days it's rare that I watch anything on TV and find gardening shows particularly tired and dated, the Big Allotment Challenge did manage to lure me away from YouTube for one evening a week and that's no easy feat.

New show - Kew On A Plate
Image Credit; BBC/Lion television Image Copyright: Lion Television Ltd

There is another show coming this Spring to BBC2 that has captured my interest and that's Kew On A Plate with Kate Humble and Raymond Blanc taking on a mammoth heritage vegetable garden. With these new shows and formats a foot I'm excited and I'm not quite ready to write of TV forever just yet.

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Daily Water Intake

It often gets to the evening and I feel a bit headachey, I start to wonder why and usually realise it's because I've not drunk anything since my morning coffee. I've had to work really hard to remind myself to drink throughout the day.

Water Alarm

These little water bottles are very simple but so far I'm finding that they are really helping me to create a habit of drinking regularly. From 7am to 7pm is marked off in 2 hour intervals during those intervals you drink the water from that part of the bottle. By 7pm you've finished 2 bottles and are nicely hydrated.

Water check boxes

Couple these water intake bottles with my Filofax colour off water droplets and the 5pm alarm on my phone that tells me to drink a glass of water and you'd think I'd be able to nail this water drinking thing, it really shouldn't be difficult!

Do you drink enough water?