Thursday, 29 November 2012

Chilly Chilli

I've been saying all night 'it's chilly' so it reminded me that I hadn't posted my 'Chilli' slow cooker recipe that a few of you have asked for... sorry!  Here it is:

Brown the mince

In the slow cooker add:

1 chopped onion,
1 pepper (optional),
2 stalks of celery (optional),
500ml carton of passatta,
tin of (drained) kidney beans,
pinch of salt,
1 teaspoon of garlic puree,
1 tablespoon of tomato puree,
1 tablespoon of dried basil,
1 teaspoon of chilli powder,
pinch of dried chilli flakes (optional),

Stir and add mince and cooked on medium for 6 hours (or low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours)

That's it.. nothing fancy - just basic ingredients from the store cupboard.  You can add more chilli if you like it with more of a kick or add fresh chilli - I keep it mild as baby loves chilli!

I serve one of two ways:

1) with boiled rice (Riddock Rice as we now call it... it's the perfect fool proof technique, if you want to know just let me know) and a spoonful of natural yoghurt

2) over homemade potato wedges and grated cheese on top

A x

Monday, 26 November 2012

Anyone for tea?

...not just any tea but teapigs tea!  Have you tried it?

I had heard so many good things about teapigs I just had to try it out.  I knew that a brand with such a cool name it would be a little different to the norm, so my first stop was their website (find it here 'teapigs')

Now I thought I knew about tea... I knew I was a huge fan of Yorkshire teabags, and I like my tea black..not strong but not like dishwater.  Well, I was about to find out that I really knew very little about tea indeed!  Check out the Louise explains tea page, Louise is a tea tester... sounds like a great job!  I was quite flabbergasted when I was taking in all the information about tea.

The kind teapigs people have sent me some samples to try out, I was so excited when my Husband messaged me at work to tell me they had arrived!!  Did you see the brill mood-o-meter on the home page of the teapigs website?  I clicked bloated and it suggested peppermint... oh my indeed!

The tea temple (that's what your teapigs tea is housed in, not a bag but a temple!!) holds the leaves, they are proper leaves not crushed up or ground tea and you can smell the aroma straight away, you just know it's going to be good even before you try it.  

I added my tea temple to my cup of boiling water for a little over 3 minutes.  The smell... oh the smell.. it was really minty and refreshing.  It tasted great, I could really taste the difference over other peppermint tea bags.  It was soothing and tingly on my tongue.  I really do think there is no going back now, for my peppermint tea.  I'm sold!

I still have some other samples to try which include:  everyday brew, darjeeling earl grey, chamomile, super fruit and also liquorice and mint.  I will let you know how they are very soon!

I have a treat for you all...15% off* at using the code BLOGGERS12

Enjoy, and if you try some, do come back and let me know what you think!  You can also let me know on my Facebook Page

PS.  if you're stuck for any Christmas Gift Ideas, then check out the Christmas Gift Shop what a smashing gift some teapigs would be!

AnneeApple x

Thank you to teapigs for sending me some samples to review.
(*enter code at checkout. discount does not apply to gifts and cheeky deals as these are already discounted)

Friday, 23 November 2012

Slow cooking and coffee

The slow cooker has been dusted off this week and we've used it twice.... yes twice!

On Monday we had chicken curry, I used the Slow Cooker range from Schwartz.  I'd never used this product before.  It was really quick and easy to prepare, which is what you want when you're a busy working Mom.  Even before the meal started cooking it smelt amazing!  Throughout the whole day the fragrant aroma of dinner cooking was making my mouth water.  I cooked this for 6 hours on medium and served with boiled rice and chapatis.  There wasn't much sauce but the meal was tasty, not too spicy at all, just a nice mellow curry which was perfect for an evening meal.  I added some natural yoghurt to my dish, not to cool it but just because I love yoghurt with my curry!

Tonight we had beef stew, this was another Schwartz product from the Slow Cooker range, it is beef and ale stew but as baby was having some too, I didn't add the ale.  There wasn't much smell before the meal cooked and throughout the day there was only the hint of aroma.  I cooked this for 6 hours on medium then I turned it down to low as not everyone would be home at the same time for tea (this is why a slow cooker meal on these nights is just perfect!).  The meal was delicious, maybe too much water / juice this time.. but next time I cook this (as there will be a next time) I will add less than the recommended 750ml of liquid (water and ale, although I just added 600ml of liquid).  Everyone enjoyed this meal, I served it with mash and puff pastry.

Do you cook with a slow cooker?  I'd love to hear your recipes and if you've tried the Schwartz range what did you make of it?

This week is also the week of our new Dolce Gusto Genio, isn't it gorgeous?

Our Genio arrived on Tuesday and I LOVE IT!  It's compact and so cute and it makes amazing coffee.  We have £10 credit on the webshop so tonight we're going to order some more pods!


Sunday, 18 November 2012

Crafty Weekend!

What a busy weekend...  I'm quite tired but you'd never guess with the amount of crafting and baking I've been doing.  Here's a snippet:

White chocolate and cranberry cookies

Giraffe stuffed toy (it has a different pattern on each side)

Letter 'N' cushion

Peppermint bark

Teacup pin cushion

Why so much?  Well, I am conducting a craft demo on Wednesday night for the Girls' Brigade, they want to make something different to what they normally do for their Christmas Market.  So, I thought of the simple teacup pin cushion... I don't actually have a pin cushion (well I do now as I made this one tonight), so I was looking forward to trying this out. AND I used it afterwards when I made the stuffed toy and it worked a treat, I LOVED the little handle of the cup so it was easy to move about from one work station to the other with me!  It was so easy to make, I'll post a tutorial soon!

I'm also going to talk through (would take too long to demo on the night) the process of making Peppermint Bark, I adore this stuff... I really didn't want to bag it, I just wanted to eat it!  I'll post recipe of this soon too!  Now I just have to think of one other thing to demo and I think I'm going to do a tea light gift... thinking cap on!

Hope you all had a great weekend!  I am off work until Wednesday so have another few busy days ahead!  My new table should come from John Lewis tomorrow and I SHOULD get a phone call to let me know delivery dates of my chairs and my new Dolce Gusto Genio coffee machine will be here early this week... can't wait!

A x

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Coffee anyone?

I'm super excited!  We have just ordered a Dolce Gusto Genio (that's a lovely, cute coffee machine from Nescafe, you knew that right?)   Here's a link

We used to have a brill coffee machine, it was huge though.  But it made amazing coffee, you could have espresso, filter and it also had a milk frother.  It sat perfectly in our kitchen in our previous house as we had one corner worktop at the other side of the room, you'd have thought it was made for the coffee machine (I can't even remember the brand but it wouldn't look out of place in a small cafe!).  When we moved house, jeezo, nearly 3 years ago it was damaged in the move and we've not replaced it yet.  We don't have a huge amount of work tops in our kitchen as half of the kitchen is a breakfasting area, so we never really saw a coffee machine that was neat and compact...

On Monday, Hubber, baby and I where staying overnight at a lovely hotel in Edinburgh (which was a covert job) and in our room there was a Nespresso machine... now I'm not a fan of espresso but there were a few different pods for us to try, I opted for the Vivalto Lungo which was amazing!!  It really put me in the mood for some good coffee when I got home.  So the hunt was on, which machine?!

I posted, on my own FB page a status asking for my friends opinions on coffee machines and why they liked them.  I must say the biggest majority said the Tassimo, and we were seriously considering it.  I thought it was too big and when I looked at the choice of pods, there was so many... but after cutting out all the things I wouldn't drink then the options for black coffee was really one Kenco pod?!  That's no good to man nor beast (or houseplant)...  So I was instantly put off.  No-one mentioned the Nespresso, I really liked this although the cup holder that folded up and down seemed a bit flimsy and was made of plastic.  When you're paying over £100 for a coffee machine, I'd like it to be robust...  A few friends mentioned the Dolce Gusto, they did say the spout the drink comes out got blocked a lot but they live in a very hard water area and this will be the problem.  Our water in Scotland is very soft, we have no problem with limescale.  Even if we did though I saw that on the Dolce Gusto website they sell liquid water descaler, which they advise to use every 6months.

I was coming round to the Dolce Gusto Genio... it looks compact and the colour is named Piano Black.. and you all know we are huge piano fans here!!  When I was looking through the pod varieties there was so much more choice, I can't wait to try most of them!!  I've also got my eye on the black bubble pod and also have you seen the new Cappuccino Cups - Barista Edition in Green?!  Yeah, I'd love these!

Look out for photos of our new machine coming soon!!

Thursday, 8 November 2012

New prints!

It's been busy here in AnneeApple land...  I've been working on some new pints for my kitchen.  We have a new dining table and chairs coming from John Lewis in a few weeks time and the chairs are bright colours, each chair a different colour.. so I wanted some colour on the walls to bring it together, hoping these will do just that!  I'll be selling these prints soon... so check out or for them coming soon!

I've also been working on some prints for our bedroom, we have a superman print above the bed (I do like my superheroes... or maybe it's pop art I like more?)... I've created this one so far, it would be a perfect Wedding Keepsake Gift.

I told you I signed up to the Bloggers' Secret Santa right?  I'm excited about this.. and I'm enjoying looking for things that my person will like!

A x