Sunday, 22 May 2011

Pesto roasted chicken

DSC01093

Today I made my first roast dinner all by myself! I often volunteer on Mother's Day or birthdays to do the Sunday dinner but inevitably my Mum ends up interferring because she likes things done her way whereas I like to do things a bit differently. However, today for some reason I managed to do it all alone. I roasted a chicken with a pesto butter rub under the skin and jamon serrano on top of the breast. Oh my, it was delicious! I'll share the recipe below: 

125g butter, softened
Juice of one lemon
Large handful of basil
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves of garlic

Whizz all of the above ingredients together in a food processor then rub in in between the chicken skin and meat. (This gets your hands very dirty and it feels almost gross but good in a weird way.) Stuff the chicken cavity with 2 garlic cloves and a whole peeled onion. Roast in the oven at gas mark 6 for about an hour and a half. Halfway through the roasting time, cover the breast with about 4 slices of jamon serrano or parma ham. 

This was SO delicious! Sometimes roast chicken can be so boring and dry, but this was oozing with flavour and the chicken was so tender and delicious. I really recommend using butter rubs in future. I think I'll play around with these and maybe do some Moroccan inspired chicken rubs. There are endless possibilities. 




By the way, thank you for all the comments on my last post. I think my blog will change quite a bit over the next few months, more recipes, more house stuff, more laid back. I think then I'll be able to find my blogging groove again. Oh and in a bid to raise some money to buy things when we move I am selling some things on eBay including the above items; a River Island skirt, Barbara Hulanicki for Topshop skirt and New Look red blazer. Nothing is listed above £5 so get bidding today! We will probably be putting the money towards a dining room table...or a big American style fridge that Scott is obsessed with. Hmm.

Have you got any favourite Sunday dinner recipes to share with me? 



Saturday, 21 May 2011

Uninspired

Lately I've been very uninspired when it comes to clothes. For the past few months I haven't really been as interested in the latest fashion fads or constantly updating my wardrobe. In fact, I would now rather spend my hard earned money on things for our future house and eating out, or even just groceries. I do enjoy food shopping far too much now I think. Perhaps it's a sign that I'm becoming old and boring, or just more sensible and have different priorities. I check the ASOS and Topshop website about once a month now, whereas it used to be practically everyday. I actually felt a pang of guilt the other day when I bought that red stripy t-shirt below from Asda for £4, because I didn't need it. 

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I feel like I've lost my blogging mojo when it comes to outfit posts. These are some recent outfits I have managed to snap before rushing out of the house to work. When I get home in the evening though we are either house hunting, relaxing, cooking or baking, or going for runs and to the gym. Could it be? I'm practically an adult now? I guess I just have different priorities at the moment. Also constantly feeling guilty for not commenting on everyone else's blog is not relaxing at all. So, from now I, I think that I will blog for myself. I will blog when I want to about what I want, not feel guilty for not replying and not feel guilty if I can't post regularly. I know it's easier said than done, but I feel that for my sanity I need to do that. 

Anyone else feel like this with their blog? 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Manchester Great Run 10k

Yesterday was the big day! It was time for me to run my 10k. I was a bit nervous because it's such a big run (apparently there are 38,000 entrants) and my first race ever too. It didn't exactly get off to a smooth start when we arrived at the train station and I realised that I had forgotten to pack my race chip so I wouldn't be able to get an official race time. Doh. Scott's race pack got lost in the post too so we had to queue up to get a new one so I asked if I could have a replacement chip. Luckily with it being such a big race they have lots of spares so I managed to get a new race pack. Phew! Thanks Great Run!

I also picked up a charity t-shirt from the British Heart Foundation stand and was ready to go.

Ready for the run!

There I am, looking very fresh faced & bleary eyed. It was a very early start for a Sunday morning but maybe I had better get used to it if I'm going to become a proper race runner! I was in the pink wave who only set off at 12.30, but we arrived early with enough time to get a new race pack and find our bearings. At 11.25 we had to line up for the warm up. It was drizzling and cold and I looked like a bit of an idiot with my Asics poncho on! The green wave set off (Scott and his brother were in this wave) and I was waiting by my lonesome. I felt quite nervous at this point. Then we slowly moved forward on Portland Street and off I went! The run went quite well, before I knew it I was at the 5k mark in less than 30 minutes which meant I was on track for my sub 1hr 10k. Then kilometres 6-8 felt quite hard. I think it was mainly boredom because at this point we were just on some industrial estate in Manchester and I had no clue where I was. Then we started approaching the city centre again and the crowd were cheering and I sped up and made it across the finishing line in 59 minutes and 55 seconds! I was so elated. I didn't think that I would manage it in less than one hour because I had a few hiccups with my training because I was injured with plantar fasciitis for a bit. My foot did start hurting again towards the end but it's been fine now. 

Afterwards

Look at my red, sweaty face! So happy I finished it. I felt so tired on the train home though and promptly fell asleep for an hour nap when I got home. Then I had a lovely bath and rested my sore toes. I definitely need new running shoes now I think. They're going on the birthday wishlist. 

Medal! 

And here is my first race medal! Here are a few tips for race days:

  • Be prepared! I admit I wasn't completely prepared with all my kit ready for the morning because I'd been watching Eurovision the night before. Hence why I forgot my race chip. Some smaller runs might not have spare chips and be able to give spares out. Make sure your kit is clean & ready, down to your socks and bra. Pack your bag the night before with water, your race number, SAFETY PINS!, race chip, pre-race and post-race snacks. Snacks depend on how long you'll be hanging around, I ate a nakd bar about 2 hours before the run to keep me going because I'd had a big bowl of porridge at 8am. The golden rule is to never try any new food on race day - a funny tummy is the last thing you want. 
  • Don't worry about not training enough. Now is not the time to worry! If you've completed your training plan and can run about 90% of the distance, you'll be fine. I had only ran 8.5km before my race. Not running the complete distance gives you an extra sense of achievement. If I had ran 10k the week before and then ran it again on the Sunday but gone slower I would have been so disappointed. However this way you're guaranteed to get a personal best in the race. 
  • Don't start off too fast! This is THE golden rule. It is so tempting to start off really fast as everyone else speeds off. Try not to feel too competitive at the start. If you try to start off slow you'll see yourself overtaking all those runners who set off too fast. 
  • Enjoy the day. Don't take it too seriously, especially if it's your first race. Enjoy the crowds, wave when people cheer and take it all in your stride. 
I've got the running bug now and I'm already thinking about entering a half marathon next March. I would kind of like to do one sooner, but the Liverpool half marathon is only in March and there aren't many nearer. I may enter a few 10k races in between and try to get my PB down to 55 minutes. 

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Kitchen p*rn




Source: re-nest.com via Helen on Pinterest







Lately I have become a bit obsessed with looking at pictures of pretty kitchens. I long for my own kitchen with wooden worktops and little splashes of colour.

By the way, don't you love Pinterest? I love it because it actually saves the source of images and CREDITS the image! Not gonna lie, I hate it when people post blog posts of images and then just say 'source: weheartit and fffound'. They are NOT the sources. You can find me on Pinterest here.

Sunday, 8 May 2011

I'm back!


I am DONE with my MA! On Friday I handed in all 95 pages and 17,000 odd words of my dissertation on eBooks in public libraries. It felt so good and now I'm free to blog again. April was a very, very quiet month on the blog front but obviously my dissertation came first. On Friday I celebrated by having tea at The Quarter in Liverpool, sat outside looking at the Anglican cathedral. It was lovely.

Then yesterday I took the opportunity of FREE time to bake! There are so many recipes I've been wanting to try from the new Hummingbird Bakery Book, including earl grey tea cupcakes. I love a good cup of earl grey but wasn't sure about these. They could either taste very lovely or very wrong. Luckily they were lovely (could actually be more earl grey-y! Only the icing really tasted of earl grey, in the cake it was so very subtle you could miss it if you didn't know it was there).




Earl grey tea cupcakes

The earl grey flavour comes from steeping tea bags with boiling water for the cake and then with milk for the icing. They look like vanilla cupcakes with a sneaky secret. They are perfect for a tea party.

Talking of tea parties, I have to admit that I was slightly upset to be spending the Royal wedding bank holiday doing Uni work, otherwise I would have held a typically British tea party to celebrate. I also spent all the Easter bank holidays and the May Day bank holiday doing Uni work...it was terribly depressing. But! I have finished it all now and the feeling of relief is amazing! Now the summer can officially start. I hope everyone enjoyed the bank holiday bonanza more than I did. 

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