Cheese and Jalapeno Soda Bread with Beer

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Hi there,

Making bread is one of my favourite things to do and I would say that I prefer it over baking a big fat chocolate cake. However, I have become a bit lazy in the breadmaking department of late so I’ve been buying a much loved Jalapeno and cheese bread from my local Co-Op, but at nearly £2 a loaf it was becoming an expensive habit.So to try and reduce costs we decided to buy our own jalapeno plant and while I was waiting for the chillies to grow I set about looking for a worthy recipe. After a brief search, I soon found the perfect replacement as I love making soda bread.

This bread post has been a long time coming as not only did I have to wait for the chillies to grow, but I also decided to make it twice using slightly different ingredients so that I could compare how it tastes.

I love how quick and simple this recipe is as it only takes around one hour from start to finish (including baking time) so I think it’s perfect for beginners as there is no kneading or proving work to do before it goes into the oven. I also think it’s a great starter recipe if you want to build your confidence with bread.

Loaf one using wholemeal flour

So on to the bread… The first time I made this bread I used wholemeal flour instead of plain and I used Red Leicester instead of a mature cheddar cheese. I also used two different beers to see if I would get a different flavour. In my opinion I don’t think it matters too much if you switch up some of the ingredients as I didn’t notice any difference, apart from the colour of the loaf, in texture or flavour. However, my husband said he preferred the second loaf as he thought the plain flour gave the bread a lighter taste and texture. I cooked this bread for 30 minutes on both occasions and thankfully I didn’t have any timing issues with my fan oven as both were perfectly cooked

Loaf two using plain flour

I was expecting the beer flavour to come out a bit more in the bread so while this was a little disappointing it didn’t detract from the taste. However, next time I will definitely experiment with a stronger tasting beer to see if it adds more depth of flavour. I’m a big fan of spelt flour so I will use this as well as a blue cheese to see if the creamy/salty taste compliments the bread better.

Overall I am extremely happy with how this bread worked out as it was light, had good flavour and texture, and was really quick to make. If I’m honest the Co-Op bread still tastes nicer, but with a bit more tweaking I think I can soon change that and of course it will definitely work out cheaper for me in the long run.

The recipe can be found on Fab Food 4 All

Suz x

Delilah Time Frame Future Resist Foundation Review in Buttermilk

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Hi there,

I’ve been thinking about doing this review for a while, but I keep changing my mind. One day I love this foundation, then the next I hate it and the cycle continues. However, when I was looking for reviews I could find nothing other than what had been sent out as PR samples and we all know how those reviews go…Yes, you guessed it everyone loves it and no-one mentioned the shade selection, which I found impossible to work out.

I’ve been using this foundation for a while now so I thought I would share my thoughts and whether I would re-purchase it again.

After weeks of research I was only able to find my shade by sheer luck while I was on holiday. Luckily (or unluckily for me!) I came across a Delilah stockists, so finally armed with the information I ended up buying the shade Buttermilk.

Buttermilk (L) v B20 light beige (R)

This foundation has a lovely consistency and feels very lightweight on the skin. The first time I wore it my skin seemed to glow and I actually got a compliment from my Husband (shock horror) so I thought that I was on to a definite winner, even though the shade selection was lighter than I’m used to. However, the next time I used it I struggled to get enough coverage over my nose and the foundation seemed to sit on my skin and wouldn’t blend in properly. The only difference was how I applied the foundation. The first time I used my Sigma F80 and the second time my beauty blender so when you think this foundation costs £34 it’s pretty disappointing that you are limited in what tools you can use to apply it.My skin has been a bit up and down over the last couple of months and even though this foundation is classed as a light, but buildable coverage I think you can only get the best out of it when your skin is pretty clear.

Unfortunately for me it doesn’t completely cover my redness, breakout scarring or pigmentation so you definitely need a concealer to hide any of these issues. However, I think this is more down to the shade selection as Buttermilk is quite a light foundation. So while this looks really natural on the skin and is quite a good colour match for me it doesn’t have any peach tones or warmth to help hide any of the issues I mentioned above. If I mix it with my Dior foundation in B20 Light Beige then I get the coverage I need and I’m able to hide most of my imperfections.

For an everyday natural/luminous look this is a great foundation and I love the packaging, the size and the tube applicator. However, to get the very best out of it you need a clear, even skintone so I wouldn’t buy this foundation again, which is a shame as I had such high hopes for this product.

Surprisingly, the Delilah foundation contains more product at 38ml compared to 30ml for the Dior foundation. However, the Dior Star Fluid is still my all time favourite foundation and once this bottle is finished I will definitely be re-purchasing it.

Suz x

Emma Hardie Cleansing Balm Review

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Hi there,

When it comes to overly hyped products I usually avoid them like the plague and my immediate thought is that they’ve all been paid to write such a positive review. So after years of avoiding this particular cleanser I didn’t give it a second thought when I got a free sample with another order I placed.

However, I owe Emma Hardie an apology for all those bad thoughts I had about this product as I have been completely blown away and I can’t believe I waited so long to try it. The first time I used this cleanser I fell in love with the texture and smell of it. I really enjoy how easily this cleanser melts away all of my make up including any heavy eye make up. This is easily the nicest cleanser I have used and it doesn’t cause any stinging or irritation to my eyes.

I like to use this cleanser in the evening and I find it leaves my skin feeling really nourished and clean without drying it out. With this balm I actually enjoy the process of removing my make up rather than it being a chore as I like to spend a few minutes massaging it into my skin.

Also, the sign of a good product is how jittery you get when you realise you’ve almost finished the sample. I lasted literally one day before I went out and bought the starter set (at full price) as it was out of stock everywhere so obviously a lot of other people feel the same way as me! Long term I’m hoping that this cleanser can reduce the size of my pores, clear up some acne scars and reduce the redness on my nose.

I have seen a lot of people complaining about how rubbish the packaging is and I have to agree. The 50ml pot is huge, so I can only imagine how big the 100ml must be. I think the size could definitely be reduced as there looks to be a lot of wasted space. I also find the lid to be really clumsy and I always struggle to shut it properly so when you consider that a 100ml tub costs £39 you would expect the packaging to be much better.

I was hoping the Age Support Cream that comes with this set would be just as amazing as the cleansing balm and would save me £75, but I haven’t noticed much difference so it looks like the I will be buying the Fresh Black Tea Age Delay cream after all…but at £75, can I really do it?

What product did you fall in love with when you were expecting to hate it?

Suz x

Pumpkin Pecan Streusel Torte

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Hi there,

Summer and pumpkin pie are probably not the most obvious of food combinations, but ever since I visited New York I have been intrigued by Pumpkin pie. Tinned pumpkin puree is not the easiest thing to get hold of in the UK so I was thrilled to come across a tin purely by chance last autumn. The fact that it’s been sitting in my cupboard ever since shows how lazy I am!So after months of thinking about looking for a recipe I finally got around to finding one on one of my favourite food blogs – Once Upon A Chef. And instead of a simple pumpkin pie I ended up going all out and making a pumpkin pecan streusel torte, which I thought looked amazing in the pictures and wasn’t too difficult to make either.

As a big fan of cheesecake I was interested to see if the texture and the taste would be the same as a baked cheesecake and I was also interested to see how the streusel topping would complement the cake.

Streusel topping

So on to making the cake… My first task was to make up the base, which contains pecans, oats, flour, sugar and butter and took a matter of minutes to bring together in my food processor. I decided to make the streusel topping next and I cheated by using my food processor to save time. I also used spelt flour instead to plain flour as I was using this in the main cake so I didn’t want to use too much. So while the topping was chilling in the fridge I moved on to making the cake.

This is definitely my kind of cake as it is one of those bung it all in the bowl and mix type of cakes, which takes minutes to make and means you really can’t go wrong with it. After 30 minutes in the oven I added the streusel topping and baked it for another 25 minutes. After almost an hour in the oven my cake had a slight wobble so I left it to set for the recommended 4 hours, which wasn’t good for me as I always like to sample the goods as soon as I can!

This cake has real wow factor and the textures and colours are amazing, but one thing I hadn’t considered was how easy it would be to cut. The streusel topping hardens so it does make it trickier to cut through cleanly, even after it’s set. Also, if I was making this cake again I would probably leave it overnight to firm up before attempting to cut into it as it was still a bit soft.

Taste wise, this cake was sweeter than I’m used to so I would definitely reduce the amount of sugar I used next time. However, I did enjoy the all the textures together as well as all the spices, which added a subtle warmth so I would definitely make it again. In terms of texture I think this cake is very similar to a baked cheesecake so I did enjoy eating it and I would love to experiment with a baked lemon cheesecake and a ginger streusel topping next time.

Suz x

The Ordinary: Skincare Haul

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Hi there,

It’s been a while since my last beauty post as I’ve been busy trying to use up all my half used products and all I can say was that it wasn’t one of my better ideas. What I learnt from the experiment was there was a reason why I stopped using most of them and that was because they don’t bloody work! Therefore, cue the inevitable break out, shiny face and weird little bumps even after I went back to my normal everyday products.This called for drastic action so I had to abandon the project and buy some new skincare to try and fix my problem skin. In the past the only thing that’s worked when I’ve had rubbish skin is trying something new which seems to shock my skin into behaving. This time I didn’t want to spend too much money so this ruled out my favourite brands (Fresh and Flint+Flint) straight away.The Ordinary is a brand which is massively hyped at the moment, but it is incredibly cheap so I decided to invest in three items from their range to see for myself what all the fuss is about. However, what I don’t like about this brand is how complicated they have made their product range. As you can imagine I have bought lots of skincare over the years and this range is by far the most complicated to work out what to buy.

After reading their regime guide, which was pretty useless, I resorted to finding out the information myself through online reviews and YouTube videos. And it was only after weeks of research that was I finally able to make a decision, so if they hadn’t have been so cheap I would have given up.

I chose the Advanced Retinoid 2% to help clear my breakout and tiny bumps, the Alpha Arbutin 2% HA serum to try and fix some hyperpigmentation I have and the Azelaic Acid Suspension 10% cream to help reduce redness and brighten my skin.

In total I spent £20.50 and although the cheapness of them really appealed to me I do question whether they will work as my skin, unfortunately for me, usually only responds to massively overpriced products!

I have been using these for a couple of weeks now and out of the three I like the advanced retinoid the best. I can’t say I particularly enjoy using these products as I’m not the biggest fan of runny beauty products, which the retinoid and serum are, but I will give them three months to see how my skin responds. The cream has a nice texture and once it has been rubbed in it leaves your skin feeling soft, but it can sometimes make your skin tingle so I can only hope it’s doing its job.

Although I always buy products in the hope they make my skin look and feel great I also take enjoyment from the packaging, texture and smell, which these products all lack so it’s more of a chore than a pleasure to apply them. However, at the end of the day if they work that’s all that matters.

I will do an in-depth review in three months time and let you know if I will continue using them. Hopefully by then I will also have had chance to get my hands on the foundation so I can do a review on that.

Are you loving The Ordinary range?

Suz x

The Best Slaw Recipe Ever…

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Hi there,

After a lazy few weeks on the blogger front I managed to get my act together and finally finish this post. I just need to do the same with the other four posts I’ve half written! 

The sign of a good recipe is when you come back to it time and time again and that it precisely what happens with this recipe, which I’ve been making since 2012. However, I seem to have become completely obsessed with it and I have made it every week for the last month or so.  

What makes this recipe stand out from all the other coleslaw recipes is the dressing. Most coleslaws tend to be pretty heavy as they are usually drenched in a creamy mayonnaise so I love how light and refreshing this dressing is. I’m a big fan of white wine vinegar so it pairs perfectly with the mustard powder and seeds.

 

Although you are supposed to use both red and white cabbage in this recipe I tend to only use one if I can’t buy two small cabbages otherwise it becomes an absolutely gigantic portion and much too big for two people even if you’re eating it for four days solid, like I normally do! I have made this slaw with both red and white cabbage and I think it tastes much better with the red cabbage, even though it turns everything purple. I try and stick with the same ingredients when I make this slaw, but I see no reason why you can’t throw in whatever you’ve got in your store cupboard or fridge. Another reason why I love this recipe so much is that I get to chuck everything in my food processor so while mine doesn’t look as appetizing the pictures in the magazine it certainly takes less time to prepare, which is always a bonus.  This slaw goes with pretty much everything, but my favourite way to eat it is with a crispy jacket potato and a side of tuna and onion mixed with crème fresh and Dijon mustard.

You can find the recipe here.

Suz x

Banana Bread with Walnuts and Dates

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Hi there,

Making banana bread has been on my baking to-do list for the best part of two years. However, I’ve never found a recipe that inspired me enough to put it to the top of the list until now. When I made this bake, I’d had no internet connection for almost a week so it’s surprising how much housework and baking you can do when you have no distractions!

Having made two batches of granola along with some Deliciously Ella ginger and cashew balls (blog post coming soon) I was at a loose end with some over ripe bananas and plenty of coconut oil to use up so I decided to make this vegan banana and walnut bread and I was thrilled with the results. 

This is a lovely little recipe, which is really simple to make and is perfect for those days when you have no eggs or butter to hand, but decide you want to make a cake. I love the combination of bananas and dates in this cake as well as the texture, which seemed to get better and better as the days went on. The toasted walnuts add a lovely crunch and the only fault I could find with this cake is that I needed to cook it for an extra 10 minutes, but luckily it didn’t taste dry. 

I have already made this cake again, in fact as soon as it cools down I will be having a slice with a nice cup of coffee. And with three jars of coconut oil to get through I can definitely see this cake being made again in the very near future! 

The recipe can be found here. The only change I made from the original recipe is that I used wholemeal self-raising flour instead of white self-raising flour.

Suz x

Polenta Chips with Cheese and Herbs

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Hi there,

I’m not the biggest fan of polenta cakes, but when it comes to polenta chips it’s a whole different story and I was determined to have a go at making my own even though I don’t own a deep fat fryer. I duly bought the polenta, but then as per usual with me I left it sitting in the cupboard for a few months. So after looking at the packet all sad and lonely in our pantry yet again I finally got my act together and decided to look for a recipe online.

It didn’t take me long to find one and I have to say that I had great fun ‘playing’ with the polenta as the texture reminded me of plasticine, which I spent many a happy hour playing with when I was a kid.

The mixture made up in full

The mixture when halved

What I like about this recipe is that the chips can be made up ahead of time and kept in the fridge or they can be frozen if you want to use them later. I have made these chips twice now and I definitely found the recipe easier when I halved the ingredients and used a smaller whisk as the polenta can become very thick and hard to work with.

The full amount also makes up a fairly big portion so unless you are cooking for a lot of people or you’re planning to freeze half a batch then I don’t think you need that much mixture. I also think these chips shouldn’t be left in the fridge no longer than three days to ensure they are still fresh. 

The first time I made these chips I cut them much thicker so even though I cooked them for around 35-40 minutes the texture was still a bit chunky and they didn’t taste very nice. However, I persevered and the second time around I cut them much smaller so the outer shell became wonderfully crisp and the middle was lovely and fluffy.

The best thing about this recipe, after the taste of course, is the fact that you can cook these chips in the oven and instead of the usual olive or coconut oil I used Carotino oil, (not sponsored) which is a bright orange red palm fruit & rapeseed oil. As well as giving food a beautiful golden colour it is also supposed to be healthier for you. 

I love both the taste and texture of these chips and the fact they are so quick and easy to make. I’ve already made up a third batch for the coming week so I can see these becoming a firm favourite in the Shhdonttellhim kitchen. Hopefully I won’t get fed up of them any time soon! 

These chips go with just about anything, but my favourite combination is with chicken, steamed veg and rainbow sweet and sour slaw.

I found this recipe online here.

Suz x

Shop My Stash – Part 2

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Hi there,

Having spent the last few weeks trying to use up as much of my skincare stash as possible I thought it would be a good idea to apply the same logic to all my half-finished bath, body, hair and make up products.

I must admit that there is something very satisfying about using up products with abandon and as you can see my pile of empties is growing by the day.

Products I’m trying to use up include:

  • Aromatherapy Associates Lotion – I prefer to use body creams over lotions so I don’t find this all that moisturising so I wouldn’t buy it again.
  • Aromatherapy Associates bath and shower oil in Revive – I love these little oils especially when used alongside my favourite bath soak as it makes my bath extra nourishing so I will definitely buy more of these oils again in the future.
  • Pure Lakes massage and bath oil in Grapefruit and Lemongrass – it’s taken me ages to get through this little bottle so while it smells nice I wouldn’t buy it again as it’s not that easy to get the oil out of the bottle.
  • Burberry blush in Earthy – I’d forgotten how much I liked this blush and even though I’m desperately trying to finish it up I would buy it again at some point in the future.
  • Max Factor crème puff blush in Seductive Pink – I think these Max Factor blushes are really great and up until I bought my Becca blush palette it was one of my most used products. However, having put it to one side and forgotten all about it I’m happy to have found it again and it’s become a regular in my make up bag again.
  • Malin and Goetz shampoo and conditioner – considering how expensive this shampoo is the packaging is absolutely dire and every time I use it I end up with letters all over me and the bathroom. I didn’t used to have a problem with this shampoo and conditioner, but the last few times I’ve used it I’ve had an allergic reaction to it so I think I may have to chuck these rather than finish them.
  • Macadamia rejuvenating shampoo – I don’t have much to say about this shampoo. It is ok, but pretty unremarkable so I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy it again.
  • Macadamia deep repair masque – this is one of my favourite hair masques, which I’d completely forgotten about as it was stuffed away in my beauty cabinet. I love how soft and shiny this leaves my hair so I will totally buy this again.
  • Tarte powder foundation – I have a love/hate relationship with this foundation mainly because it’s taken me so long to use up as I’ve never been completely happy with the colour, which I think is one shade too light. I’m a big fan of mineral powder so although I’ll be buying another powder foundation in the future it won’t be this one.
  • Daisy by Marc Jacobs – this perfume always reminds me of Canada as I bought it in the airport to take on holiday with me. I love the bottle, but the scent is not one of my favourites so I wouldn’t repurchase it again.
  • Sugar Lychee by Fresh – I bought this in one of my favourite shops (Sephora), although I couldn’t say which one as I did visit quite a few times in various cities and while I like the sweet, citrusy scent I’m not sure I would buy it again. I would like to try the lemon sugar scent at some point in the future though.

As well as identifying a few products I wouldn’t buy again the good thing about this project is rediscovering a few old favourites, which I will definitely re-purchase again in future. And of course once all these products have been used up the fun can start again!

Suz x

Cinnamon Buns

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Hi there,

I finally got myself sorted and managed to write up one of the many blog posts I’ve been planning over the last month!

I love going out for coffee and cake, but I would never choose a cinnamon bun. However, it’s a completely different story when it comes to homemade buns as I love working with enriched dough.

Enriched dough is so easy to work with and I haven’t had any disasters with it so far. I find working with this type of dough very soothing as I love how puffy it looks when it has been rolled out. It’s also very satisfying when it comes to adding all the ingredients and slicing it up to reveal it in all its glory. 

A few weeks back I was asked to make some cinnamon buns for my husband’s work colleagues so with a Sunday afternoon to spare I dug out a Paul Hollywood recipe and a few hours later I was admiring and taste testing my cinnamon, mixed fruit and chocolate lemon drizzle buns.

I baked mine for 20 minutes as per the recipe. However, I think I could have got away with taking them out of the oven around the 18 minute mark as the buns on the top shelf looked a bit darker than those on the second shelf. These buns are best eaten on the day as they seemed a bit dry the next day so I’m not sure if this was down to the cooking time or whether they should be eaten straight away. 

Overall these tasted amazing so I will definitely be making them again, but I might experiment a bit more with the baking times. However, I plan to stick to the original recipe next time and see if apricots and cranberries are as much of a winning combination as chocolate and mixed fruit!

Suz x