lashesoflifestyle

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We can’t be the only ones who have mountains of cheese left after Christmas. Not because we don’t eat it, but because we buy so much!

Brie. Fruity wensleydales. Strong cheddars. Goats. Soft. Strong Stiltons. You name it, we probably had it at some point over the festive season. But when there’s so many different types, you don’t always get through a whole piece of each, which leaves plenty for using up in January, which is what inspired me to get creative and cheesy.

White Stilton & Apricot Risotto with Butternut Squash Recipe

I love a risotto, and not long ago tried a pearly barley one when dining out – I’d been dying to cook more with this type of grain since getting it in our Hello Fresh trial last year. So with a block of white stilton with apricots, and some pearl barley grains, I decided to whip up something sweet, fruity and cheesy – a creamy rich risotto.

White Stilton & Apricot Risotto with Butternut Squash Recipe

To balance out the flavours, and add the much needed veggies which every meal needs, I served the risotto in half of a roasted butternut squash. It looked pretty and tasted even better.

White Stilton & Apricot Risotto with Butternut Squash Recipe

If you have white stilton with apricots in the fridge after your Christmas feasting, or even if you have to pop out and get some (Lidl has some for only £1.49), this recipe is well worth trying! It’s all below.

What do you do with the leftover food after Christmas?

Chloe xx

White Stilton & Apricot Pearl Barley Risotto with Roasted Butternut Squash

A fab recipe for that leftover white stilton after Christmas!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 55 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 1 small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 42 g pearl barley
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 butternut squash medium
  • 100 g white stilton with apricots
  • salt & pepper for seasoning

Instructions

  1. Chop the onion, and crush and finely chop the garlic. Heat 1 tbsp. oil in a saucepan, fry the onion and garlic for 4-5 minutes until golden. 

  2. Add the pearl barley, fry for a further minute. Make up 500ml stock with the vegetable stock cube. Add to the saucepan and stir. Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer, cover with a lid and leave to cook for 50 minutes. Stir occasionally and add more water if needed to avoid the pearl barley sticking to the bottom of the pan.

  3. Whilst the pearly barley is cooking, preheat the oven to 220°. Cut the butternut squash in half length-ways and take out the seeds and middle carefully using a knife and spoon. Cut out a little more than usual to leave enough space for the risotto. 

  4. Roast the butternut squash in the oven for 40-45 minutes until you can easily stick a knife through the chunky bit.

  5. Once the pearl barley is puffed up and soft enough, like a risotto, crumble in the white stilton and stir through until well combined. Heat for a couple more minutes to warm through. 

  6. Remove the butternut squash from the oven, serve each half on a bed of mixed leaves, fill with risotto and sprinkle with black pepper. Enjoy!

White Stilton & Apricot Risotto with Butternut Squash Recipe White Stilton & Apricot Risotto with Butternut Squash Recipe

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So we’re starting the year with something a little different – we’re vowing to try something new every month. Putting aside all initial thoughts or presumptions, and just going for it. Most will be documented here, so you can see some of the best of the new things we’ve tried each month.

First off…Black pudding.

Clonakilty Black pudding & white pudding review

Black pudding dates far back, with the first known written mention of the food in 800bc! There are many theories to how it travelled across the countries and even Henry VIII is said to have feasted on it as part of his huge banquets. So it’s got a huge heritage!

However, black pudding is something I’d never touch before. I just didn’t like the thought of it. I mean, how could something which included blood taste good?

If I ever ordered a full English, that would be something I’d ask to be left off – but that’s the only time I’d really have had the chance to try it when out, and I don’t really order a English breakfast when avocado on toast, shakshuka or poached eggs are on the menu. Alex however, had a full English recently, and devoured the lot, including his black pudding, so it got me intrigued…If Alex could eat it, and he’s the fussy one, it must be ok.

Luckily enough, Clonakilty got in touch and sent me some samples – I was still a bit weary, but decided I had to give it a whirl.

Clonakilty Black pudding & white pudding review

Clonakilty, the Irish favourite, produces black pudding, sausages and bacon using traditional techniques – a secret recipe which has been handed down for generations – and top quality ingredients. We got to try the brand new gluten free range of black pudding, from the mini pack.

Alex’s friend was still round, from crashing the previous night so I treated the boys to a full English to help with the hangover, and myself a slightly more ‘me’ breakfast consisting of hash browns, avocado, poached eggs and black pudding.

Clonakilty Black pudding & white pudding review

Clonakilty’s Blackpudding (beef, oatmeal, onions, beef blood and a secret blend of spices) has a rich, deep and meaty flavour. The blend of spices used in the recipe, and crumbly nature, made it tasty sprinkled over my brunch dish – It’s ample flavour went beautifully with the avocado and eggs, but you only need a little bit.

Clonakilty Black pudding & white pudding review

The Clonakilty whitepudding was slightly more light in flavour, with a more herby taste. Consisting of pork, oatmeal, onions and a blend of spices, it was more like a fragrant sausage, and was definitely the favourite of the two. I didn’t even know whitepudding existed!

Clonakilty Black pudding & white pudding review

What’s more, you can’t even tell they’re gluten free!

Black pudding (and white pudding) might be well known in the breakfast repertoire, but it does work well with other dishes too. We also tried it stuffed in chicken, and crumbled over jacket potato with cottage cheese and it worked beautifully. This is definitely something we’ll be experimenting more with this year, particularly the white pudding.

Have you tried black pudding or white pudding before?

Chloe xx

*I was sent samples of Clonakilty Blackpudding and Clonakilty Whitepudding to review. All views my own. 

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Pretty floral lattes. Marble table tops. Pastel pinks and mint greens. Palm Vaults has to be one of the most instagrammable restaurants/cafes in London. I’d heard great reviews too of the menu, so of course I was dying to go.

The Soho cafe is located inside the Fiorucci clothes shop, to the one side.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
The same look and feel as the Hackney restaurant (as seen through social media), it was smaller with only three tables and a window bench with stools. Luckily we popped along late morning on a weekday so it was pretty quiet.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
The Rose lattes, pink in colour and dressed with petals floating in the foam top, were deliciously creamy with notes of floral aromas. They went down a little too quickly, and I was all too tempted to order another, especially as the day we visited they were only £1 – The Soho cafe is currently offering a different £1 latte every day, so keep an eye Instagram page for details.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
The drinks menu actually features several different lattes alongside other hot drinks, smoothies and juices. A pretty extensive soft drinks menu. Alongside the drinks offering, the food menu offers an array of sweet and savoury dishes from banana bread and smoothie bowls to salad and avocado on toast. The cafe also sells baby cakes on the front counter.
In the mood for brunching (when am I ever not?!), the avocado on toast went down a treat. Chunky avocado, on two slices of toast with omega seeds and micro amarinth, presentation was pretty and it tasted just as good too!
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
My friend Dee opted for the Seasonal Salad with Quinoa Base, which was fresh, tasty, and although not an overly big portion, it was a good size.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
When cakes are miniature, how can you not finish with a tiny treat? The baby cakes, which we ate in one bite, were fantastic. Sweet, moist, and full of flavour, the salted caramel and double chocolate are well worth ordering.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
Service was friendly, and although not overly speedy for a small cafe, we were in no rush and the team kept us informed that our order was on its way. We sat cooing over a tiny puppy anyway and having a big catch-up over our rose lattes so we hardly noticed.
Fiorucci, Palm Vaults, Soho Cafe
At £6 for the avocado on toast or the seasonal salad, and the lattes on offer at £1 (daily special, usually about £3), it was pretty cheap for lunch out in central London. Kudos to Dee who was on it with the deal hunting! I would definitely recommend keeping an eye out on the Palm Vaults Instagram feed and popping along when you can, even for coffee and baby cakes!
Chloe xx
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I loved doing this last year. It reminds me that although the year seems to fly by these days, looking back, they actually do last quite a while and we do manage to fit in some awesome experiences!

This year has been quite a tough one for me, but I’m determined to still look on the positive side, and therefore this post will just include a brief run-down all the fab things we got up to this year, and all the things I hope 2018 will bring.

So here goes…back to January.

January I took the plunge and completely changed up my hair with a chop and a balayage. It might not be big for others, but I never used to spend so much on my hair and this was a big move for me. It was the best thing I did and I completely love it…so much so, I’ve been back again twice since to have it re-done.

We also visited the Sky Garden for the first time, which made a fab date night, and I went for drink with Kim at Mr. Foggs, somewhere I’d been dying to go for a while.

February was filled with food (as always), catch-ups and a lovely few days with my sister and niece – a well needed escape and she asked me to be her bridesmaid!

March was my birthday month, meaning lots of birthday surprises. Alex took me to see The Weeknd, and got Kim to meet us there without me knowing, we went to see Matilda, and me and my sister did our first escape room – such a fun month.

In April, I went to the Bloggers Market, spent some lovely time with the family, started a new job and started doing food photography for my first proper client – exciting times! One busy month!

In May, Kim and I went to Madrid to explore, see the sights and eat the eats! One fab long weekend.

June saw my brother visiting, hot weather and ice creams, me learning how to cook jollof rice with Alex’s grandma, an evening at Sushi Samba with the girls and going to my first supperclub, 8 plates.

July was the month for birthdays with Alex’s and one of the best friends all within the space of a couple of weeks. We had birthday nights out, Alex’s birthday dinner at Blacklock, Zip World zip line experience and I worked a couple of cool events with work.

August was basically, food, friends, family time and CAR-NI-VALLLL with Alex’s crew, dancing the day away.

Alex had his Zoo Keeper for the day experience in September, so I spent an afternoon exploring, we had a week’s all inclusive holiday in the south of Spain, went shopping for my sister’s wedding dress and spent an afternoon at Friendsfest.

October was the month I re-decorated my living room, making it way more homey, we went climbing for the first time, I organised my sister’s hen party, spent almost a week with the family back home, I became an auntie again (my brother’s little girl is super cute!) AND finally quit my career to start over – I finally realised PR wasn’t for me.

I started CBT in November (on the road to thinking healthier), freelanced for a couple of weeks, found out I got the job I REALLY wanted,  more catch-ups with friends, all the food and seeing an American in Paris.

Ad finally, this month I’ve been living the freelance dream, blogging and doing photography. It’s been all about Christmas food and fun. I’ve been to Ballie Ballerson with Kim, out for lunchtime catch-ups with Dee, Alex and I went back to see my Family for the weekend (AND IT SNOWED!), I did a fab origami workshop, we saw Harry Potter and The Cursed Child, had cocktails at Sanderson for our 6 YEAR anniversary, an amazing brunch with Alex’s gym crew, an awesome meal out with all the couples, and a lovely Christmas at home. Wow – one fab month, I do love December.

Totally ready for the the new year, and new job!

So here’s what I’m hoping for from 2018

More weekend breaks away (UK & Europe), more fun & activities (definitely more rock climbing), plenty of date nights, obviously tonnes of food (I need to tick more places off my list!), more girls catch-ups and giggles, as much happiness as possible, and to really enjoy my new job!

Ok, so I’ve got lots of hopes for next year, but I think they’re pretty achievable. Best get planning.

Do you like reflecting back on the past year? What do you hope for from 2018?

Chloe xx

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All the festive food is spectacular. But it does often leave me craving something lighter. A little more green – and I don’t mean the colour of the icing.

A warm salad, using up a few winter veggies you probably have lying around anyway, some baby lettuce and red shard, and a zesty, potent dressing to spruce it up a bit is just the thing when feeling a little sluggish from all the festive celebrations.

Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange and Cranberry Recipe

Topped with a little toasted halloumi for protein, and the festive necessity, the old cranberry sauce, it’s a delicious warm veggie salad, with a superb fruity flavour shining through. I have to say, sweet and savoury really does go well together with this number!

Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange and Cranberry Recipe

It’s pretty quick and simple to whip up too – the hardest bit being chopping the butternut squash or swede into tiny cubes. We all know how hard it is to cut these! 

Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange and Cranberry Recipe

Go on, give it a whirl! Even if you don’t feel the craving for fresh fruit and veg as much as I do over the Christmas season, it’s a delicious meal with a festive feel.

Do you ever feel like you need a break from all the Christmas food and drink? What do you turn to?

Chloe xx

Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange & Cranberry

A delicious fresh and zesty, hot winter salad, with a festive feel. 

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 2

Ingredients

  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1/2 large orange
  • 1 tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 140 g butternut squash
  • 140 g swede
  • 10 sprouts
  • 100 g halloumi
  • 50 g baby leaf and rocket salad
  • cranberry sauce for topping

Instructions

  1. Pour 2 tbsp. vegetable oil, the zest and juice from the orange and wholegrain mustard into a cup. Stir well. This will form the dressing for the salad. Leave to the side whilst you prepare the rest. 

  2. Peel and chop the butternut squash and swede into small cubes. Peel and slice the sprouts into circles.

  3. Heat the remainder of the vegetable oil in a large frying pan. Add the butternut squash and swede. Fry for 2-3 minutes until starting to brown. Add the sprouts and cook for another 4-5 minutes. 

  4. Whilst the vegetables are cooking, cut the halloumi into thin strips. Fry in another pan, over a medium heat, for a few of minutes on each side until browned. 

  5. Split the baby leaf and rocket salad between two plates, top with half the fried vegetables. Drizzle the hot salad with the orange mustard dressing. Top with halloumi and a teaspoon of cranberry sauce. Enjoy!

Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange and Cranberry Recipe Warm Halloumi Winter Salad with Orange and Cranberry Recipe

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