Creative Outlet

I have always had that creative bone in my body. I have always wanted to express myself creatively be it through singing, dancing acting or making.

I have been lucky in my professional past that I was able to make a living doing what I loved. I booked acting roles, singing appearances and theatre teaching jobs which all required long hours but were rewarding. It was always lovely to take a step back and look at what I had accomplished. I put everything on pause when I moved countries, met my husband and had our first child.

Even before I had my son I had been creative but I found that when he was born all my energy had to go to him and also keep me functioning (especially in those early days).

We are so lucky in this country to have the option to take up to a year’s maternity leave. I wasn’t ready to leave my son after the year was up so I ended up becoming a stay at home mum. Then I had my second son and (only now) five years on, do I feel mentally ready to be able to focus on other passions I have besides raising my children (who are and always will be my number one passion in life).

Hopefully this time next year my little business will be in full swing, I will have auditioned and booked acting roles for the first time in TEN years and I will have a creative space and outlet. I have so many ideas that have been going around my heads for months now – I feel I just need to head space and time to put them all in to practice.

I sometimes wish I had my mum and sister around to help. I have close friends about who I consider family but they also have young children of their own and there is something less presumptuous about asking your mum to watch the kids for a couple hours while you work on your creations and go out auditioning than it is asking your friends to do the same. I know they would but I always feel it a big ask – especially when I know that we are all in the same boat. My husband works long hours and can travel for work so as a result I’m by myself most of the day. Carving out time to make my business work and come to life and ALSO get into the acting world again will take time and energy that I worry I don’t have at the moment. I know it will come and when it does I’ll be so excited to see it all come to life.

Gluten- Free Chocolate Lemon Cake

This was a little experiment that turned out super yummy! It’s worth all my healthy eating during the week to get a slice of this and a cup of tea on a Saturday afternoon!

Ingredients

  • 3 lemons, washed
  • 300g golden caster sugar
  • 200g butter, well-softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 3 large eggs
  • 200g gluten-free self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 70g organic cacao powder
  • ½ tsp gluten-free baking powder

Method

  • Preheat the oven to 190C/170C Fan/Gas 4. Grease and line the loaf tin and zest the lemons.
  • Put 200g of the sugar, the butter, eggs, flour, almonds, cacao powder, baking powder and lemon zest in a large mixing bowl and beat until creamy.
  • Spoon the batter into the prepared tin and level the surface. Bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes, or until well-risen. If you insert a skewer or knife inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean.
  • Turn the cake out using oven gloves and gently set onto a wire rack. Remove the baking parchment and turn the cake the right way up. Make loads of deep holes in the cake using a skewer.
  • Squeeze 2 of the lemons and mix with the remaining 100g sugar. Slowly and gradually, spoon the lemon sugar over the cake, stopping every now and then to allow it to penetrate the sponge.
  • Leave to set before serving. Serve in slices.

Toppings

This is a cross between a bread and a cake so I had a slice plain and then tried some butter on another slice and both were lovely! Thinking my 3rd slice will be Nutella! TOO. MUCH. CAKE!!!!!

Salmon, Pepper & Courgette Stir Fry

It’s 2019 and I’m on another healthy eating kick! 🤷🏼‍♀️ This time I really do feel that I can make it part of my lifestyle. I am (for the most part) already dairy and gluten free so now just trying to cut back on the booze and make more healthy choices! 💪🏻

That being said I was trying to think of different ways to cook the standard meat and veg in my diet and I came up with this recipe for Salmon (one of my favourite fish to eat).

This recipe is a mash up of a few ones I have tried in the past but I hadn’t tried any with salmon in them so thought I’d give it a go and I’m very happy with how they turned out! I substituted courgette for onions to make it FODMAP friendly and it’s yum (even if I do say so myself! 😉)

Ingredients

Serves: 4

  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons runny honey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped ginger (I use the frozen pre-chopped kind)
  • Pinch of black pepper
  • 2 salmon fillets cut into pieces
  • 2 courgettes cut into pieces
  • 2 red/yellow peppers cut into pieces

Directions:

In a large bowl whisk together the coconut oil, honey, ginger and black pepper. Reserved a small amount of the mixture for the end.

Put the oil mixture in a hot skillet and add the salmon cubes. Cook for 3-4 minutes then add the courgette pieces. Cook for 2-3 minutes and then add your pepper pieces.

Mix all together and cook for 5 min or until the peppers start to soften and the salmon is cooked through. You will see quite a bit of liquid in the pan at this stage. Drain the liquid and then flash fry for 1-2 minutes with the remaining mixture (that you put aside earlier) and serve.

Slow Cooker Bolognese

I am all about easy and quick meals with a young family and something we will ALL eat. As the evenings are getting colder, there is nothing like coming home to the smell of your dinner cooking away in the slow cooker.   I have been making this recipe for years now and it’s a firm family favourite.  There’s nothing like a yummy bowl of bolognese to fill you up in the evening….it also give you loads to clean up (if you have a toddler who is also eating the sauce!).

I usually set the slow cooker to go on low for about 8 hours and usually 1hr or so before I’ll add some red wine (obvs!) and right before serving, some spinach (only if I have it to hand)

I use gluten free pasta, obviously, with this dish and I have been using Garofalo gluten free pasta recently and love the taste!

This recipe makes around 4-5 servings but I just double everything if I was to do a batch cook and freeze.  The bolognese sauce freezes really well. Enjoy!!

Slow Cooker Bolognese

Ingredients:

Coconut oil

500g     Lean Mince Beef

1            Onion

1             Of each green and red/yellow pepper

1            Head minced garlic – (I usually use Lazy garlic and put in about 3-4 tsps)

3tsp    Sea Salt

1tbsp    Runny Honey

1tsp      Ground Cumin

1/2tsp    Cinnamon

1/2tsp    Chili Powder

2tbsp     Oregano

2tbsp     Dried basil

680g       Bottle of Passata

Not needed but nice to add some spinch and some red wine (for drinking and cooking!)

Method:

  1. Add the coconut oil to a pan and heat it up on a medium heat.
  2. Sauté the onions and peppers for 5 minutes until they get a little soft and then add spices, garlic and lastly the meat.
  3. Cook the mixture until the meat is browned.
  4. Drain the mixture.
  5. Put everything into the crock-pot and pour over the passata.
  6. Set your crock-pot to cook on low for 8 hours.
  7. If using wine add it 1hr before serving.
  8. If using the spinach add it right before serving.
  9. Enjoy over your favourite pasta and serve with side salad, steamed veg or garlic bread.

Gluten Free Maple Raisin Scones

I have been gluten free (officially) for a few months now. I got the baking bug when I was pregnant with my first son and craving all things cake! I have kept baking but a lot less since having my 2nd son and also having this gluten intolerance.

We have friends and the kids over tonight for Halloween fun, so I thought I would bake some yummy scones for everyone with a gluten free twist. This should hopefully get them in the trick or treat mood! These are delicious but I am on a juice detox this week so can’t have one…why do I put myself through the torture?! Enjoy and if you try out this recipe, please let me know how it went!

Gluten Free Maple Raisin Scones

yield: 8-9 scones

Ingredients:

Scones:

250g    Gluten free self-raising flour

1 tsp    Gluten free baking powder

50g      Unsalted butter

50g      Unrefined Golden Caster Sugar

70g      Raisins

1          Egg

2tbsp Whole milk

1tsp    Salt

50ml  Pure maple syrup

Glaze:

40g    Icing sugar

4tsp Pure maple syrup

2tsp   Vanilla extract

Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to 220℃ (200℃ fan, gas mark 6).
  2. Place the flour, salt and baking powder into a bowl and rub in the butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and the raisins.
  3. Lightly beat together the egg and milk and add the maple syrup. Add this quickly to the flour and butter mixture. Mix together to form a soft dough (it may be sticky).
  4. Generously dust a work surface with flour and place the mixture onto it. Lightly flour your hands and the rolling pin and knead and roll the dough to 3/4 inch thick. Using a round cutter cut the dough into 8-9 scones.
  5. Place the scones on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake in the centre of the oven for 16-18 minutes. Remove when golden in colour and the top is crisp.
  6. Remove the scones and let them cool for 5 minutes. Drizzle each scone with 1 teaspoon of glaze.
  7. Serve with clotted cream and jam! Enjoy!