Tuesday, 7 April 2015

Patio progress: Part 2

It's finished! We're calling it the 'rustic' look.

Just kidding.

After much discussion SBB and I discarded our idea to add a square and a motif as we previously planned. I've bowed entirely to SBB's expertise for the patio design. I think we're both still a bit gutted about our herringbone pattern idea we had way back in August last year. The problem that we have, now that won't be laying bricks, is that the square isn't the right size for whole patio slabs to sit neatly - we'll have to put in some cut ones. We had thought that the cobbles/motif would alleviate the problem but after much measuring SBB decided that, in fact, it would only make it worse.

We nipped down to B&Q and looked at what they had to offer and then browsed the internet to see if we could find any better, for cheaper. We couldn't so one afternoon we went back to B&Q and bought some slabs which, by a happy mistake with barcodes were cheaper than we'd thought.

Now that the patio is coming together my thoughts have started to turn towards plants and plant holders/pots.

We went to a nursery to pick out some plants - I think it's called Forest View but I call it Narnia because it just goes on and on. SBB laughed a little when I first told him about it but when we went to get the plants he said, "Ah, I completely see why you call it Narnia now"

(If you go there, let me know if you see what I mean!)

I'm thinking of four or five pots to go along the wall - an evergreen (the lavender), a colourful pot (the Forget-me-nots and something else) a herb pot, then a colourful pot and another evergreen. The problem is, I'm not sure which pots to get. SBB isn't keen on anything too stylised or modern so would prefer some nice terracotta pots but I'm worried that the area may be a little too 'orange'

It's not entirely clear in this photo but the slabs are a sort of creamy yellow, so with that in mind here are the options I've spotted so far:

Dunelm Mill
Dunelm Mill








So. Those are the choices. Any ideas?

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Hoppy Easter

It's Easter which, apart from the religious context, means chocolate and, more importantly, bunnies.

So, here are a couple of cute bunny photos.

Have a lovely Easter!

Friday, 3 April 2015

Recipe: Fruity curry

My Mum makes an awesome fruity curry, but the rest of my family aren't curry lovers so her version is so mild you can barely taste the curry! I grew up eating it so it has a special place in my heart but since getting together with SBB he's introduced me to 'proper' curries so although it doesn't have quite enough of a kick for me anymore I still crave the combination of fruit and curry.

The list of ingredients is fairly small and it can be whipped up in a relatively short time.

The recipe serves two and is pretty customisable. You could throw in a diced stalk of celery, or a whole apple, dried cranberries instead of sultanas or even a few nuts. When I came to make this the other night I realised I didn't have any apricots (boo!) I did, however, have some cashew nuts so I threw those in instead and it was pretty awesome!

A tip for the apple is to choose the crunchiest one you can - I made the mistake of using a 'softer' one last time I made it and the apple was a little soggy, but then I always prefer my apples crunchy - if you don't, just add whichever apples you like as it won't really effect the recipe.

I usually make this recipe with cooked chicken - sometimes I can pick up a discounted fresh chicken from Co-Op for about £1.50 so I cook it as soon as I get home, strip off the meat and portion it into bags and freeze it to later use in pasta dishes, sandwich fillings and curries.

  • 20g of butter (or a couple of sprays of light oil if you're calorie counting)
  • 2 fresh chicken breasts, diced (or 200g cooked chicken, shredded)
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 3 tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 apple, diced
  • Small handful of apricots, diced
  • 70g sultanas
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • Salt to taste
 Melt the butter, or heat the oil, in a medium pan over a medium heat. If you're using fresh chicken, add this to the pan and cook until each side has a bit of colour - about 6 minutes.

Add onion and garlic to the pan and saute until translucent - about 6 minutes. If you're using pre-cooked chicken, add it to the pan now and stir in the curry powder. You may need to add a little water to stop the powder sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Add apple, apricots, sultanas (or whatever fruit/nuts you've chosen) and stock. Season with salt if you wish. Simmer for 10 minutes of until the sauce thickens.

I usually serve with 70g (dried weight) of brown rice or over a baked potato.

Do you have a fruity curry recipe? What fruit do you use?