Lasagne – how to make it like a master

Monday nights are meant for salads or stir fries.  You’ve overindulged all weekend and you need to give your body something healthy. Well, sometimes if you have a big week ahead of you or the the first day back at work has hit you like a smack in the face, a few veg just won’t cut it. You need punch and comfort.

Well before you

a. order a takeaway

b. book a table at your local

c. march to the shops to buy lots of expensive treats

Spare a thought for your bank balance. Maybe you could cook something awesome? Don’t believe me? How about this homemade lasagne.

lasagne

If you’ve made a batch of my bolognese, you can use a portion or two of this along with a quick roux (cheese sauce) and some dried lasagne sheets.  Easy!

You’ll see from the pic above, that I like my lasagne to be quite crispy on top rather than gloopy. (If you wanted it to be runnier, you could cook the pasta first so that it’s not drawing liquid from the other ingredients while it’s cooking in the oven.)

For 2 portions,you will need:

2 portions of bolognese

5-6 pasta sheets (uncooked)

20g butter

20g flour

250ml milk

a pinch of nutmeg

50g cheddar cheese

parmesan cheese for topping

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees fan.  Slowly melt the butter in a saucepan on a low heat and then add the flour and mix to a paste.

roux

Then add the milk and use a whisk to get rid of any lumps.  This will make a basic white sauce or ‘roux’. Once it has started to thicken, add the cheddar cheese and nutmeg and continue to mix until it forms a thin paste.  Remove the heat and leave it to cool slightly. It will also thicken a little bit more.

cheese sauce

Next you can start assembling.  A layer of mince….

layer 1

Then a layer of pasta….. (which can be a bit tricky as the pasta never fits the dish perfectly!)

layer 2

Then a layer of cheese sauce…..

layer 3

Repeat once more until everything is used and then top with a generous sprinkling of parmesan.

just before cooking

And then bake in the oven for 25 minutes.

cooked lasagne

Lovely!

crispy cheese

The guide to wearing Co-ords

To avoid looking like you’re wearing pyjamas

It’s on trend right now to be matchy-matchy but how do you avoid looking like you’ve stepped out in your pyjamas? Has that been a nightmare of anyone’s? No? Just me then.

Well, in case it becomes a nightmare of yours, here is my guide to wearing co-ordinated clothes, or co-ords for short, without looking like you’ve been locked out of the house during a sleepwalking adventure.

1 Make sure you don’t buy ACTUAL pyjamas.

This sounds like an obvious one but with pyjama-style shirts also a current trend, it’s confusing. To be safe, avoid anything that has ‘snooze’, ‘sleep’ or ‘restful’ anywhere on the label.

2. Buy a stylish coordinated set with a pattern that you like.

Again, this probably sounds obvious but if when choosing a co-ords set, you can stare at the print and see your nana’s curtains then WALK AWAY.  A good rule of thumb is to go for either a detailed pattern that uses no more than 2-3 main colours or a simple pattern with bolder colours.

I’ve picked out six co-ords sets available in the shops right now which I think are fab.

spring-coords1

spring-coords2

spring-coords3

ASOS Festival Crop Blazer with Fringe Detail £50 2. ASOS Festival Short with Fringe Detail £30 3. Nobody’s Child Black/Cream Colourblock Crop Top £12 4. Nobody’s Child Black/Cream Colourblock Midi Skirt £16 5. Baukjen Barnsbury Print Shirt in Blue £95 (reduced from £109) 6. Baukjen Barnsbury Print Pants in Blue £65 (reduced from £109) 7 and 8. River Island Black Stripe Knitted Asymmetric Top and Black Stripe kitted tube skirt £30 and 35 9. Lavish Alice Camel, Navy and White Stripe Print Bandeau Top £45 10. Lavish Alice Camel, Navy and White Stripe Print Tie Detail Shorts £45 11. ASOS Soft Bomber in Eastern Print £45 12. ASOS Soft Trouser in Eastern Print £35

3. Pick a flattering cut and shape.

Pyjamas are comfy because they’re baggy. Clothes on the other hand are cut to conceal/enhance where required, in order to flatter one’s shape. Therefore, opt for co-ords sets in styles that would match the cuts of clothes you would normally wear. For example, if you have narrow shoulders, a tailored jacket would add some shape to your frame.  If your legs aren’t your favourite feature, don’t go super short.

4. Accessorise!

The fun/tricky bit is choosing what shoes, jacket, bag, etc to wear with your co-ords. My biggest piece of advice? Don’t wear any UGG type shoes that resemble slippers.  I’d also try to avoid long jackets that have belts you tie. Do you see where I’m going with this? Good.

The beauty of the outfits above is that they ALL go with simple plain white trainers so that’s one look sorted. Because, WHO GOES TO BED IN THEIR SHOES?!

If the top half of the set is a jacket and it’s a detailed pattern, I’d recommend pairing with a plain tee or vest top in one of the colours of the co-ords.

Conversely, if the top half isn’t a jacket, and a coat/jacket is required, then go for something in a contrasting colour. Bright would be good.

Bold jewellery and heels also work well with nearly all co-ords sets and below I’ve pulled together some pairing options for you to try.

co-ord accessories

13. Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Classic £45 14. Alex Monroe Pea Pod Earrings £132 15. Karen Millen Suede Drawstring Blue Tote Bag £120 16. KG Kurt Geiger Multi ‘Jester’ high heel sandal £140 17. Ray-Ban Clubmaster Classic £125 18. Topshop Pineapple Resin Necklace £16.50 19. Zara Bright Yellow Faux Leather Jacket £39.99

I hope this guide has helped! One last tip if you do don co-ords, make up and a ‘do’ are recommended. You don’t want to risk a bedhead in this type of outfit….

 

The best gaming apps for your phone

best-gaming-appsMy phone is my most prized possession (after my loved ones of course!)  and the thought of losing it fills me with fear.  AB-SOL-UTE DREAD. It’s my iPod, my schedule, my personal trainer, my emails and my only record of phone numbers, addresses and birthdays.  I also have a bit of an addiction to games right now….

Perhaps I’m taking a risk having so many important things on my phone but it’s Apple’s fault for making it so damn adaptable and useful.  Having been an iPhone user for years, I’ve collected a great number of apps I find to be utterly brilliant and useful.   So here are, in my opinion, the best gaming apps….. (and there’s no candy crush in sight).

hector

Hector: Badge of Carnage (1,2 and 3)* Witty, rude and British so every joke is brilliant.  Track Hector the Detective as he solves crimes, arrests prostitutes and deals with tramps, all while on the hangover from hell.  Yes, really.

 

wordswithfriends

Words with Friends (on iOS and Android) – I introduced it to my parents and now they’re obsessed with it.  It’s Scrabble but a long-winded, remote version.   You can also ‘try out’ words you’ve made up to see if they’ll be allowed – that’s the only way I ever get a high score.

 

fruitninja

Fruit Ninja (on iOS and Android)– Mindless, easy fun.  You play chef and swipe through a variety of fruit. It’s timed and watch out for the bombs!  No, I don’t know why there are bombs around when dicing fruit but hey.

 

imdb

IMDB (on iOS and Android)– Ok, I know this isn’t technically a game but set yourself the challenge of trying to create a family tree of famous movie stars and you’ll be busy for hours.  Who knew so many were related!


talkingcarl

Talking Carl* – This will entertain kids for days.  You simply talk to it, or poke it in the eye(!) and it squeals or repeats what you say in a high pitched voice.  Simple but hilarious.

 

puzzlecraft

Puzzle Craft (on iOS and Android) – I have spent HOURS of my life playing this! You essentially build a kingdom, harvesting and mining, by grouping three matching items together and it’s so very very addictive.  It was perfect for passing the time recently flying to Turkey and back.  Get it, get it now.

* not available on Android.

What do you think are the best gaming apps?

The month’s 10 best clothing buys under £10 – April

The first few days of shopping sales are fab. But, as time passes and all the good stuff gets snapped up, I long for the new season stock to arrive. The shops are choc full of great spring fashion at the moment but if you look closely enough there are still one or two decent sales bargains around.  Well, actually I’ve done better than one or two. I have found 10!

This is going to be a new monthly feature for Feast Style Thrive – 10 best clothing buys under £10.  It will be tough but I’m up to the challenge.

So here are April’s brilliant bargains!

feaststylethriveaprilunder10

  1. Even & Odd Scarf, £8 at Zalando, 2.M&S Limited Edition Cylinder Heel Ankle Boot, £9.99, 3. Oasis Tuffty Trim Shell Top, £10, 4. Nobody’s Child Multi Glitter and Mesh Deep V Shift Dress, £9, 5. Zalando Essentials Long Sleeve Top, £7, 6. Oasis T-Bar Spike Pendant, £5, 7. Primark White Crochet Lace Shorts, £8, 8. Nobody’s Child Gold Foil Side Split Top, £7, 9. & Other Stories Thin Braided Ring, £6, 10. ASOS V Neck T-shirt with Tipping, £10.

How to make Key Lime Pie

key lime pie

Yesterday afternoon, after a walk in the sunshine (yes, it’s here!!!), I turned to P and said “I have an overwhelming urge to bake something”. He, of course, rolled his eyes because I say that on a highly frequent basis and to steer me away from making yet ANOTHER chocolate-cake-type-thing, he suggested I make a key lime pie.

He was thinking tart lime and a lovely buttery pastry base but because I never do exactly what he wants/suggest/asks, I came up with an entirely different recipe.  Regarding WHY I never do exactly what he wants/suggest/asks, it’s either because at the age of 31 I never like being told what to do, I’m crap at following instructions of any kind, or (and this is the most likely reason) I JUST DON’T LISTEN. At work, in a professional capacity, I have a great attention span and am a stickler for details, but you take me out of the work environment and I have the inability to listen or read anything properly.  It’s a wonder I’m still in one piece and that P is still even speaking to me.

Anyway, back to the key lime pie.  This is beauuuuutiful and has a buttery BISCUITY base.

This will serve 4-6 ppl depending on whether you leave a break between your main course and dessert to ‘create room’.

To make, you will need:

7 digestive biscuits

30g caster sugar

65g melted butter

2 egg yolks

250ml condensed milk

4 tbsp lime juice (about 2-3 limes)

Zest from 1 lime

Double cream

Preheat the oven to 165 degrees fan.

In a blender/mixer, place the biscuits, sugar and melted butter and blitz until they become a bit of a sticky dough. Then empty into a lightly greased oven proof flat-ish pie tin/dish.

biscuit base

Spread the mixture out so that it covers the base and sides of the pie dish, pushing hard so that it sticks together. This is tricky so be patient with yourself.  As you can see, I didn’t do the sides brilliantly so let’s call this a rustic key lime pie.

Then put in the oven for 15 minutes.

While its baking, whisk together the egg yolks and condensed milk for a few minutes.  Then stir in the lime juice.  This will form a thicker consistency than the condensed milk was originally.

Once the base is ready (you can leave it to cool but I don’t bother), pour in the cream mixture and level flat with the back of a spoon. I forgot to do this bit hence the bumps.

raw key lime pie

Then put it back in the oven for another 15 minutes at the same temperature as before. It will colour slightly like below.

baked key lime pie

Next, take it out of the oven to cool for a bit and then stick in the fridge for at least 3 hours to chill.

When you’re ready for it, grate some lime zest over the top to make it look ‘fancy’, whip some cream to serve with it and you’re ready to eat your HOMEMADE KEY LIME PIE! CONGRATS!

keylime pie whole

It really is SO GOOD (and none of the calories count because there is fruit in it).