Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Blog Holiday

Hi guys!

Just a quick one to let you know I'm taking this week off blogging to have a nice, chilled out week with my boyfriend before he starts his new job - so you won't see any new posts from me until September.

Have a great week,

Carly xxx

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Crafternoons: DIY Birdhouses!

Last weekend my and one of my very best friends had our first ever crafternoon together - and it was a huge success, mostly because I got to say crafternoon over and over again...

The main attraction was painting some gorgeous little birdhouses my friend picked up while she was in the States last month. These are readily available for your crafting delights in the US but sadly much harder to get hold of over here. Sad face.

Anyway, we gave them a whirl and I'm absolutely in love with my finished birdhouses - they look like little beach huts and I'm particularly impressed with myself, taking my lack of artistic talent into account!

The green one is for my bathroom (which has the same colour scheme) and I'm still looking for the perfect home for my little pink and grey one, which I'm hoping to add more details to with a nail art pen...here's hoping I don't balls it up!

So that's it from me today, just a little crafty post to get your creative juices a-flowing. What do you think of little birdhouses as interior decorations?

Friday, 8 August 2014

Adventures with Applewood - More Glorious Cheesy Recipes!

On Monday I posted up the first three recipes I created using the selection of cheeses that Applewood very kindly sent me. Today I'm going to share the final three - so feast your eyes and get ready to feel a little bit peckish!

Chicken, Chilli Jam and Applewood Taquitos:

I'd never made taquitos before but these involved spreading a mini tortilla with chilli jam and Applewood Speadable, adding some cooked shredded chicken and sprinkling with grated cheese. After that I rolled them up, popped them into a baking dish (with the seam facing down) and baked them for about 15 mins. I'd cooked my chicken just before assembly so it was already hot but you may need to adjust the cooking time if you're using pre-cooked chicken.

The result was a spicy, smoky chicken parcel that absolutely hit the spot - the combination of chilli and Applewood was a match made in heaven!

Cheesy Stuffed Bread:

This one's a bit of a centre piece! Take a round loaf of bread (sour dough would be great) and slice it into a dross hatch  pattern - don't slice all the way through as you want to keep it in tact.

Chop up a bit of an Applewood Wedge and stuff a chunk into each cut you've made into the bread. Make sure it's fully pushed down as you want it to stay in the loaf, not melt all over the outside.

Next, melt butter, garlic salt and sage together and drizzle all over the bread and into the slits. This will give the bread a lovely flavour but do use whatever flavours you prefer - rosemary would be amazing, I reckon!

After this you just need to bake the bread in the oven for about 25 minutes (or until the cheese has melted) and you can enjoy a crusty, herby, cheesy loaf that pulls apart so is perfect for sharing.

Applewood Pizza Rolls:

(Apologies for the weird lighting - my camera was throwing a hissy fit so I snapped a couple on my iPhone!)

Out of all six recipes I cooked this is the one that was the most popular. So popular, in fact, that my boyfriend requested it for dinner the next night - that's when I know it's s hit!

This is so easy to make but so tasty and comforting - perfect for a naughty treat!

Either make your own or take pre-made short crust pastry and roll it out into a rectangle (about .5cm thick if you're doing it from scratch). Layer Applewood Slices all over the pastry and then add chorizo and pepperoni on top. After this you just need to roll it up like a Swiss Roll, slice up (one Jus-Roll short crust sheet cut into 8) and stand up on your baking tray. Brush the tops with beaten egg, cook for about 15 minutes (adjust slightly either way if you like your pastry more or less done. I like mine a little underdone in the middle!) and then enjoy your cheesy, meaty, gooey pizza roll.


So that's the last of my Applewood posts! I absolutely loved creating these recipes and they're all so simply to make but completely delicious - who doesn't love smoked cheese? I hope you enjoyed having a read about my kitchen concoctions; do let me know in the comments which recipe you like the look of the most!

Thank you again to the lovely people at Applewood for sending me the range to try out. You can find out more about Applewood on their website or on their Twitter feed.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Cupcake Decorating with Yolli

Last week I received a lovely package from Yolli, who sent me a few baking-related bits and bobs to try out in my kitchen. I got stuck in and whipped up a batch of cupcakes last week, then used some of Yolli's products to decorate them. I'm a bit of a cupcake decorating novice but had so much fun decorating them and trying out all different designs.

I haven't used a piping bag since I was a child so I wasn't sure how it was going to turn out but the Latex Piping Bag Yolli sent me was so easy to use and super easy to wash and dry - latex is definitely the way forward with baking supplies! I used the large size and it definitely is pretty sizeable - you'd fit loads and loads of icing in there but I only filled it about a third of the way up and it worked great.

I also tried out the 16 Piece Piping Nozzle Set and they were also really easy to use - I just picked out a nozzle, popped it inside the piping bag and off I went. As you can see this set has a massive selection to choose from and really does cover everything you'll need - I tried out four of the nozzles this time but I'm excited to try out the rest, particularly the crescent shaped ones!

So, here are a few of the cupcakes! As you can see, I mixed up a few different bowls of buttercream icing so we had different colours to play with - I also made a batch of peppermint flavoured icing which was absolutely gorgeous.

For someone who hasn't really piped icing before I think I did a pretty good job! A few of my early attempts were a bit ropey but it was great fun trying out the different nozzles and decorating the cupcakes with different sprinkles. Oh, and glitter, don't forget about glitter.

So, what do you think? Do these look good enough to dive into right now or what?

To have a look at Yolli's full range of products you can visit their website here.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Adventures with Applewood - Glorious Cheesy Recipes!

So a couple of weeks ago the lovely people at Applewood sent me a box of their products to use to create some yummy, cheesy recipes - and, boy, have I enjoyed myself! I came up with six recipes so I'm going to spread this out over two posts and share three at a time.

As regular readers of Life from the Tub will know, I love cooking and cheese in all its wonderful forms is one of my favourite ingredients, so this was such a fun process. I got to try out some recipes I've wanted to cook for a while and come up with some brand new ones - all with a delicious smoked cheese twist.

So, here are the first three recipes I created:

Applewood and Prosciutto Croissants

I'd been wanting to make my own filled croissants for a while so I figured this was the perfect opportunity. I took pre-made croissant dough (if you're less lazy you can make your own!) and layered prosciutto and sliced Applewood Cheese Sticks. I rolled them up, baked them in the oven for about 15 minutes and ate them warm. As you can see, the cheese melts into a gooey, smoky, delicious mess and me and my boyfriend wolfed these down in a matter of minutes. Definitely one to make again!

Pulled Pork and Applewood Sandwiches:

A super easy one but perfect for a lazy Sunday dinner - I took inspiration from the Applewood website and simply sliced open a bread bun, filled it with lashing of BBQ pulled pork and topped it with a dollop of Applewood Spreadable. This was incredible!

Chicken, Gnocchi and Applewood Casserole:

I cooked this for dinner last week and it was an easy dish to make in advance, pop in the oven and enjoy at dinnertime. This will be a brilliant comforting dish for the colder months and I'll definitely be making it again later in the year.

I took gnocchi, chopped chicken breast and smoked bacon and mixed it with a sauce I made from Applewood Spreadable. I sprinkled grated cheese on top and baked it in the oven for half an hour. This was super filling and was enough for me and my boyfriend to have dinner (with seconds - oops!) and then lunch AND dinner the next day. It's definitely not the healthiest option out there but when I'm cooking with cheese I'd rather make a cheat meal I can enjoy once a week!


So, that's the first three recipes I made with my Applewood ingredients. I absolutely love cooking with these cheeses and I was sent them for free, though I've been using Applewood products for a longgg time now - if you haven't had crackers topped with Applewood Spreadable you haven't lived!

Next time I'll be posting my final three recipes, including Applewood pizza rolls! You can find out more about Applewood on their website or on their Twitter feed.