pumpkin carving through labour

Yes, you read the title right- pumpkin carving through labour is just what happened on October the 15th this year. I woke up at about 4.45 am with the first official pain, though it wasn’t enough to make me start panicking. I had a plan for the morning, and that was to make a fabulous spiced pumpkin soup* with fresh chillis and creme fraiche.

I woke Paul up a few hours later after several more contractions, they were quite far apart and so I didn’t want to make a big deal out of it, knowing that this could potentially start and stop throughout the day. So I carried on as normal, and fortunately the pains stayed about 20 mins apart while I got stuck in with my soup making in the kitchen!

If you are wanting to grab a pumpkin to carve and serve up for a simple Halloween snack, here is what you need:

Ingredients:

1x small pumpkin

2x shallots or 1 white onion

1x baking potato

3x garlic cloves (keep them vampires at bay)

1x pack of small red chillis

1x pack of fresh chives

1x creme fraiche pot

1x veg stock cube

Kitchen supplies

A saucepan or casserole pot

A really big Jason Voorhees style knife

A blender/nutribullet

It’s a really simple bunch of ingredients and utensils which you can put all in one pot so minimal mess and effort! The hardest part is beheading the pumpkin and scooping out the insides.

Tip: once the insides are out, wash and keep the seeds and bake them in the oven for 30 mins with some oil and sea salt for a yummy snack/ great soup topping!

So first, get your onion, garlic and chillis (de-seeded) and fry them up in a dash of oil.

Once nice and sizzling, add in diced pumpkin and potato cubes. Remember to keep the cubes about the size of your stock cube so it’ll cook quicker and blend up easier. Add in the stock cube with enough water to cover the ingredients.

Let that hubble bubble away for around 20 mins or until your cubes are nice and soft. Take off the heat and let it cool before blending up. You can leave a few pieces to the side if you prefer a chunky soup to a smooth soup.

I used my Magic Bullet about 4 times to blend up all the pieces, and I made sure to include the liquid too as you don’t want to waste that flavour.

It all goes back into the saucepan with 4 tablespoons of creme fraiche then salt and pepper to taste. Let that come to a boil slowly as the consistency will be quite thick, so you don’t want a sudden spurt and burnt fingers if it starts getting feisty!

For the final touch, chop up a few chives and add some of the baked pumpkin seeds before you dish up.

I managed to have a lovely bowl of my soup for lunch before my contractions started to get more intense- and about 12 hours later Alice was born! Definitely a recipe to remember, and I shall be making it as a reminder of my pumpkin carving through labour each Halloween!

*Recipe via The Ideas Kitchen  a part of the healthy juice recipes collection

Saharasplash x

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Munchies at The Maynard Arms

This January has come and gone so fast don’t you think? We are already into month two of the year, and although there is a heavy load of stuff going on in the world (and social media) right now, it doesn’t mean we can’t have a little joy in the form of several courses of great food. The Maynard Arms has recently reopened its doors and I was invited along with a number of bloggers to see what they had to offer. So here is a little bit about my munchies at The Maynard Arms.

I went along with my good friend from Trousseau Diaries on a very cold evening, and due to strike action on this particular day we ended up being a little late. Nevertheless, the journey from Oxford Circus to Crouch End was relatively simple. We hopped on a bus at Finsbury Park and were dropped off outside the Maynard Arms Pub.

We met up with our host and other guests sat along a large wooden table and I quickly got my very own personal menu marking all the gluten free dishes – a very good selection!

Roast rainbow vegetable salad, lentils, goat’s cheese curd, tahini dressing

Ribeye steak, herb crusted bone marrow, mushroom tarragon duxelle, crispy potato cake

Flat iron chicken, broccoli spinach slaw, fries

These three dishes were so yummy. Goat’s cheese and spinach salad is one of my favourite combos out there and it led wonderfully into the juicy lemon chicken and perfectly cooked steak. Each dish had something very original about it, very ‘not your average’ pub dinner by any standard.

Lemon curd eton mess, roasted pistachio nuts

Oh my this dessert had all the spoons going in for the kill. Again, something you do not see as the usual eton mess is normally a mixture of red fruit, but it was amazing.

If you are looking for a truly sophisticated dining experience with a traditional, rustic space then munchies at The Maynard Arms is definitely in your future!

Saharasplash x

Thanks for reading munchies at The Maynard Arms, check out their Twitter page for the latest updates and leave a comment below if you’re planning on making a visit.

Read my latest post on RUSH Hair and Beauty right here

Foodie Heaven from BoroughBox

I had the pleasure of meeting the BoroughBox team at the Big Blogger Expo last month. They had such a fab display that I was immediately drawn to them being such a foodie- it all looked so incredible! I got talking to the team who told me all about how it is their passion to connect foodies with the best producers (over 250 of them). So if you’re anything like me, I know you will enjoy the Foodie Heaven from BoroughBox too…

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They have a wonderful subscription service called the Discovery Club and you can also purchase individual items and gifts via the BoroughBox Marketplace here. But before you go and explore, I want to show you what you can expect from your BoroughBox delivery:
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It comes in a well-designed box with a rustic feel, and inside you have all your goodies nestled in a straw bed- it’s definitely got a hamper theme but in a modern way.
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My box was tailor-made to my gluten free diet, and I had a great time experimenting with some of the ingredients. BoroughBox have such a wide variety of products which cater for any allergy or diet:

Lamb stew using the Basil infused Olive Oil

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This made the perfect start to my dish as I splashed the oil in with some green peppers and onions

Mint choc chip sundae using the Pink Himalayan Salt and melted Mint Raw Chocolate Bar

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Baked chia seed loaf using Rana’s Artisan Bread Mix

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This crusted loaf went perfectly with some mature cheddar, alternatively dip into camembert!

 

My BoroughBox also contained a few more things which I cannot wait to try out and use to create something very soon!
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I love to help celebrate the independent food and drink businesses that BoroughBox offers, see what new things you can discover to create your own piece of Foodie Heaven from BoroughBox!
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Saharasplash x

I received this product for free for my honest opinion and review

The Real Greek Lunch

Just two weeks after my last day at my office job, I found myself heading for Westfield Shepherd’s Bush at 1 o clock on a Friday afternoon. I was so excited as this was to be my first blogger’s lunch and boy was I in for a treat! I’m sure you have all seen one of The Real Greek restaurants if you are local to London, there are 9 in total and I was about to experience The Real Greek Lunch celebrating the launch of their new book. This inspired cookbook is written by the restaurant’s consultant and expert in all things Greek- Tonia Buxton.  I was so surprised when the menus came round to see the incredible variety of things which I could eat as a coeliac. Over half the menu is gluten free and so I was thrilled to see what was going to be brought to us, ordered all by Tonia who looked after us so well.

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It was lovely to meet the Blink Publishing team along with Tonia herself and a handful of bloggers too. It was great to chat blogging and food while we waited for our starters to arrive.

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We tried pretty much everything from the starter menu, my favourite was the Melitzanosalata, an aubergine dish which I have recreated in my own kitchen and photos are at the end so you can see!

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We tried a range of wonderful mains too, a lot of the fish I didn’t eat just because I’m not a fan of things from the sea, but the others certainly enjoyed the dishes.

I had the most amazing greek salad and chicken skewers with peppers. The stand out dish for me was a vegetarian dish called Gigandes Plaki. Giant beans in a tomato sauce went down a treat.

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Speaking of treats, I tried something new which I had never even considered to be a dessert until this was put in front of me. It looked like yoghurt and mushrooms, but Tonia explained that it was candied walnuts. I tried one and fell in love!

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The sweet nut paired with the greek yoghurt was so moreish, it was lucky we were sharing this as I would have eaten the entire thing.

The tea was also a big hit, it’s a herbal blend called Greek Mountain tea and was so good, I have been back since just for this alone!

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What I discovered at The Real Greek Lunch, aside from the amazing tastes, was a new found repsect for Greek culture and the great importance food has for it. I loved how simple the dishes were and how we shared them out to try a bit of everything- this is definitely something I will be going back to with friends and family to show them the way of the Greeks!

As promised, here is a little something I cooked recently using The Real Greek cookbook. The Melitzanosalata recipe on p29 was so simple and easy to follow, I made the most amazing accompaniment that gave my turkey steaks and quinoa rice the perfect zing!

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Here is a little outfit detail for those of you wondering what I wore to The Real Greek Lunch:

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Boohoo crop and H&M skirt

The Real Greek recipe book is out now, buy it from Amazon here to bring some Greek style to your kitchen!

The Real Greek have posted all about our blogger’s lunch, so check this out here to see more photos and who was there 🙂

Saharasplash x

The only way is Niche

For coeliacs and those who are gluten free, it sometimes sucks when all you’re craving is a gorgeous burger or some fried chicken. Even living in one of the world’s most popular cities sometimes has its limitations when it comes to living gluten free. It’s not easy when you’re out unless you have scoped out the area you are travelling to to see what’s about. So here’s where Niche comes in. Located just a 5 minute walk from Angel, Niche is a completely gluten free restaurant. I want to tell you all about my visit there and why, for me, the only way is Niche!
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So we (my partner in crime Paul) arrived for around 7.30 and were immediately seated near the window. It is a quaint place that can seat around 25 people. The lighting is relaxed and chilled and the music is lovely so it’s a perfect place to take your gluten free bestie or your partner.
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The menu is laid out on the table so you can begin to feast your eyes over all the possibilities as soon as you are seated. I went straight in for the starters and ordered the Parmesan and cheddar doughnuts. As I said, fried food is a tough one to find as a coeliac! Paul had the soup of the day which was tomato.
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Both were really lovely and flavoursome and the presentation flawless- we each paired the starters with homemade lemonade. For the mains, I had to go for the Cheeseburger with extra avocado. It’s not every day I get to order a burger with the bun! It was so beautiful when it came out, I didn’t want to eat it… but I did 😉 Paul had a fantastic sausage and mash- I nipped a bite from his plate too, it would be rude not to sample his dish!
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By this time we were both feeling full as the generous portion sizes settled, but I had my eye and heart set on ordering a cheesecake and so that’s what I did. The passion fruit cheesecake was lovely. Sadly my dessert was far too much for me to finish it all off after the first 2 courses, but somehow Paul polished off his chocolate brownie with ease. I must say that both desserts were delightful and I wished I could have finished mine!
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Needless to say I really recommend Niche to all gluten free Londoners and travellers as it is such a fantastic place. The service was sublime, the food divine and not a drop of wine in sight! Go check Niche out now and see for yourself how great the dining experience can be for coeliacs. We sometimes forget that our diet does not control us, we can decide where we want to eat. The only way is Niche when you’re looking for some extraordinarily good gluten free food so thank you so much Niche for hosting us!
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Saharasplash x

 

For more things to do around London, I went to a spectacular rooftop not long ago- find out where it is by clicking here!