Vegan stew with dumplings

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Today I'm sharing a recipe of a vegan/veggie stew I made last week and it was by far the yummiest stew I've ever made! Its really easy to make and you can adapt it to have whatever veg you like, perfect for these colder nights drawing in. I had such great feedback when I posted it on my Instagram and a few friends wanting the recipe so decided to share it on here.

Here's what you'll need - Serves 4

For the stew

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
3 garlic cloves, sliced
1 tsp smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tbsp dried thyme
3 medium carrots, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
1 yellow pepper, chopped
2 courgettes, sliced thickly
x2 400g tinned tomatoes
250ml veggie stock
400g tin of cooked puy lentils (I used Merchant Gourmet- ready to eat)

For the dumplings

2 tbsp of veggie suet (I used veggie Atora Light)
4oz self-raising flour
5 tbsp of cold water, more if needed
a pinch of salt

1. Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan set on a medium heat and add the onions and gently cook for 5-10 mins until softened.

2. Add the garlic, spices, dried thyme, carrots and peppers and cook for 5 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, stock, courgettes and cook for 30-40 mins on a low heat. Place the lid on top but leave a slight gap to let some steam out.

4. Whilst the stew is cooking, make your veggie dumplings. In a bowl add the suet, flour, salt and gradually add the water. Using your clean hands mix together all the ingredients until its in a firm dough. Next flour your hands and form 8 small dough balls. Make the roughly all the same size and put to one side.

5. Once your veg is nearly cooked, add the lentils and stir gently to combine.

6. Now add the dumpling. Place them round the outside first and into the middle of the pan. Make sure to leave a slight gap between each dumpling. (They double in size whilst cooking)

7. Bring the pan back to medium heat and pop the lid on top tightly. Cook for a further 15-20 mins until the dumplings become firm and sponge like. A bit like when cakes are cooked and they spring back.

8. Serve with creamy mash potato or even try it with wild rice. Any leftovers can be placed in a dish, cover with left over mash, grate some cheese over the top and cook in the oven until the top is golden brown. Perfect veggie cottage pie for later in the week!

Enjoy sweeties!

Adapted from this recipe

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Crafting Moments - DIY Halloween inspired cupcake toppers

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I often have ideas pop in my head and this is one I've been wanting to try for ages. This idea I actually thought of last year but thought of it after Halloween had been and thought they'd be perfect for Halloween this year. Here's the simple & easy step by step for you all.

Things you'll need -

Cut x60 of 4cm strands and x6 6cm strands of twine
scissors
6 cocktail sticks

1. To make the 'broom sticks' measure the 4cm twine to make sure its half the length of the cocktail stick (see picture) and divide 10 strands for each cupcake topper (6 toppers altogether) and put to one side.


2. Next take 1 of the 6cm strands and place on a flat surface, add 5 of the 4cm strands to place on top and then add the cocktail stick in the middle. Add the other half of the 4cm strands on top so you cant see the stick. See below.


3. Carefully lift up the twine from the sides, pinching together so they don't fall apart and tie in a tight knot. Turn over and make another tight knot. You can add a tiny bit of glue if you wish but you shouldn't need it if you tie them tightly.

4. Adjust the twine if any bits are uneven or the stick is showing through and do this method for all 6 cupcake toppers.

6. Check each one and adjust where needed and then add to cupcakes of your choice.


And there you have yourself some Halloween 'witches broom' cupcake toppers! It shouldn't take no longer than 30 minutes to make all 6. Easy DIY for Halloween or a Harry Potter themed party! What do you think? I'm pretty pleased with how they turned out and can't wait to think of something else to make.

Do you have anything planned for Halloween? Our plan is to stay in and watch some scary movies complete with pop corn! Hehe!

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Bake Days - Easy Mini Banoffee Pies

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Ingredients you'll need:

For the base
100g butter, melted (I use soya pure)
250g digestive biscuits, crushed

For the caramel filling
379g Carnation caramel, lightly beaten (or you can make the filling from this recipe if you wish)

For the top
3 medium bananas, sliced
300ml double cream, lightly whipped & 1tsp of golden caster sugar added to the cream
grated dark chocolate

You will also need 6 individual ramekins or you can make one big pie in a 20cm loose-bottom cake tin.

1. Place the crushed biscuits in a large bowl and add the melted butter and mix together. Spoon in the biscuit mix into the individual ramekins and using a spoon fill the bottom of each one to create the biscuit base. Chill in the fridge for 10-15 minutes.

2. After the crumb base has set slightly remove from the fridge, add the caramel filling making sure all of them look equal and then place the banana slices over the top. I started from the middle and worked my round the edges.

3. Now spoon on the whipped cream and spread with a small spatula to cover the top of each pie. Grate with the chocolate and chill in the fridge until your ready to eat.

Time taken: 25-30 mins including chilling time. Serves: 6
Adapted from this recipe

They went down really well and a great little treat for yourself or the kids! Enjoy!

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Our Wedding! Part Two

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This is a little belated due to deleting all my photos from my mac by accident! I managed to retrieve them all and finally put together the second part of our wedding day to share with you. Who doesn't love seeing a few more wedding photos?! :)

We danced our butts off until the music finished, ate amazing red velvet cake, took silly pictures at the photo booth corner, received some wonderful gifts we'll treasure forever and basically had the best day ever! My brother Alfie was the first up on the dance floor and had some awesome dance moves. My little sister loved twirling round in her pretty dress and was so happy I caught it on camera.

It's crazy to think it has been nearly 4 months since our wedding and how quick those month's have past, I still have to pinch myself... I'm married!

Thank you to every single person who was involved in making our special day more incredible than I ever could have dreamed of. We love you guys! To everyone who commented on here or sent us well wishes via Instagram, Thank you! <3

A special thank you to my best and dearest friends Hannah & Keri-Anne for everything you have done, I cannot thank you enough for the support and help you gave me! I love you girls so much!

Music:

First dance: 'Excuses' by The Morning Benders
Last dance: 'Blood' by The Middle East
The song that got everyone on the dance floor: 'Can't hold us' by Macklemore & Ryan Lewis

Credits:

Photographer: A few from Pauls iPhone & Keri-Anne Pink of Gingerlillytea photography & a few from my iPhone 4s, Paul's iPhone 5 // Venue: Northampton Guildhall//Brides bouquet & button holes: Cobbys florist // Bridesmaid handmade bouquets: Flowers from Lavender world. Made by me // Brides gown: Vivienne of Holloway // Hair accessory: H&M//Shoes: Vivienne Westwood // Brides glasses: Gok Wan // Brides accessory ring: Primark // Brides pearl bracelet: Borrowed from my Mum // Brides earrings: Borrowed from my Mum // Grooms suit: H&M // Grooms shoes: Burtons // Grooms pocket watch: eBay // Younger bridesmaids outfits: River Island. Older bridesmaids: Dresses bought individually by each bridesmaid themselves // Younger bridesmaids & flower girl flower crowns: Handmade by Emma Deer // Flower girls cupcake: H&M // Hair: Vicky & Neil at Outcast hair salon & myself // Make up: Chloe Woodgate


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Things I Love - Picks Of The Week

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1. Now being a married lady I'm in need of a new Alphabet tote and I just love this one! It'll remind me that it was the Best Day Ever hehe!
2. A wonderful friend of mine Hayley has recently set up the cutest little online shop of quirky gifts and homeware called Southwood Stores. I'm dying to get this postcard set as I cracks me up everytime I see them on her IG feed haha!
3. How stunning are these shoes! Perfect colour combo for all my outfits. These are on my wishlist for sure and there on sale check the website out here
4. My good friend Alison was wearing one of these midi rings and I instantly fell in love. I love everything on the Etsy shop and its all handmade! Can't wait to purchase a stack of these!
5. Two of my favourite things put together- Hello Kitty x Halloween! Perfect to add to my vinyl toy collection!!

Today is about catching up on everything on my to do list and also applying for jobs as I'm currently out of work again but I'm keeping postive that something will come up soon! I took a little break from blogging once I got back from my holiday. It took over a week to get my sleeping pattern back to normal and then the stress of being out of work got on top of me.

Thank you for coming back and being such loyal readers!

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Lately

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The last week or so has been crazy busy and stressful but this is what I've been up to lately -

Sunday walks with Paul into the countryside and taking in the scenery.

My parents puppy Honey having a nap after wearing herself out. Too cute!!!

A huge box on sweet treats from our American friends! YUM!

Paul wanted to take a picture of me as it was my last day at work, all black everything! I'm not going to miss the dress code!

'Birthday cake' & 'Mint' Oreo brownies I made for my brothers 12th birthday yesterday. They went down a storm and you can find the recipe here All I did was change the Oreo's to flavoured ones instead of plain :)

Tomorrow is my other brother Alfie's 7th birthday and I can't decide what to bake for him! My parents are doing a little tea party for him and I just know he's going to be so excited!! I love my family!!

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