Saturday, 26 November 2016

Vegetable and Ham Tart with a Cheese Sauce

  Whenever I take a slice of this tart (I don't really think it's a tart but don't know what else to call it?) into work for lunch everyone always says how tasty and fancy it looks, but actually it's one of the simplest meals to make and I thought I'd share the recipe with you today!

You will need:
Puff pastry sheet 
Vegetables of choice
Slices of ham
300ml milk
Plain flour
Salt and pepper

 First of all you need to cook up any vegetables you want to add. On my half I used a mixed bag of veg that we had, and Tom went for spinach only. Once cooked place your veg on the side in a bowl.
 At this point I put the oven on to heat up but when you do this depends on how long your oven takes to heat up. The temperature needs to be 200C/392F/Gas Mark 6.
 To make the cheese sauce measure out your milk, grate your cheese and add a tablespoon of plain flour into a saucepan. On a medium heat whisk this mixture until it is a sauce consistency. I don't have any specific amount for the cheese so it's up to you how much you want to use! As the flour helps to thicken the sauce you may find you need to add more in as you whisk, or if it gets too thick, add in some more milk.
 Lay out your sheet of pastry on a baking sheet, spread out your veg, tear up slices of ham, and pour over your cheese sauce. 
 Place in the oven for 20-22 minutes.

 Once your timer has gone off, take out the tart! We normally have just this as our meal and I normally take a slice into work for lunch the next day. I think this is a great meal because you can tailor which meat/veg you want and also which sauce! 

 As always if you recreate your own version of this please let me know. I'd love to see which toppings you decide to use!

Jess x

Monday, 14 November 2016

Reading is reading

Let me set the scene...I'm sitting at work on my lunch break reading a copy of Cosmopolitan, only to be met with disbelief from a colleague that not only was I reading this magazine, but that I had actually paid money for it and brought it into work to read. Quite honestly I was a bit shocked that someone was openly criticising what I was reading with a tone of 'I thought you were better than this'. This got me thinking, what message would this send if I was someone who didn't read a lot and this led to me never picking up a magazine or book again?
 You shouldn't feel embarrassed for what you choose to read, and you shouldn't be put down by someone else because of it. I can't imagine the upper class white males who created the canon would include my blog in with Shakespeare, but you're reading this and *hopefully* getting enjoyment out of it aren't you?
 At the end of the day, it all comes back to the 'value of literature' and what is seen as high and low brow. Just because I have a literature degree does not mean I cannot enjoy reading about the latest trends or about celebrities. I have grown up reading magazines; from the Beano to Girl Talk, to Smash Hits and Shout, my magazine taste has changed over time along with my sense of self. I like the action of going into a newsagents, scanning what magazines there are and picking one up. I like that what magazine I read is dependent on my mood and I like that you can read as much or as little as you like. As with books there's so much choice out there dependent on your likes and this isn't something that should change.
 Any form of reading should not be challenged or frowned upon, but rather celebrated because literature - any form of it - is a fundamental part of every day life and without it the world would be a very different place.

Jess x


Sunday, 6 November 2016

DIY Tassell Party Bunting

Hello! As you'll know if you read my Turning 22 blogpost, it was my birthday a couple of weeks ago. Now that I'm a working gal (boohoo) my celebrations with my friends took place the weekend before my birthday, where we got together to watch Harry Potter, have party food and of course some cake! When I was planning this party I wanted to put up some decorations, but after seeing that tassell bunting was around the £10 mark I thought I'm not paying that much for a bit of tissue paper, I can make this myself! This was so easy to do and and 1/5 of the price of buying it ready made!

You will need:
Tissue paper of your choice (The beauty of this DIY is that you can tailor it to the occasion!)
PVA Glue (or if you have one, a glue gun)
Blu tac (if like me you do not have hooks to tie the bunting round)

Taking a sheet of tissue paper, fold it in half, and then half again. 

With the folded edge at the top, cut strips up until about two inches from the top. 
Unfold once and cut the sheet along the folded strip. 
Unfold again and repeat - you will be left with four sections.

Taking one section at a time, lay out the tassells onto a surface and carefully roll up the middle - at this stage it's a good idea to make sure that none of the tassells have been rolled up too!

Twist the middle tightly, and create the loop that will enable you to hang the tassells. I found that with some sections when I twisted this section into the loop it was secure, but with others that I thought could unravel, I popped a bit of glue at the bottom of the loop.

 Repeat this process with your other sections, and you can make as many as you like for your bunting!
 To hang, I measured out how long the string needed to be in relation to where it was going, and tied the end of the string to the first and last tassell. I simply threaded the string through each loop and after using blu tac to attach the bunting to our bookcase, I just moved each tassell along to where I wanted it to be! 
 This DIY wasn't one of those where you have an idea in your mind and then it all goes to pot, in actual fact it turned out better than I thought it would! If you recreate this I'd love to know. This is great for party's, but would also be great for things like Christmas, New Years or even as a decoration at a wedding!

Jess x

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