Five on Friday!

Its been a funny week here on The Glade and, I for one,  am so ready for the weekend.

My Five on Friday seem to  mostly reflect my need for comfort this week.

It is definitely chiller and darker around here now.

Here are five things that have irked and pleased me in equal measures this week.

One

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The leaves have started to fall off the trees around the Chapel this week.

It looks so autumn and pretty.

For those of you who don’t know, the Chapel is opposite our house and is supposed to be our community centre.

However, we have lived in the house for 16 months now and not a tap of work has been done on it by the builders.

It remains boarded up and deemed unsafe.

This is very disappointing because the Chapel was a part of the deal when we bought our houses..

We were all sold the idea that the residents on this development would have exclusive use of the Chapel.

Alas, we remain locked out – it really is a poor show by the builders.

Two

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The spiders have been busy all over The Glade this week.

These spectacular webs have appeared all over the place, don’t you think it looks very Halloween like?

Three

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We have had slow cooker dinners almost every night this week.

It is such a great way to cook, throw everything in and come home to a lovely hot dinner.

I do tons of things in my slow cooker from lasagna to crumbles to mulled wine.

In fact, although I already have two, I invested in another this week. I am sure I will get lots of use out of all three.

The recipe for the sausage casserole that is cooking in the picture came from Lucy BakingQueen74‘s blog.

Honestly, if you are looking for inspiration, pop over to visit her, she is fab!

Four

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I have been burning this candle all week.

It is gorgeous and does smell very summery. It is as good as my usual expensive brand.

However, this little beauty only cost £1.49 – an absolute bargain!

Five

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When we were taking Jack for a run yesterday, we were rewarded by this magnificent sunset.

Isn’t it a beauty?

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Thank you to Amy & Stevie for hosting xx

Have a wonderful weekend!!!

A few of my Favourite Things!

The heart of our home is definitely The Kitchen.

We all gravitate towards the kitchen and while a good deal of cooking/baking does occur in there, it is used for so much more.

In our old house, the kitchen was a tiny square and two people did not comfortably fit into the space.

To have room to breathe is bliss!

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The units are white, shaker style. The walls are still painted in the cream colour, favoured by the builders.

There are little pops of red scattered throughout to break it up.

I have plans for this room as soon as the house has properly settled, I think we have ten months left to wait.

It contains both my happy corner and favourite things.

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My favourite corner is next to the oven and contains the radio. Perfect for catching up with The Archers – my guilty pleasure!

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Next to the radio is my Kitchen Aid mixer, which I waited patiently for.

Eventually, I bought it myself and I still think it is fantastic.

It makes such a difference to the most ordinary of recipes.

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In the drawer under the hob, lives the hachoir.

I love using fresh herbs in my cooking. This year I have even managed to grow some in our garden.

This little gadget makes the whole process easier and I believe,  it is a bit safer than using a knife.

Minestrone Soup Eastham style

As we are slipping into Autumn, my thoughts turn to more hearty meals.

However, if I am honest, I have continued to use the slow cooker throughout the summer.

I wouldn’t be without it. It is so lovely to come home from work and be greeted by the smell of your dinner.

That said, I find the slow cooker really versatile, as well as Minestrone Soup, I make lasagnas, crumbles and stroganoffs in it.

In fact we have two, I have been known to have a huge lasagna in one and an apple crumble in another – yum!

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On the opposite side to the Kitchen Aid mixer, is our food processor.

Now I know professionals would not agree, but honestly this baby make the best pastry!

Coleslaw, hummus, falafels, you name it, your wish is this machine’s command, expertly executed in minutes.

It is fabulous and everything goes into the dishwasher.

That concludes the tour around my kitchen, exploring my favourite things!

What are your favourite things in your kitchen?

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For the avoidance of doubt – nothing was sponsored in this post, it is purely my views on the things I love ha!

Have a lovely day!

Spinach and Cream Cheese Lasagna – slow cooker style!

 

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We had picnic plans for Saturday so, on Good Friday I thought I would try to make a lasagna in the slow cooker, so it would be ready for when we got home on Saturday evening.

I have seen various recipes on the internet but ricotta isn’t terribly popular in this house, so I thought I would just wing it. Thankfully, it turned out well!

You literally just build the lasagna and let the slow cooker do the work – perfect!

 

Ingredients 

Olive oil to grease the inside of the slow cooker pot

I  bottle of tomato pasta sauce or passata – I made my own*

450g approximately of spinach – washed

400g cream cheese

1 teaspoon freshly grated  nutmeg

500g dried sheets of lasagna sheets – you may not use them all

100g mature cheddar cheese or mozzarella

Method

1. Grease the inside of your slow cooker dish – you will thank me afterwards!

2. Place a thin layer of  the tomato pasta sauce on the bottom of the dish

3. Add a generous layer of spinach and add random spoonfuls of cream cheese to the layer

4. Add about a 1/4 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg to sprinkled over the spinach and cover with pasta sheets, don’t worry about overlapping, it doesn’t matter

5.  Repeat until you have used up all the ingredients, finish with a layer of pasta and sprinkle the grated cheddar or mozzarella on top

6. Place in the slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours, serve with garlic bread and salad

 

Enjoy!

 

* To make tomato pasta sauce:

Ingredients

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 onion

1 clove of garlic – crushed

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

250g vegetable stock

1 teaspoon of oregano

1 teaspoon Basil

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Method

1. Soften the onion and garlic in the olive oil for a couple of minutes

2. Add tin of chopped tomatoes, stock, herbs and sugar

3. Simmer for about 5 – 10 minutes until it reduces slightly

4. Taste to check for seasoning

Enjoy!

 

 

Scouse!

On my Five on Friday post I mentioned Global Scouse Day was on Saturday.

It caused a bit of interest and the thing about Scouse for those who are not local is, that everyone seems to do it differently. Although that said, the majority do end up looking very similar. Twitter was very busy on Saturday with people tweeting their pictures.

My two recipes are very similar and I did them on Saturday in the slow cooker. The quantities are very approximate and you can really use whatever vegetables you have. To clarify, this is my recipe not necessarily the right one!!! and I make it with beef but some make it with lamb, which is correct? Well, that is the source of regular debate in this part of the world.

Ingredients

2 leeks peeled and sliced

3 Carrots peeled and sliced into quite large chunks about 2cm long

1/2 swede peeled and cubed into large chunks about 2cm long

1 1/2kg potatoes peeled and cubed into large chunks or washed if using new

4 table spoons of dried barley and peas soaked overnight and then washed

500g beef/Lamb cubed and browned or 1 tin of butterbeans for the vegetarian option

2 litres of beef/Lamb stock or vegetable stock

A small bunch of thymes

3 bay leaves

1 generous teaspoon of marmite – my secret ingredient

Method

For both pop everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for eight hours

The Barley and pea combination will thicken the gravy

Serve with just white no need to Knead crusty bread, the recipe can be found here and beetroot or pickled cabbage – that’s another debate!

Enjoy!