Friday, 6 April 2012


Today’s blog post I thought I’d do something a little different and slightly random and give you a brief fact file on stoats:

~ A female stoat has the gestation period of 11 months which is unusual due to the fact that it differs markedly from the general relationship between gestation period and body mass for mammals (most mammals this size have a much smaller gestation period).
~ They come from the Ermine family which includes weasels and ferrets. A family noted for its reputation to aggression, fondness for eggs and desirability of pelt.
~ Animal rights campaigners have at times released members of the Ermine family from Ermine farms without permission which has had a disastrous effect on the local ecosystem as they are skilled predators.
~ They are highly intelligent and can be trained to do many tricks.
~ Stoats belong to a illustrious group of animals whose name includes a common crop. Other members of this group include the Corncrake and the Cockatrice.
~ Stoats have an unusually large amount of letters in their name given that their name is monosyllabic. Other examples of 5 lettered monosyllabic animal names include the mouse, the horse, the shark and the swift. 6 lettered monosyllabic names are even rarer, the Chough being an example.
~  Stoats can make excellent pets and leashes can be procured for them also.
~ Stoats rarely leave messy remains of their prey.
~ Its droppings are long and thin often with a tapering twist at either end.
~ They run with a bounding gallop.

In order to tell apart a weasel and a stoat it is merely necessary to remember that a weasel is weasely weconisible whilst a stoat is stoatally different. 

Hope you've enjoyed this random little post! I'll be back soon with more yummy makes! 

Amanda xo

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Poppy Chow

Recently I have developed a little bit of an obsession with popcorn, in particular flavoured popcorn. So my pinterest board has been getting rather filled up recently with lots of new and exciting flavour combinations to try.

Now, I've had this "poppy chow" one pinned for a while and been dying to try it so as I have guests coming tomorow I thought it would be the perfect time to try it out - and share it with my friends so I don't demolish the entire thing by myself! haha!

(photo courtesy of

Chocolate & Peanut Butter Popcorn {Poppy Chow}

Serves: 8-10

9 cups plain popcorn
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I used 200g of dark chocolate chopped up)
1/2 cup peanut butter (130g)
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cups powder sugar (persoanlly I'd cut it down to 1 cup next time)

1. Put the popcorn in a very large bowl.

2. over a double boiler melt the chocolate, peanut butter and butter until melted and smooth. Stir in the vanilla.

3. Pour the chocolate mixture over the popcorn. Using a spoon, gently (as to not break the popcorn up too much) stir until all the popcorn is evenly coated with the chocolatey mixture. I found this took a while as the popcorn formed clumps with needed to be gently teased apart to release more chocolatey goo! Eventually they will all be chocolatey brown!

4. Sift the powder sugar over the chocolate-covered popcorn and stir until each pieve is eventually coated. Spread the mixture out onto a baking sheet and place in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes or until the chocolate is set.
(I must say I really think you could get away with using less powder sugar than is in the origional recipe - it makes it a bit too sweet for me and I found a lot didn't stick and just went to the bottom of the bowl!)

5. Break it up and serve! Store the leftovered in an airtight container.
(Not sure if I was just too impatient at this stage and wanting bed but I didn't find mine really "set" and didn't need to be broken up either!)

I think I may have found my new favourite snack! I warn you though, its dangerously more-ish!!! 

I tried another new recipe tonight - French Toast Cupcakes with Maple Syrup Buttercream but you will have to wait til another day to hear about them! I'm shattered and need sleep! 

Happy Cookin',

Amanda xx

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chestnut Mushrooms

I have recently gained an addiction to Pinterest - it seems to be the new craze taking off everywhere. I have to say it is a fabulous idea - I have so many images etc of things I want to make and NEVER know the link back to the site that I needed to get the info as to how they made it so this is just brilliant for organising me - both craft and cooking wise. I'm a sucker for a new recipe but recently I've been pinning LOADS of new recipes but I just don't get to try them - I don't think about it when I'm grocery shopping or run out of time so I have set myself a new challenge - try a NEW recipe every week! Now that's doable, right?!

This evening we had one of my best friends (and bridesmaid at my wedding) Joanna and her new man over for dinner (I was excited to meet him as we keep missing each other whenever he is up to visit her!)

Now, I think I'm getting a reputation for experimenting on guests - not sure if this is a good thing or not but hey its fun and I love a challenge. So below is the recipe I tried which turned out really wonderfully. 

Dijon Chicken Linguine with Chestnut Mushrooms
(Pictured with button mushrooms - courtesy of Rock Recipes )

Serves 4

350 gram package fresh linguine, cooked
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups chestnut mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 cloves minced garlic
Salt and pepper to season

Heat olive oil in a large heavy bottomed frying pan over medium low heat. Add chicken breasts, garlic, season with salt and pepper and continue to fry the chicken until completely cooked.
(The original recipe said to remove the chicken at this point but I left it in to cook in my sauce as I figured it would soak up more of the flavours!)

Add to the pan:

4 oz white wine

Simmer until volume is reduced by half. Then add:

2 cups single cream
3 tbsp Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper to season.

Simmer until sauce thickens enough to coat a metal spoon. 
Add the mushrooms and simmer until cooked through (I cut my mushrooms fairly chunky so I simmered for about 5ish minutes!). 
Serve over cooked linguine. 

(The original recipe called for toasted flaked almonds to be sprinkled on top but I forgot to get some so served it without - was delish without but can imagine that the almonds would give a lovely crunch to the dish!)

I served this linguine and chicken dish with a baby leaf salad and a Dion Mustard Dressing! (See recipe below)

Dijon Mustard Dressing

Makes 1 Cup Dressing

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup white wine vinegar
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Combine the ingredients in a jar, screw on the lid and shake vigorously! 
Allow to sit for 1/2 hour for the flavours to develop, give another shake before decanting into a pretty serving jug. 

It went down beautifully together! Absolutely one I would try again and it was actually really quick to do but not one for every day as it was quite rich. Perfect for a dinner party though!

Happy Cookin',

Amanda x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

getting stuck in

This blog has suffered enormously. I never got around to blogging about my cooking as I intended to do so. However there is no better time than the present, right? 

So I am starting over! Today I'm cooking asparagus for the first time - I'd never had it before until I went to the States and stayed with my Grandma back in May. It was really nice and Stuart said he likes it so I thought I'd give it a go! I'll let you know how it goes! 

Happy Cookin',

Amanda xx

Monday, 4 October 2010

a little bit of kitchen chit chat

So, briefly, I'll explain what I'm wanting to do this for. I have for a very long time loved cooking, but living at home I havent really had much chance to cook but I recently got married.Two things I got for our wedding was a lovely shiny new red kitchen aid, and a betterhomes cook book. It is an amazing book full of lots of lovely recipes, I'm slowly working my way through them, trying them out on my fussy husband. So I thought I'd blog about the recipes I try, from that book and others. Maybe if you're out there, you could give me advice of you have about recipes I have tried or recipes I should try. I'd love that.

Also, it'd be nice to have some company out there that has a love for food like me, with so many people turning to fast food and ready meals, it makes me realise all the more how old fashioned I am. I am the kind of person who loves to cook things from just tastes better.I know I have so much to learn, the amount of times that I have called my Mom asking how to cook this and that is, well, I have lost track already.

So, please join me on my journey of self discovery as i learn more each day about the culinary arts.

Thanks for reading,
Have an awesome day,