Lamb Meatball Kebabs & Roasted Vegetables

kebabs

This is a very simple and very tasty meal with plenty of healthy vegetables. You could add any vegetables you like to the kebabs or the roasting tray but I like this colourful mixture. You could also serve it with some mushroom fried rice and raita to make a more substantial meal. I used ready made lamb meatballs which already have a slightly minty taste. You could make this with any meatballs, chunks of meat or chunks of halloumi.  Serves 2.

  • 12 ready made lamb meatballs
  • 1 pepper, cut into chunks
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 1 large courgette
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • Salt & pepper

Preheat the oven to 200°C. Chop the tomatoes into quarters and slice the courgette into 1cm chunks. Lay these vegetables on a baking tray. Now assemble the kebabs, alternating chunks of red onion and pepper and the meatballs.

Mix the oil, lemon juice and oregano. Brush the kebabs and vegetables with the mixture and then season with salt and pepper.

Bake all together for 25-30 minutes until the meat is cooked through and the vegetables are browning at the edges.

My Favourite Brushes: Foundation

foundation_brushes

Most of the time, I apply my foundation with a brush. In my quest for flawless skin I have accumulated quite a few foundation brushes, from the traditional flat kind to the huge Ecotools brush (technically a bronzer brush). The brush I use tends to depend on the texture of the foundation that I’m applying. For a thin, watery consistency I love a smaller buffing brush but for a thick BB cream I like a large brush that can spread it quickly and blend it well. I don’t use a traditional flat brush much any more as I find fuller brushes work much better for my skin. These are my favourites.

Real Techniques Buffing Brush

This was the first domed brush I ever tried for applying foundation and is still my favourite. The Expert Face Brush from the same range is similar and also nice but I like this one better as it is just a bit softer. I wish this brush could be bought outside a set as when I eventually wear it out I am going to want another one. The bristles are just the perfect amount of soft and dense and they never fail to apply my foundation perfectly and blend it so well. Another plus is that it washes like a dream and dries incredibly quickly. I’m yet to find another brush that is as such a good all rounder as this one. I have been using it for a long time now and it has been washed many times but still looks like new.

Ecotools Bronzer Brush

This is really a bronzer brush but I bought it as it looked similar to a Tarte brush that you can’t get very easily in the UK. I find this brush amazing for applying thick BB creams, spreading quickly and blending them effortlessly. The only downside is that it uses a little more product than smaller brushes but this is something I can put up with when I’m in a rush and need to apply my make up quickly. The brush is also inexpensive and I would definitely replace it if it wore out.

Sigma F86 Tapered Kabuki

I bought this one on a whim and I’m very glad that I did. This is a firm, densely packed candle shaped brush that is just perfect for applying all textures of foundation. I find this one gives a particularly beautiful finish with fairly thick, creamy foundations such as my Laura Mercier Silk Creme. My only complaint is that it is a bit difficult to clean and takes a long time to dry. I also find that due to the dense nature of the bristles, I feels dirty quicker that my other brushes and clings on to a lot of product. I use this one when I want a perfect finish but not for every day. I love the Sigma Flat Top Kabuki brush for similar reasons bit I get a marginally better finish with this one.

I would love to hear some recommendations for other foundation brushes.

My Favourite Autumn & Winter Perfume

velvet_rose_oud

I love this time of year, the turning of the leaves, the crisp breezes and the beautiful autumn light. Whilst in summer I have enjoyed coconut and fruity scents, now the season is changing I find myself wanting something warmer and more complex. I love the smell of roses, in my opinion the most beautiful flower of all. The beautiful Velvet Rose & Oud by Jo Malone is a rich, woody rose that reminds of me of a bunch of red flowers by a wood burning stove. It is actually a fairly simple composition, containing only rose, oud wood, praline and clove however it does not seem simple when worn. I find two spritzes of this beautiful perfume last all day and I can’t see me getting through the bottle for years.

What is your favourite perfume for this time of year?

Evening Skincare Routine Trial: October

evening_skincare

This is the evening routine to go with my morning routine.

I like to use different types of products in the evening as I have usually been wearing a full face of make up during the day and I like my skin to feel thoroughly cleansed afterwards. There are also some products in my evening routine that I don’t use every day but are extra treatments used a couple of times a week. This is what I have been using this month.

Cleanser

I start off with a micellar water to take off my eye make up and a good amount of the rest of my make up. To do this I soak a couple of cotton wool pads and sweep them over my eyes and face. I find my cleanser does a more thorough job if I do this first. My current favourite is the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water which does the job very well. To be honest, I haven’t seen much difference between micellar waters that I have used so I will probably stick to this one as it is inexpensive and does the job.

Once I have done this I use an oil or creamy cleanser, currently the Nuxe Melting Cleansing Gel with Rose Petals. This smells absolutely beautiful and feels lovely and creamy on the skin. I bought it as an alternative to the Clarins Melting Cleansing Gel which I had a sample of and loved. I don’t actually find the texture to be very similar to the Clarins but I like it anyway. To thoroughly remove all traces of my make up I massage in a generous blob and then wipe it away with a soaked, hot flannel. I might run out of this soon, if so I will switch to the Origins Clean Energy Cleansing Oil.

Toner

I don’t use a toner every evening but a couple of times a week I use the Clarins Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner. This contains glycolic acid amongst other things and does an excellent job of brighting my face, leaving it glowing the next day. It has quite a strong smell like most Clarins products but I love it.

Eye cream

The moisturiser I have chosen irritates my eyes if I get it too close to them so I am using Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Rejuvinating Eye Cream at the moment. This is nice and rich yet still absorbs well. I am concerned that this is a little too rich more me but I will stick with it for the month and see how my skin is at the end of it.

Serum

I like serums that don’t leave my skin feeling like it have a layer of silicone on it and the Vichy Aqualia serum does this perfectly. This gorgeous smelling light serum absorbs quickly and leaves my skin looking radiant and healthy. I will also mention the Vitamin C capsules by The Body Shop. I plan to alternate these with the Vichy serum as I want to test out their brightening effect and to compliment my morning serum (Superfacialist Vitamin C). I must admit one of the reason I want to use them is that I like the little capsules that they come in.

Moisturiser

Oh how I love the smell and texture of Origins High Potency Night-a-Mins. To me it smells of chocolate orange and is a lovely, rich luxurious cream that is a pleasure to apply at night. Even though this seems as if it would be too rich for my oily skin I have not had any problems with it and my skin seems to like it too. My only complaint is that it stings my eyes if it gets too close so I need to be careful when I apply it.

 

Simple Chicken Curry and Mushroom Rice

curry_cooked

I love Indian food and make quite a lot of it but this one doesn’t follow any particular recipe. You can add more chilli if you prefer it hotter but it is very nice without any chilli at all if you have children to feed or you don’t like your food too hot and spicy. I tend to add whatever vegetables I have lying around too.

This is best served with the mushroom rice but is also lovely with plain basmati rice. I almost always use a rice cooker so that I can put it on to cook and leave it while I get on with everything else and not worry too much about getting everything ready at the same time.

This will make two adult portions and some for a toddler and you can always add more chicken if you want it to go further.

For the curry, you will need:

  • 2-3 chicken breasts (depending on size), cut into cubes
  • 2-3 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tsp chopped ginger
  • 3 heaped tsp ground coriander
  • 2 heaped tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp garam masala
  • 1/2 tsp crushed dried chilli (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 tbsp plain yoghurt
  • Small handful chopped fresh coriander

For the rice:

  • 200g basmati rice, washed
  • Drizzle of sunflower oil
  • 3-4 mushrooms, chopped
  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • Pinch turmeric
  • 4 cloves
  • 4 cardamom pods, slightly crushed
  • Pinch cumin seeds
  • Salt, to taste

Start by gently frying the onion for the rice with the cumin seeds. Once the onion is soft and translucent, add the rest of the spices, salt and mushrooms and fry for 1-2 minutes until the mushrooms start to look cooked. Add you rice to your rice cooker with the correct amount of water and then tip the contents of the frying pan in and start it cooking. If you don’t have a rice cooker you can stir this mixture into a pan of rice part way through cooking.

For the curry, start by gently frying the onion for 5-10 minutes, being careful not to let it brown too quickly. Once it is lightly browned, add the ginger and garlic and continue to fry for another minute or so.

Now add the chicken and all of the dry spices and salt. Keep frying for another minute to seal the chicken and then pour in the tomatoes. I like to fry this mixture quite hot until it dries out and then add and enough water to cover. At this point, bring to the boil for a minute or so and then turn the heat down. This will need to simmer for around 15 minutes minutes, stirring regularly.

curry_cooking

If the curry starts to dry up, add more water and stir.

Once the meat is cooked through, add the yoghurt and chopped fresh coriander. Simmer for another few minutes and then serve with the rice.