Saturday, 3 November 2018

Mary Berry's Roasted Butternut Squash Soup

Hi everyone :)

Got another Mary Berry recipe for you - since I love her cooking so much! I was watching YouTube videos last week and the autoplay was on and some clips from her Absolute Favourites programme popped up and this was one of the recipes and I remember my previous workplace used to do a similar soup and it was so good!

1.5kg butternut squash
1 large onion
2 medium carrots
1 red pepper
4 tbsp virgin olive oil
1 tbsp runny honey
5cm fresh root ginger
1.5 litre (2 1/2 pint) vegetable stock
salt and pepper

1. Preheat the oven to 200℃
2. Tip the prepared squash into a large, resealable freezer bag with the onion, carrots and red pepper. Add half the oil and salt and pepper and toss everything together until the vegetables are evenly coated. Tip into a large roasting tin and spread out to form a single layer.
3. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes, or until tender or tinged brown. Drizzle over the honey 5 minutes before the end of cooking.
4. Place the large, deep-sided saucepan over a medium heat, add the remaining oil and, when it is hot, add the ginger and fry for a minute. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then stir in the roasted vegetables and add salt and pepper.
5. Remove the saucepan from the heat and, using a hand blender, blend the mixture until smooth. Return to the heat to warm through and serve hot with crusty bread.

The soup is very tasty and great for a rainy day in fall. It pairs well with a crusty white bread roll straight from the oven with some butter.

Let me know what you think if you try the recipe.


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Nintendo Switch: Harvest Moon: Light of Hope

Hey everyone :)

I saw this on pre-order a few months ago and completely forgot about it! I am a big fan of Stardew Valley and so this game is right up my street!

The game starts with you unconscious and washed up on a small island where a young doctor saves your life. The island is mostly deserted and there are many run down buildings and a broken lighthouse and you love a challenge - so you set out gathering the resources and gold to fix the buildings and lighthouse and as you do more villagers return back and start to live on the island again.

You also take up residence on a farm so you can grow plant, water and harvest crops. You can also (once repaired) keep chickens and cows (there are other animals too).

I'm really enjoying the game so far - it is ALOT easier than Stardew Valley in my opinion - definitely in terms of making money as Stardew Valley make that harder for you to do.

I bought the Switch version but it is available on the PS4 and PC too.

Let me know if you've bought it or are planning to in the comments below!!


Sunday, 21 October 2018

Mini Apple Crumble Pots

Hey everyone :)

I love apple crumble ... if honest I'd happily sit and eat lots of crumble ... forget the apple haha!

I think in America they call these "apple crisps" but to me they are mini apple crumbles - in cute little ramekins.

Ingredients (for crumble topping):
100g plain flour
100g porridge oats
100g butter
50g caster sugar
2 tbsp packed dark muscovado sugar

Ingredients (for apple filling):
6 Granny Smith apples
2 tbsp water
1 tsbp caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon spice

1. In a mixing bowl add the plain flour, porridge oats, butter, caster sugar and dark muscovado sugar (if you don't have this light/dark brown sugar works too) - rub together with your fingers until you have golden brown rubble. Set to one side

2. Peel and core the apples and slice thinly. Grab a pot and over a medium heat - add the sliced apple, the water and the caster sugar (you can add your cinnamon here if you want too) and cook until the apple starts to break apart - for me it was about 15 minutes.

3. Grab your individual ramekins and spoons some lovely apple mush into them and then sprinkle over the crumble rubble.

4. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes or until everything is nice and brown and the apple is oozing out the side.

5. You can serve straight out the oven or leave to cool. They can be served with a dusting of icing sugar, pouring cream, whipped cream or even ice cream!!

Let me know what you think in the comments below!


Sunday, 9 September 2018

Monzo: The Bank of the Future!

Hey everyone :)

I imagine when someone mentions "change banks" - you cringe - because there is so much work involved ... moving direct debits, transferring the remaining balance or telling your work your new account number and sort code.

I've was with my old bank about 12+ years and I was bored. I was paying around £12.50 a month (started off as £3.50) just to have an overdraft, warranty guarantee, card protection and mobile phone cover. I rarely used the overdraft (it was just there for emergencies), I didn't use the warranty guarantee or the card protection and from what I heard the mobile phone cover was the worst and getting them to do anything when your phone broke was next to impossible. So I asked myself - "why am I paying £12.50?".

I found Monzo in an unusual way - in that I happened to come across them in one of their new employee's YouTube videos "My first day at Monzo". I was intrigued and started googling them and checking out the reviews on the app store and was really impressed. I found it odd you could open an actual bank account on an iPhone app as I'd never heard of such a thing!!

What drew me to Monzo was the sleek, cool looking app. It's available on iPhone or Android!. I love that it pulls the logos from companies and shows them next to the transactions. Whenever you buy anything you get a notification instantly (signal permitting) to tell you and it also puts it in a certain category to help you track spending. It also lists your direct debits and shows when they come off and shows these in a "committed spending" category. You can also help with testing on Monzo Labs for anything they are doing - I'm currently using the "bill splitting" feature which is really good and lets you split transactions and request the other half from other people.

I applied for the account while sitting on my bed. Entered the usual sign up stuff (name, date of birth, address etc). Took a picture of my passport and then recorded myself saying "Hi, my name is John and I want a Monzo account"... then three days later I had a lovely hot coral card in the post :)

Some people might be a but dubious and worried about an online/app based bank however it is covered with the FSCS up to £85,000 for current accounts and £170,000 for join accounts. Being online/app based they do not have physical branches so you can't visit. They do have online chat and can call them if you have issues.

They do also have their own forum/community where you can chat and talk about Monzo-related issues (and some non-Monzo related issues). I just joined a few days ago and I've learnt a lot more about banking and Monzo than I did before.

Overall I am really impressed and happy with the bank and I'm glad I switched over. I would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a new bank. They do offer the current account switch service or if you like to do things yourself - you can do it yourself at your own pace.

Let me know in the comments below if you have switched or use Monzo.

© ShoutJohn. All rights reserved.