MAJOR BLOG CHANGES (read if you’re here for the books and writing stuff)

If you’ve been here for a while then you may know that my blog didn’t always have a ‘Books’ section, or a ‘Creative Writing’ section. Guess what? Soon it won’t have them again, because I am creating a separate blog, specifically for these things.

Ecstatically Em was always meant to be a food and lifestyle blog, and I added the literature and creative writing aspect of it towards the end of my time at uni. Now that these sections are growing, and getting a really good response from you guys, I feel they need a space of their own. This blog will be remaining as a recipes and lifestyle blog, and the new blog will be a place to read book reviews, creative writing tips, updates on my own attempts to get published as a poet, and (maybe) some of my own poetry (if I kick myself into putting that up).

When this post goes up I will be busy exporting all of my posts that need to be moved to the new blog. Anyone who reads this blog purely for the writing aspects (I can tell from your usernames), then head on over to the new blog, and please follow it to carry on receiving updates! Initially these posts will be old ones I’m moving over. As the exporting tool hasn’t been working for me, and despite chatting with WordPress Help it still isn’t, I’m doing a manual move. Alongside just having started a new job this could take a week or so. After that be expecting some new content- though I may throw new stuff in if I get the chance…

I’m incredibly excited to be starting a new blog. I’ve had this one (including my changing the name, and moving from Blogger to WordPress) since my time in sixth form. Obviously a person changes quite a lot in 5 years, and so does their mind-set and writing style. Even my photography style has changed. This new blog is chance to show a side of my writing this blog doesn’t showcase, and basically start from scratch. I plan on making some changes to Ecstatically Em and my linked IG account as well, but that’s for a different post!

The new blog title and a link to it is below. You’ll have to put up with me whilst I get it up and running, but I hope to hear from you over there…

 

Shelf-Bound

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Peanut Butter Brownies (fool-proof)

1504460343597Last year I baked alongside GBBO each week and posted the recipe here, creating something for the majority of the time the show was airing. This year I’ve decided to completely ignore whatever everyone else is doing, and just give you some random baking that I personally like eating each week. Starting with these fool-proof brownies topped with peanut butter.

The basic recipe is the recipe my brother and I would make with my mum when we were small. Very little batter was actually baked. I think the recipe came from a Blue Peter episode years ago (and I mean years ago, because I was never a Blue Peter fan, so it must’ve come from when my mum was young). But how do you make a good thing better? You add nut butter, that’s how… Continue reading

Pumpkin Spice French Toast

IMG_20170903_083257_713When Starbucks send out an email telling you Pumpkin Spice is soon to be back on the menu, you know that it is time to start formulating pumpkin everything. If you want you can check out my version of a Iced Pumpkin Spice Latte smoothie, or an easy Pumpkin Bread recipe, or a Pumpkin Pie Baked Oatmeal with Cheat’s Salted Caramel, but this year we’re making Pumpkin Spice French Toast.

I know the amount of spice in pumpkin spice is a pretty personal thing, so in this recipe you’ll be adding as much or as little as you like. You won’t need a tonne of different spices either, just ground cinnamon, and ground mixed spice. They do all of the work for you. I mention this below, but I really do recommend you try get hold of soda farls to make this. I got mine from Asda when I did the weekly food shop, and they’re great buttered with soup, so trust me, you will use the rest of the pack up.

Let’s go:

Continue reading

Yorkshire Provender Soups Review!

1503992846497I was recently sent three different soups from Yorkshire Provender, along with some of their new on-the-go porridge pots to try (read about those right here), and today I’m reviewing those soups for you. All of the soups from YP contain no added sugar, are gluten free, and most of the soups from give you 1 of your 5 a Day in half a pot. With September around the corner, and greyer, wetter weather than we’ve had already in “summer”,  soup will soon be on your radar, and if you want it to taste like homemade, then I can highly recommend these ones…

 

Mushroom Soup with Wholegrain Black Rice

Mushrooms are one of my favourite vegetables, but thanks to canned cream of mushroom soup memories (my dad used to make sauces with it, consequently traumatising me for life), I hadn’t had a mushroom soup in years before I found this one. I had tried this soup before it was sent to me, and I have actually re-purchased it since, it is that good. The colour tells you that this brand places mushrooms top of the ingredients list, and not the cream. Sour cream is used for the creaminess, making it less sickly and much more palatable. Mushroom stock is also added for super-intense flavour, along with garlic, parsley, and mustard. The black rice is also a really great addition texture-wise. This was my favourite soup of the bunch.

 

Moroccan Vegetable Tagine (dairy free)

This soup came a close second if we go by order of favourites. Very rich in warming spices (not hot spice, more aromatic- think ginger, turmeric, cumin, nutmeg…) and also mint. I was unsure as the how the mint would play out in this soup, but it comes through just enough, and really lifts the tomato base. This was the most filling of the soups, containing chickpeas, cous cous and lentils as well as veggies, and so its great for when you want healthy comfort food. However exotic this soup sounds, hot buttered toast and a blanket will still go with it. YP have released this as part of their “Journeys in Flavour” collection, and I think they have a Thai soup, an Indian spiced soup, and a Peri Peri soup in this range. I also want to pause here and comment on the packaging, because I think it’s really beautiful. This particular soup is decorated with a patterned tagine pot, with a window left in the centre so that it brings the soup itself into focus. All of the soups have this kind of design, and as I’m a sucker for packaging I thought I would mention it.

 

Cauliflower Cheese With Kale & Fountains Gold Cheddar

Out of the three soups this was the one I expected to like the least, and though I was right, I was surprised that I didn’t hate it. I’m not much of a creamy soup fan, and I’m also not much of a cheese fan (unless its melted on top of a pizza or in an omelette, but that’s a whole other story). However, I have to admit that this soup had a really nice balance of the different flavours. There are leeks, mustard, and nutmeg in there, which cut through the creaminess, and the kale and cauliflower give it a bit more of a fresh taste. I had no idea what Fountains Gold Cheddar was, so I did some Google-ing, and it turns out that its a cheese made in Yorkshire, which is known for being exceptionally creamy and buttery in taste. So I’m going to assume that if you like cheese and soup, this is basically liquid gold. Its also lovely that Yorkshire Provender clearly source their ingredients very carefully (they use British produce), and from Yorkshire when possible.

 

Before I tried these soups I was a huge New Covent Garden fan, but I think I know I’ve been converted. Despite coming from Yorkshire, I hadn’t seen soups from this brand until a couple of months ago, but they suddenly seem to have appeared in my local supermarkets. Near me I can get them in Morrisons and Tesco, though YP also stock in several fancy health food stores, like Wholefoods. I’m hoping that I continue to see an increase of Yorkshire Provender on supermarket shelves!

 

 

 

PB & J Veggie Burger

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As I said over on Instagram (if you haven’t visited my account, then check it out here), I keep seeing PB&J burgers at every restaurant I pass  which exclusively serves burgers. Unfortunately, they are never a vegetarian burger for some reason.

I think the reason this combo is rarely a restaurant option is because most burger joins have burgers made from actual veg, instead of ones using mycoprotein or TVP. Sometimes you want something that’s more of a blank canvas though, and I think an actual veg burger would make this combination a little too stodgy.  So instead of waiting for my perfect burger, I decided to assemble one for myself (if only you could do that with other things). It happened to go really well… Continue reading

Beanies Cinder Toffee Iced Mocha

IMG_20170822_134131_694Its possibly a little late in the year to be posting an iced coffee recipe (we’re nearly in September…),  but if you’re anything like me, and you’ve been know to buy an iced coffee when its snowing outside, this is for you.

I’ve recently purchased the Beanies Cinder Toffee Instant Coffee and thought I may as well put it to good use. Cinder toffee is something that appears everywhere around bonfire night (it’s like the inside of a Crunchie bar, if you have no idea what I’m talking about), and it kind of tastes like caramel, but a little less sweet. Basically, it’s honeycomb. I’ve also used the Sweet Freedom chocolate spread here to make it a mocha (this spread is make with fruit extracts and cocoa), but use any brand you like for the chocolate element!

This is an unbelievably easy recipe, so let’s get to it… Continue reading

Easy Avocado Pasta Sauce (Avocado, chilli, basil & balsamic vinegar)

IMG_20170821_123410_482I’m having a bit of a love affair with pasta at the moment. I don’t know where it has come from, all I know is that if it contains pasta, I shall eat it. You know what goes really well with pasta? Fresh herbs. And chilli. And balsamic vinegar. And, surprisingly, avocado.

I usually opt for a spicy tomato, pesto, or even butter-based sauce, and am generally not a fan of creamy concoctions coating my fusilli. Avocado is just the right kind of creamy though. Its also a great substitute if you’re a vegan who misses creamy sauces, but obviously isn’t going to be pouring carbonara sauce over your pasta any time soon.

You can always add extra vegetables or some quorn, chicken, meat substitute, or fish into this pasta dish- but try it as it is at least once, because sometimes keeping it simple is best… Continue reading