Monday, 27 June 2016

Low carb cauliflower crust calzones

The world and it's wife is eating cauliflower crust pizzas nowadays, I remember when I first made one all the way back here, everyone seemed a bit horrified when I told them about it. Not any more, they're so popular now and given that you now see cauliflower rice/ couscous in the supermarket habitually now I think it's probably only just around the corner until we see cauliflower pizzas in there too.

A few nights ago, my sister and I decided to take things next level by trying a cauliflower crust calzone, once you've made the crust and cooked it, it's pretty flexible so we were hopeful that it might just work, and thankfully we weren't disappointed!

If you're making a cauliflower crust anyway, these take only moments longer, of course there's a lot more 'crust' so if you aren't quite as keen on the crust and use it more as a vessel to hold your toppings you might not be so keen, the trick is though, to pack it full of fillings and use plenty of herbs and seasoning while making the crust to make sure the whole thing is jam packed with flavour.

Making them is far easier than you'd think; you will need (makes two calzones):

For the base
  • One small head of cauliflower
  • Two eggs
  • 1/2 a cup of vegetarian parmesan or mozzarella- I prefer parmesan or hard cheese for its stronger taste but the mozzarella is better at helping it stay together- choose your battle!
  • Mixed herbs/ garlic powder
For the filling:
  • 5 tablespoons sundried tomato puree-
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • a small handful of cherry tomatoes
  • A few leaves of basil

To make it:
  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees
  • cut the hard stem off the cauliflower and place the florets in a food processor and process until rice like consistency
  • Pop the 'rice' into a bowl and microwave uncovered for 10 minutes
  • Transfer the rice into the middle of a tea towel and leave to cool for several minutes
  • When cool enough to handle, wring out as much liquid as you can from the mixture- you will be surprised how much will come out!
  • Put the mixture in a mixing bowl, add you eggs, cheese, and a good shake of mixed herbs/ garlic powder, mix until well combined
  • Divide the mixture into two, and transfer each to an oiled baking tray or, if you have it, this I-Bake Non Stick 1 m Cooking Liner Roll is a lifesaver when making these.
  • Use your hands to press the mixture into oval shapes, and make the edges a little thicker as these can cook quicker and are therefore more likely to burn.
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove form the oven and put your fillings on half of the base, don't go all the way to the edge as you need to leave some space to seal them.
  • Pick the other half of the base and fold it over so you have a calzone/Cornish pasty like creation.
  • Use a fork to seal the edges, they will not seal as tightly as a dough crust will do, but do te best you can!
  • Pop back into the oven for a further 10 minutes
  • Remove, enjoy hot and thank me later!

Up next, broccoli crust calzones! Have you tried a cauliflower crust pizza yet?

Monday, 6 June 2016

Lush cosmetics opening party haul

Last week I went to the press/ blogger opening of the new Lush store at the Arndale centre in Manchester and I got so many new goodies I had to share them with you.

 A quick mention about the store itself, it's the largest store in the North, and second largest in the UK (after the Oxford Street branch). The store itself has lots of new concepts that the old one didn't have, but my favourites have to be the Lush kitchen, and the Greenhouse. Now, you will know I love anything plant related, and the Greenhouse is a dedicated consultation space which also grows lots of plants that are used in the products including herbs, lavender, rose and aloe vera. Interestingly, this branch is the only one in the world that has a Greenhouse! Long term, their plan is to grow pants within the Greenhouse and then send them to the Lush factory in Dorset to be used in the products.

At the Lush Kitchen you can watch staff as they actually make the products, we stood and watched as they made an Angels on bare skin cleanser and were sent home with some to try. Made from ground almonds, rose and lavender, I'm pretty sure I will love it, so long as I fight the temptation not to try and eat it, as they're ingredients I rather like cooking with! Additionally, each Monday they will be there making a one of their discontinued products which they'll then sell all that week.

I've never used many Lush products, the main ones I have used have been bath bombs. Now, I love bath bombs but use them with caution as a lot of the ones I have used have left my skin coated in glitter, which might look good on a night out but in my line of work talking to often very unwell patients, it never feels appropriate to do it coated in a blue/ gold glitter mix.

We were gifted with several items and I bought many more, leaving with a pretty hefty stash. As a result, I still haven't tried everything yet.The items I'm the most excited about are the earth eye powders. I love eyeshadows but may days are often long and my eyelids seems to be quite oily so eyeshadow often creases even when I use a powder. Anyway, the very persuasive lady assured me that as these are made with talc, they absorb excess moisture and stay out for a very long time. I tried some in the store and it was still firmly in place several hours later when I arrived home, so I'm feeling optimistic! The packaging is also lovely too, I admit that I've never really been drawn to their makeup as I am a sucker for the more high end, instagrammable packaging and Lush has always felt quite young looking which does put me off (though I appreciate how stupid this makes me sound!). Anyway, the packaging for the powders look a bit more high end and the powder colours are beautiful, I chose Victorious a neutral gold shade with a hefty amount of shimmer.

I also picked up a bubblegum lipscrub, which I have used before and which makes your lips feel amazing, look a lot plumper (and tastes pretty good too). I use it in the evening and before going out as it makes lipstick go on so much nicer.

I got a hair custard, now I have really high hopes for this, but am still not convinced. Since changing up my beauty product to all cruelty free, finding hair products has defintely been the hardest part. I felt like I really had things cracked with my hair oil I used religiously and which made my hair so shiny, and I haven't been able to find anything cruelty free that does the same thing. The lady at the hair counter assured me this will do just that and will make my hair shiny and smooth, and I so hope she is right! It does feel a bit tacky on your hands and is very thick- basically thick custard consistency, so it's miles away from a hair oil, but once rubbed in the tackiness seems to go. I will keep you updated on this one!

I picked up lots of other things but there's no time to go into them all now so I'll let you know as I go. In the meantime, if you are in the North, make sure you pop in and try and grab yourself a consultation in the beautiful greenhouse while you're at it!

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