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Saturday, 25 April 2015

Divine Homemade Lime Curd Recipe -- Ariel Cooks

I have an absolutely gorgeous homemade lime curd recipe to share with you today. The best thing about this recipe is its super quick, easy and seems like it takes far more effort than it actually does!


I find limes are underrated in baking and I absolutely love the taste of them, they have a fresh fruitiness that is slightly different from its more popular cousin the lemon.

Lime curd is great over toast, scones, used in cakes as a filling or topping, dolloped over fruit and my personal favourite at the moment mixed in with Greek yogurt, delicious! It also makes fabulous presents if you place the curd in cute little manson jars. If you have small jars available these are also amazing to take on picnics with some fresh fruit, yogurt, clotted cream and scones.

Ingredients:
·         6 limes
·         100g of unsalted butter
·         120g of granulated sugar
·         80g of demerara sugar
·         3 whole eggs, plus another egg yolk
~This recipe will give you about 500ml of lime curd~

Equipment:
·         Large mixing bowl
·         Whisk (electric is better or a kitchen aid)
·         Two saucepan pots, one for jars and one for curd
·         Wooden spoon
·         Large jar or smaller jars, enough for 500ml
·         Wax sealing disks (these can found in most supermarkets and online in places like ebay and amazon)

Method:
1.       First sterilise the jars, place in large pot and cover with hot water. Bring to the boil and when bubbling away leave for at least 15 minutes. If you are sterilising be careful with what lids you are using as some can’t be boiled without damaging them. Once finished the jars will be sterilised and good to go for about an hour, over this and I’m afraid you will have to boil again.
2.       While your jars are bubbling away juice your limes and keep the pulp with the juice. I like adding pulp to the curd instead of the zest as it gives a smoother texture.
3.       Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl, an electric whisk will make this a lot easier.
4.       Gradually add beaten eggs.
5.       Gradually add lime juice and pulp. Once all incorporated pour mixture into a pan. Don’t worry about the horrible looking curdled texture this is normal and will come together when cooked. Just to prove it here's a photo of mine before I cooked it!


6.       Simmer over a low heat and stir with a wooden spoon. It is very important it is a low heat! There should be no bubbles, if it’s bubbling it’s too hot. It is also very important you keep stirring, it may seem like it’s never going to thicken but it will!
7.       The mixture is ready when its slightly darkened and you can drag a finger (be careful it's hot) down the wooden spoon and the line stays, as shown below.


8.       Lastly simply pour curd into your sterilised jar or jars of choice, seal with a waxed disk and you’re done!



I didn't seal mine as I was going to be using it in a cake recipe in a few days. If you don’t seal the lime curd it will last around a week or maybe two in the fridge, depending on how cold your fridge is.

If sealed it will last up to two months in the fridge.

Happy cooking!
Ariel

Friday, 24 April 2015

Lush VIP Launch Day -- Sneak Peek at New and Exclusive Lush Products at Oxford Street

I was lucky enough to be invited to the VIP launch of the Lush Oxford Street Shop in London. I was incredibly excited and due to that, I spent far too much money I don’t really have!

The shop officially opens to the public on the 24th of April. So I thought I would share a sneak peak at some of the new and exclusive products to Lush Oxford Street. I have also included a few reviews of the products I have used so far.


Oxford Street Exclusives sneak peak:




                                                               Makeup Swatches:






I was given this bath melt to try before the press launch so unfortunately I can’t remember the exact name and can’t find any information about it online at all! I think it was something apple?

        



It has a lovely fresh woody smell with ever so slight undertones of florally sweetness. Even though the melt was small it still turned my water a lovely green. 



Flower’s Barrow has to be my favourite of the new melts so far! This melt is based on an already existing Lush perfume also called Flower’s Barrow and I will be stocking up! 


It leaves the water a pale dusty green with loads of petals floating around. The smell is glorious, it has a fresh floral scent that is sweet without being overpowering.


These new bath melts are stunning and a new favourite of mine. They are very small but don’t let that put you off. They all have at least 6% essential oils in each one. When I popped them in the bath they melted beautifully and left such a lovely smooth texture on my skin. I was surprised that the colour and smell dissipated so well considering they were small.

I cannot recommend these enough. They are amazing and for only £2 each an absolute bargain!


Now lets talk about the new Lush invention of soap/shower gel paper, how clever is that! Long gone are the days of traveling and hoping your bottle doesn't leak or explode. All you do is rip off a section, wet and lather it up in your hands or on your body.


This honestly goes such a long way. I selected the A5 size and as you can see from the photo above I ripped off a tiny triangle and this did my entire body, if I didn't see it I wouldn't have believed it! At £2.95 this is another bargain that everyone needs in their life. 


The Store itself is beautifully designed full and full of reclaimed items to make the counters and displays. There is even a small hairdressing section to wash hair so you can really try out the hair care products!

The spa is located on the ground floor and is decorated to perfection with large comfy treatment rooms.
If I could live in this shop believe me I would!

Thanks for reading,

Ariel 

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Job lot of Lush bath product reviews -- Mmmelting Marshmallow Moment, Sakura, Avobath and Sunnyside

Today I thought I would combine some of my lush reviews into one post.

Mmmelting marshmallow moment -- This product is a luxury bath melt and costs £3.95.  

It has a very sweet smell and lovely light pink colour



I was disappointed when I put this in the bath. The melt itself smelt amazing and the smell reminded me of strawberry fondant and candyfloss, however upon putting it in the bath the smell disappeared to almost nothing and the colour was not very strong. This bath melt also did absolutely nothing for my skin, usually when I purchase a bath melt from lush I leave the bath with my skin feeling soft and unfortunately I didn’t get this from this one.


Sakura -- This product is a bath bomb and costs £3.25.

It has a very delicate floral smell and is visually very pretty. This bath bomb really encapsulates spring for me.


This bath bomb does not do much in the bath, if anything at all! It doesn’t overly fizz or turn the bath water a colour, only slightly cloudy. It does have a very pleasant smell though, which reminds me of being outside in a flower garden during spring. The smell is not over powering and it is perfect for those who are not a fan of the strong smells of Lush but still want a nice delicate fragrance from a bath bomb. I particularly love this bath bomb for when I have a headache or when I am feeling under the weather.


Avobath -- This product is a bath bomb and costs £3.35.

This one is definitely a mood lifter it’s incredibly fresh and zesty with a pale green colour

video

This is one of my favourite bath bombs because it has such a strong zesty scent that carries beautifully. I love keeping this one in my room as it makes it smell so fresh. It fizzes nicely in the bath and leaves a fantastic creamy green colour which is a nice change from the all the pink colours in lush. This would make a great present for those who love fresh zesty scents.


I have most definitely saved the best till last!

Sunnyside -- This product is a bubble bar and costs £3.75.

It is a beautiful rusty orange colour with a gold dusting. It has a lovely citrusy scent.




















I absolutely adore this bubble bar! You get plenty of bubbles and the colour it turns the water is stunning, you get a deep orange bath with a gold simmer running throughout it. The gorgeous orange and lemon smell carries really well if you use the whole bar and fills the bathroom. It gives you a really decadent bath and you feel like you're bathing in liquid gold. I cannot recommend this enough and think it would make a fabulous present!

Thanks for reading,

Ariel

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

2in1 Face and Hair Mask for Combination Skin and Hair -- DIY Face and Skin Care

This mask is amazing for combination skin, it will tighten pores, clear breakouts and even your skin tone without drying it out.  This mask is also perfect for hair that needs a good moisturising cleanse that will leave hair soft and silky.

Ingredients:
·         1/2 cup of oats (keep another additional 1/5 aside for the face mask)
·         1 small free range egg
·         100ml of fresh milk
·         3 tsp of olive oil
~~ You will also need a blender for this mask~~





Benefits for your face:
·         Milk clears and evens out skin complexion due to the lactic acid, while the potassium and vitamin D content soften the skin.
·         The olive oil acts as a natural moisturiser and protector.  
·         Oats act as a natural soft exfoliant clearing way dead cells and unclogging pores, also great as it absorbs excess oils.
·         The egg white draws out excess oils and the egg yolk moistures skin.

Benefits for your hair:
·         Milk moisturises the hair and adds shine.
·         The olive oil deeply moistures and smooths the hair follicles.
·         Oats clear away excess oils and exfoliate the scalp.
·         The egg white gently cleanses hair while the protein in the egg yolk strengthens the hair from within the follicle.

Simply blend all the ingredients together and the hair mask is done! Take a small amount and leave aside for the face mask. Apply the rest to dry hair wrap in clingfilm or a plastic bag, for best results then wrap a hot towel over everything and relax for 30 minutes. Remember this mask contains raw egg so rinse off in cool water, you don’t want to be scrambling those eggs! Then wash your hair with a shampoo and conditioner of your choice.

For the face mask you want a thicker consistency so add the other 1/5 cup of oats and re-blend. Apply to clean dry skin and wait 15-30 minutes and rinse off in cool water. While rising off do so in gentle circular movements over the face to get all the exfoliating goodness from the oats.  Remember this mask contains raw egg, so avoid contact with eyes or mouth.

Once blended the mask should have a lovely smooth consistently which is pleasant to apply. 



This mask will happily last 2-3 days in the fridge without losing any nutrients so if you have some excess left over don’t worry. 

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Why do I need carbohydrates? -- Ariel Answers




It seems to have become a new diet fad to skip out on the carbohydrates completely but this should be a big no no, especially if you are exercising. Obviously protein is essential for rebuilding muscles but many don’t realise your body firstly needs the carbohydrates to fuel itself effectively and in turn function at maximum capacity and give you the best results from your workout or just daily life. 

Your body is superb at turning any source of food into energy for itself, but certain foods are better for certain functions. If eating a balanced diet your body will choose to take energy firstly from carbohydrates. This is because it’s the easiest food source to convert into glucose, which is the energy source your tissues and cells need.

 If you do not consume enough carbohydrates in relation to your output of energy your body will take energy from its stores such as fat (which is what most people who skip carbs desire) but it also takes energy from protein which results in your body breaking down its own muscle! This is especially true if you are completing intense exercise routines.

Energy part aside your body needs carbohydrates for good intestinal health. The good bacteria in your gut need carbohydrates to function and keep the pH (acidity levels) at the optimum level for good food absorption. If your intestinal balance is off your body will be unable to digest food properly reducing essential nutrient uptakes resulting in malnutrition, this in turn causes a drop in the effectiveness of your immune system and increases the likelihood of illness as your body is less able to fight off infection.

Some studies now suggest that carbohydrates aid serotonin levels also known as the ‘happy hormone’. A study by the archives of internal medicine found those who ate a low carbohydrate diet experienced more depression and anxiousness than those on a higher carbohydrate diet. It has also been suggested that eliminating carbohydrates from your diet can reduce your working and visuospatial memory.  A study by Tufts University found that those who eliminated carbohydrates performed worse on memory tests and visuospatial tests than those who consumed carbohydrates.

This is not to say you should go off and eat a mountain of cheesy pasta or a loaf of white bread. While carbohydrates are needed you should select complex carbohydrates from wholemeal and wholegrain products like brown rice, bulgur wheat and wholemeal bread. These types of carbohydrates take longer to digest giving you a more steady energy release and keep you fuller for longer. Due the longer digestion time they prevent blood sugar spikes which help control insulin levels which have been found to affect how much fat your body stores.

Remember everything in moderation, skipping out one part of your diet completely is never a good idea. If you desire to lose weight unfortunately there is no magic solution. You just have to eat a healthy balanced diet and move around a bit more.


I hope this has helped!