Sunday, December 14, 2014

Super quick beef stew - slow cooker recipe

I think slow cooker 101 is a hearty beef stew and that is what I have cooking in mine tonight. I am still not 100% comfortable with the idea of leaving the cooker on while I'm at work so I tend to cook my meals overnight and wake up to the smell of yummy food.

For tomorrow's dinner I decided to make a quick stew, typically I only realized that I didn't have any potatoes once I started so I think I'll drain out most of the water and serve it with rice. Here are the ingredients:

Yes, you may have spotted a sneaky plate of profiteroles in the background, those were swiftly eaten and definitely didn't end up in my stew! 

First off I browned the meat with the chopped onion, salt, pepper, tobasco and Worcestershire sauce. I don't always brown the meat, if I'm in a rush I won't bother and there isn't much of a taste difference in my opinion but it does mean the meat looks a bit anaemic instead of nice and brown.

I then added a pint of boiling water with a beef oxo cube dissolved in, chopped carrots, chopped leek and have put it on low. I'll keep it on low all night, turn it off in the morning and then maybe whack it on low when I get home until my OH makes it home from work at about 8ish. It doesn't need that long but I like my meat to almost melt when you bite into it.

That is about it for this super quick and easy stew. Can't wait for tomorrow's dinner already! 

I do apologise for the rubbish photos but I don't have a decent camera so these were taken with my phone and it's the best I could manage. 

I shall report back tomorrow on how well dinner went down. 

Until tomorrow,


Slow cooker adventures

Earlier this month I convicted the OH to let me spend £14 on a slow cooker from Asda. I'm gonna admit that I didn't even know what one was until a couple of months ago and as soon as I started reading up on them I knew I had to get one.

Since my last post so long ago life has changed a lot. I became engaged and will be getting married on the 12th of January 2015 (less than a month away, yeek!) and I am currently 25 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. So the appeal of minimal food preparation and washing up combined with coming home to a cooked meal was far too great for me to resist!

So now I have my cooker and will be posting my adventures as well as generally being more active.

Looking forward to reading your comments and please feel free to send recepies for me to try!


Saturday, December 13, 2014

Self Saucing Chocolate Cake - Slow cooker style


* 100g butter, melted
* 1/2 cup of milk
* 1 egg
* 1 cup of SF flour
* 2tbsp cocoa
*1/2 cup caster sugar

For the sauce:

* 2 tbsp. cocoa
* 1 cup of brown sugar
* 2 cups boiling water


1. Combine butter, milk and egg
2. Sift flour in separate bowl and mix in sugar
3. Add wet ingredients to flour and sugar mixture and place in slow cooker
4. Combine cocoa and brown sugar together and sprinkle over the top of the mix
5. Pour boiling water over the top and cook in high for 3 1/2 hours.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Busy, busy

There are lots os super exciting things happening at work and that is why I've been rubbish at blogging. We have to weeks to drain an entire tank, re build a wall, re theme it, fill it back up again and stock it.

Eventhough the timing is really tight I'm quite looking forward to it. The shark tank has been bugging me ever seen I started working here and it's finally being done up! Hurray! We've got five species of shark ready to go in and will be getting a couple more soon. I'm going to take daily pictures of the progress and will post them in chronological order... Let's hope it goes well...

Monday, March 17, 2014

Why I love my job

I consider myself really lucky to have found a job and career I love at the age of 14. I've been considering writing this post for a while but there's just so much stuff I could say that I kept putting it off. So I've decided to just write this with minimal planning. Probably a bad idea...Anyway here we go. It is probably a good idea to tell you that I started off as an aquarist in the SeaLife centre in Bray then moved onto to working as a host in the education team at the National Marine Aquarium and now I'm back as an aquarist in the Blue Reef aquarium in Portsmouth.

1. Variety 

Just chilling on the barbican in Plymouth with a stuffed turtle. This is while working for the National Marine Aquarium
One of the best things about working in an aquarium is all the different jobs involved. When people ask me what being an aquarist actually is I tend to say I just feed fish but in reality there is so much more to do. Not only do we have to keep the animals healthy and happy but we also have to cater to the visitors, get involved in various projects, keep the aquarium sparkley and up to date and deal with any emergencies that may occur.
This happened while I worked for SeaLife. Some sharks eggs hatched in the tank and off I went into a very cold pool to retrieve tiny tiny babies!

2. Lots of learning
Before I started at Blue Reef I didn't know anything about frogs apart from the fact that their legs are tasty...

There are 226000 marine species named in the World Registry of Marine Animals and counting. It is also estimated that there are between 0.7 and 2.2 million marine species and we have only discovered one third of what we think lies underneath the waves. The biodiversity in our planet is staggering. Obviously we are not expected to be able to identify every species of fish, reptile, amphibian and marine mammal but we are expected to have a good understanding on all of these and be able to make educated guesses. So we are forever learning and we all have our specialties and favorites. 
Not only have I learned lots and lots about life in our planet through my job but I have also learned lots of hand-on skills. I've been taught how to control audiences, how to teach snorkeling, how to provide the best customer service possible and how to administer treatments and carry out post mortems. 

Looking good in our wet suits. Snorkel instructor training with the National Marine Aquarium

3. Room to specialize 
A baby tub gunard - a native species of fish
Because there is so much variety in the sea there are lots of areas an aquarist can specialize in and every single one of us has got our favorites. Since working in Plymouth I have been really interested in native species. It is amazing how weird and wonderful the animals that live around our rockpools, marinas and beaches as well as the open water actually are.
Recently I have been concentrating my energy on breeding jellyfish. This can be quite a fiddly and difficult process and nothing makes you feel better about yourself than being able to create a whole set up and get the result you wanted.
Baby moon jellyfish from my first batch of babies

4. Lots of excitement

When you work in an aquarium you get excited at just about anything. It could be something as big as a delivery of livestock or as small as finding a new screwdriver or a coulored cable tie. The good thing is that everyday you are guaranteed to find something that will make you happy.

A sea urchin that appears to be smoking...
And if you don't find something that makes you happy you will most definitely find something that will scare you... 

This guy was just on the floor in a back of house area...

5. We all get along

You have to be a special kind of person to work in an aquarium. I know it sound cheesy but every where I've worked we all just get along. We all understand each other and get excited about the same things. We are still very different people with different opinions and age ranges but ultimately we all understand and accept each other.

I think that for now five reasons is more than enough. Don't get me wrong, there are also negative things about my job. We all have to be able to deal with death, complaints, lots of work and to be honest it's not the highest paid job in the industry...there are days where I wish I had a Monday - Friday, 9-5 job but then I remember all of the above and remind myself that even though I'm only 20, I can't imagine myself working anywhere else.

So I'm going to stop with all my soppiness but I hope you've liked having a read of what I think of my job. As a reward for reading this far here's a picture of a cute otter.

*As for the statistics mentioned above I do understand that there are various figures out there regarding numbers. I just used the ones I normally tell visitors.

P.S I apologize for the bad formatting but blogger won't let me fix the damn thing...I'm going to read up on HTML formatting and start doing it that way. Until then I apologize!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Food love

I tend to complain quite a lot about the way British people cook and how different it is from the food I grew up eating. However I recently have become obsessed with baked potatoes. Weird I know, but they are my new favourite food. Yesterday I found the best baked potato in the world.

On commercial road in Portsmouth you'll find a stall with a massive oven manned by a really friendly lady. This lady is a goddess when it comes to baked potatoes. For £3.50 you can either get a giant baked potatoe rammed full of your choice of topping or half full with two different toppings. I can't quite remember what all the topping were but I got a tuna and sweet corn jacket and Dnny got a veggie chili and cheese one.

These were by far the best baked potatoes I've ever had. I'm quite glad I don't work anywhere near commercial road otherwise I would probably be having these for lunch everyday. We had a little chat with the owner of the stall. Turn out she has been doing this for over 20 years. Explains how she has perfected the art of the baked potato. 

So if you are ever around this are do stop by and have a little taste. You won't be disappointed...

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Quick craft

I've been challenging myself to be more creative. I've never been particularly good at crafting or drawing or anything home made but for this year I've decided to practice, practice, practice. Some of  my creations have turned out a bit freaky like the guy below.
He is pretty freaky. I spent a good few hours one evening trying to make this guy after watching a Kirstie Alsopp programme about paper crafts. I made the mistake of showing it to Danny and now he won't let me live it down. The point is I am determined that by getting stuck in and trying different things I'll find what my forte is. So I've decided to create something at least every week.

This week I decided to spruce up my wool tin. I used to have my yarns on a side table but they kept getting covered in cat hair so I started storing them in a celebrations tin. I decided to paint it because every time I saw the tin I craved chocolate and it didn't turn out too bad. 

I apologise for the pictures in advance but I didn't think I'd be blogging it. So this was the end product:

Nice and simple and because it's not exactly on display there was no point in adding too much detail. I used Wilko's own grey mat paint - the same I'm using for a bigger project.

I think this tin was something like £13 which is not bad. It has done two full coats on a big dining table and there's still over half the tin left. For the tin I just needed two coats and that was enough to cover the pattern from underneath. 

I'm really rubbish at calligraphy and pretty writing so for the "wool" I just used a calligraphy creator online and used geese proof paper to trace it. I transcribed it onto the lid and then used a sharpie.
And that is pretty much it. It took me less than an hour since the paint dried so quickly. I may add some cat silhouettes to the side of the tin but I'm pretty happy with how it is.

Even though this was not a particularly difficult project it's enough to keep me on my toes and keep me creating things!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I'm tall now!

So this is a bit of an update on this morning'so home tour post. When showing the kitchen I said that anything above the cupboards or on the cupboard above the cooker were dead to me..well not anymore!

I went to T.K Max before going to the gym to get some comfy trousers and found this little guy. Not only is it pretty but quite handy to. We don't have any chairs at all...well we have a wheely desk chair so I always rely on the 6"3 giant I live with to do things like painting the ceiling, getting curtains down and changing light bulbs. He'll probably still do all of that but at least now I know I could reach it...I need to get one for work too...

Home tour

Have you ever wondered what our flat looks like? No? Well that doesn't surprise me but here's a peak into our home. This is inspired by my lovely friend Sarah over on the frugalhandmadehome blog. Now this flat is a MASSIVE downgrade from our place in Plymouth. For less money in Plymouth we rented a one bed maisonette with a massive galley kitchen full of hidden lights, soft close cupboards and even a pantry. Our living room was more than adequate with a fireplace (we also had a fireplace in the kitchen!) and we had a little study area and a massive bedroom in a converted attic with inbuilt storage and water views. I absolutely loved that flat.

Up here however, everything is more expensive and for more money we have a much smaller and less grown up place. The good news is that we can move in six months and afford something nicer. Anyway don't judge and here we go!

We live on a top floor flat but at least we have our own front door and don't need to share a hallway. Past experience has shown that neighbours don't care to clean the communal hall and it is always messy and horrific. Our downstairs neighbour is a lovely elderly gentleman so no problems there. The stairs up to the flat are a lot wider than in Plymouth so that's a plus...
So at the top of the stairs we've got a looooong hallway leading to the kitchen which is at the back and the bathroom. Right at the top of the stairs we have the bedroom to the right, also facing the back and the living room facing the front. I absolutely love my mirror and coat hanger and is one of the few bits of furniture I bought from new...also the WardThomas EP is thanks to the other half for interviewing them yesterday for the radio. Also I am well aware of how horrible the hallway runner is..
Excuse the table which is a bit out of place but this is my first ever wood painting project and I hate doing anything creative without watching t.v so even though I have a reading/craft room everything is actually done in the living room. So the living room is kind of divided into the human half and the animal half. As you walk through the door the two vivs are right in front against thee window and to the left the massive cat tree. To the right is the human corner which, who am I kidding, is also owned by the cats...

Pretty standard living room stuff... Currently looking for a corner sofa...I need to be fully stretched out to watch t.v...also I love my rug which was from Ikea. They were getting rid of that line so it was super cheap.
Not much going on outside the living room window but I love my owl candle holder.

Our living room is L shaped and in the corner we have the cat tree facing the stairs up to the attic. Now the attic is a death trap.

See how horrible these stairs are? They are not build to council regulation and I have lost count the amount of times I have fallen on them...I avoid going up there.
I'm not gonna bother with the attic too much. It was initially going to be a craft/reading room but it just ends up being a dump room.
Moving on to the bedroom. I'm not a big fan of the wallpaper but I am getting used to it and it doesn't bother me as much. The room is quite small but I don't spend much time in there anyway. We do have storage issues though and that is why we have this bad boy!
Yep an ottoman bed! It's the best thing ever!

We don't have a wardrobe yet mainly because we wouldn't be able to fit a decent one in this bedroom. I also use the bedroom to dry clothes. Also do you notice that massive yellow stain on the wall? The bad weather got us and we had a leaky roof..The bedroom, hallway and bathroom now have a yellow tinge... As soon as the walls dry they are being repainted.
Erm...pretty standard bathroom I guess... Not huge but then again don't really need a huge bathroom...

And finally the kitchen. I hate having cluttered counters but we don't have many cupboards and because of height issues I can't access anything on top of cupboards or on the cupboard above the cooker...anything up there is dead to me so a cluttered counter it is. Also I love my toaster and kettle I got them while I was still at uni and they are one of my favorite things.
Lots and lots of green and orange in the kitchen. My grandmother sent me tones and tones of orange and green kitchen utensils. 
Now we don't have an outside space so I have made the kitchen window sill into an indoor allotment. I've got peppers, coriander, parsley, basil, chives, cress, tomatoes, peppers, lettuce and spring onions.

Anyway that is pretty much it. It's not the best place I've lived in but at least I know that very soon we can move to somewhere nicer and not so central. Hope you've enjoyed snooping around!

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Social networking

Before I go any further I thought I'd just put all of my social networking stuff together in one place. I mostly use Facebook but I'm also a big fan of Twitter and Instagram however Pinterest is my favourite by far! Feel free to add me but you will more than likely be bombarded by photos of fish and cats...
Twitter - ccardoso93
Instagram - ccardoso33
Pinterest - ccardoso33

Hello world

So, this is probably the 100th and something blog I have started and I seem to always give up after two or three posts... I haven't set one up for at least a couple of years so I'm hoping I've matured and gaining the capability of sticking with it for longer than a month.

Content...that is also something I won't be able to give you a synopsis about. I have no idea what I will be posting on here but I expect that it will be pretty self indulgent and pretty much all about my life and all the projects I start and never bother to finish...

So welcome to my slice of the internet and I congratulate any of you that have made it this far!

Much love,