Pork Belly “Tonkotsu” Ramen

R-Amen that we live in a world where bowls of warm noodle soup exist, amiright?  There’s something about Ramen that always puts a smile on my face (and my husband’s; which is no mean trick because he’s one of those “Soup isn’t food it’s just sustenance!” kind of people).  It’s far easier to make than you’d think, provided you can get hold of all the Japanese cooking essentials like Mirin and Miso.  I used to make it a lot when I lived in London because there was a Japanese Centre in Piccadilly where all the ingredients could be easily found.  Nowadays, the local supermarket has pretty much everything you need to make an easy peasy bowl of ramen. 🙂

Pork Belly “Tonkotsu” Ramen – Serves 2

Ingredients

  • Pork Belly Strips
  • Egg
  • 1 tbsp of Mirin
  • 1 sachet of Green Miso Paste (I used the packet kind you can find in the supermarket)
  • 500ml boiling water
  • Dried Seaweed
  • Chopped Spring Onions
  • Noodles of choice
  • Carrots (cut into thin strips)
  • Pea Shoots
  1. First, cook the Pork Belly: I roasted mine in the oven for an hour at 190°, turning once to make sure both sides are nice and crispy.
  2. Next, cut down the pork belly into thin slices and add to a deep saucepan (at this point you can fry them in a little oil to crisp them up a bit more if you like).  Add the mirin and the miso paste and then pour on the hot water.
  3. Add the chopped spring onions and carrots and then leave to simmer for about an hour.
  4. Meanwhile, boil your egg for five minutes and then drop into a bowl of cold water to prevent the yolk from cooking any further.
  5. Add the noodles to your stock (how long they take to cook will depend on which noodles you use – but usually they’ll only take a couple of minutes).
  6. Split the noodles between two bowls and then pour on the stock with the meat and veg.  Garnish with seaweed, pea shoots and half a soft boiled egg.
  7. Slurp away! 🍜

How’s your week been?  Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

10 DIY Foodie Gifts for Valentines Day

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“If music be the food of love, play on”, so famously wrote a certain Mr Shakespeare, and while music definitely has the power to shuffle my mood, food is capable of doing just as good a job.  So what better way of treating your favourite someone this Valentines Day (or Galentines Day!) than to cook up something sweet (or spicy!) for them?  So, if you’re like me and feel that food is the uh, food of love… then scroll on 😉

1. Chilli and Red Pepper Jam

Simple to make, these jars of spicy jam make great DIY presents all year round and are perfect with cheese, or even drizzled on sausages, burgers and even homemade chips.

2. Blood Orange Glazed Doughnuts

Blood Oranges are in season right now, and are perfect for making a very Valentines appropriate pink glaze for these mini ring doughnuts.

3. Mint Chocolate Chip Cookies

You can’t go wrong with a fresh batch of cookies, especially when they’re crisp on the edge and gooey in the middle like these ones.  They’re flavoured with mint and chocolate, but the recipe is easily adapted for any filling you fancy!

4. Orange and Almond Loaf Cake

A perfect bring-along treat for Galentines Day, this simple almond loaf cake has a bright pink, blood orange glaze.

5. Marshmallow Teacake Cupcakes

Remember those chocolate and marshmallow tea cakes from when you were a kid?  Well here they are in cupcake form – only with the boring biscuit bit ditched in favour of cake!  What’s not to like?


6. Chocolate Orange Flavoured Welsh Cakes

If you’ve got any chocolate oranges hanging about in your cupboard (…is that even possible?), then why not chop up a few segments and put them in these heart shaped Welsh Cakes?

7. Praline and Chocolate Dipped Madeleines

Madeleines are normally flavoured with lemon, but these are a little bit fancier dipped in chocolate and hazelnut praline.  Easier than they look, they’re a great little treat to box up and gift to your favourite people.


8. Bakewell Tarts

Everyone loves a good tart (…steady now…) and Bakewell Tarts are one of my absolute faves.  This recipe makes two individual tarts that would be perfect as a dessert if you’re planning on cooking a special dinner on Valentines Day.

9. Brigadeiros (Easy Chocolate Truffles)

These are dangerously easy to make, and easily adapted too!  Just combine condensed milk, chocolate and butter in a pan and heat to combine.  Leave to cool then roll into these bite-sized balls.

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10. Lemon and Gin Blondies

I’m not sure whether it’s true that Blondes have more fun, but these bite sized lemon and gin-flavoured Blondies are a zesty alternative to Brownies. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day everyone! ♡

What I Did: New Kicks and Cocktails at the Celtic Manor

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Happy Friday everyone!  Here’s another What I Did post, this time all about what I got up to yesterday.  It was a long one, which all started with Bungle barking at 5.30am.  I’ve got no idea why he’s waking up so early at the moment, but it’s driving me nuts!  Apparently a Golden Retriever in Australia holds the world record for the loudest bark and I can bloody believe it.  Once Bungle’s awake he barks and barks and barks until one of us crawls out of bed and goes downstairs to see him – and at the moment, that’s happening most mornings at the arse crack of dawn.  *sigh*  He’s such a brat!

Look at that innocent face.  Ugh!  🙂


After breakfast (and Bungle’s morning walk), I got dressed.  I put on my cosiest jumper (it’s been absolutely freezing in Cardiff this week!) and decided to give Benefit’s *Bad Gal Bang a road test.  The verdict?  Well, I applied it at 9am, absolutely loved the lift and volume that it gave my stubby little lashes and was amazed that they stayed in place right through until 11pm when I took my makeup off (Apparently it’s capable of lasting 36 hours, but honestly who on earth wears mascara for 36 hours?!).  I was able to avoid clumpy, tarantula eyes because the wand is easy to manouvre; so big tick on that one.

Now, it claims to be smudge proof, but alas I was panda’d up as usual by the afternoon, and I did have quite a bit of smudging by the end of the night under and above my lashes – so wah-wah on that one.  Buuuut, the lift and volume you get is pretty epic.


I popped into town to run a few errands… aaaaaand – like a Magpie with a one track mind – ended up in Skinny Dip looking at all the shiny, pretty things, and then H&M, where I bagged a new pair of trainers for £9 in the sale.



In the afternoon I worked on my book (fuelled by some fresh Welsh Cakes that I picked up from Bakestones in Cardiff Market), and then after dinner, Sunny and I drove up to the Celtic Manor.  I’ve passed by it so many times in the car on the way to and from London  – you can’t miss it towering over the M4 on the hillside near junction 24 – and I’ve always wanted to visit.  So I was very excited when I was invited along to the launch of its brand new cocktail lounge; The Mulberry.



Decorated with gold paint, dark marble and plenty of velvet, it was like stepping between the pages of The Great Gatsby, and the cocktails didn’t disappoint either.  Far from a bit of ice, fruit juice and gin shaken together, The Mulberry‘s cocktails are like a performance in a glass.  For example, their champagne cocktail, the Candy Floss Royal comes straight up with a cloud of pink candy floss in a martini glass, which melts when you pour over the muscat and champagne mix. And their Tom Collins?  They aerate it at the table with Laughing Gas.  Actual Laughing Gas, you guys.


I took my brand new Skinny Dip clutch out for a spin, which looked very much at home in the glitzy surroundings 🙂

Time to check in with Bungle.  My Mum and Dad bought us one of those Pet Cams for Christmas and it’s seriously amazing!  We’ve got it set up in the kitchen so every time we go out we can check in on Bungle and see whether he’s sleeping (unlikely…) or getting up to mischief (more likely!).  Last night he spent most of the time lying on his bed looking sorry for himself, poor guy. 😦  It’s nice to be able to check in with him and see whether we need to hurry back to him or can stay out a bit longer – plus, we can actually talk to him through it if we want to (…which he hates!  It really confuses him!).

Hooray for the weekend! Have a good one, whatever you’re up to! 🙂

5 Ways I’m Styling into Spring

Is it too early to use the S-word yet?  I mean, we’re only a couple of days into February (buh-bye January) and it’s not technically Spring until the middle of March… But what the hell, I’m taking it and running with it; January is over and that’s good enough for me.

It’s around this time of year that I start getting excited for Spring fashion; you know, that slightly warm day when you can finally rail your winter coat, or that dry day when you can head out in those cute flats without worrying that you’re going to tread ankle-deep into a puddle or leaf gunk and ruin them.  But… we’re not quite there yet.  So here are five ways that I’m slowly mixing things up and styling myself into Spring. 🌷


1. Bright and Bold

So maybe it’s a bit too soon to ditch the black skinnies and fluffy grey knits, but swapping in a bit colour in Spring shades – whether it’s a pastel pink handbag or some turquoise earrings – can make any outfit look a bit more… springing. These daffodil-yellow tassel earrings by Welsh jewellery designer Rhian Kate have barely left my lobes recently! They bring a perfect little pop of colour to any outfit.  And you’re all probably sick of seeing my fluffy pink jumper from Oliver Bonas, which I maintain is the softest and cosiest jumper I’ve ever owned (…it also survived a Kir Royale explosion over Christmas… same can’t be said of my kitchen wall… oops!).

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2. Prints

Now it’s a bit early for flowery dresses in my book (Florals, for Spring?  Groundbreaking…), but spots and stripes are great transition prints; they’re understated enough to be worn on grey and gloomy days but can easily be dressed up when the sun decides to make an appearance.  I bought this spotty dress from Mango a few years ago and it’s easily the best dress I own – I mean, my cost per wear must be into half pennies by now.  But you don’t have to go monochrome like a dalmatian or a prisoner on day release, colourful spots and stripes – like this green jumper from ASOS – look great too 🙂

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3. Flats

I’m always the first to slip into some flats at this time of year, even when it’s still cold and wet outside (and even when my Mum rolls her eyes and warns that I’ll get *sigh* chillblains… which sound like something out of a Dickens novel, not the 21st century.  Sorry Mum.). Being able to say so-long to socks and boots to me means Spring has most definitely sprung.

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4. Blazers and Bikers

So. It’s still waaaaay too cold to go out without a coat, but it’s not quite cold enough to really bundle up. It’s the perfect time of year for blazers and biker jackets – easy to layer up and down whatever the weather.  (I’ve got my eye on that lovely blue Pimkie blazer below. 🙂 )

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5. Scarves

Scarves are probably the one thing from my cupboard that I find really hard to let go of when it gets warmer.  I never want to say goodbye to snuggling down and having something to hide my split ends in on a bad hair day.  Well, thank God there are neckerchiefs and lighter scarves out there to make the bare neck transition a little bit more… bare-able. 😉

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What are you excited to wear again now that Spring’s just around the corner? 🙂

What I Did: Principality Stadium Tour

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The Six Nations kicks off tomorrow!  Ahead of the big opener on Saturday – I went for a little snoop around the Principality Stadium (I have to be honest, I’m not liking our chances this year – we’ve got so many injuries – but you never know!).  I booked it back in November as a Christmas present for my Dad and thought now be the perfect time to take a tour and see the pitch and stadium in tip top condition.  🙂


I still feel a bit weird calling it the Principality Stadium; I mean, to me it’ll always be the Millennium Stadium.  I remember when it opened back in 1999, swamping the old Arms Park.  I think the first time I went there was to see Robbie Williams play – and it can’t have been that long after it opened – I mean, we’re talking Robbie Williams back in his Rock DJ days (oh man, I’m old!).  But anyway, it was interesting to have a snoop in the cloisters of the so-called Cathedral of Welsh Rugby and hear some old stories and facts about the stadium over the years.


We had a look in the press room and then went into the boys’ changing room, The Dragon’s Lair (which was having a bit of spot work to fix the showers ahead of Saturday’s game!).  I totally forgot to have a sneak peek at the back of the shirt to see who’s seat I was sitting in!

All important deliveries ready for match day… 😉

Without a doubt one of the best bits of the tour was being able to walk from the changing rooms out through the tunnel and onto the pitch.  Our tour guide flicked a switch near the doorway that played a recording of what the stadium sounds like at full capacity (74,000), so we could really imagine what it’s like to walk out on match day. 🙂

The pitch looked in tip top condition, mostly due to the huge lights that are lit year round to help keep the grass healthy.



We went up to the top tiers for the view and also to have a sneak peek inside the “presidential box” where the seats are all cushioned and covered to to protect not against the rain (there’s a roof for that, obviously), but against beer downpours!

One of the most interesting facts was how much it costs to open and close the roof.  How much d’you reckon?  Give me your best guess in the comments! 😉

Best of luck to the boys tomorrow – I’ve a feeling Scotland’s got game this year! If you’re interested in taking a tour of the Principality Stadium, you can find everything you need to know to book here.