Easy Korean Dak-galbi

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I’d never heard of Dak-Galbi until I stumbled across a recipe for it over on Pinterest (…honestly, where did I go to hunt down new recipes before Pinterest came along? Books?) – but as soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to add it to my takeaway dupes repertoire.  It’s a stir fry of spicy chicken and sweet potato and is basically Korean Pub Food; you’ll usually find it served up and sizzling with alcohol.  The marinade is sweet and spicy – thanks to the Gochujang Chilli Paste and Honey – and pairs perfectly with the sweet potato chunks.

I’m pretty sure most Koreans would cry sacrilege at my take on Dak-galbi.  I mean, it’s pretty much just the bare bones of the real deal because you just can’t get a lot of Korean ingredients in your average British supermarket – in fact, I’d be surprised if you found any at all!  The one essential ingredient – and pretty much the base ingredient for any Korean cooking – I had to order off of Amazon.  But as for tteok and perilla leaves?  Forget it.  Still, my stripped back version makes for a tasty, spicy and colourful midweek stir fry and – aside from marinating time – goes from wok to table in under 20 minutes.  Noice!  🙂

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Easy Dak-galbi (serves 2)

Ingredients

  • 3 tsbp soy sauce
  • 3 tbsp gochujang paste (I *think* Waitrose stock it, but if not check amazon!)
  • 3 tbsp runny honey
  • 3 tbsp rice wine
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 1 tbsp curry powder
  • 1 sweet potato, diced
  • 4 spring onions, sliced
  • shredded red cabbage
  • grated carrot
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 chicken breasts, diced
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  1. First things first, make the marinade.  In a small bowl, mix together the soy sauce, gochujang paste, honey, rice wine, curry powder and half of the sesame oil.  Stir until smooth.  Pour in the chicken and stir until it’s thoroughly coated in the marinade – then leave it to rest for at least one hour.
  2. Get your wok smoking hot and pour in the rest of the sesame oil.  Turn down the heat and chuck in the chicken (hold back the marinade) along with the sweet potato.  Cook for ten minutes until the sweet potato has softened and the chicken is mostly cooked; make sure you keep stirring otherwise the honey in the marinade might scorch.
  3. Next throw in the stir fry vegetables – the spring onions, cabbage, carrot and pepper – as well as the remaining marinade and chilli flakes.  Stir fry for five minutes, then serve up with some egg fried rice! 🙂

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Happy four day week! 😉  Oh, and hey – if there’s a takeaway favourite of yours that you’d like to see me take on and come up with an easy to follow recipe for then just let me know in the comments!

Spring Style Update

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The weather’s been teasing a few glimpses of Spring sunshine and ooooooooh, the temptation to hop onto ASOS and buy all the skirts and sandals and sunnies and swimwear has been STRONG.  But honestly, there’s not a lot I actually need.  As I said in my Spring Wardrobe Audit post, I’m trying to be a bit savvier when it comes to spending on clothes and have only been buying things that either I desperately need or know that I’m going to wear until it literally falls off me in pieces.

That being said, I have picked up a few Spring/Summer pieces over the past couple of weeks that I absolutely love – including a shirt dress that’s so beautiful it lured me into getting my penne pasta pins out on camera.  😉

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Patterned Shirt Dress

I’ve come to the realisation that I’m just not a dress kinda gal.  “And yet you’ve just bought a dress, you donut!” I hear you say, and – yes – I’m making absolutely no sense, but let me just try and explain.  It’s not that I don’t like dresses, it’s more about the fact that I’m really fussy.  After spending a lot of money in my twenties on dresses that just didn’t suit me, now that I’m in my thirties it’s got to be something really special for me to take the plunge.  Enter this crazy beautiful shirt dress that I found in T K Maxx.  Mismatched prints are pretty on-trend for 2019 and this one was just too stunning to walk past – and a total bargain for such a high quality piece. 🙂

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Colour-block Mid Heels

I’ve been on the hunt for a pair of mid, everyday heels for a while now and stumbled across this pair from Monsoon while I was doing St Davids’ Big Night Out a couple of weeks ago (which meant I got a cheeky 20% discount – win!).  I pretty much live in pointed flats, but I fancied something just a little bit dressier but just as comfy for events and nights out.  These are a dead ringer for the colour block heels Carolina Herrera dropped last Spring.

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Spotty Sliders

I completely fell in love with sliders last summer and pretty much wore to death a pink, faux suede pair that I picked up from Marks and Spencer.  I find them so comfy and easy to wear that I just couldn’t resist picking up this polka dot pair in T K Maxx for £9.99!  I mean, the weather’s nowhere near bare-the-toes sandal-level yet so I’ve actually been wearing them around the house and no kidding, they’re as comfortable as slippers! 🙂

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Mom Jeans

So, I jumped on board with the whole “Mom” jean trend last summer when I picked up a cheap pair from Tesco (yes, Tesco).  They’re just the best!  I’m not a fan of skinny jeans and the very thin, elastic denim that’s used to make them – whereas these Mom Jeans are far more flattering, there’s some structure to them (and yet they’re not uncomfortable) and feel like proper denim.  I lived in the ones I picked up last summer from Tesco for £18 (they’re still going strong) and was so excited that they’d brought them back for this summer that I picked up two pairs!  One in my favourite light wash and another in black.  SORTED.

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Pyjama Shirt

You know that I live in my weird shirts, and of course I’ve added a couple to the collection of the last couple of months as and when I’ve spotted them.  This blue pyjama shirt was a New Look bargain last month (£9.99 on ASOS).  The material is a bit of creaser, but it’s so soft and has a beautiful embossed rose print that catches the light.

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Weird Shirt

I just couldn’t leave this one!  It’s an ASOS Design, oversize white shirt with naked ladies and boobs plastered all over it.  I love it.  Someone on Instagram totally hit the nail on the head when they said that it reminded them of Matisse’s line drawings.  I don’t think it’s available on ASOS anymore, but funnily enough, Toppers brought out something very similar in their Spring drop.

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I’m also massively lusting after this sweet lil’ baby from Zara; it’s silky, it’s spotty, I kinda need it. 😉

What new Spring Style pieces are you lusting after right now?  The weather’s supposed to get up into double digits next week; so I’m excited to shed my parka and wellies and start wearing sandals!  Have a beautiful weekend! 🙂

*This post contains a couple of affiliate links.  To find out more, click here.

 

Feeling Blue-Berry Muffins

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Oh hey, would you look at that, Monday swung back around.  *eyeroll*  Although actually, I’m kind of relieved.  It’s been a busy couple of weeks in the Cwtch household; Sunny’s been travelling non-stop with his work, I’ve pretty much been chained to the computer and then last Friday, Bungle went into the vets for an “operation” – if y’know what I mean – which meant a whole weekend of staying in and keeping his head out of his crotch.  Fun times!  So, needless to say, we’ve been kind of running on empty – as have a lot of people I’ve spoken to.  It’s funny; it seems like the crossover between March and April’s been a little manic for everyone.

I had one of those blue days last week where everything just got on top of me and I needed to take ten.  Usually when that happens I like to do a little baking to de-stress, but I wasn’t in the mood to do anything too complicated.  Sometimes, it’s nice to go back to the basics and bake something easy but satisfying.  Turns out we had a whole punnet of blueberries sitting in the fridge (they were supposed to be for porridge, but it had been Frosties kinda week…) and so I thought I’d whip up some Blueberry Muffins to see me through the rest of the week!  They’re stupidly simple and adapted from a recipe I found on the Red Magazine website just before Christmas – except that my batch have a little cinnamon and some extra crunch with the added granola and demerara sugar topping.  Yum!

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Feeling Blue-Berry Muffins (makes 12)

Ingredients

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g butter (room temperature)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 250g self raising flour
  • 100ml milk
  • 200g blueberries
  • 50g granola (click here for my recipe)
  • 50g demerara sugar
  1. Set your oven to 180°C and line a muffin tray with lightly greased cases (I like to use the 1 calorie spray because it makes things easier 😉 ).
  2. In a mixing bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar – then beat in the eggs until the mix is nice and fluffy.
  3. Next, gently fold in the flour little by little – alternating with the milk.  Finally, stir in the blueberries (I like my muffins gooey and full of fruit, so I used a loooooot of blueberries, but feel free to dial it back a little if that’s not your jam), cinnamon and salt.
  4. Spoon the mixture into your muffin cases, then sprinkle each one with a generous helping of granola and demerara sugar.  Bake for 20 minutes.

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Have a great week! 🙂

 

Spring Skincare Shakeup

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Hello Friday!  Hope you’ve had a good week whatever you’ve been up to – mine’s been absolutely mad.  It’s been one of those weeks where I haven’t actually done much or been out and about (lucky, I guess – the weather’s been mental here in Cardiff!), but have had a lot going on.  That being said, I’m so happy it’s the weekend – time for a little R&R and some pampering! 🙂

I feel like my skin’s going through a bit of a shift in season right now.  It’s been feeling a bit… winter-lagged (is that word?) for the past few months.  Dry, a bit sad-looking and a little bit more red and sensitive than it usually is – so, I’ve been loading up on anything that’ll inject it with some added moisture, scrub away the winter scales and inject a little radiance. But we’re heading into Spring now and so I’ve had a little bit of a skincare shakeup, and these are the products I’ll be using from now until the weather heats up.

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*Clinique Take The Day Off Makeup Remover for Lids, Lashes and Lips

I’ve been a massive fan of Clinique’s Take the Day Off Balm for a looooooong time.  It’s so satisfying massaging a blob of the stuff into my face and watching my makeup instantly dissolve.  Even more satisfying is smudging all my dark eye makeup until I look like something out of a horror movie – but sometimes I need a little extra elbow grease to remove all that liquid liner, waterproof mascara and liquid lipstick.  Enter Clinique’s Lids, Lashes and Lips formula which I was very kindly gifted by Clinique Cardiff.  It’s gentle (no stinging watery eyes or dried out lips!) and I’ve started using it when I go in for a second round of makeup removal – just to make sure everything’s squeaky clean before I start my deep cleanse.

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Kiehl’s Epidermal Re-Texturizing Micro-Dermabrasion

Honestly, I’ve been thinking of making the move towards acids when it comes to exfoliating my skin – especially now that we’re heading into summer and technically those dry scales of winter shouldn’t be a problem anymore – but I’ve been using this little number from Kiehl’s for so long that it’s going to be tough to try something new!  I’ve had really dry skin all winter and this dude’s been my one and only for scrubbing away dead skin and polishing up the new.  You only need a tiny amount and some gentle circular scrubbing and it really does the job.

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Nuxe Nirvanesque Enriche for 1st Wrinkles

I picked up this baby in TK Maxx when I was looking for something to really soothe my super dry winter skin at night and it’s honestly one of the most beautiful face creams I’ve ever used.  I mean, I’m a little way past “first wrinkles” stage – but this little gem’s been really helping to keep my skin feeling soft, smooth and hydrated – and dewy!  I wake up with “I’ve had ten hours sleep and ten bottles of water” skin, and it smells really lovely.  Unfortunately, I’ve got a funny feeling that they’ve discontinued it – I mean, a quick google will find you a tub of the stuff, but I can’t find it being sold on the Nuxe website – but hey, I’ve adored everything I’ve ever bought from Nuxe, so if anything it’s converted me into giving the rest of their skincare rage a go. I’ll definitely be on the hunt for one of their lighter moisturizers to take me through summer. 🙂

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*Clinique Dramatically Different Hydrating Jelly

As I said before, I’m still coming out of winter with skin suffering from a bit of a hangover.  It’s been dry, sad and a little bit more sensitive than usual.  I’ve only just started using this hydrating jelly from Clinique, but so far so good.  I’ve been using a very small amount in the morning just to give my skin a little bit of a moisture boost, and to protect it from pollution when I’m out and about.  Because it’s lightweight, I think it’s going to make a great moisturizer when the weather heats up over the summer and I might make a full switch over in a couple of months.  Early days though, so we’ll see.

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*Elemis Peptide 4 Thousand Flower Mask and Eye Recovery Cream

Still a massive fan of this combo – and I think I’ve spoken about them a few times already.  The Thousand Flower Mask is an absolute dream when my skin needs a bit of a pick me up (it really smooths everything over and brightens things up) – I tend to use it on a Sunday evening after a bath and after I’ve exfoliated with the Kiehl’s Micro-Dermabrasion Cream – just when my skin isn’t necessarily looking for any added moisture, just something to generally perk it up.  The Eye Recovery Cream has been working wonders on my tired, winter-lagged eyes – keeping those dark circles at bay and working on those fine lines. 😉

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Nuxe Nuxuriance Ultra Mask

Again, Nuxe are quickly becoming one of my favourite beauty brands – their products are all such a treat.  I picked up this little mask from TK Maxx (all hail) on a whim and have been enjoying pampering my skin with it a couple of nights a week before I go in with my moisturizer.  It’s packed full of Hyaluronic Acid to smooth out the fine lines I’m staring to get and also claims to plump up skin and even out tone.  It’s got a metal roller that you use to squeeze and apply the product, and as it goes on it cools and reduces any puffiness.  The only thing I don’t love about it is the smell… but to be honest, it soaks in so quickly that you barely notice it.

Have a great weekend everyone! 🙂

*This post contains affiliate links; to learn more about them, click here.

Pineapple and Coconut Tray-bake

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Happy Mother’s Day – for Sunday!  It’s honestly one of my favourite days of the year, because not only do I get to celebrate the fabulous Mama Cwtch (more on her in a sec…), but it’s also kind of a Spring milestone, isn’t it?  Once Mother’s Day swings around (in the UK at least – I know you American lot celebrate it a little bit later) there’s usually blossom on the trees and the weather is hopefully (finger’s crossed!) starting to turn towards summer.  It’s been warm and sunny all week here in Cardiff, and it’s been bloody lush!  LONG MAY IT REIGN.

I owe a lot of things to my lovely Mama – my massive boat feet and sensitive skin for one (thanks Mum!), as well as my impulsive nature (let’s do this right now!!!) and love of photography.  But also my sweet tooth and love of baking (I’m always the first person to suggest stopping for tea and a cake – if my Mum doesn’t get in there first!).  The first cake I ever made was a simple Victoria Sponge with my Mum standing on a stool in our kitchen, and boy how far I’ve come since then. 🙂

This pineapple and coconut tray bake is nothing special to look at fresh out of the oven, but is totally transformed with a layer of coconut buttercream and a scattering of flowers made from dried out pineapple rounds.  I saw the idea in this month’s Tesco Food Magazine and I think the Hummingbird Bakery do something similar – and it’s such simple but genius way to finish off a cake!  Sweet!

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Pineapple and Coconut Tray-bake

Ingredients

  • 125g Butter
  • 100g Self-raising Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 50g Desiccated Coconut
  • 150ml Buttermilk
  • 1 fresh Pineapple
  • Poppy Seeds

for the buttercream:

  • 100g butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 2 tbsp coconut cream
  1. Give yourself a little bit of time and make the pineapple flowers a day ahead.  Slice the leaves and prickly outer layer of your pineapple off, and then use a teaspoon to core out those spikes.  Turn the pineapple on its side and very carefully thinly slice half of the pineapple into rounds (save the other half, you’re going to use it later!).  Next, set your oven to a low heat (around 100°C) and grab a muffin tray.  Turn it over, and place the pineapple slices over the cups – then pop them in the oven.  It’ll take them about an hour an a half to dry out fully and curl at the edges.
  2. To make the cake – set your oven to 170°C and then grease and line a rectangular baking tray.
  3. Cream together the caster sugar and butter in a large bowl.  Then, beat in egg.
  4. Sift together the dry ingredients (the flour, baking powder and desiccated coconut) and then fold into the buttercream and egg mix.
  5. Gently stir in the buttermilk, then pour the mixture into the baking tray.
  6. Remember the leftover half a pineapple?  Slice it neatly into rectangles, then arrange over the surface of the cake, making sure to overlap them as the cake will rise and expand as it bakes.  Bake in the oven for 60 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.  Leave the cake to cool.
  7. While the cake is cooling, whip up your buttercream by creaming together the butter, icing sugar and coconut cream.  Once the cake has cooled, spoon it over the surface.
  8. Arrange the pineapple flowers over the top, then spoon a little bit of buttercream into the centre of each.  Sprinkle with poppy seeds, then serve! 🙂

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You can see a video of me making this cake on IGTV.  Happy Mother’s Day to all the beautiful mamas out there! 💛