Wednesday, 16 December 2015

What BeeBee Made: Festive Slice

Christmas baking, is there anything better? There has to be something said for a festival that brings about so much rich and gorgeous tasting foods. 

This is my recipe for Festive Slice. I have to admit there is very little to this, and if you're not a pastry maker, just buy that too!

1. The Pastry layer: 

225g plain flour
100g baking fat (or a mix of butter and lard/shortening)
pinch salt

Rub the fat into the flour until you get breadcrumbs (or blitz in a food processor like I do)

Add up to 2 tablespoons of water to bind. 

Roll out to fit your tray. 

2. The Marzipan layer: 

This is my favourite bit!

Take a good sized piece of marzipan, I used about 250g (half a pack of the natural version). 

Roll out until big enough to cover the base of the pastry-lined tray.

3. The Mincemeat Layer:

We're getting even more festive now. I used 2 jars of mincemeat. You can use your own, I tend to buy it and then add extra nice things like extra brandy, vanilla and orange zest. But that's your call. 

We're almost there... 

4. The Crumble Layer. 

This is were it turns from a mince pie to something a bit more special. 

100g self-raising flour
50g butter
50g sugar
50g almonds

Rub the butter and flour together, then stir through the sugar and almonds. 

Scatter this over the top of the tart. 

Bake in a pre-heated oven (190ºC, 375ºF, Gas Mark 5) for 20-25 mins. 

When it's all bubbly and golden remove from the oven and leave to cool. 

Don't try and cut this before it's cooled as it will all try and run away!

Friday, 26 June 2015

Perfectly Imperfect

There is only one problem with working in an industry where you are expected to be perfect. In fact you are not expected to be, it is demanded of you. Being perfect at what you do is your actual job. So when you dip, or make an error it is flagged at just how not perfect and human you are.

Day-to-day life feels like it should be perfect.

I am in no way perfect, and I'm not even sure that I want to be. I find a lot of the fun in life comes from the moments that weren't planned. Escalate from happy accidents. 

In the same way that we are almost expected to be cookie cutter shapes of each other. Yet in the baking we are all subtly different. In some cases the differences aren't that subtle. 

On a whole I am very happy in who I am. I have looked worse, yet this year I have decided to make a concerted effort with my health. I'm not getting any younger, and over the course of November and December I let myself get horribly run down. To the point where I was developing sores on my face and body that were just not healing at a normal speed. 

I also know I can only put off dealing with my previous blood pressure issues for so long. 

Yet part of me worries about what the rest of the Plus-Size blogger community will think about this. Am I letting down the 'sisterhood'. 

Well no. 

If my journey takes me away from being plus-sized I'll be very surprised. Also, my size isn't the prime focus of my blog. It is part of it, but not all of it. 

I can be vain, and I can't say that being able to fit in clothes from more shops isn't abhorrent to me.  Say being a size 22 as opposed to the size 30/32 I am now will literally open more avenues for me. More clothes to wear, from more outlets. Not to mention high heeled shoes. The pain that occurs from forcing your body weight though your off kilter feet and ankles is pretty much ridiculous and makes movement almost impossible. 

I am currently feeling very down. Circumstances at home and at work have changed a lot. I have found myself peering into the bottom of a biscuit barrel wondering how I ate them all. Finding time to fit everything I want to do in has been hard. 

I have still not found the solution to wanting it all, getting it all or even managing to balance what I have already got effectively. 

What I do know is, as long as I am trying my best. That is good enough. I can do no more, but I sure as hell could do a whole lot less, but I don't. I should. But I don't. 

All of us are Perfectly Imperfect. Perfect doesn't exist. It's an ideal held up there, on a pedestal just out of reach from our mortal hands. 

Saturday, 13 June 2015

So What Have I Been Up To?

In a non-descriptive phrase... not a lot.

Free time is not on my side.

Life has been adventure light.
I am hoping that I can rectify that soon as summer is fast approaching and the nights are starting to get longer.
One thing I have done is left Slimming World. For all that it is a wonderful plan, the consultants are amazing and truly do a sterling job, it wasn't the right time for me to be there. Stress, work and family ties were being pulled until there was no give left.
I am still posting my meals on instagram (follow me I'm @whatbeeate). I'm trying to keep healthy but not go too far over the top.
I have gone back into the kitchen and started baking again. I've not done too much of that since I closed my cupcake business. I'm enjoying the creativity again. I'm not doing anything elaborate. But just making something that you can see in under an hour from beginning to end has been a delight.
Some of my meal inspirations are coming from a youtuber and blogger called Lots of Sara Lynn's meals are suitable for making ahead and keeping for a full week. I'm really tempted by the salad in a jar recipes as I would be able to make them on a sunday and they'll keep until Friday. Perfect for work during the Summer. I'm already a bit of a fan of her tortellini salad, and I've already made it twice. I will be posting my take over on Princess Kitchen soon.

A new bakery, cafe and deli has opened up in the village where I work. So far I have not had a single bad thing from there. Considering the size of their portions, either I will have to stop going or learn portion control. And fast.  

I've managed to injure my left ankle and foot quiet severely, and I am currently waiting to start physiotherapy. I'm on the list for dental surgery too. 
I can honestly say I'm looking forward to not being in pain or feeling unwell.

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Life Gets in the Way: An Apology

At the beginning of the year I had such big hopes for what I was going to achieve.

Both on this blog and in my personal life.

So much has changed, yet it still seem eerily the same.

I ran out of time to spend writing on here as I continued to work 2 jobs, volunteer in several different roles and ship the boys from pillar to post too.

Something had to give.

That appears to have been my health.

I'm trying to heal as best I can, given that I'm averaging about 6 hours sleep a night at the moment. With very little down time on the side.

Rest assured I have missed writing on here. I'm missing cooking and baking - something I never thought I would say. I've missed posting about frothy stuff like make up and food.

This is mind, I want to ask you a question.

Would you like to see more regular posts from myself, but with less frequency?

If so what subjects would you like me to cover?

I am sorry that I felt the need to take a break.

When I get overwhelmed I have a habit of hiding in a corner and hoping the world will go away.

Monday, 12 January 2015

Office Life

Not my office (although v similar to an office from my past)

Like most people these days I work in an office.

An open-plan office at that. At last count my floor had 140 staff squirrelled away, covering 3 business outlets and 4 departments. All of us are part of the same umbrella multi-media corporation.

Doesn't that just make it sound like I'm Miss Fancy-pants.

However, reality and the perceived nature of my day-to-day working life don't always tally up. Hence, I don't really talk about it and spend a lot of my day in cloud cuckooland rather than deal with the office politics that are always simmering just below the waterline.

What does happen, is that your team become like a little family. I'm not saying that everyone will love each other, far from it in many cases, but you do learn how to get on with things and leave them to their own devices.

Many business leaders, including Richard Branson, believe that treating staff like a family is advantageous. There is something to be said when a manager can walk the walk and not just talk the talk.

Before falling into the job I have now, I previously worked as a professional temp. I ran myself as a business temping up and down the country. I worked in various industries for  five years until I worked out what I actually wanted to do with my life... I'm not fully there yet, but I rather like what I do at the minute.

I worked for companies who deemed I wasn't northern enough when I answered the phone - strangely I didn't stay there long. I've been the main bottle washer and pot collector as an office junior. Literally counting the washers in a jar. I've processed sex offender reports and logged police evidence. I have even turned my hand to bar work and making flash cocktails for an American restaurant chain. At some point in my working life I have done pretty much everything a person could in an office.

What has stuck out for me is how teams work. It's like a complicated jigsaw, balancing a team that can work well together is an operation in personality tweaking. Generally the more a team has the flexibility to make their own decisions and have fun while doing the work the more likely they are to gel, and when their backs are against the wall more likely to be able to turn things around with minimal fuss.

Sadly in an open plan office these ideals are hard to uphold. One person's light-hearted frivolity is another person's headache inducing nightmare. Or a phone call that might get a bit heated can be heard across the office. Hands up if that has ever happened to you.

It's not the most interesting life in the world, not that much happens there that is of interest to the outside world, but my word I wouldn't change it. I work with some berks and others that keep their true selves so far buried you'd fear they'd never come up for air. My team is a mixed bag of folk, and for the most part we are each as geeky as the next and pedants at their very worst. 

More office life posts will more than likely appear over the course of the next year here on What BeeBee Did... mainly as I do office life an awful lot right now. 

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What BeeBee Cooked: Slow Cooker Chicken Chow Mein

I have been relying quite heavily on ready meals and sandwiches since going back into the office. 

Instead of financing the local Tescos, I have taken to making my own meals on a weekend. Portioning them up and then storing them in the freezer. 

This is my Slow Cooker Chow Mein. I love it mainly as it is really simple to make. Also because it only really gives me one pot to wash up! God love the slow cooker. This makes 4 portions for me.


Skinned chicken portions
500ml Chicken stock
One bag of stir-fried vegetables (if you're being lazy like me) or a mixture of finely chopped veggies. 
Packet of dried egg noodles.
Garlic, grated - to taste I often use a tsp of garlic paste
Fresh ginger, grated - to taste or a sprinkling of ginger powder
1/3 cup Soy sauce (ish)


In your slow cooker (set to high) poach the chicken portions in the chicken stock, soy sauce, garlic and ginger for roughly 3 hours. 

When cooked through remove the chicken and set aside to cool slightly. Shred the meat and return to the pot. 

In the meantime, add the veggies to the stock for about 30 mins.

Add the dried noodles. 

Make sure the noodles are covered by the liquor. Leave until the noodles are cooked through, this should take between 15-30 minutes. All the stock should have be absorbed into the noodles. 

Return the chicken to the pot. 

Mix through. 

Serve and eat. 

Or cool and freeze.