What's For Lunch Today? Wrap Chic | Soho

If there's one type of food I am always, without doubt, in the mood for, it's curry. I love Indian food, and I make no bones about it.

However, I'm aware of the fact eating curry every day morning, noon and night isn't conducive to a hot body, so I try to limit myself as much as I can, even though Sunday night takeaways are sometimes just too tempting...!

I also really love burritos, although I am terribly picky - I can't stand an unbalanced burrito with mismatched flavours, with worst of all... dry meat. Bleurgh. It's something I feel quite strongly about though. 

When I stumbled across Wrap Chic the other week, I was intrigued by the smells wafting around the vicinity. Curry. Yes. On my lunch... who cares right? Upon further inspection, I realised that this wasn't just your simple curry shop but more an Indian-Mexican fusion... curry burritos. I probably don't need to say more, but I will.

I'll start off by mentioning that I started queuing outside, yes the queue was that long; lunchers so ravenous for a curry infused burrito experience. I went for the Chicken Mughlai burrito and before I knew it, I'd chosen my fillings and was on my merry way, burrito in hand.

I have to say I was pretty damn excited to rip open the tin foil, and I was not disappointed. The flavours were so amazing, and the burrito in general was super filling. The chicken had a lovely kick to it, but wasn't SO spicy, still if I was very sensitive to chilli, I'd probably ask the counter for a more mellow flavour. The inclusion of the 'salsa' style veggies was very welcome and the whole thing just blended together so nicely, so much so that I think curry burritos should be an industry standard.

Do you know what's even more nice about Wrap Chic? The fact you can get a decent sized lunch for less than a fiver... my burrito with no added extras (because I didn't really want cheese or anything else on it) came in at £4.95 - a rarity in central London, I'm sure you'll agree.

I'm sorry, I tried to take a decent picture but there's just no way of doing so, burritos are not photogenic. 

I can't wait to take anyone who will go with me there, so I will be back for sure, because also the rest of their menu looks banging - even their vegan option (which I more often than not will never go for) looks tasty. Wrap Chic, thank you for a splendid Friday treat, you've got a great thing going on.

The Chelsea Boots

If you're a regular reader of This Particular, you may or may not have read my October Payday Wish List in which this pair of Clarks Chelsea Boots featured.

I cannot tell you how long I have wanted a pair of Chelsea Boots for, but something has always gotten in the way of me getting a pair. But not this year, no way, not this time. I was waiting for these beauties to come back in stock after being sold out in pretty much every size. I signed up for the 'alert me when I'm back in stock' email and low and behold on Saturday morning, what I'd been waiting for came.

I was still in two minds on whether or not to purchase these boots, but when I received an email from Voucher Codes with a 20% off code for orders at Clarks over £70... it was fate stepping in.

So now they're mine. I haven't had a pair of shoes from Clarks in a long time... try shoes for school... primary school. But I am blown away by the quality. Obviously everyone knows Clarks shoes are made for comfort and up until a few years ago, they very much had the 'comfort over style' label smeared all over the brand, or at least that was the impression I had. The kind of place potentially my Grandma would go to buy shoes. But they've upped their game and certainly with some of their shoes, Clarks rivals the likes of Office and Topshop in the style stakes, and blow them clean out of the water for quality and comfort - these boots literally fit and feel like a dream.

I know it's wrong to feel so strongly about material items however, I love these boots.

So call me the sensible shoe lady if you will, I don't care - I am a Clarks convert.

Chicken Thigh & Two Mushroom Pie

Which is a round about way of saying... Chicken & Mushroom Pie.

I'll be honest, when I think of chicken and mushroom pie, I think of horrible, bland white sauce with tough old bits of chicken and thinly sliced mushrooms, I never really liked this kind of pie before, but as soon as I bought myself a new pie dish, I immediately wanted to try out a tasty and wholesome pie so I looked to the classics.

I looked at a lot of recipes to think about what might work and what wouldn't. What I found is that there's a lot of standard ingredients for this pie and they are, chicken, mushrooms (believe it or not), chicken stock and milk (to get that white creamy texture) and then I guess the rest is up for interpretation.

I guess the most important part is getting the pastry right though, quite a few recipes I read had a shortcrust topping and to me that just doesn't cut it. When I think of pie, I think of big puffy pastry that is a lovely golden brown colour. And I really think I cracked it. I would have like my pastry to have puffed up a little more, but it really did taste divine.

I would like your input here, I'm in the process of sharpening up these kind of recipe posts and would like to know whether you prefer just a few pictures of the finished product and the instructions written out, orrr if you prefer the step-by-step pictures and instructions along side? Let me know.

Anyway, if you're ready for it, here's my recipe!

Chicken Thigh & Two Mushroom Pie
Serves 4

What You Need:
4-5 chicken thighs
150g mini chestnut button mushrooms
Approx 80g shiitake mushrooms
4 rashers of smoked streaky bacon
1 medium-large onion
3 cloves of garlic
A few sprigs of fresh thyme
400ml chicken stock
200ml milk
3 tablespoons of plain flour
Black pepper for seasoning

For the pastry
300g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
250ml cold water
1 egg

I think it's best to make the mixture the night before you wish to eat this pie, leaving any mixture over night to let the flavours really come together is a great way of doing things, so if you want the best out of this pie - do the right thing, plan ahead!

What You Need To Do:

Grab yourself a large frying pan, put the hob in a medium heat and place the chicken thighs in the pan, lay them flat so they cook quicker

Whilst they're cooking, chop up your onion, grate your garlic and chop the bacon in to small pieces

Make sure that the chicken is at least sealed on the outside and then at the onions, garlic and bacon to the pan making sure that there is an even spread of ingredients across the pan. At this point, turn the heat on the pan up, but not too high we just want to speed up the cooking process for the onions and bacon, but not brown or burn them

Let the onions go translucent, this will take about 5-10 mins

During this time, you can give your mushrooms a wash, leave the mini button mushrooms whole but quarter the shiitake mushrooms - we want to spread the love

Add them to the pan and let them cook for about 5-10 mins until the mushrooms release their juices. Don't let the mushrooms shrivel up though at this stage, there is more cooking to do and we still want them to be nice and chunky in the mix

It's at this point where you should add your flour to the mix. Adding the flour before the liquid avoids lumps of flour and is just all-round less stressful

Turn down the heat back to medium and really coat everything with the flour, mixing it up well then add your chicken stock (I used a knorr stock pot) and the milk 

As well as two of the three sprigs of thyme. Avoid adding the stalks, we just want the little leaves

It will seem very watery and not look very appetising but this is where the flour comes into its own. Keep stirring everything around gently allowing the sauce to thicken up, this may take up to about 15 mins; allow the sauce to simmer and just keep stirring

Add the rest of the thyme

You can see the difference, non? At this point turn the heat off and just leave the sauce to rest for a bit. If you have a cheeky partner like mine, you can allow them to dip some bread into the sauce for testing purposes... obviously

Get a bowl/container and let the sauce cool down then place into the fridge to let the magic happen over night

Fast forward a day and it's time for dinner! Pre-heat your oven to 160c (fan oven)

I used the rough puff pastry from my galette but originally from Rosie's blog, it's quick and easy and gives the results, should take about 15 mins to make the pastry, which is super quick - don't bother with store bought, you get much better satisfaction from making it yourself.

Chuck the flour, diced butter and icy cold water into a bowl and roughly smash together with one hand, being careful not to smush the butter too much (technical term there)

Flour a clean surface and roll out your dough. You want to fold over the dough about 5 times, in thirds so once you have a nice sized rectangle, fold over one third into the middle and then the other third on top, re-flour your surface and roll out again, repeat this about 5 times, you'll be amazing at how quickly it all comes together

Fill your pie dish (or dishes in my case, I only have two smaller ones that serve two portions only at the moment) with your chicken and mushroom filling

Place your pastry over your pie dish and press down the pastry on the edges with a fork and in the middle for steam release

Whisk the egg for an egg wash over the pastry

As you can see, mine was a bit of a 'rustic' job...

Pop your pie(s) in the oven to cook, after about 15-20 mins, turn your heat up to about 200c for another 20 mins until your pie is golden brown, crusty and bubbling inside

Get excited and serve

Pie isn't the most attractive thing to serve...

But I tried...

I have to say, this tastes absolutely amazing (if I say so myself, but Shay agrees) and I'm quite proud of the recipe. I think the use of different mushrooms make such a difference, I love the smokiness of the chestnuts and the almost meaty flavour of the shiitake in this, I think it adds something difference.

Anyway, if you give this a go, please let me know, I'd love to know what you think!

This Last Week #4

It's probably about time for a catch up isn't it? I should think so. Where to start...

Well the last few weeks have zoomed passed really. Last Friday I realised that it had only been a month since we got back to work after our holiday to Turkey... trust me it's felt much longer especially considering how far the temperature has dropped in the UK over the last few weeks. This week I've been wearing my trusty Barbour jacket and a scarf to work - winter is coming!

The weekends have mainly been spent seeing friends and going out, and we've had some really good nights. Quite a few weeks back went to see Goat play at the Roundhouse in Camden for my friend's birthday which was amazing and a good night was had, especially afterwards when we were all dancing to Motown and Soul classics in The Elephant's Head in Camden. Good times. 

The same weekend, the boy - I'm now officially able to mention his name, so everybody please welcome Seamus (or Shay) :) - and I went for an impromptu drink which ended up in a bottle of Malbec and a roast at one of our favourite local pubs, The New Cross House. We've eaten there before, and to be honest, been not that impressed. He reminded me of the first time we went there for food about three years ago now (three years say what?!) and the table service was pretty horrendous, with some pretty awful food to match. However, I went for the pork roast and have to say, it was bloomin' delicious, crackling included and LOOK at the size of that yorkshire pud. Just what the doctor ordered. And yes, I realise you can see the corner of a pint of cider there, the Malbec had already been consumed by this point... #boozysunday

Skip forward a week and on the Saturday night we headed to the Bloomsbury Lanes for Shay's band's gig. I'd never been before, but trust me I'm definitely going back. It was like an all-day gig type thing with loads of different bands playing on the two levels of the bowling alley, and absolutely teeming with people. The gig was amazing but whenever we walked passed any of the karaoke rooms, all I wanted to do was be in one of those singing my little heart out. I love karaoke, it's actually shameful. They also do 26" pizzas at the Bloomsbury Lanes, so if that's not a reason to go back, I don't know what is. Oh yeah and the bowling obviously...

I've been threatening to invest in a new foundation for a while now, I always used to say it was the one thing I would really pay for, because I think it's worth it. Although, as time has gone on, and so has my career, I've found myself indulging in other expensive items, like my mascara and lipsticks. I'm not upset about it in the slightest though. After reading loads of amazing reviews, I decided to go for the Laura Mercier Silk Creme foundation and oh. my. days. It is literally amazing, I'm in love with it. I almost didn't buy it because of how, quite frankly, rude the staff were in Space NK in soho but I couldn't be bothered to walk to HoF on Oxford Circus to buy it. Their attitude and behaviour has  made me think twice about spending my money in there. Urgh. Anyway, the foundation is amazing, like the most best thing ever.

I've toyed with the idea of doing a review on the foundation, but as you may or may not be able to tell, my posts of late have been a bit lacklustre. And that's not because I'm having a dip in motivation, oh no, all of my creative juices are flowing at a good velocity. I've just been a little unsure over the quality of the content I'm posting at the moment and the direction of the blog in general, and that is my issue to deal with. But I've got a good recipe coming up tomorrow, which I'm hoping will reassure my confidence.

Other than going out... *gulp* I've actually been craving going to bootcamp pretty much all of the weeks. I have fallen head over heels for bootcamp and having my arse kicked, because it makes me feel so good afterwards, and I just can't wait to do it over and over again. I'm going again this Friday, and now I'm starting to deliberate going more than once a week! I have changed. What's even more amazing is I'm finding myself wanting to break naughty habits in order to not undo the hard work I put in, in those hours of working out. Progress, non? 

Also, just LOOK at those amazing Christmas wine glasses I found in ASDA for £2 each, the possibilities are endless.

Saying that, I made a pretty damn good, and not too unhealthy roast on the weekend, accompanied by my apple and raspberry galette for dessert. It was my first ever time cooking a roast dinner completely solo, and to be honest, I think I did a pretty damn good job of it. The potatoes were par-boiled then cooked in a few sprays of one cal oil, the parsnips were roasted in no oil, and broccoli and carrots were boiled perfectly. I did put a little butter on the green beans... just 'cause and the beef joint was pink in the middle - perfect. My next challenge is to make my yorkshire's from scratch, then I'll really know I've cracked it.

And now here we are, hump day. As I said, I've got a good few posts lined up for the next week or so that I'm excited to get stuck in and I'm also determined to figure out some kind of photography situation that will allow me to take good photos, with good light when I need to.

Thank you and well done if you made it this far, applause to you.

What have you guys all been up to? Let's catch up!

Also, all of these photos are from my instagram, if you would like to follow me you can find me at @alicjaewa :)

A Semi-Seasonal Galette

If you'd have asked me about this time last year what a 'galette' was, I probably would have shrugged and muttered something along the lines of... 'isn't it a sleeve-less item of outdoor clothing?' I know.

I've been meaning to have a go at something seasonal for a long time, I love picking out fruit and veggies when they're at their prime and when I got it into my head that I wanted to cook a roast for Sunday dinner, I knew there had to be an accompanying dessert. Something like a crumble, but a lot less time consuming. Cue the galette.

Knowing that both Braeburn apples and blackberries are currently in season my mind was made up. What better way is there to use such wonderfully British and autumnal ingredients than shoving them on a bed of puff-pastry?! If you come up with anything let me know.

But hang on a minute, you may be thinking 'what are you on about Ala? Those are definitely raspberries in the picture... NOT blackberries.' That's where you would be right. I had every intention of using blackberries, but alas ASDA failed me and I had to substitute for not-so-seasonal raspberries. Next time I'm definitely doing this with blackberries though.

ANYWAY... After having read Rosie's post about her rhubarb galette all the way back in February, and not really being able to get the thought out of my mind I decided to give it a go. I made puff pastry a few weeks ago for the pain au chocolat, which in all honesty was a very laborious affair. Worth it, but definitely laborious.

So I was pleased to see such a thing as 'rough puff' and quite frankly, I can't ever imagine making puff pastry any other way again. Yes it was a little messy, and a bit rushed on my side (I totally left it way too late in the day to use any natural light for photos), I would have liked to have put the pastry in the fridge to chill to avoid a melty butter situation. But I am convinced this is such a quick way to create a beautiful, and fairly impressive dessert in a short amount of time - despite the slightly charred raspberries due to oven negligence. I reckon the whole thing from start to finish probably took about an hour. 

An hour well-spent indeed.


I don't know whether it's a good thing or a bad thing, but recently, I've found myself hovering over the hair dye section in Boots...

It seems I'm lusting over a change and quite a dramatic one. I've had the same hair cut for a good three years now, a boring old one length hair cut with a bouncy fringe - well, bouncy when it feels like it, whatever else the rest of the time. Can you sense some animosity between me and the fringe? Because I certainly can.

I realise I'm doing this all backwards, because really you should have short hair in the summer, long in the winter but hey, I'm a rule-breaker of sorts, or more like I just don't care?! My long hair is becoming unmanageable - and by that I mean it's taking far too long to get my tangle teaser through it in the morning and because of that I need a change.

Don't get me wrong, I love my long hair, up until the age of about 20 I had always had short hair, never any longer than the tops of my shoulders but then came along being a student and not having any money to go to the hairdressers, and so it grew. And I love it, most days and especially when I actually bother to style it - 90% of the time I'm very much a 'wash and go' type of gal.

So while I make up my mind, here's my inspiration. Some of these are a little shorter than I'd like to go but all have the same kind of just to them. My favourite has to be Emma Stone, as her hairstyle in this picture is a lot more 'unrefined' but I definitely mean that in a good way.

So what do you think of these styles? To chop or not?

Reasons I Love Autumn

You may remember I wrote a list of things I really love about Summer. Because I do love Summer, it's my favourite season. And I'm in no way about to say 'I love autumn just as much' because it simply ain't true; I love the feeling of the sun on my skin and the current weather just doesn't fit that bill.

But instead of sitting here feeling grouchy about the fact I've got to wait ages for the sun to poke his head out of the sky again, I'm going to just get on with it and focus on the positives. This is my attempt at seeing the good in the bad - how very positive of me.

I love the fact it's acceptable to snuggle up under the duvet and put off getting up in the mornings right until the last moment you can - because it's just too cold y'know?

Not having to stick your feet out of the covers because it's cosy enough under them

Wearing pyjamas - nuff said

Layering - I do actually much prefer dressing for colder months, layering up, thick socks, wooly jumpers and sweat shirts as well as my favourite parka coat

Drinking even more hot drinks than I usually do and hello to hot chocolate, for some reason it just doesn't feel right drinking them in the warmer months

Food in general - soups, comfort food, all the carbs and all in big portions - I just can't help it

Cooking with the slow cooker - we haven't done it yet but the idea has been thrown out there for sure - soon

Warm puddings for dessert

It being totally acceptable to stay in every night over the weekend, no one wants to go out in the cold and rain for a night out

Rainy London - there's just something quite charming about it

Crunching leaves - who actually doesn't like doing this?

Bake Off Bake Along #10 | Pain au Chocolat

That's it, it's over, finito, done and dusted. I'm really quite sad about the ending of The Great British Bake-Off, just like the rest of the country.

But I haven't half enjoyed baking along. Over the last couple of months I have learnt so many new techniques and added a lot more creations to my baking arsenal. It's made me realise that actually I'm not too bad at this baking thing, and who can deny a little bit of pride in yourself every now and then?! Not me.

So I tackled some pain au chocolat, because they're the best - in fact I don't think I know anyone who doesn't like pain au chocolat. And to mix it up a little, I did half with dark chocolate and half with white. I've never had a white chocolat pain au chocolat before, but now I don't think I'll be looking back.

I used this recipe, by Paul Hollywood but omitted the apricot glaze, as to me it just didn't seem necessary. I also used normal cooking chocolate instead of chopped up mars bars, because that's just too indulgent I think.

So I started by making the puff pastry which was a lengthy and strenuous process on my arm muscles - having been to bootcamp earlier in the day on Saturday, rolling that amount of pastry probably wasn't the best idea. But I did it, and I think I did it quite well, although I could definitely improve on that. I'd love to give it another go.

I left the pastry to chill overnight in the fridge, and got back to work the next morning. I'm a bit of an idiot because the recipe says it makes 12, but because I can't count I ended up with 18, and some were a lot less impressive than others, but still, I quite like the size of them. Not too big and definitely not too small.

I made a bit of a boo boo with the oven temperature again (really need to get myself a conversion chart for fan ovens) as the pain au chocolat came out ever so slightly under baked. Which I personally don't mind as it made them a little gooey which was nice :)

I probably could have also left them in the oven a bit longer BUT for a first try with making puff pastry and making pain au chocolat - I really don't think I did too badly. They taste delicious too!

I have learnt so much from baking along this year, and although I'm aware of the fact I'm not the best at presentation, but at least it's all been edible!

Oh and also, I'm really really really glad Nancy won!!!

Payday Wishlist October 2014

Feels like it's been a good long while since I've done a payday wish list... and that's because it has been. Since July!! Now we're moving into the cooler months, I'm finding my current wardrobe a little stale and ideally need to have a clear out. And we all know, when you have a clear out, it gives you credence to buy loads of new clothes... so there's quite a few items of clothing in this one... enjoy :)

I struggle with finding nice and new footwear for the cooler months. I love me some New Look flats but when it's wet and rainy, they get ruined in a few seconds. These pointed heeled flats from Next are gorgeous and the heel will ensure against an all-day soggy foot situation.

I've totally got a thing for midi skirts and dresses at the moment, especially pleated ones. I love the fact this skirt from Topshop is both of those things but neither of the usual colours I always opt for.

And obviously you need a top to go with the skirt...! We all know cropped tops are still very much on trend, but I was dubious to see how they would be carried over to autumn/winter. Having already bought a long sleeved crop, I already know - completely converted. I love the colour and texture of this ribbed long sleeve crop top also from Topshop.

Another month, another essie nail colour to add to my collection - I have a problem. This shade, Take It Outside is from their new 'fall' collection and I love it. Finally saying goodbye to glitter and shimmer for winter time and saying a big bonjour to nudes and neutrals.

I've heard a lot of good things about La Roche Posay, and as a sufferer of dry skin especially in the winter time, I'm going to give the Nutritic Intense Dry Face Cream a go and see if it helps my skin at all.

I know I shouldn't buy cheap rings because I either lose them or they don't really last very long but I really like these and I like wearing rings. Guilt trip over. This ring and these rings are from Forever 21 and really are cheap, it would be rude to say no really?

There is a lot of goodness going on in the Urban Outfitters sale, including this amazing bag for only £15. I don't really need to say anymore do I? Non.

As well as this really nice long line blazer jacket that is now only £30, although the weather has definitely turned and is definitely a little too cold for this kind of thing, it doesn't matter I still love it.

I can't stop dreaming about these chelsea boots, they're expensive at £79.99 but I really feel like anything from Clarks is going to be really beneficial for my feet, plus to me they look like the most perfect chelsea boot. They've sold out in my size so I'm now going on a crusade around London to find them - wish me luck!

Bake Off Bake Along #9 | Schichttorte

It's alright everyone, I've redeemed myself.

I don't know about you, but whenever I've created a couple of less-than-desirable bakes consecutively, I start to lose my mojo a bit. It makes me demotivated and quite bitter about the whole ordeal. But then along comes a schichttorte, a pretty damn good one at that (if I say so myself) and all is right with the world again. I used this recipe, by Mr Hollywood himself.

Let it be known, that this was time consuming, it took me about 2 and a half hours from start to finish (including washing up time). And I definitely lost count of how many layers of sponge I had done, which is why I've ended up with more than 20. But do I get extra points for that? I should think so.

I can imagine with very little instruction, this would be quite difficult to make, but I actually found it fairly easy. Yes there are lots of parts to this bake, particularly the baking of single layers under the grill, one at a time...! But, overall I didn't find it too strenuous, which is quite refreshing actually, and definitely restores faith in my ability to bake.

I was really pleased at how well this turned out. With the layers being so thin, I was sceptical at how tall the cake would be, but by the time the last layer was grilled, the cake was basically at the top of the tin. I like a tall cake.

So I have a confession, in true Ala style I didn't completely stick to the recipe. I forgot to buy golden syrup (for the glaze), despite going to the shop for it and having it on my list. I believe I got way too distracted with how amazing the baking section is in that particularly tesco I was in. Seriously amazing and even cheaper than my beloved asda. Sorry, off on a tangent there, instead of golden syrup I used honey and I swerved the rum too.

But that's enough about my obsession over supermarkets. Here you can see all the layers; some of the 'dark layers' are much lighter than I would have liked but it's hard to know when it's done before it's burnt sometimes. Thankfully I didn't burn any layers.

And it looks as though there may be 24 layers - BOOM! Smashed it.

Having promised I'd discuss the flavour/texture of this cake, I'd like to say it's really delicious, light and spongey. You can definitely tell it's a 'European' cake but it's still really yum, I definitely wouldn't turn down a slice.

So there we have it, my Schichttorte, how do you think I did?

P.s. I can't believe this wednesday is the last Bake Off!!!!

Bake Off Bake-Along #8 | Doughnuts

Do you fancy a laugh on this dreary Monday morning? Because I can pretty much guarantee you one with this post.

So I tried making doughnuts twice. Once fried and once baked. And both times they came out, quite frankly crap. So considered making them a third time, but I just don't have the energy for that right now. Maybe another time, when I have a craving for doughnuts, I'll try again but just not now.

The fried one (left), has a slight coating of glaze although to be honest, no matter how hard I tried, it wouldn't stay on so that's why I say slight. And the baked doughnut on the right just looks like a baby chew toy.

I'm well aware of the fact they don't look appetising in the slightest, and I seriously considered throwing these away before taking any pictures but that would be untruthful of me. I certainly suffer from my own fair share of baking fails and let this be a prime example of that.

Anyway, I hope that cheered you up on this very grey Monday morning, and wish me luck for my Schichten Torte, I think I'm owed a good week.