8 August 2010

The Story of an Old Dresser

A parents-lead house clean up drive, meant that most of the old furniture was given away to get new ones and what was left didn’t really go with my new, white room. My sisters shoddy old dresser was handed down (taken to be correct) to me and it looked really out of place in my newly painted, stark white, room. I didn’t want to throw it away (oh! so sentimental) and, I was on a serious budget (oh! so stingy).
You see, I’m quite stingy by nature but very greedy and sentimental. It’s a lethal combination. But hey, I guess that’s why I fall in love with old buildings and then restore them, then fall in love again.
According to me, there’s nothing that can’t be reinvented (restoration architect lingo kicking in there!!) with a hit of hue and a wild imagination. I’d painted my bedroom white, hoping to fill it with some fresh and fabulous colour and I was on the look out for all things bright and beautiful!
The old dresser was in good condition, apart from a few chips here and there and that meant this baby was primed for a major makeover. A bit of sanding, priming and a few coats of yellow paint took it from eek!!! to chic in just a few hours.
The shoddy old dresser that was crying out for a makeover!

Sanding is a great way to help prepare a surface for paint, but I also followed this with a thin coat of grey oil-based primer (£4) for the darker sunshine-yellow paint. Then I followed the coat of primer with two coats of gloss latex paint in sunshine yellow!!(£5) applied with a fine brush for a smooth and bubble-free application. Many people think rollers are the way to a smooth finish…but only for walls. When painting furniture items, paint brushes offer a smoother finish (paint sprayers too but paint brushes are less messy and easily affordable). Just remember that two-four thin coats are much better than one or two globby ones.

 Easy, right? There’s really no reason to live with wood furniture that’s not the exact tone or shade that you’d like. So go forth and paint something!

From ordinary to iconic!
My fabulous,retro-chic dresser is a perfect match for my IKEA cushions(£1.50 each!)
and the BOBBY movie poster I designed. I'm in LOVE!!!

Every time i walk into my room, this cheers me up!

6 February 2010

Grilled chicken with rice, lentil and courgette salad

Cheap, quick, delicious and healthy best describes this amazing meal rammed full of different textures and flavours. What more could you want from a meal?

what you need
100g green lentils
150g basmati rice
4 chicken (boneless)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons curry powder
½ teaspoon sea salt
2 courgettes, sliced into thin strips lengthways
1 clove garlic, crushed
coriander, small bunch, chopped
½ lemon, juiced
75ml yoghurt
½ small bunch fresh mint, chopped

Cover the lentils in water (do not add salt at this stage as it tends to toughen the lentils) and bring to the boil, turn down to a simmer and cook on a low heat until tender. In a separate pan cook the basmati rice.

Marinate the chicken in the curry powder with 1 tsp olive oil and salt. Toss the courgettes with 1tsp olive oil and the garlic and season and keep aside. Grill the chicken for a few minutes on either side until crisp, a little charred and cooked through.Then grill teh courgettes for a minute or two on each side until they are lightly charred.

Toss the lentils, rice, courgettes, coriander and lemon juice together. Mix the yoghurt with the mint leaves. Serve the chicken on top of the lentil salad with a dollop of the yoghurt dressing. As simple as that! Enjoy a healthy textured meal

16 January 2010

Baked salmon with spiced chickpeas salad

A touch of spice can transform a plain old piece of fish into something of a masterpiece. Here I’m hoping to rub its effect on salmon but it would work immensely well on any other type of fish or chicken. This easy, healthy recipe can be prepared in a jiffy(15 mins)! So go on, get started!

for the fish
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon turmeric
¼ teaspoon chilly powder
½ teaspoon salt(or to tast)
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
1 ½ tablespoons vegetable oil or juice of ½ lemon
¼ teaspoon black pepper powder

2 salmon fillets

for the salad
200g chickpeas(I used a can of chickpeas as they cook faster!)
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon turmeric
3 spring onions, sliced
1 red pepper, chopped
a small bunch fresh coriander

for the dressing

1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon chilly powder
½ heaped teaspoon salt (to taste)
1 clove garlic, peeled and grated
juice of ½ lemon
2-3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix all the dry spices together in a bowl. Add the garlic and oil. Mix thoroughly and rub over the salmon fillets. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour. I marinated the fish overnight, which I think is the best way to cook fish.

Place the chickpeas in a saucepan with the sliced ginger and turmeric. Cover with water and bring to the boil. Cook until tender. Strain off any excess water and leave to cool. Alternatively, any type of lentil will do well for the salad, so experiment!

Bake the salmon on high temperature (about 225c) for about 3-5 minutes. Its best when its crispy on the outside but juicy and pink on the inside, but feel free to cook it however you like.

For the dressing put the cumin, ground coriander, chilly powder, salt, garlic, lemon juice and extra virgin oil in a small bowl and mix thoroughly.

To the cooled chickpeas, add the spring onions, the red pepper, coriander leaves, mix gently and then add the dressing and mix gently once more. Pour the salad onto a plate and top with the salmon. Drizzle any of the salmon juices over and get stuck in!
Note: Go wild with the vegetables in the salad. Cucumber and baby potatoes will do fabulously well too!