Now Cook It with Co-op



I recently came home from work to discover a box full of ingredients on my doorstep. Intriguing, right? Further investigation revealed that it was from Co-op, who had sent me everything I needed to make a Roasted Vegetable Couscous. I have to say, though I like eating (a lot), I don’t do an awful lot of cooking. I’m really lazy, though I am trying harder lately, and this came just at the right time to give me a kick up the bum!

Co-op have teamed up with SORTEDfood to create #nowcookit, an online cooking course that is looking to ‘tackle the cooking skills gap’ that they identified among millennials. Now I totally count as a millennial, even though I’m a little older than the 16-24 year olds mentioned in the research. I have an interest in learning to cook, I just never seem to find the time. #nowcookit is designed to show that you don’t need loads of time, or loads of fancy equipment, and the Roasted Vegetable Couscous showed me that tasty, healthy food isn’t that hard! Something I should have learned before now, I know.


As well as being available in a full text version, the recipes are also available as videos, from the team at SORTEDfood. This is a fun and engaging video, though it would be entirely possible for the whole thing to come across as cheesy, it doesn’t, and having watched it, I was eager to try my hand at the cooking!


Anyone who regularly cooks would think that this was a walk in the park – it was literally just chopping up some veg and throwing it into a roasting dish, and then adding the lemon and garlic to give the whole thing some flavour. Cooking the couscous was easy too, and then it all just gets thrown together. The recipe calls for adding some cucumber, tomatoes and Greek yoghurt as an additional salad, but I went without that and just took the whole thing to work the next day for my lunch.


In all honesty, courgette is not my favourite vegetable. In fact, I have issues with all cooked vegetables (I will eat all vegetables raw but am picky when they are cooked!). But this was so flavoursome that I got over my initial misgivings and enjoyed it very much! The lemon and garlic add so much depth to the vegetables that it was really tasty, and it was so easy.

You can find the Now Cook It course here; there are tips for cooking skills and techniques, and if you sign up for the course, you can earn status and awards. It’s a great source of inspiration, and there are loads of recipes to choose from. Even if you’re a little more adventurous in the kitchen than me!

*Co-op sent me the ingredients for this dish but as always, all views and opinions are my own.

Link Love

I’m interrupting US Television Week briefly to bring you my favourite links of the week!

An interesting piece on Nextness on Social Media Theories. “Neither a Facebook like nor a Twitter fave is as good as an RT using the RT button.”

Luluastic weighed in on the No More Page 3 debate in a way that only a crafty blogger can. She stitched a banner and hung it on the gate at News International HQ.

How to Give Great Compliment, a guest post by Erin on Yes and Yes.

I love these sketches by DenisM79: If Star Wars was an 80s Movie.

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My lovely friend Claire has a yummy looking Double Trouble Chocolate Fudge Cake recipe on her blog. I have to try this!

Yet another reason to love Barack Obama, he ‘crashed’ a wedding (except he didn’t really), and then he left gifts and a note for the couple. I love him.

Design Mom posted about a guitar forest that a man planted in memory of his wife who died aged just 25.

Designer Kirill Zaytsev has reimagined national flags using common stereotypes.


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Finally, someone wrote a blog post as an ode to me. OK, so she’s one of my BFFs, but still. You should read it, because she, and it, are both awesome. It’s all about autumn, and all that’s good about it: The Silk Inside a Chestnut Shell.

30 Before 30 – Cakes

Hello all

I made another cake! I am still behind with my goal, because it was really supposed to be one a month between now and my birthday, and this is number two, in three months. But that’s only one behind, and I actually have another cake on the go at the moment (more on that later), so I will be back on track soon!

This one was a Chocolate Marble Cake, and as I got the recipe from the BBC Good Food website, I’m not going to copy it out here, but you can find it yourself on the website. It’s a relatively simple recipe, and it tasted good, but it was a bit bland. It just wasn’t very exciting, although my niece Molly did seem to enjoy it well enough. And this one got eaten in full, so I guess that is testament to the fact that it tasted fine! I think if I was to make it again, I’d probably want to add something, maybe chocolate chips or something, just to give it a bit more interest!

Anyway, here are some photos.

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Firstly, apologies for the not-so-great photos. Food photography, I think, must be a real art, because I just can’t manage it very well! If anyone has any tips or pointers as to what I might be doing wrong, please let me know!

I am still having problems with the actual baking of the cake, due to our oven. It seems to cook the outside much quicker than the inside, so I had to leave it in for longer than I would have wanted, from an aesthetic point of view. It wasn’t actually burnt, but it was just a bit darker on top than I wanted.

I also didn’t quite achieve the marble effect that they make look so easy in the recipe and accompanying photo. It was marbled on top, but the middle wasn’t, really, and that was a shame.

The whole point of baking these cakes throughout the year is to try and get a bit better at it, so I guess the point is to learn a lesson for next time. I’m no slouch when it comes to baking, but I have my tried and tested recipes that I make a lot, and I thought it would be good to branch out a bit and try some new things.

The next cake, as I said, is already on the go! It’s called Herman the German Friendship Cake, and you may have heard of it before. It’s essentially a chain letter that incorporates a cake! You get given a list of instructions along with a small amount of mixture, and you have to follow the instructions for the next ten days, including giving a quarter of your mixture to three friends, before baking it on the tenth day. I tasted some of my sister-in-law’s cake, and it was really good. So mine is off and running, I’m on day 4, and prior to today all I had had to do was stir it! I’ll let you know how it goes in another blog post in the future!


Best in Show ~ Blog Posts

Hello all

I follow rather a lot of blogs on my Google Reader, and I get so annoyed with myself when I let the posts build up so high that I just don’t have the time to read them all. I have just had another mammoth session of reading through them all, so I thought I’d share some of my favourite posts of the last week or so with you.

1. 5 Tips for Lifestyle Photography


Here, Elsie from a beautiful mess shared some of her tips for photographing everyday life. And these aren’t technical tips, as such, more general advice about how to capture the little details you often overlook.

2. Sputnik Inspired Lighting

One of my Project 366 photos last week was of a light fitting, and although it wasn’t necessarily sputnik inspired, I very much enjoyed the aesthetic of it, in the same way that I like these lights that Nicole at Making it Lovely picked out. Rather too expensive for my tastes, but enjoyable all the same!

3. Look – Bedknobs and Broomsticks

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Mallory at Where the Lovely Things Are posted some screenshots of Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and I had to share it just because I love the film! And I have the same reaction as she does to Portobello Road – I immediately start hearing it in my head whenever I am near the place or see it written down, and I secretly would love to walk through the market and have everyone start singing and dancing to it.

4. DIY Vintage Playing Card Framed Picture

Victoria at Lily Loves Lola provided her readers with a really simple yet effective DIY tutorial, using some vintage playing cards and a frame! It’s such a good idea; I’ve pinned it to my Crafty board on Pinterest and I’m definitely going to be trying it, or something similar, in the future.

5. Make Your Own Peanut Butter


Another one from Elsie at a beautiful mess here (one of my favourite blogs at the moment), she made her own peanut butter! Yum! I have seen it made before, and I’ve always thought I would like to try it, because I love the idea that it is just made from peanuts, and no actual butter or anything! I also want to try the hazelnut chocolate spread, because I love Nutella too!

What have you been blogging about this week?