Thursday 21 July 2016

Foods of the week #1

I've been wanting to do a Weekly Meals post for months, but after seeing the backlash on youtubers' What I eat in a day videos I decided that just highlighting a few of my favourites that I've made recently would be the best option. I'm usually cooking for two, so these are foods that can be made in bulk or would serve you for the next day. It's also been VERY BLOODY HOT this week so my ingredients have been lighter and more green - which I'm v happy about - and I probably had a cider along with all of these too, because sun.

Hot, roast vegetable salad

Salads are amazing because they can contain almost anything and everything that needs to be used up in your fridge. The flavour combinations are infinite and they're a nice alternative to stodgy meals more suited to winter. However, I'm not one for a meal that doesn't leave me satisfied, and I know that's why many people would opt for a sandwich over a plate of "leaves". I get around this buy adding hot ingredients to my salads, in this case, a nice combination of roasted, garlicky veg and a dollop of houmous. 

Uncooked ingredients:

  • Spinach and iceberg lettuce as the greens
  • 1/2 bell pepper - could be chopped and roasted as well, but I wanted to dip it in the houmous and it added a nice crunch to the salad
  • 1/2 an avocado 
  • A handful of olives, chopped
  • Houmous
  • Feta, crumbled
  • Balsamic dressing
Cooked ingredients:

  • 1/2 a medium onion 
  • A handful or two of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A handful of mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive oil
  • Salt/pepper/mixed herbs
  • One crushed garlic clove
The seasoned veg should be cooked at about 210 degrees celsius for 10-15 minutes, or whenever the tomatoes have softened and there's a nice amount of juice. Serve hot!

Mediterranean vegetable couscous with feta


I had some left over roasted tomatoes/onion/mushroom mix from the previous salad, so added it to a cheat bag of mediterranean veg I picked up from the Co Op for £1 (amazing), diced it all up into a tiny mix and roasted everything for another 10-15 minutes at 200C-ish. This time I added it to couscous. I love couscous because it's soso easy and takes on the taste of what you put it with, but a more nutritional option would be quinoa. I always end up making loads and this recipe was enough for 3 meals!

  • Mediterranean vegetables (courgette, onion, bell peppers, tomatoes)
  • I don't know how much couscous I put in but it didn't look like much and still almost overflowed my saucepan
  • Feta, crumbled
  • Black pepper to season
  • A blob of houmous 

10 minute tortilla chips

I love making these SO MUCH. They're perfect for when you have some houmous to use up and/or your tortilla wraps are a bit stale and you wouldn't use them for a sandwich. It's as simple as slicing them up into segments, adding some seasoning (or not) and popping them in the oven for no more than 10 minutes. I drizzled on a tiny amount of olive oil to get the paprika to stick then put them in a pre heated oven, around 200C, until crispy. Melting cheese on top is amazing too!
  • Any tortilla wrap - I'd usually go for wholemeal 
  • Optional olive oil and smoked paprika 
  • Optional grated cheese
  • A dip of your choice

Stuffed crust tortilla wrap pizza

So this idea came about when we had two wraps left but hardly any tomato puree. As there's almost nothing nicer than a cheese toasty in this world, except a cheese toasty that tastes like pizza, I made this pizza wrap double layered and filled with smoky cheesy goodness. I have another pizza wrap recipe here. The toppings could be anything your heart desires, but mine desired an Italian deli board.

  • 2 tortilla wraps
  • Tomato puree 
  • A handful of olives, chopped
  • A handful of spinach, torn
  • Marinated artichoke - I'd picked up a deli pot, most supermarkets do stuff like this now and would also have sun dried tomatoes and mozzarella which would be amazing 
  • Grated cheddar
  • Smoked paprika 
  • Mixed herbs
I spread a layer of grated cheese on the first wrap and sprinkled on some smoked paprika, then added the second layer with the rest of the ingredients on, then popped it into a pre heated oven for around 10 minutes at 200C. SO YUM.

So yes those were my favourite foods of the week. I hope this was vaguely interesting/saliva inducing. If you make any of these or want extra details on how to, tweet me! :) @pollyvdsz


Thursday 14 July 2016


PINS! The new craze. Yep. Did you ever imagine the days of the customised denim jackets would be back? Well they are, and I'm surprisingly thrilled about it. It's making way for new, really fun and free pieces to design. Enamel pins, button pins and embroidered patches could feature ANYTHING. I guess you could say that about notebooks and art prints, but pins are essentially little doodles you get to carry around.

With that in mind, I've kept my first luxury enamel pin collection black and white, to reflect little doodles that represent the owner. Cat lady is an identity for all those who might need to address why they're covered in fur, Needs Coffee and Probably Late say something about the wearer to those who read it, and the Ugh mug (maybe my favourite) is a simple stamp of sarcastic apathy. I have plans for SO many more along these lines, so fingers crossed this first collection goes down well!!

The pins are made from a shiny black nickel, and filled with bright white enamel. I was so happy to see that they were shiny because I actually thought the metal would be matte black *phew!*. They attach with a metal pinch clip at the back, except the Ugh mug which has a rubber clasp instead. 

Can we just stop for a second and appreciate their packaging????? These were a WORLD OF FUN to design and I must say a big thank you to Megan for illustrating the scenes so well during our collabs. Don't they look all professional and stuff? 

Things you can put pins on:

Dungaree front pockets
The shirt/jumper you're wearing that day
Tote bags
Denim jackets
Pencil cases

I friggin' cannot wait to see photos of these pins being worn out in the wild! Tag #SighhDesigns and on Instagram or tweet me at @SighhDesigns! Much love. Which is your favourite?


Thursday 7 July 2016


Moving into this house for second year has been wonderful. I can't describe how happy I am to be out of halls, in a lovely bright house with big windows, wooden floors and white walls. Even when it comes with a few too many ants, a floating wardrobe I don't know where to put and a toilet that is prone to blockage...and will cost £130 to repair, kewl. I moved in on the 1st of this month, a Friday, and had everything unpacked and ready with the motivation of cooking a big, celebratory Sunday roast for me and Jack, which happened, yay! The kitchen is small but sweet, and with the place to myself until September I'm determined to do ALL OF THE COOKING and fill up this blog with lots of foodie posts.

My friend Megan, who you may be aware of from our two collaborations for Sighh (the Kitties and Doggies phone cases), is going home for a month at the end of the week, so I thought it would be lovely to have her round for a meal, which became a double date scenario with Jack and her boyfriend, Isaac, invited also. We had been talking about going out together for weeks without it coming to anything solid, so I was very much excited (and a little nervous, as you always are with the boyfriends-meeting-friends situation).

With a day's notice and some food requirements to consider (no spice, nothing too strange, no pepper) I decided on a starter of stuffed potato skins and a main of prosciutto wrapped cheesy stuffed chicken breasts, veg and an optional creamy mushroom sauce, then apple and blackberry crumble (adapted from this post) for pudding, plus nibbles. With the potato skins and stuffed chicken breasts I mixed up the flavours so there was something to interest everyone - as being the ~host~ it's your job to cater to the guests and make sure everyone is happy.

I thought I'd give you a little run through of what preparations I made during the day and a bit on how the evening went!


Having not yet done a proper shop, I spent the morning deciding what to put on the menu then popped to the co-op - luckily just a 4 minute walk down the road (omg). I was really conscious that I didn't want to spend the whole evening in the kitchen when I should be socialising, and that actual time planning would have to happen here. So, I prepped pudding by cooking down the fruit filling and mixing the crumble, popping everything into fridge bags for later. I also bagged chopped up mushrooms and onion for the main course's sauce.


I then got the potatoes going by washing them, adding olive oil and salt and putting them in the oven.

Next came the chicken which I stuffed with a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar, sun dried tomatoes, basil leaves and spinach, then wrapped in prosciutto. I wrapped the baking tray in cling film and put it in the fridge for later so it was just a matter of popping it in the oven when things got busy.


At about 5PM the baked potatoes were finished, and Megan had arrived. We left them out to cool while we popped to the shops for wine (my passport/only ID still hasn't arrived...) and proceeded to catch up, change clothes, drink, prepare food and laugh about how housewifey we felt. 


We forked out potato from the skins and popped it into two boxing bowls, adding a mixture of cheddar, mozzarella, basil leaves and sun dried tomato to one, and adding lightly cooked garlicy pancetta and onion, cheddar and spinach to the other. I would have tried a few more varieties but we only had two mixing bowls and it was a bit of a rush anyway! We filled the skins back up, popped more cheddar on top of them all, added clingfilm and left them ready for dinner. At this point the guys had arrived and it was time to crack out all of the crisps, dip and wine.

As I provided the food, everyone else was kind enough to provide the other bits. As we're three students plus a very minimalist graduate (Jack) it's not surprising none of us had 4+ sets of everything, so they each added their own plates, cutlery and wine glasses for a makeshift dinner setup, plus my backup paper plates which came in very handy. This was a casual affair, okay.

At this point I'd had a lot to drink and completely lost track of time, but it was really lovely getting to chat to everyone properly and I was so glad I'd prepped all the food already. 

As I became more and more pissed, the plating up took a hit and so did the photography. Bare with.

The potato skins were intended as a starter, but as there were so many and we didn't have enough green veg, they became part of the main too. I was very conscious of over cooking the stuffed chicken which I always do, having poisoned an ex once... so I was pretty chuffed with how these turned out - also considering the are no numbers on the oven so you don't know how hot it is (!!!?!?!?).

I mean what is this photo? So pissed. Thank you to Megan for the action shot, everyone ended up with a very sufficient amount of custard after we were done here.

The rest of the night is a mixture of more wine, cards against humanity, card games and that one where you guess the word on your head. It was a very late night and I didn't even have to keep them there by force, so I think it was a lovely success all round and the food was complimented lots which makes me SOOOO HAPPEEEEEE.


I had never hosted something like this before, or been on a double date of any kind, so what essentially was a couple of friends over for dinner meant a great deal. I'm twenty, living in a house, with a boyfriend of 5 months and one day (not living together, but we're almost always together). Sometimes I feel like a real genuine adult who is adulting and it makes me well up. Although I've stopped growing vertically, I can tell that I'm growing a lot as a person. I'm finding myself doing things, like having three people who didn't know each other (ish) over for dinner, and actually doing it even when it seems scary. I let go of my anxiety inducing, irrational feeling that I am personally responsible for conversation/people having a good time, and watched humans with their own social skills, and 7 bottles of wine, get on and create a lovely evening.

Calling all friends, pls, let's cook together.

This was a very unstructured post, so if it's held your attention this far, I'm glad. Let me know if you have any tips on organising/hosting things like this - I'd love to get better! I hope you enjoyed a little life insight.

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