Thursday, 28 February 2013

Moving Inspiration Ever-Changing

Since I first moved to Scotland in 2008 for the first time, I have done it another seven times. Gypsy, me? Hah, naaah surely not! It might seem like it perhaps, and it does feel like it everytime I start packing up once more.



At the end of next week, I'll start my ninth move - NINTH! One for each member of the Fellowship of the Ring... Everything always gets a little more stressful before a move, but hopefully I will be better prepared this time than I was the last time. Van has been hired, and some friends have kept aside some empty boxes for us.

Over the last year and a half, there have been so many things have have had to get used to. Not bad things, quite the opposite, but it always taken a while before getting used to the whole transition. In the current flat, I feel like we didn't have enough space. I was used to tall ceilings, big rooms, a warm atmosphere and feel to it - this flat has anything but that. As of next Saturday though, there will be high ceilings, massive rooms (with the exception of the kitchen), double-glazing, and a spare bedroom! There is also a trap door to a basement, which I will hopefully get around to funk up a little bit. It's only a little higher than myself from floor to ceiling, so I reckon some fairy lights, a rug, maybe a low table and lots and lots of cushions will be called for - what do you think, does that sound like a good idea?

It's strange, because everytime I move, I get a little nostalgic, get flashbacks from all the previous moves, and it reminds me on what a long road I have been on so far - we all have, right?

Despite the new flat being equipped with the smallest kitchen in any flat I have lived in yet, I will still be able to sneak in there and do my usual cooking. If I have to move parts of the work into the living room, then so be it! I don't mind, because the rest of the flat is so large and airy that I will have plenty of space to get my thoughts together and figure out what more I can make. I also have few ideas for some creative and more artsy projects that I might try my hand on as soon as we have settled down, painting, planting and catching up with my other hobbies.



I'll keep my fingers crossed and hope that this will be the last time I have to move again, at least for a while.... And that I will be able to find myself feeling at home, because that is where the heart is, right? I just have to funk it up a little bit, apparently we get to choose the colours for the walls too as long as we do the painting ourselves. In other words, there are a lot of things coming up for the near future!

Do you have any hints and tips for how to make a move as smoothly as possible? Will you get up to any creative projects over the Spring/Autumn(Depending on where in the world you live!)?

- Jules

PS. Neither of the photos in this post are taken or created by myself, unlike in my food posts!

http://st.gdefon.ru/wallpapers_original/wallpapers/317412_vlastelin-kolec_bratstvo-kolca_siluyety_1920x1080_(www.GdeFon.ru).jpg
http://www.junocrates.co.uk/news/top-tips-for-a-stress-free-move/

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Egyptian Lentil Soup

Simple, quick and delicious! No green fancy stuff on the top, just a humble, hearty bowl of soup for a quiet evening. It hit the spot perfect tonight for winding down from the weekend, mmm *smiles*

Egyptian Lentil Soup
(Serves 4, 305 calories each)



2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground tumeric
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp sunflower oil
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
300 g onions, chopped
1 l vegetable stock
200 g dry red lentils
175 g potatoes, peeled and diced

- Start by dry-frying cumin, tumeric, salt and ground black pepper for a minute. This helps releasing all the flavours in the spices.

- Add the sunflower oil, garlic and onions, soften for a few minutes on medium heat. In the meantime, you can prepare the potatoes.

- Once the onions have softened a little, add potatoes, lentils and boiling vegetable stock. Cover and simmer for about half an hour until the potatoes are tender.

- Mix with a stick blender until smooth and add a little more water for a thinner soup. Season to taste, start with adding more pepper, you don't want too much salt in it if you can get just as good a flavour with the pepper. I also added two good splashes of light soy sauce instead of extra salt.

Serve with flatbread, any other types of bread, or simply on its own and enjoy!

Original Source:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/520631/egyptian-red-lentil-soup

- Jules

Mini Carrot & Apple Cake

It has been a quite chilled weekend actually. I was out with some friends in this great little pub catching up, and at some point Yatzy was played! I haven't played it for years, literally! I passed the game in a shop and couldn't not get it, that would be madness! I did however get beat whenever it came down to playing it. I blame beginner's luck on the other part...



Anyways, yesterday I decided I wanted to try and make my own little cake-for-two type of thing, without using any references or recipes. It actually turned out really nicely! The only thing I will do differently next time though, is perhaps to use a mix of wholemeal flour and ground almonds, the soy flour I used added a little aftertaste. It was just a hint, so it didn't matter, other than that the cake was deliciously moist. I wouldn't even say the icing is necessary, perhaps just a drizzle of syrup right before serving would do the trick!

Mini Carrot & Apple Cake
(Makes 1 small cake and 3 ramekins - Cake 500 calories without frosting, ramekins about 80 calories each without frosting)



1 whole egg
1 egg white
3 tbsp agave syrup
1 tbsp (15 g) Total sweet sugar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cardamom
1 tbsp (30 g) philadelphia light cheese
1 large carrot, peeled and grated
1 medium apple, grated
1 tbsp sunflower oil
50 g flour (wholemeal, almond, spelt, coconut, plain)

Optional icing
For ramekins:
2 laughing cow light soft cheese traingles
A splash of lemon juice
1 tsp agave syrup
Pinch of cinnamon

For the cake:
A little bit more than in the icing recipe above.

- Pre-heat the oven to about 180°C

- Mix all the ingredients for the cake in the order they are stated, and stir well. Pour 2/3 of the batter into a small, buttered tin (about 10-15 in diameter) and the remaining of the batter into three ramekins. You can optionally just use ramkekins (if you have that many) or use all of the batter in a slightly bigger cake tin. Note that if you do the latter, it will need to stay in the oven for longer.

- Place the cake in the middle of the oven, and bake for about 20-25 minutes until a knife comes out of it clean. Take out the cake and leave to cool. For the ramekins, pop them in the oven for about 1 1/2 minute (check if they're set after 1 minute!). The top should be soft but hold together. You can also bake them in the oven until they are set, but I haven't tried this yet so I don't know how long they would have to be in for.


Before icing, the mark is from the knife, I had to be sure it was cooked through!

- As the cake and ramekins are cooling, make the icing, or any other icing of your choice. This makes for a silly little treat that will hopefully hit the spot whenever you feel like you want a little something sweet. Make sure you run a fork along the inside of the tin in case the cake has gotten a little stuck.


One of the messy mini ramekins! So tasty ^ ^

Enjoy!

Original source:
Yours faithfully

- Jules

PS. Does anyone know how you can change the size of the photos when you upload them, and also whether you want it in the left, middle or centre? There seemed to have been made some changes over the past few weeks!

Saturday, 16 February 2013

Post-Instant-Quaker-Gone-Hardcore-Porridge-Maker

Oat porridge... When I was little, I didn't think much of oat porridge. I would see my dad have granola and the like with milk for breakfast in the morning, and sometimes oat porridge too. Warm soggy oats? Nah, that seemed too healthy and way too boring.

In the more recent years, I discovered those nifty little instant porridge sachets with lots of different flavours, packet full of sugars (the golden syrup one was my favourite) and other additives that made me actually like it.

Now though, I have had my eyes opened up, and I cannot belieeeeeve how good it is to completely funk up a bowl of the good ol' porridge. At first I thought I would try my hands on making a few savoury pots of porridge, but after my first attempt at porridge with egg and chorizo...I decided against it. It was edible, don't get me wrong, but I think oat porridge should be either sweet, fruity or have a bit of zing to it!

This is the result of my experimenting over the last two months (I would have been quicker had it not been for the fact that some of these became instant favourites and had to be made again - as soon as possible!)
I decided to put up nine, as 7 wouldn't have fit within the whole cut-and-paste, and twelve...though it would have been nice to have one representing each month, just seemed a bit excessive. Why don't you make the last three by combining some of your favourite fruits, nuts, seeds and syrups? It's a lot of fun, especially if you come across something you would never even have dreamed would work together so well!

The normal way around making porridge, would be to boil up water, enough for the oats to soak up but also so that there is a little bit extra. For extra creaminess, just use a little bit of milk instead, or replace it with milk entirely. I prefer mine a little "rough", especially if there's some fresh bits of fruit involved. For the chocolate though, a dab of milk is a treat!

Oat Porridge Nine Ways



The photos read from left to right, starting at the top row, and all the recipes are one serving only.

Porridge 1) Hippie Honey Nut
About 360 calories
40 g porridge oats
1 tbsp honey
8 hazelnuts
40 g raisins
- Boil up the water and add it in a small casserole with the oats, stir frequently to prevent it from catching the bottom. Whenever the oats are cooked half way, add the honey, nuts and raisins. Simply stir until the water has evaporated enough for it to not be runny, but moist enough for it not to be too sticky. Alternatively use the honey to drizzle over the porridge instead!



Porridge 2) Warm Winter Spice
About 300 calories
30 g oats
25 g dried cranberries
1 tsp brown sugar
1 tsp allspice
1 apple, half grated

- Boil up water and have the grated apple in with the oats and simmer, stir frequently. Cut the other half of the apple into chunks and have in a small pan along with the rest of the ingredients and cook on low heat with a tbsp of water until the fruit softens a little. Top the porridge with the fruit compote and enjoy!

Porridge 3) P'N'B Supreme
About 350 calories
40 g oats
100 ml skimmed milk
1 tbsp peanut butter
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly

- Boil up the porridge along with the milk and a little bit of water if the mix looks too dry. Simply top with the peanut butter and redcurrant jelly, or swirl it through (Making it looks a liiiittle bit more appetising than the photo I took, I ended up just stirring it up whenever I served it, mmm!)

Porridge 4) Cocochoco Pawridge
About 300 calories
40 g oats
1 tsp or tbsp of unsweetened cocoa
1 tsp honey
1-2 tbsp dessicated coconut
50 ml skimmed milk

- Bring the milk to a boil and add the oats, a little water, cocoa, honey and 1 tbsp of the coconut. Once you have a deliciously chocolatey porridge mix, serve and top with another tbsp of the dessicated coconut. Definitely one of my favourites!

Porridge 5) Apricot-Cin
About 300 calories
40 g oats
2 apricots, each cut in eight
1 1/2 tbsp agave syrup
A sprinkle of cinnamon

- Glaze the apricots slightly with the agave syrup in a pot whilst you boil up the water. Add the oats to the fruit and add enough water for the porridge. Simply sprinkle with a little (or in my case - a lot!) of cinnamon and you're good to go!

Porridge 6) Cockadoodle-Apple
About 330 calories
40 g oats
50 ml skimmed milk
1 tbsp applesauce
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
1 apple, halved
1 tsp flaxseed

- Cut one half of the apple into segments, drizzle over cinnamon and bake in the oven on high heat for about 15 minutes until the ends start to turn a golden colours. Dice the other half of the apple and stew in the casserole in a little water. When the apple is softened, add the apple sauce, water, milk, flaxseed and remember to stir frequently! Top the porridge with the cinnamon apples! Optionally you can use the apple sauce for topping along with the apples, or cut the cinnamon apples you use for baking into chunks - which will make it a little less awkward to eat - but then you can't make fun patterns with it, heh!

Porridge 7) Peanut-Snowball
About 290 calories
35 g oats
2 tsp peanut butter
100 ml semi-skimmed milk
1 tbsp dessicated coconut for topping
A drizzle of agave syrup, for topping

- Cook the oats along with the milk and a little water if needed, swirls through the peanut butter as it is cooking. Serves the bowl of porridge topped with cocnut and agave syrup. Nutty heaven!



Porridge 8) Poached Plum Punch
About 200 calories
25 g oats (soaked in half a cup of water overnight)
Pinch of salt
2 plums
1 tbsp agave nectar
A few cloves
1 cinnamon stick

- Cook the porridge for about 10-15 minutes adding a little bit more water and a pinch of salt, until the water has evaporated and the porridge is smooth and creamy - add a little milk if you prefer a silkier texture, stirring frequently. In another small casserole, heat up the agave syrup and enough water to cover the fruits. Remove the pips from the plums and quarter the fruit before adding it to the syrup along with the cloves and cinnamon stick. Let it simmer on medium low heat for about five to ten minutes until the plums are soft. Drain off the liquid, take out the cloves and cinnamon, and top the warm porridge with the poached plums.
Idea came from Sophie Dahl's "From Season to Season" p. 71.

Porridge 9) Zingy Zen
About 200 calories
40 g oats
80 g frozen mixed red berried
2 tsp agave syrup for drizzling

- Simply cook up the porridge with your normal amount of water and add the berries. Once cooked, serve topped with the agave syrup.

I was inspired by a lot of different websites, blogs and also the cookbook mentioned above for my No. 8, I added my own tweaks to all of them though. Use what you've got and see what you come up with!
Please feel free to post up your own favourite porridges in the comment section, I would love to try new flavours!

- Jules

Chickpea & Mushroom Burgers with Tahini Sauce

Once again I've actually gotten around to using my cookbooks, and it has been totally worth it!

I decided to make this vegan dish the other day. These scrumptious burgers are perfect as part of a main course or just if you're wanting a snack! I found myself in the latter category and thus I only served it with a little bit of lemon juice and tahini. So far I have made them twice already!

The mixture can be a little bit tricky to work with - so to make it easier to flip them, I would suggest perhaps consider making smaller burgers (means there will be more of them, perfect for nibbles!)

Chickpea & Mushroom Burgers with Tahini Sauce
(Makes 5 - about 90 calories each, without the tahini)



2 tbsp olive oil
1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, finely chopped
400 g can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans
a handful of preferably wild mushrooms (I used chestnut mushrooms), roughly torn
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tbsp flour
Salt and pepper, about 1 tsp each

For the sauce:
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp tahini (I used the light one)
Juice of 1/4 lemon

- Heat a little bit of oil in a frying pan and sweat the onion and garlic for a few minutes until they've soften a little bit.

- Tip the onions in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients for the burgers except the remaining olive oil. Pulse in a food processor or with a stick blender until you have a mixture the consistency of breadcrumbs (because I used a stick blender, it turned out like a sticky paste instead). Use your hands and shape them into burgers.

- Heat the rest of the oil in a pan on medium high heat and fry the burgers until golden and lightly crisp.

- To serve, mix together the ingredients for the tahini sauce, and have it in a little bowl next to them.

You can serve these with the sauce, in a tortilla wrap, in a burger bun, or as part of a salad - basically for anything! They taste delicious with a bit of melted cheese too, or barbeque sauce, mmmm!

Original source:
Sophie Dahl's "From Season to Season" p. 48-49

- Jules

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Red Velvet Cupcakes

After a very pleasant venture out to a Japanese restaurant here in Glasgow called Nanakusa. I tried everything from sake, to plum wine (which by the way was delicious!) to squid sushi! It was all totally delicious and luckily not too expensive! Now I am home, stuffed, and happy, ready to hit the hay. BUT befoooore that, I thought I'd update my blog with a little sweet treat that I made for my boyfriend yesterday. It was meant to be a sort of valentines thing, but since we were going out for food today, I thought I'd get a head start to it and make some lovely Red Velvet Cupcakes! They are delicious! Next time though, I reckon I will just use a normal cream cheese frosting, as they turned out a little too sweet for my own taste. They are super moist and springy though, and super light!

Red Velvet Cupcakes
(Makes 9, about 200-250 calories each depending on topping)



30 g soft butter, like flora
75 g sugar
1 large egg, lightly beat
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp vinegar
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
60 g sour milk or natural yogurt
65 g plain flour
1 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tube or small bottle of red food colouring

For the frosting:
75 g soft, light cream cheese
75 g butter
50 g white chocolate
150-200 g icing sugar

- Start with making the frosting. Melt the white chocolate, in a waterbath. In the meantime, whisk the butter and sugar together. Pour in the melted chocolate, stir in the icing sugar, combine well and put it in the fridge to set for a while.

- Then, it's onto the cupcakes! Once again, whicks butter and sugar together, then add the egg and continue whisking.

- Afterwards, add one ingredients at a time until there are no more!

- Preheat the oven to about 175°C. Fill up 9 cupcake cases 2/3 full, and set in the middle of the oven. Bake for about 15-20 minutes until a skewer comes out clean. Set them on a wire rack to cool completely.

- Now, it's time to get creative! Put frosting on top of each cupcake, leave plain or decorate with whatever sweet treats that take your fancy!

Original source:
http://detsoteliv.no/searchresults_other1gruppe.php?2624

- Jules

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Fastelavnsboller

It is that day of the year again where Scandinavians makes buns and have them with jam, whipped cream and a sprinkle of icing sugar! Why? I am not entirely sure, but I think it has to do with an old tradition - one of the best traditions I know! It was a day where you would eat a little extra before the fast, sort of like Shrove Tuesday (Which is on this coming Tuesday, also know as Pancake Tuesday!).
Usually the children in Primary School also make "fastelavnsris" which are the twigs with little fluffy bulbs on them, decorated with colourful feathers and other little pretty things. You can also read about it on Wikipedia. There, it says that is a sort of carnival, which I wouldn't agree with as such, it's more just a sort of holiday where you do these little things that are o so nice!

Originally, this recipe was twice as big, but considering it was only my boyfriend and I who were going to have them, I decided to half it. I made six large ones, but I would recommend making 8 smaller ones, as they are quite filling!

Fastelavnsboller
(Makes about 6-8, 290-220 calories each without the filling and topping)


250-300 g plain flour (start with 250, then add more if the dough is too sticky)
50 g sugar
75 g flora light
150 ml milk (I used semi-skimmed)
25 g fresh yeast (or a sachet of dry yeast, not many shops in the UK sell it dry, I found some in a Polish shop!)
1/4 tsp hornsalt or heartshorn/ammonion bicarbonate (optional)
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 egg for brushing

Filling:
Strawberry jam
Whipped cream

Topping:
Sift a little bit of icing sugar on top

- Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl.

- Melt the butter in a pan and add the milk. It should be body temperature 37°C. Mix the yeast in with about half of the egg mixture.

- Make a well in the dry flour mix, and pour the liquid into the centre. Use a wooden spoon to blend it all together and then knead well, adding more flour if necessary. Leave the dough to rise somewhere warm for about 1 hour (I set the bowl in another bowl of hot water and covered it with a kitchen towel.

- An hour later and you can roll out the buns. Place them on a baking paper clad baking tray and leave for at least another half hour to rise some more. Make sure you have enough space between them as they will rise quite a bit!

- Preheat the oven to 180-200°C. In the meantime, crach an egg into a bowl and top each bun with some of the egg.

- Once the oven is hot, pop in the tray (or trays) of buns in the oven and leave to bake for about 12-14 minutes. I left mine in for a few minutes too much, they should have a nice golden colour. Take them out and leave them to cool down for 5-10 minutes.

- Cut each bun in half, spread over some jam, top with cream, place the lid over and sprinkle over some icing sugar using a sieve.

Original source:
http://forum.snartmamma.com/archive/index.php/t-113182.html and my mother to confirm that this was a proper recipe.

- Jules

Saturday, 9 February 2013

061 Broccoli Soup

First of all, a jolly good weekend to you all!

This morning I decided to make something omelette tastic for breakfast and here's what I came up with


This is just a simple omelette consisting of an egg, an egg white, salt and pepper and a dash of milk, served with a few slices of oak-smoked salmon and two slices of toasted delicious German rye bread!

And then we have the two-egg omelette with a few slices of torn Edam cheese, smoked ham, salt, pepper and some onion powder, served on two slices of potato scones. Bow-tie-Butterfly-style!


Earlier this week, I failed at making "cake-in-a-cup", I think I used too much common sense and tried to make it a little healthier, next time - I will do NO such thing, so that might be a wee project that will continue.

Secondly, I had a lonely little broccoli in my fridge that wanted to be used. In the original recipe, you're meant to use a kilogram of broccoli, but seeing as I am the only one in this flat who likes broccoli, and it made 3 medium servings, I thouht I might aswell give the recipe a go. I didn't have the goats cheese or gruyere that you're meant to top the soup with (1 slice on top of each or either goats cheese or gruyere), but it still tasted really nice! Here's what I did

061 Broccoli Soup
(Serves about 3, 100 calories each without the cheese)

How pretty do those cut off broccoli stems look?!

1 broccoli, about 300 grams, trimmed
1 medium potato, about 250 g, peeled and cut into chunks
800 ml vegetable stock
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste (I used quite a lot!)
Optional: 1 slice per person of either goats cheese or gruyere, to top the soup with

- Boil up the vegetable stock along with salt and pepper, and add the potato chunks. Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes until the potatoes is slightly tender.

- In the meantime, cut the broccoli into little florets. Once the ten minutes have passed, add the broccoli and continue simmering for four minutes until the broccoli is soft, but still has that nice bright green colour.

- Take the pan of the heat, and drain the potatoes and broccoli, keeping the excess liquid. Use a blender or a stick blender and whizz the vegetables until it is smooth, with no chunks. Now, you can add a little water at a time and keep blending it until you have the thickness that you desire.

- Fill up bowls of soup and optionally top with a slice of the cheese.

Original source:
Ramsay's Best Menus, number 061

- Jules