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RECIPE: Very quick and easy tomato soup with coconut-cayenne sweet corn (reblog)

RECIPE: Very quick and easy tomato soup with coconut-cayenne sweet cornImage

I don’t need to tell you in every step to wash the veg right? You know that? If not, wash everything before using it! 

♔ Cut 7 tomatoes (think size between cherry and beef) into cubes, discarding the green stem bit.

♔ Cut 1 bunch of spring onions into thin slices (I always peel one layer off, but that’s a personal preference, and you know take the hairy bit and the dry green end bits off)

♔ Crush 1 big clove of garlic

♔ Heat a (generous) tablespoon of olive oil in a sauce pan

♔ When hot, add the spring onions and the garlic

♔ Then after about a minute or so (you want the flavour to come out, but not burn the garlic, because that’d be very bitter), add the tomato cubes, a little (think less than a teaspoon) vegetable stock powder and a big splash of water and let it simmer with a lid on

♔ Chop a small handful of coriander and basil and add to the soup

♔ Blend together

♔ Boil 1 corn on the cob according to package instructions

♔ When it’s almost done, melt a little more than a teaspoon of coconut oil in a frying pan

♔ When the sweetcorn is done, add it to the pan with the coconut oil along with a pinch of cayenne pepper and onion powder.

♔ Watch it closely, because spices burn very quickly. You pretty much only want it covered in the spiced oil (I burnt mine a little, so I think it’s better to take it off the heat once the oil is melted)

♔ Cut the sweetcorn of the stem and add to your soup. Enjoy.

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Current Lunchbox Favourite: Spicy Carrot Noodles with Quinoa and Natural Yoghurt

Hi Hi, I do realise this space hasn’t exactly been very busy recently, I’m still trying to figure out my life around working full time now, but I’m definitely planning to talk more about delicious food on here again as soon as everything settles a little bit. 

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Now work is kind of exactly why I thought I’d quickly blog today, I thought I’d share with you my current lunch box favourite. It’s super tasty, cheap and fairly quick to make too, and it’s all about my recent obsession of turning vegetables into noodles. 

So, don’t ask me why, but carrots just don’t taste as good in any other shape (yes I do realise this makes me sound like a child), so if you want to make this, you’ll need to invest in a julienne peeler. Don’t worry though, it isn’t a very big investment. I have this one, which set me back a whooping 6.40. Pretty good investment though in my opinion. So let’s cut to it. I don’t know how hungry you are, so I’m not going to list quantities, and oh yeah also because I always forget how much and just wing it every time. I still think this is worth talking about though, because I just like it so much and it’s all up to your personal taste anyway.

♣ Peel carrots, trim off the bottom end. (You won’t use the top end either, but it’s better to keep it for now, so you have a grip on the carrot)

♣ Use your shiny new julienne peeler to cut the carrots into noodles. Be careful, it’s very easy to cut yourself with these things. I find it works best, when you pin the carrot down with a fork, and do it on the horizontal. You could also try to get your not as clumsy boyfriend to do it for you. I find the latter works the very best. 

♣ Get your quinoa (/bulgur wheat/couscous/ideally a mix of them) on. Make sure you rinse it very very well, you don’t want any of the bitter stuff to stay on. Cook it maybe according to Gwyneth Paltrow (Recipe for example here). The only thing I do slightly different is that instead of salt, I add a little bit of good quality vegetable stock powder and a tiny bit of honey)

♣ Whilst that’s cooking, cook your noodles. To do this, melt a little bit of coconut oil in a frying pan. Then, crush in some peeled garlic and if you fancy it, grate in some fresh (peeled) ginger

♣ Once you can smell the beautiful aromas, add the carrot noodles. Sprinkle some vegetable stock powder and cayenne pepper on, let them fry for just a little bit, then add a bit of water (not much though), so they’re cooking in veg stock for a couple of minutes (you want them to be slightly softer but still have a crunch). I’d start with fairly little water and add more if they still have too much crunch for you, because you don’t want them to overcook/drain away any of the flavours with the water. Voilà, that’s them done. 

♣ Serve with the quinoa/bulgur wheat/coucous/ideally a mix of them and some greek yoghurt to balance out some of the heat you’ll be getting from the cayenne pepper. 

♣ Job done. Lunch prepared. 

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The whole Jamie Oliver thing

I feel like the post has to start with a little disclaimer. No I don’t understand what’s it’s like to live below the poverty line, and I’m grateful for that, I absolutely don’t know how I’d live on as little as £10 a week for two. What I do understand is that there are a lot of people, way too many, who are really really struggling, like struggling more than anybody should. I appreciate that, I feel sincerely sorry for those that do struggle and I’m more than grateful that I’ve never had to. 

But, to get to my point, I’m sure so is Jamie Oliver. To be honest, I’m so sure (or at least really want to believe) that he’s not targeting the people that are really struggling and having to turn over each penny with his messages. As I understand it, he’s targeting people where wrong choices (wrong in terms of wrong if you want to eat as healthily as you possibly can on your particular budget) are made on a daily basis. Families, where they get a lot of takeaways, which I understand can be a tempting offer with burgers being as cheap as £1 at McDonalds. Or families where a lot of cigarettes are smoked and a lot of alcohol is drunk. Obviously in those cases a lot of changes can be made, because you can make your own (veggie)burger for 9p according to Jack from A Girl called Jack. I deeply believe that he never wanted to offend people like Jack, who try their hardest to feed their family with whatever they can afford, I believe that with his message, that yes can be interpreted this way, he’s trying to get to people who do the things he described (eat chips in front of a huge TV). I’ve waited to write this blogpost, because I really didn’t want to come across judgemental, since I’m mainly writing this post, because all the hate that’s going on online all the time, upsets me.

From reading more and more about all of this, I gathered that a lot of people who are poor and have big TVs, that they got them for free, because someone gave it away or on freecycle or something similar. And I do think that people still have the right to choose a TV (because even if the TV is free, a TV license is pretty expensive, which is why during Uni, D and I chose to just watch stuff on iPlayer etc, since we definitely needed Internet, meaning that Internet was an expense already anyway), everyone is allowed to choose their priorities, but if you decide that nutritious food is your main priority, I tend to agree with Mr Oliver, that some people (unfortunately!) might have to make some sacrifices, which may or may not include not having a TV and not ordering so many takeaways. But let me stress again, I don’t think so many people below the poverty line do live like this, I think there’s some people who are living like this, who are claiming to struggle (which is down to not sorting their priorities out), which reflects badly on all those who try their hardest every single day. 

Of course, JO will earn lots of money from this, and of course he’s so far away from the poverty line, but he’s also worked his way up there. He works hard for his success, and yes a lot of people who work  hard haven’t been rewarded to the same extent (if at all), which is sad, but it’s also life.
I don’t think that should be ground enough for all the hating that’s once more going on. I’m so sick and tired of it. He’s written a book followed many requests for affordable recipes, and yes he’ll earn lots of money from it, but as far as I understand it, it really is supposed to help people eat healthier food for not very much money. He said that the average price per portion in the book is £1.40, which I think is pretty good. Of course it’s not good enough for everyone, but for a lot of people I think this could be pretty useful! 

I want to make sure everyone who reads this understands that I think everyone can and should have their own opinions, and I understand that people who are struggling might find what he said offensive, because the image portrayed in his message and that a lot of society has, is not applicable to them, because they work incredibly hard to make things work, to not send their kids to bed hungry and they still get put in the same category as those who spend money on the wrong (see above) things. 

I hope my point comes across, I really do, because I kind of felt like I needed to write this and I really don’t want to come across like I agree with that everyone who’s poor is like this (but then I don’t think that’s what he meant, which in a way is my whole point). 
How people spend money for food is something I think about a lot, and I still think that people who earn a healthy amount of money, should spend it on good ingredients for their food , first of all, because I think food should be one of people’s main priorities, it’s what fuels your body (but of course you’re welcome to disagree), but also to keep medium sized companies alive, that struggle to produce food for as little as retailers demand. I appreciate that the super cheap basics food in supermarkets is important for people who are struggling, I just think anyone who can afford to, would be better off spending money on good quality food. I’ve written about that here and here

This post got a lot longer than I planned. If you read it all, thank you for taking the time, I’d love to hear your opinions on this (and I’m respectful of all opinions, as long as they’re not really hateful).  

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Things To Try Thursday – THE FIRST MESS

Photo by Laura and used with permission (link to the original post: http://www.thefirstmess.com/2013/08/15/caponata-panzanella/)

Photo by Laura and used with permission (link to the original post: http://www.thefirstmess.com/2013/08/15/caponata-panzanella/)

Yo! I’ve decided to mix things up a little bit and rather than presenting you with a selection of recipes I’ve come across on various blogs, I’d like to present you with the recipes that tickled me the most from a specific blog. The reason I’m putting the focus on one particular blog is, because I was just going through Laura (The First Mess)’s blog and the very first recipe that came up I liked, so I decided to put it in my draft for this week’s Things To Try Thursday (which I often do, surprisingly the list is often not compiled at once), but then as I scrolled through and through her blog and found myself going through numerous next pages, finding numerous recipes I definitely want to try out, I thought why not dedicate a Things To Try Thursday to a food blogger, that I really admire? And here we are :) Laura has an absolutely beautiful blog, as I said amazing sounding recipes, and breathtakingly pretty photos, you definitely have to go and check it out!

SWEET

♔ Is this dreamy or what? A Rhubarb Fool with Vanilla and Coconut Cream

SAVOURY

♔ I confessed my love for well cooked Aubergine before, this recipe seems perfect – Caponata Panzanella

♔ This is so inventive, yet so immediately appealing – A simple Balsamic Melon Salad

♔ How tasty and refreshing does this look? So creative – Chili, Lime Cucumber Noodles on Salted Watermelon with Mint and Basil

♔ Pretty and probably very tasty – Asparagus Salad with Sesame, Chilli and Limi Dressing

♔ This one seems like the perfect autumn dish – Butternut and Corn Salad

DRINKS

♔ I’m not always 100% on board with green smoothies, but this one seems indulgent AND healthy. Score! The Green Drink

♔ I know summer’s almost over, but come on, how refreshing does this look? Icecold Hot Pink Lemonade with Lavender

On Plastic Bags

Aren't our surroundings beautiful? Let's all make small changes to reduce how much we litter it!

Aren’t our surroundings beautiful? Let’s all make small changes to reduce how much we litter it!

(From my other blog, but because it’s relevant everywhere, also reposted here :) )

Let’s talk about plastic bags. I know it’s a thrilling topic and who doesn’t enjoy a little chat about them? Even if you don’t, I feel like we need this little chat. I’m not initiating this chat to have a go at anyone, I’m writing about this, because I feel that if I can just get a couple more people to think about how many (unnecessary) plastic bags they use and get them to take their own bag more often, it’d be a good thing.
Let me start by telling you that I’m aware, there’s many many things out there that you can and should do, and I’m only starting to try to learn more about this myself, I’m trying to educate myself and to implement at least some small changes. I’m not saying this is the single most important thing to think about, I’m just saying this is something that won’t be intrusive to your daily life (not to say that we shouldn’t make intrusive changes too), but that can actually make somewhat of a change. To be honest, I think it’s frightening to consider the impact we’re having on this planet, but baby steps people, baby steps.

Plastic bags are made from petroleum, you know that stuff we’re all so concerned about because it’s scarce? Yeah that. In Germany, every single year 5,000,000,000 plastic bags are used, which if they were stacked on top each other is apparently 30 times as high as the Mount Everest. In England it’s over 6 billion, each of which is used for an average of only 20 minutes and the majority of which ends up in a landfill, where it supposedly takes over 1000 years to rot (click). And I’m sure you’ve all seen the images of how they end up in the sea and on beaches where they are dangerous for animals (click)

Anyway, I don’t want to go on, I’m pretty sure everyone knows that plastic is pretty bad and I definitely don’t know it all! What I do know is that it’s pretty easy to cut back on how many you use, like SO easy:

♣ Don’t get a bag when you’re only buying one single item! This drives me absolutely mad! Why would you need a bag when it’s only one or two items? You’ll still need to carry the bag, so why not just carry that one greeting card/bottle of water you bought? And if there’s anyone working at checkouts? I don’t know if the supermarkets make you offer them to customers, but why not just stop offering if it looks like the customer could very easily carry the items they bought? They’d ask for one if they really needed one.

♣ Take big bags from home when you’re doing a big shop (like Ikea bags, or the big Tesco ones). I see so many people who get 8-10 bags when they’re doing their weekly shop and I think it’s terrible. Not only is it obviously bad for the environment, but it’s also a lot more hassle to carry them inside.

♣ Get an eco-friendly, foldable bag to always have in your purse. My nan sent me one of those a couple of months ago, and I don’t think I got any plastic bags since. They’re so tiny they’ll fit into every handbag (don’t kid yourself, if you have space for all the stuff you’ve got in there already, you’ll have space for these, + they’re super light). They’re for the times, when you didn’t plan a big shops and want to just quickly pop into Tesco to get some bread, and end up getting milk, cheese and some delicious cinnamon swirls as well. With these, you’ll have your bag with you.

♣ If you have a compost, that’s great. Did you know that there’s compostable bin bags as well? Maybe use those :)

That’s it, as far as what I can think of to reduce your usage of them. If you do these things, you’ll use so many less, if not no more plastic bags, and I think that’s a nice little contribution you can make to not litter our planet, without being too intrusive in your everyday life.

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Happy 4th Birthday

FotoWow, so WordPress just notified me that I started this little blog 4 years ago. I have to be honest, I can’t really believe it’s been that long. It’s changed a little over time, it started in German and with dishes that showed how cheaply and tastily you can cook for a single person. Two summers ago, I switched to English, added the occasional restaurant review, and started doing the series Things to Try Thursday, which I still really enjoy doing. My recipes have become more varied, and there’s now a bigger emphasis on healthy and seasonal food. Speaking of which, I also initiated the #VegBoxChallenge to encourage fellow bloggers and readers to eat more seasonal food and reduce their food waste, which turned out a much bigger success than I had anticipated. 

But then on the other side, I’m currently sat here watching some cookery programme on iPlayer, so obviously not that much has changed, I’m still utterly in love with food, and I’m fine with that, I think it’s something good to be passionate about.

I just wanted to say thank you to all the people who comment on and like my posts and recipes, and also to those who just read them, it means the world! Knowing that there’s a couple of you on the other side makes me exited to try out new things and to share them with you.

Thank you for sticking round :)

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Something to watch

I recently came across this video and thought it was really really interesting. It’s basically about studies on how nutrition can affect our health. Obviously I can’t really say how statistically relevant they are, and I also wouldn’t make any recommendations based on this, but I just thought it was a very interesting watch! Let me know what you think.

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Things To Try Thursday – 08/08/13

IMG_6202Sweet

♣ I’m so in love with overnight oats/bircher muesli anyway, but infusing it with rooibos just takes it to a whole new level! Apparently it adds a certain sweetness, without actually adding any sugar or the like – Rooibos Infused Bircher Muesli

♣ Oh, and apparently this is how you can make overnight oats look good! Very Cherry Overnight Oats

♣ Pretty, refreshing and healthy – Beach-Banana Smoothie Popsicles

♣ I really want to get into baking with wholemeal flour, and these little babies seem like the perfect way to get started – Banana and Oat Muffins

♣ I like that this is banana cake and not bread! My friend’s mum used to make an incredible banana cake (with chocolate chips mmmh) – Really Bananary Banana Cake

♣ I’ve been trying to perfect my own version of Granola bars, and so far whilst they were delicious, they just weren’t right. Maybe these will show me how it’s done right! Thick, Chewy Granola Bars

♣ These look so naughty, but apparently are not? Yum! Clean Caramel Delites

Savoury

♣ I really love Aubergine, but only when it’s done right (if not, I absolutely hate it, and will sort the pieces out of any dish), this one looks like the aubergine has exactly the right consistency and is accompanied by a tasty sauce (thank you Mr Oliver) – Incredible Sicilian Aubergine Stew (Caponata)

♣ Baked Aubergine – I told you I love Aubergine

♣ My ideal food situation is one, where I always have some little salads and sauces going in the fridge, so other dishes are really easy to put together and can be quite simple otherwise. This Spiced Red Cabbage Slaw seems perfect for this sort of thing, and would be beautiful in every wrap, or for example in the summer rolls, I included in my Things to Try Thursday last week

♣ Simple but probably very delicious – Baked Basil Courgette

♣ I love me some sushi :) Asparagus Avocado Sushi

What have you come across that you need to try this week? Please share it with me :)

P.S. Very random side note, 5 years ago today I had my first ever driving lesson! I remember because it was the 08/08/08 and lots of people were getting married, because the number 8 is supposedly a lucky number. I can’t believe it has been 5 years.

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A 5 course meal for my amazing grandparents

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Hello lovely people! I need your help. Last year my lovely grandparents celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary, crazy right? That’s more than twice as many years as I’ve lived so far. But they made it, and we celebrated with the family and had a lovely time. However, I haven’t delivered our (mine and Daniel’s) present yet! Our present was a 5 course meal, but with me being in England practically all of the time, we haven’t come round to actually hosting this dinner yet. I want to make it amazing, like really really good, because they’re the most incredible grandparents anyone could wish for and they’ve supported me throughout my whole life. I also want to make it amazing, because I want everyone to think that I cook good food. More the former reason though, I want to show them my love and appreciation, and Daniel will help me to do this.

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Now, there’s one slight problem, but no real hinderance, my granddad suffers from diabetes, so as far as my understanding of this goes, this means that it shouldn’t involve any sugars and not too many carbs. I’ve got some ideas lined up, but I’m struggling a little bit, especially with dessert, since he can’t even have an awful lot of fruit!

This is where I could do with your help! Not only would it be great if you could recommend diabetic-friendly desserts, but also I’d love to hear your tried and tested dinner party food (i.e. delicious and elegant food), that would you cook to show your love and appreciation?

On healthy eating

ImageI already posted this on my other (new) blog, but because it’s food related, I thought it’d also be relevant here :)

How do you find the right mix between eating things that are good for you and make you feel good and becoming a Hippie or even worse loosing the fun in eating, because you’re obsessing over it so much? I’m really kind of struggling to find the right balance.

Sometimes I wish I’d never started to think about healthy eating, obviously rationally it was a very good thing to do, but I don’t like how it makes it a lot harder to enjoy the occasional pizza or the occasional sugar-syrup filled chai latte, when I really at least want to really enjoy them, when I choose to. It’s like the more you learn and read about nutrition, the more difficult it seems to get it right. Like they said on the joe rogan podcast, pizza used to be a treat, now it’s sweet potato chips, where is this all going?
But, it’s not just that I worry more about putting bad things into my body, it’s also that since starting to eat healthier, my body has started to resent shitty food. I never used to understand people, who would feel like vegetables after living of fast food for a couple of days, I could have lived of pizza! And now? I don’t feel so good after eating it anymore, and once I even got stomach cramps after drinking diet coke again. Of course I don’t know if it might just be hypochondria (to be honest, a rather large proportion of it almost definitely is), but I’m not enjoying it!
I like it both. I love healthy food, but I also love pizza, pasta, icecream and chocolate, sometimes even all in one day, crazy right?

 But even if you choose healthy food all the time, there are so many controversies about what is healthy. There’s even something about kale not actually being all that good for you because of oxalic acid, and eating too much fruit is also bad, because of all the sugar? This makes me sad! Isn’t eating fruit still better than eating crisps? 
 
I guess what I believe in is listening to your body, or if you’ve come of the right (what even is this?) track, to gently guide your body towards craving things that are good for it again, by getting it used to supposedly healthy things. I really like healthy food now, I crave it, I enjoy preparing it, and I’ve decided to start compiling a list of recipes for food that is full of good things, but doesn’t feel like it (if that makes sense? I could for example never get my head round just lettuce without at least a delicious dressing. Nori Rolls filled with delicious goodness however? I’M ON BOARD).
I also believe in moderation (and even that in moderation, as they say). Pizza makes me happy. It’s a fact. I love getting a dominos, probably way too much, and I never want to fully give this up! I try not to have it more than like 2-3 times a month, but I figured that if it makes me happy, it’s somewhat ok. I can eat all the kale (or not?!?!) and coconut oil in the world the next day to get back on track.
 
 I believe in listening questioning why you’re about to eat something? Whether its because of something your body actually needs, boredom or emotional emptiness? By this I don’t mean that emotional emptiness can’t be a reason to eat, but I try to question whether it would actually help me to make me feel better to have that chocolate bar or whether that bag of crisps would actually just make me feel more miserable and fatty. 
 
What I don’t believe in are diets and calorie counting. 
 
For this one, I would genuinely really love to hear your opinions (I always do, but I know that my posts are normally not that discussion friendly). How do you make sure your food keeps you healthy without giving up things that you love? How do you manage to find the right balance, or do you think that you should give up unhealthy things completely? 

 

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