1000 Awesome things #3

Bit of a short one but haven’t done one of these in a while and as I was writing some of them, I realised some are probably quite niche and specific to me or if I’m lucky, one other human being on this planet but humour me will you. Enjoy!

80. When you find the book you were looking for in the library

81. Someone liking what you recommended

82. Ordering well at a restaurant

83. When the bin is already open so you don’t need to touch it

84. Really soft slices of bread when you first open the loaf

85. Closing your eyes and feeling the sun on your face

86. Food that’s nice and good for you

87. Food that’s nice and isn’t good for you

88. People who ask if you need any help when you’re lost (or even better, when you’re not lost at all)

89. Swings

90. The sizzling (and smell!) of a BBQ

91. People who are really happy to help you carry your overfilled suitcase down a flight of stairs

92. Listening to people’s music when they stop for a few seconds in traffic

92. People who make the effort to include you in the conversation.

93.The day you open the door and the weather is so nice you can barely tell the difference between inside and out

94. The sound of children playing in a playground. (In a completely non-creepy way)

95. Seeing a really nice-coloured car

96. The sound of cereal when you mix it in the milk with your spoon

97. When you’ve finished a pack of something but suddenly find another one at the bottom or that fell out onto the table haha

98. When coat season is over

99. Realising you’ve gotten over something

🙂

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Recipe: Unbelievably lazy banana pancakes (vegan-friendly)

Let me rephrase, banana pancakes for unbelievably lazy people. Woo! I don’t know if I can even call this a recipe because they turn out different (differently?) every time, but they usually satisfy my bananary cravings. I have literally had them for breakfast before, cheekily doubled the recipe for dinner and they have definitely made me too full once or twice when I’ve eaten them for dessert and probably shouldn’t have had that earlier second helping of rice.

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You can do whatever you like with these: I’ve had them with fresh or stewed berries before, added a bit of yoghurt or (impatiently) let a square of dark chocolate melt on top – err yum! You could totally throw in some toasted nuts, dessicated coconut, fro-yo! Aaaaanything.

Makes 3 small pancakes – suitable for a second breakfast or dessert after a light (or, in my case, any) dinner.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp self-raising flour
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 1 ripe banana (I like to keep it partially unmashed. I mean I would never say no to some caramelised banana chunks. Or sometimes, when I’m feeling really bananary, I mash about 3/4 and rip up the rest into the mixture.)

Method

  1. Mash the banana.
  2. Mix in the milk.
  3. Fold in the flour.
  4. Fry, pressing down a little, a little oil (coconut oil is the best because I love the nutty fragrance it gives!)

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Love a good healthy but actually nice tasting plate of food!

I know they don’t look like the fluffiest stack of pancakes with an action shot of maple syrup being drizzled over and the (in my opinion) not-always-called-for rashers of crispy bacon sat on top, but number 1: I don’t think they particularly need any sweetener if your bananas are ripe enough and you have some nice accompaniments with it. And number 2, you’re just gonna have to bear with me and my amateur picture-taking skills until I become a pro at using my currently under-achieving DLR, which isn’t fulfilling its full potential at the moment.

Recipe: (Quick) Bircher muesli

Apart from the creamy, delicious, cold-porridge aspect of bircher muesli, I know the point of it is that it’s a make-ahead breakfast for those rushed or lazy mornings where you just want to roll out of bed and be able to put some food in your mouth with minimal effort and/or unappetising post-breakfast oatiness to wash up after the meal. But for me, the prep beforehand makes breakfast more effortful. Sometimes I just crave that bircher muesli goodness without having to wait hours for all the ingredients to meld together.

What is bircher muesli though? Overnight oats. Cold/summery porridge. And it doesn’t require any cooking. Overnight bircher to me tastes too much of raw oats and everything merges together to give one bland texture (plus it doesn’t look too appetising, let’s be honest). So this is perfect if you want to keep the crunch of the almonds and the flavour and mouth-feel of the dried fruit.

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So here’s my speedy muesli which satisfies my cold-porridge cravings – try it out if you want low-maintenance oats in the morning that are neither burning hot (I mean who wants their patience tested in the morning when you’re still wiping the sleep out of your eyes) or still have that raw edge to them (do oats have edges?). Enjoy! 🙂

Serving: 1 small (but filling!) bowl

Ingredients

  • juice of 1 orange
  • 2 handfuls of rolled oats (finer oats, rather than the big organic oat flakes – e.g. I use Quaker’s)
  • 1 handful of (toasted) flaked almonds
  • 1 sprinkling of dried currants
  • 1 spoonful of yoghurt/splash of milk

Method

  1. Juice the orange into your serving bowl.
  2. Mix roughly 2 handfuls of oats into the juice with a spoon.
  3. Whilst the oats absorb the fresh citrus-y orange juice, toast the almonds if they’re not toasted already. Add to the oats along with the currants and mix.
  4. After a few minutes of soaking and absorbing, fold in a spoonful of yoghurt or a little milk (I quite like almond.)
  5. Serve with some fruit for freshness.

Recipe notes:

  • I don’t like soaking oats in milk or yoghurt too much because it infuses a raw oaty taste into the whole thing (one reason why I use fresh juice rather than more dairy). So just experiment with how much you use and for how long to find the taste you like.
  • Easily made vegan by using almond milk instead of yoghurt (I think soya yoghurt/milk would have too strong of a flavour)
  • I like to be able to taste the orange so I don’t overpower it with too much yoghurt (especially if it’s natural yoghurt).
  • Really good with grated apple – this is traditionally seen in bircher muesli but it browns über quickly, so the muesli loses its fresh taste and look (and also, graters are really annoying to wash. AmIright?)
  • Use any dried fruit and nuts you like! (raisins, apricots, toasted walnuts..)
  • I recommend folding in the seeds and juice of a passion fruit! 😀 Adds sharpness, texture and a nice orangey-yellow colour too. Yum!

A lesson: Making people happy

How do you expect to make others happy when you yourself aren’t?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for being kind, considerate and selfless in life but sometimes I find myself thinking about others before myself which, if I’m honest, makes me, I wouldn’t say unhappy or anything but “low-spirited” I guess. What I’m saying is, don’t do something for someone if it sacrifices your own happiness. Especially if someone can see you’re not happy, what you’re doing won’t make them any happier.

You have to sort yourself out first before you can make others happy.

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(Expect to see more of these cute lil’ drawings in my posts 😀 For more, check out http://chibird.com/)

Recipe: Pea, pancetta, leek and onion loaded potatoes

Urghh I love these kinds of recipes! A few simple ingredients that you don’t need to tamper with and no unnecessary salt, butter, cheese or anything else which takes away from the actual stuff inside it!

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You can put whatever you like in it and I’m positive you can find combinations that taste just as good without meat – but the natural sweetness of the leeks, peas and fried onions along with the saltiness of the pancetta satisfies all the flavour you and your tastebuds ever wished for.

I really don’t like weekday meals that take a long time, but don’t be put off by these potatoes. It’s seriously simple and what I do is just throw them in the oven whilst I’m doing my work or on a day the oven’s baking something. You can even cook them in advance and mash ’em later if you’re not ready for them yet – that way it doesn’t interfere with your day 🙂

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You can mash them up smooth or leave it chunky (which is quite nice as otherwise the flavour’s quite strong) and can definitely leave out the dairy (the cream cheese barely changes the texture anyway – just brings everything together a little). You can replace the cheese on top with breadcrumbs or just throw them in like that and let the tops crispen up! Yum.

I know how much people can’t help but cover the whole potato with cheese and let it go all melted and oozy and crispy on top, but do me a favour and try it with just a couple of gratings! In my opinion, it’ll only detract from the flavour and will undoubtedly over-salt it!

But ultimately, do with it what you will. This one’s for Celine (didn’t mean to sound like I was on stage there) – enjoy! I hope everyone else reading this learns to love the simplicity and deliciousness of the recipe as I have.

(P.S. Am I the only one who puts peas in everything? 😀 )

Makes 4 loaded potatoes

Ingredients

  • 1 leek
  • 2 onions
  • 100 g pancetta/bacon lardons
  • 2 handfuls of frozen peas
  • 2 tsp cream cheese
  • 10 g cheese
  • 4 medium-large potatoes
  • Ground pepper

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C.
  2. Bake the potatoes for around 45 minutes depending on their size.
  3. When the potatoes are almost done (~15 minutes), peel, wash and slice your leeks and onions (chop the leeks chunkier than the onions because they’ll cook down).
  4. Fry bacon in a little oil (just to stop from sticking to the pan – remember fat will cook out) before adding your leeks.
  5. Add onions after the leeks have softened a bit.
  6. Add your frozen peas, minutes before everything’s all at that nice caramelised stage.
  7. Take out the potatoes, cut “lengthways” and scoop out the flesh into a bowl.
  8. Add cream cheese, all the nice fried stuff and season with pepper, to taste.
  9. Top with a few gratings of cheesy, just so each bite has a little melty goodness.

Recipe notes:

  • If you’re short of time, cut the potatoes in half first – just be prepared to exclude the skin formed before mashing.
  • I’m really not a cheese-y person so just went for a cheddar cheese but feel free to experiment!
  • As mentioned above, crispen without a topping or with breadcrumbs and skip the cream cheese for dairy-free.

So this was totally unexpected: Liebster award!

Okay, so I’ve been trying hard to do one recipe and one musing type post whenever I send something out into the world on here because of the food promised in the blog name, but right now recipe-perfecting and mini food photo-shoots just take up too much of the little free time I have so I’m sorry, foodies, for deviating from the usual posting routine.

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Now onto what this post’s really about. You might be thinking: What is this Liebster award. And before you open a new tab, I’m going to stop you right there and save you the Googling. It’s an award for new blogs with small followings – someone has been on your blog, liked what they saw and wanted to show their appreciation for it by spreading the word. I didn’t know about this until Dennis nominated me for this one. (Check out his blog if you’re looking for some friendly advice on where to eat vegan food and how to act around your vegan friends). I have to admit, it’s a little odd at first – nominating people for virtual, chain-mail-like “awards” and I completely understand some of the skepticism behind it, but I’m not going to over-think it and take this one as a victory for my newbie blog. Yay.large_final-007Br

It’s kinda like in real life; people should express their appreciation for things. Whether it’s being grateful for what someone does for you everyday or taking a second out of your routine to think about the things in life that we take for granted. Food. Family. Friends. Air. The smell of frying onions. And everything else we are not deprived of in this part of the world.

Sorry for turning this light-hearted piece of, I guess, blog culture into a rambling life lesson. But before I really start, these awards not only open your own blogger thoughts and ideas to a bit more of the world, but also introduces something different to the readers of your blog. And who knows, maybe one of them will click on it, love what they see and their day can be brightened every week whenever they get that little envelope in their inbox telling them there’s a new post by Jiminy Billy Bob. In the mean time, the blogger can get that warm, fuzzy feeling when they see that orange notification in the corner of their screen telling them, hey, there’s another person that thinks my blog is cool.

my_fingers_by_zita952-d5ni3an I was going to try and keep my answers short and sweet ’cause I doubt many of you are interested in reading paragraphs about my life story. But judging by this long introductory one, I’d keep my expectations low. So here ya go. Thanks Dennis for nominating me – completely out of the blue, totally flattered and couldn’t have imagined actual people who like reading my recipes and listening to my daily thoughts enough to sign up, let alone someone picking me out specifically to show their appreciation for my own little corner of the internet.

My answers:

1) Where do you get the ideas for your blog posts?  They usually stem from the mental clutter in my mind. There’s definitely something comforting about finding someone in this “ubiquitous” small world (that’s me using a new word, hoping that I used it in the right way and not making a fool of myself) who feels the exact same way as you do in one situation or another. You know the feeling. When you have the same opinion about a specific topic. Or a certain feeling you didn’t realise you got until someone else started describing it. But yes, anyway, they come from my brain. I usually jot down things when I find something I like or write down a reminder of a lesson I learnt that day, that might comfort someone who was feeling lousy about doing the same thing.

In terms of recipes, they come from many failures, successes and binned scrambled-egg-custard. I’m not sure about the usual delicious-looking foods that appear on the internet like they emerged from the cook without accidentally getting flour all over their un-aproned shirt, but it definitely takes a lot of time and effort before a recipe makes it on here.

2) What is the best feedback you have ever gotten on a blog post? As a new blogger, I obviously haven’t had a lot of people interested in what I’m posting, which is completely understandable. But that just makes it all the sweeter when someone genuinely compliments you on it. So I would have to say “I absolutely love the way you write” and “We look forward to reading your posts” are the ones that have stuck with me. I wasn’t born a writer and didn’t start this blog searching for admirers or views – it was simply to put my recipes out there and have an outlet for my thoughts, but when a compliment is said about something that came from and is fundamentally you, it’s nice. Really nice 🙂

3) What motivates you to keep blogging?  I know I just said I didn’t start looking for follows and “likes”, but if I’m honest, my motivation has evolved to the idea that my recipes and thoughts can actually reach people and affect someone. Even if it’s just somebody trying one of my recipes and adapting it to their liking. Or a comment saying they totally relate to something I just said. That. I want that. For people to feel like they can identify with the things I talk about and to be as excited as I am about the recipes I post.

4) If you could move to any part of the world right now, where would you go and why?  Off the top of my head, Copenhagen (Laila 😉 ). I’ve heard it’s one of the happiest cities and I, without a doubt, want to try a real Danish pastry.

5) What’s your favorite restaurant in the world?  There isn’t one that’s shouting out to me right now, so I’ll just say Las Iguanas. Cassava fries, sweet potato, refried beans and DIY fajitas!

6) Where is your favorite place in the world?  and 7) If you were a character from a movie or a different world (e.g. from Space), who or what would you be, and what would your story be?  These are too hard! And require some serious thought – will get back to you when I think of something..

8) Who are some of your heroes (past or present)? I don’t think I’ve really lived long enough to be confronted with massive hurdles I’ve had to conquer, milestones I needed to face or a huge passion for something in particular in order to have a figure to totally and utterly motivate me in my everyday life. So unfortunately for you, my answer will have to be the clichéd “my mum and dad”. I won’t elaborate to even attempt to verbalise what they signify – just want to say that choosing them certainly does not take away from the genuineness (had to oxford-dictionary that) of my answer.

9) Please tell me a joke 🙂 : Jokes about German sausages are the wurst.

10) What is the one thing that you do each day without fail?  Think about what I’m going to be eating later 😀 For sure.

11) If clothes make the men, what does what you are wearing right now say about you? I feel like I should give a really deep philosophical answer to this one, but all I ever wear is a tonne of layers with a scarf around my neck and my big fat Timberlands. The real reason is because I’m cold (and have no other clothes). But I guess, if we’re analysing things, this “sensitivity” to the elements could reflect how sensitive I am. To and about absolutely everything. Other people’s emotions and thoughts. I usually take them up as my own and learnt recently that maybe I burden myself with them. Not only that, but my own mental state is very sensitive to change too – my stress levels, mood or outlook on life can change in the blink of an eye.

Alright. So you’re meant to “nominate” other blogs that are also new, but most of the ones I’m subscribed to already have quite big followings. So I’ll just give a coupla of links to a few that I like and personally think are worth checking out. They might not be your kind of thing, but it’s always worth stopping by.

Neil’s 1000 Awesome Things for days you need a pick-me-up

Girl on the Contrary for a chuckle and a reminder that you’re not the only weird yet awesome human being out there (that’s a link to a post of hers I liked)

A spoonful of nature for awesome photography and general musings you can relate to

Jam and Thimble for those of you who like your textiles

Phew. Thanks for reading til’ the end! 😀 I hope you enjoyed the post!