Monthly Archives: March 2014

My lovely Le Creuset

IMG_7561

 

[Did not realise I could change the size of the photo – woo!]

Following on from ‘We heart cooking’, it’s now ‘I heart my cooking things’. We got this dish as a wedding present, and it’s one of the big ones, so you could feed about 8 people from it…which I sometimes make enough for, my portion calculating is terrible! I made beef tikka masala tonight in this lovely pot (coconut milk, where have you been all my life?!), and it feels so homely coming out of here rather than a saucepan. My mum always puts things in nice serving dishes, and I never quite understood why, but when you have one of these bad boys on the table, it’s like, ‘Ohh now I see’. Obviously this is more than a serving thing, and when you’ve cooked in it it often has splatter all over it…it feels like the Lurpak advert, you know with the song that goes ‘chop chop chop chop chopppiinng…dice dice dice dice diccciinnng…we’re cooking up a rainbow todaaayyy..’? (Woo hyperlink! Turns out I did listen in those IT lessons..).

IMG_7560

 

Risotto in the pot

Another of my cooking things that I really like but want to use more is the slow cooker. This was a Christmas present from the year before last, and I’ve only used it two or three times, but it’s SO great. Make food in the morning, switch it on, then 8 hours later – voilà! This takes a bit more organisation (not my forte), but always worth it. I did casserole the other week, and the beef was just perfect…not chewy or dry, just tender and falling apart….YUM. Watch this space for more slow cooker meals 🙂

IMG_7552 IMG_7553

Casserole in the slow cooker

Finally – tongs (not thongs, T.O.N.G.S). Oh my word, tongs are FAB. I could write my dissertation on tongs. I would argue that they are essential because they’re great. If you don’t have these in the kitchen, get some! Not only good for turning sausages (although they are awesome for turning sausages), you can make sure all the diced meat gets cooked in the pan, they’re great for meatballs, deep frying fishcakes…you will not ceased to be amazed by their versatile-ness. It may seem OTT, but seriously, tongs.

Teatime!

When someone says ‘Teatime!’, what comes to mind? For me, it’s always meant evening meal time…I’ve always thought this was a northern thing, so hopefully I’ll always call it this, even if we move down south at some point 🙂

This year, I’ve discovered that I like cooking. Since I went to Uni, I’ve always cooked, but I think I lived on risotto, spag bol and macaroni cheese in first year, then risotto and macaroni cheese in second year (I was in Morocco, I don’t think I ever bought myself any meat – no offence Morocco..I did eat it though obviously, hello chicken tagine for £2), then BOOM I got married and started cooking for two! We ventured out to homemade pizzas (the man can make a good pizza base), I tried a few new things but never stuck to them, made some soups…also started baking brownies (almost foolproof Jamie Oliver recipe – AMAZING). That was third year, and now here we are in final year. I’d like to have a good repertoire of meals that I can fall back on before having kids (still a LONG way off, so plenty of time to practice!), or even just in a mad week, so this year has been more adventurous. I still go to my old faves, but mix them up a bit. Also, Jamie’s 15 minute meals are pretty incredible, as long as you allow at least half an hour – sorry Jamie, it takes me about 10 mins just to chop my veg! A favourite in our house is BBQ pork with cajun rice. Even our nephews wolfed it down (albeit slowly for the 3 year old) – thumbs up in my book.

One new thing for us this year (well this month) has been fish. Now I have NEVER eaten fish. As a child, I was incredibly annoyingly fussy, only ate weetabix and crisps for a while, and although that obviously changed, I still had a very limited amount of foods that I’d eat. Fish being an absolute no-no. In my late teens (yes, it took that long), I tried more things, especially once I went to Morocco. By more things, I mean that I ate broccoli, tried grapes, made things with tomato sauce…I even eat tomatoes now. Seriously, I was that bad. But back to fish.

So, after 22 years of eating no fish ever…no fish pie, fish fingers, tuna mayo (still won’t touch that), all that fishy stuff, I tried prawns in France at a very posh wedding. And they were ok. Fast forward 6 months, I had the fish of fish ‘n’ chips – AMAZING. Then a few weeks ago, a friend made fish pie – also AMAZING. Then last week, the real shocker: I cooked fish. My parents are so proud.

We made fishcakes, so still taking it easy, but still had to cook the salmon itself (in milk which was odd, but so quick!). Here are the results…

IMG_7533

Now, if you ignore the whole deep frying thing (in oil in a pan – yes, set the smoke alarm off, maybs not the wisest idea), it’s a pretty healthy one. Next, we went for the real deal, so no hiding fish in potato and deep fried goodness. Breaded cod fillets cooked in the oven, with parsley sauce…

IMG_7558

…YUM. So there we go, we will now eat fish twice a week for omega 3 and all the good stuff like that…I have a whole lifetime to catch up on 🙂

Skies

I love skies. Clear blue ones, where you just look all around and there’s nothing but blue; cloudy ones, where you get like angry, grey-blue clouds, or fluffy white marshmallow ones, or both together (a bit like today – seriously, was cardigan weather, then looked in my wing mirror and saw the clouds…10 mins later downpour/hail, now clear blue..cheeky sky); then of course sunrises and sunsets. I think that my ideal holiday would be one there’d be beauuutiful places to watch the sun rise and set, then away from city lights so you can see the stars. Makes me remember how small we are and how big God is, and how incredibly amazing this universe that He created is. Sadly I have no idea how to use a camera to get cool star shots, but I do have some lovely sunrises from the last few weeks.

IMG_7469 IMG_7472

 

Ok, this was actually a sunset :p I was en route to babysitting, and even though I was running late, I just HAD to pull over and take a picture of this. Ahhhh I love the sky!

IMG_7438

 

This was a sunrise…taken from the top of the bus, hence the random strips of light. It was all pale and calm, before the sun actually came up properly.

IMG_7507 IMG_7508

 

Wow. Just wow. I actually opened the window (causing the blinds to fall down) and stuck my arm out to get the first picture, just look at those clouds! Then I was walking along to the bus stop, and so amazing..I would’ve stopped in the middle of the road, where you could see the ball of the sun, but you know, cars aren’t all that patient at 630am..

IMG_7511 IMG_7514

 

…this was about 20 minutes later on the same morning, it’s like a new sky. As you walk down from town to the station, you can see the sun peaking up above the other side of the valley..I just love how quickly it all changes, but then if you catch a picture of the same sunrise or sunset as someone else, but taken in a different place, it’s like ‘I saw that one too!’. It’s the simple things in life 🙂

That’s me done for sunrises and sunsets, but my love for skies knows no limits…

IMG_7521

 

Miserable and grey it may be, but it’s all misty and Jane Eyre-esque…a shot like this on the moors would be as bleak as anything, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?

And then to finish, I used to LOVE it when I caught a sky like this when I was younger (still do)…

IMG_7444

 

Sun streaming through the clouds, like a natural spotlight 🙂 so next time you’re getting stressed and busy with life on the ground, look up and enjoy the sky!