Me and my little bro having a sprout-war / morris dance on Christmas morning. This was right before we had a sprout-popping race which Bob won. Anyone would think we hailed from Diss, sprout capital of the world!?
Also, I made cranberry sauce for the first time! I didn't take a picture because it just looked like a jar of red jammy stuff but it tasted awesome. I followed this recipe with port and orange because its Christmas and that means everything should be cooked boozily!
It is October and I want to eat orange things. I stumbled across this recipe for sweet potato falafel. They are baked not fried which is good because deep frying things is a hazard!
Making falafel sounds like a faff but actually its not. Roast sweet potatoes, scoop out the flesh, mix with chickpea flour, ground coriander, cumin and garlic. Leave the mix in the fridge for a while then shape them into balls - the mix is satisfyingly sticky, tacky and cool so this bit is fun. Bake. Eat.
I ate them with some tzatziki I put way too much garlic in and some fried mushrooms and tomatoes.
The greengrocer was telling me how tasty marrows are stuffed with mince but then thought I was probably vegetarian, a fair assumption since this guy knows the full extent of my vegetable habit, I've got curly hair and I wear a lot of green. I'm not keen on mince so I searched for a vegetarian recipe on the bbc website and found Nigel Slater's Marvelous Marrow. Marvellous marrow, you say? A recipe that sounds like a children's story book - count me in! The marrow is roasted in a greaseproof paper parcel with feta, cherry tomatoes and chilli. Tasty stuff.
Student life is... cooking for five and then remembering you only have three pairs of knives and forks. Ooops.
Cycling in Brighton is significantly more frightening than in Norwich. Lewes road is hazard perception world of adventure. Buses stopping or pulling out, cars turning left and coming out at you from side roads, pedestrians everywhere. Luke's top tip is to be paranoid and know what is going on behind you. Great in theory, but when I look behind me the danger of swerving into the line of traffic is a bit real. I've been going round the park looking over my shoulder until I get giddy and/or spook out the dogs and the children.
I've just ordered myself a book called Cyclecraft. It sounds like a wheely form of witchcraft but its actually 'the complete guide to safe and enjoyable cycling for adult and children' I'll have you know. Driving theory but for bicycles, just what I need.
Meet Willow the Wisp and/or Sir Walter Raleigh since I am yet to ascertain the gender of this machine. Regardless, I think I'm in good company in my choice of cycle - take a look at these other cool ladies who ride Raleigh Wisps!
In this picture you can't see the sticker on the bell (that I affixed myself!) that reads 'I heart my bike.' You can, however, see my socks tucked into my trousers ready to ride!
And, for the record Mum, I AM LOOKING OUT FOR BUSES!
Sunday 25th September was not a day like any other. It was a special day, a day set aside aside for celebrating the apple harvest and all things apple-y. I tried to convince my house-mates to come along - 'There will be juice and tasty food and apple-themed fun. You can take a rare apple to an expert who will identify it for you!'
They pointed out how none of us has an apple that eludes identification in the first place and I went to apple day on my tod.
For my lunch I had some spiced pumpkin and apple soup with a beetroot and cheese pasty. Pretty yummy.
The highlight of the day was the Apple Play performed by the brilliant Brighton Mummers. Check them out! The plot involved the exploits of a cantankerous worm and a sausage king. There was suspense, silliness and some songs too. Afterwards I came over with a sudden urge to go home and put a colander on my head - what more can you want from a show?
I cycled home on the Bike Train it creates 'a fun, visible and more protected environment within a mass ride.' Its good to cycle with other people and music, and, hey, it makes a change from being constantly undertaken on Lewes road! I'm still at the stage with my cycling that returning home alive is cause for genuine celebration. Everything tastes lovely when you are alive. Which I totally am! Wooohoo.
I'm currently reading Andrea Levy's The Long Song the book thats been chosen for the Brighton City Reads project. I'm trying to get to the end before term starts and Aristotle, Hobbes and Habermas beckon me. That and I'm doing some volunteering at the Old Market for the events they're putting on and I'll look a bit of a plonker if I've not read it!
The little flat above the greasy spoon is starting to feel like home. But, as per usual in my life I've got only one problem. Whilst the flat has double glazing (ah so energy efficient!), good sized rooms, trees and grass out my window and most importantly no mould (yes, no mould!) there is a sizeable vent by window. Between the hours of 8am and 2pm, the vent emits the smell of bacon, chips and other unidentifiable fried objects. The air is sweet and savoury and heavy with fat, the opposite of what you want when you open the window to get some fresh air. I'm getting used to it but bacon, bacon is the enemy!
Its also the first time I've used the funky purple scales Anna got me for Christmas. The colours are all synchronized.
I don't know much about being a grown up but I reckon it involves making as much mess as you like and then tidying it all up. Flinging chocolate at this cake by way of decoration was satisfying!
P.S. The thermostat on the oven is totally fine. Massive relief after the infamous roasting veg at 60 C oven in Magdalen street.
Thanks to my incredible friend Susie, cycling instructor par excellence, I've been riding a bike since January. So, this summer I figured the most adventurous thing for me to do would be to go off on my own somewhere and ride my bike in a foreign land, and that's exactly what I did.
First I thought I'd go to Holland since its renowned for its flatness, cycling, tulips etc. But, Ma mentioned that Dutch countryside is a bit dull and suggested getting the Eurostar to any Belgian station, specifically Leuven. When she told me its a lively Medieval student city with lots of pubs (a bit like Norwich) I was sold.
I stopped of in Antwerp on the way to go to their new state museum. It was full of things and stuff including a Narwhal horn. The architecture of the building was more impressive than what's inside but, hey, maybe I would have got more out of it if I could read Flemish.
Curvy windows at the MAS Museum in Antwerp
I hired a bike! Armed with a map of cycle paths around Leuven and repeating the mantra 'remember to ride on the right' I set off on a tour of the surrounding countryside. I am ludicrously proud to report that I didn't even fall off. I almost did. But I didn't!
Leuven Botanic Gardens complete with birds and bees. Animals are definitely a novelty when you are only expecting plants.
Crazy beetle on a pin sculpture outside the beautiful university library that made me very jealous.
The remains of possibly the best roast chicken I've ever eaten at Kiekekot, a tiny restaurant with two tables where the owner has been roasting chicken to perfection for 49 years. Consumed after I had left the hostel with plans to go to a vegetarian restaurant. Je ne regrette rien!
Actually, I read in the Hebrew phrasebook I picked up in the library that the expression used to be 'land of milk and date jam' because for a long time the Rabbis were arguing about whether honey was kosher or not. They kinda decided it was at some point. Interesting, huh?
Anyway, I was super lucky to be able to tag along on Mum's business trip to Tel Aviv. We spent a few days in the city and took a bus to Jerusalem to see the sights there also. It looked a bit like this...
Silliness. We went back to this cafe when it wasn't closed for Shabbat and I ate pumpkin quiche whilst Mum fretted about needing to paint her nails for work.
Clock Tower in Old Jaffa
Tel Aviv is closer to the equator than the UK so the sunset is blink-and-you'll-miss-it fast. Although I probably learnt about this in Geography at some point, I was totally amazed to see the sun fall into the sea at such a speed every evening.
Holy Land of Toy Soldiers. Israel is no place for a pacifist.
At the airport. There is no escaping McDo.
Joy the Baker recently made Green Israeli Couscous salad. This is my take on it. I used Palestinian couscous from Zaytoun a fantastic fairtrade co-op that aims to create a UK market for the goods of Palestinian farmers. Check them out here and support them when you can. Cook the couscous then mix with roasted red peppers and courgettes, some feta and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mint.
Cook the couscous then mix with roasted red peppers and courgettes, some feta and a dressing of olive oil, balsamic vinegar and mint.
P.S. Guess what? In Tel Aviv we ate the most amazing hummus, the real deal. Om nom nom.
Sunshine. Playing with friends in the park. Hula hooping. Learning to spin poi (hold the fire!). Back at Magdalen street and a barbecue feast on the terrace. Then, carrot cake with cream cheese frosting from the Hummingbird Bakery book. Life is good.
Also, this guy makes musical instruments out of carrots and other instruments. The internet never ceases to amaze me.
In my family at Easter we wear yellow. You probably don't need to see that. Mum still hides eggs in the garden for us nearly six foot tall children. There is not an age when egg hunts stop being super-fun. Am I right?
The final prove of the hot cross buns. Ignore all Dad's booze on the floor.
Good Friday breakfast. Keep your nose tidy, eh?
Venetian Carrot Cake a la Nigella - recipe here. This cake is made with ground almonds instead of flour so its gluten-free and crazy tasty and it has pine nuts on top!
Mum's famous Victoria Sandwich. I found these tiny chickens to put on it but they kept drunkenly falling over in the icing sugar snow. Too cute.
By special request, something cinnamon-y for the birthday girl Heather. Fun things are rocking up at a party and proceeding to whip cream whilst wearing your favourite frock. Also, decorating said cake with symmetrically placed berries. No pictures this time but this was a good'un. Thank you Dan Lepard! Love you Dan Lepard! Recipe here.
This New Years Eve I had my first ever fondue. All I can say is 'Om nom nom' and 'Hey, fondue! Where have you been all my life? We are made for each other!' I marvelled at the combination of Gruyère, Emmental, white wine and vodka and as I dipped bread into cheesy goo I realised I was consuming what was essentially, a cheese cocktail. Oh my.
Dad facilitated the fondue whilst I, wanting to make a contribution to the last meal of the year, and decade, thought it would be fun to make fortune cookies. After a bit of Googling I found this recipe and proceeded to, in Dad's words, 'mess about' in the kitchen. I added a dash of milk because the first batch were too thick to fold. You have to spread the batter as thinly and smoothly as possible and only cook two at a time because you have to fold them as soon as they come out of the oven before they harden. Basically, its a bit of a performance. But what do you expect? This is magic we are making here!
Ta-da! Pick a cookie, any cookie.
My, possibly erroneous, folding technique made the fortunes stick to the cookies. Ooops.