Sunday

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This is rather late on a Sunday, isn’t it?  Barely Sunday at all really.  I spent all day at work, sometimes a twelve hour Sunday shift is unavoidable.  The skies were this colour all day, it was lovely.  There’s definitely a nip in the air and I am all kinds of ready to welcome Autumn.

I’m going to wear the hell out of this before it’s too cold though, I’m a big big fan of black and white and huge prints and rather love the strange side fashion for oversize shirt dresses – also, I love it with my dork glasses!

Also, the city was host to The Great North Run.  Fifty seven thousand runners pegging it for charities.  The Partner in Crime’s father ran and I can honestly say I was really proud.  Which feels strange, but is true.

I need to say a big thank you to Angie, writer of the inspirational Indulge Your Inner Foodie and Natascha of the excellent blog Natascha’s Place (she has a bear named Flaubert, which I think is the coolest name for a bear.  Ever).
They have both very kindly nominated me for blogging awards. Natascha for the Sisterhood of The World Bloggers award (which I received just as I was losing my groove at the end of May) and Angie for the Blogger Recognition and Liebster awards.  Two prolific blogs who are genuinely among my regular blog reads.  I am honored and grateful to them both.  It’s a lovely fuzzy feeling to be a part of a blogging community.  Go give them some love.

And now it’s late.  Real late.  I’m drinking rooibos tea and eating crumpets with more butter than crumpet.  I had a lovely week, I can say that honestly.  Archie-cat is bunny kicking a catnip carrot – we all foodies here – and I’m back in my pyjamas ..And I read PostSecret along with 2,351 other folks.

Come on next week, let’s see what you’re made of!

Lets have a cuppa and a chat..

 

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*

I’ve been away for a little while, haven’t I?  I don’t like to talk about personal things here – this is where the food happens.  But food is a big part of life and how I’m feeling affects my cooking and eating habits.  If it effects mine, then it probably does yours, too.

I’ve had a wobbly few months where work and family pressures all built up and became too much.  I’m normally pretty good at shouldering stuff but when so much of it comes along at once I’m not so good.  Guess I got a little bit swallowed up there.

It made me realise just how easy it is to forget the truly important things when the every day feels like you’re wading through pea soup – y’all know I’ve got a recipe for that – and that your own small world is coming to get you.

When things get a bit bumpy, don’t forget to do the things that make you happy.  The things you do for you.  Yeah, there will be days when you don’t want to get out of bed let alone muster the energy to do something that isn’t paying your bills – no matter how much you love it. But you will.  We will.  We’ll get out of bed – even if it’s just because we have no one to cover our shift at work and we don’t get sick pay, but we will, and it will get easier.  I promise.  The fog will dissipate and inspiration will come back.

My Partner in Crime reminds me often – and which I should magic marker to my forehead – “Care about things that matter”.  That can seem a pretty big ask when so much is going on in your mind that you can’t quiet it.  When you’re being squeezed from all angles and when you’re a tired emotional wreck.  After some time, going through the motions and staying afloat, things do seem easier.  You begin to see the problems from other angles and you begin to see ways through them.  I’m left wondering what I became so anxious about – hard to see it when you’re in it though.

So.  I’m going to care about things that matter and take my Wellwoman multivitamins, cause folks – those things work wonders!

*  Yes, I planted ferns in a toilet bowl.

Fast and Healthy Asparagus & Tomato Frittata

Fast and Healthy Asparagus & Tomato Frittata

Fast and Healthy Asparagus & Tomato Frittata

I’m not joking around here.  This asparagus and tomato frittata is fast and it is healthy (unless you make it mostly cheese, then it’s just cheese isn’t it?).  It’s pretty much my take-to-work-breakfast staple.  And lunch, and dinner in the summer when it’s hot and all your body wants is salad, vegetables and ice pops.  It’s vegetables and protein, what’s not to love? 

The silicone baking pan makes all the difference for me, I literally throw everything in, RAW, and shove it in the oven.  That’s it.  If silicone wonder-pan is occupied with other goodies I’ll pop a wax paper/baking paper liner in the bottom of the pan so I can just turf it out when it’s done.  I can’t think of one person who enjoys scraping off burnt egg.  Fact.

cherry tomatoes with asparagus and spring onions for frittataI. could. not. stop. eating. the. tomatoes.  I must have a deficiency only satisfied by tomatoes.  I eat a lot of them. (With too much salt and soaked in vinagery salad dressing. Ahem.)

Raw asparagus and tomatoes ready for frittata

There really aren’t a lot of ingredients for this.

1 bunch of asparagus – about 15 slim spears
10 cherry tomatoes – halved and quatered
5 spring onions – chopped
12 eggs

What you see is what you get.  I snapped the asparagus into two with my hands and cut the tomatoes into either halves or quarters so some could sneak through the asparagus.

But asparagus is woody, you say?  Nah.  The trick to getting rid of the woody end is it to hold the spear in both hands.  One hand on the end and the other hand half way to the tip of the spear, bend it and it will snap where the woody part ends and the stalk becomes softer.  DO NOT THROW AWAY THE WOODY ENDS!  Keep a plastic bag in the freezer (or tupperware box if you have space, I don’t – little kitchen!) with vegetable odds and ends to make stock.  I’m serious!  Onion peelings (yes! the papery skins!), mushroom stalks, celery ends, unwanted herb stalks – but why you wouldn’t use those I’ll never know – any bits of vegetable, it all makes flavour.  It’s so much nicer than using those nasty nasty MSG filled stock cubes (except Kallo, y’all know I love ’em).  There will be a separate post where I’m going to use many exclamation marks to get my point across about this, just you wait.

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Anyway! Next add in the chopped up spring onions, raw again.  Everything will cook just enough in the oven with the eggs.  Who wants soggy vegetable frittata?  Bleugh!  Don’t be afraid to jam pack the pan with vegetables, they’ll all float about and have a swim in the egg custard when it’s poured in anyway.

Parmesan grated into egg custard for frittata

My favourite – a big soft heaping of grated parmesan.  Salty deliciousness. I’ve got about 12 eggs in there.  Yes. Twelve, we need that protein!  I just grated about a handful in, I didn’t want it too cheesy cause I’m trying to get my weight down (hah, never happen).  I also added a pinch of salt, a little black pepper (’cause, y’know, eggs) and about a dessert spoon of truffle oil, just for a background savoury flavour.  Absolutely not necessary or required, I just couldn’t help myself.

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That’s it!  Mix it up and pour it all in.  Bake it at about 180 C and keep checking on it after 25 minutes until it’s not too wobbly and is cooked through in the centre.  Turn it out quite soon after it’s done so you can drain away any liquid that may have been released by the vegetables, I poured off about a tablespoon but still.. we don’t want it soggy!

Bristot Hot Chocolate

Hot choclate on a chilly Saturday night.
Sneaky behind-the-coffee-machine shot of a Bristot hot chocolate.

Couldn’t help myself with this one, it was all mine.  We use Bristot coffee and their chocolate powder Cioccobon.  It doesn’t get nasty canned cream on top because it’s so rich, or even our organic cream thickened in a boston shaker.
There’s a little cornflour in the mix so it thickens if you should steam it and the milk together.

There you go. A small part of my evening at work; many many hot chocolates.

A Bit About Coffee

I manage a coffee bar and it’s back to work for me, so I’m thinking about coffee. It’s the beginning of the year and I’m preoccupied with all of the things that come around when Spring is on it’s way. I’m aware that the UK is just coming into it’s Winter peak but I always want to push for Spring – my favourite.

It brings luscious ferns, new irises and lighter jackets. Flowers come back and everything starts over with bright enthusiasm. I think that’s where the Orange Blossom and Bergamot Pound Cake came from.

The coffee bar where I work is host to many multinationals. We have a dedicated team of Libyans and Syrians who spend time with us every single day that we’re open – we only close two days per year.
We’re good friends and every now and then when we get the chance to have a proper chat they’ll tell me something about the coffee at home.
Recently we were gifted a small bottle of perfumed liquid. I was half tempted to dab it on my pulse points but instead was instructed that it’s use was one or two drops in their coffee cup or as a weak dilution in the water which is always freely available to coffee drinkers.
The perfumed liquid was orange blossom water! Beautiful. I’d never thought to add it to coffee, although I really should. It’s widely used alongside rose water and cardamom and other heady exotic flavours – cardamom and coffee is an extremely good match then why not the blossom water.

Maybe it’s time for an orange blossom coffee cake?