Monday, 27 February 2012

new favorite foodie: it will stop raining

ok, it's time to share a secret with you. and, i've seriously been putting this off for way too long now... i am addicted to it will stop raining.

seriously. every time i see a post pop up on my bloglovin reel, i click the mouse as swiftly as is humanly possible, and then spend a good 5 minutes staring at the photographs, imagining living in Japan, swooning over the linen tablecloths and cute crockery, and just generally buzzing with ideas about the awesome things i might cook.

here's just a little sneak peek at the sort of tastiness that shows up on her blog each day...

ai is a truly inspirational cook - healthy and wholegrain, and not too expensive. she loves really homely, hearty food, and it's always something pretty quick to make too.

i love the random combinations that she conjurs up, and the photography of her experiments is totally stunning. she has a way of makin things look so beautiful and so attractive (even if it's rice and beans, it looks amazing... how is that possible?)

anyway, i'd better stop gushing - instead head on over to her blog and see if you aren't inspired!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

sweet red bean porridge and turquoise wrist warmers

good morning wonderful people. i hope you are all well! thanks for all your congratulations for my new job :) i'm so excited to start, and to tell you all about it.

i've been getting really geeky and working out that i want to get a new backpack and a new lunchbox... it's like being a kid again, and going back to school. perhaps i will invest in a new pen an pencil case too?! anyways, i've decided on a bag - a classic fjallraven kanken in ox red - but i'm a little stuck for a lunchbox. i was looking at a lunchbots or an easylunchbox - any thoughts or suggestions?

anyways, onto foodie things:

♥ i finally perfected my sweet red bean paste recipe! it is of course sugar free, and uses cheap dried adzuki beans. the red bean paste pancakes were delicious back last autumn, and i learnt quickly that the paste is also pretty good on toast, or with a dash of almond milk for breakfast, or even as a cold snack from the fridge.

it also tastes absolutely delicious in and on porridge...

sweet red bean paste 

1 1/2 cups cooked adzuki beans (or other red beans)
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup cooking broth or water
a generous pinch of salt

1. place all the ingredients together in a blender or food processor, and mix until smooth.
2. store in the fridge in a sealed container.
3. enjoy in porridge, pancakes, on toast, or with a dash of almond milk and fresh berries.

cook's notes: to use dried beans, soak 1/2 cup of dried adzuki beans overnight in fresh water. rinse in the morning, and cook in unsalted water for 40 minutes, or until tender.

let me know how it goes - and enjoy this incredibly thrifty recipe!

lunch recently has been an egg and vegetable hash of some variety. mushroom is a particular favourite, with a little cheese, dill, fried egg and half a soda bagel. a cup of rooibos tea is also a very important accompaniment to this meal...

i love a good runny yolk... mmm hmm.

mum has been knitting loads - and these cute turqouise wrist warmers were her latest invention. she's learnt to cable knit... and though i keep asking her, she absolutely will not knit be a cable cardigan. i love having a creative mum!

sweet potato hash - spectacular and very quick. grated sweet potato, chopped celery, spinach and diced fresh tomato, along with a little seasoning and a side of beans and cucumber. a very satisfying dinner indeed.

i'm so loving the veggies at the moment - and attempting to convince everyone i know to eat more and more of them! they are so good for you after all :) thanks to jenn at peas and crayons for another wonderful wiaw...

currently watching: call the midwife - i'm a big fan of 50s style and drama, and the bbc have produced an excellent show once again. i love the amount of times they eat tea and toast :)

Friday, 17 February 2012

vanilla honey cut-out cookies

i made these cut out cookies for Valentine's day for my boyfriend - and they went down a treat. even the cookie dough is delicious! they're sugar-free and gluten-free, and it's very difficult not to eat them immediately...

a perfect gift for your favorite person!

vanilla honey cut-out cookies recipe
sugar free and gluten free, makes 20-24, inspired by recipes to nourish

1/4 cup honey
1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or extract)
1/2 cup butter
1 cup flour (mix of buckwheat and brown rice flour)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
pinch salt
pinch baking soda

1. preheat oven to 180c.
2. cream together the honey, vanilla and butter in a large mixing bowl, using an electric hand whisk or food processor.
3. stir in the flour, cinnamon, salt and baking soda.
4. using your hands, form into a ball, adding more flour if necessary.
5. place in the fridge to chill for 30 mins, if you have the time.
6. roll out on a floured surface with a floured rolling pin, until about 1/4 cm thick.
7. cut out with your favorite cookie cutter. place on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper.
8. bake in the oven for 10-15 minutes until starting to go golden around the edges.
9. remove from the oven, leave to cool for 5 minutes, then lift carefully from the paper and move to a cooling rack for 30 minutes.
10. enjoy with a cup of tea, or wrap in a pretty bag tied up with ribbon to give to someone special!

cook's notes: you can omit the cinnamon, salt and soda if you choose. or replace the cinnamon with your favorite spice, like nutmeg, clove, caraway or ginger. feel free to use your favorite flour in this recipe, ground oats or barley would work well.

perfect with a cup of tea!

so, do enjoy, and please tell me what you think!

currently watching: raymond blanc - the very hungry frenchman, a brilliant BBC programme, that makes me want to go to france and cook...

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

snow walks and chickpea aubergine curry

good afternoon lovely people. i hope you had a wonderful Valentine's Day yesterday - celebrating love and good friends. it was my first v-day with a man in my life, and he did an excellent job of spoiling me - i had beautiful roses and a lovely italian meal out :)

food lately has been very experimental - throwing all sorts of ingredients together to see what may or may not work. i kind of like it that way, because i discover all sorts of amazing flavour combinations.

i've also been compiling the second edition of my healthy breakfast recipes book! i've been printing off and testing out new breakfasts, and improving on much loved family classics. so stay tuned for that!

anyways, onto my latest eats and treats:

snowy walks with the dog - i love the snow, especially when it remains on the dog walking paths, but melts from the roads... convenient and pretty.

french toast with yogurt, apple sauce and honey. one of the most used pages from my book!

my first desktop lunch salad in a while. cucumber, tomato, mushroom, bacon, broccoli, broad beans, dill, nutritional yeast, red wine vinegar, olive oil and black pepper. YUM.

chickpea and roast aubergine curry with homemade brown rice flatbreads. this was an experiment, which worked out pretty nicely - definitely room for improvement, but not bad at all. roast aubergine is divine.

the last slice of butter bean vanilla cake - juliet's birthday cake with dark chocolate ganache frosting. seriously, cakes with beans in are awesome!

this was my second go at this recipe, and i accidentally put too much coconut flour in... which is why it's far denser than my last butter bean cake. but still delicious enough that all the party guests polished off their slices :)

thanks jenn for once again hosting a delicious WIAW!

yesterday was quite epic too, because i received a call offering me a new job! last week i mentioned some exciting news... and now i can say - i'm going to be a full time online marketing assistant for a very brilliant kitchen & garden company. it's the most interesting and perfect job i applied for, and i'm so blessed to have been offered it :)

so, life is pretty exciting at the moment! i'm very excited about the delicious food this new role will lead to - some yummy lunchboxes for sure, and some very intriguing breakfasts no doubt...

there's quite a lot to sort out before my start date - so i'll be busy busy until the middle of march. i'll also take every opportunity to enjoy the last bit of self-employed living - staying in my pj's all morning, meeting friends for coffee, visiting family on weekdays, having lie-ins, cooking in the afternoons, allotmenting, going on long dog walks, finishing up my book, relaxing by the fire in the middle of the day... good times.

how did you spend your Valentine's day? do you like snow? what's your favorite work lunch?

currently listening to: love you so by delilah

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

butternut kale stew and butter bean cookie bars

good morning lovely people! today is another freezing cold day here in the south of england, it went down to -6 last night, which is particularly chilly for where i live.

however, a hat, a pair of gloves and a fat handknit scarf will suffice to keep the cool breeze from making me perish - and -6 is nothing really in comparison to the -20 my brother is experiencing in scandinavia, or the -18 my boyfriend is enjoying in the french alps.

today is another WIAW post for you - chock full of my latest eats and treats:

mango barley yogurt, otherwise known as 'seventeen' - this is cooked pearl barley, mixed with yogurt, honey, cinnamon and diced fresh mango, then topped with ground flaxseeds. oh my word. this was seriously the most ingenius breakfast i've had in a long time.

butternut and lentil stew with kale + celery, and boiled eggs on the side. a very yummy and nutritious meal i reckon. we've had a variation of butternut celery stew every week since last november!

i love my veggies. but i love feeding veggies to other people even more! when my friends came over for dinner, i knew i wanted to give them something super delicious and nutritious - so i whipped up a veggie hash and mash. three root mash with sweet potato, celeriac and carrot and then a sausage stir fry with red onion, broccoli, celery and sweetcorn. all polished off with a little swedish gravy.

and they all finished their plates, save for 3 little bits of celery... clean plates and smiling faces make me happy! (ps. note that i'm wearing my £1 jumper)

butter bean cookie bars, courtesy of Bea from Forever After. not bad at all.

in fact, so not bad at all, that they were gone within 30 minutes. i think that's a Carter house record. or maybe it was just a small batch?!

i hope you are all well, and enjoying the winter months and the first snowdrops. i've got a busy week ahead, but i'm really excited about it - i will tell all soon...

thanks to peas and crayons for this special veggie month of WIAW!

currently listening to: somebody that i used to know by gotye

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

baby juliet and florentina pizza

hello lovely people! it is crazily already the first day of february, how mad is that? january disappeared so fast, and i'm not quite sure how.

i've enjoyed being back doing a little events co-ordinating, editing my next book, going on plenty of delicious dates with Pete, walking little Bruno, visiting family, and babysitting my very cute niece...

she is gorgeous, and such a cheerful baby - a great pleasure to look after.

my latest eats have mostly consisted of lots of chickpea pizza, and fridge leftovers in all sorts of shapes and forms. here are today's highlights:

buckwheat kasha (which is really just a fancy russian term for my buckwheat porridge) - so very delicious and nutritious. the discovery of this changed my mornings somewhat, and was the main reason i wrote my breakfast cookbook! great with thick greek yoghurt, fresh blueberries and a drizzle of honey. oh, and a cup of rooibos and a couple of supplements.

leftover paprika chicken with butter fried potato - very very spanish, and very very good.

florentina pizza with a chickpea crust - a few mushrooms, some leftover butternut squash, pesto, plum tomatoes and sliced cucumber.

to make a perfect florentina, pop the pizza in the oven for 10 minutes, remove, crack the egg carefully into the middle, and place under a grill for 3 minutes. this will mean that it cooks, but the yolk stays runny and delicious...

thanks to jenn at peas and crayons for another super WIAW - so much fun to take part...

i hope you all have a truly lovely day :)

do you like buckwheat for breakfast? are you a florentina fan? what's you current favorite tune?

 currently listening to: no light, no light by florence + the machine