Tag Archives: cook

Stuck For Words: Supporting A Grieving Friend

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The loss of a loved one is one of the hardest things we go through as human beings. You can’t fathom the depth of pain and sadness without experiencing it firsthand. It’s also difficult watching a friend go through a bereavement. It’s natural to feel helpless and to worry about saying the wrong thing. You can’t bring their loved one back, but you can help them through the pain.

Stay In Touch

The important thing is to stay in touch. You may not know what to say, but don’t let that stop you from being present. Your friend is likely to feel hurt if you avoid her. Be honest and explain that you have no words. Tell her that you’re so sorry and that you’re there for her in any way she needs. Take a little token of your friendship, such as flowers or chocolate. This is not to make things better. It’s to show you care.

Don’t Be Afraid Of Tears

Your friend may cry, and that may be painful to watch. But tears are important. They are a way of releasing the painful feelings. Don’t run away and don’t try to make her stop. There are few greater acts of friendship than holding someone else’s pain.

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Practical Things

When someone dies, there are lots of practical things that need to be done. People need to be notified, and funeral preparations need to be made. Often this is overwhelming. Find out if there’s anything you can do to help. It may be little things like making phone calls. Or your friend may need help with sympathy and funeral flowers.

Sometimes asking what the person needs isn’t helpful. They may be inundated with offers and not know what to say. Therefore, suggesting ways in which you could help is an option. Food is always a good place to start. Even at the most difficult times we still need to eat. People will be visiting, and food may need to be provided. Preparing some meals is likely to be welcome.

Avoid Cliches

In difficult situations, it’s easy to reach for cliches. However, where grief is concerned, they are not always well received. If you have just lost someone you care about deeply, you don’t want to hear that they are in a better place. Or, that God only sends you things you can deal with. This is likely to provoke sadness and even anger. Keep it simple. Be honest and truthful. It’s better to acknowledge you don’t know what to say, rather than reaching for a cliche.

Don’t Tell Them What To Do

Everyone grieves differently. There is no right or wrong way of navigating bereavement. Everyone must find their own process. So don’t tell your friend she’s doing it wrong. Don’t tell her the ‘right way’ to do it. Let her experience this for herself and steer her own course.

Like grieving, there’s no right or wrong way to be there for someone. First and foremost, show up. Be honest if you don’t know what to say. Try to be helpful. And then take your cue from your friend. Listen to her and be there, in whatever way she needs you to be.

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Post-college Travel: How Can You Afford It?

Post-college graduation is an excellent time for you to start traveling. You have a great education and the means to make some money. You might not set off on your travels right away, but maybe you’re desperate to start making some trips. The only problem is, you might not be making too much money after college. Plus, many people have mountains of debt they have to overcome. So if you want to travel after college, how can you afford it? Fortunately, you have lots of options to make travel affordable. Try some of these techniques to ensure you can see the world.

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Deal with Your Student Debt

When you first leave college, one of your greatest concerns is probably your student debt. It’s hanging over your head, and you want to get rid of it as soon as possible. But there’s a lot of it, and you have other expenses to take care of too. How can you travel when you have so much money to repay? The first thing you should do is look into Obama student loan forgiveness. You might be able to have some or all of your debt removed so you no longer have to repay. The next thing to do is consider consolidating your loans or managing them in another way. Create a budget to ensure you’re making timely payment.

Lock Down a Job First

Going traveling straight after graduation sounds great. However, you’re unlikely to have much money. Maybe your parents will be kind enough to loan or gift you some. But once it’s run out, that’s it. Before you set off on your travels, it’s a good idea to find your first post-college job. Here’s the crucial part: you need one with good vacation time. Of course, that shouldn’t be your only criterion. But a steady income coupled with flexible vacation time will allow you to travel more.

Travel Frugally

Traveling doesn’t have to mean 5-star hotel and first class flights. You can see so much more if you’re willing to budget your travels properly. You can save by staying in hostels or even camping. You can find cheap places to eat or perhaps avoid eating out altogether. If you stay in a hostel or maybe a homestay, you can cook for yourself. Book your trips at the right times to get the best deals. Go to the right destinations too, where you can get more for your money.

Combine Work and Travel

Here’s another idea: work as you travel. You can look for work programs in various countries that allow you to experience a new country and earn money. You could work as an au pair or in hospitality. There’s seasonal work and other opportunities. You could also consider volunteering or combining travel with studying. You can get experience in the workforce while also gaining life experience. You might even learn a new language.

Traveling after college is achievable if you go about it in the right way. Consider your dreams carefully to plan them successfully.

Travel Bucket List: Luxury Destinations I’d Love To Visit

I think having a bucket list is a great idea. Setting and achieving goals is how we can all progress in life. So if you don’t have one already, then you should! I have set one in general, but I think there are a few other things that I would like to add.

As a couple, we love to travel, so I need to include some more places that we would like to visit. Being able to travel in style would be amazing too. I would love to fly first class to a long haul destination and stay in a luxury hotel. Having a chef to cook for us while we are there would be the icing on the cake; quite literally! That would be the plan to do some day, each time we travel. I just need to make my millions! So here a few ideas and dreams of mine. Have you ever been to any of them? Would love to hear about it if you have.

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Caribbean Cruise

I think a cruise is one of the ultimate ways to see the world in style. You can get to experience a variety of places, as you sail around several countries and islands. The Caribbean would be one of the top choices. As there are so many of the islands that I’d love to visit, a cruise would help you to see plenty of them. I like the idea of hopping off and on as seeing some lovely places in this world. There are so many luxe cruise liners out there too. So it makes the time on board fantastic, and they’d make sure you are treated like a guest. All inclusive activities and food would be a dream.

Asia

Having been to Asia once before, it would be fantastic to visit again. It isn’t a continent that is necessarily synonymous with luxury, but there are plenty of places that fit the bill. Staying in a luxury hotel in Bali or on the island of Phuket would be a dream come true. The beaches in those places are second to none. White sands and clear seas make it perfect for relaxing, as well as diving and snorkeling. Not to mention the fantastic weather that is pretty much all year round. Even in the ‘rainy’ months, the temperatures are high. Asian food is to die for, so having it made for you each day would be amazing.

Italian Amalfi Coast

Italy is such a gorgeous location. The Amalfi Coast, including places like Capri, can get a little bit forgotten about. When you think of Italy, most people think of Venice or Rome. But the Amalfi coast area is just stunning. There are plenty of exquisite restaurants to visit, to try the Italian cuisine in style. A lot of them are tucked away off the main areas, so feel like such a private getaway. It would be awesome to have a little road trip along the coast, and stop off at all of the towns along the way.

 

Hobbies To Take Up As Summer Is Approaching

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The clocks have officially gone back! It’s no longer pitch-black at 6 pm. That’s right folks; spring is here. And what does that mean? Summer is just around the corner! Hurrah!

There is a still a little time, though. So how to make the most of it? Here are three hobbies to consider taking up as summer approaches.

Baking

Whether you’re slightly addicted to Masterchef and The Great British Bake Off or not, baking is a great hobby. Sure, buying all the ingredients can be quite costly at first. But actually, once you’ve built up a collection of the basics, you’ll save money on buying the products fresh. A bag of self-raising flour, for example, will be good for at least a handful of bakes.

Baking is also a great hobby for people with strict dietary requirements. It can be a real challenge to find products that are wheat-free or dairy-free. Plus, they tend to be pretty rammed with sugars and sweeteners. By making your own, you are in control of what does and doesn’t go in them. You can also make recipes just the way you like. You can make amazing brownies without pecan nuts if you don’t like them. Or make a triple chocolate cake with whipped cream in the centre; the world is your oyster. You can really let your creative juice flow.

Need some ideas? Facebook groups like Delish post different inspiring recipes every day, both for baking and cooking.

Photography

The days are getting longer, and nature is looking beautiful again. Capture the magic by taking up photography. You can focus on any genre you like, be it people, wildlife, landscape or cityscapes. Or just snap whatever takes your fancy from day to day.

Photography is one of those hobbies that can be as versatile as you like. If you like fast-paced environments, take shots of shoppers, or runners, or sunsets. Or, if you want to take it a bit steadier, go for landscape or nighttime shoots.

Don’t just use your phone either. The pixels might be high, but the quality just won’t match up. Invest in a good quality camera, and a sturdy Camera Bag to keep your purchase safe.

Getting fit

We expect way too much of ourselves when we sign up for gym memberships on New Year’s Day. Yes, the deal they’re offering is great but it is such a good price for a reason. Because hardly anybody then goes. The days are short; the nights are long and there is still loads of leftover chocolate in the cupboard…

Early spring, however, is a far more sensible time to join. Looking at summer holidays gives you some real motivation. Plus, you’ll find going to the gym after work far more appealing. Or, if you don’t want to join a gym, spring and summer weather and light lets you get fit outdoors. Go for a run in your local park. Take the dog with you. If you have one, that is. Don’t just take a random stranger’s dog…

 

Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution

One of the people who have inspired me a lot in the past years is Jamie Oliver. I have started to follow his work mainly because to me, he is one of the top chefs; not just in Europe but worldwide. He offers tons of recipes online, and sells various books with his cuisines, targeted towards healthy food as well as not too “expensive” so that us, the plain Jane and regular Joe can afford to try it out.

Along the years, Jamie has become more than just a chef. He owns his own Franchise Restaurants “Jamie’s Italian” which are magnificent by the way! As a non UK resident, I still had the same privilege; I subscribed to the gold club, and am taking advantage of several offers and features while dining in one of his restaurants.

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Furthermore, Jamie has been campaigning to instil a healthier Britain; to educate people to eat healthier, by inspiring them to cook at home rather than buying cheap eats on a regular basis; to help the nation fight obesity, by mastering a healthier lifestyle – food-wise and exercise-wise.

Last November, Jamie Oliver introduced his own recommendations to tackle childhood obesity. He suggested a new tax on sugary drinks, fairer marketing as well as a school food plan among others.

Today, 16th March 2016, in London, the parliament has decided that within the next two years the sugary drinks tax will be implemented. This is not just a win for Jamie, but Britain as a whole. It is one of the steps to fight obesity, not just in children but adults alike.

I personally think, that such tax should be present in all the world. MALTA are you listening? If fast food and soft drinks weren’t so cheap, one would think twice buying these products.

Lets fight the ticking time bomb that is obesity, together!

 

Read about Jamie’s campaigns here
Join the Revolution here

What women look for in a man

This is just my point of view here, so agree to disagree ;p

Honesty / Loyalty
To me, if you are not honest and loyal, you might as well call it quits. Truth be told, at one point I’m going to find out, so you are better off giving up already. Never lie, no matter how bad the situation is, and there is no other option than expressing your true feelings. If you are not ready to commit, just be sincere about it and don’t give the wrong impression.
Honesty is the best policy as it works.
Be faithful.

Intelligence 
They say, that physical attraction is important, which is true. But going out with your partner solely for that reason is very shallow. I find intelligence as a huge turn on. I love  it when a man is able to talk about his experiences and subjects which I am not familiar with; like I can learn something from him, and we are not just talking for the sake of not being silent.

Sense of Humour 
If a man can’t make me laugh, and if I don’t feel like I can be silly (myself) around him, I don’t think there’s much of a future in that relationship. Having the same sense of humour would be the cherry on the cake :o)

Confidence
Not in the sense that you think that you are a God sent to women, but in the sense that you act on your promises, knowing what you want in life.
Nothing is sexier than a man who is decisive and goes after what he wants.

Self Security
If you cannot love yourself, and if you are not willing to work on yourself to fulfill your life and your dreams… How can I expect you to love and respect me?

Chivalry 
As much as us women want to be equal to our partner, I’d say that from time to time, it is lovely for a man to go the extra mile and for instance, open the door for their lady, or take off her jacket, just for the sake of being nice.
Chivalry is only dead if you want it to be dead.

The ability to listen
Sometimes, all we want is someone to listen. Forget about logic, just listen to us, without trying to find a solution to everything. Listening is caring. Just hold our hand, and hold us, while we pour our heart out

Romance
Well, isn’t it romance that keeps a relationship alive?
I’ve always been into guys who are masculine, however I think that every woman loves to be swept off her feet; that a man is not embarrassed to show off his love and desire for his woman.
Personally, I’d find these things irresistible.

Help in household
Ok, this might sound lame… but in the 21st century both the man and the woman work to make ends meet, which means that both of them should do the dishes, cleaning, cooking etc. Plus, I love it when a man can cook.

Considerate
Being thoughtful is important for many reasons. We all love the idea of being called or texted randomly during the day, just to be reminded that we are being missed…. Or perhaps, being surprised by a bouquet of flowers, or find a meal ready when we go back home. Not just this, being considerate means, not make plans without the other knowing, unless of course it is a surprise 😉

Cheese-Burger Pie

Today I will share with you a recipe I have conjured while experimenting in the kitchen. I have been sick the past few days, and I thought I needed an extra boost, so decided to make a meat pie. I also felt like eating something a bit more on the lines of junk food, so I came up with the idea of making a cheese-burger pie.

Here are the ingredients I made use of:

For the pastry:
– 250g plain flour
– 110g butter
– 90ml cold water (might not need it all)
– pinch of salt

Mix the flour and salt together in a bowl. Cut the butter into rather small pieces and add to the flour mix. Using the ‘rub-in method’, rub in the butter into the flour. Once this is done, start adding the cold water gradually until the mixture can hold together when pressed. Form the dough into a ball and let it chill.

For the filling:
– 300g ground beef
– beef stock
– 1 large onion, chopped
– cheddar cheese (you can use as much as you want)
–  few pickled gherkins
– mustard (I used german, but you can use your favourite)
– red sauce or ketchup
– salt and pepper

Put some butter in the pan, and once it warms up, put in the ground beef. While it is cooking, at some salt and pepper. When it is half way cooked, put in the chopped large onion and add the beef stock.steffisays-cheeseburgerpie1 Let this cook until the onion is slightly brown and soft. At this point, I added 3 table spoons of red sauce.Once the mixture is less watery, add the chopped picked gherkins and a few drizzles of mustard. You can add more, depending on how strong you like your mustard.
While I left the filling on low temperature, I greased the pie tin with butter, and started to prepare the crust.
Once this was done, I spooned the pie tin with the mixture and added 4 slices of cheddar on top and added some more pepper.
Finally I kneaded the top part of the crust, and added some sesame seeds for decoration.

I cooked the pie in a preheated oven at 180° for about 30 minutes.

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Appreciate the good things in life

Sometimes, when I am struggling with life or I’m just having a hard time, I try to write down what I’m going through. Other times, I try to focus my thoughts on the good things I have in life.

I will share this with you, in the hopes that you will realise that there’s more to life than bad things… Sure, we spend most of our life thinking about what went wrong, or how bad we have it… and what about that damn bad luck or bad timing? But if you fight it, good things can be achieved like…

  • Having a good relationship with your family
  • Having friends that you can count on day in, day out (I don’t have many, but that’s ok! Quality over quantity)
  • Appreciating the little thing
  • Having a job
  • Being able to afford a roof over your head and a daily meal on the table
  • Being able to pay the bills at the end of the month
  • Being your own person, even if this make others cringe… Embrace yourself!
  • Being a decent cook
  • Owning two naughty but loving cats
  • The ability to drive a car and go places (unless the roads are flooding because of heavy rain!)
  • Affording to go on holiday every once in a while
  • Making random people or strangers happy with a simple act of kindness
  • Owning your own little house
  • Being creative in my own way…. through photography
  • Being able to listen to live music and talk with people over a few drinks (Sounds simple, but some of us don’t have the privilege)
  • Volunteering in a charity shop
  • Having that one person (or more!) in your life, that will always make you smile… no matter what you are going through

Surely this is not all…. I’m only getting started 😉

Fresh Pasta

One of the plans I had for this weekend is to meet up with my good friend Mirka and our Italian friend Paddy for a cook-out. We have been saying that we should attempt making fresh pasta, for weeks; if not months. Finally the day was upon us!

For our first try, we decided on keeping things simple, and make tagliatelle.

To make the pasta dough, it turned out to be quite a marathon, or even a workout. We took turns to knead the dough until silky and smooth, and until no flour blobs were visible.

Making use of the Andrew James pasta maker was pretty straightforward for us newbies, and we made the most gorgeous pasta.

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We cooked it in hot boiling water, with some salt and made a mushroom, onion, and bacon white sauce for it.

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It was great, and I can confirm that the first attempt was a major success!!

3 Ingredients Brownie Cake

Tried and tested; All you need is 2 eggs, 350g nutella and 150g flour. Mix them together until it forms a rather sticky dough. Place in a dish, and put in a preheated oven, and cook at 160 degrees Celsius. It took mine 25mins to be fully cooked, but always use a toothpick to check if the cake is ready. As soon as toothpick comes out of the cake clean, switch the oven off and wait for the brownie to cool down slightly before eating it.

Below, you can find a photo of the end result. I have added almonds and chocolate chips on top of my cake:

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Bon Apetit!