Tag Archives: cooking

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…

 

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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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12 Things you should not assume about a Girl

Let me share with you some basics about girls. These are based on my experiences from being a teenager until now:

  1. Our favourite colour is pink
    Why would you think something like that? Is it because all the boys like blue? Ha!
  2. We love wearing heels
    Some of us do, I suppose… But I do not see the point of wearing shoes that cause discomfort, and then complain about it all night long. The only time you’d find me in heels is in special occasions such as weddings, and trust me – I wear them because they’re mandatory and not for any other reason.
  3. We dislike watching football
    I won’t speak for all women here, but watching football is a lot of fun and a fantastic way to relax, get mad at people and enjoy eating snacks and beer. (*) See point 5.
  4. When we get dressed up is because we want to get laid
    Not really. If I dress up, I do it for myself. Sometimes I like pampering myself and look good.
  5. Beer is disgusting
    Are you kidding me? It is one of my favourite beverages, as is wine and Jagerrmeister. Also stout and ale. Yum!
  6. We love cleaning the house
    You might as well say that women “belong in the kitchen!” too. This statement might have been okay in the 70s when women stayed home and didn’t work, but in today’s society, it is absurd and I believe everyone should clean.
  7. All we want from life is to have your babies
    We have more purpose in life than having babies, like careers.. traveling, learning. Having babies and a family, is nowadays just one of the options and/or possibilities for a girl. And why can’t we obtain more than one? 🙂
  8. We are not into video games
    Some of us enjoy gaming as one of our pastimes or a way to exercise. It might not be our life, but we can definitely be up to play some games with you.
  9. We are not good in math
    Or science… Right. When I was at school studying IT and Software Development, the guys believed that I would fail because this is a male’s world. But here I am, two diplomas and a degree later, and with tons of IT experience. Again… the world has changed.
  10. We only love watching chick flicks
    What if this is true? Does this make us weak? NO! 
  11. We can’t make our own decisions
    Let’s hope for our sake that this applies for all women: We are mature and sensible enough to make our own decisions. We are not stubborn, and if you are important to us, we listen to your ideas, and we factor them in our decision process.
  12. When we are nice, it doesn’t mean we are flirting
    If this were true, I’d be one of the biggest flirts in the world. I’d like to think of myself as a good person, for those who deserve it. So I am nice, I am helpful, I am patient. But please, in no way shall you mistake this to me being flirty. Thank you.

never-assume

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!!

Easter Eatery Plans

So tomorrow is Easter and because we decided to eat at home, I tried to come up with a menu to make for my family:

Garlic Bread with Mozzarella
Tuna Dip & Crackers

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Caprese Salad

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Roasted Rack of Lamb
accompanied with roasted potatoes

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Coffee & Marie Gateau

Wish me luck!

Chocolate Chip Rock Buns

I will share with you my winner chocolate rock buns recipe. Now, you may think that this recipe is a bit weird, in the sense that it has ground almonds in it, but I thought this adds to both the texture and the taste of the rock buns. When I was young I used to eliminate this and replace it with flour, but boy was I missing out.

So, these are the ingredients you will need:

  • 200 g plain flour
  • 50 g ground almonds
  • 90 g butter or margarine
  • 90 g sugar
  • 90 g chocolate bits *
  • 2 beaten eggs
  • a pinch of salt
  • 2 table spoon of baking powder

*this can be changed to raisins or candied peels or any other fruit you might want to have in your cookies

And this is the magic, also known as the method to make these gorgeous cookies:

  1. Before you start making the dough, make sure you start heating up the oven up to 180 degrees celsius. When making sweets, it’s of utmost important that the oven has reached the desired warmth otherwise it won’t cook the cakes properly.
  2. Sieve the flour and add the salt, sugar and the ground almonds. Make sure this is mixed thoroughly before you add in the butter or margarine. Stir this first using a wooden spoon and then using the ‘rubbing in’ method.
  3. At this moment add the chocolate bits and once this is mixed thoroughly, make a hole and add the beaten eggs. Keep stirring until you get a stiff ‘not so sticky’ mixture.
  4. Split the mixture into buns and place them on your baking tray. Make sure the buns look ‘rough’ and you can achieve this by using a fork to rough in it up.
  5. Bake for 20 minutes until they are light golden. Cool the rock buns on a wire wrack. You can add more sugar for extra sparkle but I usually skip this.

And the outcome should be something like this:

rockbuns

I made 8 buns with these measurements; they were around 10cm each, in diameter.

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!

Of childhood memories and meat

Last night, it was the first time I have ever seen a video which explains how to butcher a pig. The pig was not alive, do not worry, but the butcher explains and shows you how to best cut the pig into great pieces of meat to cook and to make sausage from.

At first, I was skeptic to watch this. Not because I am afraid of blood or disgusted. I like my meat bloody; medium to rare. The problem is, that when I was young, perhaps five years old, I saw my grandfather killing a rabbit. He had his small rabbit farm; he used to breed them, grow them up and then gives them to his family to eat. I still remember the clunk of the rabbit when it hit the wall, and the squeal which came soon after. It is the one of the first few memories I have as a child and to this day, I rarely eat rabbit. And when I do, I feel the guilt as the memories come back. But the rabbit tastes so divine, that at times it is just so hard to resist.

Those who share my love of food, I would recommend you to watch this video and start to appreciate the art of butchery and the best looking pork cuts I have ever seen.