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Wednesday, 3 February 2016

...Food: Banana Loaf...


Now, I love me some cake every now and then (meaning all the time), but as we know too much of the sugary stuff is bad for us. So, I have been flicking through various social media sites, and searching in trusty old google, for some healthy yet simple to bake alternatives to the naughty good stuff.

Bananas! That was the theme. I love them, always have them stocked in the kitchen and am sometimes at a loss as how to eat them. Sometimes, you know the generic peeling and eating raw doesn't always do it for me.

I have always wanted to create a banana loaf, and seeing as I am trying to reduce the amount of sugar I have, I wanted a recipe that would still deliver on the taste. I found this simple recipe over on the Minimalist Baker blog - here - and thought it seemed fairly easy to recreate. Now, I modified this recipe to fit in with what ingredients I had in my cupboard and the kind of taste I wanted to create.  So instead of a gluten free flour mix, I simply used rice flour. I did not use all the ingredients listed. I mostly used the key ones, i.e. eggs, flour, milk, banana, baking powder, and then switched up the others to fit with me and my personal preferences.


Well, lets get to it then:

Pre heat oven to 250 - 300 degrees (I have a fan assisted oven)

Dry ingredients:

200grams rice flour, 2 tbsp mixed flax seed, ground apple and cinnamon mix, 2 tbsp raw cacao powder, handful of oats, 3 tsp of baking powder

Step one: measure out all the dry ingredients and mix all together in one bowl. Simple. And put to one side.

Wet ingredients:

3 ripe bananas (mashed), 100ml of soya milk, 1 medium egg, 3 tsp coconut oil (melted), 2 tbsp honey

Step two: mash the bananas in a bowl, crack the egg into the mixture and stir together. Add in the milk and stir to combine the ingredients together.

Step three: pour the wet mixture into the middle of dry ingredients and begin to stir from the inside out, ensuring the ingredients come together to create a smooth mixture. At this stage pour in the coconut oil - stir in. Then finally add the honey, and continue to mix together. By this point you should have a nice smooth and thick doughy mixture.

Step four: grease a loaf tin with either butter or line it with greaseproof paper. Then pour in the mixture levelling it out so there is an even amount in the in.

Toppings:

Crushed walnuts and mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed etc). Add these to the top be sprinkling and ensuring they cover evening, creating a textured and crunchy topping.

Ensure your mixture is spread evenly in the tray. The just pop in the oven at 250-300 degrees celsius for about 1 hour to 1 hour 15 mins depending on your oven. Mine took an hour.

Leave to cool for roughly 20 mins, then slice, spread on some jam or honey and enjoy with a nice cuppa tea. So yummy and not so naughty.


xxx

Saturday, 30 January 2016

...Travel: Mahon...

Well, well, well. Hasn't it been a while my old friends. Have been posting more regularly over in a new blog. A slightly different tone if I must say but sometimes you need to create different spaces to express what your feeling and thinking. If you want to go have a look, please do, have had some great responses so far on the Facebook page. Its called Findingtruhappyness. Yes, it is meant to be spelt incorrectly - for effect, ha! The address is here: findingtruhappyness.wordpress.com. Click and see if you like.

Anyways following the thread from my previous post, I wanted to share with you images and thoughts from our day trip into Mahon a couple of years when we visited Menorca. She says, what! Two years! Well, what can i say? As I'm currently planning a few trips this year, what better way than to get me in the mood than looking back some of my fave holidays. Mahon is a beautiful town filled with interesting architecture and a gorgeous marina, with some very expensive looking boats.

As much as I enjoy lounging around the pool and meandering down to the beach, I do like to visit and see what the surrounding area has to offer to me. Plus, it was a great excuse to have a mummy daughter day out shopping and eating. So without further ado, I leave you now with some photographs. Enjoy.


xxx

Thursday, 16 July 2015

...Travel: Summer Get-a-aways!..

Finally Summer has arrived and it is in full swing. Whilst I do love the sun, it can get a bit much sometimes, especially with the oppressive, muggy heat we have been having lately. So, while I am moaning about having the perfect Summer (as we British are very good at doing), I thought I would share with you my thoughts on Menorca, where I holidayed last August. It may seem a long time ago now but I never uploaded some of the stunning pictures and shared my thoughts on the beautiful island we stayed on...

And seeing as I'm gearing myself up for another relaxing holiday in the next few weeks, I thought why not look back to all those things I love about travelling...

...


Menorca. What a beautiful island. When travelling in a large group, renting a villa is always the best. You have the space to spread out and really make yourselves at home. You do not have to worry about finding a place next to the pool or whether there is too much noise around. When we went last year, we stayed a lovely, rustic villa that was close to a small, local beach and had easy access to long coastal walks. Perfect for when you want to get up early and take a stroll to stretch the legs and awaken the mind. Where we stayed was a short drive away from the town Mahon. Another post on that later. Too many photos otherwise.

I really did have the most relaxing time here last August and would recommend this island to everybody. Menorca is definitely a place I will be visiting again. The beach we visited was quiet and small, not many amenities but when you want to swim and nap in the sun, all you need is bar or restaurant that serves up some local sangria and tapas! Tasting local cuisine and emerging myself in another culture is, again, another element to travelling that I love. I try to soak up every little bit of the place I am visiting so as mot to miss a things.

I hope you enjoy the photos. Am surprised I did not share them much sooner.

xxx

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

…Recipe: Fish Bake...


Well, well! Hasn't it been a while? School and training has completely taken over my life right now, and to be honest, I am loving it! So, lets get straight to it.

Cooking is an activity both myself and James enjoy partaking in, and we do try to share the responsibilities. Recently, we decided we wanted to try branching out with our culinary experiences and try something new. After my mean green juice post (and while ago that was), I thought I would mix it up a little...

Seeing as we have quite a variety of cookbooks, we decided to pick something, easy, simple but would be utterly delicious. This is where 'The Little Paris Kitchen' comes into play.  A wonderful cookbook by the ever so delightful Rachel Khoo, whom I have talked about before. We wanted something filling and comforting for a Sunday evening, and this take on a classic fish pie did exactly that. Rachel's recipe is very easy to follow, and requires little sourcing of ingredients, as myself and James modified some of the ingredients to our liking. The only thing that I find tricky is creating the white sauce. Getting it smooth and lump free takes a lot of practice, and I must say James is pretty good at it. However, the rest of the cooking process is pretty much throwing it all together in the cooking dish.

Ingredients:
Diced potatoes
Salmon
Mackerel
Diced onions
Grated cheese
Ground black pepper
Salt
Peas

Sauce:
Butter
Milk
Flour

Peel and dice the potatoes into cubes then boil for about 15 mins or until soft. Drain and run under cold water. Whilst boiling the potatoes, prep the white sauce. Melt down the butter, then add in the flour and mix until a smooth paste. Slowly add in the milk, bit by bit. Keep stirring and adding in the milk until you have think, smooth white sauce.

Chop the onions, flake the salmon and mackerel, and add everything together in one big dish. Pour over the white sauce, mixing all the ingredients together. Sprinkle over the grate cheese to create a gooey topping. Bake the dish for about 20 mins or until the cheese had crisped up in the oven. Remove from the oven allow to cool and serve with a side helping of green peas.

This is probable one of my favourite comfort meals to make. There isn't a lot of prep only the white sauce. It's the perfect dish when you want to feel safe, secure and comforted.

xxx

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

…Green Machine...


Who doesn't love a good juice every now and then? I love them. A quick and easy way to get a load of your fruit and veg for the day. Green juices are all the rage at the moment and have been for some time now. Initially I always thought green juices might taste bitter or lack a sweetness to them. Well, over the Summer, since I found my juicer in a car boot fair, I've been trying out a variety of different juices and have settled on one of my favourite green juices. Not bitter or bland, but full of sharpness and sweetness.

On the blog today I thought I would share with you one of my favourite juices. You might remember a few months back, when I blogged a recipe for a yummy carrot and beetroot juice. It seems that post was well received. This juice however is very much in the green category. Full of vigour and zest. A great boost for any day you're not feeling 100%.

Ingredients:

1 kiwi
1 pear
handful of baby spinach
2 celery stalks
chunk of cucumber
1 beetroot
2 tsps on mooring powder
fresh lime juice


I always juice my water base veg first and then add in my fruit afterwards. Leaving my spinach last. Technically beetroot isn't a green veg, however it does add a wonderful sweet taste to the juice and who doesn't want to pack in as much goodness as possible?

Once all the ingredients have been juiced, stir in your teaspoons of moringa powder. This was the first time I have used a green powder in my juices and it was great. Didn't leave an odd after taste but definitely gave the juice an extra boost of super goodness.

I would definitely recommend this juice if you're feeling sluggish or want to give your system a healthy dose of vitamins and minerals. Recently I have not been treating my body with the respect it deserves in terms of the foods I'm feeding it. This has shown in my skin tone and complexion. I'm pretty sure those extra sweet treats have made me feel bloated and full. Juicing is a great way to give your body a rest and allow it time to recover.

Hope you enjoy!

xxx

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

…Sunday Travels...

Jacket - H&M, Ear muffs - gift, Bag - Independent boutique, Gloves - Primark


Having not been very well at the end of last week (I blame my ever increasing work load for that), it was extremely refreshing to leave the house and go for a little trip on Sunday morning. We only ventured out to our nearest car boot fair and market, but it was still delightful. Usually we would walk after getting the train to Ford, but this time round we decided to take our bikes. The weather was perfect, crisp and bright. It was so refreshing to ride out in the country air and get some much needed exercise. Even it was a short journey.

I believe I have talked about Ford Airfield mart and car boot before on the blog. It truly is a great place to get your hands dirty and find some true gems. I was able to get my hands on a couple of children's book for almost 2/3 of the normal price. Working as a teacher, it's always handy to have children's books to inspire reading. I love a good rummage, and have over the years found some great items for wither my wardrobe or the home.

xxx


Friday, 6 February 2015

…Life of a Student...

Studying and then sometimes remembering to blog - a hard balance to achieve.

Why should it be so? Blogging is a hobby, an outlet, a space to chitter chatter away, and the fact that people take the time to read and comment means a lot to me. Most of the time I'm posting because I like creating an online diary - a collection of posts and image that document my life, from food, to travelling to things I enjoy.

Thankfully I don't have to worry about posting constant content as this isn't my full time job, and those who do, do this full-time I applaud you and love what you do. For me, nah, I like coming and going from this online space as I please without feeling the pressure of having to post worthwhile content. I write and post about the things that interest me and if others find them interesting then, great, thank you for reading. If then thats cool too.

For me my passion is teaching and education. Working with and supporting young children through their learning journeys. Let me tell you, it is not easy job but if it was easy would I still enjoy. Um, not sure. I like the challenge of having to inspire and motivate young children. I truly do. Currently I am working hard to achieve this dream. This term is going to one hell of a term with two assignments and pretty much, full on teaching. But that's the way it goes. Teaching isn't simple. It's multi-faceted and the expectations are high and rightly so. People entrust their children into the hands of teachers to help them learn about the world around them. To be able to be a part of that system is a joy and a privilege.

So at the moment, blogging will be a way for me to document moments and snippets of life. Maybe my other passion, yoga, maybe bits on food and my general daily musings. Life at the moment is taking a back seat for studies. Am hoping to be on a better note soon

xxx



Sunday, 4 January 2015

…Beauty: Some delightful treats...


These are just some of the wonderful gifts I received this year! One very lucky girl. The ones I wanted to share with you were some of the beauty products I got. I don't think you can ever have enough bath stuff. It is always handy to have an extra moisturiser or shower cream, or a perfume. I love smelly stuff. Who doesn't want to pamper themselves every once in a while?

So, on my wish-list this year was a set of new make-up brushes. I am not amazing at applying make-up but find with the right tools, it is much easier to get a cleaner finish. I saw these on Amazon (see link in this post) and thought they looked lovely. From the wooden handles to the full array of different brushes. I have been using them over the past week and feel my make-up looks cleaner and fresher, and more even. Don't get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with using your fingers, sometimes it's quicker to do so, but when I want to make the effort then using my brushes and taking my time is much more preferable.

Secondly, the collection of Crabtree and Evelyn stuff I got is just divine. Especially the hand therapy collection. I used the exfoliator last night combined with the moisturiser and it was amazing. My hands have never felt so soft before. This will definitely be my weekly treat to myself on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

On a not so beauty not, this book is so witty and delightful. Have seen it cropping up on my Instagram feeds over the past few weeks. If you have it enjoy, and if not get it! Plus following on from my last well-being post, these new yoga pants are so comfy and another item ticked off my wish-list. A very lucky girl indeed this year. I hope you all received some well deserved gifts this year too!

xxx

Friday, 2 January 2015

…A simple Christmas...

My Christmas. A simple day spent at home, just us two. Perfect! Food, Cava, lounge wear and T.V.


xxx