29 October 2014

Bathroom Mood Board.

This is my perfect bathroom. A bath on feet, hello! Lots of natural light. And those vintage mirrors, the more the merrier. Love.

Bit of a different post today: a bathroom mood board. It is all down to my love of Pinterest. I can spend hours upon hours there, stalking beautiful interiors, admiring the details and generally just droolling over expensive furniture.

And now, well I can start looking with a purpose in mind, whoop! You see, we used to live with my sister-in-law, but she recently moved out *sad face*. But it means we now have a guest bedroom AND a guest bathroom *jazz hands*.  Such a luxury for us Londoners. The bedroom will remain the same for the time being. But I'm firstly focusing on the bathroom. It's a small shower room, and because we do not own the flat, the amount of work we can do to it is limited. Purely decorative really.

So I have been scouring the net, looking for inspiration at what we could do to 'upgrade' our guest bathroom a little, and I decided to create a mood board here. Basically I like the colour mint, wire metal baskets, ladders that serve as shelves and trays to display pretty things.

How about that for a clever way to store towel. Plus can we take a moment to admire the tiles from the picture on the right. Swoon.

I love trays used to display pretty things like candles, perfume and hand cream. Plus flowers! It also gives guest a place to put their jewellery when washing their hands. It's a nice little touch which doesn't take much place at all.

Finally, I love the use of wire basket to store either towel or toilet paper. And mint coloured towels just add a little something to an otherwise all white decor.

Where do you find interior inspiration for your home?

Source: 1, 2, 3, 4 & 5

26 October 2014

creamy potato & roasted chilli corn chowder // with bacon bits

When the heaven opens just for you after a long day at work, and you have no umbrella, I can happily declare that soup season has officially started! *high fives invisible person next to me*

I made chowder to celebrate. Have you ever made chowder? I think it's an American thing. Chowder is a thick and creamy vegetable soup made with potatoes. Have a look online, there are so many different variations. But I kept mine pretty simple with potatoes, leek and creamed corn. And then added a bit of pizzaz with roasted chilli corn. And bacon. Ah, bacon. Crunchy bacon bits is where its at. But glistening little roasted corn kernels with a warm chilli hit ain't that bad either.

How about that for a close up?

creamy potato & chilli roasted corn chowder

1 medium leek, well washed and finely sliced
1 big garlic clove, finely minced
3 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cornflour (or cornstarch if you are from America)
375 ml (1 1/2 cup) milk - I used semi-skimmed
375 ml (1 1/2 cup) good quality chicken stock (I use this one)
1 can (418g) creamed corn
2 small potatoes (about 150g each) peeled and cubed
salt + pepper
1 can (165g) corn kernels
1 small chilli, finely chopped
6 rashers of smoked bacon, cut into small chunks

In a big dutch oven, melt the butter and gently cook the leeks until tender. Add the garlic and continue cooking for a minute. Add the cornflour and stir until it has soaked up the melted butter, kind of like when making a roux. Let cook for a minute, until light brown. Then add the milk and the chicken stock and bring to a simmer, whisking to make sure there are no lumps. Add the creamed corn and the potatoes and continue cooking on low heat until the potatoes are tender, around 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a separate pan, fry the bacon until crispy. Remove the bacon bit from the pan (drain them on a kitchen towel). Next use the same pan with a little of the bacon fat and fry the corn kernels. When they are browned, add the chopped chilli and continue frying for a few minutes.

Then sprinkle your fried toppings on a hot steaming bowl of chowder.

I can assure this soup taste as good as it looks.

22 October 2014

mini kitchen first aid kit

I did a food safety course last year, and since then, I have been keeping a mini first aid kit in my kitchen. Nothing fancy! I don't run a catering kitchen, so if I hurt myself badly, it's not like I need to carry on, I can actually leave my 'shift' and take a break or go to the emergency room. So I only keep a few items in it.

One, blue plasters. Why blue you ask? Blue bandages comply with food hygiene regulations, but that is not why I bought me some blue plasters. I bought them because you would notice a blue plaster floating in your soup, compared to a flesh coloured one. And they are truly waterproof too.

Two, antiseptic wipes. These individual wound cleansing wipes will make sure that if I cut myself whilst handling let's say, chicken, I will get all the nasty bacteria cleaned up before I can continue working.

I keep those two items in a little Muji box, tucked away in one of my kitchen drawer.

Do you keep a little kit in case of emergency in your kitchen?

19 October 2014

pumpkin bread {gluten free}

I am writing this post whilst eating the remnants of this delicious pumpkin bread.

It is so moist and full of autumnal spices. In a single bite, one can be taken back to those pre-gluten free days, when I used to delight in October = Starbucks pumpkin bread.

I decided to try my hand at a gluten free option when I came face to face with a can of Libby's pumpkin at Tesco. It would have been rude not to put it into my basket. So here I went, to experiment again with gluten free baking.

Can we take a minute and admire my cutie pie of a mini rug?

I bought it in Canada when we visited a traditional Huron ancestral village. I'm thinking of hanging it on the wall (it is about 2 feet long). What do you think?

Ok back to baking.

I find gluten free baking a bit of a challenge. So far, here is what I found out:

Rule 1: Do not expect to get the same exact results as when baking any normal recipe
Rule 2: You can absolutely not substitute the same quantity of normal flour with non gluten flour
Rule 3: Gluten free flour (as they are often primary made with rice flour) absorb more liquid than traditional wheat flour

I still have a long way to go in developing gluten free baking recipes. But I think this one is pretty perfect for now.

pumpkin bread {gluten free}

inspired by CopyKat

270g (1 cup) pumpkin pureed
170g (3/4 cup) caster sugar
50g (1/4 cup) light brown sugar
125 ml (1/2 cup) light vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs
180g (1 cup + 1 tbsp) gluten free flour (I use Dove's Farm plain white flour)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground cardamom
1/4 tsp ground clove
pinch of salt
handful of pumpkin seed, optional (for decoration)

Preheat your oven to 175 C / 350 F. Grease a small loaf tin (9x3).

Mix the pumpkin, oil, caster sugar, light brown sugar and vanilla until smooth. Add eggs one-by-one, mixing well as you go.

Add the dry ingredients into the pumpkin mixture and stir well. It will be more loose than a traditional cake batter, and that's ok! The rice flour will absorb quite a bit of the liquid. Sprinkle with a handful of pumpkin seeds before popping it into the oven.

Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour, or until a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once cooled, transfer to a cooling rack. The bread will taste much better, and slice more evenly, if you wait for it to cool down completely.

This with a cup of coffee. Hello autumn. You have been missed.

15 October 2014

stationary crush + washi tape love

I made the amazing virtual discovery of such a cute stationary website. I get really excited at stationary, and I know there are a lot of people like me, and a lot of people who are like *inserts quizzical looking emoji *. Well I stumbled upon Fox and Star. I mean seriously. How. Cute. I want everything on that website. And I can tell you that they are pretty passionate about stationary too because my package was not delivered just not any old box. There was cute washi tape on it, and everything was wrapped in gold striped little paper bags and there was a handwritten thank you note wishing me happing planning. Adorable! (I can see some people rolling their eyes, thinking I am one crazy sucker for packaging. Well, yes I am.)

I bought their minimal planner in grey to help me plan all those blog posts I am planning on doing (go me). It is a planner with no fixed date and separate monthly and weekly diary. It is quite slim and light, and I can safely say that I don't know how I lived before this.

I also bough a rabbit pattern pen. Cuz, you know, cute.

And washi tape!

The green, blue and rose print I bought in Canada, at Michael's. But the gold and stripy magenta is theirs. Washi tape just makes everything pretty. I write lists ALL the time, so a few strips of washi tapes makes my cleaning to-do list a little more fun.

I also bought some Christmas cards (getting in early!) but decided against showing them here because it might be a little too early for holiday cheer...

Where do you shop for cute stationary?

12 October 2014

Buckwheat Noodle Salad // with peanut + tahini sauce

This salad has become a staple in my packed lunch routine. It is seriously tasty and creamy and healthy too. I can't get enough of it.

I used buckwheat noodles. Some people call them soba noodles. Buckwheat is a gluten free grain, despite containing the word 'wheat' into it. I know, how strange. They cook in a flash, like 5 minutes. And this gives you enough time to whip up this awesome peanut and tahini sauce that you are going to drench your noodles with later. I like a lot of sauce with my noodles, thank you very much.

200g buckwheat noodles
2 spring onions, finely chopped
1 medium carrot, in little julienne
1 medium courgette, in little julienne

I used 200g of buckwheat. The noodles don't swell that much, so this is enough to serve 2 generously.

Once the noodles are cooked, you drain them and rinse them under cold water. This will stop them cooking longer, and becoming soggy (and break too, as gluten free noodles aren't the most sturdy of noodles!).

peanut + tahini sauce

inspired by Against all Grain

1/4 cup (60 ml) tahini
1/4 cup (60 ml) smooth peanut butter (all natural)
4 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup (60 ml) coconut aminos or soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 clove of garlic, finely minced
1 tsp grated ginger (about a thumb size piece of ginger)
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
red chill, to taste

To make the sauce, simply chuck all the ingredients in a bowl and mix until smooth.

Then pour over your noodles and chopped veg.

You can then customise your noodles with more toasted sesame seeds, crunchy chopped peanuts, more chilli, and coriander of course.

A nice addition that I sometime make is adding a dash of fish sauce to the sauce. It adds a nice saltiness to it. Sometimes I replace the honey with brown sugar which is equally nice. And sometimes I add a teaspoon of toasted sesame oil which make the sauce even more nutty. All nice variations, depending on what I have in my cupboard.

If you wanted protein, grilled chicken, some prawns or tofu would make a welcomed addition too.

I like dishes that give you a solid base, and you can make it your own with only little tweaks here and there.

I only wished I had this recipe up my sleeve when the weather was lovely and we had picnics in the park every week! Well, there is always next year...

8 October 2014

{Travelling} Canada, eh?

I just came back from my motherland where the sun was shining and I got hugs from my mum (yes I am a 31 year old women) every day.

Whilst the Indian summer was going underway, I was thinking about this little blog. I started blogging just for fun almost two years ago now, and since then I realised lots of things about food blogging. First, taking pictures of food is bloody hard work! Two, putting a recipe post together is a lengthy project, not a two hour jobbie. And third, it allows me to be as creative as I want to be and I just love this.

I always think of holidays as a time to make resolutions (my husband is totally gonna say I stole this from him). Am I the only one? It's like I'm allowed to press the reset button and start afresh. So in a bid to continue to have fun whilst blogging, here is my list of 'blog-olutions' - I'm such a nerd.

One - consistency. I definitely am not the most consistent blogger, sometimes going months without posting, and this trait of mine annoys me more than you will ever know. So I will attempt to make a blog calendar, stick to it and let's see how this goes…

Two - better my photography skillzz. I'm going to put my hand up and say that I received a beautiful new DSLR at my birthday last June and that I still shoot in auto mode. Bad blogger. I really want to teach myself about photography. Any tips on where to start?

Three - social media. I am writing this and I feel like my mother. Yes, I have two Instragram accounts, a twitter account and a personal Facebook page. Still I barely use them. And I don't really network with them. My excuse is that it takes times, and I do have a full time job. But, I really want to meet people through blogging! I feel like I am asking anyone that reads this if they want to be my friends...

Four - putting time aside to blog. Self-explanatory, but really I need to put time aside in my schedule and just get down to it. An hour a week for photo editing. An hour a month to plan posts. Waking up an hour early every week to photograph so I can get the natural light and not rely solely on taking pictures on the weekend. Spreading out the workload will help me  not get overwhelmed.

Five - diversity. Now I am putting this out there, and I have no clue how this will pan out, but I am toying with the idea of not just doing recipe posts. Maybe throw a little bit of DIY in there,  or I'd also love to say 'fashion' but I might be too camera shy to do that. Anyway, nothing set in stone, but basically, I'd like to branch out a little. Maybe.

So here it is. Five little things to enjoy blogging more. Do you take time to make lists like this? I'd love to know!