nutty – citrus dressing and how I use it

I love sauces/dips/dressing. All foods should have another food on them. I put approximately 4 sauces/toppings on all foods and it has horrified many people. And due to my need for all foods to have sauce on them, I make a lot of different sauces. This one though, I make probably 3 times a week and eat on as many vegetables as possible.

It started because I fell in love with this salad, which I also make incredibly often. But I didn’t quite have all the ingredients for the dressing and I refused to not have salad for dinner, so I used what I had. And then a few days later, I did a similar thing and put in on another salad-y thing. And now I put it on pretty much anything crunchy I can find.

nutty-citrus dressing

1 lemon, zest and juice

1 large or 2 small cloves of garlic

2 tbs honey

1/3 cup tahini or peanut butter (crunchy peanut butter here is incredible)

pinch of salt salt

olive oil (as needed)

  • zest lemon into bowl, add juice
  • grate garlic into bowl (I use a microplane)
  • stir in honey and tahini or peanut butter
  • add in salt
  • add oil until desired consistency is reached

This dressing is creamy from the nut butter, tangy from the lemon, and has an amazing slight burn from the raw garlic. Its great with ginger added, or chili if you want more spice.

How to use it

Obviously, in The Salad. I love it on top of shredded salad with pickled onions (often served with quinoa and grilled chicken). I dip carrots into it. I put it on rice cakes. It’s great on falafel (I was going to post a falafel recipe today but I have no photos of making it so that will come another day). Basically, please eat this on everything you can.

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Easy raspberry jam + overnight oats

A teaspoon-ish amount of this tart jam, stirred through oats, makes a perfect breakfast for this not-quite-spring weather.

small square glass jar sitting on wooden surface, filled with dark red seeded jam. Metal teaspoon sticking out of open jar

There’s a small jar of my grandmother’s homemade cherry jam tucked into the back of my cabinet, which I haven’t eaten because if I eat it then I don’t have any more. How long I hold out on not eating it is a good question, because it really is the best jelly on earth. However, this is not that recipe, this one is much much easier.

Canning things and sealing jars is great (and you can do that with this recipe if you’d like to) but it’s also a bigger time and space commitment than I think most people want to give. That doesn’t mean you can’t make and eat homemade jam regularly. This recipe relies on the natural pectin in the raspberries (other fruit will work, specifically blackberries and other high pectin fruits) to help it set, rather than adding it separately. This also means it’s JAM not JELLY (fruit not juice) – this difference is a hill I am willing to die on. If you don’t like the seeds though, feel free to run the whole thing through a sieve!

I primarily put jam on top of oatmeal/porridge/overnight oats. The main reason I decided to make it myself was to control how sweet it is – I find store bought jams to often be too sweet so you’ll notice there isn’t that much sugar in this recipe.

Easy Raspberry Jam

makes around one jar

small saucepan sitting on stove, filled with raspberries and sugar

175-200g raspberries (one medium-large carton)

juice of one lemon

1/4- 1/3 c granulated sugar – adjust to your desired sweetness and the sweetness of your berries

  • add berries, sugar, and lemon juice to a non-reactive saucepan
  • stirring occasionally, bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat
  • skim off the foam that rises and discard – if you don’t get it all, dont’ worry!
  • raise heat to high and boil for aprox 10 minutes, stirring to prevent scorching. beginning at 10 minutes check for doneness (I use the wrinkle test by putting a spoon or two in my freezer while the mixture comes to a boil and then testing if the jam sets when dropped onto it – you also get to eat the jam off the spoon after!) you can also check for the jam to get to 220F but I don’t have a thermometer.
  • If you want, strain your jam!
  • pour into a sealing jar and refrigerate. As you can tell in photos, I’m reusing an old jar that I washed out and sterilized (having a kettle is a godsend) right before use but you could definitely use traditional jars and process them in boiling water. However, this jam will keep in the fridge for a few weeks and makes such a small batch there’s no need!

Overnight Oats

one serving

I have never liked oatmeal very much, but living somewhere cold makes you! I prefer my oats soaked overnight so they become a custard-y texture, and honestly I like them cold best. These are great for making in a container you can take on the go to work/class!

1/3 c rolled oats

2/3 c milk (or 1/3 c milk and 1/3 c greek yogurt)

1 tbls chia seeds if you have them and like them!

pinch of salt

  • mix ingredients directly in the container you’ll eat them out of – it needs a lid
  • refrigerate for at least 4 hours – hence the ‘overnight’
  • this recipe is endlessly adjustable. I go ahead and put a spoonful of jam on top the night before. It’s also great with cinnamon sugar and bananas or apples, chocolate, peanut butter, and a variety of other fruits!
white bowl of oatmeal with a spoon in it, a dollop of dark red seeded raspberry jam on top

Winter Stew

I love soup to the point it’s excessive. I probably have soup for at least one meal a day and never tire of it. I might love winter just for the soup. And while I generally prefer my soups fairly brothy and lighter, this stew is by far the most comforting thing in my normal rotation of recipes.

The recipe is a hodge-podge of many, many I’ve read (googling beef stew in the grocery store) with quite a few adjustments to what I can find and what I like to keep on hand. It’s best when topped with scones, which both thicken the stew and cut through some of the richness. You could easily top with scones simply cut into circles, but I’m partial to the way El grew up with them – filled with ketchup and herbs and rolled up like cinnamon rolls. I too was hesitant at first, but it’s incredible.

these scones are a little too crowded

Winter Stew

Serves 4-5

2 stalks celery

3 carrots

3 shallots or 1 small onion

3-4 cloves garlic

2tbs balsamic vinegar (red wine would be good here, if you drink it)

4tbs tomato paste

Fresh thyme

Rump steak (cut into bite size pieces)

½ c flour (season w/ salt, pepper, dried herbs)

2tbs oil

4 c beef stock

  • Chop vegetables into whatever size you want to eat them at, set aside
  • place oven proof pot on stove, heat oil over medium heat
  • Dredge cut meat through flour, fry off in oil over medium heat till all sides are brown turning as needed (let frond develop on the bottom of pan)
they need to be very flour-y so the stew will thicken later
you’re not trying to cook the meat all the way through, just brown the outsides
  • Pull meat from pan
  • Add onion/shallot to pan and deglaze with vinegar, scraping along the bottom until all frond is loose
  • After onion has begun to go soft, add celery and garlic
  • Add tomato pastes, stir to loosen and let caramelize
  • Add carrots
  • Add meat back to pot, add beef stock and fresh thyme
  • Cover and let simmer for 1 ½ hours, meat should be tender

if adding scones to top of stew, place cut scones on top of the liquid with space between and place pot or dutch oven in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes

Scone topping

1 c self raising flour

¼ c cold butter

Splash of milk

Ketchup

Dried herbs

Shredded cheese

  • Rub cold butter into flour until smooth and crumbly,
  • Add milk until dough forms (about 3-5 tbs)
  • Roll out on floured surface to ¼ inch thick
  • Top with ketchup, herbs, and cheese
  • Roll up (like cinnamon rolls)
  • Pinch seam closed, and place seam side down
  • Use serrated knife to cut in ½ inch thick slices, brush tops with milk
  • Place on top of stew or on tray, bake at 200c or 350f for 15-20 minutes until golden

Blood Orange Loaf Cake

I’m going to breeze past the fact that the fact that the last thing I wrote was about my 21st birthday and I’m a month away from 22, and instead write about a cake I made last week!

Winter is citrus season, and my love for it has resulted in a series of jokes about how I’ll never get scurvy. There are orange peels everywhere and my microplane is constantly in use zesting something. I couldn’t be happier. In addition to this I’m working out the kinks in a blood orange curd recipe so maybe I’ll keep up the writing and share that? Planning ahead, who knows!

Anyway, I saw a recipe for this cake on instagram and decided at 10am on a Tuesday morning to make it. I’ve definitely tweaked it since, as my desire for intense citrus flavour is too much for most recipes but it was incredibly easy to make and only gets better as it sits!

loaf cake sitting on wooden cutting board covered in pink glaze

Blood Orange Loaf Cake 

adapted from this recipe from Broma Bakery

½ c vegetable oil

2 eggs

3/4 c sugar

1 tsp baking powder

½ tsp baking soda

Zest of 4 blood oranges

2 tsp blood orange juice

½ c Greek yogurt (I used skyr since its what I had on hand)

1 ½ c flour

  • preheat oven to 350F, line loaf pan with parchment paper
  • whisk oil, eggs, sugar, baking powder and soda, zest and juice together
  • alternate adding flour and Greek yogurt to the mixture, be careful to overmix. I sifted my flour in the second time and it helped prevent overmixing!
  • bake for 40-45 minutes until golden brown
blood orange sits cut open on wooden countertop

Blood Orange Simple Syrup

Juice of 2 oranges (use from above)

½ c sugar

  • reduce juice and add sugar, stirring until dissolved
  • when the cake comes out of the oven, poke small holes across top and drizzle syrup over the top

Glaze

Juice of other 2 oranges

1 tsp vanilla

1tbs milk

1 ½ c powdered sugar

  • reduce juice from remaining two oranges, remove from heat and add vanilla, when cool add milk
  • sift in powdered sugar, stirring between ½ cups until desired thickness
  • drizzle over cooled cake

21 in Glasgow

It has occasionally hit me in the 2+ months since my birthday that I’ve passed the final “adult” marker. I’m by definition “in my 20’s”. I guess the strangest thing about birthdays is there isn’t a moment when you feel any older. When we woke up on the 31st of March, Q asked me how I felt, and I answered, from under my pillow, tired.

There was no change. It makes me wonder why we mark the change in our age by a single day, as if there is a measurable difference in who you are or what you can do from the day before to the day after your birthday. But I guess despite feeling the same, I am officially 21, so we can all imagine me buying my first legal (US) drink for tradition’s sake.

I’m not particularly a fan of birthday parties, so despite the notable new age, I celebrated with as little fuss as possible. Technically I spent most of my 21st birthday on trains, because there were quite a few delays coming back from Glasgow. But I count the I count the trip to Glasgow as my birthday, regardless of the date.

Glasgow is about a 2.5 hour direct train ride away, and we booked the trains last minute. The nice thing about traveling within the UK rather than abroad is there’s a lot less pressure to see everything. I’m sure we missed plenty of Trip Advisor’s ‘Top 10 Things To Do’ but I’m pretty okay with that.

I sorted travel and accommodation, so I was not in charge of sorting out exact plans. We got in around 12, so after dropping our luggage off at our hotel we went to find lunch. Like many of my travels, more research went into food than anything else. Lunch was tapas at Cafe Andaluz, a suggestion from some family friends. It was lovely, but also confirmed my fear that red wine without question gives me a migraine.

We spent essentially the rest of the day on a street art walking tour that gave me actual blisters. However it made sure we saw the entire city.

We also stopped by the Gallery of Modern Art, the one with the statue of the Duke of Wellington with the traffic cone on his head.

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The next morning (after sorting out the public transport system) we went to Kelvingrove, the main art gallery and museum in the city. It’s just outside the city centre near the university, but its lovely. Give yourself more time than we did if you want to wander through all the small gallery rooms, but its free so its worth it even if you only pop in for a short time.

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We had a very odd lunch/pie thing in the basement of a building while watching an incredibly odd play about the ‘worst poet ever’, a nearly surreal experience. Still hungry after the included ‘lunch’, we ate far more fried food than anyone ever should at Bread Meets Bread, but holiday calories don’t count, do they?

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We popped into the botanical gardens before heading all the way across the city to see the cathedral. I have to admit I’ve seen a lot of churches, cathedrals, priories, etc, and I would say Glasgow’s is beautiful. The stained glass is very bright and clear, the organ is massive, and on the hill behind it is an incredibly old cemetery.

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So despite spending the majority of my birthday on trains, I think I celebrated well.

 

 

A tuesday night kind of cake or 2 bowl chocolate cake

Sometimes, you just want to bake a cake. Not a fancy cake, not a for show cake, the kind of cake you will eat on the couch out of a bowl because obviously, you put ice cream on it.

It was a tuesday night and I wanted to make a cake. Technically I could have made a one bowl cake but I always feel like those don’t turn out quite right. This cake takes longer in the oven than it does to prep, and gives a great amount of time to eat ‘real food’ before you pull it out.

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Two Bowl Chocolate Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar (I’d probably cut this down to 1 1/2 in the future!)
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder – with this much sugar you want the dark unsweetened stuff!
  • 2 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp (aka a pinch) of salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup hot water
  • opt. extra chocolate chips (but are they optional? Really?)

Directions

  • preheat oven to 350 and grease 2 6in round baking pans (or whatever you have around)
  • mix milk, vegetable oil, eggs, and vanilla together in a bowl
  • sift flour, then add sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda and powder, and salt in another bowl
  • mix dry ingredients into wet in halves
  • after mixed, pour in hot water and mix well
  • if you want, dust some chocolate chips with flour and fold into the batter before pouring into pans
  • bake for 30 minutes
  • after cooled, top with ice cream, whipped cream, or for some reason if you feel like making it, frosting

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Mushy, gooey, not too pretty, but very delicious. There you go, a 45 minute with 2 bowls to clean, a perfect Tuesday night cake.

 

A

 

2017; a look back

I’m not going to write about 2017. There’s too much to say, so I’ll skip all the words and leave you with what I listened to for a year. Instead of writing about the year, or taking photos, the only thing I managed to do all year was to make monthly playlists of what I listened to each month.

There are repeats, they don’t make sense, the songs don’t go together, but in some way, they do. In little ways, these mix matched songs sum up a year. So enjoy them.

January

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February

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March

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April

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May

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June

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July

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August

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September 

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October

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November

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December

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