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Spinach and Sweet Potato Soup

17 Mar

Spinach and Sweet Potato Soup

Last week I found some spinach in one of my western local Korean shops. I know that makes little sense, but if you’ve lived here then you’ll understand.

I really wanted to make a spinach soup. I freaking love spinach. Same with sweet potato!

I scoured the internet for recipes and found diet soup, cream soup, interesting soup and down right odd soup! None of them tickled my fancy so I put off making anything.

Until I opened my fridge and decided it was time.

Throwing in a sweet potato, onion, a little olive oil and tons of spinach. Chicken stock and water. Brought it to the boil and simmered it for 40 minutes. Blended it (this included spraying said delicious soup all up the wall!!)

For some weighr I added some cottage cheese and small chunks of salami.

I really enjoyed it hot and cold and can’t wait to make it again!

β™₯

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Healthy Living: Banana Smoothies in a Wine Glass

12 Mar

Healthy Living: Banana Smoothies in a Wine Glass

OK, so recently I haven’t been getting out much.

Study and a lack of sleep have kept me from enjoying the delights of drinking wine in the local Turkish bar (one of the few places to get real, good tasting wine in Korea!)

Double with an attitude that I need to become healthier than I have been, I have taken to drinking smoothies out of a wine glass!

My favourite is a banana, coffee and soy milk version that goes a little like this:

1 banana
as much soy milk as you like
some instant coffee (I actually use Startbuck’s Via for this!!!)

Blend together and drink.

It’s so simple and tasty and healthy!

Enjoy πŸ™‚

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Roasted Garlic and Tumeric Chickpeas

9 Mar

The non-snack snack!

So I am trying to change my diet a little by cooking and eating healthier food than I was previously consuming. When I first started at my school I didn’t have much time for anything but school and sleeping. Oh, and some socializing! I tended to pop into the shops on the way to school to pick up either some gimbab or a pastry. Although gimbab, basically a Californian roll (and ooooh so tasty) is pretty healthy, it’s not so good to buy the non fresh stuff, packed with calories and additives at the shop. The pastry says enough. I would also buy a milky coffee and maybe a juice.

Now I know that those of you who go to Starbucks every morning buy something similar to me, and I’m not saying you shouldn’t. All I’m saying is that my body did not like it, and as I teach all day I tend to need a hell of a lot of energy (yes, I am one of THOSE teachers!!!)

So slowly but surely I am cutting down of the crap and introducing healthier, home made foods – I love cooking and baking and home made is almost always better than shop bought.

My latest discovery is roasted chickpeas. A wonderfully tasty way to fill up in between meals without eating chips and chocolate. They also give energy and are very easy to make.

All you need is:
~ chickpeas (if dried, 1/2 a cup soaked over night, if canned just the whole tin) drained
~ 3 or 4 cloves of garlic
~ tumeric (or any other flavorful spice)
~ salt and pepper
~ olive oil

1. Turn your oven to 200 degrees Celsius
2. In a bowl put all your ingredients and toss to cover everything in the mixture.
3. Put onto a baking tray.
4. Roast for up to one hour.
5. Cool and eat.

It’s so simple, you can leave it in there and go about your other business!

They taste so good, and are very filling!

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For Shizzle Lemon Drizzle

5 Mar

For Shizzle Lemon Drizzle

A few weeks ago I was on vacation from school. It was the same week a lot of awesome teachers were finishing up and moving to new schools. (In Korea you can only serve 5 years at a school before having to move on. It’s good and bad for many reasons, one of them because I really liked my co-teacher so I was hoping she could stay).

Koreans don’t really like very very sweet things, unless it’s bread or garlic bread and then the sweeter the better! Hahaha…so when I make them western style sweet cakes they eat one bite and then complain that it’s too sweet.

That’s why this time I thought about a delicious lemon drizzle cake. I did some research and found the recipe without too much sugar, but still packing the flavor and tried it out. I had some left at the end so I make Lemon Drizzle Cupcakes too!

I cannot however take credit for this recipe! It was found here. It is super easy, the only thing I would amend is that when adding the eggs you should add them 1 at a time with some flour, or the batter becomes curdled and don’;t sit right. I even made the mistake of using plain flour instead of self raising and it came out better than the original!!

Since trying it the 1st time I gave it to my girl’s at a cooking lesson I was giving them last Thursday. It literally disappeared (along with some gorgeous banana bread made my an awesome baker!!). I was so pleased I decided it should be shared with more of the world…well my 10 or so regular readers :p

Please, make, eat and enjoy!

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Getting Stuck In!

2 Mar

Getting Stuck In!

Yesterday I took my 2nd ever cooking class. This time with there were 12 of us in 1 room.

I honestly loved it! Everyone bringing ideas from their home countries and working together to adapt and build recipes. I certainly learned some new skills and tips that I hope to use in the future.

The 1st dish we made was Bread Tomato Soup. A very rustic, filling dish with rich flavours and wonderful colours. Here’s the recipe I used (I got it from here):

Bread and Tomato Soup
(serves 4)

You will need:
500g ripe cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
Basil (fresh if you can get it!)
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
2 x 400g tins of (plum) tomatoes
500g or 2 loaves of stale bread

What to do:
Prick the cherry tomatoes and toss them with one sliced clove of garlic and 1/4 of the basil. Roast them for about 20 minutes. (if you don’t have an oven then skip this part!! You can do this in a pan with a lid over the top)
In a pot, add the rest of the garlic, oil and basil. Fry gently until soft. Add the tinned tomatoes then fill up the tins with water and add that. Break the tomatoes up with a spoon, bring to the boil and then simmer for 15 minutes.
Tear the bread up into thumb sized pieces and add them to the soup. Add more basil and simmer for 10 minutes. Your oven tomatoes should be ready now. Add them and remember to add all the sticky gooey bits too.
Stir the soup. Add 6 or 7 tablespoons of olive oil and serve.

This is seriously delicious. Try it!!

❀

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Quick and Easy Garlic Prawns

1 Mar

Quick and Easy Garlic Prawns

A few nights ago I got really hungry after a long day at school and then Korean study. I didn’t want anything to heavy but it had to be packed with flavour.

So…I defrosted the last of my prawns. While I was waiting for them to defrost in some water I heated up some olive oil, butter, garlic and parsley. Just a little so coat the prawns…no need to give yourself a heart attack!!!

I added the prawns and let them cook a little. Then poured them into a bowl and ate with a little rice bread! Truly delicious!

Now go and eat!!!β™₯

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Delight Squared

29 Feb

Delight Squared

My friend is having a baby very soon.

To mark this very exciting event I have been working on an old family pattern for a square blanket.

It’s super easy, once you get your head around it. And the squares knit up really quickly.

It’s taken me a really long time to do this but only because of my growing kitten and his absolute LOVE of moving wool. Along with stationary wool, bundled wool, and anything wool based (including my clothes!!).

It’s not quite finished yet, but it doesn’t stop me from posting about it! I’m an excited little bunny!

For beginners of making squares I would suggest just practicing basic knitting skills before you do the one piece blanket. And the joy with this style is that many people can contribute to the finished product πŸ™‚

What you need:
~ a selection of colored yarn. I use double knit (worsted)
~ 4mm (US 6) knitting needles.
~ scissors

What to do:
~ check the paper band around your wool for details of how many stitches and rows make up a square of 10cm x 10cm (4 x 4 inches), It’s usually 22 stitches across by 30 rows. This is important to know, as you will need all the squares to be the same size for sewing up.

~ For this pattern, cast we’ll assume that it is 22 x 30 for a 10cm square.

1. cast on 22 stitches
2. knit the 1st row
3. purl
4. repeat 2. and 3. until you have 30 rows.
5. cast off

It’s really as simple as that. Make as many squares as you like. 100 squares will make a blanket 1 metre squared.

To Make the Blanket
~ Play around with your pairings and patterns of where you want your squares to be placed. Once you are happy I suggest taking a picture so you will remember what it all looks like. This stage could take some time to complete.

~ I would suggest some crocheting at this point. Take a contrasting colored yarn and simply crochet the squares together, working in a diagonal fashion:

3
1 2

Starting with 3 squares, crochet from the bottom of 1 and 2 and then 1 and 3, with the same thread. Then:

6
3 5
1 2 4

This time starting at the bottom of 2 and 4, crochet up diagonally. Making sure to secure squares 1 and 5 at the corner so there are no gaps or holes. Keep going until the whole blanket is complete.

~ Once this stage is complete you might like to add a border. For this I like to make it 50% bigger than the actual squares. Just knit it up and sew each side on as you go. If you want some more help on this one I’ll be writing more about it when I get to this stage of my blanket!

I love this blog post by One Crafty Momma. A very good look for the blanket. Something to aspire to πŸ™‚