Sunday, 28 August 2016

Sunday salad

Last Sunday, after my friends had left back to Finland, I felt like I really needed something super fresh and healthy after basically eating fried food, pasta & pizza for 5 days straight. I decided to make a nice and colourful salad which I ended up being pretty happy with, so I thought it would be nice to share the recipe with you guys! I don't know about you, but I'm always looking for more inspiration when it comes to cooking, especially salads - I feel like I always just put in the same things! I hope you can find this post even a little bit helpful, and please do let me know if you end up trying it out!

Before starting out with the fresh ingredients, there's a few things you need to prepare first. Chop one small (or more if you're making multiple portions) sweet potato into little chunks, sprinkle them with olive oil and add some salt and pepper. Put them into the oven for about 20 minutes, checking every now and then that they're not getting burned! They are ready when they are soft on the inside and a bit crispy on the outside.

The other thing that you can prepare beforehand is the dressing. Put a few dollops of olive oil in a little jar and add a few different spices that you like - I chose garlic powder, salt & cajun mix. After closing the jar, shake it vigorously so that the spices get mixed up well with the oil. Put the jar aside and start cutting up your vegetables, giving time for the spices to properly infuse into the oil.



Start with a base - I used iceberg lettuce, it's super fresh and crispy!



Chop in about a half a pepper. I used an orange one because I wanted the salad to be as colourful as possible!



Next step: sundried tomatoes!



Actual tomatoes! I love using cherry tomatoes as they are so easy to prepare by just cutting them in halve. I used about 5-7, but it's up to you how big a portion you're after.



Even more colour! I chopped up a good chunk of courgettes into the mix, but I think cucumber would work really well too.



By this point hopefully your sweet potato chunks should be about ready and out of the oven. Have a taste to see if they need any more salt or pepper, and when you have deemed them worthy, add them to your lovely, colouful mix of goodness!



Final step is to add the oil + spice mix you prepared earlier. Just drizzle it on top of the salad and then mix up everything until it looks as messy as mine does above. After that it's time to enjoy - I hope you like it and I hope it makes you feel that being healthy doesn't mean you need to compromise on the taste!

Bon appetit!

Friday, 26 August 2016

East Street

East Street is a great Pan Asian restaurant in the heart of central London, just off of Tottenham Court Road station and Oxford Street (yikes!) and it's a great lunch/dinner option for anyone wanting to escape the hell, ahem, crowds for a little bit. Oxford Street isn't exactly renowned for its culinary experiences, but luckily East Street Cafe & the nearby Charlotte Street with its many restaurants are there to save the day.

As you probably already know, I'm really not one for big crowds, but sometimes a visit to Oxford Street just is, unfortunately, almost necessary - be it entertaining guests or having to buy a cheap pair of tights (two equally important things) from Primark. It's good to know that (a very delicious) escape is possible, and what's even better, very near.




I love how kitch the decor of the restaurant is - there are neon signs, bright colours and quirky lamps and flags everywhere. It kind of makes you feel like you're in a street market somewhere far, far away, which, of course, I imagine is the point of it all. The menu is combined of different flavours originating from East Asia, with each dish marked with the country it's from. What I also love about the menus is that they have very clearly marked out all allergens and even vegan dishes are marked separately! That always gets a gold star in my book.



Tove opted for the vegetable pad thai which she said was very tasty!




I ordered the sweet potato katsu curry with rice and I really enjoyed it. My good friend Sandra is obsessed with this dish and orders it whenever we go to Wagamama, and since I have never tried it myself I thought it was about time. Even though I'm usually a fan of spicier dishes than this, I really enjoyed the sweetness and the lovely curry flavour of it - I think I might've found my new favourite curry. I don't know what took me so long to try this!




I hope you enjoyed this little mini review of one of my favourite central London eateries! Let me know if you'd be interested in hearing more about my tips on where to escape the hustle and bustle of Oxford Street when hunger strikes? I have a lot of places I love around Charlotte Street which I would love to share with you guys!

East Street, 3-5 Rathbone Pl, London W1T 1HJ

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Wednesday, 24 August 2016

Primrose Hill

One of my favourite places in London is definitely Primrose Hill. I love how it's so close to Camden, yet its quiet streets and little shops feel like a million miles away from all of the crowds. Don't get me wrong - I adore Camden, but sometimes it's just nice to walk around picturesque streets, window shop in lovely independent boutiques and just hide away from all of the people for a little while. I've always thought Primrose Hill would be the ideal place to live - all the amazing restaurants, bars and shops of Camden Town so close by, yet far away enough from the noise for it to be a perfect place to settle down. Best of both worlds and all that. It's just too bad that all the houses are ridiculously expensive, but hey, I can always dream, right?

I thought I would take you along with me and share some of my favourite spots and also places I've seen many times and am desperately wanting to visit myself. I hope you like it, and I hope you can get a little bit inspired to go and explore the area yourself - it really is one of the most beautiful places in London!







The road leading to Primrose Hill park is called Regents Park Road (a bit confusing, I know), and it's full of lovely little places to explore, or, if you're passing by before payday, just to have a look and admire from afar.. You might want to pamper yourself in the spa at Cowshed, pick up flowers from the most amazing looking florist Fitzroy's or go crazy and go (window) shopping in all of the lovely independent boutiques you can find in the area.

The main reason to come to this part of London is, of course, the views. There are many places in London where you can admire the city from high up, but the top of Primrose Hill is definitely one of the best. I love having picnics here, but I also love climbing up (well, I don't necessarily love the actual climbing part..) and just standing at the top, taking in the view. It feels more real and accessible somehow than going to a swanky rooftop bar (as much as I love those too...) and I always love showing it to friends who've never been and sharing it with the people I love. It might just be one of the romantic places in London too - at least come sundown!





You're probably gonna be pretty exhausted after all the climbing and the exploring and maybe in need of a drink... My suggestion would be the cosy Queens pub right in the corner of the park, in Regents Park Road, or, if it's a really nice day like today, the Pembroke Castle on the other end of the street has a pretty cute garden to while away the summer nights. If you're looking for some food to go with your drink too, my recommendation would be the super cosy Negozio Classica - a Tuscan restaurant with a little wine shop and a lot of heart. I went there once for my birthday and the food, the service and the wine were all really good, so I would very much recommend it.

Any places I missed that I should know about? Let me know!

If you liked this, try this: Shoreditch Shenanigans

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Sunday, 21 August 2016

My Sunday routine

Sundays are pretty sacred for me. I used to get (and still sometimes do) very anxious come Sunday, and spend most of my day off thinking about work the next day and the (possible) stress to come. Lately, I've been actively trying to stop to doing this and start enjoying myself again. I want to stop ruining one of my two precious days off by thinking about something that hasn't even happened yet! I try to do something nice every Sunday, maybe go for a walk, grab a nice lunch somewhere in London's many amazing food spots or meet up with a friend for a much needed catch up session.

My mission is always to get home around five so I can use the rest of the day to relax and unwind before the busy week starts again. I'm most definitely a routine person and as I have created one I seem to always be repeating on Sundays, I thought why not share it with you! I know I'm curious about things like these when it comes to other people so I thought maybe you guys will be too!

TIDYING UP & LAUNDRY




Tidy house, tidy mind is definitely true when it comes to me. I've always been a really messy person and being super tidy still doesn't come very naturally to me, but luckily I'm slowly getting a little bit better at it! I do try to remember and put things back where they belong throughout the week (struggling with this - it's surprisingly difficult!) but I personally always have more energy to do a proper tidy up during the weekend. Sundays are usually the days when we have the most time on our hands so I try to put on as many rounds of laundry on as I can and do a big tidy up to the rest of the flat too. It will automatically make me feel a lot more calm and collected about everything and also it's just a lot easier to concentrate on other things with a everything in its place!

FOOD (PREFERABLY MADE BY SOMEONE ELSE...)



I generally do all the cooking throughout the week as I am the first to come home on most days, but on weekends I tend to give the honors to Jim and just relax and wait for the food to come to me... We also often succumb to the calls of take away food but I am really trying to get better at resisting the urge! Last Sunday we were really tempted (again) to get some Chinese from our local take away place, but in the end managed to resist the temptation and attempt to do a bit of a stir fry of our own! Obviously, by "our own", I mean Jim's... He cooked us a lovely little stir fry sauce with peppers, sweet potato & courgette and it was super lovely, and most likely a lot healthier than ordering in... Score!

PLANNING FOR THE WEEK AHEAD



I think this is my favourite thing about my Sunday routine - I've always been a sucker for a good planning session! I tend to plan my meals, my blogposts and my budget for the coming week on Sundays, and it definitely makes me feel a lot more organized and more ready to take on the coming week. My new favourite is an app called Wunderlist which, as the title suggests, lets you make different types of lists with the option of setting up reminders for them and the amazing satisfaction you get when there's a little "click" noise after you've ticked a task as done makes me feel so accomplished!

POPCORN & A GOOD TV SHOW



My favourite snack by far is popcorn - I'm obsessed with it! I have to limit my intake to once a week though, otherwise I will go ridiculously overboard with it... I usually reward myself with a bowlful of the treat on Sundays after I've finished all my tidying and planning, and usually pair it with watching something good on TV. Lately it's been a show called The Good Wife - you already know I'm obsessed with this! I think it's definitely jumped into my top 10 TV shows ever and I would absolutely recommend it if you like a good drama with a super talented cast like me!

PAMPER TIME



The perfect way to end a day, and a week, in my opinion is definitely a little pamper session. We're lucky enough to have a bath, so every Sunday I throw in a bit of bubbles, put on a YouTube video and jump in and relax for a good half an hour. I'm not a skincare expert by any means, but I do like to use a scrub a few times a week (this Sugar Crush one from Soap & Glory smells like mojitos and makes my skin super soft!) and put on a face mask of some sort (any good recommendations? I'm running our of my current one!). I love my baths - I think my next step is to sex them up with a few Lush bathbombs. I'll report back if I find anything exceptionally good!

How do you like to spend your Sundays?

(Ps. this is currently my favourite Sunday playlist - enjoy!)

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Friday, 19 August 2016

Recipe post: Cheats Veggie "Risotto"

When I was a kid my dad would always make me this "risotto" consisting of rice, minced meat & spices and a little bag of mixed vegetables (carrots, peas and red pepper chopped small, if I remember correctly!) with a good dollop of soy sauce on the top. It was a simple, easy dish and most of all, it was our thing. It became my favourite dish my dad cooked for me, and once I was old enough to live in my own apartment, it was one of the first meals I cooked for myself. I also cooked it for my boyfriend after we started dating and it became one of his favourite dishes too - I think it's the combination of the spices and the soy sauce that does it, they're just an unbeatable pair!

Once I became a vegetarian, it was this dish (and chorizo) that I missed the most, so I started trying out ways to replace the minced meat without losing the taste. The best way I have managed to recreate it was with soy mince, but I felt that it was a bit like cheating and that I didn't really want to be using that many meat replacement products anyway. The following recipe is the closest I have come by just using plant based products. I've replaced the meat with chickpeas and added more veggies than I normally would, and I also tried adding a bit of coconut milk to make it a bit creamier, which I thought worked our pretty well - even if I do say so myself! Have a read below if you would be interested in trying this out for yourself (and let me know if you do!).



Chop your bell pepper into little chunks (about the same size as your little frozen veggies) and, with a dollop of olive oil, add them to the pan with the rest of the vegetables and sweet corn. Season with salt, pepper, jerk spice, oregano, basil and whatever other spices float your boat! After they've been frying in the pan for a little while, add the coconut milk and the chickpeas too and let it simmer for about 10-20 minutes so that all of the spices will have time to infuse into the mixture properly.




While your veggie & spice mixture is brewing, put the rice on so that it will be ready around the same time as the veggies are. Once both the rice and the vegetables are ready, stir the rice into veggie and chickpea mixture. Serve it in bowls with a generous serving of soy sauce and, most importantly, enjoy! I hope you love it as much as I do.

Ingredient list:
  • Red bell pepper
  • About a cup full of frozen veggie mix (peas, sweet corn, carrots)
  • Extra sweetcorn (optional)
  • A can of chickpeas, rinsed
  • Jerk spice
  • Salt & black pepper
  • Oregano
  • Dried basil
  • Dried oregano
  • Half a can of coconut milk - shake well before opening
  • Brown rice (1-2 cups)
  • Soy sauce as a condiment when food is ready

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