Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Three years and counting

Today is our third wedding anniversary. Three years. Wow. It’s gone really quickly. I know everyone says that but I really can’t believe it has been three whole years. When you are a kid you scoff when adults say ‘time passes quicker when you get older’, well, it’s true! I often find myself talking about something I did “the other day” and realise what I actually mean is “last month” “last year” or even “a few years ago”.

Our wedding day was everything I dreamt it would be & more. It was a truly wonderful day filled with so many great moments. Even the weather behaved – it was one of the hottest days of the year! Seeing our friends & family laughing, drinking, dancing, playing giant jenga (or fetch with the local dog & a giant jenga block!!) was so lovely. Every time I think of that day, and I think of it often, I smile & lose myself in happy memories.

Each anniversary we have made sure to do something filled with just as many happy memories. Our first anniversary was spent at Universal Studios in Orlando, riding roller-coasters, drinking butterbeer, eating hotdogs & having cocktails as the sun set over the theme park. For our second anniversary we hired a classic AC Cobra 427 for the day & went on a sunny drive through the lanes in the south east of England with a lunch stop at beautiful Mottisfont Abbey (where Mike had taken me for any amazing night out early on in our relationship!) Tonight we will be eating out at one of the best restaurants in the UK – Gidleigh Park – that just happens to be half an hour from our home! I am looking forward to what promises to be a wonderful evening.

Each 23 April since 2011 has been special to us, and has given us many happy memories. But that isn’t limited to one day a year. Mike & I met in 2007. He changed my life completely. We have plenty of lazy days wasted in front of the TV or trawling the internet on our laptops, probably too many with the time flying along like it is, but we also have amazing holidays, go on days trips, eat out at some wonderful restaurants and spend time with our families & friends. Every day with Mike is special, sometimes because of something big, more often because of something small & seemingly insignificant, but always special. That’s the best bonus of being married to my best friend. He makes me happy.

Friday, 18 April 2014

After 2 years - a return & a recipe!

So, back in 2012 I decided to get back into blogging & lasted a whole 6 posts. Terrible. Now, two years on, I am going to have another go. As the old saying goes ‘If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again’!

The past few months my eating habits have been pretty shocking; too much takeout, too many snacks, too many fizzy drinks, not enough fruit, veg, water & homemade healthy meals. All this has lead to a lot of tummy upsets, headaches & a general feeling of ‘bleugh’ for want of a better word! In July last year husband & I did 6 weeks of vegan eating. We cut out all meat, fish, dairy & eggs. So much processed food contains some sort of animal product that it forced our hand to cook from scratch. The changes we both experienced were quite surprising. The main thing we noticed was how much more energy we had; rather than finishing work, coming home tired & ready to collapse on the sofa, we were much more productive. We also slept better (which probably contributed to the more energy), our skin was clearer, our concentration was better, and, not to put too finer a point on it, our digestion was better! I also found that I lost a fair bit of weight without any real effort.

All these things, coupled with tasty food, must make you question why we didn’t stick with it! Laziness I suppose is the only real reason. Well, along with blogging I’m also giving much healthier eating another go too! I’m using having husband home for the long Easter weekend as a kicking off point. Dinner was his choice & he went with Falafel Burgers, wedges & salad.

Recipe after the pictures!

Ready to turn into dinner

Chickpea, onion, garlic & spice paste

Awesome quirky, kitsch burger press!

Four perfect patties!

Coat the patties in a layer of seasoned flour

Dinner is served :)

 Falafel Burgers
Serves 2 greedy people or 4 normal, restrained people!

400g can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 banana shallot, chopped (a small red onion would work just as well)
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tsp. coriander seeds
3 tbsp. plain flour, divided
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper

·      Heat a frying pan over high heat. Once the pan is hot add the cumin & coriander seeds - no oil. Keep the seeds moving around, shaking the pan pretty much constantly – they really don’t take long, about a minute. Remove from the heat, add to a mortar & pestle & take out some pent up anger on them!
·      Put the chickpeas, shallot, garlic clove, crushed spices & 1 tbsp. of plain flour into a food processor & process to a course paste.
·      Tip the paste out onto a clean work surface & shape into either 2 large (greedy!) patties or 4 smaller (normal) patties. If you’re like me & can’t resist buying quirky, kitsch, unnecessary bits & bobs feel free to use your teeny burger shaped burger press to make your patties!!
·      Spread the remaining 2 tbsp. of plain flour onto a plate, season with salt & pepper. Coat the patties in a thin layer of flour, patting off excess.
·      Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium head, add the  patties & cook for 2 – 3 minutes on each side until crisp.
·      We served ours on crusty tiger bread rolls with garlic & black pepper mayo, slices of beef tomato & oven roasted flat mushrooms, wedges & heirloom heritage tomato & rocket salad – yum!

It's good to be back, hopefully I will stick around a bit longer this time! 
In the mean time cheers!