GET OUT

I found the final two years of my four year degree very difficult.

I struggled to find a work-life balance, and take time out to have fun. I take comfort in the fact that I got a first class degree out of it. But I am so glad it that period in my life is over.

I was in a bit of a mess by the time my fourth year ended. Like so many other students, I experienced anxiety and depression. A significant life event in my final year confounded this state of mind.

One of the main things that bothered me in those two years was the amount of time I spent indoors, alone, working. I was always a very outdoorsy child; I have so many memories of time spent on walks with my family and playing in the village with friends. I had amazing friends at University who I value immensely (even if I don’t express it). But I didn’t allow myself to enjoy their company frequently enough. It was largely self-inflicted, but I still felt profoundly trapped, isolated and miserable.

But it’s nearly 2 months since I graduated, and I am feeling so much better.  Getting out in the fresh air (in the sun and rain – this is England after all) is having a profound effect on my state of mind. As I spent day after day as a slave to the library and to my routine, I was aware of my desire to spend more time outside. But I was so strict with myself, and so scared of wasting time, that I didn’t do anything about it. But now I see how important it is for my mental health.

Getting out and doing at least a little bit of exercise every single day massively lifts my mood. So if you’re feeling a bit grotty or tired, try going for a walk around the block and see what happens!

My friend Rachel and me at the top of Harrison Stickle in the Lake District.
My friend Rachel and me at the top of Harrison Stickle in the Lake District.

Maunika Gowardhan’s Indian Kitchen

If you like authentic Indian cooking, then I would recommend buying Indian Kitchen by Maunika Gowardhan.

indian kitchen

I came across Maunika’s blog on her website a few months ago. Her simple but exciting recipes intrigued me, and I decided to give one a go. And so began my love affair with her cooking!

I was so excited when I heard that she was publishing a book, and bought it as soon as it was available. It is full of beautiful recipes for unusual curries and meat dishes, exciting side dishes and traditional Indian desserts.

The other night I made an absolutely beautiful chicken curry, cooked with mint, coriander, cashew nuts and tamarind. It was so quick to produce, and so flavoursome! Here’s a picture of the curry in progress:

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In the past I’ve made her Murgh Korma, Chingri Macher Malai (a Bengali Prawn curry with mustard coconut and chilli) and Goan Xacuti Chicken (a chicken curry spiced with star anise and nutmeg), among others! I am yet to be disappointed by one of her dishes.

So if you’re on the look our for interesting Indian recipes, or perhaps a gift, then I recommend Indian Kitchen!

Product Review: Lurch Spirali Spiralizer

So as you may have seen in my last post, my Lurch Spirali Spiralizer arrived in the post…

 

… And I love it!

If you’re thinking about jumping on the bandwagon, I will happily help you clamber on!

Here is an example of one of the lunches I cooked using the spiralizer:

Zoodles

Warm salad of courgetti (A.K.A. zoodles) with anchovies, tomatoes, red peppers, spinach; topped with avocado; and flavoured with mint, coriander, lime and chilli!

I have already tried courgette, beetroot, carrot, cucumber and butternut squash. All worked out perfectly!

 

The Lurch Spirali Spiralizer is incredibly simple and effective. This particular spiralizer comes with an guide, which contains instructions and a guide to which vegetables work best (FYI – hard vegetables are better). The spiralizer comprises of three parts, so assembling the product very easy. Once assembled, all you have to do is attach your raw vegetable to the blade, and you have beautiful spirals in seconds! It also comes with three different types of blade, so you can vary the thickness of your spirals. It is easy to clean as you can separate the different parts in order to wash them individually.

I bought the Lurch Spirali Spiralizer from Amazon for £23 –  a real bargain and it arrived the next day! In the past I used a smaller, handheld spiralizer but I found it tricky to use. The handheld spiralzier cost me £10 and, in my opinion, was not worth its price. I have already used the Lurch Spirali Spiralizer more times than I ever used the handheld version. It is therefore proving to be much better value for money! For this reason I wholeheartedly recommend buying the slightly more expensive product.

So if you’ve seen beautiful pictures of delicious, summery, spirals all over Instagram and are keen to try it – go for it! Treat yourself to a Lurch Spirali Spiralizer!

 

Restaurant Review: Filmore & Union, Victoria Quarter Leeds

A part of this blog will be devoted to reviewing cafe’s and restaurants. For the first review, I ate lunch at Filmore & Union in the Victoria Quarter in Leeds.

Moroccan Chicken Courgetti with Mango

I ordered the Moroccan Chicken Salad with Courgetti and Mango, and the Courgette Pasta mains.Both dishes looked absolutely stunning when they arrived at the table, dressed with edible flowers. The Courgette Pasta was lovely – it was bursting with fresh, summery flavours. Although the Moroccan Chicken Salad was nice, it was slightly bland. It came swimming in a miscellaneous, pale-coloured dressing, which I found a bit off-putting. Nonetheless, both of these dishes offered a lovely alternative to a cold salad, and were very satisfying. I definitely want to return and sample some more of their offerings, which is a good sign.

Filmore & Union is not the cheapest, with mains costing between £9 and £11.But if you’re a fan of healthy living, it is definitely worth a visit. Especially if you’re into juices. I had a freshly pressed apple juice, and it was delightful. Such establishments remain rare in the north of England. So I hope the success Filmore has enjoyed recently will encourage other, similar eateries to emerge.

Whole roasted trout, stuffed with lemon and tarragon

The other evening one of our family friends arrived, unannounced, at our back door and presented us with two whole trout that he had caught that afternoon. He preceded to gut and clean the fish in our kitchen sink. All of this was rather unexpected and slightly alarming. But actually quite interesting, as I’d never seen a fish cleaned before.

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To get the point, this bizarre occurrence led to a frankly delicious meal (even if I do say so myself). And it was so easy!

Here’s a picture of the (slightly less frightening) finished product:

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I simply stuffed the trout with slices of lemon and sprigs of tarragon. Then squeezed lemon over the fish, seasoned it with salt and pepper, and wrapped it in tin foil. I baked the fish in the oven for around 20 minutes. It was unbelievably tasty, and retained it’s moisture beautifully as it was cooked on the bone.

I served the fish wish buttered new potatoes, and roast mediterranean vegetables.

I have to say, I think eating fish on the bone is one of my favourite things to do. Some people find it a bit fiddly, and don’t like the idea of the bones. But with the right eating technique bones are easily avoided. And, in my opinion, worth it. However, I do slightly relish the element of dissection involved, so perhaps I am biased.

Trying out Bircher Muesli…

…or overnight oats? I’m not really up to date with what’s going on in the Vegan, Deliciously Ella camp that seems to be taking over the world. Or at least my instagram feed. However, I have noticed the delicious-looking breakfasts popping up in my feed every morning, and I decided to give it a go. Verdict: DELICIOUS. Filling. Satisfying.

I decided to keep it simple for the first attempt. So this bowl consisted of roughly 40g of oats, milk (yes, regular milk – the vegans will be horrified), fage 0% yogurt, one ripe banana (sliced), a dash of maple syrup and some flaxseed mix. I combined all of these ingredients in a bowl and left it in the fridge overnight. In the morning I topped the delicious bowl with blueberries and more banana.

This is the perfect breakfast for anyone on the go. It can be taken to work or uni in a tupperwear.

It may seem a bit faddy, but you may as well try it out. Like me, you may be pleasantly surprised!

overnight oats
overnight oats