Interlude… 2022

It humbled me in a way I had never experienced…

I remember writing down all the things I hoped to achieve come December… You know, the vision board thing…

The first few weeks in… the stars couldn’t have shined any brighter…

I was on a high… I had already knocked off one of my goals in the first week… and it sure felt good…

Then the next… ‘I could get used to this’ feeling… That prideful thought to myself…

And on it went… I made sure to take pictures of these wins… yes, moments of how far ‘we’ve’ come…

A few hiccups on the way but that didn’t distract me… didn’t stop the pictures either…

Help seemed to ‘drop’ right into my lap when I needed it… This year sure is going to be one to remember…

If only I knew what the next couple of months would hand out…

Literarily knocked the winds off my sails… I didn’t see it coming…

I got a ‘yes’ which I soon turned to a ‘no’ because as humans, we tend to ‘not settle for less’…

That was the only ‘yes’ I got for the rest of the year… It took me months to let go…

At the time it seemed like the best decision… I didn’t have peace, trauma had clouded my mind…

I didn’t want to go through that a second time with my eyes wide open… so I walked away, even though they couldn’t understand…

Days turned to weeks… then to months… What happened to the stars from when we all danced into the new year…

I didn’t have to wait till new years eve… I was off my high horse many months before then…

Yes… 2022 ‘broke’ me in the toughest of ways… but…

I learnt… I grew… and most importantly… It made me humble…

Life and opportunities, people and places are gifts… be kind… be humble… be thankful.

2023… I am not the same person…

I needed 2022.

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Nibbles… Paella to go….

I have been through many changes over the years, and so has this blog of mine (I mean, who hasn’t? Mainly thanks to the big C *rolls eyes*). At the start, it was meant to be about travel, food and memories of a lifetime. You know, those crazy, out-of-this-world holiday shenanigans most people can identify with… Like reminiscing with friends on your way home from a holiday, laughing out loud in a taxi/tube/speedboat lol… From overweight luggage (I’ve got several gold medals here haha), to getting lost in a beautiful city, to travelling solo and erm…’good’ plane food lol. Then the travel stopped… partly due to life happening and the other thing… In trying to keep ‘sane’ I picked up a hobby- kind of. Learning how to cook dishes from those memories… Yep, being locked up in the house for over a year makes you do things you never thought were possible… And so the content shifted to that… I’m sure you’re wondering where all this is going haha… Well, I said all that to say I really, really and I mean really miss travelling… No thanks to the sudden blast of cold and snow on my side of the planet *side eye* So get your passports and visas, we are about to go back in time like Marty and Doc haha

My first time in Spain… My first solo holiday travel anywhere lol… I wonder why I never made the trip much earlier. Oh, I know! I was waiting for the perfect travel buddy which I am yet to discover *shake my head*. So, I took the bull by the horn and left the nest. Better late than never I guess…

Spain is a very common destination for a lot of British travellers as it’s pretty “affordable”. So affordable it’s cheaper to travel to some cities in Spain on half board for three days than from your home to the office all within London lol. I kid, I kid… but you get the drift haha. Well for me, it’s a no-brainer… The beautiful weather over there, lively folks (everyone seems to be genuinely happy?), the food, and not too far to travel (any flight over 2hrs is long to me *straight face*). Popular spots include Ibiza for the active lot lol, Benidorm, Tenerife, Lanzarote, Marbella, and Malaga for the “family and sun”. For now, I go without the family bit, just the sun, haha. I’d rather sit around the table back home in London with some roast turkey watching “top 100 Christmas songs of all time” than having them drag me around the town wearing matching neon sunglasses, sightseeing when all I’m interested in is the buffet breakfast and laying by the pool *puts on shades* hehe

There are other popular spots like Barcelona which I am yet to visit. Strange, I know- Everyone has been there and I mean everyone, cat, dog, fly, dragon, pirates… lol. Then there’s the North of Spain with the mountains and snow 🎿 but not for me. I’m a creature of sunshine and heat so I tend to gravitate towards the south where I can sweat it all out and get a tan too lol. But never say never, I might just fall in love with a Nordic prince and move to the arctic region lol… 

Did I mention it was my first time travelling solo? Yes, I did lol. For this reason, I decided to opt for a package holiday instead to be ‘safe’. You know, the kind that sort flights, transfers, hotels, feeding and sometimes throw in a tour of some sort around the city which is included in the price. All you have to do is show up, lol. I must say, it was a good choice as everything went pretty well, apart from my return flight that is. It was one of those vampire morning flights- Yep, I had to leave the hotel at about 3am for a 3:30am flight or something as crazy lol. You know that airline, right? Easy does it…

On the second day, we had a guided tour around the city on a luxurious coach bus. The tour guide decided to take a break for a couple of minutes to give everyone some sort of “me time”. Yep, get away from the crowd and do what you want without anyone scrutinizing your every move haha. I decided to go get myself a paella! You can’t visit Spain and not taste this dish in its true authentic state, can you? lol. How can I not try this? Rich flavour and the ambience of the local area/restaurant… With all the cute little decks in the centre of the city… Definitely not one to miss!

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But guess what? It took so long to prepare I almost missed my bus back to the hotel!! Smh. Luckily some other passengers remembered the lone traveller with the “glowing” skin and so made (or more like ‘forced’) the driver to wait for me! (Yep, it was that hot I was shining like a gold coin tossed in a pool on a clear sunny day lol)

Talk about a ‘lucky escape’ lol. Next time I’ll just wander close to the hotel and hope I find a great local restaurant because I’m not about to be stranded abroad… Mum and dad would probably be too busy to answer my call haha…

Nibbles… Beef wellington

Hahaha! I’m sure you’re wondering why I am laughing..? More like laughing at myself for choosing this particular recipe *straight face*. I finally got the feeling back in my arm after all that stirring in Nibbles… My first roux sauce and happened to come across a cooking show on tv where this was the star of the show. I have always marvelled at this large log of greatness but not once have I tried or even come close to ‘bringing it to life’ lol. So get your hot water bottles, and heating blanket and please stay away from the fireplace lol.

To be honest, the main reason I never considered this recipe before was the meat involved. I do love meat- beef, lamb and anything that can fit in there but what I don’t like is the fact that there’s a bit of blood left in it even after all that oven time lol (cost of living- not ‘energy’ efficient). Blame it on some horror stories from my childhood where beef uncooked had ‘worms’. Yep, it was easy to believe because of the state of the butchers and even the abattoir! OMG! We would rinse the beef and offals (I know, you’re not supposed to *side eye*), and even possibly disinfect it till it’s all changed colour from the nice rosy red/pink to almost white before cooking! That wasn’t even the end of it… Then it would be boiled and then fried/grilled before being used for whatever. You see why I have trust issues with steak- rare especially. Whenever I see one, I automatically get this notification in my head- ‘worms’… Strange I know… Not to mention my ‘phobia’ for raw eggs- Yes, back to my childhood again haha.. seems I might need to talk to someone about ‘growing’ up lol. The eggs always had a funny smell, especially the yolks… it always made me puke. Till today I still ask for ‘well done’ eggs- meaning I have missed out on the lovely eggs benedict, florentine and royale!!! Those eggs need to be hard-boiled Chef lol… Wait, how did we get here? Oh, yes… the wellington

I have searched for different recipes online, and I always try to go for the easiest in terms of prep time and ingredients. Once I am done with cooking school then we can try ‘more’. But the problem is, I haven’t even gotten admission yet lol! Two recipes are on my radar and hope to try them soon. Can I tell you a secret? It’s most likely going to come out more as a vast sausage roll than beef wellington hahaha… ‘Why’, ‘how’? you might ask? Well, I’m still not about that ‘raw’ meat living…

Beef Wellington courtesy- ITV This morning

Courtesy BBC Good food

Nibbles… My first roux sauce

The many wonders of Instagram!! It’s like a treasure hunt, bargain basement, budget LinkedIn and whatever you can throw in there to connect people the world over… So while I was strolling the streets of this app, I came across ‘Roux Sauce’ (I was browsing through new homes, refurbs and the like… another hobby of mine lol) and was quite intrigued when this came up my feed. Everything looked posh and nosh there but I decided to give it a go. It was used in a pasta sauce and I decided to try it! So get your fire extinguishers and remove all flammable wigs, the kitchen is now open hahaha

It felt strange ‘cooking’ again after a long time off. Well, long time cooking and documenting I should say. Takeaways don’t need much attention, just smack them into the oven or microwave and they’re good to go. But with the fear of bills spiralling these days, it’s best you eat your takeaway at the shop straight from their hands to yours! (Sanitisers are back in operation by the way- you never know where their hands have ‘travelled’ *side eye*). Plus every minute of travel reduces the ‘heat’, especially with those drivers who never seem to get the address right! Another post for another day lol. Anyways, back to our roux sauce. Here are the ingredients followed by my thoughts.

  • Pasta
  • Coconut milk (you can use any other type- Almond maybe? hehe)
  • Tinned meatballs – Yep- that ‘cost of living’ adjustment haha
  • Frozen mixed vegetables
  • Butter (I used salted but whatever tickles your fancy)
  • Onions
  • Flour- About 2 tablespoons
  • Seasoning- Salt (almost negligible as it spikes my BP sigh!), Tumeric, mixed herbs, curry, all-purpose seasoning, garlic and ginger powders
  • About a tablespoon of vegetable oil
  • Cheese (discovered last minute I didn’t have any!!)

As per the video directions, I melted the butter first, then added the flour and kept stirring. This is very important so it doesn’t stick/burn. I kept stirring till it smelt like oven biscuits? Not me, that’s what the dude in the video said so I kept sniffing lol. Once I was satisfied with the smell, I added the coconut milk gradually while still stirring all the while. Believe me, my arm began to hurt and at that moment I thought to myself “this might be the last time we do any roux” lol. Also, I forgot to shake the can of milk so you can imagine the different textures going into the pan lol. Once I was done with all the milk, and my arm was almost torn off from all the stirring, I added black pepper and salt accordingly then I remembered I had no cheese!! Normally at this point, you should add the cheese. So I kept my fingers crossed that it’ll be somewhat as good.

I cooked the pasta earlier and separated it from the water. In a frying pan with the cooking oil, I fried the onions for a few minutes then added the mixed veg and drained meatballs. Once done, I set that aside. I then poured the pasta into the roux with the mixed veg sauce. Left it to marinate for a few minutes and it was good to go. I must add, I was pleasantly surprised with the meatballs, obviously no match for the fresh ones but good enough. So it might just be a favourite in my shopping basket lol.

Maybe when I get the feeling back in my arm again, I might try this with a fish curry… hahaha

Nibbles… It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…

Yes, yes… it’s that time of year again when we throw all sense out of the window, lift, balcony, and rooftop and believe in Santa Claus and all things magical lol… Don’t get me started about all the Christmas ads all the significant stores churn out to make us shed human tears… Yep, some of us only shed stones and pebbles at other times of the year *side eye*. Get your pumpkin latte, Christmas jumpers and puzzles and let’s get talking about festive meals hahaha

Recently, I popped into my local M&S and picked up their food magazine. Oh My Gosh!!! I couldn’t wait to get home to patiently look through and dream of how my dining table might look come December 25, boxing day and New Year. I usually tend to get loads of meals to last till the new year because I am not about to go (or more like roll over after stuffing myself lol) to the shops to meet empty shelves. Nope, not me. Let’s clear out the fridge, move the fruits and veg to vacation mode and indulge. Personally, I have a lot to be thankful for with all that’s happening in the world right now. A few days to just bask in the goodness of God is good don’t you think so?

So Saturday morning, while watching my favourite weekend morning treat, (“Four in bed”-this needs a whole post on its own! Talk about the lovely counties I never knew existed to the sumptuous breakfast ideas hahaha) I got out my pen, food magazine and started circling all I want. Bear in mind, these items go at the speed of light. By the time you’re done and attempt to check out with your cart, half the items are gone!!! The worst part is, once it’s gone it’s gone – zilch, nada no option to buy in-store or restock. I guess that’s why they open up the online order so early so you can get it quickly and go back to living life hahaha. But the thing is, I just might change my mind in a few weeks and then I’m stuck with the non-refundable deposits lol. For now, it’s all in circles till I decide how many people are coming over, if Waitrose has better offerings *rolls eyes* or if I’d rather be somewhere in Punta Cana cat walking at some resort’s buffet table lol…

What would you be having on your table come Christmas…?