Tuesday, September 30, 2014

homemade flatbreads + recipe

This post starts with how most thrown-together recipes start: my mum making dinner and me wanting to bake something. She was making her ever-so-perfect chicken tagine the other week and I was in the mood for carbs, those on diets know the cravings come quickly and without warning.  
A quick google later, we settled on Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's flatbreads, following this recipe on the wonderfully named blog, Mean Mothercooker. They were best eaten hot, straight from the pan, with a bowl of tzatiki and a spoonful of houmous as accompaniment.
- 250g plain flour
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 150ml warm water.

1. In a bowl, combine flour and salt. Add the oil and water until it forms a dough.
2. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes until the dough feels elastic and smooth.
3. Return to the bowl, cover, leave to rest.
4. When you're about to eat them, roll dough into a sausage and divide into 8 rounded balls of dough.
5. On a floured surface, roll the balls into circles around 3mm thick.
6. Heat a heavy-based, non stick frying pan (we used a griddle pan) until it is very hot.
7. Turn the heat down, and place the flatbreads carefully in pan. Let the first side cook for about 2-3 minutes, until the dough no-longer sticks to the pan. Flip, and repeat but for 1-2 minutes on this side. Eat immediately.
It's really very simple, and they're so great eaten hot. 

Sunday, September 28, 2014

down, but not out

I'm afraid there is no Weekend Wanderings post from me today (though some of the old ones are good ones!), as I've done a few of those kind of link-up posts this week - here are some autumn good autumnal recipes and some activities I want to do before the season is up if you fancy having a look!

I'm also going to be honest today and say that I'm really not in the best shape for blogging today, and this week has been a tough one. I don't want to force happiness or falseness in my blog if I'm not feeling well. My mood has not been the best, and it's unfortunate at this time of year, one that I really love, that my depression always descends again, and I really struggle with day-to-day living. 

A few things are changing in my life, too, which is making things feel even more turbulent: I've recently found a full-time job, but obviously with that comes some changes that I need to adjust to, so blogging may be a little sporadic over the coming weeks.. But, stay with me, and hopefully I'll be back on track as soon as possible.. (: 

Friday, September 26, 2014

Q #22

I think this is a hard one to explain to anyone that hasn't experienced mental health problems (or, read The Bell Jar) but living with depression, or something like that, is like you're constantly waiting for the jar to descend on you again and trap you in a vacuum. When I first read this book I was seventeen, and struggling a lot with my depression - it is a very weird sensation to read a book written almost thirty years before you were born, in a very different environment to you own, and have them sum up exactly how you're feeling, and perfectly and succinctly, too. 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

hello autumn + seasonal recipe round-up!

  • Cinnamon buns: Anything with cinnamon in, I associate with the colder months, these look like they'd be amazing with some icing...
  • Apple caramels: I don't really ever attempt making sweets, but I'd give it a go for these caramels.
  • Honeycomb: Somehow I've made it to twenty-four and never made honeycomb in my life - this year I will rectify that! I really want to make it and dip it in chocolate, though.
  • Pumpkin + Onion tart: I'm not really one for making savoury food, I usually leave that to my mother, but this in the Waitrose magazine caught my eye and there is a squash I've got my eye on in the kitchen that I think would taste pretty great done like this. I also found one with Goat's cheese, which, yes please.
  • Butternut Squash + Sage pizza: Sage always feel a little wintry, and squashes are in season, so this is definitely on the list.
  • Sweet potato + Coconut soup: I don't know the exact recipe, because my mum doesn't write these things down, but she always makes a stunning Sweet potato and coconut soup. She'll make a giant vat of the stuff and I'll live off it for days, until I'm sick of it, but I'll still be begging her to make it in a weeks time.
  • Red wine poached pears: These are something I always associate with 'grown-up' dinners as a kid, I'm not sure why. Since they did those pear-things on the Bake-off, I've been craving poached pears.
  • Damson gin: I found a bunch of damsons right before we left the allotment, they're in the freezer waiting for something to be done with them - I'm considering gin as an option. 
  • Blackberry crumb bars: I'm still not really over my all-day-blackberry phase, but I'm getting there.
  • Cinnamon latte: Basically, cinnamon. All day, every day.  
  • Chai Spiced Apple Cake: Apple in cakes can sometimes make them a little soggy, but I'm willing to attempt it for these.
  • Upside Down Plum Cake: Likewise, for the upside down plum cake.

  • Bonfire toffee: This looks like it could chip a tooth, but I want to try it so much.
  • Sticky Yorkshire Parkin: Parkin is the closest thing I can find to my Grandma's sticky ginger cake, we make huge batches of it every year, it's amazing fresh from the oven with cream or custard, but great cold with a cup of coffee, too.
  • Toffee apples: Waitrose had a great recipe for some, where you mix some nuts and berries into the toffee, I think they look amazing.. 
Now I know that these aren't necessarily using 'seasonal' vegetables, but these are the kind of things I just want to make heaps off when the weather turns colder... Don't you? What are some of your favourites? Share in the comments below!

(Image credits in the links provided.)

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

hello autumn + seasonal bucket list

- Tiring myself out with long autumn walks.
- Preferably in the mist or the rain..
- Or even when it's that wonderful crisp weather but it's still sunny.
- Coming home to my mother cooking a roast and the house smelling amazing...

- There are few things better than watching the rain when you're all cozied up inside
- Big jumpers, long socks, hot tea.
- Reading a good book in bed on a cold morning
- Further pursuing the best cup of coffee, this time with a seasonal twist

- I've promised myself I'll knit a big cable sweater this autumn, I've downloaded the pattern...
- I used to collect conkers every year when I was a kid, it's something I want to do this year.
- Firework night is my favourite, even as an adult.
- Although we don't have the allotment this year, I'll still badger my dad for a bonfire..

Yesterday was the autumnal equinox, yup, that means its official autumn. I no longer have to feel a twinge of guilt for pinning pictures of beautiful autumnal foliage or posting photos of sweaters and boots with accompanying emoji's on my Instagram. Make no mistake, I'm still going to do these things, but now I don't have to feel ashamed.
Stay tuned tomorrow for a round-up of seasonal recipes I want to make now we're officially into my favourite season. Today, though, we're talking an autumn bucket-list. To see all these pictures on a regular basis, don't forget to follow me on Pinterest!
What are some of the things you want to do this year?

(Photos credits where possible are found on my Pinterest board.)

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

homemade pear + lemon jam

I really love pear flavoured things, and so this summer I suggested we try and make some pear jam to my mum... she wasn't that keen on the idea. Pears don't have a lot of pectin in them, so they're hard to make jam from - we considered doing a pear and apple jam, but I didn't fancy that as much. 

A quick bit of googling and we came across this recipe from The Cottage Smallholder (really great for their jams/chutney's etc!). They added lemon to solve the pectin issue: I was worried this would distract from the peariness I wanted, or make it bitter.. I was wrong. This jam is so freaking good. It also came out an amazing rosy pink colour. Spread on toast, in the middle of cakes, or hastily piled into slapdash jam-tarts, it's so good. 

I'm not going to repost the recipe here because we followed it pretty strictly - but I thought I'd show off my labour of love as I did most of this one on my own. It did catch a little bit (that black spot in the photo above, argh!) but I'm pretty proud of it.

Are you trying out any jams now we're definitely into the preserving season? Blackberry jelly, anyone?

Monday, September 22, 2014

summer + the stars

Often at night, when I should be sleeping, I find myself leaning out of my window, staring at the stars on the horizon until my vision grows blurry. It's one of those things I love to do at anytime of the year - it's just so much easier in the summer: your fingers aren't freezing off and you can still feel your toes if you stretch out in the slightly damp grass and cup your eyes until you can't see the streetlights. Gradually your eyes adjust to the dark, and you realise that if you let your gaze wander, you can see more than just ursa major and a few planets. 
That all said, there is something to look forward to in the autumn and winter - I have strong memories of sitting camped out in the darkest corner of the garden, wrapped in blankets and hunting out the meteors until I've lost count of how many I've seen (and how many wishes wasted).
I'm pretty in awe of my dad's ability to point out constellations with ease, or tell me what planets I can see in a given month.. It's something I hope that by the time I'm his age, I'll have the same stargazing ease. I tell myself that those nights leaning out my windows and listening to the screech of foxes, or letting the cold and the damp seep into my slippers in the garden, is like my research.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

weekend wanderings #32

(images from intoruth.com, rachelphipps.com and kertiii.blogspot.co.uk)

Saturday, September 20, 2014

advertising on U+T

If you didn't know already, you can advertise your blog or small business with Uncia + Tigris! I've recently opened some new ad-spots that I am currently trialling on my blog, so don't forget to check out my Work With Me page for more information. Below you'll find an easy to use form that lets you book spots with lots of ease. I have used this system on various blogs and found they really open you up to a new audience. Prices start from as little as 20p a day, and there's even a free spot open once a month if you're quick!

Please don't forget to contact me if you have any questions. (:

Friday, September 19, 2014

Q #21

A reminder today that all the hard work, the fights and the tears and blood-shed are worth it. 

Thursday, September 18, 2014

common people

The common near where I live feels so perfect at the moment - it's getting all crisp in the mornings and the evenings, but warms up quite a lot during the day. I've gone up a few times, coming back with either a selection of blackberries and other fruit, or some photos of the heather and hawthorn berries. 
Recently we discovered there are a pair of red kites that live near there, so I'm always distracted by them, they're one of my favourite birds of prey, and I'm hoping if I keep frequenting the common, I'll be able to get a photo of them.

Anyway, I took these photos the other week when I had just got my fancy new camera, and thought I'd go try out taking some photos. I've been using my little point-and-shoot for a while now, and it's lovely, but I used to have an DSLR and it recently broke. I looked into getting it fixed, but I found that it would be more expensive to fix than the camera is worth. I decided to get a new one, I invested in a Nikon D3200. I say invested, because whilst I'm currently only working part-time, I have a lot of savings and it felt like a good thing to spend my money on, particularly with an combined 5-year guarantee, it should last me for a good while! I'm loving the upgrade from my D50 and it takes such lovelyyy photos - I'm still working on it and messing about a bit with it, but hopefully you'll see a bit of an upgrade over the coming weeks! 

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

stumbling around savernake forest

I really like trees, as a general rule. I prefer being around them to people, most days, as anti-social or hippy-ish as that sounds. They're easier, let's be honest, and a lot less hassle, most of the time. Where I live there are a few forests nearby, which is nice, but they consist mostly of recently planted pine trees where there used to be heathland, and after a while, the sight of Scot's Pines' gets a little boring. So I've been bugging my dad to find out where an actual ancient woodland is and to take me for a walk there, for about a year now. 

He takes walks very seriously, not like me and my casual jaunts around the common - he uses compasses and has proper walking boots - so he found out that Savernake forest wasn't too far away, near Marlborough. After having a bad night sleeping and generally feeling a little sorry for myself, my dad dragged me out for a 'stroll'. It turned into more of a 6.5 mile walk and the weather wasn't that kind to us..  

However, the walk was pretty great. I'd like to go again, not in the rain, because I was starting to feel like it wasn't helping my mood! Savernake is actually ancient woodland, and has some really amazing trees. We didn't see as many of the ancient oak's that I would have liked, as we got a bit turned around when some of the pathways were shut, but we did see lots of fallow deer, which was worth it. The further you go in, you can tell that it's old woodland, from the way the trees are thick and twisted. I highly recommend going, even if you just walk a little way into the woods, it's a really lovely place with a history that is pretty interesting, too.

Monday, September 15, 2014

dead easy pie crust (with blackberry filling)

This is my mum's dead-easy pie-crust recipe. Perfect for when the shops have shut on Sunday afternoon and we want to make something with our foraged blackberries and we don't have any fat in so we'll just butter and shove it all in the oven because the roast will be ready in thirty minutes. Eaten with copious amounts of cream, it's pretty good. Basically I love pies, hate the faff of making pastry
- 8oz plain flour
- 4oz butter (you can use lard or trex or something, if you want)
- 40ml water
- 1-2 tbsp of sugar
- 450g/1lb of blackberries, washed
- A few tablespoons of sugar, about two to season the filling, and another two for the pie

1. Add butter/fat to the flour. Rub with fingers in a lifting motion, which sounds weird, I know - here, Delia explains it better than I can.
2. When it's all combined, with no big lumps of butter left, use a small amount of water to bring it altogether.
3. You can chill it now, if you like, but this will probably be made in our house when there is no time to spare. Like, a neighbour has turned up at 5.30PM with a bag of apples/plums/raspberries and we all fancy a pie for dinner and we have no pre-made pastry in the fridge (shh). What I'm saying is, like sifting flour, things rarely are left to rest in our house.
4. Roll out to a thin layer, and wet the rim of your pie-dish with some water.
5. Place all your filling into pie-dish and cover the blackberries with a couple of tablespoons of sugar.
6. Using the rolling pin to help you, place the pie-crust over the dish. Press down around edges and make a small hole to let steam out.
7. Brush a bit of water on the top of the pie and sprinkle with another tablespoon or so of sugar.
8. Bake until golden-brown - if it's browning a bit too much, give it a foil hat.
It's not going to win me any prizes in the bake-off, nor will it win a beauty contest. Delia and Mary Berry would most definitely not approve. But Nigella might have approved of all the extra-thick double-cream I ate with a second helping at 10PM later that night.. 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

weekend wanderings #31

(images from tasty-yummies.com, mysteriousuniverse.org and sunnysweetpea.com)

Friday, September 12, 2014

Q #20

I think this is so true - I had to go through a really horrible time to sort of realise the kind of person I was, and the things that I stood for. I'm glad that I know these things, now, but to have to have some people hurt me that much in order to learn that was a very hard thing. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

what I ate thursday

(with a teeny bit of greek yoghurt)

mid-morning snack:
a giant jar of my homemade iced-coffee
(with some caramel syrup and semi-skimmed milk, this feels like a treat)

an open tortilla with cucumber,
red pepper
some leftover barbecued chicken

spiced sweet potato wedges
cajun-spiced grilled chicken
(served with un-pictured salad)

I feel like this is a bit of a cheated post, as it makes me look very healthy. I'm not, really, I probably felt all virtuous from eating pretty well all-day and stuffed down loads of ice-cream later in the evening.. However, I took these photos a little while ago and forgot where I'd put them and so now I don't really know what else I ate. That is what I get for naming all filenames things like blah1.jpg, I suppose. 

However, if it can give some of you ideas about healthy breakfasts, lunches or dinners, I'm glad I could help. I really love having tortillas piled with lots of salad, as it sort of feels like you're getting a wrap, but with more to it, you know? I also have a soft-spot for sweet-potato with anything, pretty much. I didn't peel all my wedges because I was feeling lazy, but that didn't go down too well with my family, so, maybe peel them if you don't want complaints. Or tell them to stuff it, and never make dinner for them again, as I did...

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

blackberry yoghurt cake + recipe

I have the lovely Ruth to thank for the idea for this cake. I posted a few days ago asking what on earth I could do with my blackberries, that wasn't jam, crumble or pie (even though I definitely made all those things with them!) and she replied, saying that she was going to try a blackberry yoghurt cake with hers..
This sparked an idea and I immediately thought of Smitten Kitchen's lemon-yoghurt-anything-cake (a favourite of mine, I seriously love her cake recipes, they're always a winner). The recipe she used was adapted from an Ina Garten one, and I've changed up hers enough that I'll write it out here for you (because I'm nice like that).
- 193g / 1.5 cups of self-raising flour, plus 2 tbsp flour
- 225g / 1 cup of plain natural yoghurt (about 1.5 of the 150g Yeo Valley Natural Yoghurt pots!)
- 201g / 1 cup of golden caster sugar
- 3 extra-large eggs
- 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
- 125ml / 1/2 cup of vegetable oil
- Some rinsed blackberries (I didn't weigh mine, but I think I had about 250g, roughly, you will probably want more, though)
- A small amount of icing sugar to decorate.

1. Preheat oven to 180C, line a cake tin. I cheat and use these kind of liners by the way, as I hate greasing/cutting baking paper to shape.
2. In a large bowl, combine the oil (do the oil first, it makes the other stuff stick less), yoghurt, eggs, sugar, and vanilla extract. Whisk it all together.
3. Measure out your flour in a separate bowl, and gradually add the flour into the wet mixture, whisking until it's all combined. You can do this step in a mixer, I suppose, but I wouldn't after you add the blackberries, as they'll get broken up too much.
4. In the bowl you measured out your flour in, place the blackberries. Using that extra bit of flour, about two tablespoons worth, make sure as many of the blackberries are coated in the flour as possible. This helps them not to sink in the cake.
5. Carefully fold in the flour-coated blackberries to the cake mix. Do this until they're just combined, being careful not to squish them.
6. Pour/scrape into your lined tin and put in the oven.
7. Bake until the top is golden brown, and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. We found we needed about an hour and five minutes, but I would check periodically to make sure. We also covered with foil after the top started to brown, so it didn't burn.
8. When the cake is cooked, remove and place on a cooling rack. Using a small sieve or tea-strainer, lightly dust with icing sugar.
I'm aware that in the photos it looks like all my fruit has sunk - it really hasn't! The flour thing works, trust me - just for some reason, I distributed the blackberries really badly. Like, they're nearly all in one side of the cake - I don't even know how that happened.. That is why I say you'll probably want more, because they weren't evenly distributed and you know that wouldn't stand in the bake-off.

Anyway, let me know if you try this! It's a really good cake, like a giant muffin, and has a really good texture, very light. I am pretty much just a giant fan of anything that uses yoghurt, sour-cream or buttermilk, I love the texture it gives to the cake.

Monday, September 08, 2014

workspace sneakpeek

I don't know about you, but something I really enjoy is seeing the space that other people work in. In a concerted effort to try and improve my posture and stop spending as much time blogging in bed (although that is exactly where I am right now, oops) I have been trying to make my desk-space a more inviting place. Usually it is a dumping ground for magazines, bills, letters, make-up, used cotton pads, etc. You name it, it usually ends up there..

So, I thought I would show you around my space a little bit, but I wasn't sure how to do this post, without rambling on a whole lot.. Therefore I've condensed this to a list of my few favourite bits and bobs.. 

  • My lovely friend Kiki gifted me these two lovely round green agate slices because she knows how much I love crystals and rocks and anything related. I use them as coasters, and they're pretty perfect.
  • On a similar note, aren't my little trio of brass trinket boxes just amazing? I've found quite a few in charity shops over the years, and nearly all of them contain gems of some kind. I split these three on my desk into colour, and they're usually forming a little pyramid..
  • It's probably psychological but having greenery around me makes me feel so much better - my favourites are my mini-crassula in a jar and my spider plant given to me as a cutting from an internship.
  • Candles: I have a selection dotted about my room, but my favourite is my nearly-dead melted stub of a giant pillar candle that I've been burning for about a year. I don't know where my mum got it, but it's lasted forever. Scentless, it just makes my room feel cosy.
  • Jars of, er, stuff... That's pretty vague, I know, but how else do you describe a giant jar full of pinecones and bark, or an old candle jar filled with shells and trinkets from the beach, or my lipsticks in another old candle jar with my favourite lipsticks in?
  • A little bit of art, here and there. You can sort of see the quilted koi-pond my mum made for me, or the manual-panoramic-photographs I took in Verona, both of which I really love. I also have a print I got for free at an event, reminding me to be a bit more optimistic, some old photographs my dad took of Salford in the 1970's, and some feathers found, collected, and gifted over the years. I want to add to the collection above my desk, but I'm not sure how to arrange these..

What do you think? I know it's rather white, but I can't think too well if there is a lot going on right in front of my eyes... It's definitely making me work there a lot more, which is good, I think. 
If you have any questions about any of the things I've not touched on, let me know, I'll be happy to answer any questions. If you've done one of these posts, please link it in the comments, I'd really love to see it! I'm horrifically nosy, you see...