this is lemonade

A mindful, grateful, creative life: Life constantly hurls lemons at us. I’m on a mission to make lemonade as best I can, by God’s grace.


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Easy pasta salad

So I’ve started eating more eggs because I kept getting hungry too quickly and realised I was not eating enough protein. I’ve also been keen on pasta recently, so although it is winter, I decided to make a salad. Well, a nice and warm one :) I bought this pasta on a whim when I spotted it in the supermarket. It is fusilli bucati which I much prefer to solid fusilli. I guess it just looks more fun!

Eggs and fusilli bucati

Eggs and fusilli bucati

I cooked more pasta and eggs than I needed so that I could have some leftovers for an easy lunch the next day. I didn’t combine it all together in case I wanted to tweak the ingredients a little and jazz it up. I love leftovers!

So the recipe (if you can call it one) is very simple…the quantities are up to you. In fact, the next time I intended to add in olives so that will be the first variation on this mélange – I just take a look at what is in the fridge and chuck it in!

Ingredients (serves 1)
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, diced
  • 3 tbs sweetcorn kernels (I used canned, it is winter after all!)
  • 1/2 ripe avocado, diced
  • 1 tbs grated extra mature cheddar (I used the delightfully named Tickler cheese)
  • mayonnaise to taste
  • 1/2 cup fusilli bucati, cooked and tossed in olive oil
Method

Combine the first five ingredients so that the mayonnaise coats everything well. Then mix in the pasta.

I tried following Delia’s tips on boiling eggs, which I pinned this week on a new board I started to collect cooking techniques. They worked perfectly!

Warm pasta salad with fusilli bucati, corn, egg and avocado

It’s snowing on my page again! How lovely and festive. Much nicer than the tempestuous breezes that hit our little island from the end of last week, causing flooding, damage, injury and loss of life. I hope you guys are all ok…

…and here is an update of the next day’s salad, with added olives, wholegrain mustard and a bit of freshly ground black pepper. You can probably tell I fancied more mayo in this version too. Sorry, I only thought to take a photo of it when I’d almost scoffed it all (YUM!)

Warm pasta salad with fusilli bucati, corn, egg and avocado


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Enjoying a tasty toastie again!

Aaaah… it’s been months since I’ve wanted to look at food, let alone blog about it – I’m sorry if you actually noticed it… But, things are getting better now. Thankfully, I haven’t gone off avocado or cheese, because these two ingredients look so good together on toast – phew! :)

Avocado salsa toastie

I had to hand a pot of a Mexican-style salsa dip that someone made me take home from a pot luck this weekend. I find it a little acidic so I tried mixing it with some avocado and eating it just like that as a side garnish last night. This evening, after grating some cheese in preparation for a pasta supper later, I felt a bit peckish and decided to put together a quick grilled treat.

I buttered a piece of seeded, wholegrain bread straight from the freezer, mixed about a tablespoon of salsa in with two to three of avocado and spread it onto the slice. I then distributed a tablespoon of freshly grated extra mature cheddar as evenly across the top as I could. Four minutes under a medium preheated grill and I had a deliciously crisp, creamy, cheesy and slightly tangy toastie to go with a quickly thrown together plain omelette (yes, whilst the toast was in the oven, I felt even hungrier).

I can’t say this toastie is much of a looker, but it sure was moorish.. and my belly is thanking me for it now. Yum. Hope you have something cosy planned for the chillier evenings now (unless you live in parts of the world where it’s actually summer right now). Let me know if you’re making toasties!


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Aaaaah Friday!

What a blustery, cold, day… I spoke too soon on Wednesday when I mentioned drought. It’s been pouring it down almost non-stop. Lovely. I guess it’s recognisable weather for the British Isles at least :P

After seeking solace in a hearty winter veggie soup for lunch, I’m thinking of turning a roast chicken dinner leftovers into a warming chicken and mushroom pie this evening, with either roast potatoes or mash – I haven’t decided yet. I hope you will have something tasty to warm up your stomach tonight.

booties2

…and it turns out that a very very sweet baby girl was born not long after I wrote on Wednesday, so the little booties are winging their way across to her. I also thought the card I found was quite adorable, so I took a little photo of it before scribbling in it and sending it away.

I wish you a cosy and warm weekend. Take care friends! Layer on all your woolly socks and jumpers, and dig out your scarves, hats and gloves. Winter is on its way brrr! I’m so glad to be back in your heart warming company :)


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Rain, rain go away…

Although there has been a fair bit of rain, with the occasional accompanying thunder and lightening, I refuse to accept that summer is over quite yet. We’ve only had about three weeks of sunshine and heat!

So, in an act of defiance I have been busy eating last night’s pasta as today’s cold pasta salad lunch with a purposeful addition of cool cucumber and cheering cherry tomatoes! What better accompaniment than a recent thirst-quenching pin!

Pasta salad

Here’s another leftovers makeover

I’m glad to see some blue skies and fluffy clouds now. A bit of rain does the garden good. The yellow-brown grass is happily reviving a little. Unusual climactic activities are doing unsettling things however here and here. And in the event that you encounter the latter, further advice can be found here.

Have a happy Tuesday evening! I hope you find some space to enjoy a bit of slow time ;)


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Leftovers and a little hello

Hello everyone! I’ve missed this space so much! I’ve been really busy though and in the bid to stay focused, am currently not writing very often as you may have noticed. I was busy in May relaxing at one wedding and then playing wedding planner/organiser for another. Things haven’t stopped since (except the sunshine)!

Even – or rather especially – when one is a little overwhelmed, it is very important to eat properly. I must concede that that’s easier said than done. I prefer a weekly (or even bi-weekly) shop when I’m busy. This has been a bit awkward lately, as my shoulder niggles have also resurfaced, making it unsafe for me to drive and unwise for me to carry heavy loads.

Back to eating well though – my favourite way to achieve this whether or not I’m busy, is with leftovers. Making the effort you’ve made, last that little bit longer. I’ve never thrown food away easily, and eating leftovers is in my blood. I do love changing things up a little though, so here are three recent variations on supper!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

Roast chicken dinner turned into cold chicken with potato cake. One of the foods that make me feel cosy, is simple roast chicken eaten straight from the fridge the next day. It’s always so delicious! For the potato cake, I added some wheat germ to the crushed roast potatoes for extra fibre that I can’t do without, diced all the veg and mixed it up. Then I cracked in an egg to bind it all together and squashed it into a cake and fried it in a little oil! Try adding some cumin or curry powder for a new flavour to your roast potatoes!

Potato Cake from left over roast dinner

I always cook too many potatoes when I make a roast dinner. It’s always accidental, but I do love my potatoes, I just can’t help it! I made another more hash-like potato cake when I’d run out of the roast veg, but needed a little something before I cooked supper again. I don’t know about you, but I can’t cook on an empty stomach. I end up eating junk and overfilling my stomach before the main meal!

This is a simple little amalgamation of crushed roast potatoes, with some grated cheese mixed in and an egg cooked in pretty much the same way as above. It turned out crispier as I flattened it out more. I served this indulgent little pre-dinner feast with some nuts. When you know dinner is going to be late, having some proper food early evening means you don’t need to eat too much too late at night. I don’t know about you, but I don’t sleep well on a full stomach.

chicken avocado salad sandwich

And finally (I thought this post was going to be photo-heavy and light on words, but no, I’ve obviously been missing this bloggy lark too much!): the ever versatile sandwich. I’m a Brit after all! :)

This sandwich is delicious. It’s based on my favourite chicken salad that I shared with you some time ago. Did I mention I love cold roast chicken? Make that any cold chicken :) And add avocado? Match made in heaven! And yes, in trying this combination, I discovered that coriander can go well with avocado :) And squirt in a smidgen of mayonnaise just to bring the flavours together :)

I hope you enjoy these ideas. They are simple, but magical – making them doesn’t take much longer than it would to pierce the lid of a ready meal and stick it in the microwave. They are also satisfying, not just for the taste buds, but for the mind too. A rewarding way to exercise your creative muscles briefly and get near instant yummy results! And you will notice there aren’t that many veggies here. When I’m busy, I try to make sure I’m well stocked on fruit – now that’s real instant food!

What do you do with left overs? I’d be really interested to know :)


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Tasty Toasties: Variation on a duck egg

I’ve been buzzing with busy-ness. It’s been invigorating. I wish there was more of it! But right now there’s a little lull and I’m simply going to post some lovely colours.. the yolks of duck eggs I’ve been putting on crunchy things. I think I’m hooked on the colour orange. It’s just seriously invigorating.

Bacon and duck egg on toast, served with celeriac soup - recipe coming up!

A simple bacon and egg toastie, served with home made celeriac soup. Hopefully I can post a recipe soon, it’s YUM!

Duck egg and avocado on a rice cake

Duck egg centre on avocado on a rice cake. In the absence of bright sunshine, the yolk of an egg reminds me what it looks like. What things invigorate you or remind you of sunshine?

I hope to get back to your lovely comments soon!  I hope you are well? Take good care.


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Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Greetings all! This weekend I told you I would be baking. But it almost didn’t happen. Firstly, I decided a lie-in on Saturday would be good. It was indeed. Secondly, the weather was not the same beast as depicted in the Calvin and Hobbes cartoon, shared on Friday. In fact, it was quite different with not a cloud in the sky:

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayAs a direct consequence of the aforementioned lie-in, fewer hours in the day remained for me to take advantage of the weather. There was a risk that baking would not get a look in. But it did.

The ingredients and method were really quick, simple and gluten-free to boot. I followed a recipe I pinned here, but reduced the amount of sugar included because I prefer things to be less sweet.

While preheating the oven to 180°C, I mixed together one egg, half a cup of sugar (I used granulated brown cane sugar), one cup of peanut butter and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. I initially disliked the mixture a lot. It was gooey, sugary and didn’t look like it would amount to much. But as I mixed it, my biceps ached and the goo became a delicious smelling crumby golden ball:

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayThe mixture was then easily rolled into small walnut -sized balls as suggested in the original recipe. I got 23 out of these quantities. To create the cute pattern on top, I simple pressed down gently with a fork to form a criss-cross pattern. I found the peanut butter oils were sufficient to prevent the fork from sticking to the batter if done carefully.

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny dayThe cookies only need 12 minutes in the oven to achieve a lovely crumbly texture with a very slightly chewy middle. They are very soft when they first come out of the oven, so I transferred them immediately onto a cooling rack  by pulling the non-stick baking sheet with cookies on top and sliding it over. I then sprinkled a teaspoon’s worth of extra sugar on top for a little extra crunch.

These cookies are great if you want something easy and quick. I can imagine they’d be great on a hot summer’s day, when you don’t want to spend long in a hot kitchen. I can’t say I actually know what that feels like though. Spring sunshine with a chilly breeze blowing will have to do me for now ;) I hope you give the cookies a try and enjoy them too!

Peanut Butter Cookies for a sunny day

Another great thing about these is, that they are at once salty and sweet. A great combination. Their peanutty richness also means that you don’t need to eat many with your cup of tea. I’ve still got over half left. That’s win-win-win in my book! If you made some now, we could meet for a virtual tea and cookies meet-up ;)


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Tasty Toasties: Colours of Spring ~ Quick Tortilla Wrap Pizza ~

I got some light protest in the comments under my first Tasty Toasties post. Some of you were of the opinion that the addition of cheese would have been in good order. I do not disagree. I usually have cheese on the brain, and this has been the case ever since I left the cheese out on my posh beans on toast. I have well and truly learned my lesson. This quick toastie has two cheeses: a cheddar from The Lake District Cheese Co. (I had to include a link because it’s such a cute site!) and a lovely crumbly and tangy Lancashire cheese.

Tortilla Wrap Pizza

I don’t know about the part of the world you are in, but London has been finally launched feet first into spring. It is as though the sun saw the calendar and was as surprised as me. What? It’s March already? Huh? I haven’t shone yet this year, hurry! And we’ve had five days of sunshine straight (or at least that’s how I remember it to be). It’s still cold, but there are signs of busy spring activity already. Green shoots poking through everywhere, and birds and squirrels getting all excited, suddenly full of life and bustling about.

I spent five minutes watching a squirrel running to and fro, checking up on its stash of snacks in the garden earlier. It happily polished one of them off, then proceeded to lick itself all over and stretch about in the sun before prancing off along the fence.

So that’s the backdrop to today’s uncomplicated toastie. I prefer thin crust pizzas so this is right up my street, but to be honest, it’s just as easy to roll it up and eat it like a wrap, I might do that next time.. I put it in the oven, ten minutes at 200°C or about 395°F – basically, until the cheese melts into that bubbly, oozy goodness we all love. After taking it out of the oven, I finished it off with some extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, then cracked some black pepper on top. Even if it rains tomorrow, I’ll be satisfied, because today I celebrated some lovely spring sunshine with a cheery toastie while it lasted.

Tortilla Wrap Pizza - tortilla wrap, tomato puree, anchovy paste, olive oil, grated cheddar, crumbled Lancashire cheese, sliced pomodorino tomatoes, sliced green olives, pea shoots, balsamic vinegar, freshly ground black pepper

On a separate note, here is my update on my February goals. Basically, it was more a success than a fail… I did the things that I wanted to do the most. I am behind schedule for getting in front of the post office counter to send my parcel off, but otherwise, I’ve completed some fun project there which I will hopefully share about soon. I have completely failed to fill one of the mini sketchbooks I made. I’m suffering still, from the blank page problem…

February Goals Update

Did you set yourself any goals for last month? If yes, how did you do? If you need any cheering up, I hope today’s little bite of spring helps – have a good week!


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Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes

I hereby present to you something interesting, simple and quite yummy. You can make it with two ingredients, but I made it with four and then went right ahead and made it into a meal. I was totally inspired by Joy of Oh Joy! who has a little cutie called Ruby, she has good taste has Ruby. I made a more grown-up and (very slightly, perhaps) less healthy option.

Here’s my brunch for one. You could always make it a light breakfast and share between two (if you must). I got four small pancakes out of the following quantities.

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes, served with bacon and rocket

Ingredients | One each of the following:

  • Ripe banana
  • Generous teaspoon peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, you decide)
  • Tablespoon Greek yoghurt
  • Medium egg
  • Rasher of bacon (optional)
  • Handful of rocket (optional)

1. Mash the banana into as fine a pulp as you can. If it is ripe enough, a fork is sufficient for this. Mix in the peanut butter and then the yoghurt making sure the mixture is as smooth as you can get it. At this point, the mixture will be quite thick.

2. Mix in the egg. A small whisk may make it easier at this point, but I found it easy enough to fold in the egg carefully using the fork. Make sure you incorporate all the ingredients well.

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

3. If you are just planning on making the pancakes, then go right ahead and skip this step. Otherwise, fry the bacon in a preheated frying pan. I like to use a non-stick pan so that I don’t have to add extra oil. When the bacon is crisped and brown, remove and leave to rest on some kitchen paper to soak off any excess fat.

4. Turn the heat down and spoon the pancake mixture into the bacon fat (or preheated oil) before turning the heat back up. Fry the mixture until you see little bubbles appearing all over the mixture and a faint browning at the edges. This will cook more slowly than standard pancakes and if you try to turn them too quickly, they will collapse so be warned!

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

5. Serve immediately. I sandwiched the bacon and some rocket between the pancakes. The flavours of the salty bacon and nutty rocket worked really well with the peanut buttery pancakes to make a very satisfying meal!

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade

I hope you give this a go. It’s simply a glorified fried egg so it’s really fun to make if you have the time, especially if you like bananas – the riper the better because the sweetness comes through perfectly :) Do you have any favourite weekend treats in the kitchen? That idyllic weekend morning, when we all supposedly spend relaxing hours in the kitchen, making a fabulous breakfast or brunch…does that happen in your home? Well this was a real treat to make and to eat, and did not take much time either – my favourite bit :)

Gluten Free Banana and Peanut Butter Pancakes | this is lemonade


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Tasty Toasties: Posh beans on toast

If you are French, or have a penchant for good French patisserie, you might want to look away now. If my telling you that my favourite place to buy croissant is Costco makes you feel all faint, this post is not for you. No, I have not found a local bakery I love yet (alright, Greggs excepted – sorry, I love sausage rolls) so if I find myself hanging out with my mum at Costco, I always come home with a lovely tray of their 12 huge croissants laid out on corrugated cardboard and wrapped in stretchy cellophane. I bag them up in 3’s or 4’s depending on my mood and put some in the freezer (if this shocks you, don’t blame me, I did warn you :P).

I’ll ramble on a little more, just in case one of you fainted before you managed to click away and have just come to. You won’t want to see the photo below. Although, if you are reading this on a large screen, I’m sorry, I hope you’ll forgive me this once.

I decided to start a little series and see how long it will run for. I’m calling it Tasty Toasties and it will nestle right in on my Tasty Tuesdays. I keep making grilled things on bread with whatever is in the fridge (usually there’s some cheese involved). I then take photos of them because I think I’m a bit obsessed. So I thought I’d share my obsession and start it with something fun.

Posh Beans on Toast - this is lemonade

I’d had this tin of beans sitting in the cupboard since I don’t know how long. All I know is that the best before date was end of last month. So I figured I’d better consume it. Not all in one go mind, because we all know that little ditty… beans, beans, they’re good for your heart……… I didn’t fancy sliced bread, but there were a couple of croissants from a recent defrost. And the following often happens when I am let loose in the kitchen.

Whilst the beans were cooking, I stared at them for a minute. I sliced open the croissant and stuck it under a gentle grill. Then I went to the fridge. I spotted some chorizo slices and cheese, but decided against the cheese because I could feel my stomach bursting already at the thought. Looking at the beans bubbling away, and then the fiery red chorizo, I was thinking the food would be all in one colour tone. I remembered I had some mushrooms, went to rummage, but instead found some rocket – aaah perfect. Strong flavour to match the chorizo. So that’s how this was born. The chorizo slices went into the pan with the beans and then I threw in the rocket and stirred it in at the end. ‘Twas pretty tasty if you ask me. And so easy. My favourite way to brunch ;)

Posh Beans on Toast

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