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!

Sunny Side Toasties


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Sunny Fried Toasties

I’m back in a frosty but beautifully sunny London! This is my perfect, favourite kind of weather – clear, crisp and bright. You know that you can put your big coat on, wrap a scarf around right up to your nose and pull on some cosy gloves. Wispy clouds adorn the sky but there is not a whiff of rain! A good friend of mine calls it feeling alive weather, and that’s exactly what it is! Everyone walks around with rosy cheeks from the invigorating breeze.

I’ve been staying much closer to the equator for the past couple of weeks, where Kraft Singles is most people’s idea of normal, affordable cheese, and tea most certainly is not drunk with milk unless it is a sweet evaporated or condensed milk. The weather this time of year there is supposed to be cool and balmy, and mosquitoes are most definitely supposed to be scarce. However, the weather around the world has been crazy this year and I suffered at the mouths of some very lively specimens of these pesky creatures. I came away averaging one bite a day. Two weeks is not that long a time to be away from home, but I started to feel seriously homesick after my third itchy bite.

Towards the end of my stay, I was craving melted cheese, fish and chips, any cheese, give me cheese, please! – as though I had been away for years. Then I almost did not make it onto the plane in time because I got stomach flu a couple of days prior to my flight. Thankfully I was OK to fly and on the way back, they served vegetarian lentil moussaka with melted CHEESE on top. I was not confident that it would taste nice so I opted for chicken rock in rosemary jus ketchup soup, but my kindly Fellow Traveller did out of pity for me and gave me some.  (I wouldn’t recommend it – it was like a dense lentil brick with a tasteless mass of white goo on top, very unsatisfying!)

So… now I’m back, I’m in the mood for celebrating! Phew! How about this for a fun, tasty treat?

Sunny Side Toasties

I’m not sure where I first saw this idea, but I immediately liked it – can you resist a fun way to eat a delicious fried egg? I love eggs, they are like a miracle food and I tried another similar idea using avocados but decided I prefer my avocado raw.

My toastie method is so easy and tasty, go on… have a go!

  1. Cut a circle out of a piece of bread using a glass, and then butter the bread pieces on both sides. I reckon next time, I’ll butter first so that it’s not so fiddly.
  2. Toast one side of the piece of holey bread in a hot pan until it has browned and then flip it over.
  3. Crack an egg into a ramekin/small bowl to make it easier to pour it neatly into the circle.
  4. Add a drop of vegetable oil in the hole before adding the egg to the pan. Turn the heat down to low and cook uncovered until the egg whites become opaque. I find that this takes about 10 minutes. (If you want to take less time, cover the pan, however this yields a less glossy egg yolk!)
  5. (Optional step of which I am very proud!) Cut some Red Leicester cheese into short strips. About 5 minutes in, toast one side of the cut out bread until browned. Flip over and then lay the cheese strips on top and watch them melt!
  6. Grind some black pepper over the top of the egg and cheese and ENJOY! 🙂

Sunny Side Toasties

Do you like winter? What is your favourite kind of weather? I hope that you have a go at this fun snack. There’s nothing like a bit of brilliant amber to brighten up the longer evenings!

Super Thursday

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Apparently today is called Super Thursday in the publishing world. The highest number of books are published on this day each year, in time to be purchased for stuffing into our Christmas stockings. I just loved the idea of a super day. It’s not been that super at all today. We’ve had grey skies and drizzle all day, bit of a damp, dreary, limp and wimpish Thursday if you ask me. However, well.. the BBC news says it’s super…so, how about we take a breather, make a cuppa and make the rest of it super eh?

I thought it would be fun to share the best piece of spam I’ve received in my comments to date. Actually, I wasn’t too sure it wasn’t genuine, except for the fact that it was linked to some random website full of nonsense. I mean I am wonderful, tremendous and frankly super, although I have been finding myself to be kinda boring recently. So…technically… this could be applicable to me:

Hello, you used to write wonderful, but the last several posts have been kinda boring! I miss your tremendous writings. Past few posts are just a little bit out of track! come on!

LOL. Oh, and when one has a day off…one tends to over compensate by taking too much time over melting cheese and such like. Today, I ate chunky peanut butter, ham and cheese toasties with a fried egg and a side salad of tomato and sweet yellow pepper.

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I’m curious to know – will you be gifting an e-reader this Christmas or are you a traditionalist when it comes to books? Do you still read newspapers or are you more likely to frequent news sites or perhaps you read everything on an app? Have a super Thursday!

This gallery contains 10 photos


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FOOD

I was busy melting cheese all last week. I love cheese. Did I mention that before? But then honestly, I don’t know anyone that does not love some good oozy melted cheese. Even one of my best friends, who is lactose intolerant, will take some Piriton so that we can go out for pizza.

So I had some left over tomato salsa-like salad left over from the weekend, and decided to make a lovely snack last Monday. The tomatoes had been finely diced and dressed with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, dried basil and cayenne pepper. By the time I was assembling this, they had marinated in this goodness for 24 hours.

I put the bread into the toaster for 2 minutes, then sprinkled grated cheddar on top and put the tomatoes over that. That way the toast would not get soggy, because I don’t like soggy toast. Then it was 5 more minutes under a moderate grill. And need I tell you it was delicious? Well it was!

And because I took a photo and kept going back to salivate over it, I ended up making variations on the theme all week, including cheese and coleslaw toasted bun, and toasted ham, cheese and pea shoot salad! It’s really not rocket science…which makes it all the more moorish to enjoy with a good cup of tea 🙂

#16 | FOOD

Photo A Day Aug | FOOD thisislemonade.wordpress.com

[This post is one in a series inspired by Fat Mum Slim’s photo a day challenge. I’m exploring ideas and often writing off the back of the idea of the day. It’s a chance to relax a bit in August but also do something slightly different. If you take part let me know – I’d love to see how you get creative with the daily posts!]


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Tenderloin and Tatties

Tenderloin & TattiesI don’t tend to approach cooking from a cook book. I also don’t approach grocery shopping in a very organised way. I just have a rough kind of routine – a map of my “staples” and vague categories in my head: milk, eggs, bread, bananas, yoghurt, cheese with a variation of vegetables, meats and starch added.

I try to be adventurous, but what I experiment with is usually determined by what I happened upon during my weekly shop and what deals were on. I don’t do markets, even though I walk past a brilliant one on the way to work. By the time I’m done with work, the market is usually being disassembled. I would love to be a better shopper, the kind that has conversations with interesting people along the way, but I’m usually the one that grabs a trolley half an hour before closing time and does a supermarket sweep style manic rush.

Anyway, last week, there was a deal on pork tenderloin. I’ve never eaten it in a restaurant, and it’s not a supermarket mainstay to say the least. I followed a recipe for roasting tenderloin about a year ago, and it came out…dry and chewy. (I’m not blaming the recipe by the way. Me and that recipe didn’t click. I definitely didn’t know what I was doing with it.) Sorry Mr Pig.

Well, the second pork tenderloin came home with me last week. And I used Google again. It showed me this. Remember how I never plan anything? Well, I scrolled down and found about three recipes that I had the rough ingredients for. I then decided on one that seemed the most promising. I wanted to steer clear of roasting this time, and try a different method, thanks Diana!

I served the tenderloin with a big cheesy potato rösti cake.What better way to cook grated potatoes than with lashings of grated cheese? Dinner was a winner. It was yum, I can’t lie. Here is my modified version of the tenderloin recipe and my own delicious rehash of many random experiments with grated potatoes 🙂

Tenderloin & Tatties

Pork Tenderloin Medallions With Mushrooms, Green Beans and Caramelized Onions, served with Cheesy Potato Rösti

Serves 2-3

For the Pork

  • 350g or about 1 pound pork tenderloin
  • Salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced into thin wedges
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar
  • 150g or about 5 ounces mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 10cl or about 1/2 cup wine (I used red)
  • 125ml or about 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 150g or about 5 ounces green beans

For the rösti

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3-4 medium sized potatoes, grated (I left the skins on)
  • Salt (optional)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 150g or about 1 cup grated cheese (I used cheddar)

Slice the pork tenderloin into rounds of about 1 inch/2cm thick. Press firmly on them with the heel of your hand to reduce them to about half the thickness. Pat dry with kitchen paper and season with salt and ground pepper.

Put a medium-sized frying pan on a medium heat and drizzle the olive oil into the pan. Spoon half of the grated potato into the pan, spreading and flattening out. Spread the cheese evenly over the base layer of potato and season with salt and pepper (I skipped the salt as cheddar is salty enough for me already). Spread the remaining grated potato over the top and flatten as before so that the cheese is covered. Cook until crispy and browned on the bottom for about 10-15 minutes.

Put another frying pan on a medium heat for about 2 minutes then add half of the olive oil and butter. Fry the onions gently in the pan, stirring continuously until they soften but do not brown. Add the sugar and cook for a further 15 minutes or so as the onions caramelise, remembering to stir. Add the mushrooms and sauté the onions and mushrooms together for another 5 minutes or so. Stir from time to time so that the mushrooms brown evenly. Remove the onion and mushroom mixture to a bowl and set aside.

In the first frying pan, turn the potato rösti over and cook until golden brown on the other side for another 10-15 minutes.

Put the second frying pan back on a medium heat and add the remaining olive oil and butter. Coat the tenderloin rounds in the flour and fry gently for about 3-4 minutes on each side until browned. Add the wine, stock and stir in the onion and mushrooms. Simmer uncovered for about 2 minutes to reduce the liquid a little.

Add the green beans on top of the meat, cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a further 10 minutes.

Dish everything out and tuck right in!

Tenderloin & Tatties

I’ve never tried to write a recipe for a whole meal before – if you try this, please let me know if the instructions work for cooking the tenderloin and potatoes together. Also, I’ve tried to put good equivalences for all the measurements. Thankfully it’s not baking, so little ins and outs should not matter. Any feedback welcome though – I hope you enjoy it!