Saturday, 8 June 2013

Bangladesh Jess

As of two days ago I am living in Dhaka, Bangladesh for a summer internship. I am therefore not sure how much I am going to able to post while I am here but please do stay if you are a follower as I will be back to the UK in 3 months and will continue then. If you are interested in following my progress here in Bangladesh my new blog about living here is:

I am loving it so far. Hope to see you over there.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Fusion Curry

I apologise I haven't posted in a while - finally my exams are over and my third and final year of my law degree is done! I am currently packing up my room and getting everything organized for my imminent departure to Bangladesh next week for a 3 month internship. I have no idea what and when I'm going to be able to post there but I will try hard and I am hoping to learn how to cook bangladeshi food. 

I made this curry for my parents when I was back home a couple weeks ago and it was very well received. Called the 'best curry of your life' by Adam from Amateur Gourmet, (and originally from April Bloomfield’s cookbook, A Girl And Her Pig), this curry is exactly that. As he explains, it is not a traditional curry and I'm not even sure which country's curry it is most like, but it is the most flavourful curry I have ever tasted in my life. I recommend you invest in all of these spices because you WILL want to make this curry again. It is so worth all the ingredients that go into it. Yum, thank you Adam, I cannot wait to make this again. 

I actually didn't put in fenugreek or the cardamom pods as I made this when I was in France and it's very difficult to get ingredients there. The curry was great without but Adam recommends using all the ingredients so if you can, go the full mile!

Fusion Curry
Serves 4
1 tablespoon fennel seeds, toasted
2 tablespoons cumin seeds, toasted
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds, toasted (to toast these three, just add them to a dry skillet, turn up the heat and toss around until fragrant)
10 whole cloves
2 whole star anise
3 green cardamom pods
3 fresh kaffir lime leaves
1 tablespoon crumbled dried pequin chilies or red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
2 teaspoons ground turmeric
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil (plus more for lamb)
2 cups thinly sliced shallots (or yellow onions)
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 small cinnamon stick
1/2 cup finely chopped fresh ginger 
3 cups drained, trimmed, and chopped canned peeled whole tomatoes
1 tablespoons flaky sea salt (changed from 2 according to my taste)
8 coriander/cilantro with 2 inches of stem attached, washed well and finely chopped (save the leaves for garnish)
A 5-inch strip of orange peel, any white pith cut away
A 5-inch strip of lemon peel, any white pith cut away
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 1/2 cups pineapple juice
4 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces 

Combine the toasted spices, cloves, star anise, cardamom, lime leaves, red pepper flakes, nutmeg, and turmeric in a spice grinder or blitzer until you have a very fine powder.

Heat a large Dutch oven/large heavy ovenproof saucepan over medium high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil just begins to smoke, add the shallots (or onions) and cook, stirring often, until they’re deep brown, about 10 minutes. When browned, add the garlic.

Add the spice mixture, cinnamon stick, and ginger and, stir constantly, for 3 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and salt, stirring frequently until most of the liquid has evaporated and the mixture looks quite dry - about 15 minutes.

Stir in the cilantro, citrus peel and juice, and pineapple juice, then remove from the heat and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 175C/350F. In a large skillet/heavy bottomed saucep, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat until smoking; meanwhile, season the lamb with lots of salt. In batches so the meat does not touch eachother, brown the meat all over, (12 to 15 minutes per batch). Use a slotted spoon to transfer them to the pot with the curry mixture. Brown the following batches in the fat remaining in the pan, transferring the pieces to the Dutch oven as they are done, and then discard the fat.

Give the lamb pieces a good stir to coat them in the curry mixture, cover the pot, and put it in the oven. Cook the lamb 1 1/2 hours, stirring now and then.

Reduce the heat to 120C/250F and let it go until the lamb is fork tender but not totally falling apart, another hour or so. Serve over rice and garnish with cilantro leaves, if you like.

I have no doubt this curry can be made vegetarian - I will be trying this at some point as I have recently turned veggie! I will post results.  


Thursday, 16 May 2013

The Liebster Award

I am very happy to say that I have been nominated for a Liebster award by who has time for the gym. It is awarded to bloggers with fewer than 200 followers to help promote their blog and translates to dearest from German. Thank you!

When nominated for a Liebster award,  you must: 
- List 11 random facts about yourself
- Answer 11 questions from the person that nominated you
- Nominate 11 new bloggers and tell them on their page
- Write 11 random questions for your nominees

11 random facts about myself: 
1. I play trumpet, piano and drums.
2. I wanted to join the territorial army when I was 12 but we moved to Switzerland.
3. Scallops are probably my very favourite food.
4. I love horses and desperately want to be able to ride well but am a little bit nervous on top of one going faster than walking pace..
5. I really really want to live in Africa sometime. 
6. I've always wanted a pet tortoise.
7. I've been skydiving and bungee jumping (go skydiving - I do not however recommend bungee jumping!)
8. I really want to go scuba diving and get my PADI. 
9. I am doing a Tough Mudder this year and the Brighton half marathon early next year to raise money for charity:water and to get fitter.
10. I don't particularly like cats.
11. I'm working in Bangladesh for 3 months this summer on prison reform.

These are my answers to who has time for the gym's questions.

1. What is your favorite song?
I have a lot of close seconds for this question but I've got to go with a song I loved since I first heard it when I was about 8; 
I'm going to make you love me - The Jayhawks. 
2. What is your favorite movie?
This one changes a lot, but I have always really loved The Squid and the Whale and Children of Men. Oh, and Avengers.. 
3. What is one place you want to travel to that is off the beaten path?
I want to travel EVERYWHERE off the beaten path! Anywhere in South America or South-East Asia is at the top of the list to go next.. but if I had to pick one country I'd probably start in Nepal.. do some horse trekking.
4. What is your favorite way to get exercise in?
I play Ultimate Frisbee for fun and competitively and I love it. It's a really great game for all ages and fitness levels and teaches great sporting spirit as it is self refereed and has a spirit of the game aspect to it. Plus it can be tough!
5. What is your favorite book?
I've probably most enjoyed the Africa House by Christina Lamb or Twenty Chickens for a Saddle by Robyn Stewart.
6. If you could change your career, what would you be?
I don't yet have a career as I'm a student but if I don't end up going in the direction my studies are taking me I would love to become a fine-dining chef.
7. What would you tell your 7 year old self about your future?
Not to give up dance! One of my biggest regrets.
8. If someone offered you a free trip to the moon would you take it?
I probably couldn't turn down an offer like that but I'd be absolutely terrified. Planes are worrying enough.
9. Name one person who you would most like to have lunch with. Famous or not, alive or dead.
My grandad who died when I was 9. I never got the chance to know him but have heard what an interesting person he was. I'd like to tell him about what I have done.
10. What is your favorite animal?
It's a close call between dogs and monkeys/apes. I've had a slight obsession with monkeys since I was a kid but dogs are just amazing.
11. Who is your favorite blogger?
Adam Roberts - the amateur gourmet. He's kind of who I would love to be in a few years time. His cookbook is amazing, I got it recently and can barely put it down. Highly recommended.

I am nominating the Liebster award to:

My questions to them are:
1. What's your favourite flavour of ice cream?
2. What country would you want to live in most for one year?
3. What is your favourite season?
4. What is your favourite flower?
5. If money were no object what restaurant would you eat at?
6. Countryside or city?
7.  What is the worst Christmas present you have ever received?
8. What is your most prized possession?
9. What is your biggest regret?
10. What is your happiest memory?
11. What food can you just not say no to?

My first exam of my final year is tomorrow! Wish me luck..

Friday, 10 May 2013

Foodie Penpals - April

Last month I stumbled upon the concept of Foodie Penpals - every month you are paired with someone in Europe (or the US if you are in the US) who you send a box of goodies up to £10 worth and you get a box of goodies sent to you by someone else. You are meant to post about your box on the 30th of the month but I've been home in France until today and so came back to a lovely box from KayTea's Cakes

She sent some shortbread, wasabi peas, dark chocolate, ramen noodle soup and tomato and cheese oven baked crisps which look really nice. I love wasabi peas and everything there really so very happy with my box, thank you KayTea!

If you want to see what other people recieved here is the reveal day for April. You can see what I sent my foodie pen pal in Holland Tamara at her blog

I think it's a great concept and will sign up for another month in September when I come back to the UK!

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Morris Dancing on May Day

Happy May Day everyone. This is an ancient Spring Festival and a public holiday in many countries. In Britain traditionally it is celebrated with maypole celebrations, folk music, crowning a May queen and morris dancing

I am home in eastern France for a week or two before my exams start and early this morning we went up to the castle in the hills behind our village with the Morris Dancing group of the area, a collection of British men and a woman who dance together regularly at ex-pat and British events in the area to begin the day.

It was a really foggy morning (and week!) and I snapped a picture of them up by the castle as they danced bringing in the morning and 'spring' (?). The photo is available for purchase in my etsy shop along with my other photographs from various places in the world. 

On with the studying.. I hope everyone has a wonderful May Day.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Cranberry-y Chocolate-y Oat-y Cookies

As I play Ultimate Frisbee, I go to a lot of tournaments. Last weekend we had women's university Nationals and my team, for the third year running, won! We are once again National Champions (if you are at all interested you can read about it here). I think it was the cookies. For tournaments we generally bring a lot of food as we are running around all day. I usually make something like brownies or flapjacks but after seeing this post from my favourite food blogger I decided to make these gorgeous Cranberry Chocolate Oat Cookies. Because I am trying to be more healthy at the moment (more on that is a sneak preview) I modified the recipe in attempt to make them more healthy. 

These cookies are GOOD. These are honestly the first cookies that I have ever made, by myself, that I have been pleased with. My cookies always go wrong (see here!). These were so unbelievably perfect I found myself eating more than I probably should have. The recipe is easy and the only real difference I noticed between my numerous failed cookie attempts and this one was that the batter was that much more solid.

If I did them again I would probably add another half cup of oats as they definitely could have been more oaty. The second time I made these I added flaked almonds which worked really well. I also baked mine longer as I much prefer crunchy cookies over soft. If you want them soft, I would go with 12-15 minutes baking time as he suggested. My modified and more healthy version is below. Enjoy!

Cranberry-y Chocolate-y Oat-y Cookies
Makes about 20 cookies
2 C wholemeal bread flour
1 C rolled oats
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking/bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon salt
250g butter at room temperature 
1 1/2 C muscavado sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 C dark chocolate chips
1 C dried cranberries
1/4 C flaked almonds (my addition but worked really well)

Preheat your oven to 220C/ 325F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Stir the flour with the oats, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl. 

Beat the butter and sugar in a mixer or by hand until light and fluffy. Add the egg and the egg yolk and beat until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary. 

Beat in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, then add the chocolate chips and cranberries and beat just until incorporated.

Make mounds of dough on the cookie sheet and flatten with your hand. Keep them 2 inches apart because they’ll spread.  (If you don’t want to bake them all now, put one cookie sheet in the freezer and pluck off the frozen cookie blobs and place in a freezer bag for another time.)

Bake for 15-20 minutes until the cookies begin to brown at the edges and let cool.

And voila, perfect delicious cookies that are just about healthy enough to eat a few of..

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

Healthy Coleslaw

I'm afraid the last couple and next couple posts will all or mostly be food related - I don't have any time during my revision period to be creative with a sewing machine or anything of that sort but I still need to eat! Stay tuned though..

I made pulled pork recently for my friend who came around for dinner and as I said in my last pulled pork post, I cannot have it without coleslaw! I decided to make my own instead of buying one so I knew what was going in it and could keep it low fat. As always I browsed a lot of recipes then flung my own together and it worked out so well! I tried to keep track of around how much I was putting in of each thing but all of it was guesswork so definitely play around until you have something you like.

Healthy Coleslaw
Serves 6-8
Half red cabbage
Half white cabbage
2 carrots
1/2 C lemon juice
1 C low fat natural yoghurt
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp mustard
2 tsp honey
1 tbsp salt

If I had an apple I would have put it in there too, but I didn't..

Finely chop the cabbages and grate the carrot. Combine all ingredients! Ready to serve but I think it's better after a few hours in the fridge.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Puffs

I wanted to just let anyone reading this know that I haven't abandoned this blog. I'm currently in the lead up to my finals of my last year of a law degree and as you can imagine my life is packed with so much at the moment. I will try to post a few times during my exam period but I can't promise anything so if you are a follower I hope you will stay until I have my life back! 

Until then I will leave you with a great recipe I tried out at Christmas for a party. These Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Puffs from Running to the Kitchen went down so well. So well in fact I barely had enough time to take a picture, or at least a good one! They're oh so soft and mushy on the inside full of goodness and crispy and delicious on the outside. They took a bit of time but perfect if you want to bring a fantastic dish to a party or serve something a little different.

Sweet Potato Goat Cheese Puffs
Makes 20 balls
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled & chopped
1 ounce goat cheese
1 teaspoon rosemary, minced & divided
1 cup parmesan cheese grated & divided
1 tablespoon milk
1 tablespoon butter
1 egg
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Salt water and place potatoes in pot. Cook for 15 minutes until fork tender, drain. Place cooked potatoes in a large bowl.
Add goat cheese, butter, milk, 1/2 cup of parmesan, 1/2 teaspoon rosemary and a generous amount of salt & pepper to taste. Mash together. Refrigerate for 20-30 minutes until chilled.
Preheat oven to 220C/425F degrees. Line a baking sheet with baking paper. 
In a small bowl, beat the egg. In a shallow bowl, combine breadcrumbs, remaining parmesan cheese, remaining rosemary, salt & pepper. Roll potato mixture into small balls (ping pong size or smaller).

Coat balls in egg and then transfer to breadcrumb mixture, rolling around until completely coated. Place on baking sheet. Spritz balls with olive oil or baking spray and bake for 15 minutes.

Grill/hi-broil for 5 more minutes until golden brown and crispy. Beware, they are moreish! I recommend making double the recipe.. Next time I would probably add a bit more goats cheese.. it doesn't need it but the flavour was subtle and I do like my goats cheese. Just looking at them makes me want to make more right now..

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Pecan and Chocolate Cobbler

I saw this recipe on Life Away From the Office Chair and made it the same day. In the UK we don't really have cobbler so I was intrigued. I was told it was a bit like crumble but mine certainly didn't turn out like that so I'm not even sure if it turned out right or not! Either way it was GOOD!

Pecan and Chocolate Cobbler
Serves 6-10
2 sticks butter (approx one butter in the UK)
1 1/4 C sugar + 1 C sugar
1 1/2 C self raising flour
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 milk
6 tbsp cocoa powder
2 cups chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 175C/350F. Melt butter and pour into a 9x13 inch dish. In a bowl, mix 1 1/4 C sugar, flour, vanilla and milk and pour into the melted butter without stirring. Then mix 1 C sugar, cocoa powder and pecans together and pour on top of the batter, then two cups of boiling water in it, again without stirring.

Bake for 30-45 minutes until brown. Serve warm with ice cream.

I hope everyone had a lovely Easter.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Guinness Bread

Last Sunday on St. Patrick's day I decided to make something I had had pinned for a while - Guinness Bread. I found the recipe on the Black Peppercorn. The recipe was ridiculously easy for bread, no kneading, no waiting just some mixing and you're there! I was a little skeptical but I can't tell you how delicious this turned out! It's quite sweet so if you are looking to make more of a savoury bread I would half the sugar.

Guiness Bread
Makes one loaf
3 C plain flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tsp baking powder
1/3 C oats + 1 tbsp
2/3 C dark brown sugar
340ml Guinness
1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 175C/350F and grease a loaf pan with the butter. 
Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, 1/3 C oats and brown sugar. Slowly beat the Guinness into the dry ingredients using an electric mixer on a low setting. Make sure it is not lumpy but do not over-mix.
Pour the batter in the greased loaf try and sprinkle the 1 tbsp of oats on top. 
Bake the bread for 50-60 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean. Place on a cooling rack at room temperature.

I wouldn't recommend this bread not toasted as it is a little heavy but toasted with butter it is so delicious! It says you can use any type of beer with this recipe so I foresee a range of beer breads in the near future!

*If you are looking for a slightly healthier option, I have also tried this bread with 1C wholemeal flour and 2C plain white and there is little difference.

**I have since tried this with London Pride instead of Guinness and it worked great! It was even a little sweeter than with Guinness and didn't rise quite as much but again toasted with butter is so delicious.

Sunday, 17 March 2013

Cadbury's Creme Egg Brownies

This recipe popped up on Facebook this week and my girlfriends and I tried it out as soon as physically possible! They went far too quickly to get a photo but they were GOOD! Perfect timing for Easter..

Cadbury's Creme Egg Brownies
185g unsalted butter
185g best dark chocolate
85g plain flour
40g cocoa powder
3 large eggs
275g golden caster sugar
6 Cadbury’s Crème eggs cut in half

-  Preheat the oven to 160C and grease a 20 cm square baking tin. Melt the butter and dark chocolate together either in the microwave or in a bowl over boiling water.

-  Break 3 large eggs into a large bowl and tip in 275g golden caster sugar. With an electric mixer on maximum speed, whisk the eggs and sugar until they look thick and creamy, like a milk shake. This can take 3-8 minutes. You will know it's ready when the mixture becomes really pale and about double its original volume.

-  Pour the cooled chocolate mixture over the eggy mousse, and then gently fold together.
-  Hold a sieve over the bowl of eggy chocolate mixture and sift the cocoa and flour mixture, -  -  Pour into the baking tin and cook for 15 minutes then take out of the over and gently press the cadburys crème egg halves into the mix, spacing them apart evenly. Put back in the over for another 5-10 minutes. *Do not leave longer than 10 minutes else the goo goes hard!*
-  Leave to cool before removing from tin and cutting into squares.

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Roast Chicken with White Wine & Shallots

For my housemate's birthday I made the house dinner. My nan had made me this recipe a few weeks before and as the birthday boy's favourite thing in the world was chicken I decided to make it for him. It's a really easy recipe for how good it is, all in one dish! The recipe calls for a whole chicken cut into 8 but when my nan made it she used thighs so I did the same and used thighs and drumsticks.

This is a Bill Granger recipe and comes from the delicious magazine that I have mentioned before, a brilliant magazine for keen cooks (my nan subscribes so I can nick hers!). The recipe recommends to serve with crispy bread and a side salad but I served with mashed potato and it was really good for soaking up all the good gravy!

Roast Chicken with White Wine & Shallots
Serves 4
8-10 chicken thighs and drumsticks
150g bacon, diced or into lardons
10 french shallots, peeled
Thyme (orig. fresh but I used dried)
1 fresh rosemary sprig
1 tsp chili flakes
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
250ml white wine

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F. Arrange the chicken in a large roasting dish and cover with shallots, bacon, thyme, rosemary and chili flakes, olive oil and S&P.

Roast for 20 minutes. Add the wine and roast for another 20-30 minutes or until chicken is golden brown and cooked.

Serve with mashed potato or crusty bread and salad.

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Elasticated Skirt

The March part of my Stashbusting Sewalong Challenge is Impending Seasonal Change. As I've had so little time because of university work I decided to make something I already knew how to make: an elasticated skirt. I made this before for my friend Bailey so I know it works well - you can see hers and the tutorial here

I made it with some fabric I had bought with no intended use.. story of my life before this year.. It's got a really nice weight for a skirt and is navy blue so versatile as a wardrobe item. As you can see from my pictures I used my pinking shears I got for Christmas  and my dummy I got for Christmas! It's beautiful! I may shorten it a little but it looks pretty good on my dummy for now until it gets a bit warmer here in Brighton!