Vegetarian Carbonara Recipe

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This is a simple but comforting supper, and a vegetarian twist on an old favourite.

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 Onion finely diced

3 Chestnut mushrooms finely diced (including the stalks)

1 cup of Frozen Peas

100g of Smoked Cheese chopped into cm squares

150ml of Crème Fraiche

5 Tagliatelle nests

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Method:

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat with a generous splash of olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and cook until translucent but not browned.

Mix in the mushrooms. Cook lightly for about one minute, stirring constantly.

Reduce the heat and add the crème fraiche, then the cheese cubes. Cook for about five minutes or until the cheese cubes have melted, stir frequently and do not allow to boil.

In a separate pan, cook the tagliatelle nests, but do not overcook the pasta.

Add frozen peas to the carbonara pan. Mix well and cook for two minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the sauce from burning or sticking to the pan.

Drain the tagliatelle thoroughly, until it appears slightly sticky.

Add the tagliatelle to the carbonara pan and mix well. Increase the heat to medium and continue stirring for about one minute if required to cook off any excess liquid.

Review of ‘Moranthology’ by Caitlin Moran

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Following on from her hilarious and persuasive feminist memoir How to be a Woman, Caitlin Moran has compiled an anthology of her other writings drawn from her columns, interviews and reviews.

Caitlin has provided a little bit of commentary, context and anecdotes (almost like album liner notes) for each piece. Steeped in pop culture, Caitlin has interviewed Keith Richards, Lady Gaga, Paul McCartney and Eddie Izzard, visited the set of Doctor Who and reviewed Sherlock and Downton Abbey to list just a few of the topics she covers in this collection. Some of the pieces have dated, such as the TV show reviews and the Royal Wedding commentary, which makes the overall pacing lag slightly, but other columns are sharp, funny and retain their relevance. This is a book that suits being dipped into a few pages or columns at a time, perhaps during the commute or before bed, rather than being consumed in one sitting.

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My signed copy

Caitlin’s style is conversational and hyperbolic, and she’s laugh out loud funny in places. Caitlin appears to have made a career out of writing about topics that amuse, interest and irritate her. Those who have read How to be a Woman will recognize the columns that informed chapters of that book, but Moranthology allows the reader to get a broader sense of Caitlin as a writer and a person.

My favourite pieces are the little glimpses into her personal life such as the sleepy bedtime conversations with her long-suffering husband or the achingly described holidays in Aberystwyth, closely followed by her compelling accounts of working her way out of a Wolverhampton council estate and her humbling descriptions of childhood poverty and life on benefits.

This collection isn’t flawless but it’s an entertaining and engaging read nevertheless; it’s a must read for her existing fans but also well worth reading for anyone with an interest in modern popular culture or current affairs.

Our First Wedding Anniversary

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Tomorrow my husband and I celebrate our first wedding anniversary. Watching our wedding video brings back a flood of memories and feelings about our ceremony. I remember feeling overwhelmed seeing all of our guests for the first time, my groom holding my hand so tightly in his own during the ceremony and my hand trembling as I signed the marriage register. I also remember thinking that it was over so quickly, and that it didn’t feel real. A year later, I think it’s because we were already married before our wedding.

We wrote our ceremony a few months before our wedding and our celebrant invited us to her house to rehearse it. I remember us standing in her living room, nervously repeating our vows, slipping the ring she provided us to practise with onto each other’s fingers and pretending to sip from the quaich. More than those fragments though I remember feeling like the whole world faded away until it was just me and my fiancĂŠ holding hands, staring into each other’s eyes and telling each other how much we loved one another.

In that moment, I felt like we were married. We both wore jeans and there was no champagne or cake. There were no guests, our only witnesses were the celebrant’s two dogs who spent the duration of our rehearsal fighting over a chewy toy. It was a beautiful moment all the same.

It was the memory of how I felt during our rehearsal that got me through the more stressful aspects of planning our wedding. It’s easy to get lost in the details but our rehearsal helped me to keep the wedding in perspective, the wedding might represent the start of our marriage but it wouldn’t define our relationship because it was just a legal celebration of what we both already knew to be true in our hearts.

Our wedding was beautiful, but it wasn’t perfect and I didn’t expect it to be. When I noticed little things that didn’t go to plan on our wedding day, I chose to focus on all the parts that went right instead and I felt so grateful to all the people from our families and friends who filled our day with so much love and joy, as well as to all the professionals like our celebrant, photographer and caterers who made sure it all flowed smoothly. Our wedding was a wonderful start to a new chapter of our story together, our first year of marriage has been delightful and I look forward to whatever the future holds for us. Have a lovely week.

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Our DIY caketoppers and table decorations

Mixed Veg Egg Fried Rice Recipe

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This is a crisp, fresh vegetarian alternative to a favourite Chinese takeaway meal.
Ingredients (serves 4):

1 Onion diced

1 Carrot diced

1 Broccoli cut into small florets

3 Spring Onions finely sliced

1 inch of Ginger roughly chopped

1 Garlic clove crushed or chopped

1 Red Chilli finely sliced

Handful of Frozen Peas

Handful of Sweetcorn

280g of firm Tofu cm squared

3 Eggs

1 cup of White Rice

Method:

Marinade the tofu in 1 tablespoon of Tamari Soy Sauce and 1 teaspoon of Rice Vinegar

Boil white rice, once cooked, drain and set aside to cool.

Put a large frying pan or a Wok on a medium heat with a generous splash of olive oil. Once the oil is warm, add the onions and cook until they start to become translucent, then add the chilli, ginger, garlic and spring onions. Cook for one or two minutes.

In a separate frying pan, heat a dash of olive oil on a low heat, then add the tofu and marinade, stir occasionally.

Add carrot and broccoli to the large pan with the other vegetables and cook for about five minutes.

Add the boiled rice to the pan with the vegetables. Mix well to ensure the vegetables are evenly distributed through the rice. Add a splash of olive oil if required to stop it sticking or burning. Cook for about five to seven minutes, stirring frequently.

Add sweetcorn and peas to the rice and cook for about one minute.

Create a well in the centre of the rice and vegetables and crack the eggs into the centre. Whisk the eggs in the centre without mixing into the rice or vegetables. Stir the eggs every few seconds until they start to resemble scramble, before the egg solidifies start to mix the eggs into the rice and vegetables.

Add the tofu and marinade into the rice and vegetables, cook for about one minute and mix well before serving.