Bryony Bakes

In general, I’d say I have a pretty healthy diet. I’ve been vegetarian for over five years now, and it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. It taught me how to cook, taught me to keep an eye on what goes into my food and what goes into my body, and it makes me feel good that I can commit to something for so long.

But that aside, my diet has two requirements that I could just never change. They are:

a) A large amount of fruit and vegetables. Sounds boring, but if I don’t get enough of the fresh stuff I start to feel kind of sluggish and gross.

b) Some kind of sugary, chocolately treat every day. I don’t go overboard, but I do look forward to having a little something, I have a major sweet tooth.

And of course, the best stuff is the stuff you make yourself. I really enjoy cooking when I get the chance, I like finding and trying new recipes. So this week before Uni starts getting hectic I’ve had the kitchen to myself to potter around in. And I wanted to share what I created…

The Healthy

Lentil and Butternut Squash Casserole

This was so amazing, I even wrote the ingredients down so I can make it again. It’s typical of me just sticking anything flavoursome I find in the cupboard in a dish, but this time it worked really well!

If you’re interested, it was lentils, butternut squash, carrots, a tin of tomatoes, a red onion, coriander, paprika, mustard, chilli powder and a cheeky splash of port!

Giant Couscous with Carrots and Peas

Again, made out of what I found in the cupboard, but food like this makes you feel zinging with healthiness!

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And…

The Not-So-Healthy-But-Oh-So-Fun

As well as making pancakes and muffins for breakfast, I have been treating friends to some baking goodies. I wanted an excuse to use the amazing cake decorations Mum bought me for Christmas so I made this delicious monstrosity.

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Why have a normal cake when you can make it blue?!

You’ll get used to everything I make tending to up looking like a six year old made it…

From Africa To Blandings

I just finished enjoying the BBC’s new series of P. G. Wodehouses’ ‘Blandings’. An excellent cast of familiar British faces such Imageas Timothy Spall, Jennifer Saunders and Mark Williams. I’m not overly familiar with Wodehouse, but I’d gathered that his talent lay in satirising the prim and proper era which he grew up in: the early 1900s. His fame for wit through language became apparent as the cast of Blandings relished in creative turns of phrase and anecdotes. My particular favourite was Spall reminiscing fondly how his deceased wife had such a way with words she once persuaded him to put beetroot in his mouth and he found it quite pleasant!

I wish I could remember some direct quotes, but the first episode has spiked my curiousity and after Caitlin Moran’s ‘Moranthology’ and a book about Woman’s Hour, I’ll be picking up my first copy of Wodehouse. I love that kind of humour. Another good one to watch is French and Saunders when they were part of Channel 4’s Comic Strip doing their Famous Five spoof ‘Five Go To Dorset’. It’s available on Youtube, here’s a link.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xUo4-SwSdyM

Whilst I’m talking TV, I’ll tell you about the other brilliant series on the BBC at the moment. The whole country has been blown away by ‘Africa’. It’s the perfect blend of landscapes that look like paintings, which I find it hard to believe can exist on this planet, and fascinating close-ups of exotic animals. Perfect for the HD TV everyone got for Christmas!

ImageAt it’s heart, ‘Africa’ is also a fantastic storyteller. It personifies the wildlife whilst maintaining their mystique as wild animals. I do not cry easily at films, maybe ‘Up’ being the exception that gets me every time, but I found myself welling up over the giraffe sequence and the death of the baby elephant. I thought that a trembling bottom lip was a cliché that only happened in cartoons!

I don’t watch a lot of TV, but these programmes will be on my viewing list.

It’s All Happening!

I want to kick start this blog by sharing with you my mantra for this coming year. Let me get you up to speed. I have until April in the relative safety of formal education until I face The Void of the real world, and have to graduate and get a job. Sure, it will be mentally busy along the way with my 10 000 word dissertation to write and trying to get as much work experience under my belt as possible, but I’m pretty sure I’m going to enjoy it! Here’s why.

On New Year’s Eve, me and my boyfriend returned home after welcoming it in with all our friends in Beaumaris, Anglesey. We had a laugh starting things off with a “bang” by setting off some fireworks of our own, because I wanted to start the New Year doing something I’d never done before. It was fun, but admittedly a little anti-climatic because the lighter didn’t work very well. There was a five minute delay as we tried repeatedly to light each one – our spectators were unimpressed to say the least!

So my boyfriend crashed out but I was too wired to go to sleep yet, so I thought I’d look over some poetry to suit the New Year. Poetry is a fairly new interest for me, but I received a wealth of poetry collection books for Christmas in order to explore all the different poets and their work and styles.

I was ‘encouraged’ a little from the wine I’d been drinking with our friends earlier, but I’ve always been fairly sure that Dr. Suess has written wisdom for every occasion. I looked through some quotes and low and behold, I found the perfect mantra for the unpredictable year ahead of me.

This extract is brilliant because it’s silly, it’s simple, and more of all it’s so true. It’s from ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go’, which I urge anyone who’s facing a similar year to me to read.

And when things start to happen,

Don’t worry. Don’t stew.

Just go right along.

You’ll start happening too.”

I’ll be repeating this to myself, because even though I’m not sure how things are going to play out, I can only make sure I make as many Happenings as possible!

Happy 2013!

For the full ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’…

http://homepages.ius.edu/HARRISLA/places.htm