Interests

Healthy Pizza Alternative

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Ingredients:

  • Ready made pizza base (preferably a very thin base)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 chopped courgette
  • 8 chopped brussel sprouts
  • 1/2 juice of a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
  • 1 clove chopped garlic
  • 1/2 cup of cream
  • 1 tablespoon of parmesan
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • Shredded roast chicken
  • Pizza cheese
  • Bocconcini
  • 1/2 teaspoon of dried basil
  • Balsamic glaze

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
  2. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to a large pan, fry off the brussel sprouts and courgette until aldente
  3. Take off the heat and add the lemon juice, salt, pepper and garlic powder. Leave aside.
  4. In a small pan, add another tablesoon of olive oil, then add the cream, parmesan, chicken stock cube, some salt and pepper, and stir on a medium heat
  5. Add the sauce to the ready made pizza base. Then add the shredded chicken, and pizza cheese
  6. Place the brussel sprouts and courgette on top, then add the bocconcini
  7. Sprinkle on some dried basil for seasoning
  8. Place in the oven for 10minutes, then add the balsamic glaze

Roast Chicken and Broccoli Pasta

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 white onion
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • Broccoli x2
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 300ml cream
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Seasoning – parsley, oregano, basil, salt and pepper
  • 2 cups mozarella
  • 2 cups cheddar
  • 1 cup parmesan
  • 1 ready roast chicken

Recipe:

  1. Add olive oil to a large frying pan, finely chop the onion, and fry until brown
  2. Add the garlic and chopped broccoli, fry off for several minutes on a medium heat
  3. Add the chicken stock, chicken stock cube and garlic powder to the pan, cover, and let the broccoli cook for 5 minutes
  4. Start cooking the pasta in a separate pan
  5. Once the broccoli is al dente, add the lemon juice, cream, seasoning and cheese. Combine all ingredients and keep on a medium heat for several minutes until the pasta is al dente
  6. Once the pasta is al dente, add it to the frying pan
  7. Shred the roast chicken and add it to the pan at the very end, mix well

The Future of Humanity and the Earth

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A few days ago I was reading an article on overpopulation. In the comments section someone had posted “when I was born in the 1950s there were only 2.5 billion people on the planet”. I thought to myself – surely that can’t be right…if there are currently 7.6 billion people on the planet, how could there only have been 2.5 billion people just 67 years ago. I looked this figure up and it turns out these stats are correct. I don’t know about you, but that really puts things into perspective for me. Scientists predict that our earth can sustain a maximum of 10 billion people until we begin encountering major problems with resources, and we are expected to reach this in 2056. In fact, in 2023 Africa’s population is forecasted to overtake that of India and China. These regions combined will make up half the world’s population by 2023. Sure, there are some places, like Japan, that have an imploding population, but in its entirety, overpopulation is a huge problem, and I believe that most of us aren’t aware of the magnitude of this problem, as well as how many of today’s issues are linked, some of which are listed below.

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Climate change – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which includes more than 1,300 scientists from the United States and other countries, forecasts a temperature rise of 1.38 to 5.5 degrees Celsius over the next century. To maintain stable global human societies, we must prevent the earth from warming above 2°C relative to the pre-industrial level. To stay below two degree warming we must take the global energy system to net zero carbon emissions by mid-century. Scientists warn that we have a 5% chance of limiting warming to 2°C. If this tipping point is crossed, there may be catastrophic effects such increased droughts and heat waves, an ice-free Arctic, stronger and more intense hurricanes, and a sea level rise 1-4ft by 2100. In fact, recent research has found that many areas in Australia, such as Darwin and the state of Queensland will become uninhabitable in the very near future due to temperature rise. In addition to C02, another greenhouse gas, methane, is twenty times more potent than carbon dioxide, and there is more methane stored in the Arctic ice than there is C02 in the atmosphere. The Arctic is warming faster than any other place on the planet. The IPCC also states that a 1.5°C average rise may put 20-30% of species at risk of extinction. If the planet warms by more than 3°C, this will be detrimental to most of the world’s ecosystems.

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The Global food crisis – Sarah Menke’s models predict that the world could be short by 214 trillion calories per year by 2027. A food deficit we will not be able to replace (please see her TED talk for more information on the global food crisis). Earth Overshoot Day is an annual event when humanity’s consumption outweighs Earth’s production of resources. An event which is becoming earlier and earlier. This year, this event landed on August 2nd.

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Deforestation – The destruction of large areas of forest is disastrous for the local species and communities that rely on them. Eighty percent of Earth’s land animals and plants live in forests, and many cannot survive the deforestation that destroys their homes.  Every year about 18 million acres of forest – an area the size of England and Wales is destroyed. Deforestation is also a driving factor behind climate change.

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Ocean acidification – one of the biggest threats facing humanity, yet one in which so many people are unaware of. Since pre-industrial times, the pH of the oceans has dropped from an average of 8.2 to 8.1. Projections of climate change estimate that by the year 2100, this number will drop further, to around 7.8. Increased human activity has ultimately resulted in the oceans becoming 30% more acidic since the beginning of the industrial revolution, taking a heavy toll on marine organisms. The impact of ocean acidification on plankton may have serious implications, as these microscopic organisms sit at the base of the food chain. Coral reefs are also at risk. If global warming remains on its upward path, by 2050 just 5% of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef – the world’s largest coral reef – will remain. Around half a billion people rely on fish from coral reefs as their main source of protein and these reefs also act as nurseries to young fish and smaller species. Researchers predict that most of our remaining coral systems will collapse even before a global temperature rise of two degree Celsius.

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Plastic pollution – Plastic constitutes approximately 90% of all trash floating on the ocean’s surface, with 46,000 pieces of plastic per square mile. At least 8 million tons of plastic enter the oceans each year. It takes 500-1,000 years for plastic to degrade. Recent studies have found that sea salt around the world is also contaminated by microplastics – the effects of this on humans is not yet known. By 2050 there is expected to be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Overpopulation is the common denominator underlying the majority of these environmental issues. The most important question is, what can we do about it? How can we limit our population? While this may sound controversial, if you really want to help the environment – the most productive way you can do this is by not reproducing. Studies have found that having one fewer children per family can save an average of 58.6 tonnes of CO2 equivalent emissions per year. Scientists propose that everyone on the planet needs to reduce their carbon footprint to just 2 tonnes of C02 per year by 2050, to stay below the two degree tipping point.

In regards to my personal views on humanity and the status of the earth – I sometimes view climate change and increased weather patterns as the earths attempt to eliminate the human plague. It took literally perfect conditions for this earth to form, and every so often I questions whether humans are perfect enough of a species to survive and succeed on this planet. One thing I will never be able to comprehend is the sheer amount of ignorance humans possess in regards to these issues. How so many humans can passively go through their lives, blatantly ignoring (and even disputing) the major threats to humanity, is beyond me. If you don’t feel educated or knowledgeable on these issues – go and make yourself aware.  However, I also understand the difficulty in knowing what to believe. While all of the “facts” and statistics I have stated above have come from scientists and researchers, there is no way of knowing with 100% certainty that these facts and figures are correct. But what I do know, is that being uneducated and choosing to ignore the issues, is the worst thing you can do.

While I may have somewhat of a skeptical take on the future, I do have faith in science and technology. I believe that advancements in science and technology could resolve a number of environmental threats, however, it is all a race against time. There are countless technological solutions (such as project Clean up, and Bill gates idea of lab grown meat), which have been proposed to alleviate the varying threats facing humanity, however, I feel pessimistic as to whether such solutions will be implemented in time. It seems as though too many tipping points are about to be crossed. The outcome all comes down to who will win the race first – mother nature or technology.

I would love to hear your views on this topic – do you believe that humanity will survive? Or do you believe the earth will become uninhabitable? Do you think we will develop the technology in time to save the planet? Please comment below.

Thai Chicken Salad

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Ingredients:

  • 1/4 red cabbage
  • 1/4 white cabbage
  • 1 carrot
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 large cucumber
  • 1 roast chicken
  • 1 packet of crispy noodles
  • A handful of cilantro
  • 1 small bag of peanuts

 

  • For the dressing:
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut oil
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1 red chili
  • 4 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • 4 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon of sugar
  • The juice of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon of fish sauace
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • A pinch of salt and pepper

Recipe:

  1. Grate and chop all vegetables and add to a large bowl, including the shredded chicken, peanuts, crispy noodles and cilantro
  2. Place oil in a pan and put on a low heat
  3. Fry off the garlic and add all of the other dressing ingredients
  4. Add dressing to the bowl and mix well

 

Meyer Lemon Molten Cakes

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Ingredient:
  • 8 Tablespoons (4-ounces) unsalted butter
  • 1 (4-ounce) white chocolate baking bar
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • tiny pinch of salt
  • 4 extra large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 extra large egg yolks, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 cup lemon curd
  • The zest and juice of two lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Recipe:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425º F
  2. Grease 8 ramekins and set aside
  3. In a bain marie, melt the butter and white chocolate, turn off the heat, then add all other ingredient. Make sure to mix well so the consistency is smooth and there are no lumps.
  4. Pour mixture into the ramekins and bake for 15 minutes.
  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from the ramekins
  6. Add icing sugar and raspberries for decoration

 

Carbonara (non-traditional)

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Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 packet of pancetta or bacon
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1/3 bottle of chardonnay
  • 500g of pappardelle pasta
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon of cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon of butter
  • 100g of parmesan
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, parsley

Recipe:

  1. In a frying pan, add olive oil to a pan and fry pancetta until crisp
  2. Add the chopped garlic and fry until slightly brown
  3. Add chardonnay and cook on a medium-high heat for 10 minutes
  4. Boil pasta
  5. In a bowl add egg yolks, cream, parmesan, seasoning and butter, mix well
  6. Once pasta is aldente and the wine has reduced, add it to the bowl and combine all ingredients

Shakshuka

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Ingredients:

  • Half an onion
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 can of tomato sauce (I used Jamie Oliver’s)
  • Seasoning – cumin, paprika, chili flakes, salt, pepper, parsley, basil
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • Feta
  • Ciabatta

Recipe:

  1. Fry the onion and garlic until soft
  2. Add tomato sauce, seasoning and sugar to the pan, also crumble in a handful of feta and cook for 5 minutes on a medium heat until slightly reduced
  3. Move sauce aside to create a space to add the eggs
  4. Cover sauce with a lid, for around five minutes, until eggs are cooked/runny in the middle
  5. Once cooked, take off heat and crumble feta over
  6. Toast slices of ciabatta to dip into sauce