Interests

Healthy(ish) ‘on the go’ muffins

Breakfast – banana and dark chocolate oat muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 2 bananas
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup of oats
  • 1 tablespoon of self raising flour
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 tablespoon of Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon of honey
  • 1/2 cup of dark chocolate pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon of nutemg
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

Recipe:

  1. Mash one banana in a bowl and combine all ingredients with it, mix well
  2. Chop the other banana and add to mixture
  3. Pour mixture into a muffin tray
  4. Bake in the oven at 170c for 30 minutes

Lunch – bacon, broccoli, potato and cheese egg muffins

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Ingredients:

  • 5 rations of bacon
  • 2 shallots
  • 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable stock
  • 1 chicken stock cube
  • 1 cup of cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 of a large potato
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • Seasoning- salt, pepper, dried basil, dried parsley
  • 4 eggs

Recipe:

  1. Fry the bacon in a pan until crisp
  2. Add chopped shallots and fry on a medium heat for five minutes
  3. Add the garlic and fry for 1 minute
  4. Add the vegetable stock to the pan and crumble in a chicken stock cube
  5. Add the chopped broccoli and grated potato and stir on a medium heat for five minutes
  6. In a large bowl, add the eggs, cheese, seasoning and mixture from the pan, mix well
  7. Pour the mixture into muffin tins and bake at 170c for 20minutes

 

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

Bacon and Courgette pasta bake in a creamy Parmesan and white wine sauce

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Ingredients:

  • 500g pasta
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8 rations of bacon
  • 2 large courgettes
  • 4 large cloves of garlic
  • 3/4 bottle of white wine
  • 2 cups of cream
  • 1 1/2 packets of parmesan
  • Seasoning – salt, pepper, nutmeg, dried basil and parsley
  • 1 teaspoon of butter

Recipe:

  1. Preheat oven to 200 bake
  2. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and add the bacon, fry until crisp
  3. Add the garlic and chopped courgettes
  4. Add the white wine to the pan, bring to boil and reduce for 10 minutes
  5. At the same time cook the pasta until aldente and place on a cooking tray
  6. Turn the heat to low and add the cream, butter, seasoning and parmesan to sauce
  7. Pour sauce on top of pasta in the tray
  8. Sprinkle extra Parmesan over the top
  9. Place tray in oven and cook for 10 minutes until the tops are golden brown

Chocolate Banoffee Pie

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Recipe from https://www.carnation.co.uk/Recipes/7/Cheats-Chocolate-Banoffee-Pie

Ingredients:

  • 85g butter, melted
  • 250g dark chocolate digestive biscuits, finely crushed
  • 200g dark chocolate, melted
  • 397g can Carnation Caramel
  • 4 bananas
  • 300ml carton whipping cream, lightly whipped

Recipe:

  1. Tip the biscuit crumbs into a bowl. Add the butter and mix in. Spoon the crumbs into the base and about halfway up the sides of the tin to make a pie shell. Chill for 10 minutes.
  2. Melt the chocolate gently in the microwave then mix in the Carnation Caramel. Beat until smooth. Spread the filling over the biscuit base and chill for about 1 hour, until firm or until ready to serve.
  3. Slice the banana and fold half of them into the whipped cream and spoon over the base. Decorate with the remaining bananas and dust liberally with cocoa powder (or shaved chocolate).

Bacon and egg fried rice

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup of rice (basmati or jasmine)
  • 3 tablespoons of vegetable or sunflower oil
  • 5 rations of eye or streaky
  • ½ a brown onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 3 eggs
  • ½ a cup of peas
  • spring onion
  • 1 teaspoon of sugar
  • 1 tablespoon of sesame oil
  • 3 tablespoons of dark soy sauce
  • salt and pepper
  • a pinch of cayenne pepper
  • a pinch of dried chili

Recipe:

  1. cook the rice and set aside in the fridge
  2. on a medium-high heat add 1 tablespoon of oil to a drying pan or wok and cook the bacon
  3. once the bacon is crisp, add 1 more tablespoon of oil and add the diced onion
  4. once browned, add the garlic and fry for several minutes
  5. push all ingredients to one side of the pan and add 1 more tablespoon of oil
  6. break 2 eggs into the oil and mix
  7. once the eggs are scrambled and cooked, add half of the spring onion, the rice, sugar, peas, sesame oil, soy sauce, seasoning and cayenne pepper, mix until all combined and turn down to a low heat
  8. fry an egg in a separate pan
  9. place the rice in a bowl or plate and add the fried egg, the rest of the spring onion and chili for garnish

Breaking away from social media

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Social media or social manipulation? Today, most of us spend a significant amount of time living in a fake reality on an online world. A skewed society where people present the best versions of themselves, instead of the real versions. Pointlessly browsing through Facebook or Instagram rarely results in positive feelings about yourself and your life. If you skim through people’s profiles, you will see countless pictures of people looking flawless, attending noteworthy events, jetting of on extravagant holidays, staying in luxurious hotels, getting engaged, getting married, buying a house! All of these life events are positive. People scarcely post about the negative life events they go through. So many people encounter the same struggles, yet so little people open up about them on social media. How people portray their lives is not real and it’s not authentic. This unauthentic portrayal ultimately gives people an unhealthy and warped perception of life. The reality is, this roller coaster of life is full of both positive and negative events. The ups and downs of our individual journey’s are part of the natural human experience.

From the age of seventeen to twenty-four, like many others, I was somewhat consumed by the narcissistic world of social media; posting posing selfies, photos of my holidays, tagging friends, places and social events. It’s only been very recently, that I had an “aha” moment and realised, what is the point? While I still have social media, I decided to completely minimise my profiles for several reasons:

  • I started comparing myself to others. In the past, I had never been the type of person to compare myself to others on social media, because I knew it wasn’t real. However, being back in New Zealand, where there’s not a whole lot to do and see and life is seemingly basic and mundane, I found that my mind wasn’t overly preoccupied. Therefore, I ended up spending exceedingly more time on social media than usual. Another problem living in New Zealand, is that everyone here does the same thing. Everyone lives very similar lives. People are very eager to settle down, and settle down young. There isn’t a great deal of variety in how people choose to live their lives, as opposed to a more modern and liberal place like Hong Kong where I previously lived. There is nothing wrong with this, but it can create a sense of pressure. I started seeing repeated posts on Facebook of people getting married, engaged, having kids which began triggering feelings of inferiority; that I was behind in my life and so far from the stage that so many people seemed to be at. Subconsciously, I began to believe that I should be adopting this life script, that this mainstream lifestyle is the norm and is the life path I should be following. Yet in reality, I’m not sure I want this sort of life at all. We only have a very short time on this planet and a large part of me wants to spend it in a way that is unique; travelling and working overseas, growing as a person and learning about the world. I’m not sure I want to comply to the norm just because it’s what everyone else does. For this reason, I felt the need to break away from social media in order to maintain an authentic mindset.
  • Witnessing others consumed by their social media profiles. A few weeks ago, I was in a night club and ended up hanging out with a group of rather pretentious people, a group I suppose you would deem the “wannabe socialites of Auckland”. Even though I found this experience to be rather unnerving, I also found it to be incredibly eye opening. I remember watching a few of the girls; they were standoffish and moody, yet as soon as they got their phones out to take a snapchat video, their whole demeanours changed. They suddenly became lively, bubbly and acted as though they were having the time of their life. When they put their phones away, they quickly resorted back to their solemn selves. It was in this moment that I realised I never wanted to be like this. I never want to become so utterly engrossed by social media that it affects my actions and behaviours. Our existence is limited and it would be such a shame to spend such a large proportion of this time being so concerned about self-images and perceptions. It was for this reason, I decided to break away from the influences social media.
  • I realised, what is the point? I used to post dozens of photos of my holidays and the majestic places I visited, photos of inebriated nights out with friends and drunken selfies. Then one day I realised, what is the point? What is the point of showing people my life? How does it benefit other people’s lives and how does it benefit my life? Why am I actually doing this? I know that social media is fake, so why am I contributing to it?

Breaking away from social media has been a good decision, I no longer get the urge to post about where I am, what I’m doing or who I’m with. I now live my life more in the moment. I still believe there are some benefits to social media – staying in contact with friends and keeping up with social events. However, minimising my profiles has been a huge refreshment. While I dislike social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, there are still some domains I appreciate because they are authentic, real and relatable. One of these platforms are self blogs – I love reading people’s honest posts about their lives and experiences. A lot of bloggers aren’t afraid to talk about challenges they go through or negative emotions they feel. Another platform I really enjoy browsing through at the moment is reddit – this is a forum where no topic is off limits. Any topic that is taboo is discussed somewhere on this forum. It’s a place where people state their genuine thoughts and I find a lot of the posts very insightful. Finally, I enjoy watching certain YouTube vloggers. My favourite Youtuber’s are the ones that openly and honestly articulate their thoughts and feelings, both positive and negative. If you are interested to know, one of these YouTuber’s is ‘Mum to Millionaire” – while I cannot necessarily relate to her videos because I am not a Mother, what I do like is that she’s not reluctant to touch on a rather taboo topic – the struggles and regrets of parenthood (a subject I am weirdly fascinated with at the moment). My current favourite YouTuber, is a girl living in Singapore called Brianna Degasaton – in several of her videos she vents to the camera and openly talks about the struggles she goes through. In actuality, the struggles most of us go through. She is authentically herself, and her videos are highly refreshing to watch, you can find her channel here https://www.youtube.com/user/briannadeg.

If you are someone that is fed up with social media, tired of how it makes you feel, I hope some of these pointers are of help. I think disconnecting from the unauthentic platforms of social and connecting with more authentic platforms provides some solution – you’re still part of the online world, but the content you are viewing is more raw, real and relatable. As I mention repeatedly on this blog, we only live one very short and precious life, so make the decisions that will lead you to the best possible life – if social media is making you unhappy, change that and break away from it.

Dark Chocolate Mousse

Ingredients:

  • 5oz 70% dark chocolate
  • 2 tablespoons of butter
  • a small pinch of salt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons of caster sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup of cream

Recipe:

  1. On a bain marie, place the chocolate and butter in a bowl to melt
  2. once melted, take off the heat and add the salt, vanilla extract and 1 tablespoon of sugar, mix and allow to cool for a few minutes
  3. separate 3 eggs and add the yolks to the mixture
  4. whip 1 cup of cream, add this to the mixture and combine
  5. beat the egg yolks, while slowly adding the rest of the sugar, until stiff peaks have formed and gently fold this into the mixture
  6. place the mixture in bowls or cups and leave in the fridge to set for at least 3 hours