I can only recall one plant which I have managed to keep alive for over a year; I was about eight and it was a cactus purchased from the school fair for 20¢. Pretty much sums up the extent of my gardening skills… needs to be something which can survive dire desert conditions and not terribly expensive as under my care, its life expectancy is low!
I thought I might have inherited some gardening skills from my parents, both of whom quite enjoy pottering out in the garden and having plants in the house but no, the green finger genes did not trickle down… Not that it bothers me at all; the idea of digging around in soil doesn’t really appeal and while I do love pretty fresh flowers, my hayfever doesn’t.
We like to pretend we’re tea connoisseurs with our hodge-podge selection of black tea, white tea, green tea, fruit teas and the like, all in a mix of loose leaf and bags of all shapes and sizes, but really, we’re just tea addicts. We barely go a couple of hours without a cuppa; part habit, part dependency (for one of us anyway) but always for the pure enjoyment of drinking it! My point is, we drink a lot of tea so it was a pleasant surprise to come across something we’d never tried before.
Of course matcha tea isn’t exactly a new thing, I’m sure the Chinese and Japanese have been drinking it for centuries, and more recently its popularity has exploded. I have seen tea enthusiasts and health nuts alike sharing photos of pretty ceramic bowls filled with bright green tea, lightly frothed to perfection with a strange whisk-type utensil, but admittedly I’ve been too comfortable with my builder’s brew or refreshing jasmine to get involved in such shenanigans.
I have taken my current Korean food obsession to a new level. No longer content with satisfying my cravings whilst eating out, I somehow managed to convince myself to recreate some Korean dishes at home. Bearing in mind I’ve only just discovered this cuisine in the last few years and can barely pronounce some of the ingredients, let alone actually know what they are, this was definitely a step outside the comfort zone. The results? Mixed. And a little bit stinky…
I will try any food at least once because otherwise how will I know if I love it or loathe it, or just find it somewhere in between the two? Without this policy I would have never discovered my penchant for pickled herring, been completely underwhelmed by crocodile, or chowed down on grasshoppers… bugs really don’t taste too bad, I promise you, and they make for a hilarious cocktail party conversation. But not every bite has to be so out of the box, sometimes it’s just nice to rediscover flavours you thought you didn’t like but maybe now you do…
Like carrots. A lot of people know I have an unnatural dislike of orange vegetables (sweet potato, pumpkin, squash…) but in the last few years carrots have somehow broken free of this ban and now I eat them all the time. Recently sun-dried tomatoes and olives have also joined these ranks… though after two weeks in Morocco, I’m taking it easy on the olives for a while. I remember dabbling in the sun-dried tomatoes and olives in my late teens, I was pretending to be sophisticated but it didn’t really work so I promptly gave them up. Then sometime around my mid twenties they made a reappearance and have been in the good books ever since.
Road trippin’ with my two favourite allies… Fully loaded we got snacks and supplies… it’s time to leave this town, it’s time to steal away… Let’s go get lost, anywhere in the USA…
Or anywhere for that matter, because I love a road trip, and that Red Hot Chili Peppers track. Anyone else a fan? I remember blasting it out from my zippy little Nissan hatchback as I was (very safely) hooning around the streets of Wellington and cruising up the North Island on one of my frequent road trips with my bestie. We’d often pop up to Auckland on one of our university term breaks for a spot of shopping and change of scene, and that track would always be on the road trip CD… yes, that was really back in the day when CDs were still used!
I cannot keep up with all these subscription boxes. Every week I hear about a new type of box; artisan snack box, beauty box, stationery box… have you been lured in by a box yet? I can understand how they caught you: the element of surprise in the contents, the excitement of getting real mail, and well… just the plain joy of getting new stuff. It also helps that they’re usually cleverly priced so you won’t begrudge that £10 to £20 disappearing from your bank account every month. But do the contents of these subscription boxes really live up to the hype?
Even after seeing a million and one reviews of all sorts of boxes, I wasn’t entirely sure… seriously, how many types of fancy crisp brands are there in the UK and who really needs a new silicon cake mould every month?! But recently I had to eat my words; literally and quite happily. So let me tell you all about this box… don’t worry, there won’t be a video of me opening it, I find those about as awkward as watching someone pretending to love the present their loopy aunt just gave them!
After spending close to two weeks in Morocco, I can confirm that there is only so much tagine and couscous a girl a can eat. If I’m being really honest, we kind of hit our quota for the Moroccan stew by about day three so had to get a little creative with our dinner choices, but there was one dish we were happy to eat all day, every day… a piping hot bowl of harira.
Harira is a traditional Moroccan soup which is popular during the winter months and after sundown during Ramadan; packed with flavour and ridiculously hearty, I can completely understand why it’s so well loved. Coming back to the brisk, near freezing temperatures of London was certainly a jolt back to reality so I thought I’d whip up my own version of a harira to keep those holiday memories alive and our bellies warm just that little bit longer!