instant banana, pecan and maple ice-cream

There are certain realisations you come to as you get older. Being particularly aware of your limits is one. The other is the acute awareness that you may not achieve everything you set out to do when you first began making plans for your life ahead. These plans usually begin in your teens – I think I was around fourteen when I really secured down my hopes and dreams for the future.

Right now though I kind of feel like my life is one huge ticking time bomb ready to implode at any moment, forcing me to question what exactly it is I want out of life. This comes as quite a surprise to me, as up until about the age of 29 I was absolutely sure of the answer. Thirty does strange things to a girl. Fact.

It suddenly turns out the life you prepared yourself for in your twenties isn’t necessarily the one you want to live in your thirties. Time is a curious thing. I’m not even going to predict what I want from my forties because quite frankly it terrifies me to the point of near nervous breakdown.

For now though there are a few certainties that remain and whilst I may not have control over all my desires, I can only hope I’ll achieve at least a few – or enough to save me from a mountain of regrets in my fifties; which are apparently the new thirties anyway,  so really all this premature panicking is for nothing.

And if all else fails, there’s always ice-cream….

 ingredients

2 frozen sliced bananas

1/4 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup chopped pecans

method

place the frozen banana in a hand blender and blitz until crumbly – you’ll see what I mean, it gets weird before it gets good. Add the maple syrup and blitz until smooth, frequently scraping down the sides with a spatula.

stir through the pecans and transfer to the freezer for a few minutes to firm up.

squeeze a little more maple on top. serve.

 

 

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Parklife

Sometimes a trip to the park is all it takes to give me some perspective. London is so glorious on days like these, it’s almost difficult to remember the crazy awful weather that came before.

We are so lucky to live near some of the best parks in the Capital but Greenwich Park has a special place in my heart. It was the first park I visited in London and I remember going for jogs there in my first year of uni. You should know, I am the worlds worst jogger. Embarrassingly bad. My right arm seems to take on a life of its own. I no longer jog.

Today was unexpectedly incredible weather wise. As soon as Hubby finished work we hit the park, sat on a bench, marveled at the phenomenal view and for a short while I forgot about any worries.

It also was the perfect opportunity to wear my new favourite sandals. When I say favourite, I mean…..I am crazy about these shoes! Whilst I adore saltwater sandals I choose not to wear them because they’re made from leather, so when I found these lookie likey pair in Dorothy Perkins I was ecstatic. They happen to have them in red and tan too and I am sorely tempted to buy both.

Not only are they super comfortable, they also happen to go perfectly with virtually my entire wardrobe. That’s probably a gross exaggeration but the fact remains – I love these sandals.

Sandals. Park. Hubbie. Peace. Bliss.

what i’m wearing….

blue vest…gap

pink pleated skirt…charity shop

skinny belt…oxfam

straw bag…vintage (kitts couture, penzance)

sandals…dorothy perkins

bracelets…vintage

sunglasses…boutique in st.ives, cornwall

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Easy Miso Couscous

Miso has many uses. Not the fancy paste stuff – although that has a place in my kitchen too. No, I’m talking about plain old instant miso variety packed full of salty goodness, hmmmm hmmm. Freeze dried food never tasted so good!

I like the Clearspring brand but any will do the job……

….and believe me when I tell you it is the perfect antidote to flavourless (dare I say bland?) couscous.

Yeah, I know I can add spices, herbs and all sorts to give it a lift but when a packet can do all the hard work for you, sometimes you just gotta relent and succumb to the power of convenience.

easy miso couscous

1/2 cup couscous

1 x packet instant miso

1/2 cup organic chickpeas

juice 1/2 lemon

3 x tbsp olive oil

mint and lemon to serve

combine the couscous and miso in a bowl and stir to combine.

pour over 1/2 cup freshly boiled water, lightly mix and cover with a plate. set aside for 10minutes or until the couscous has absorbed all the liquid.

drain and rinse the chickpeas.

fluff the couscous with a fork, add the chickpeas, lemon juice and oil and thoroughly mix.

serve with a sprig of mint and a slice of lemon……or just serve;)

 

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Holiday Hat!

 

what i’m wearing…..hat: h&m….high waisted trousers:mango….grey/black striped vest top:mexx…..non-leather tan sandals:camden town….black woven belt:can’t recall….necklaces:gifts

I like wearing things on my head – in case you hadn’t noticed…

There was a time when I felt totally naked if I didn’t have some sort of hair/head accessory on me and even took to carrying a selection in my bag (scarf, beret, hair clip) in case of such ‘naked’ emergencies.

I’ve managed to somewhat shake this naked phobia and have recently embraced the au natural look – it’s actually kinda nice feeling the wind through my hair and I don’t get so many head aches. I have a habit of tying my scarves a little too tight.

In the sun, however, I need to protect my head and scalp so always wear a bandana, hat or scarf when I’m on holiday. It’s not so necessary here in the UK although I did feel very summery wearing my new ‘holiday hat’ the other day even though the blustery winds weren’t helping it stay on my head. Damn you British summer!!!

I cannot wait to get away to sunnier climes and I suspect this hat will be adorning my noggin everyday. It’s not often I come across a hat and instantly fall in love but as soon as I popped this straw number on I had to have it. Having a pretty small head can be problematic when shopping for hats but this one fitted perfectly despite it being a large. I don’t think a smaller size would’ve fitted quite so well – I like the way it covers my fringe and it’ll be perfect for keeping the suns glare out of my eyes.

Ah, I can imagine it now. Reclining on a sun lounger, book in one hand, cocktail in the other, hat on my head and nothing to do ‘cept chill. Not that I want to wish my life away but the end of July cannot come soon enough at this stage. Life is starting to get a bit wearisome right now and I desperately need to recoup for what I hope will be the next stage in my career hunt.

Man, this life stuff ain’t easy. Like, never ending, never know what’s around the corner, sick of living in limbo, when will it get easier kinda thing. Know what I mean?

Sometimes I end up feeling a wee bit sorry for myself. Hard work doesn’t always equal success and that’s hard to swallow. I try to keep things in perspective but I do get down about it all – I hate to admit it but my stiff upper lip does waiver on occasion. Of course, this will pass (it always does) and I’ll pick myself up, onto the next thing with a bundle of enthusiasm….as ever. For now though, I might do a little more wallowing before giving myself a metaphorical slap around the face before my second (wait….gazillionth) wind kicks in.

 

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carrot, apple & courgette salad

Blogging is hard. It’s something that takes dedication, perseverance and a willingness to fail. Not every post will hit the mark and the ones you believe to be your best invariably become your least read. It’s not a science and you mostly don’t know who you’re talking to but always hope that you reach one or two that maybe, possibly, might like to come back. On occasion you may not feel up to writing, photographing, processing but you do it anyway and these posts seem to always turn out the most popular ones, which both baffles and pleases you. Stats drive and deter you. A bad numbers day has the power to ruin your sunny disposition until you realise they’re not all that important. You might stress if no-one has felt the urge to leave a comment and worry you’ve not connected with your readers in the way you’d hoped to. It’s complicated. Emotional even. But ultimately you do it because you love it. It’s a personal scrapbook holding memories, ideas and…… you. Yep, blogging is hard. But undoubtedly, positively, most definitely worth it.

carrot, apple & courgette salad

1 large carrot, grated

1 courgette, grated

1 apple, grated

juice of 1/2 lime

juice of 1/2 lemon

flavoured or good quality olive oil

salt and pepper

flat leaf parsely and hemp seeds to serve

 -thoroughly combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve immediately-

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An Instagram Life

from top left 1. breton stripes 2. vegan fry up 3. penguin 4. bulgar lunch 5. cucumber cooler cocktail 6. purple ruffles 7. mini bar 8. beautiful behinds 9. bulgar and spinach salad

Before I get a heap load of hate mail, let me explain the Zoo photos. I had to attend an event for work, which included free access to the park. Obviously I have conflicting feelings about Zoos and indeed the confinement of wild animals in general. Actually, I’m not conflicted about the confinement bit. I don’t like it.

However, the purpose of my visit was to learn about endangered species (beetles and snails to be precise) and the important conservation work ZSL do around the world but specifically with Fregate Island Private. Holy hell, I NEED to visit this place! All I need is a spare eleven grand and I’m off.

How did I feel about the Gorillas and tigers behind glass walls? Well……sad.

But it’s not a black and white situation so I try to keep an open mind with regards to the zoo and its conservation work  in general. It’s a topic very close to my heart and I’m actually considering taking part in their ‘keeper for a day’ programme to learn more. As I’m now part of the media (albeit in a very very small way) I can’t really boycott these places. Well I could but I’m not sure I want to for too many reasons to go into here. Instead, I want to inform myself from the inside and make my mind up from there.

Sustainability is complicated. But so worth it. I guess I’ll just keep plugging away.

More instagram moments? No problemo….

10. nooch topped veggie broth 11. zoological society london 12. double denim – my new fav shirt 13. big ol’ pot of veggie pasta broth

enough? enough.

 

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Cucumber Cooler

So here’s the thing.

I’m toying with the idea of changing the name of my blog. What with it not solely being a food blog any longer and more along the lines of a lifestyle blog, I’m not sure the name fits.

Yes, I still eat and yes, I still blog about food but I think peasoupeats no longer cuts the mustard and I’d hate to be misleading people who’ve come to the blog expecting food, recipes, drinks and instead are getting food, clothes, beauty with a little bit of home thrown in for good measure. Know what I mean?

My food obsession remains. If I’m not thinking about food, I’m making it, reading cookbooks, other foodblogs, thinking up recipes and generally pottering about my kitchen, which remains my sanctuary.

But I don’t regret for a second introducing other elements into the blog. I enjoy having the freedom to write about my other passions and there really is no going back now. I’m having way too much fun!

My question to you wonderful people is what should I call my little part of the web? It could go one of two ways…..I stick with peasoup (and use it alone….i.e. peasoup.com) or add another appropriate noun at the end – suggestions welcome! OR…..scrap the name altogether and start anew. Eek! That kinda freaks me out a bit but I’d be willing to go for it I thought it would benefit the blog.

Let me know what you think and while I wait for your magnificent ideas to roll in (help me!), let me leave you with a refreshing drink recipe. This cucumber cooler makes a great mocktail or pop a bit of rum in for a super summery alcoholic drink.

ingredients

1/2 cucumber, peeled and deseeded

2 apples, peeled and cored

1 carton coconut water – flavoured or plain

juice 1/2 lime, more for serving

small handful of garden mint and basil

ice, lots of it

method

put the cucumber, apples, coconut water and lime into a blender and blitz until smooth.

place mint, basil, sliced lime in the bottom of two glasses, top with ice and divide the cooler between them.

spritz a little more lime on top and finish with a few more mint and basil leaves.

serve.

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Tonight Matthew i’m going to be……Carmen Miranda!

I don’t know how many times I’ve been into Lush and admired their array of gorgeous old and new scarves (vintage style printed scarves happen to be a huge weakness of mine). Irresistible (to me anyway), versatile (within reason) and now sustainable…..this spells trouble.

Who would’ve thought two recycled bottles could one pretty scarf make? I had to keep checking the label just to be sure – so much so the shop assistant eventually interrupted my incessant label checking routine to confirm that ‘yes, it is made from 2 recycled bottles’.

Now, whilst I still can’t wrap my head around how in the heck you can turn plastic into fabric (my brain hurts even thinking about it), I am pleased to know that waste can be magically (I realise there is no magic involved) transformed (et voila! that simple?) into something so pretty….I’m wearing freakin’ rubbish on my head! It’s a trash turban! Okay, I’ll stop now.

There were so many gorgeous scarves on offer it was difficult to settle on one but seeing as I’m a crazy colour/pattern lady at heart, in the end I went for this brightly outrageous number. It got me quite a lot of attention on Friday night too (guys were baffled whilst the girls admired) so it may become a weekend regular yet……..disco meets Carmen Miranda. Get those castanets ready ’cause I’m a comin’!!!

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Real Dinners….Smoky Spaghetti

Real girls eat real dinners. I know I do. They’re not pretty, beautifully presented and camera ready. They’re messy, chaotic and hurried. But (mostly) always tasty.

Spaghetti is most definitely one of my top five foods. It’s been there for a while. Others may come and go but spaghetti remains.

White cabbage on the other hand……not in my top five. Not in my bottom five either, mind you, but it’s definitely a vegetable that needs help. Hello smoked paprika….

…..a kitchen is not a kitchen without smoked paprika. Just sayin’.

Courgette. Zucchini. Whatever you like to call it, I love it. How you slice it is important. No rounds here my friends. Strips.

Then there’s sliced white onion. Organic white onion. The strong kind that makes your eyes hurt bad when you cut into them. A flavour necessity. Most definitely.

Garlic. Obviously. Lot’s of it. Obviously.

Fry it up, toss it together and serve with tofu sausage and a colossal couscous salad. This is called durum wheat overload. My kind of meal.

ingredients…

1/2 sliced large white onion

1/2 finely sliced pointed white cabbage

1 sliced courgette/zucchini

3 large garlic cloves finely sliced

1 heaped tsp smoked paprika

olive oil

salt and pepper

heat the oil in a skillet/frying, add the onion, season with salt and pepper and sautee gently until beginning to soften.

add the garlic and fry for a few minutes before adding the cabbage and courgette. season generously and sautee gently until soft, stirring frequently. this will take around 20minutes.

meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil, salt and add the spaghetti.

when the cabbage mixture is sufficiently soft, sprinkle over the smoked paprika and stir to combine. season and allow the flavours to infuse for around five minutes or so.

when the pasta is cooked al dente, reserve a little liquid, drain the pasta and transfer to the frying pan. season with salt, pour over a small amount of the reserved liquid and toss to thoroughly combine.

serve.

for the tofu…

cut into thick slices and gently fry in sunflower oil until both sides are golden.

 

 

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Trinkets and Treasures…

I love to nest. For someone who has pretty much never spent more than a year in any one place I have become very adept at making my surroundings my own very quickly.

With that said, I’m always on a mission to de-clutter and simplify my life. Stuff smothers me. And even though I love vintage collectibles, I never buy anything that doesn’t have a use. Ornaments don’t really have a place in my home – evil dust gatherers – but I do love prints and pictures and am currently filling my walls with an assortment of images that make me smile.

My home reflects me, which means it’s not perfect. Some of it is a little confused, some of it not quite sorted, some of it is exactly the way the way I want it.

You might be wondering what’s the deal with the freaky jewellery hand stand…..it’s not exactly my style. It was actually getting chucked out by my neighbour and I’d been on the lookout for a stand so thought what the hey, I’ll make it work. It might’ve scared the bejeezus out of me the first night it sat on my dresser.

My belt hook has been with me for years, yeeeaaarrrrrssss. Seriously, since I was like fourteen. I like her.

Oh, and my scarves. My scarves! I’m a sucker for a pretty vintage scarf (you know that already) and I definitely do have too many so I’m considering popping a few on etsy. Speaking of which, I’m really happy with how my etsy shop is progressing – I need to urgently re-stock though……

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