Home for Easter

I’m going home tomorrow!!!! So excited… I’m literally living off banana nicecream and eating all of my leftovers so I don’t leave any food in my fridge behind!! I’ve packed some books and things, but the brunt of my packing will happen tomorrow. It’s so annoying packing everything and then realising you still need your toothbrush or something!

Gymnastics was hilarious today. The break dance crew came (only 4 of them) and they were trying to do somersaults! I’m sooooo close to being able to get onto the uneven bars and I can do somersaults now – I just need to work on landings and I should be able to do it on the sprung floor. I’m gutted that I can’t really practice over the summer though…. the gym in Worcester doesn’t take adults, although their website says they are open to all ages. Disappointed. I’ll just have to practice walkovers in my garden and handstands in my room and stuff 😉 I’ll keep my fitness and flexibility up. I’ve managed to get myself a pull up bar for my doorway and I’m going to get a resistance band to help me do pull ups. Arms and core – perfect. I’m so sad that we won’t have access to the gym next term during the exam period either!! Oh well, next year!!!

This is only going to be a short post because I wanted to do a quick update before I submerge myself in  my essay again (due tomorrow at 10am!) and go out for dinner tonight with the Grace Church Gals 🙂 We’re going to one of their houses for a meal and probably to play some games and talk and stuff before Easter. It’s gonna be ace. See you all soon – I’m probably not going to post much over Easter as I’ll be revising and with my family, and this blog is more about my life at Uni anyway…. So yeah bring on the holidays – I so need one!

Sushi 

I said I’d do a post about it…. Eventually! (Along with several million other things!) 😉

  
I needed a bit of practice first before I could pass on my skills – it’s a little bit more fiddly than my other recipes but it’s still relatively cheap and easy to make, so it’s now one of my favourites. I’ve never been that big on seafood so I thought that sushi would be exclusively for fish-eaters but these have no fish in them at all and they are delicious!!!

Ingredients: [for one serving unless you’re putting it with something else!]

Nori Wraps – I use 3-4 per serving. You can get these usually in health food shops or in international shops (they tend to be cheaper in international shops!)

Sushi mat (optional – it’s not 100% necessary but it helps you roll them tightly, although I can do it without too. They aren’t that expensive – I got mine for well under ÂŁ2 in an international shop).

1 cup (240g) Brown Rice (basmati is best – you can use white but I preferred brown!)

1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar. (or lemon/lime juice)

1/2 cucumber sliced into long thin slices.

1/2 avocado sliced thin into long thin strips.

Other filling ideas:

Beetroot, tomato, spinach, carrot, pepper – all sliced thinly into strips.

 

Method:

  1. Wash the rice thoroughly over the sink, then bring to a boil in 1 and 3/4 cups of water and then turn down to simmer for ~20 minutes covered.
  2. Once it’s done, leave to cool for a few minutes (I put it in the freezer sometimes to speed this up!)
  3. Meanwhile, prepare the vegetable fillings.
  4. Mix in the 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar with the rice when its cooled. The rice should be a little bit gummy and fluffy.
  5. Place one nori wrap on the sushi mat, shiny side facing down and the rougher side facing up, and cover the 2/3 of it nearest to you with rice. Try and press the rice down a little bit to make a flat layer.
  6. Add toppings in the 1/3 nearest to you horizontally, alternating different strips of vegetables and carefully roll the end nearest to you inward, then use the mat (or your hands if you can) to continue rolling as tightly as possible away from you.
  7. Wet the last cm of the nori wrap and then squeeze the newly formed roll firmly once you’ve rolled it onto the moistened bit.
  8. With a wet serrated knife, cut into mini rolls.
  9. Repeat until you have used all the rice.

It will probably take some practice so don’t be disheartened if our first one or two fall apart or don’t stay stuck. I actually like to use the rice when it’s still a little bit warm as this seems to make it stick to the wrap better and hold the wrap shut.

Sushi is amazing guys! I definitely recommend cucumber and avocado! You can squeeze more lemon juice over it for extra zing 🙂

  
 

 

 

 

Sweet Potato Pizza (Crust)

I want to just call it Sweet Potato Pizza but my ingrained pedantic tendency to nit-pick screams at me that this is slightly misleading, as the sweet potato is only in the crust and not the entire pizza itself.

Point made (humour me!) – here’s the recipe. It’s cheap, it’s easy to make, it doesn’t even take that long (I whipped it up in about 1 hour – from scratch that’s not that long!) Plus with practice it takes less time. Baring in mind I had already made a batch of baked potatoes days ago so all I had to do was get them out and use them. So you might want to bake them first – but I’ll include that don’t worry!

img_3738

 

So this is what you’re aiming for. Feel free to add different toppings. I just wanted mushrooms and tomatoes and avocado and spinach. You can use sweetcorn (now that I’ve thought of it I’m kicking myself for not adding it!!)

Ingredients:

[for the base – makes 1 large or 2 small]

2 large sweet potatoes or 3 medium sweet potatoes – yields about 2 cups when baked and soft.

1 and 1/4 cup oat flour (I made mine at home – just get 1 & 1/4 cup porridge oats and mill in your nutri-bullet/blender/food processor).

1/4 cup chickpea flour (or just use another 1/4 cup oat flour – this is more for flavour and to give it that doughy consistency when cooked).

1 flax egg (1 tbsp. freshly ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp. water, left to thicken for ~15 mins in the fridge).

2 tbsp. nutritional yeast (optional but I definitely recommend adding this)

1 tbsp apple cider vinegar

 

[toppings]

tomato puree – make sure it’s not too high in salt! I got mine from Aldi and it was double concentrate.

Whatever you fancy – slices of tomato, sweet corn, mushroom, pineapple, spinach, more nutritional yeast (for extra cheesyness)…avocado (though I recommend adding this at the end before serving!). Go WILD 🙂

 

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6
  2. Peel your baked potatoes** and place them along with the oat flour, chickpea flour, apple cider vinegar, and all other base ingredients in a mixing bowl and mix together, adding the flax ‘egg’ at the end.
  3. Line a baking tray with parchment paper/greaseproof paper, or grease some tin foil if you don’t have these! (I had to do this, I used 1 tbsp coconut oil and coated the tinfoil with it with some tissue and then sprinkled more oat flour on top.)
  4. Spread the dough out into a circle shape (or square if that takes your fancy!) It should be a more beige colour than the bright orange that the sweet potatoes were before.

6. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.

7. Prepare your toppings.

8. Get the pizza base out and spread with a good layer of tomato puree for the tomato sauce. Then arrange your toppings on top. (Leave the avocado for when you serve it!).

9. Put back in the oven for another 5-8 minutes until the toppings are cooked. Alternatively you could put it under a grill.

10. EAT. You won’t be able to stop so don’t try!

**To bake the sweet potatoes:
-Preheat oven to 200*C/400*F/Gas mark 6.

-Wash sweet potatoes and prick all over with a knife.

-Wrap each one in tinfoil, or place them on a baking tray lined with grease proof paper/tinfoil.

-Bake for 70 minutes, until a sweet golden/maple-y syrup starts to ooze out.

-Let them cool, then save them in the fridge.

 

 

 

 

 

End of term 2 (almost!)

So I’m still ill today (have been all week) and I didn’t know what to do with myself other than go to Aldi to do my final mini shop before my amazing mummy comes to collect me on Thursday. I fully intend to sleep for a week when I get home!

Basically, after a horrible day yesterday… I woke up this morning with the desire for pizza. And I hate pizza. I know, what’s wrong with me? I’m possibly the only human being that doesn’t like it! But I figured if I made it myself, it might not be so bad!

So I did – and honestly it has to be the best pizza I’ve ever tasted – NOT KIDDING guys this is serious.

I’m in love. I like pizza again. Sweet potato crust pizza. Ooohh yeah. AND it was so cheap to make! Perfect for the student. Don’t worry I’m definitely gonna post this recipe because I have a picture of it and it would be too selfish not to share…. But WOW 🙂

I am wowed. Officially.

This pizza hit the spot because yesterday I had two summative exams back-to-back, the first was my Spanish oral and the second was a Russian test. Both count towards my final grade this year, and both were equally traumatic. Coupled with the fact that I’m ill and can’t hear properly they were just the worst thing. (I think my sinuses are inflamed or something because I have a cold, and somehow I can’t hear properly anymore! I also have a sore throat).

I walked out of the Russian one early having answered only half of the paper and barely holding back tears. I had to pull myself together in a nearby disabled toilet just to be able to walk home. And to make matters worse I started crying again when I got home in front of my flatmates. Fortunately Ellen and Sarah gave me some hugs (or ‘cutches’ – as the Welsh (and therefore Sarah) say!) and Ellen talked me down from my unhappy place. Then my other friend Charlotte took me out for rye bread toast and a smoothie at the Boston tea party. By the time I got home I was in a much better state I can tell you!

I’ve never been so pooped before. I think everything just built up and got to me and the fact that I had exams and couldn’t concentrate properly because of my stupid ears just made it burst. I could hardly hear what the other people were saying in my oral exam and it’s meant to be a debate… Plus they were all jumping at the opportunity to talk more to get better marks and I couldn’t get a word in. My teacher did take it into account that I was ill – she’d actually sent me home from a lesson the day before so she was really understanding about it and I guess she knows how well I can speak Spanish because she’s had me all term. Let’s just say I didn’t do my best – and that’s probably what upset me the most.

I’m currently lying on my bed recovering and working before my shift tonight at the Ram. Nothing too strenuous – I’ve already been to Aldi and I’m all stocked up. Thoroughly relishing my pizza food-baby and sipping some water to keep hydrated. But I’m NOT STRESSING. I need a holiday so bad. I just need to push to get my summative coursework essay done and then I’m home.

I’m so grateful for such amazing friends. Charlotte has taken me out a couple of times before and she always insists on paying and she makes me really feel at ease again especially because she’s been through similar experiences in her first year. I’m so gutted she’s in her last year and won’t be here next year! She helped me get my job at the Ram and we have only had a shift together once this term. I’m gonna miss her. Not just her, but a few others as well. Josie, who’s made me Russian food and played Russian scrabble with me and checked my homeworks over for me occasionally… and Clare, who introduced me to Grace Church in the first place.

Why does this always happen? *sigh*.

I can only hope that I can be as generous a friend to some fresher next year that needs a hug and a chat and a coffee/cake. I’m already praying for that opportunity.

But hey… just 6 more days to go!!!!

 

No idea what to call this!

Hello again – sorry about how sparse my posts have been recently! I have kept complaining about work, but I’ve also been ill recently! It’s been cold then hot then cold again so I’ve caught a massive cold and have an earache and sore throat too which is joyful so I’m keeping to myself in my room again. I was also ill over the weekend, so yeah I guess I’m taking a few days to get back to speed!

It’s the second to last week before the end of term 2 and then I finally go on holiday! Well, I go home, not necessarily anywhere exotic – but it’s a change and I feel like I need it. Plus the family will be there (mostly – I’m so jealous but my lil’ sister Beth is going to Spain to brush up on her Spanish before her final exams and my dad is going to Chile for his work too…..).

I have to admit I’ve been partly avoiding certain flatmates too – some of them do get on your nerves from time to time; but because I don’t want to pay an obscene amount of money to hop home for two days I’m going to stick out the last two weeks as best as I can and make the most of the amazing weather. And hills.

My running is really taking off! I can finally run again and it’s amazing! I have so much more energy now and I’m feeling truly amazing. And since starting to wash up first and then eat in my room a bit more I’ve had less digestion problems. I think sometimes the atmosphere in the kitchen gets to me, and because certain members are funny about you leaving anything in the sink for any longer than 10 minutes (or it ends up in the bin or hanging out of the window) I’d got into the habit of not sitting down to eat, and scramming it down and then washing up and getting outta there asap. Naturally my body began protesting. So now I just eat in my room more and it’s so much better, especially as I get to appreciate my cooking skills a bit more 😉 I’m definitely looking forward to sitting with my family for meals – although it’ll be hard adjusting to meal times again! As a student, life is a bit spontaneous so you kind of eat at random times.

Also, my gymnastics gains are fabulous. I’ve never had so much muscle – especially in my arms! I’ve been working really hard to do more push ups and HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) work outs since letting it all slide with my leg injuries last summer and honestly I’ve never seen such fast results. Like I said a post or two ago, I can do somersaults. Ok, so I can only do them in a gym with a spring board and mats, but STILL!!! Better than before!

Obviously being ill means I find it harder to do any exercise but I’ll get there – even if I just do yoga today. It really helps me stretch out and get rid of the knots in my back (from revision!).

I’m chomping my way through an absolute bargain I found for Deglet Nour dates, they are sooo good in porridge and stuff especially as my bananas aren’t quite ripe enough yet to eat so I’m leaving them in my cupboard a few more days.
I’ve got a lot of reading to do to gather sources for my coursework essay for one of my modules, so I’ve been reading pages and pages about dictatorship and politics in Chile. (Another reason I’m jealous that Dad gets to go there in a few weeks and I can’t!) I think maybe in my gap year I’ll try and go to Latin America as I’ve never been out of Europe (going to Russia will take care of that!). I’d also love to visit Machu Pichu in Peru. (Hope I spelled that right!).

Lots of plans 🙂 I just hope I get to go to Spain this summer with my family – as you can probably tell I will do ANYTHING to speak Spanish and go to a Spanish speaking country. This might change after my Russian experience but for now I just want to go to Spain.

 

March

Spring time finally! Ok so it came a bit early this year but still – daffodils are everywhere and the weather has continued to be mild. We’ve had the warmest summer ever – I don’t think I can remember having one so warm throughout my entire life!

Lots of work as usual – this time I am reading up to get started on my summative coursework essay (summative means it counts towards your final grade for the year). This is my Latin American History module – so on a positive note it means one less exam next term. Term three is basically just exams – there won’t be any teaching. I’ll be done by the end of May. Then that’s it – first year over. Survived. Thank goodness.

Don’t get me wrong – I’ve learned so much being here. But my flat is starting to get a little hard to live in! I think it’s natural anyway as most of us won’t be living together next year, so we have better friends on our courses etc. But things have gotten a little difficult recently for some reason – I’ll spare the details, I’m not going to back stab or gossip. I’m just being real about how things are. Unfortunately you don’t always get on with your flat mates. I’m just glad that next year I’ll be with people who I’ll be able to relax better around 🙂

I’m still loving the student life – the discounts (get an NUS extra card it is so worth it!), self catering and experimenting in the kitchen, my course (although demanding I love the challenge of it), and church and stuff. Making new friends too. It’s great!!

Someone said to me once that uni either makes or breaks you. I think it does a bit of both. It breaks down what you used to know and think and brings out your weaknesses; but it makes you into an adult, brings out your strengths and beliefs, helps you reinvent yourself and become who you are – it’s such a great place to do that.

I’m definitely a different person from the girl that got dropped off on the 13th September last year. I’m a different person from the girl that got dropped off on the 1st January this year! It’s like a character growth spurt I guess… hey that’s not too bad a description/simile/metaphor. (I don’t know which one it is, but something along those lines!).

I’m considering some tricky career stuff at the moment and just praying God will guide me through it all. No idea what I want to do but there are some amazing offers out there and languages can take you almost anywhere! The good thing is, I don’t really need to sweat about it until after my year abroad as I can’t really consider a job until I have the language nailed! But obviously networking and experience are important.

BIG NEWS: I can finally do somersaults in gymnastics! All the hard work payed off! So proud 🙂

Woke up today and made the best porridge ever. I love that stuff – every morning I have it. Oats, frozen raspberries, frozen chunks of banana and hemp milk 🙂 my goodness it was good – I’ve run out of dates though which would have definitely  taken it to the next level! Forgot to take my phone with me to snap a picture but I may make it again so I’ll post it if I do! Here’s a shot of my banana and blueberry nicecream from yesterday for you 🙂 it was sooo good – basically it’s my nicecream recipe from before but with 1/2 cup blueberries instead ❤ Here’s the link if you want to try making it:

https://adventuresofababelfish.wordpress.com/2015/12/03/raspberry-and-banana-icecream/

There was more in the cup than this but I’d eaten it already!


Have a great weekend 🙂