5 Minute Philosopher…

This interview is always on the last page of stylist magazine (http://www.stylist.co.uk/) So I thought I would try and answer some of the questions to ease myself back into writing for this month of August…

What is the meaning of life? I think the meaning of life is what you make it, to love, share experiences and laugh a lot.

What is the difference between right and wrong? Right is when you can live happily without hurting anyone else, wrong is when you know that your actions are negatively affecting others. The lines can be blurred though.

Where is your happy place? There are a few. On a beach, in the gym. But at the top of the list is probably chilling with friends and family.

Nature or Nurture? Both. Nature provides the ingredients, nurture continues to shapes us.

Is it more important to be liked or respected? Respected, it lasts longer. Being liked and loved by the people close to you is more important than being liked by people you don’t know.

If you could be remembered for one thing what would it be? Just generally being a bit wacky and weird and not afraid of being myself. And being a good friend, I think that is really important.

Who or What is your greatest love? Who would be my family and friends. Big love for them. What would be Italy, I feel a way there that I can’t feel anywhere else in the world.

When did you last lie? 5 minutes ago when I said I would call someone back at work….

Does the supernatural exist? I believe that the Holy Spirit exists, but would you call that supernatural? On ghosts and stuff I am undecided.

Are you fatalistic? To some extent yes, and to some extent no. I believe that everyone has a path that they are on, but to a degree we create our own destiny. The choices we make and the way we lead our lives define us, which we do have control over.

What is your greatest fear? Loosing everyone I love, or something happening to the people that I love. And public speaking.

Animals or babies? Baby elephant?

What talent do you yearn for? Either being able to Sing properly or being a fully qualified F1 driver – just to make my dad proud.

Do you like being complimented? I don’t know what to do with compliments so I get awkward when given one. I’m that person that instantly tries to think of something I can compliment you on to deflect the situation away from me. I cringe thinking about it. But yes I do – doesn’t everyone?!

Do you have a high pain threshold? I’d like to think so. Although I had my knee taped up after an injury back in April and pulling that off hurt like hell. My sister who is a nurse might think otherwise.

What books do you recommend most to others? The book Honour by Elif Shafak. She writes beautifully and the story is all about family and sacrifice, it changed the way I look at love.

Which has been the hardest lesson to learn? Not to take things personally. Why do I always do that? And how to let go of things, that’s always tough.

Which food sums up happiness? Pizza.

What have you never understood? Bad manners and people who walk slow in the city.

What is the one thing you want to know before you die? Preferably when I am going to die so I can prepare for it.

Are you scared of dying or what happens when you die? I believe that if I live by faith then I have nothing to worry about. But I think knowing I am going to die imminently I would be anxious about it for sure.

Quinoa or Quavers? Can I choose another type of crisps? Chilli heatwave or prawn cocktail.

Tenacity

You say I am
tenacious
too much
for my own good
Holding firm
to all of my ideals
let them go,
I never would.
You say I am
persistent
unwavering
immovable
inexorable
in my existence
but because of that
you listen,
And help make sense
of you.
Here in my
relentlessness
You are understood.

Come si dice…Peace?

I wish I could explain to her,
Why there are so many wars, and peace is hard to find.
I’m ashamed to say I’m only 21 and I live a better life
Than the majority of the world.
Hatred, shame, brutality, at the moment rule the earth.
If tell her peace will return, it would only be wishful of me to think,
And I feel like such a hypocrite,
Explaining humanity’s suffering from a distance, out the thick of it.
As if I can really understand how people out there live,
Whilst sitting in my house, with running water made of brick.

Come si dice…Peace? – 4/8/2014

Chilli Sauce & Coconut Oil Prawns

image1

Ingrediants
For Chilli Sauce
3 Red Jalapeno peppers
1 chilli
2 tblps Sugar
1 tbsp Vinegar
Water
Cornstarch
2 Garlic Cloves

Coconut Oil Prawns
Coconut Oil
250g King Prawns
110g Brown rice & Quinoa (Boil yourself or Uncle Bens).
Baby Corn
Spring Onion & Coriander (for garnish)

Method

Chilli Sauce
To make the chilli sauce, blend together (I use a food processor) the garlic, chilli, red peppers, sugar, vinegar and 2 tbsp water into a puree.

Once blended, add to a saucepan and bring to the boil. The chilli, garlic and peppers should all start to soften, and the mixture will thicken. (I always taste as I am going along to see if it needs more sugar, vinegar etc).

Once you are satisfied it has thickened (roughly the consistency of a pasta sauce), combine the cornstarch and 2 tbsp of water in a mixing jug. Once combined, mix into the pan of peppers and sugar. Bring mixture to the boil and simmer for a few minutes. Once you are satisfied, remove from heat, cool and store in the fridge.

Coconut Oil Prawns
(If you are cooking your rice rather than heating in a microwave, start this process as will take 20 minutes to cook thoroughly).

Add roughly 2 tsp of coconut oil to a pan, on a low heat. Once oil has melted, add the prawns and cook on a low heat until soft and slightly browned.

Sometimes I chop a red chilli and add to the pan with the prawns for added flavour.

Whilst cooking, heat a pan of water for your baby corn. Once boiling, add and cook for 5 minutes (leave the baby corn whole and chop after cooking). Once cooked, drain, chop and add to the pan with the prawns, this gives them a delicious buttery flavour without the fat!

Once the prawns are cooked, stir in a tsp of cayenne pepper, and season with salt and pepper. Leave on a low heat.

Heat up Brown rice and Quinoa (or drain cooked rice once boiled) and server on plate.

Add the prawns and baby corn mixture, take the chilli sauce from the fridge and pour over. Garnish with spring onion and coriander. (You will see in the photo that i also added pomegranate seeds, something I tried as I had them to use up, equally as good without them.)

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

Raspberry & Chia Seed Jam

Simple Sweetness without the Sugar!

This is my favourite berry mix that I put on top of oats, with yoghurt, or on peanut butter on toast.

Ingredients
150g Frozen Raspberries
150g Frozen Blueberries
150g Fresh Raspberries
150g Fresh Blueberries
1 Medium Orange – Juiced
2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
4 Tablespoons of Honey

Method
Leave the frozen berries and chia seeds to defrost overnight in the fridge or for 4 hours at room temperature.

Once defrosted, add the rest of the fresh berries and the orange juice and lightly mash. I like to leave mine a little bit lumpy instead of too runny.

Once the consistency is how you like it, spoon in the honey, adding more for sweetness.

Leave the mixture in room temperature for another hour, and then serve!

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

 

Berry & Honey Muffins

I absolutely love baking, and working full time means I rarely get to cook for my own pleasure, it’s usually just a rush to eat something before the day starts or when I come home in the evening. Over the last few years, I’ve tried to incorporate baking, cooking & experimenting with my favourite foods throughout the week instead of waiting until the weekend.

As well as being a lover of everything sweet, I am also health concious and do try to modify traditional recipes so they suit the eating habits I like. Simple things like using natural honey and cinnamon instead of sugar, oats and brans instead of flour all make a difference in a recipes nutritional factor.

Today was Berries & Honey Breakfast Muffins (or a snack), I can make these on a Sunday and enjoy them for an on-the-go breakfast throughout the week, as they will keep for 5 days in an airtight container. So here’s the recipe, which can be adapted with different fruits and flavours depending on your taste :)

Ingredients

2 Large Ripe Bananas
250g Porridge Oats
2 Large Eggs
2 Tablespoons Greek Yoghurt
2 Tablespoons Natural Honey
1 Tablespoon Natural Peanut butter
1 Tablespoon Chia Seeds
1-2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Blueberries
Raspberries
(Make it as fruity as you want!)

Method

Pre heat the oven to Gas Mark 4, and grease a 12 dip muffin tray.

In a blender, add the oats, bananas, Eggs, Greek Yoghurt, Peanut butter, and Honey. Blend until almost smooth (a few chunky bits will just give the muffins extra bite).

Once blended, pour into a mixing bowl and stir in the vanilla extract, cinnamon and chia seeds.

In a pan, add half the blueberries and raspberries that you want in the muffins, and heat up until runny. Once hot, marble the fruit through the Muffin mixture.

Spoon the mix into the muffin tray. Add the last of the berries on top, as these will slowly soften whilst in the oven.

Place into the oven and cook for 15 minutes! (Check and 10 minutes and then leave them for an extra 5).

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

The Day I Left My Home Pt.1

I think about returning
as I start to wake,
I let myself get lost in a golden haze
of soaring sun and childhood days
before I sink back into the unknown.
My daughter slumped on the back of her brother
across one border to another
lessening the load for his mother
as I attempt to fight our way,
over seas and ideologies
in search of a safer place for us to stay
which started that day
I left my home.

 

Christmas Baking – Crumbled Pies & A Cinnamon Swirl

Crumbled Pies

Ingrediants

100g Unsalted Butter
200g White Flour
Dusting of Icing Sugar
1 Grated Orange Zest
1/2 Grated Lemon Zest
200g Mincemeat

Topping
25g Ground Almond
2 Tsp Sweetened Cinnamon
25g Unsalted Melted Butter
26g Soft Light Brown Sugar

Method

Heat the Oven to Gas Mark 4 and grease 16 hole muffin tins. (I use one of 12 and one of 4 as this is what I have in the kitchen).

To make the Pie Pastry, rub together with your fingertips, the butter and white flour. You should do this until it looks like breadcrumbs.

Add the grated orange and lemon zest with the icing sugar.

To turn this into a dough, mix in a splash of water, around 3 tablespoons should do. You can always add more if it fails to come together.

Once it has formed, lightly knead and then set aside to chill – this needs to be about 20 minutes so the dough has time to develop.

Once time is up, roll dough on a lightly floured surface.

Once rolled, cut out with circular cutters until you have 16, re-rolling to get as many as needed.

Fill each hole with a heaped teaspoon of mincemeat, I usually like to sprinkle some cinnamon on the top here, but this isn’t to everyone’s taste.

Topping

Mix together all the ingredients needed for the topping, ground almond, cinnamon, melted butter and soft light brown sugar. This should also resemble breadcrumbs. Sprinkle the mixture over the top of the mince pies. Drizzle with honey, or a sprinle of almond flakes, you can experiment with different flavours here!

Cook on Gas Mark 4 for 20 minutes, checking after 10, when they are golden brown, good to serve & enjoy Hot or Cold.

Enjoy!

Elena xxx

 

Becoming a Blogger – How it Started

“Superrb blog! Do you have any tips and hihts for aspiring writers?
I’m hopinng to start my own blog soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
go for a paid option? There are so many choices out there that I’m completely confysed
.. Any recommendations? Cheers!”

Hey! I hope you don’t mind me publicly replying to this (maybe there are others that feel the same). Firstly thank you for reading and for showing love! I hope I can answer you adequately enough.

When I started the blog, it was because I needed other people to see my work, respond to it, I was craving that writer – reader interaction that helps you assess how other people respond to/view your words. It was also an outlet, a distraction (at that time) but the best kind.

I had been thinking about ways in which I could reach out to people, and connect to other writers, i.e writing forums, but I decided that I wanted something that was just mine. I initially chose WordPress because I knew someone that had used it, I didn’t know how to do anything at first, so I started off with a free platform (Perfect for students). I didn’t think about buying my current one, and transferring to a paid site until I was more experienced with how to host a website. Do whatever is best for you and what you are comfortable with – there is so much help out there about how to get started, and sites like WordPress will help you along the way because they are tailored to beginners. You will learn as you go along!

Also, you’re not an ‘Aspiring Writer’ – you are a Writer! Be honest with yourself, about yourself, your emotions and experiences and don’t be afraid to put that into whatever you choose to create. There is a reader for everything and sharing your work will only help you to improve, not only in skill but in confidence! Connect with other writers and readers and ask for criticism, feedback but learn to enjoy the process too.

If you ever need a second opinion but don’t want to publish just yet, feel free to ask me to read it – elenaandrean21@gmail.com.