Yes, I am talking about the TV show. I love it, and I’m not ashamed to admit it! Well, maybe sometimes.
For someone who’s resisted the pull of soap operas for most of my life, it surprised me that I went for this one. Implausible scenarios, weird people, ridiculous situations and all backed up by song. I think it was the song that got me, to be honest.
I love to sing. I am not good at singing. I much prefer to belt out songs from the comfort of my car as I drive along, pretending to be as good as my radio or cd. I have previously indulged in singing with choirs, but there’s always that scenario where they ask you to sing solo. I like to not be there for that part.
I will sing in ridiculous circumstances and totally not being serious, but I could never sing the way I would like to. So in Glee I can live vicariously through the characters – and stop and wonder if I was that clueless in high school.
But I do love the singing, and so of course I love the Glee cds. Sometimes, there’s that one popular song that you always listen to, turn it up on the radio, belt it out in the shower, feel it touch you or at least your feet and you get up and dance. So many times it’s happened but I never want to go out and buy the album, or I really dislike the artist, or singles don’t have enough songs on them; so the Glee cds are awesome because not only are they awesome songs, but even if they’re not, they sound really good done showchoir style. Many of my peers would say that Glee ruined certain songs for them, that they destroyed it! – but I love it, in all its tacky splendour.
So go on. Put on your favourite cheesy cd and belt it out, sister.
A cup of tea is a wonderful thing. It will soothe your aches and pains, make you feel cosy and happy. It will be your best friend, your shoulder to cry on, your ear to listen to all your worries. If shared, this cup does everything a hundred fold. If you are feeling blue, have a shower or a bath. Dry yourself down and pull on some warm fuzzy pyjamas and a dressing gown and slippers. Brew yourself a cup of tea and snuggle down somewhere with a good book. I promise you won’t regret it.
Many people argue about how to make a cup of tea – it’s apparently very important to do it ‘right’. I feel that you make your tea the way it makes you feel best. Now while teabags in mugs are easiest, they are also saddest. A pot helps with the cheering up process the best. A tea cosy (or, where unavailable, a woolly hat) helps to prolong the joy of tea by keeping the pot warm. This is also helped by warming the pot. I have milk and sugar; many people don’t. It’s up to you.
I direct you to George Orwell to learn about tea from an Englishman, while I go off and have a cup of tea.
Money makes the world go round. Or so they say.
(Who is this ‘they’, anyway? ‘They’ seem to say a lot of things. Most of it negative. Anyway, I digress.)
I hate money. At the same time, I love money. It all depends on how much of it you have, I suppose. When you’re in debt and scraping by, it mocks you and spits in your face, letting you scoop up the crumbs from its table. When you’re rolling in it, you sit at that table – but money still mocks, because it knows you’re eating empty hope. If you rely on it, it will let you down. If you love it, you spiral into loneliness and deceit. If you hate it, you still have to use it, because money kinda does make things happen. Food, for instance. A roof over your head, fuel in your car, textbooks, transport, entertainment.
Some people have no money. Some people live on less than $2 a day, and that’s for everything. Food, housing, medical, education, transport, water – basic needs. On less than $2 a day.
I’m in the top 14% of the world’s richest. Top 14%, and I’m a uni student scraping by. How does this compare? So I decided to live on less than $2 a day for my food for a week. And you know me by now. You know I love me some food. I’m doing it to raise money for critical anti-poverty measures and to raise awareness in one of the richest countries in the world. If you want to donate, click here. If not, I completely understand. After all, there are so many good causes out there.
Don’t worry over money. Think about it, budget, plan and save, but don’t worry about it. Because it will all be alright in the end. If it’s not alright, it’s not the end. Something always happens, and as the saying goes, the best things in life are free. Smiles, laughter, hugs and friendship. Seek out God, and he will answer – for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. Place your treasure where your heart will be safe – in God’s loving embrace.
It’s been a while, I know.
I’m sorry. It’s been a busy few weeks. Uni, work, SURRENDER:11, home life… and to be honest, it’s kind of taken its toll. I’m happy, but my life is stretched out over so many different spheres of living. Or rather, existing, at the moment. It’s hard to admit that I may be doing too much, stretching myself too far, but when I’m almost in tears because of the exhaustion it’s obvious even to me.
And so. It’s time to take things a little slower, enjoy what must be done. Dive into my studies. Reach out to a few close friends. Have proper conversations with people. Enjoy cooking for its own sake. Reflect on everything.
And eat cake. Because cake makes things better, especially when it’s in miniature form. Like muffins.
Muffins are the perfect university snack. They’re sturdy, they don’t mind being squashed or shunted around in bags. They can be savoury or sweet, but because they’re cakey and full of carbohydrates, they give you a boost of energy and really do help you study. And since I’m off chocolate for Lent (more on that later) I made date muffins last night.
I like to make up recipes, to just throw ingredients in a bowl and see what comes out the other end. Unfortunately, this time was a little too sweet for my liking. And I’m a sweet tooth. So I’ve modified the details a bit, although I haven’t tried it out with this new one yet.
This recipe was made to the soundtrack of How I Met Your Mother. It’s one of my guilty pleasures. Please don’t judge me.
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
¾ cup sugar
40g butter, melted
1 ½ cups Greek-style yoghurt
1 ½ cups dried, pitted and chopped dates
Preheat your oven to 180°C and place the oven rack in the middle slot. Grease and flour a twelve-cup muffin pan (a spray with cooking oil does the trick well, then just scatter some plain flour in and tap it out). Sift the flour and sugar into a bowl, whisk together and make a well. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl and mix together; don’t worry about how lumpy it gets. Divide the mixture into the muffin pans and place in the oven. Mine took about 25 minutes but my oven runs a bit cooler, so I’d suggest 15-20 minutes. When they’re done, they should be golden brown on top; take them out and let them rest for a few minutes, then place them on a rack to cool. Eat with butter while still warm, or take to uni/work/school and devour to the envy of your friends.
Creamy. Dreamy. Chewy. Sweet. A little while ago now, I, with the help of my sister, made vanilla panna cotta and florentines. Well, by the time the florentines came around, it was just me, but that’s not the point.
It was pretty much all the title of this post describes. There was cream. There was vanilla. There was honey. There was sugar. There was agar agar and honestly, take what I say with a pinch of salt (that’s a pun by the way) but that was pretty much all there was to it.
I’m vegetarian (not sure I’d mentioned that yet, apart from where I say hello) so instead of the animal-based gelatin in the recipe I opted for agar agar, a vegetarian equivalent derived from seaweed.
With the florentines, I have to say they reminded me of ANZAC biscuits but not quite as awesome, although they did have chocolate on the bottom which is a huge plus.
Now, I did take photos but unfortunately, I don’t have access to them at the moment so you’ll just have to wait for them. In anticipation, I’m sure.
I served the panna cottas with preserved plums and cream but I think they’d be just as happy gracing your plate on their own.
Giada’s Vanilla Panna Cotta
1 cup (240 ml) whole milk
1 tablespoon (7 gm) powdered agar agar
3 cups (720 ml) whipping cream
1/3 cup (80 ml) honey
1 tablespoon (15 gm)granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1. Pour the milk into a bowl or pot and sprinkle gelatin evenly and thinly over the milk (make sure the bowl/pot is
cold by placing the bowl/pot in the refrigerator for a few minutes before you start making the Panna Cotta). Let
stand for 5 minutes to soften the gelatin.
2. Pour the milk into the saucepan/pot and place over medium heat on the stove. Heat this mixture until it is hot,
but not boiling, about five minutes. (I whisk it a few times at this stage).
3. Next, add the cream, honey, sugar, and pinch of salt. Making sure the mixture doesn’t boil, continue to heat and
stir occasionally until the sugar and honey have dissolved 5-7 minutes.
4. Remove from heat, allow it to sit for a few minutes to cool slightly. Then pour into the glass or ramekin.
5. Refrigerate at least 6 hours or overnight. Add garnishes and serve.
150 gm unsalted butter
2 cups (160 gm) quick oats
1 cup (230 gm) granulated sugar
2/3 cup (95 gm)plain flour
1/4 cup (60 ml) dark corn syrup
1/4 cup (60 ml) whole milk
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1½ cups (250 gm) dark or milk chocolate (I prefer dark)
Preheat oven to moderately hot 190°C. Prepare your biscuit tray with baking paper.
1. Melt butter in a medium saucepan, then remove from the heat.
2. To the melted butter add oats, sugar, flour, corn syrup, milk, vanilla, and salt. Mix well.
Drop a tablespoon full, three inches (75 mm) apart, onto your prepared baking sheet. Flatten slightly with the
back of your tablespoon, or use a spatula.
3. Bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Cool completely on the baking sheets.
4. While the cookies are cooling melt your chocolate until smooth either in the microwave (1 1/2 minutes), or
stovetop (in a double boiler, or a bowl that fits atop a saucepan filled with a bit of water, being sure the water
doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl).
5. Peel the cookies from baking paper and place face down on a wire rack.
6. Pour the melted chocolate into a resealable plastic lunch bag and snip of the end. Pipe chocolate over the flat ends of the cookies and let set. Eat with a cup of coffee.