Just a Moment :: Twenty Four

1:: Christmas tree shopping!!! I always wish we could spend more time inspecting the trees, it used to take us hours to pick one when I was little, these days I feel a bit silly taking too much time to look for the 'perfect tree'. But we always manage to come home with a good one anyway.

2:: Molly does this every time we leave the house - don't leave me! Also, somehow, this year our Christmas tree lights don't match and it's really bothering me - you may or may not be able to see them in the background.

3:: Bacon!!!

4:: I'm all about the apple and pear mixes these days. Juice, crumble, whatever - i'm eating it!

Other exciting things

:: Tahini in hot chocolate? How amazing does that sound?

:: Tania will be landing back in England any moment now after a YEAR of being away. Can't. Hardly. Wait.

:: I've been finding a lot of peace in my Pinterest boards lately, which means lots and lots of new pins - it still seems weird to me how inspiring sorting a bunch of beautiful photos can be, but for whatever reason, they make me happy.

:: Making plans for this years travel adventures with Adam. Nothing in the world makes me happier, fills my heart with joy, near on makes me burst with excitement, than traveling with him.

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Wild Mushroom Risotto

I'm so glad some of you asked for my mushroom risotto recipe because I'm quite excited to share it today! I started making risotto when I was at uni because it was cheap and easy, I ate so much of it that I went off it for a long time after I graduated. But when I saw these beautiful mushrooms in Broadway Market, risotto was the only thing that really made sense! So now it's back in my life and I can't believe I ever let it go. Here's the recipe, it's really easy:

1 :: punnet of wild mushrooms cut into big 'ol chunks. I got mine from Sporeboys in Broadway Market and they're the best I've ever had!

1 :: litre of chicken stock, homemade is best! And it's helpful if it's warm but it doesn't have to be.

1 :: bag of arborio risotto rice, I don't usually end up using the whole thing but you can if you have a big enough pot! 3/4ths of a bag cooks comfortably in a wok.

1 :: diced onion

1/2 :: a bottle of dry white wine

3 :: handfuls of grated parmesean

1 :: packet of bacon bits, or lardons but really that's such an awful word, isn't it?

1 :: rather large knob of butter

1 :: bunch of ripped up basil, as much or as little as you like

1 :: pinch of salt and pepper if you like, my chicken stock is already quite salty so I don't usually add anything.

step one :: start of by cooking the bacon bits in a small saucepan on a low heat. I cook mine until they're crispy.

step two :: while the bacon bits are cooking, melt the knob of butter in a very large pan or wok, then add the onions and brown a little.

step three :: add the risotto rice and mix together for a few minutes until the rice goes a little translucent.

step four :: add the white wine and keep stirring until it's all soaked up into the rice.

step five :: ladle chicken stock into the rice little by little, letting each bit added soak up before you add the next - this can take a long time!

step six :: once you get to the end of your litre of stock, before the last four or so ladles are added, add the chopped mushrooms and keep stirring.

step seven :: keep tasting your risotto to see if it's cooked enough, or al dente - which is the way I like it. But if you run out of stock before it's fully cooked, just add half-ladles of boiling water.

Once your risotto is cooked to your satisfaction, spoon it into bowls and sprinkle liberally with basil, parmesean and bacon bits. Serve and share with friends while it's still steaming - and enjoy! It's pretty delicious, and it's even better if you have some freshly baked bread with salty butter or even a little truffle oil if you're feeling in the mood for something decadent.

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Life Lately :: December Edition

hat co. Brora :: jumper from Madewell

I think it's about time for a general life catch up, don't you? We only have one week and two days left of work before we're off for Christmas! And goodness do I need a holiday. This time of year is always so much fun, with the parties and celebrations, there's something new to do almost every night. The thing is though, I'm not a big drinker and can suffer terribly from even one glass of wine - so by the end of every week this month I have flopped into bed face first and announced I would not be moving unless the building catches fire. At this rate I may just sleep through Christmas! But in other news, here are just a few things from life lately...

Loving :: my beautiful new hat from Brora. I haven't taken it off for days! I was invited to Brora's press event last week and I loved hearing about how thoroughly homegrown and British they are, and how much passion and creativity goes into their brand! In these times of mass production, it's nice to come across a brand that is maintaining some integrity.

Learning :: the art of lifestyle photography from Marte Marie Forsberg! She's posted a free online class on Skillshare which I really enjoyed. It's always such a treat to be able to crawl inside the mind of a photographer I really love.

Feeling :: warm! Thanks to Adam we now have heat in our bathroom where we never did before. Tooth-brushing in the morning now no longer feels like a trek across the arctic!

Starting :: my Christmas shopping rather late. Whoops!

Packing :: for Toronto! Bring on a Christmas in minus temperatures (that will make my previously unheated bathroom feel like a trip to a tropical paradise). All I can say is there better be snow!

Getting :: my yoga groove back. I've been to a couple of classes and it hurts but my body luckily hasn't forgotten all the strength and flexibility it learned over the summer.

Eating :: clementines. That should read binge-eating, actually. But they are the most delicious Christmassy snack, am I right?

Debating :: chopping all my hair off. What do you think of this style?

Discovering :: that I love jalapenos! Especially in macaroni and cheese - so much heat, so much deliciousness.

Saving :: up for a brand new camera and lens. With me about to publish my portfolio and hoping that people like my skills enough to hire me, I need to get a little more professional with my kit. It's time. 

Needing :: to give Molly a bath. She's so muddy and she knows it - so she's giving me her best orphan eyes at every opportunity, hoping I won't shove her in the shower and give her the shampooing of a lifetime.

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Hot Chocolate Two Ways

Who doesn't like hot chocolate, right? It's amazing, and I love it! But it doesn't love me so much. I'm a bit of a hot chocolate snob, I only like the rich and creamy stuff, but when I drink it I feel a little bit ill from all the sugar and cream - not that I ever let that stop me! It did make me think though, can I create a hot chocolate recipe that will give me all that rich deliciousness without the over-indulgence hangover? I can and I did. So Below are my two recipes for hot chocolate, the rich and delicious creamy one, and the rich and delicious creamy one that doesn't leave you feeling like you've overdone it. With both of these recipes, the measurements can be varied depending on your taste but each one makes one mug of hot chocolate...

Everyday Hot Chocolate

1 :: tablespoon of dark hot chocolate, I like Dorste.

2 :: tablespoons of light hot chocolate mix, I like Clipper

3 :: half a teaspoon of (secret ingredient time!) - custard powder!

Firstly, mix together the two chocolate powders. Then, warm a mug-full of milk on the stove and slowly add the chocolate - adding it through a small sieve can be a helpful lump avoiding tactic. Once it's all mixed it, make sure your heat is on low, then add the custard powder. Be patient here because it can take a while! Slowly stir your hot chocolate until it starts to thicken a little. When it's nice and creamy looking, pour into the mug and enjoy! 

For those of you out there who hate custard, I promise can't taste the custard at all and nor does the consistency resemble custard, it's only used as a thickening agent. 

Special Occasion Hot Chocolate

7 :: squares of semi-sweet dark chocolate, the fancier the better!

1/3 :: cup of double cream

1 and 1/2 :: cup of full fat milk

Take an oven proof glass bowl and place it on a slowly simmering saucepan full of water. As the bowl heats up, add your squares of chocolate and keep stirring until they melt. Once melted, add your cream and your milk slowly, stirring as you go until the chocolate, milk and cream are all blended into utter deliciousness. 

Pour into a mug and drink up quickly before it gets too cool! I adapted this recipe from a Martha Stewart icing recipe, so believe me when I say it is SUPER rich.

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Brunch at Rosie's Cafe in Brixton and Some Thoughts on Friendship

I’m never really sure how I got along in life before I had my blog. What did I do with my evenings when I wasn't out? What did I carry in my bag when I didn't have my camera taking up all the room? Where did I get my creative ideas, my inspiration, and my motivation?

Having a blog allows me to manifest all my best qualities - blogging about what I like and what inspires me, it helps me bring those likes and inspirations into my life like a great big magnet. It helps me put my dreams out there, and then before I know it they’re starting to happen in reality.

I’m also never really sure how I got on in life before I met my blogging friends. I’m not sure how we established an almost-monthly brunch to chat all things blog related, and then not blog related, mostly personal, and then mostly inspirational…

Last weekend I met up with these lovely girls (Che, Catherine, Siobhan, Jo, and Lulu who wasn't there but she was in spirit :) and we talked about so much great stuff! Each one of them is working so hard, SO SO hard on pursuing their dreams. It’s such an inspiration. And they all support each other too!

I blogged not that long ago about what my life was like before London, but I find it so difficult to believe that most creative endeavors in my life used to come entirely from self-motivation. And they still do, but it’s so much easier to motivate yourself with some help from like-minded friends.  

All photos taken at Rosie's Cafe in Brixton where they do a mean grilled cheese with marmite, just so you know.

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