Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Easy Butter Chicken

I am finally back online, after having no opportunity to post in over a week! Seems like ages. It wasn't just that I was really busy either - blogger began telling me that I had filled up all my space for storing pictures. What a nightmare! There is no obvious solution either, because google would rather you pay them money for more space. But after scrolling around the internet for a bit I came across one blogger that said she had signed up for google plus and in doing so been given more storage space. I'm not sure if that's really true, but I signed up anyway. Today I was able to upload photos again, yay, but I'm not sure if it was on account of having a google plus account or having deleted some unnecessary images. But then there are a lot of sources that say blogger pictures are compressed and don't take up any of your storage allowance - well that's clearly not true, all it takes is a quick look to see that these photos are indeed taking up space. So I'll probably run out again soon and then I don't know what I'll do. Stupid google.

But now on to a better topic - food. Today we have a recipe for an easy approximation of butter chicken. I altered the recipe somewhat, adding ground almonds because I was sure that they were a key ingredient of butter chicken (I'm still not sure if they really are or not) and swapping the yoghurt for coconut milk. Then because I had a cold I added extra spice because apparently spicy food is good for a cold. I don't think it made a difference really but it was yummy so that's all that matters. Unfortunately I am still no good at taking food photos - it's really not helped by the short days here, taking the photos at night time leaves them looking sort of yellowish. But you can just take my word for it that the meal was good. I boiled my rice with chopped up sun-dried tomatoes (the type that are actually dry, not in oil), on the advice of a friend, and it was a really good way to make rice more interesting.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Fruit and Almond Muffins

Muffins are so easy to make! They can be mixed up in just 10 minutes and baked in another 20, and you can throw whatever you have in the cupboard into the mixture. This time around I had a bag of frozen berries and some half empty bags of almonds - I think replacing some of the flour with ground almonds made the muffins a little denser, but they were also very moist and delicious. A little too easy to eat though so you will want to make sure that you have plenty of people to share them with!


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mushroom Soup

It's terribly cold and wet here in Galway at the moment - I can't wait to go back to my NZ summer (and I am crossing all my fingers that the south actually gets a proper summer). Cold weather calls for soup and today I have something that was completely new to me, but will now have a regular spot in my recipe repertoire. I've never been a huge fan of mushrooms but I tried mushroom soup some time in the recent past and realised that it's actually really yummy. I had a look at a couple of recipes and liked the look of Jamie Oliver's the best, but he has a tendency to use a lot of things that I just don't have on hand all the time. So I have made up my own recipe, and it was quite good, except it was too chunky. For this soup I would really recommend using a proper liquidising blender, as a stick-blender doesn't really do the trick. A few chunks for garnish are ok but I think the soup would be best if it was mostly a puree. To serve I stirred a spoonful of plain yoghurt through and it added a nice touch of creaminess.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Lots of Veggies Pasta

First of all - look, I have a new blog header! It took ages to figure out how to do. I managed it thanks to tutorials by Something Swanky and a website called image-maps.com. Now I'm tired, blog designing is all done for the day. Now for the actual post, and the food.

Once again I have made the most of what was lying around in my cupboards by making a pasta dish. This time around I had deviated from my shopping list to buy a jar of roasted peppers, which turned out to be roasted peppers swimming in sweet vinegar, which surely makes them some sort of picked pepper? Anyway, they were quite tangy and strong tasting, and a little sweet, but I'm guessing that next time around this pasta will taste different depending on what type of peppers I use. Or you use. Because I shared this meal and it got positive comments from two independent taste testers, so I guess it worth trying. It's fast to make and full of vegetables to give you that mid-week boost.


Friday, November 9, 2012

Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cookies

Despite having hardly any time to write on account of trying to finish a PhD, I am determined to improve this blog, at least a little bit. I don't think I ever intend to become a full-time blogger and make money from it as a website, but I would still like it to look a bit prettier and have a better following. So to that end, this week two things are happening. First of all, I have guest-posted on another blog! The blog is called Doctorate Housewife and is written by a Belgian named Jessica,. who largely writes about food and fitness. While she is on holiday she asked for volunteers and I put my hand up - I figured it was fitting, with having PhDs and living in Europe in common. So if you head over today you will see my yummy cookies (really, I'm not just bragging, they got a lot of positive feedback) being featured:


However, if people reading that guest-post then decide to come check out my blog (which I hope they do) I want them to be impressed and look around, which brings us to the second blog improvement - a little bloggy face-lift. It's slow going, partly because I don't have a lot of time and partly because all of this website/html/pixels/hyperlinks stuff is a little bit over my head. So to begin with we have a new header (this one is just for now, I want something brighter and more cartoon-ey when I have time), new pages, new sidebar and new footer. Which will all be appearing over the weekend. Next step will be index pages with pictures. Then at some point a whole new background. And a logo. Perhaps less rambling and more structure ... or perhaps not.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Happy Birthday to me!

Here in Galway it is still the 5th of November and my 25th birthday, though in New Zealand it is already the 6th so technically I think my birthday is over. It's cold here and already pitch black outside even though it's not even 6 pm and I may have celebrated a little too much yesterday (I was celebrating my birthday on New Zealand time). Today I am left feeling tired and a little hungover from too many yummy cocktails, so I couldn't even appreciate the cupcakes that I made for myself. Though that might not just be the cocktail hangover - two cakes were brought along last night from two different friends so I think I'm having a bit of a chocolate hangover too. We neglected to take photos last night but here is this morning's remnants of my gorgeous candy-coated cake: