Tag Archives: food

A Very Easy and Delicious Salad Dressing

Salad Dressing Recipe - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaMy father is the all time greatest salad maker.  I know that sounds extreme, but I have never met anyone with such a talent for salad combinations. His methods may be…unorthodox (baked beans in potato salad, anyone?) but are always delicious. As a result, you will often find me hunched over the counter picking at the remains of a huge salad. It seems my inheritance is my fondness for polka ogorki… and salad.

Having said that, it’s only recently that I have started to dress my salads. I’m usually an enjoy-them-as-they-are kind of a gal, apart from a slug of olive oil and more balsamic vinegar than is truly necessary. I have now, however, really cracked a dead simple salad dressing and I thought I would share it here with you.

I love a good bit of antipasto and this is the heart of my (extremely loosely called) recipe.

You will need:

  • A jar of some kind of antipasto – sundried tomatoes, or my particular favourite, chargrilled artichokes.

Method:

  • Gobble up most of the artichokes in a moderately unattractive fashion, leaving a few for the salad. Reserve the oil in the jar and put to one side.
  • Peel 2 garlic cloves, and gently crush using the flat of a knife. Add to the jar.
  • Bruise 2 stalks of rosemary – dried or fresh, it doesn’t matter.
  • Add in a few good glugs of balsamic vinegar – I like a roughly 50/50 ratio, but after a few goes, you’ll work out a combination that rocks your socks.
  • Reseal the lid, shake it like a polaroid picture, and pour, trying not to let the garlic cloves or rosemary escape.
  • Reseal and store in the fridge – it should last at least a week, and you can top up with olive oil, fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar as you go.

It should take you approximately 2 minutes to prepare, using mostly what I assume to be store cupboard ingredients – forgive me if not – and if you’re anything like me, this time includes the time to eat 3/4 of a jar of artichokes!

Enjoy!

 

Chrimbo At Home – 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I singularly failed to take any photos of our family Christmas celebration this year, which happened on December 19th. As penance, I offer you a picture of my front door, which I think looks rather festive, if I do say so myself.

In my post about Christmas rituals, I may have mentioned that I love this time of year. I am pleased to report that our celebration lived up to all my hopes and expectations.

Despite the fact that we had offered to host everyone this year, on the day after I finished school (yikes), it all happened rather smoothly. As with many bloggers, the Nigella Christmas Cookbook became my bible.

Here is our intended menu:

  • Salmon and cream cheese blinis
  • John’s famous sausage rolls*
  • Pumpkin & Goats Cheese Lasagne
  • Nut Roast Pie
  • Beef Wellington*
  • Roast Vegetables
  • Bread sauce*
  • Cranberry sauce*
  • Christmas Coleslaw
  • Chocolate Christmas Pudding
  • Christmas Cake
  • Cheese platter
  • Yule Log

All served with copious amounts of prosecco, wine, beer and cider. My delightful sisters in law provided the cheese and yule log. Delegating people. Delegating.

A couple of things got scratched (marked with an *) – 1) because I ran out of time, 2) because people were stuffed to the gills and couldn’t face another bite and 3) because my stove was obviously unaccustomed to such a heavy workload and threw a tantrum.

The Beef Wellington turned into a roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, as it proved to be impossible to find a beef fillet anywhere. I don’t think anyone was particularly disappointed!

It’s been ages, really, since I’ve done any amount of ‘fun’ cooking, and being so exhausted during the week has meant I have relied on my dwindling repertoire of recipes, and shamefully, even more so on justeat.co.uk. Dreadful. As a result, despite the limited time, I really enjoyed whipping up the feast.

I can’t wait until next year!

 

The Honeymoon: The Apartment & Our First Meal

I wanted to write down my memories of the last ten days as soon as possible after returning, to share here on the blog. When I first started travelling I was a dedicated journal keeper, which means I have some great memories squirrelled away in my book cases! Many of them I have forgotten, so having an analogue version to read from time to time is a real treat.

When we first began thinking of our honeymoon, we were almost immediately sure that we wanted to leave shortly after the wedding. I wanted to preserve the ‘wedding bubble’ for as long as possible, and an immediate honeymoon seemed just the ticket.

Mr H had dreams of Greek beaches, or to be honest any beaches! He was happy with anything that wasn’t a city break. I think he’s forgotten that he said that, because we ended up going for a city break after all, and he was as happy as Larry!

Kissing in Warsaw Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Warsaw 6 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaWe rented an apartment through AirBnB right in the Old Town in Warsaw. It was a studio, with a basic kitchen (although the only sink was in the bathroom – odd). It was really everything we needed, and was literally on the doorstep of the most beautiful part of the Polish capital city.

We arrived late on Monday afternoon, and caught a taxi from the airport’s official taxi rank (don’t go for the slightly sweaty men that approach you in the Arrivals terminal), we found our little love nest on Ulica Piwna. A beer and some food were in order, so we wandered out to the the bustling square, and braced ourselves to be brave and go to a restaurant.

A word here regarding our choices of restaurants – Warsaw Old Town is very touristy, and I daresay that the vast majority of the restaurants we went to were as well. This bothered us approximately 0%, because we always had excellent service, and they were very happy to speak English. Mr H and I both have the guilts about travelling and not speaking another language fluently, so we do tend to have to screw up our courage to venture out. I say, do what makes you happy. Don’t beat yourself up about not finding a tiny little restaurant where the locals eat – too stressful!

Warsaw 1 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We settled on Restaurant Bazylisek – it takes up nearly one whole side of the square, and was both very busy and very spacious.

Warsaw 2 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaOften at the start of a meal in Warsaw, we’d be given break, cream cheese that was often flavoured with dill, and some kind of meat pâte. Sometimes it was just lard, though, which I cannot in good faith claim to be a fan of. This was a kind of minced pork.

Warsaw 3 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

Warsaw 4 Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

We had a litre each (sue me, it was my honeymoon!) of Pilsner Urquell, a pilsner I am a fan of back home. These were about 18 złoty each, which is about £3.60. Occasionally they would be half price on special, so it was £1.80 for a litre of beer! Winning…

Warsaw 5 Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaMr Hello made his way through a huge plate of sauerkraut and chicken livers (not remotely my thing) and I had schnitzel, sauerkraut and fries. Nothing groundbreaking, although Mr H was in bliss, as livers are among his favourite foods. Not for me, thanks…

For the rest of the evening we wandered around the Old Town, before heading back to the apartment with some beers from the Deli, snuggling up and reminiscing about the wonderful day that was our wedding!

More to come, so stay tuned!

 

Adventures at Home

Nautical Front Door Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
A little seaside at home

It’s the penultimate evening of my 2015 Easter break and I’m feeling a little reflective. A short summary is in order I feel, so in that vein, chocks away!

Going Up

  • Quality time with the chap. An oldie but a goodie. We have been really busy for the last couple of weeks, and so spending some lazy time together, followed by some terribly productive house-organising time together has been wonderful. We’re kind of taking on a lot this year, you know, what with getting married and renovating our house, so it’s important we take the opportunities we can to get bored of each other 🙂
  • Having food in the house. There’s nothing like a couple of bank holidays to give you the fear of running out of food, so late last week I made the effort to do a big shop in person rather than online. I also had the guilts after reading How We Eat on Love Audrey, and while I in no respect met Franky’s lofty culinary heights, I mixed things up this week and did NOT have takeaway when I had the opportunity to.
  • IKEA trips. On good Friday we joined Mr H’s family on a spontaneous IKEA jaunt, and we picked up a couple of wedding bits and bobs, plus a totally wonderful and cheaty table plan. When we’ve figured out how to do it, I am definitely sharing a tutorial so do not despair!
  • New front door planning. As you may have seen on Instagram, I’ve had some front door angst, but after finally getting my lovely Victorian front door over three weeks after ordering it, I am really loving imagining it in all its finished glory.

Going Down

  • For some unknown reason (although I will blame it on the supply teaching I’ve been doing) last week I was in the grips of a terrible stomach bug. Half heartburn, half sleep destroying cramps, but without any other graphic displays of illness, it was absolute hell. Very few things destroy a childless adult’s ability to form rational thoughts than illness and sleep deprivation. Bloody school kids.
  • DIY dust. The fun part of DIY wears off pretty quickly, hey? Spent twice as long clearing the freakin’ mess up.
  • Discovering that I still don’t enjoy weeding the garden. I had my suspicions, but it was good to have some solid data.
  • Repeatedly missing FaceTime calls with my Dad. The clock’s have gone back here but I doubt that is significantly responsible. A combination of bad timing on both our parts, but dang it if I don’t miss the bugger!
  • New job nerves. I’m currently writing a post about some out of the ordinary anxiety I’ve been feeling about starting my new job, but am yet to find all the right words. I’m getting through by taking lots of deep breaths and reminding myself that almost everything comes good in the fullness of time.

Consider yourself updated. I’d love to hear your news if you’re willing to share below!

Lastly, some of my favourite bloggers have given birth this last week, so I want to say particular congratulations to both Belle du Brighton and Spillerena, and welcome to your new offspring!

9 Superficial Things I’ll Miss About Australia (No, it’s Not the Weather!)

Perth Weather Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha
But the weather ain’t half bad, just sayin’

It’s a truth universally acknowledged by a certain resident of Kansas that there’s no place like home. There are just some certain comforts that make you feel safe and secure, and while many of these are now available thanks to globalisation, there are a few silly things about Australia that I know I wistfully think of when back in Ol’ Blighty. Let’s get listing, shall we?

  • The Size of Avocados – Being a part of the avocado lovin’ family that I am, this is *quite* a significant thing. Avocados in  Australia are deliciously bloody huge, creamy and ripe. On several occasions in the past I have had the misfortune to buy several avocados in England that have proceeded immediately from rock hard to completely rotten, totally bypassing any edible stage. This is important, you guys.
  • Availability of Great Coffee – Look. It’s a lot better in Kent on the coffee side of things now, then it was in 2010 when I first came here. There are still many crappy tearooms selling crappy dishwater style coffee, but you can actually get a flat white here now, Lord be praised. But it’s just not quite as easy as popping down the road to Mooba, Lawley’s or Milkd, like I could in Perth. Heaven is a coffee flavoured place on earth. That’s a song, right?
  • Grill’d & Jus Burger: 
Grill'd Burger
Click for Source – Chi (in Oz)’s Photo Stream

 

Don’t know if there is much more I can say. Burgers. Delicious delicious burgers. Chunky chips. Before you say it, no, I         don’t live in London and no, Byron Burger is just not the same. Suitable replacement suggestions very welcome indeed.

  • Cheap Public Transport – The People of Perth might disagree with me, but public transport is sooooo much cheaper there than in England. In the Motherland there is no such thing as a grace period, meaning you need a new ticket  every time you jump on the bus. For a non-car-owning citizen such as myself, this becomes rather problematic. Terribly interesting too, don’t you agree?
  • David Jones Foodhall – I’m not saying that there is no equivalent in England. There is. It’s a tiny little shop known to the locals as Marks & Spencer, the greatest English shop of them all. But M&S is missing one crucial thing in my book, which gives my beloved DJ’s the advantage. That crucial element is the World’s Greatest Sushi Bar. I don’t know what it is about David Jones Sushi, but it’s bloody delicious and quite cheap really. It shall be missed.
  • Frosty Fruit Icy Poles – Also known as quite a depressing icy pole if you’re a normal person, but the WORLD’S GREATEST SWEET TREAT when you’re trying to watch what you’re eating and are desperate for some kind of cold sweet treat on a hot Australian Summer’s day. It’s the little things you miss, you know?
  • Tax Returns – Stay with me here guys. We don’t have to do these in England, but in Australia if you earn over X amount (I’ve forgotten how much because it’s been too long since I had a proper job :-/) you need to do a tax return, and if you’re lucky, it ends up that the Government owes you money and you get a nice little deposit into your bank account. A form of enforced savings, if you will. Luckily I’ve never had to repay any tax, although I know people who have, and that’s not fun in the slightest. But when I was saving for my travels, I worked three jobs and paid a lot of tax, and ended up with a $4,000 refund waiting for me come tax time. Thanks very much!
  • No Electric Showers – Just typing out ‘electric shower’ makes me go a bit funny. Water pressure in Kent is technically known as ‘a bit shit’ and so if your bathroom is on the first floor or above you need an electric pump to get your shower on in the morning. In Australia I had the full force of outback water blasting me in the face every day, and by golly I’ll miss it. My English shower feels like a combination of being spat and weed on at the moment, and let me tell you, it’s not as fun as it sounds. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. I’d also like to point out that in England you’re not allowed so much as a powerpoint in the bathroom (you are in Australia!) but you can have an electric shower? MADNESS.
  • Knowing How to Do ‘Life’ Stuff – Now this isn’t quite as superficial as the rest, but it’s something I’ll certainly miss. When you’re a local or a native citizen to a country, you end up just somehow knowing how life works, as if you’d picked it up by osmosis throughout your life. When you’re an immigrant, you forfeit that knowledge and so it just takes you that little bit longer to work stuff out. How to get a driving license, why you need a TV license, who pays council tax, what the hell council tax even is, who can vote and where. Having lived here for a few years, I’m much better than I used to be, but there are still times where I feel like a stranger, and I make the odd misstep. But I guess that’s life!

I returned to Rochester at about 9pm on Tuesday night, and it was incredibly surreal. I haven’t yet quite consolidated the fact that I’m back in my own house, with my own cats and my own fiancé. I haven’t yet begun to miss Australia too much, although I’m prepared for that to hit me when I am least prepared, as I’m sure those of you who have travelled will recognise.

Krak up in Krakow

 
Mmm lard on toast. Get it in ya.
You shall all be thrilled to hear I have returned from my travels to the depths of Krakow, Poland, and have many a story to tell. However, before I relay my tales of the far east, I’ve decided to return to regular and daily blogging via a challenge shamelessly stolen from my favourite blog, Belgian Waffle.
By way of introduction, each post for the next month will be a summary of my (positively thrilling) thoughts through the medium of Down/Up. So, without further ado, mesdames et monsieurs, I present: Krakow.
DOWN:
I cannot speak a word of Polish. Nay I tell a lie, I can say dziekuje which I am told means ‘thank you’. My only means for remembering this over the period of my four day stay was to give myself a semi permanent tattoo of ballpoint ink on my arm spelling the damn word out phonetically. I still got it wrong.
I appear to have gained about eleventy kilos and am reaping the rewards of the traditionally heavy Polish food. That is to say, there is no need to fear my getting remotely cold this winter, as I have many layers to protect my vital organs, and more to the point even the non vital organs are rather cosy following my carb binge.
Auschwitz and the Ghetto. Not much to add to this conversation already, except for holy hell they were bad times for humanity. I loves me the vintage times, and as we are all aware I am rather fond of pretending to be a cabaret singer but I have absolutely no regrets about living in the twentieth century.
UP:
It is now possible and wholly appropriate to inform you that I have done karaoke in Krakow. Say that out ten times quickly, it’s the best. Not only that but I have embodied both Dolly Parton and Stevie Nicks in Krakow. Say no more.
 
I now know the joys of my Motherland, which will please the Father no end. I felt a familiar swell of patriotism when visiting Wawel Castle and hearing of how the identity of Poland has remained despite being battered from pillar to post over several hundred years.
I am also now home. Nothing beats going on holiday like coming home and sleeping in your own bed. Heaven.

I’m no vegetarian, but….

I like vegetables. I also like meat, but have come to the point in my life when I only want to eat meat that has been ethically slaughtered (which strikes me as a slight oxymoron, but there you go). Organic too, if I can get away with it, but organic always equals the £££ and the $$$. So vegies it is, for the most part. Vegie away.

The BF and I don’t have a TV licence, which means it’s DVDs and Youtube all the way. It was in this elaborate fashion that I discovered that there are whole series of TV shows on the Youtube channel of 4oD, the BBC channel that produces Grand Designs. My love for that show could (and probably will) fill another entire post. But this time I discovered The River Cottage, and it happened to be the series about their vegetarian cookbook, and Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall (HFW) was (shock horror) abstaining from meat for the Summer.

I was like a woman possessed.  Once I find something I like, you’re all going to know about it. So I bought the cookbook. One of my favourite blogs (for it’s real-ness!) is Love Audrey and she seems to be constantly making mouthwatering-looking chickpea curries, and so I thought ‘what the hell’ and decided to try HFW’s version.

So that’s curry powder, chilli flakes, chickpeas, garlic and ginger
This version is essentially a half homemade curry paste, with chickpeas and….ketchup. Yup. When cooked, I couldn’t stop thinking it looked like baked beans:
…which it does, although imagine less of the breakfasty savouryness, and more sweetness and a helluva lot more chilli. Ah yes, the chilli. Rookie mistake, I tried just one teaspoon of the curry sauce and though ‘ooh, could do with more chilli’. So off I go, adding chilli to my heart’s content. I would regret that in about half an hour. Big time.
So here’s the fun bit, the recipe! You will need:
2 tablespoons of sunflower oil (I used olive)
1 small onion, thinly sliced
2cm piece of ginger, finely grated
A pinch of dried chilliflakes
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 teaspoons curry powder or paste (ONLY USE TWO FOR GOD’S SAKE)
400g tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
5 tablespoons ketchup
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
A handful of coriander to finish (didn’t use this as I despise coriander with every fibre of my being)
Heat the oil in a pan over a medium-low heat. Add the onion and sweat (the onions, not you) until soft and golden. Stir in the ginger, chilli flakes, garlic and curry powder. Fry, stirring, for 1-2 minutes more.
Add the chickpeas, tomato ketchup and enough water to just loosen to a thick sauce consistency. Simmer gently for about 5 minutes, then stir in the lemon juice. Add salt and pepper if necessary.
I found the chickpeas to be quite salty from the brine even after rinsing, so didn’t add any extra. Serve with rice and some form of delicious Indian bread and you’re away!
I know what you’re saying. For a vegetarian meal, there is a rather distinct lack of vegetables. I answer thusly: This dish will take you twenty minutes tops, which is a blessing when you get home from the work day from hell. It’s tasty (really it is), relatively healthy in the grand scheme of things, and will give you the smug knowledge that you didn’t cave and get a takeway. You can always add extra vegies too, if you’ve got the time and/or the inclination. I want to try it with butternut pumpkin and some spinach leaves. Could be delish.
You can buy a copy of River Cottage Veg Everyday by following the link!