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Friday, 27 February 2015

Life: Ten Ways I'm Staying Better Organised in 2015

One of my main resolutions for this year was to set myself back on the path to an organised life. I find that when my life becomes busier, I neglect little things that on their own don't seem like much, but when accumulated, make me feel a bit over whelmed. This year, with organisation a priority, I've taken a good look at what works and made a few changes to what doesn't.

Friday, 20 February 2015

Travel: Northern Vietnam

Every single pre-conceived idea I'd harboured about Vietnam vanished the moment I set foot in Hanoi. I'm not sure why, but I didn't expect a communist country to be quite so enterprising and quite so capitalist in feel. There were shops and stalls everywhere and the locals were very engaging, quite keen to practise their English, and in some cases offering to buy us a soft drink in exchange for a bit of conversation.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Food: No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake (Gluten-Free)

My mother would often make fridge tarts for family gatherings. It's only now that I have my own family and realise how stressful it is waiting for  cake to rise while doing a hundred and one other things before the guests arrive, that I've realised how convenient fridge tarts are. Recently, I tinkered in the kitchen and came up with a no-bake lemon cheesecake that was declared yummy by the littlies. Mummy-bot wins again!

I used gluten-free digestive biscuits to keep the recipe wheat-free and used a light hand with the lemon so that the tartness came through but wasn't too over-powering for the kids. Rather impressive for something that took only 15 minutes to prepare. The beauty of it as that it can be prepared in advance and whipped out of the fridge just before serving.

Lemon Cheese-Cake No-Bake Gluten-Free

Friday, 13 February 2015

Craft: Valentine's Day Gift Ideas

This is the first year that the littlies seem to be interested in Valentine's Day at all. I've promised to make pancakes and thought it would be a lovely idea to make a post-it notes heart where we each get to write the things we love about each other on post-it notes and then stick them on the wall/fridge in the shape of a heart.

It was only once I met my husband that I started to appreciate Valentine's Day. We don't subscribe to the flowers, dinner and a movie idea but instead spend the evening in, cooking our favourites together and then gift each other something small and thoughtful. I like to give him something that I've made myself. I like to keep him focussed in my thoughts while I'm in my making-mode so that whatever I've created is made with love.

I often turn to origami when I'm feeling stressed and feel the need to create something. I find the action of paper-folding very therapeutic and sometimes do this in the evenings after a hard day. I find the instructions for most of my creations online so this year  instead of buying a Valentine's card, I decided to buy pre-folded card from a craft shop and then decorate the front with an origami heart. Inside I pasted an easy origami heart and used this as an envelope, filling these with origami hearts, one for every Valentine's Day we've been together.

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

Food: Lemon Risotto with Peppered Smoked Mackerel

I absolutely love mackerel and since our fishmonger does not stock it over the winter, I've had to get my fix by eating it smoked. I love smoked mackerel pate, but the littlies do not, even when I tell them that it's good brain food. They do however tolerate smoked mackerel  when I serve it up with a lemon risotto, which, to be honest, is no hardship.

Prepare yourself for an explosion of flavours when you first taste lemon risotto. The mind boggles as to how so few ingredients can create something so delicious. I make this at the weekend, when it's cold outside, and we're all in need of some comfort food. Follow up with a sticky pud!

Lemon Risotto Marsala with Smoked Mackerel

All Images Copyright Clementine Buttercup 2016