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Happy New Year!! 

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Seven days in but I still haven’t come up with any real new year resolutions.

Last year was a strange year for me – and I reckon for lots of people who graduated the same year as me. It was a year of transition and of not being a student but not yet quite fitting into the ‘real world’ as they call it. I was no longer a new graduate and I was also no closer to knowing where I want to end up in life.

Despite this, looking back gives me quite a positive outlook on the year ahead and make proud of where I have come. I started last year in a job I didn’t enjoy or have any passion for. I was waking up at 5am to get to work on time and I had no idea where I wanted to be month to month let alone the following year. Henry was based in Scotland for 3 months which put a huge strain on us, and all I wanted to do was up and leave. I managed to break out the rat race by April and by June we were off on our 3 month travels around glorious Europe.

Since returning I am yet again back home, and yet again pretty much broke… but I have found my direction and I have my purpose. I found this wonderful college CNM by chance and have ended up taking a leap of faith and throwing myself into my naturopathy course. Everything else has managed to fall into place with it. I am working with Raw Ecstasy twice a week and I’m learning to make all sorts of yummy treats and now next week I am starting work with The Fitness Mosaic and I am lucky enough to be able to help out on their juice bar too – all experience which feeds into my path I am carving.

This year is the year of the horse. My chinese year.

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able.

I think it will also be my year for discovery, development and adventures. The goals this year are to move out, to earn money, to love my job and to still have time to enjoy everyone around me. Oh and to surround myself with people I want to enjoy!

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This New Years Eve I had the pleasure of cooking an amazing indian meal for my friends. My darling Henry was the best co-chef anyone could wish for and Hannah and Will (my old housemate) probably did more cooking than I actually did.

I am so proud of what we put together between us but unfortunately I only have pictures of the table and the first course because by then too much gin and tonics had been consumed.

It was a wonderful evening of friends, games and too much alcohol but I think this is the last time I host in a while – I can’t be dealing with the stress of tidying up the next day.

The menu.

starter

popadoms 
raita
mango chutney
fresh salad leaves with lemon juice
onion bhaji
Mung bean cakes

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Main

veggie Korma sweet potato and cauliflower curry
cauliflower rice (one of my first blog posts!)
Yellow rice 
sag aloo

Desert

fresh fruit salad 
yule log

Raita Recipe

1 pot of natural fat free greek yoghurt
1 cucumber (de-seeded and drained)
1/2 small green chilli (NO SEEDS)
a small handful of fresh mint chopper roughly
a tablespoon of lime juice
Salt to taste

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grate the cucumber and chop up the chilli as small as possible. Add all the ingredients together and mix. Preferably do this a couple of hours before serving so the flavours blend.

Onion Bhaji (courtesy of the guardian website)

90g gram flour
1 tbsp ghee or butter, melted
Juice of ¼ lemon
½ tsp turmeric
1 tsp cumin seeds, coarsely chopped
1 tsp of garam masala spices
1-2 hot green chillies (to taste), finely minced
2 tsp root ginger, finely grated
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Small bunch of coriander, chopped
2 fresh curry leaves, chopped (optional)
2 onions, halved, core removed and thinly sliced
Vegetable oil, to cook (I used corn oil instead)

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Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, then stir in the butter and lemon juice and just enough cold water to bring it to the consistency of double cream. Stir in the spices, aromatics and herbs and add salt to taste. Stir in the onions so they are well coated.

In a large pan a third full with oil –  heat – a drop of batter should sizzle as it hits the oil, then float. Meanwhile, put a bowl of cold water next to the hob, and a plate lined with kitchen paper. Put the oven on a low heat.

Once the oil is up to temperature, wet your hands and shape tablespoon-sized amounts of the mixture into balls. Drop into the oil, being careful not to overcrowd the pan, then stir carefully to stop them sticking. Cook for about four minutes, turning occasionally, until crisp and golden, then drain on the paper and put in the oven to keep warm while you cook the next batch.

Sag Aloo Recipe-

I am not sure which recipe was used but here is great one from BBC goodfood and it looks familiar!

  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1 tbsp chopped ginger
  • 500g potatoes, cut into 2cm, ¾in chunks
  • 1 large red chilli, halved, deseeded and finely sliced
  • ½ tsp each black mustard seeds, cumin seeds, turmeric
  • 250g spinach leaves
  1. Heat the oil in a large pan, add the onion, garlic and ginger, and fry for about 3 mins. Stir in the potatoes, chilli, spices and half a tsp salt and continue cooking and stirring for 5 mins more. Add a splash of water, cover, and cook for 8-10 mins.
  2. Check the potatoes are ready by spearing with the point of a knife, and if they are, add the spinach and let it wilt into the pan. Take off the heat and serve.

We didn’t actually get round to eating desert but it made a great hungover snack the next day!

So here is to the year of the horse, to a year of discovery and learning and to not knowing whats round the corner but being excited to find out!

Happy new year and Happy chomping! 

And Henrys alter-ego to make you smile this gloomy January

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