Scottish West Coast Adventures

I have lived in Scotland for almost two years now (with a one year break in Oklahoma) and those of you who know me, know that I haven’t always been too fond of it. However, recently I have started (thanks to my boyfriend) to venture out of Aberdeen and see the stunning side of Scotland that so many people fall in love with. A few months ago I went on my first Scottish hike and climbed my first munro and in May we went on a road trip to the West Coast.

We started from Aberdeen quite late on Friday because I still had an exam that day and drove north-west towards Ullapool. Since wild camping is legal in Scotland, we decided to just stop wherever we got tired and put up our tent.  Even though that did not quite work out, seeing as the first place we stopped smelled like a fish factory (and i DO NOT like fish) and had dead crabs all over it, our second attempt at finding a camping spot was a full success and we fell asleep with, and woke up to, this amazing view:

WestCoast (1 of 59)

First night’s camping spot

While we weren’t all too smart and put the tent up on a spot with a massive bump in the ground, we still got a good night’s sleep and after a quick PB&J breakfast in the car, we set off for Ullapool to hunt down some coffee.WestCoast (2 of 59)

Before this trip, I had never heard of Ullapool, but it is an adorable little town, and, as I learned that day, the place where most ferries to the Scottish Islands depart. The hunt for coffee before 9am was rather unsuccessful, but after nine we found a charming little coffeeshop and we spent the wait time exploring the streets and boats of Ullapool.

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After the coffee break, we headed up north, planning to drive up as far as we could and then hike to Sand Wood Bay, the most remote beach in the Uk. The drive was stunning, and once again we were lucky with the weather and had barely any rain. We stopped at some of the most stunning view points I had ever seen in my life.WestCoast (15 of 59)WestCoast (16 of 59)WestCoast (21 of 59)WestCoast (19 of 59)WestCoast (26 of 59)WestCoast (22 of 59)WestCoast (20 of 59)WestCoast (23 of 59)WestCoast (24 of 59)WestCoast (32 of 59)

After that drive, we set off for the two hour hike to Sandwood bay. The hike turned out to be more of a walk, being rather flat and not too exhausting, even with all our camping gear on our backs. Once we arrived, we set up camp at the perfect flat spot. The only trouble was finding a bit of ground that was not completely covered in rabbit poo. Once again, the weather gods were kind and it only started raining once we were in our tent. It poured down most of the night, but conveniently stopped raining the minute we decided to leave our tent in the morning. Sandwood bay beach is not only the most remote beach in the UK, but I am convinced it is also one of the most beautiful ones, and definitely worth the hike!18763102_10212937717383987_514006754_n18788040_10212937717503990_593389399_n18788256_10212937717223983_58151481_n18816084_10212937716943976_2127623638_n18816840_10212937716583967_1780157311_n18834362_10212937716623968_505280849_n

Later the next day, after exploring the beach and cliffs (and almost getting stuck on a cliff because of slight confusion about whether the tide was coming in or going out) we hiked back to the car park and once again set off to find coffee. Our stop at the nearby hotel was unsuccessful as far as coffee goes, but the parking lot was filled with insanely pretty old timer cars. WestCoast (33 of 59)WestCoast (34 of 59)WestCoast (35 of 59)WestCoast (36 of 59)

After that short stop, we headed on to Durness, where we finally found some (rather bad) coffee and visited Sango Sands, a beach that has repeatedly been named the most beautiful beach in Scotland. 18815878_10212938113233883_386576991_n

From there we headed on to the Smoo Cave, which is located just outside Durness and was formerly used as a shipping harbour. We just used it to practice bouncing stones on the flat water surface outside the cave. 18816225_10212938114273909_1632864105_n18763231_10212938113713895_1857014851_n18834351_10212938113833898_1852720412_n

Again, we were luckier with the weather than anyone should be on the Scottish west coast and for the first time wished the car had air-conditioning because it was so sunny and warm. From there on, we headed back to the east coast, taking only two more stops, one at Dunrobin castle (which is not a real castle, and not really that old but kind of looks like the Disneyland one) and one in Inverness for some food at Sam’s Indian, which I highly recommend if you have a VERY high spice tolerance! WestCoast (37 of 59)WestCoast (38 of 59)WestCoast (39 of 59)WestCoast (40 of 59)WestCoast (41 of 59)WestCoast (49 of 59)

The entire time on the trip, I was thinking how nice of a motor bike route it would be, too, so if you’re a biker, GET TO THE WEST COAST!

If you’re like me and you only spend time in Aberdeen, you might think that Scotland is overrated, but this trip has definitely shown me that, if anything, the country still doesn’t get the credit it deserves. Scotland, you’re a stunner, and I almost miss you a little now I’m home in Austria for the summer!

Filled Vine Leaves (Dolmades/Aliberq)

For as long as I can remember I have loved filled vine leaves. However, they were a treat I could only get when we were eating out at a greek restaurant or if I could find a canned version at a supermarket. The canned versions become more and more readily available, but they just don’t quite taste the same! Last year, my amazing mom signed up for a project in our home town that partnered local families with refugee families who were new to town. The young family that she was buddied up with are some of the most lovely people I have ever met, and Rahaf, the mom, has taught me a thing or two about Syrian cooking since we met. At Christmas time she taught me how to make filled vine leaves, and while I had to change the recipe a little bit due to ingredient availability in Aberdeen they turned out amazing.

Mari (24 of 25)

The rolling takes time and practice, but the recipe is easy and once you made them you can keep them in the fridge for up to a week. Those little rolls make the perfect snack in-between, starter for when you have guests over or even packed lunch for work and uni. Don’t get frustrated if your first tries don’t look perfect, a little practice is gonna get them looking perfect soon!

What you’ll need:

  • 1 pack of dried vine leaves
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 2 cups of white rice
  • a bunch of parsley
  • a bunch of mint
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 vegetable stock cube
  • 1 lemon

Mari (1 of 25)

How to cook it:

  • Rinse your rice well and add it to a pot with four cups of water. Add the stock cube and put on a lid. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to low heat and let the rice simmer until all the water is absorbed. Mari (3 of 25)
  • In the meantime open your packet of vine leaves, add them to a pot with enough hot water to cover them and then boil them for about 10 minutes. Strain them and rinse them with water. Mari (4 of 25)Mari (7 of 25)
  • Finely chop the herbs and the tomato and then mix it in with the rice once it is cooked and has ed down a litte. Season it to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice.Mari (6 of 25)Mari (8 of 25)
  • Now it is time to start rolling. Carefully peel the vine leaves apart, spread one leaf out on your work surface, place about a tablespoon of the rice mixture in the bottom end of the leaf and start rolling. Start by folding the end closest to you over the rice, then fold in the sides and roll the leaf up until you have a perfect little roll.
  • Once you have rolled all your leaves, take a handful at a time and tie them together with some string.Mari (19 of 25)
  • Once they’re all tied up you have too options: you can either boil or steam the leaves. If you want to steam them, add a steamer inlay to your pot and cover the bottom with water. Add the leaves and steam them for about an hour. If you want to cook them, add a couple of forks to the bottom of your pan to keep the leaves from sticking, then cover them with water and cook for about 50 minutes to an hour as well. If you want to see if they’re done, just try one and see if they’re super tender and easy to bite!Mari (20 of 25)Mari (21 of 25)
  • Once they’re done, drain them, cut the string and either serve them right away or keep them in your fridge for up to a week!Mari (25 of 25)

I hope you enjoyed this recipe, and even though it takes a bit more time than my recipes usually do, it is definitely worth making and a great way to impress guests (or have healthy, vegan snacks for yourself)

If you have any questions, message or tweet me and I’ll be sure to respond! If you try making them, I’d love to see so please tag me on Instagram!

xx Hannah

Banana Bread – Two Ways (Plant based)

My mom and I both like to eat bananas when they’re not quite ripe yet. So when I was a kid, whenever we had brown and spotty bananas at home, my mom turned them into banana bread. The recipe she had she had gotten from her childhood au pair, and it was simply amazing. When I started to cut out dairy and eggs, I started to try and modify the recipe and I think I have finally nailed it. This recipe can either be made just plain or, as I did, you can add raspberries or chocolate chips.

Banana Bread, Once With Raspberries Once With Choc Chip!

The Massive Pile of Banana Peels I Had Left

What you’ll need (I made a double batch in the pictures, so this recipe is half of what you see in the pictures!):

  • 4-5 ripe bananas
  • 1 2/3 cups of flour (If you have very big bananas you might need a tiny bit more)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil
  • 2tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp baking soda (Bicarbonate of soda)
  • a handful of either choc chips or frozen raspberries (or both if you feel fancy)
  • a splash of vanilla

 

All Your Ingredients

How to do it:

  • Peel and mash your bananas, I like to mash them until they’re very smooth but if you like bits of banana in your loaf leave them a little chunky. Preheat your oven to 180ºC

 

Mashed Bananas

  • Add your melted coconut oil and your vanilla to your bananas and mix well.

    Bananas With Oil and Vanilla

  • In a separate bowl, mix flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.

    Dry Ingredients

     

  • Mix your dry ingredients in with your banana mash. I like to do half first and once that is combined I add the other half because it keeps the flour from dusting everywhere.

    BananaBread (7 of 17)

    Mixing Your Wet and Dry Ingredients

  • Now add your raspberries or chocolate chips. Carefully stir them in with a spatula. If you want to leave your banana bread plain just skip this step.

    BananaBread (8 of 17)

    Mixing in My Chocolate Chips

  • Next prepare your loaf tin by greasing it with some coconut oil (I used the leftovers in the pot where I melted the oil to go in the batter).

    BananaBread (9 of 17)

    My Prepared Loaf Tin and Cake Tin Because I Made a Double Batch

  • Fill your batter into the loaf tin and bang it on the counter a few times to get rid of large air bubbles and make sure it cooks evenly.BananaBread (10 of 17)

    BananaBread (11 of 17)

    My Two Batters In Their Tins

  • Bake the banana bread at 180ºC for around 50 minutes or until a bamboo skewer poked into the middle comes out completely clean and the top is nice and brown. I start checking at about 40 minutes just to make sure it doesn’t burn.

    BananaBread (14 of 17)

    Finished Loaf, Fresh Out of the Oven

  • Let your banana bread cool in the tin for a few minutes and then take it out and transfer it onto a wire rack to completely cool it down (Or, if you’re like me, cut into it immediately and burn your tongue!).

    BananaBread (13 of 17)

    Had to Test One Slice the Second it Came Out of the Oven

I hope you love this recipe as much as I do, no matter if you make it plain, choc chip or with raspberries, its absolutely delicious and if you keep it wrapped in foil it stays nice and fresh for a few days. I love to have it for breakfast and warm it up in my George Foreman Grill for a few seconds.

As always, follow me on instagram @ lovingtheroad and snapchat under @ hannahlotta if you want to see more of what I eat.

 

 

Sun-dried Tomato and Olive Bread

I love carbs. I love them in any way, shape and form and if I had to go on a long-term low carb diet, I’d probably be severely depressed very quickly. But even with carbs, not all are created equal and one of my favourite carb sources is bread. I could eat entire loafs in one sitting and have bread for or with almost every meal. However, I really don’t like buying bread because usually store-bought bread has a long, long list of ingredients, when really all you need is flour, water, yeast and salt. Over recent months I’ve started experimenting with different recipes, changing them around as I go and the other week, when my friend Sarah came over for dinner I tried this recipe. Sarah is Italian and her giving this loaf her seal of approval has convinced me that the recipe is worth sharing.

What you’ll need:

  • 2 2/3 cups of strong bread flour
  • 1 cup of warm water
  • 1 sachet of instant yeast (7g)
  • 1tsp of salt
  • 1tsp of garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup of pitted, chopped olives

Ingredients

How to make it:

  • Mix everything except the tomatoes and olives in a bowl (if you have a kitchen machine, use that bowl) and stir it with a wooden spoon until it combines. 
  • Let it sit for about 10-15 minutes so the water can activate the yeast. If you want an extra fluffy bread you can add just the tiniest bit of sugar to feed the yeast, but I usually don’t. 
  • Once it has rested for those 10 minutes, you can either use the dough hook on your kitchen machine or your hands. Add the olives and tomatoes and knead the dough for about 10 minutes, either on medium speed in your kitchen machine or using a lot of force when needing it by hand. You want to activate the gluten, so when you’re done, the dough should be springy and bounce back when you poke it. 
  • Roll the dough into a ball and put it in a lightly oiled bowl. Make sure that every bit of dough is covered in oil to keep it from drying out. Cover the bowl with a damp kitchen towel and let the dough rise for at least an hour or until it has doubled in size. 
  • Once your dough has risen, take it out of the bowl and punch the air out by needing it very hard a few times, but not too much.
  • Shape the dough into a loaf, place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, cover it again with the damp towel and let it rise for another hour.
  • About 15 minutes before your bread is done rising, preheat your oven to 200ºC and place one wire rack in the middle of your oven and a second baking tray at the very bottom.
  • When your bread is done rising, flour the top and take a sharp knife to make several slits on the top to get a nice crust. 
  • Put the baking sheet with the bread on the middle wire rack and pour 1 cup of tap water into the now hot baking tray in the bottom of your oven. This will create steam and make your bread nice and moist.
  • Bake your bread for around 30 minutes or until the top is nice and golden and it sounds hollow when you know on it. Try knocking on both, top and bottom, and if both sound hollow, take your bread out of the oven.
  • Let the bread cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into it. Letting it cool will keep all the moisture inside and your bread will stay fresh for longer. 

I love eating this bread with soups, but also with some avocado, salt and pepper for breakfast. You could also absolutely use the basic dough and switch up the other ingredients, replacing the olives and tomatoes by caramelised onions works very well, too. I hope you love this bread as much as I do!

If you want to see more of what I’m up to and what I eat, follow me on instagram @lovingtheroad or on snapchat @hannahlotta!

 

Quinoa and Beetroot Burger

I love burgers, and before living healthier they were one of my favourite things to order whenever I went to eat out. While I don’t really miss the taste at all, sometimes I just miss the feeling of biting into that huge stack of goodness. The other day I had some beetroots left and I wasn’t quite sure what to do with them, so I decided to attempt making a beetroot and quinoa burger. My first attempt turned out a bit crumbly, but this second attempt with oats was pure veggie burger perfection!

Also, before I get into the recipe, can we all just take a minute to admire how beautiful this beet is? It almost felt like a waste to mash it into a burger! quinioa-and-beet-burger-2-of-16

The burger itself is super easy and takes no time at all and you can of course vary the toppings and use your favourites! I think avocado would be great on this, but I didn’t have any left!

You’ll need (for 2 burgers and some leftovers):

  • 2-3 beetroots
  • 1/2 cup of quinoa
  • 1/2 veggie stock cube
  • 3 shredded carrots
  • 1/2 diced onion or 1 small whole onion diced
  • 1/2 onion sliced into rings or one small whole onion cut into rings
  • 2 mushrooms
  • a few leaves of lettuce
  • your favourite buns (I love ciabatta rolls)
All you need is this!

All you need is this!

How to make them:

  • Peel and cut your beets into bite size junks, put them in a sauce pan and add enough water to cover them and boil them on a low heat until they are tender. Rinse your quinoa and in another sauce pan bring the quinoa with one cup of water and half a stock cube to a boil, cover with a lid, turn the heat down to low and let it simmer until all the water has evaporated and the quinoa is soft.
    Diced beets

    Diced beets

    quinioa-and-beet-burger-4-of-16

    Quinoa

  • While your beets and quinoa are cooking, dice half of your large onion or one of your small onions, and cut the other half/onion into rings. Then shred the carrots on the bigger side of a box grater and slice your mushrooms.
    Shredded carrots and diced onion

    Shredded carrots and diced onion

    Burger toppings

    Burger toppings

  • Once the beets and the quinoa finished cooking, drain the beets and pulse them in your food processor until they are creamy, but still got some texture to them. If your food processor has a mixing attachment as well as a blade, switch to the mixing attachment now! If not, either work with very short pules to not over process or mix the rest by hand! Mix in the quinoa, carrots and diced onion and see if the mixture is dry enough to form patties. If not, slowly add some oats until you get a consistency that lets you form patties easily.
    cooked and drained beets

    cooked and drained beets

    pureed beets

    pureed beets

    finished burger mixture

    finished burger mixture

  • Once your mixture has the right texture, form patties about as big as your bun. Preheat a non-stick pan with just a tiny bit of oil over medium heat and once its hot, add your patties. At the same time preheat another pan over medium heat and fry off your onions and mushrooms to top your burger. Fry the patties until they’re brown and crispy on the outside and then assemble your burger.
    the perfect veggie burger patty

    the perfect veggie burger patty

    frying the burger toppings

    frying the burger toppings

    and frying off the patty

    and frying off the patty

  • I keep mine quite simply with vegan mayo on the top bun and ketchup on the bottom one, and then put my patty, the grilled onions and mushrooms, and some lettuce on the very top, but use your creativity here! and voila! Your perfect veggie burger is done!
    bun topped with sauces

    bun topped with sauces

    finished burger

    finished burger

I like to use the leftover mixture to make falafel style balls the next day and put them on top of a salad or in a wrap! They go amazingly well with hummus too!

 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe as much as I do! Tag me in your photos if you make it, and as always, follow me on instagram @lovingtheroad if you want to see all the stuff I make and eat (It’s a lot!).

Pasta with Leek and Bell Pepper Sauce

Going healthier wasn’t easy for me in the beginning! It is easy enough on weekends and my days off uni, where I have hours to spare for cooking, but on busy days where I only get an hour or two for lunch I often fell back into old eating habits and got myself a panini or reheated a frozen meal.

With the new semester I decided to let go of those habits and instead attempt to find quick and easy recipes that are healthy too! One of my new favourites is this pasta recipe. It has no meat, dairy or eggs, the pasta can easily be swapped for something like brown rice pasta if you’re gluten free and it won’t take any longer than 25 minutes to prepare!

You’ll need:

  • 1 Leek
  • 1 Bell Pepper (I prefer red and yellow over green!)
  • 250g of your favourite pasta (I used wholewheat farfalle)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • A Tablespoon of nutritional yeast to sprinkle on top

How to cook it:

  • Put a large pot of water on the stove and bring it to a boil with a little bit of salt. Start on your vegetables in the meantime and add your pasta once the water boils! make sure you put a timer so you don’t forget about it while you make your sauce. Once your pasta is done, strain it and keep it in the strainer until the sauce is ready!
  • Cut your pepper and leek into small dices
    Small diced vegetables

    Small diced vegetables

     

  • Heat a pan with a little bit of oil in it over medium-low heat, and once it is hot add your leek and sauté it for a few minutes, constantly string. After about 2-3 minutes, add your peppers to the same pan and sauté the vegetables until they are soft, but still have a bit of bite left to them.

    Beel Peppers and Leek

    Beel Peppers and Leek

  • Take half of your veggies and put them in a blender with just enough water to cover them. You want to add enough liquid so they easily blend, but you don’t want to water down your sauce too much.
  • Blend the veggies up until super smooth and then add the sauce back into the pan with the other veggie bits. Once the sauce is warm, add your pasta and mix everything together!
    Pasta when it's almost ready

    Pasta when it’s almost ready

     

  • Once the pasta is ready and warm, serve it and top it with just a bit of nutritional yeast for some extra nutrients and a cheesy flavour!

    Finished Plate

    Finished Plate

I hope you love this pasta just as much as I do! This recipe makes two portions and you can store it in the fridge for a few days and just warm it up for a super quick meal. You could just use the microwave, but I prefer heating them up on the stovetop by putting them in a non-stick pan with a bit of water!

 

Enjoy your pasta!

 

If you want to know more about what I eat on an average day, follow me on Instagram: @ lovingtheroad or snapchat: @ hannahlotta

Vietnamese Spring Rolls (Summer Rolls)

I woke up a few weeks ago with a craving for the Vietnamese spring rolls I always had at Coriander Café, Judith and my favourite lunch spot last year. However, I am back in Aberdeen, and the only “Vietnamese” restaurant I found on trip advisor only served Chinese food. So after a slightly disappointing Chinese lunch, I dropped into the Asian supermarket on King Street and picked up some glass noodles and some rice paper wrappers and decided it was time to teach myself how to make spring rolls.

A few dozen YouTube tutorial and a few miserable tries later, I think i have finally found the perfect recipe (for me), and I’d like to share it with you and hope that you love it just as much as I do. Just like last time, most of the veggies in here come from my EverydayOrganics box and I really recommend the box to anyone who lives on the east coast of Scotland (They do student discounts too)!!

So anyways, this is my take on Vietnamese spring rolls, with avocado instead of shrimp and pork belly. They might not be 100% authentic, but they’re super tasty and they make a great packed lunch too!rolling-3-of-3

For about 12-15 rolls you will need:

  • 12-15 Rice Paper Wrappers
  • A hand full of Vermicelli Glass Noodles
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Romaine Heart Lettuce
  • A quarter of a Cucumber
  • A bunch of Cilantro (Coriander) 

For the Sauce you will need:

  • A large table spoon of Peanut Butter (I like to use the all natural kind, but I was out of that)
  • A splash of Soy Sauce
  • A splash of Sriracha Sauce
  • About 1/4 cup of Warm Water
  • Peanuts for decorationrolling-1-of-6

The prep:

  • Cook your rice noodles according to your package instructions, usually it involves boiling water, taking it off the stove and soaking the noodles for anything between three and six minutes.rolling-2-of-6
  • Cut your vegetables, I like to cut them into little Julienne stripes, and the lettuce I just roughly chop. I like to cut the avocado into nice slices, because I like the way it looks in the rolls.rolling-6-of-6
  • Prepare the peanut sauce by getting a double boiler going (A heat resistant bowl on top of a pot with simmering water) and mixing in your peanut butter, soy sauce and Sriracha rolling-4-of-6
  • Wait for the peanut butter to become softer and mix everything together. then slowly mix in the warm water until you get a smooth, light brown sauce.rolling-5-of-6
  • Fill the sauce into little bowls and top it off with some crashed peanuts, set it aside to cool down.

The rolling

  • prepare a pan or large pasta plate with warm but not hot water (It should be at a temperature that you can put your hands in without burning yourself)
  • Soak one rice paper wrapper for about 30 seconds, then take it out, let some water drip off and put it on a plate.
  • Put your rice noodles, lettuce, carrots and cucumbers down about 2 centimetres from the edge and fold the end of the rice paper over it
  • Now place the Avocado right behind that first roll, fold in the sides and keep rolling until the spring roll is almost finished.
  • Just before finishing, put in a few cilantro leaves with the stem and then finish the roll
  • Place them on a plate, avocado side up, and serve them with the peanut sauce.colagge-rolling

I know the rolling sounds complicated, but I hope the pictures help a little and as soon as you’ve done a few it becomes super easy!

your finished rolls should look something like this:

rolling-1-of-3

If you have leftover veggies or glass noodles, you can easily turn them into a Vietnamese noodle salad by just cutting the veggies up smaller, adding them to a bowl with the noodles, watering the peanut sauce down and using it as a salad dressing.

If you want to take the rolls to school or work with you or keep them in the fridge, place them in a Tupperware and cover them with a damp paper towel to keep them from drying out!

I hope you enjoy these as much as I do!

Butternut Squash Soup

Seeing as I’ve been back in Scotland for a few months now, and the weather here can get quite grim, especially in winter, I’ve really been enjoying my soups. At the beginning of this year, when I returned after Christmas holidays, i signed up for Everyday Organics, a service that delivers you a weekly box of organic vegetables and fruit, and since I never know what will be in my box, it has forced me to become a little more daring and creative with my cooking. This past week I had a huge butternut squash, and since it was cold and rainy, once again, I decided to turn it into a soup.

I have not only tried to live a little healthier than I have over the holiday season, but I have also decided to no longer ignore the fact that I am lactose intolerant, so this soup, just like most soups I have made lately is dairy free and vegan.

For the soup you will need:

1 Butternut Squash

2 Cloves of Garlic

1 Thumb size piece of Turmeric

1 Large Onion

other root veggies like carrots or parsnips can be added tooSome olive oil

A few tweaks of Rosemary

500ml of Vegetable Stock, I used homemade, but you could absolutely use store-bought stock cubes

Salt and Pepper

img_7114

How to make the soup:

  1. Peel all the vegetables, as well as the turmeric and garlic, de-seed the butternut and cut everything into about 2cm big chunks. Preheat your oven to 180º.
  2. Place the chunks in a large roasting pan, add a little olive oil, salt, pepper and the whole rosemary tweaks, and I also added a little of a pre-mixed Southern Fried Chicken Spice Mix for some spiciness. Toss everything together with your hands until the veggies are coated in olive oil and spices. img_7117
  3. Put the tray on a wire rack in the middle of your oven and roast the vegetables until they’re tender, between 30-45 minutes. Half way through carefully stir them a little bit so every piece gets roasted evenly.
  4. Once the vegetables are super-soft, take the tray out of the oven and let them cool slightly.img_7118
  5. Blend up the vegetables with your stock in a high speed blender, make sure to add enough stock for your veggies to be completely covered and blend the mix until it is completely smooth. If your blender is a cheap one, like mine, you might have to do this in batches. You might not need to add all of your stock, it very much depends on how thick or thin you want your soup to be.img_7120
  6. Save a little bit of stock, pour it into your blender after you’re done with blending the vegetables and pulse it for a few seconds. This will wash all your leftover soup out of your blender and you won’t waste any of your amazing soup.
  7. Pour the soup into a pot and heat it on low-medium heat on your stovetop until it comes to a light boil, then turn the heat off.img_7123
  8. Serve your soup with some fresh parsley and some bread.img_7124

 

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do! The best thing about soups like this one is, that they will last a few days in your fridge and make great quick lunches for busy days!

Roadtrip Essentials

Hello everyone,

I got back from my spring break road trip late last night, and while I plan on writing a post about the trip, that will take more energy than I can bring up today after a long week and little sleep. Today I just wanted to share the things that I think are most important for a successful road trip, making sure you’re as comfortable as you can be when stuffed into a car for days.

  • A duffle bag/weekender bag is an absolute must. You don’t want to bring suitcases or other boxy things since they take up a lot more space and are harder to arrange in a trunk. I personally like weekender bags with at least 2 compartments best, since they allow me to keep dirty laundry, shoes, etc. away from the rest of my clothes.
  • Pillows and Blankets are an other absolute essential. You might have long drives that go way into the night, or, if you didn’t pre-book accommodation, you might end up spending a night or two in your car. A pillow and a thin blanket don’t take up much space and can be squeezed into the trunk of your car without worrying about breaking them, but they will make a huge difference to your comfort.
  • A cooler box allows you to have cold water and snacks throughout your trip. Most hotel rooms have fridges with a small freezer compartment, so you can re-freeze the cooler elements over night. Cooler boxes tend to keep food and drinks cold for longer, but if you are very tight on space, a cooler bag that doesn’t take up as much space is a good buy as well.
  • Water bottles that you can refill and reuse are not only environment friendly, they will also save you a lot of money. I found that for me personally it works best to take two sport bottles that are small enough to fit in my handbag or backpack without weighing me down too much and then one big canister, we had one that holds around eight litres, to keep in the cooler and refill the bottles from.
  • Leggings/Yogapants that are comfortable to wear in the car, but look dressed enough that you don’t mind wearing them for shorter stops on the road.
  • Flip-Flops that you can wear in communal showers or gross hotel room showers and also have with you in the car, so you have something to quickly throw on when you’re just stopping for food or a bathroom break

Apart from those things, I just always pack as lightly as possible and try to take things that can be combined with different outfits. Unless you know you will be stopping in a city that requires dressing up to go out, I’d recommend to not waste any space on high heels, but rather take a nicer pair of flats that you can also wear when you’re sightseeing. Next Monday I’ll do a write-up of our entire trip and talk more specifically about beach/Florida road trips. I hope this helps your packing and I’d love to hear what your road trip necessities are!Car

Asparagus Risotto with Salmon

As a student, healthy living isn’t easy and while I stayed in catered accommodation last year, and didn’t really have a chance to eat as well as I would have wanted to, this year I am cooking for myself and I am proud to say: I’ve been doing better than I thought I would. I’m not only cooking for myself, but also for my roommate (the only thing she cooks is fajitas, and while they are amazing, she enjoys eating with a bit more variety!) One of our favourites is my Asparagus Risotto, and it is not only really quick and easy to make, it goes as a side dish with almost everything and also makes a great main course on its own.

To make the risotto, you will only need a few things:

  • 1 bunch of asparagus
  • 1 cup of risotto rice
  • 6 cups of vegetable or chicken broth
  • 1 onion
  • a handful of freshly chopped parsley (frozen and dried works as well, but fresh definitely makes a difference)
  • Some olive oil
  • 2-3 cups of grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup of white wine
  • the zest of one lemon
  • 1 cup od dry white wine

Since you war (1 of 1)ill have to constantly stir the risotto while it is cooking, it is important to cut everything before starting. Chop the ends off the asparagus and then cut them into 1-2cm long pieces. Grate the parmesan cheese and grate the zest of the lemon. Chop the onion into small pieces (I used my food processor) and measure out your rice and wine.

Put the broth in a sauce pan and one the stove and bring it to a simmer. ar (1 of 1)-2Then take a large sauce pan, heat a few table spoons of olive oil and once the olive oil is hot, add your onions. Fry the onions for about 5 minutes, then add the risotto rice and, constantly string, fry for another 2 minutes. After that, pour the wine in and make sure to constantly stir. Once the liquid is almost absorbed, add half a cup of the simmering broth and keep on stirring. Keep on adding the stock, half a cup at a time, whenever the liquid is almost absorbed. Constantly stir your risotto while cooking, that will give it a great and creamy consistency.

Just before your risotto is done (when you have 1-1,5 cups of broth left) add your asparagus ar (1 of 1)-3together with some broth. Stir the pieces into the risotto and then just keep on adding broth whenever needed like before. The amount of broth you’ll need will vary depending on the rice you use, so make sure to try your risotto to see when the rice is cooked enough for your taste.

Once your risotto is cooked enough, take it off the heat and stir in the parmesan cheese ar (1 of 1)-7(keep some for garnishing in the end), salt and pepper, and the parsley. Make sure you mix everything together really well, since the melting cheese will make your risotto even creamer. Once everything is mixed together, your risotto is done.

 

For this plate I just had a simple grilled salmon with my risotto. All you need for this ar (1 of 1)-6salmon is a salmon filet, some salt and pepper (I like using lemon pepper) and some olive oil. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan, season the salmon with salt and pepper and then grill it for 3-4 minutes on each side. I started my salmon at the same time I put my asparagus in the risotto and it worked out great timing-wise.

When serving the risotto, just use the leftover parmesan cheese and the lemon zest as a ar (1 of 1)-8garnish. I like adding a couple of leaves of parsley as well. The whole risotto only takes me about half an hour to make and if there is any leftovers, they are easy to re-heat. It really is the perfect student recipe, and while it might not be fat free or low-carb or anything fancy like that, it certainly is a lot healthier than your average frozen lasagna. I hope you enjoy this as much as we do!