Category Archives: Food

Make Do Mend: Beef & Squash Chili

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Food is one of my favourite things in all of the land. I spend most of my time thinking about what I am going to eat next. Particularly whenever I am broke, and can only afford to 2 minute noodles, I spend the most time trawling through endless recipes, via every social media platform imaginable, and make grand (meal) plans for when all(!?) the money comes in on payday!

I came across this recipe one poor, hungry night and man am I glad I did. A bowl chockas full of flavour with all of the best things in it. Beef, butternut squash, chilis, beer, avocado, pumpkin seeds. Seriously, how can that not taste good?

You’re going to just have to try for yourself and see. It takes a good amount of time to do so give yourself 2 hours, the beef is good and tender then. I added a chipotle to the mix to make the holy trinity of chilis (ancho, pasilla, chipotle)!

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Re-hydrated chilis are my favourite!

Get the recipe on Bon Appetit.  We served it with homemade sourdough pita. Yikes!

Happy eating!


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Filed under Celeste, Do, Food, Make, Mend

Hygge and Hot Apple Punch

hygge-2‘Is there any pleasure on earth as great as a circle of friends by a good fire?’ C.S. Lewis

I was listening to BBC Radio 6 music while working this morning; Lauren Laverne dedicated her show to the Danish idea of ‘Hygge’  (pronuonced ‘Heu-gah’). We don’t have a direct equivilent in English but I came across this beautiful explanation:

‘The art of building sanctuary and community, of inviting closeness and paying attention to what makes us feel open-hearted and alive. To create well-being, connection and warmth. A feeling of belonging to the moment and to each other. Celebrating the everyday.

We all Hygge – around a table for a shared meal, beside a fire on a wet night, making coffee, together at work. In our overstretched, complex, modern lives, Hygge is a resourceful, tangible way to find deeper connection to our families, our communities, our children, our homes and our earth. It’s an uncomplicated, practical method of weaving the stuff of spirit and heart into daily life without sentimentality then taking time to celebrate it on a human scale. Hygge is a kind of enchantment– a way of stirring the senses, the heart and the imagination, of acknowledging the sacred in the secular – a way of giving something ordinary a special context, spirit and warmth, taking time to make it extraordinary. Hygge is about being not having.’ (

We are in the high season of Hygge, as we relish in it and be grateful for the simplest and greatest joys, my challenge to myself if who else I can make space for by the fire of my Hygge season; my advent season,  Who are those experiencing the coldness of loneliness, poverty, sickness near me who I can create Hygge for?  That I can extend warmth and welcome to? For whom is this season marked by isolation rather than the warmth of belonging? How can I cultivate Hygge in my advent? My prayer for this season is that I can stoke a fire warm enough for many,

In keeping with the notion of Hygge here is a little recipe for a Fairtrade Spiced Apple Punch (taken from the Fairtrade Cook Book) to warm your hands and your bellies:


800 ml Fairtrade apple juice

2.5 ml Fairtrade ground cinnamon or

4 pieces of Fairtade cinnamon stick

4 slices Fairtrade lemon

16 Fairtrade whole cloves

30 ml organic Fairtrade runny honey


Gently heat the apple juice in a saucepan.

Add the honey as the juice warms through, and stir to dissolve.

Add the cinnamon powder as well if this method is used, stir well.

Once the mixture is hot (it should not be allowed to boil), pour the drinks into large wine glasses.

If you are using cinnamon stick put one piece in each of the glasses.

Take each slice of lemon and impale four cloves.

Add one cloven lemon slice to each drink.

To serve

Sip this beautiful aromatic drink, and enjoy curling your fingers around the hot glass.

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Filed under Food, Make, Do, Mend, Penny for your thoughts.., Sarah

Bake your gingerbread hero


This a a gingerbread a very liberal representation of my gran, Nessa, My gingerbread hero!  Feisty, strong, generous, brilliant. She raised two children and worked as a shorthand typist in Belfast all while going completely blind at 22. She walking her guide dogs through belfast in the height of the troubles, She was widowed young and has lives an independent, resourceful, full life, overcoming obstacles with grace and humour… she is brilliant

If ever there was a season to indulge in some simple but delicious baking it was advent.  So here is a delicious recipe and how to from Martha off of the Great British Bake off, and along with it, a fab little idea to get us thinking about who it is that has inspired you, by changing your world, or the world… As a season to take stock and be grateful, perhaps as you get baking some gingerbread you could take a wee bit of time to be grateful and make a little bit of gingerbread hero art.

For a fab recipe and how to make your gingerbread hero pop over to here

Happy Baking and hero making!


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Filed under Food, Sarah

Make,Do, Mend: Frothy coffee at home

coffee makingYou might have caught on that I like a good cheat recipe or a tip! It makes me feel like I’m beating the system :) Maximum results with minimum effort.

Warning: If you’re a coffee enthusiast you might want to stop reading now.

We don’t own a fancy espresso machine with milk frothers and all.. and to be honest it would probably get used twice a year so there’s no need for us to own one anyway. But every now and then I get a hankering for a good milky frothy coffee, and usually at a point when it would take serious effort to go out and get one from a coffee shop.

So I discovered a way of making super silky smooth foamy drinks at home – with the help of a cafetiere/french press.

All I do is make my coffee a bit stronger than usual – either just in our Chemex or, if we have espresso, in our stove top pan.

cafetiere milk

Then I heat up milk in the microwave (remember it doubles in size when frothing so you only need about 1/3 mug) until nice and hot (not burned though!)

After this I pour the milk in the Cafetiere and pump it few times (try not to do it too briskly otherwise the milk will squirt out of the pouring bit) until I have the right amount of foam. Dead easy.

froffy coffee

Good way to have a nice frothy coffee at home without any expensive machinery!




Filed under Food, Hanna, Make, Do, Mend

Make, Do, Mend: Healthy (fake) ice cream

This is another one in the cuckoo health kick series that I’m still plodding along with (with varying success).

blended banana

After the success of the two ingredient pancakes I decided to give this one ingredient “ice cream” a go. It’s not officially ice cream, it’s frozen-banana-blended-like-crazy-until-it-looks-like-Mr-Whippy. If the real stuff isn’t available or too calorific this is a good alternative!

All you have to do is slice a banana or two and put in the freezer (we had three bananas between two people and the portions were pretty huge – I reckon one banana per person is best). Once frozen, pop the slices in a blender (and add a touch of milk or water just to help the blender along a bit). Now the world is your oyster – you can add coco powder (I added 1 tbsp), peanut butter (I did this but reckon it’s better without), chocolate spread or just have it as it is.


(Excuse my half melted final product, I took my sweet time taking a photo of it).

It’s yummy and dairy free (that is if you don’t add the splash of milk).

– Hanna 

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Filed under Food, Hanna, Make, Do, Mend

Make, Do, Mend: Alternative pesto pasta

Nettle pesto

I’ve got spring on the brain. I’m so ready for the sun to start warming these cold bones, however, the weather hasn’t quite co-operated with me yet – C O M E  O N  S P R I N G!

So while we’re waiting I thought I’d share an alternative for the easy weeknight favourite that is pesto pasta. It’s not possible to make this yet in the northern hemisphere, but it’s worth a wait. You see, this pesto is not made with basil, but with nettles. Yes, those stingy little devils that everyone hates.

Nettle pesto 2

But try them in a pesto and you might just change your mind about them! Added bonus is that nettles are packed with all sorts of goodness and taste brilliant in a pesto.

I got the recipe from this website.


So when the sun starts to warm us up and you see those little buggers raising their stingy heads – pick them up (the younger the better apparently), boil and smash into a tasty dinner! (oh, maybe just avoid the ones near sidewalks… other wise you might have dog wee as an added flavour…)

Just remember your gloves, oh and don’t go picking wearing flip flops (proving once again that  i’m never practical with footwear).

– Hanna 

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Filed under Food, Hanna, Make, Do, Mend

Make,Do, Mend: In Praise of Craft Chocolate – Mast Brothers


The week before Christmas, I was awoken by the Hub, proclaiming an elongated and loud ‘Yesssssssssssss’ as he ripped open a packet that had just been delivered.  Curious about what could illicit such delight from the man who is rather sedate any time before 2pm, I came out to find sitting him with some  beautifully handprinted, handwrapped chocolate bars from craft chocolate makers:  The Mast Brothers.


Not only does this bean to bar chocolate look beautiful, but is delicious in a dark, strong way  (not, however,  for the milk chocolate lover, our 5 year old nephew declared it was ‘poison)’.  It is so rich that a tiny square will do, so our collection is lasting us a long time and thus far the winner in our house is the sea salt and Almond bar, salty, sweet, crunchy, rich bitter, bright all in a taste.

However, I am as taken by the story of these two Brooklyn based chocolate makers and their great love for their craft, as much as I am taken with the flavour of the chocolate. Watching this video, leaves me inspired by the wonder, enthusiasm, joy & fascination of these bearded brothers for what they have given themselves to – it seems so full of delight it almost looks like playing.  I reckon I can taste that in every bite!

If you are lucky enough in be in Brooklyn, you can pop along to their factory shop, but for those of us separated by the sea, you can find some over here:


“Enthusiasm is one of the most powerful engines of success. When you do a thing, do it with all your might. Put your whole soul into it. Stamp it with your own personality. Be active, be energetic, be enthusiastic and faithful, and you will accomplish your object. Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  Emerson



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Filed under Food, Make, Do, Mend, Sarah