Thursday, 4 February 2016

Summer roast chicken


This fresh chicken dish is perfect for a hot summer's day.

Ingredients:
Large bunch of asparagus, ends chopped
Bag of green beans
1 whole garlic bulb, cloves separated
1 tbsp olive oil
1 lemon, halved
Small handful rosemary sprigs
8 chicken thighs
Feta to sprinkle

Method:

1. Heat oven to 200ºC.
2. Put the asparagus, green beans, garlic cloves, oil and lots of seasoning in a large roasting dish. Squeeze over all the juice from the lemon halves, then cut them into chunks and add them to the dish. Toss everything together, cover the dish with foil, and roast for about 10 minutes.
3. Remove the foil and mix through the rosemary. Season the chicken thighs and arrange evenly in the dish.
4. Roast for another 25-30 minutes until the chicken is crisp and cooked through.
5. Sprinkle the dish with feta and serve.

Tuesday, 2 February 2016

How to handle change in your marriage


Life is about change and how you cope with it depends on the attitude you choose to have. Surprisingly, change is exactly what makes for an exciting relationship.

1. Develop a positive attitude to change. Ask yourself, "Can I become more open to the possibilities that lie in change rather than being bogged down by the negatives?" There's a chance that change might distance you and your partner from each other or it could be a life-saver, especially if you've been too enmeshed in each other's lives.

2. Show you care. If your partner has become interested in a new hobby or lifestyle, it should become of secondary interest to you. Ask yourself, "Do I care enough to be interested in what's important to you?"

3. Grieve your losses. All change involves the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance.

4. Talk to your partner. If you're undergoing change, communicate what you are experiencing as early as possible – even if you don't know exactly what it is. You'll open up channels for interaction.

5. Find a mediator if you and your partner reach an impasse. Ideally, a counsellor or a friend who knows you both well and won't take sides.

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Home-made focaccia


Spoil your guests or just yourself with this home-made focaccia. This recipe might take a bit of practice and time, but it's great for budget entertaining!

Ingredients:
500g white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
2 tsp salt
1 x 7g yeast
80ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
150-250ml warm water
1 bunch fresh rosemary
Large pinch salt

Method:
1.
Dust a large flat baking tray with flour.
2. Put the flour into a large bowl, add the salt and yeast, then add the olive oil, plus enough warm water to make a soft but not sticky dough. The dough should feel quite loose and easy to knead. If you add all the water, gently knead by scooping up the dough, scraping any sticky bits on the surface. The more water that can be added the lighter the bread will be.
3. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured work surface. The dough will feel stretchy when pulled. To test if it is ready, make a ball with the dough and using a well-floured finger, prod a shallow indent in the side. If the indent springs back into shape then it is ready. If the indent stays, knead for a few minutes longer.
4. Leave the dough in a warm place for about an hour until it has doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.
5. Roll the dough out into an oval shape. Press holes in the dough, about 4cm apart, pressing right down to the bottom. Cut sprigs of the rosemary and push them into the holes. Sprinkle salt over the dough and place in the top third of the oven. Bake for about 25–30 minutes, or until the bread is well risen, pale golden-brown and feels hollow when tapped underneath.
6. Remove from the oven, drizzle with the remaining olive oil and leave to cool on the baking tray. You can top with any ingredients of your choice – we used feta and cherry tomatoes.

Tuesday, 26 January 2016

Get happy


Researchers claim that truly happy people believe in following five things to maintain their happy, positive attitudes.

Faith
Whether you belong to an organised religion, or simply believe in the power of prayer or positive energy, several studies have suggested that having a spiritual belief system of some sort tends to go along with enjoying a longer life and having fewer incidences of depression.

Plenty of affectionate give and take
This can be measured in many ways, including everything from the number of hugs we give and receive, the giving of praise or help to others, to a friendly interaction with a cashier or a loving exchange with a friend on the phone.

Staying happily busy
People who are engaged in many pleasant hobbies and interests have less time to brood or be unhappy. Note, however, that "happily busy" is not the same as "stressed busy" or "way too busy".

Making the best of it
Life is not always the proverbial bed of roses. So when it hands you a lemon, do you get sour or do you make lemonade? Trying to maintain a positive attitude in the face of adversity is a great indicator of happiness. When we ask, "What am I meant to learn from this?" rather than, "Why me?", we're halfway there.

A sense of purpose
When we believe we are here for a reason; that our lives have purpose and meaning, we are more likely to be happy. It is a hallmark of real joy to know what your passions are and to pursue them.

Thursday, 21 January 2016

Tomato and chilli jam and mustard mayo


Here are two easy dipping sauces that you can make when entertaining. They're great for dipping chicken skewers, chipolatas or even some crunchy veg.

Tomato and chilli jam

Ingredients:

1kg ripe tomatoes
Fresh chilli peppers
8 cloves of garlic
600g brown sugar
60ml Worcester sauce
250ml red wine vinegar

Method:
1.
Blanch the tomatoes, peel and cut them into quarters.
2. Place tomatoes into a blender with garlic, Worcester sauce and chillis and blend until a thick consistency is reached.
3. Pour into a saucepan and add the sugar and vinegar. Bring to a boil stirring constantly until sugar is completely dissolved.
4. Turn the heat down and let it simmer. Stir every 10 minutes for 30-40 minutes until jam like consistency is reached.
5. Jam becomes thicker as it cools.


Mustard mayonnaise

Ingredients:

1 tsp mustard (English or any other you prefer)
2 egg yolks
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
Pinch of white pepper
300ml sunflower oil

Method:
1.
Whisk mustard, egg yolks, vinegar, salt and pepper together.
2. Slowly add the oil until an even consistency is reached and then add remaining oil while whisking very quickly.

Tuesday, 19 January 2016

Dating after divorce


Learning to date again can be scary, overwhelming and filled with the fear of rejection, but you have to stay positive. Here are a few tips for re-joining the dating world.

1. Be open to meeting new people, anywhere, any time.
2. Make an effort. Don't sit at home feeling sorry for yourself; get up, get dressed up and get out.
3. If you don't get out much usually, find something that will force you out – like joining a tennis club, starting dancing lessons or taking an evening class.
4. Don't rush in too fast – allow yourself to get to know a person over a few dates, before you get too involved with them. There's nothing worse than a bad rebound relationship to clobber your self-esteem back into the ground.
5. Don't go looking for a carbon copy of your ex, or their exact opposite.
6. Take care of yourself physically – now is the time for a new haircut, some new clothes and a gym membership.
7. Don't spend your dates complaining about your ex.
8. Give yourself permission to have fun and be happy. Just because your previous relationship didn't work out, doesn't mean you are a bad person who doesn't deserve love.

Dating again isn't easy, but if you are prepared to do some work on your self-awareness and be honest about your wants and needs, you can and will find a new partner who can offer you love and mutual growth.

Thursday, 14 January 2016

Moussaka


Instead of your traditional cottage pie or spaghetti bolognaise, try your hand at this delicious Greek dish.

Ingredients:

500g beef or pork mince
1-2 aubergines, thinly sliced
1 onion, chopped
410g can chopped tomatoes
1 tsp basil
600g parboiled potatoes, thinly sliced
1 egg, beaten
200g low fat Greek yoghurt
75g Cheddar cheese, grated

Method:
1.
Preheat the oven to 200°C.
2. Fry the mince and onion five minutes and drain. Add the chopped tomatoes and basil and cook for one minute.
3. Place half the potatoes and aubergines in the base of an ovenproof dish, top with the mince and then layer the remaining potatoes and aubergines on top.
4. Mix together the egg and yoghurt and spread over the potatoes. Sprinkle over the cheese and bake for 40-45 minutes until golden or until the potatoes and aubergines are cooked through.
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