Archives for February 2019

Soup Sunday

Back when we were in our fourth year at uni (I took an optional year in employment and everyone I ended up in a house with did a year in employment as part of their degree), we used to have soup parties where we’d get together and eat soup that someone made. It was cheap and easy to scale but it’s so delicious! 

One memorable soup I made was leek and potato, but there was at least 10 people around our little PJM table. It was pretty yum, but I don’t recommend using a cheap stick blender – I had one that was £3 from Argos and my arm vibrated for an hour after that. And it was still lumpy!

I haven’t made leek and potato soup since but now I am a grown up with things like blenders that can make nice soup, I made it this weekend and it was so good!

This recipe made about 2 litres but it will freeze – it just didn’t last that long in our house! 

  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 4 leeks, chopped with the top green part discarded
  • 3 mediumish sized potatoes, peeled and sliced or diced 
  • 1 ginormous onion, chopped 
  • Veg or chicken stock*

(The recipe I used said to use stock to boil the potatoes, but I’m not sure I would do that this time. Since I used chicken stock paste, I would probably add that to the reserved cooking water afterwards before adding to the blender)

Melt the butter in a big pan, and add the leeks and onions. Fry until they’re brown in parts and soft. 

Remove the leeks and onions from the pan, and add some boiling water, enough to cook the potatoes

Cook the potatoes until they are soft enough, then strain, keeping at least half of the cooking water. (How much to keep depends on how thick or thin you like your soup)

Mix the potatoes with the leeks and onions then add them to the blender (in batches if necessary!) Add in the reserved water to your preference

That’s it! You can add in some cream or creme fraiche, but I like to add grated cheese and let it melt on top.

6 Ways To Celebrate Galentines From Afar

…or how to deal with long distance friendships.

Pro tip: if you’re going to have a tiny wedding with your two best friends, at least try to get more than one photo with them.

It’s hard. I’m not going to sugar coat this for anyone who’s wondering what it’s like to move halfway around the world, knowing only one person (and y’know, I’m married to him, so does that count?)

I obviously want to meet people here in Seattle and Bellevue, but I still want to keep up my friendships back home! The best friendships are ones where you might not see each other in person for ages but when you do, it’s like nothing has changed and I am lucky enough to have a few of those. Social media has been useful for this, but it can also create a little FOMO (especially when my blogging pals are going to an event that I would have been invited to!)

I love the idea of Galentines, not just because I am a little (a lot) bit of a Leslie Knope, but because I have never seen the point of Valentines just being for romantic relationships.

Here are a few ways that I celebrate my awesome friends

Learn time zones

Knowing the difference between time zones has never been that much of an issue for me, because Alex would travel so much, so I was used to thinking “ok, it’s 4pm here in Bristol, so it’s 8am in San Francisco” but I’ve had to remember the other way around since moving. The world clock feature on my phone is really useful but the thing that has really helped is putting a thing on my Apple Watch which shows me the time in the UK.

Send them something that only makes sense to you two

Honestly, if I am talking to a friend, it’s fairly likely that it’s going to involve an inside reference.

Send them a text to say hi

It’s always nice to get a message randomly, it just makes you smile! I have friends who prefer to do a voice memo than a text but the sentiment is the same.

Send something in the post

I love putting together little parcels to my friends back home (which basically just end up being full of sweets and Pop Tarts) – if it wasn’t so expensive to send things home, I’d be sending so much more!

Make a date to watch a TV show you both love and talk all the way through it on Messenger

I do this with a few friends with The Good Place – I watch it when it airs at 9pm PST (which is 5am back home) then they watch it while I’m asleep because Netflix is awesome and has it straight away, then we can talk about it when I wake up. I know me and the bestie will be doing this for iZombie, assuming UK Netflix has it as soon as it airs here. We are huge Veronica Mars fans so we send each other little clips that we find (ok, mostly topless Logan gifs, no shame)

It’s not really as good as marathoning it sitting next to each other on the sofa (there is a dance to “We Used To Be Friends” which has to be done every episode, so I’m hoping the new series will have the same theme tune) but it helps to make the distance less painful.

Hype them up

Probably more useful for those friends who are bloggers and influencers, but I love introducing friends from home to people I meet here – not just because I like introducing people who I think will get on, but the more I can do to persuade friends from the UK to come and visit Seattle, the more likely I can get them to bring me some decent chocolate and bags of crisps ?

I would love to hear about any ways that other people deal with this sort of thing!

Our Cocktail Cabinet Essentials

Hello, I’m a British person, so I have a lot of gin.

No, seriously. 

I mentioned it in my Thanksgiving post, but thought I’d share with you a few things that make the cocktail cabinet collection (it’s too big for a bar cart!) easier to manage and use.

You probably already have some bottles of booze in the house already of your favourite spirits and a few random gifts that you’ve received. To pad out the collection, I would suggest looking up a few favourite cocktails and making sure you have the ingredients for those – for example, last summer we were drinking negroni’s quite a bit so we made sure to pick vermouth rosso and Campari to go with the gin we already had. 

Another really useful thing to have is an app to find cocktails using what you have already in the house. I like the app Cocktail Flow (free on iOS) because it takes you through a few screens where you can tick off what you have, but there’s also the site cocktailbuilder.com where you, again, tick off what you have in the cupboard. 

Alex likes to collect gins and when we go to the booze shop (I don’t really know what else to call it…it’s not like it’s an offy really), it’s useful to know what we already have at home. Enter Airtable. I’m sure it’s not meant to be used as an alcohol database, but it’s really useful because we can keep track of what we have, along with photos, prices and where it was bought.

Finally, because I like things in pretty bottles, I bought a few small glass bottles for things like lemon juice and simple syrup (why does anyone buy this? It’s just equal parts water and sugar heated together and stirred until there’s no more sugar) and we have some decanters for whiskeys. I was struggling to find a good way to label everything until I picked up this Brother label maker that can print on ribbons. I had been looking for a new label maker anyway and I found this at just the right time. I think the bottles look much nicer with a little ribbon around them to show what’s in there, than a sticky label on them!

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