Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs….Nom, Nom, nom

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I’ve been trying to eat more healthily recently and cooking different types of food. So I thought it was time to try the lowest of the low fat, receiver of dieticians accolades everywhere – turkey. My housemate was pretty negative about her experience of turkey breast so I thought I’d go for the mince as I always find mince easier to flavour. So of course I added mozzarella inside – nothing says diet like mozzarella right? But it was low fat so I think that counts….

However before I begin. A rant. A question. Before trying to take a vaguely artistic photo of this meal with my crappy phone I haven’t really taken many pictures of hot food. But the steam, billowing out from ‘ready to Nom’ food, isn’t very photogenic. Does this mean….? Can it possibly…? That the food bloggers of this world are eating cold food!?!?! Or better yet, microwaving there all-sorts-of-perfect-pinterestable meals? What is this tragedy of sacrificed dinners to the art? Or is my camera just that bad? Speak to me food bloggers of the world! Anyway, onto the turkey meatballs!

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Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

450g turkey mince

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp bread crumbs (I just blitzed a piece of bread in the food processor)

Handful of fresh chopped parsley and coriander

1 egg

1 ball of Mozzarella, cut into 1-1.5 cm cubes

For the sauce:

2 tins chopped tomatoes

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 carrots, grated

5/6 mushrooms, thinly sliced

Method:

Put all of the meatball ingredients into a bowl, except for the mozzarella. Roughly mix them together – you don’t want to overwork the meat. Then take about 1 and a half teaspoons of the mixture and flatten slightly. Put the mozzarella cube into the centre of the meat and then smoosh around until it is completely covered, making sure you don’t have any gaps. Even if you think that there might not be enough meat – smoosh! I managed to make about 24, although how big you want to make these is obviously just a personal preference. Fry the meatballs in batches to brown the outside and then set aside on kitchen towel to soak up the oil.

Using the same frying pan (use a large one with fairly high sides) fry the onions and garlic. You will probably have to add in a little more oil. When these are lightly cooked and both tins of tomatoes. Then fill each of these tins with boiling water and add that to the mixture. It will probably seem pretty runny at this point but have no fear! Add the grated carrot (this really helps thicken everything up and added veggies! Yay!) and the mushrooms. Then place the meatballs back into the sauce. Simmer for about 30mins until nice and thick.
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Eat 🙂

Ta-Ra,

Hannah

P.S. You don’t even want to know how many times I had to look up how to spell Mozzarella….

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Words, words, words…

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http://fc01.deviantart.net/fs19/i/2007/279/4/4/we_are_made_of_words__by_sunfkairyx.jpg

Propitiation. Theodicy. Antonym. Symbiotic. Expiation. Equivocal.

At the moment my most common google searches are words. I wanted to write a massive list but I can’t even remember most of them. And the thing is, I don’t remember words being this hard to remember when I was younger. I’m not sure whether this is because I care more about precision now, mostly because I come across these words in essays or are theology specific, or if I could just absorb words better.

For instance. Propitiation – ‘the turning away of wrath by an offering. In relation to soteriology, propitiation means placating or satisfying the wrath of God by the atoning sacrifice of Christ.’ I just had to look this up now. I looked it up this morning. I wrote several paragraphs of an essay on it and I still can’t define that word. I can talk about it to you. I can’t point you to examples. But the connection between that word and that definition, it just isn’t quite happening.

I think I might have to start an online dictionary and giving myself word tests. I just bloody well want words to stick. And not just stick but be automatic. It’s only as I’ve been annoyed with trying to learn these words that I realise quite how much sense we get from things. When I’m replacing propitiation mentally with a long sentence to explain it – I realise how many other words could need this to. And yet they don’t.

Its kind of amazing really. How much flavour and how many pictures and just how much muchness is within words. Is that something we are more likely to pick up on as a child? Or are just some words more sticky than others?

And please tell me someone else feels like this too?

Well Done Graffiti

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This is my favourite piece of graffiti ever. For context this is on a bridge half way up one of the hills in Durham. It comes at a point when you have a tiny but of a break before a sharp incline. And let me tell you, once you’ve made it up one hill and you know you have another in your imminent future – a potato of good fortune is a good thing indeed.

Pretzel’s

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You might be noticing a theme….
I was stalking my way through pintetest after a day in the library and I noticed this easy looking pretzel recipe. Remembering that my house mate had mentioned how much she likes pretzels and not having anything else to do I cracked on with these at 10pm.

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I ended up with an amalgamation of two recipes – the dough from this one and the cooking method from this one. In all honesty they don’t taste much like pretzel’s. However I’m not sure that’s the recipes fault so much as it is mine – I was really unsure of the dough consistency and ending up adding too much water and then two much flour etc. They do still taste nice.

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Paul Hollywood wouldn’t be giving me any points for presentation. I definitely didn’t master the knack for the rolling out of an even sausage (long) let alone the twist. However I will name them weird zombie pretzels and be proud nonetheless.

Ta-Ra,
Hannah

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

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This is the cake of my childhood. Almost every birthday I would get a chocolate sour cream cake to celebrate the passing of another year. The only real contender was lemon drizzle cake with lemon curd and cream.

Its now the cake I whip out when I want to bake something super easy but fairly impressive. It is also the cake that I still crave when I am sad and pretty much always still get for my birthday.

And this is the cake that I made for my friend’s election day party. It helped keep me awake until 6am and then provided solace when I woke up the at 11.30 to hear the final news.

And did I mention how easy it is?
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Method:
Weigh however many eggs you want (this cake had two) and then keep this number in your head – this will be the amount you need of all the other ingredients. I picked this up from The Easy Peasy Recipe book when I was a kid and it produces yummy cakes every time.

Cream butter and sugar. Whisk in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and cocoa powder (this is the only ingredient that I don’t do the same amount as the eggs – I normally end up with about 25g, but I mostly just do it by taste). Bake at 180C for around 15 mins.

For the sour cream topping – Melt 200g of dark chocolate. Off the heat mix in a pot of sour cream. This makes enough to fill and top a medium sized cake.

And that’s it. Super scrummy cake created. Now eat!

Chocolate Sour Cream Cake

Ta-Ra,

Hannah

Stress Baking – Cinnamon Brown Sugar Cookies

I’ve spent quite a lot of time over the last few days cooking and baking. While the dieting part of my brain shouted ‘No, Hannah, no this will only end in gluttony and scale avoidance’ most of me was in ‘sod it, I want to bake’ mode. I decided to compromise with my brain and only bake something I had all the ingredients for. I ended up trying out this recipe from Eats Well With Others. They did turn out rather yummy, although somewhat different from the original recipe.

You know that bit where I said I had all the ingredients?

Yeah, I lied. I substituted light brown sugar for the dark brown sugar. The main issue, however, was that I didn’t know you needed actual butter to make brown butter. In all honesty, before that fateful moment where I was staring at my persistently golden ‘I can’t believe its not butter’ (hah!) and googling confusedly I hadn’t even realised browned butter was a thing. I do want to try it now though, it sounds delicious. As the flavour of browned butter seemed to be somewhat crucial I just dumped in a load of cinnamon and hoped for the best. Turned out pretty good if I say so myself. And I will definitely be trying out the recipe with actual butter in the future. And, yes, I totally forgot to take pictures until there were only two left so no alluring, pinterest worthy cookie stacks from me today.

Ta-Ra,

Hannah

Italy

Sorry for taking so long to get this up! I actually wrote this a month ago but my inner perfectionist (which isn’t actually normally a thing, I’m not sure what happened) wouldn’t let me post it un-edited. So enjoy my, ahem, long-awaited (yes, you were waiting with baited-breath, I know you were) updated blog post about my Italy trip.

As a theology student, travelling with a fellow theology student, the overarching theme of the holiday was actually churches. Despite the fact that neither of us regularly attend church, we managed to make it to 13 over our trip (ie. 1 a day!) My twelve year old self, groaning at being dragged around churches on holiday, would be horrified. As no one really enjoys hearing about someone else’s awesome holiday (tee-hee) I thought I would instead share my top 5 churches of the trip. Because everyone would rather read about churches right?

5. St. Ambrose, Milan

Oh man, I was so excited to go this church. Mostly because of the history. St. Ambrose, the founder of this church, was one of the people who convinced St. Augustine to convert to Christianity. Christian theology would be profoundly different without his influence (eg. The Doctrine of Original Sin and ‘The Confessions’). Ambrose was also an influential orator, theologian and Bishop in his own right. I found the actual building a bit more mixed. Although Ambrose founded the church in the fourth century, all that remains is the floor plan and a few works of art from a similar period.

However the church has been majorly reworked in later centuries. There are many chapels containing relics on either side which are done in (I think) Baroque style in the 18th century. While their sheer size is impressive it is a style I’m not very fond of in general – so if anyone who has been and has more knowledge than me can enlighten me that would be wonderful! On the other hand the 11th Century portico and the simple structure of the main building is very appealing.

THEOLOGY INTERLUDE: YOU HAVE BEEN WARNED!

I also found the relics of St. Ambrose and two other saints intriguing. For me, the fascination with both martyrdom and physical sanctity is a very interesting part of the Christian dynamic. Peter Brown has suggested that the cult of the saint, which these skeletons are an early example of, started from a movement away from using angels as intercessory focal points. The Roman social structure of the patron/artist became part of Christianity; the saint became the endorser and patron of a person to God. It also became a symbol of power with rich families racing to get a body of a saint and keeping them in their tombs etc. The idea of relics and significance in saints bodies remained an essential part of mediaeval christinaity right up until the reformation period.

4. Duomo, Florence

I found the Duomo very architecturally interesting. The outside of the church is very ornate with beautiful mosaic patterns covering the outside rather than the traditional statues. You then walk into the church expecting it to be incredibly ornate and there is an almost communal exhale as people are shocked by how plain the inside is!  Although it might not be the most photogenic interior, it creates quite a spiritual contrast. The interior of the baptistery is absolutely stunning however and I would highly recommend shelling out to visit it.

3.Santa Croce, Florence

This was also quite a plain church. The view of this church from the top of the bell tower at the duomo gorgeous. I found walking round and seeing the tombs of the famous folk really awesome. Michelangelo and Galileo are buried here amongst many others. Its quite ironic seening as they had a rather harried history with this church.

2. Basilica of San Francesco d’Assisi, Assisi

Basilica of San'Francesco d'Assisi 1

This was my absolute favourite church in terms of decoration. It has these beautiful blue ceilings with stars painted over them. My friend also managed to get beautiful pictures of the sky. In general I adored the little I saw of this region – we stayed in Perugia, which is a little student town and was just such a nice break from all the cities we were in.

Basilica of San Francesco d'Assisi

At Assisi you again get the overwhelming sense of the churches as a place of pilgrimage. Ironically, my friend and I were going to go to several of the churches which are here in Assisi, but missed our stop as we were too busy talking about God and the universe.

1) San Clemente, Rome

This was both my most rushed and my favourite church. If anyone gets the chance to go to Rome I highly recommend going here purely for the history involved. Its really near the Colosseum (although believe me, it doesn’t feel like it when you are pushing a wheelchair). However, this is a church of many layers. The top layer is a fairly standard, albeit beautiful twelfth century church. However, you go downstairs and the fun really begins! One layer down and you are inside the fourth century basilica. There is still artwork on the wall, alters and a beautiful mosaic.

You then go down one more layer and you are inside the remains of a pagan temple. This was the point where we started getting chased by irate Italian women who wanted to close the church for lunch. Yep, churches (and many other things) close at lunch in Italy. We therefore hurried through down one more section which was the pavements from a 1st century house church in Rome. Absolutely amazing.

I highly recommend that you have an explore on San Clemente’s website , which is where I have taken these pictures from. Being able to explore the history of early Christians has really brought a tangible element to the modules that I’ve studied. I am so glad I was able to go to all really glad to have been round so many churches (although I admit we both got worn out and spent a day lounging in a park and going to an Aquarium).

Anyway, hopefully I have made you all jealous now (or bored maybe, but if you are don’t tell me!)

All images either link to their original source or were taken by my friend Thea.

Ta-Ra,

Hannah

Plants Ahoy

I’ve finally brought some fresh herbs to go on our windowsill. It is not quite as good as growing them from scratch but it does fill me with a dose of ‘look at me, domestic queen’. Probably much more than is entirely healthy when all I had to do was nip to Aldi. Either way, whether my smugness is fairly earned or not, I am loving having fresh herbs around. It makes such a difference to the taste of everything to be able to add something that was growing, literally seconds ago, to your food.

Also coriander smells absolutely yummy! Mmm mmm.

Ta- Ra,

Hannah

P.S. My life is so fascinating at the moment that I spent two days cracking up over the fact that the sugar snap pea variety I brought was called ‘Sugar Daddy’…..

Ah Exams and Calamities!

How art thou fair blog? Not too bad. Wonderful!

I was in the middle of editing my post about Italy but I am on a library laptop which is being very slow and terrible. But why am I on a library laptop? Alas, I have spilt water on my own laptop and it has given up the ghost. And money is somewhat tight at the moment so I am not quite sure when I will get a replacement.

Plus exams. That is always a not nice thing to have. However, in amongst all of these negatives I thought I might as well write a cheer up chum blog post and write about some of the good things that are happening, which do outweigh the negatives. So have a short and sweet list from me, and hopefully something more substantial later.

1) AVENGERS. Whoop de whoop, I love me some super heroes and spandex.

2) I do actually like what I study. Always a positive when it comes to revising.

3) My housemate cooked dinner last night and we all sat around and chatted and communed over curry.

4) I have Daredevil to look forward to when I finish exams. See point 1.

5) My friend is coming to visit from Germany in June and I haven’t seen her for a year and a half. So very excited on that one.

6) I get to exercise my general-electiony-voting-rites soon. Yay women’s suffrage.

7) I had a chocolate chunk shortbread biscuit at lunch. So much yum.

8) I have lots of parties to plan. All the pinterest.

9) At least I don’t live in a time where I can’t take a container of grapes from a friends vineyard…. (See Deut 23:24 – my current revision)

Apologies for the sarcasm. I am on hour 8 in the library.

Ta-Ra,

Hannah