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Healthy Days: Spinach and Berry Breakfast Smoothie

This has been a back-to-work week with me settling into a lovely relaxed schedule of teaching. Really, it’s been a shock to the system to not be doing a full time conservatory performance degree as well as working. So I’ve been continuing to love cooking and grocery shopping is no longer tear-inducing stress! Possibly I should be trying to fill my hours a little more diligently but right now from the *health* point of view, this is amazing.

Yesterday was the first day that I felt ‘I NEED CAKE!’ It has since transpired that I’m fight all the back-to-school bugs that come into my music room! So at least there’s a reason that I’m craving sugary food. I admit that I ate a brownie yesterday and a scone today, but now that I’ve figured out my craving, I’m going to make some soup and drink a ton of warm honey and lemon!

Carrot and Lentil Soup

Carrot and Lentil Soup I made for dinner on Thursday! Served with steamed purple sprouting broccoli and garlic.

On Thursday I has such an amazing food day! Attending the Mahon Point farmer’s market I swerved my usual salad stall and tried the offering of My Goodness, Cork’s raw vegan foodies. For €6.50 I had just the BEST lunch I’ve had in ages! Raw seed crackers, pickled daikon radish, sundried tomato and coriander pesto flavoured seed patés, bean sprouts, carrot salad, a seed burger and mixed green leaves all with a fresh apple cider vinegar-based dressing. It was beautiful and kept me munching for ages! I will definitely be having this again! Definitely satisfying. 🙂

Vegan Raw Mezze Plate by My Goodness, Cork

              Vegan Raw Mezze Plate by My Goodness 

In the last few days I made a load of Deliciously Ella’s superfood bread and flavoured it with some lovely autumnal cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg.  Another highlight of the last few days was this delicious breakfast smoothie:

 

Blackberry - Spinach Smoothie

A great way to use up the autumn harvest of blackberries!

Spinach and Berry Breakfast Smoothie
-2 handfuls of blackberries
-2 handfuls of spinach
-2 heaped tbsp soya yoghurt
-1 tbsp milled flaxseed
-a few strawberries
-water

Berry-Spinach Smoothie

Useful way to use up blackberries!

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Wilton Farmer’s Market – Tasty Goodness. Healthy Things.

If there’s one thing that can be said with certainty it’s that Cork people love good food. It may be tempting to simply brush off farmers markets as a fad, somewhere that only wealthy hipsters can afford to shop but that is no longer the case. A variety of coffee and cake stands, sandwich and pizza stalls mean that you no longer have to worry about feeling obliged to buy a ton of expensive things you didn’t want. 

 

Cork Bread

Local Artisan Bread by Arbutus

Take Wilton Farmer’s Market, for example. Every Tuesday from 10:30am – 2:30pm an array of colourful stalls pop up in the car park of Wilton Shopping Centre. Not only does the market feature locally grown organic vegetable from near Inch in Co. Cork and imported organic fruit and nuts courtesy of Organic Republic but while you mill around you might also grab a handmade marshmallow from Cloud Confectionary or a coffee from local favourite (ok… MY favourite) Badger and Dodo. The market provides a table and chairs for nibblers so that you can take in all the sights, sounds and smells of the other food producers. 

 

Wilton Farmer's Market, Cork

A delightful display of fabulously flavoured marshmallows by Cloud Confectionary!

One of my favourite companies to buy from is Arbutus Bread. Not only does this artisan company produce an impressive range of unusual and traditional freshly baked breads, you will always receive helpful information on how to get the most out of your loaf. This morning I purchased a loaf of Latvian rye bread. The lady behind the sea of bread informed me about the contents of the bread (low in gluten!) but also about the baker who made it and how best to serve and preserve it. Her expert knowledge means that I know which breads are best to freeze and which are best eaten quickly. 

Artisan Marshmallow

My reward for such diligent marketing – a caramel shortbread marshmallow!

As well as the steady favourites of Volcano Wood-Fired Pizza, The Beanie Brownie Company, The Rocket Man Salads, My Goodness raw and vegan foods and The Golden Bean (to name but a few) there is also a guest slot that changes weekly. 

What is really great about farmers’ markets is that it gives you a chance to see what is going on in your area. There are small food companies taking off all around us and these markets give us a unique opportunity to sample things first and support new businesses. After my first visit to Wilton this morning I will definitely be returning, and I do hope that it continues to grow!

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A Ripping Yarn!

Every night before I go to bed, I’m writing down everything I’ve done in bullet-points. I want to look back and not wonder what I did for the whole of June.

The thing is, I’ve been a bit under the weather for about a week now, so most of what’s up there is:

  • Poirot.
  • Crocheted a snowflake.
  • Made brownies.
It’s not quite as productive as I’d hoped! I also have a code. If I had a singing lesson: (Y) If I did singing practice: (X) and if I went for a 30 minute run ( ✔). I’m also trying to do a plank every day and build up my time. I have practically no core strength! I hit 60 seconds this week and was SO HAPPY!

Considering I can’t do a lot of running around at the moment, I’ve been doing a lot of knitting and learning to crochet!  Here are a few of the things I’ve been making!

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I love this headband! I made it in a really nice earthy green aran yarn (which was on sale!!)

Such is my amazing talent at crochet that I can follow the same pattern and come up with two completely different snowflakes. That’s talent, right? Oh… you mean that’s NOT mean to happen?!

Again, I followed the same crochet pattern and came up with different sizes of jumpers. The teaspoon is for scale. Aren’t they sweet? They’re a present for a local bar/restaurant in Cork. 🙂

This was to show the difference between using usual acrylic yarn and using proper cotton thread. The yarn looks nicer with this pattern, I think. 

I’ve been making this quilt for about four years. I’m nowhere near done! Maybe this will be the year that it finally gets done? It seems that a patchwork quilt is a massive undertaking. I wish I’d known this four years earlier… It’s pretty, though. And I’ve learned to follow patterns and to make new stitches through making this. Following a varying pattern is way more fun that plain garter stitch.

Hopefully I’ll recover in the next few days, and I can post all about my adventured with avocado chocolate mousse… 😀 x

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International Yarn Bombing Day

 This morning my knitting group engaged in a spot of ‘Yarn Bombing’ in Electric. We subtly knitted bits and stuck them to things. I am responsible for the hideous tea cosy you see pictured. Liz from Reckless Knitting made the cake-stand cosy! 
The staff at Electric must have liked them, though, as they gave my my latte for free! And later they tweeted that if my knitting group knits them a jumper, we’ll get a free lunch each! There are plans in motion…

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Seriously?

An example of a time I wanted to be taken seriously

I am quite confident that I don’t take myself too seriously. As I go about my life I literally police myself about it. Recently though, I’ve worried that I try too hard not to take myself seriously. Perhaps I should start, because if I don’t, who will. It’s possibly a symptom of what we in Ireland consider a very Irish mentality. We don’t like to make it seem like we’re anything out of the ordinary. We would like to make it seem that what we do or what we have achieved is just a trifle, that it was nothing. And if anyone acts like they worked hard for what they have, we consider them to be snobs and tend to be suspicious of them.

“Ireland is a nation of begrudgers,” is a phrase that is tossed around quite freely here. And it’s true. And I often worry that if I were to just explode my sense of containment, to say the really arty, stupid things that come into my head, people would think that I’m assuming another personality and doing it for attention. The reason I’ve been thinking about it more recently is because I want to be an artist. There is, obviously, a type of artist that is very coy and cunning about everything that they say. I would at least enjoy a period of unpoliced freedom to say and create whatever I like.

I’m always drawn to song-writers who don’t follow the rules. Marina and the Diamonds, Regina Spektor, Elbow, Florence and the Machine, Lily Allen. In art class at school, I used to detest when I was making something I was excited about and my teacher would tell me how to fix it and what I shouldn’t do. It’s that age-old argument of “What is art?” At that point I just wanted the freedom to explore my abilities and what worked and what didn’t.

That’s what I want now. I’m writing all these slightly absurd lyrics. (One song is actually inspired by the Absurdest play “The Sandbox” by Albee.) And songs about the change that has happened, the way I understand my brain, the people I know and how I feel about what’s occurring (<—pop reference!) Even though the speed at which I’m turning out complete songs isn’t what I’d hoped, I’m still getting into the lyrics which I always found the hardest part.

In the end, if I start Tweeting or blogging completely teenage things and just seeming a bit pretentious, please don’t hate me. I probably won’t even get past my self-preservation reflex anyway, but I thought I’d just jot it down… in case.

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Bumpy Road

I am extremely unwell. All my energy today went into doing work-work. (As opposed to work.) At the moment I am going to concentrate on battling this chest, throat and sinus infection. But hopefully tomorrow I’ll be able to write again. Listening to myself rasping on the last two recordings is driving me around the twist!

Naturally I’m really inspired at this time of not being able to write. 😉

I am enjoying this spoon’s face.