29 Jan 2013

one hundred.

This is my 100th post and I've been trying to come up with some form of cool celebration for a week and I've thought and thought about it and NOTHING. A whole year and a half of blogging and a whole hundred posts and I still can't come up with random ideas. I've clearly done a good job of getting better at blogging. Gold star to me. #yay

So, I hope you enjoyed the first hundred, and let's see if I can make it to 200 posts before me and you get bored of foodporn. Cheers for reading. It's been fun. I'll leave you with this inspirational video. I will be back soon. x

18 Jan 2013

SC#29 | Apple thyme muffins with caramel drizzle

I made these muffins ages ago now and forgot to post about them! Terrible mistake, because they were delicious. And easy. They're the perfect treat for a snowy day, served warm and if you're very indulgent (and have awesome central heating), some vanilla ice cream...

I had a cook-off at my house with a couple friends, and decided it would be an interesting challenge to use only things I already had. I got lucky and realised I had all the ingredients to reproduce Spoon, Fork, Bacon's apple thyme cake recipe. The only thing that I did different was use French crème de caramel au beurre salé instead of making my own caramel.

I have no cake tin, so I turned them into muffins. They tasted just perfect like that!

Another thing I forgot to post about is this one time when I went to The BBC Good Food Show… for free… and got given free fancy gin from 9am… and tons of fantastic food… MOSTLY CHEESE. Also got to attend a Great British Bake-Off demo. So,  accept this picture of Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood baking together as my (late late late) Christmas gift to you.

13 Jan 2013

Expats and relationships: the curse of long distance

I have a complicated relationship with my front door.

On the one hand, the very fact I have a front door means I have a house, which is always appreciated for things like sleeping, making food, or just dancing in my pyjamas to the songs of Ed Sheeran. The people who open my front door are often my housemates coming home, or friends coming to visit, or the delivery guy with shoes/cookbooks/mystery parcels and I like all those things.

It's true that my front door is an absolute pain to open, but at least I'm assuming it'll discourage burglars from popping in to steal our stuff. Which is also good, because I like our stuff.

The problem I have with my front door is that I keep having to stand in its frame saying goodbye to people I love without knowing when I'll see them next.

Being an expat sucks.

I can already hear the 'Oi, you suck, you dirty ungrateful froggie,' so please bear with me. Yes, being an expat is all kinds of marvellous. Great experience, great fun, new things all the time—woohoo! Yes, being away from people is an almost compulsory aspect of my generation's lives. We are lucky enough to live in a globalised world, a world of networks, of high speed trains and cheap charter planes, an online world where relationships happen as much on screen as they do in the physical world.

Except sometimes it's just not the same.

I've argued before that friendship on the Internet is a real, true thing and that I believe most people who position themselves against it are people who have not experienced it. I stand by this idea, but I want to add something: although friendship on the Internet is a thing, a) it is made stronger by meeting up face-to-face and b) chatting to someone on Skype is but a sad consolation when you're used to seeing someone every day and hugging them whenever you feel like it.

My mum came to visit in December and I had to close the door on her leaving. Wasn't fun (especially since it was 6am.) But at least, in this instance, I knew I was going to see her again a couple weeks later. Except when I got on the train back to the UK after Christmas, I didn't know when I was going to see her or my family next (and I still don't.)

Front doors, trains—everything I used to love has been expat-cursed into evil.

This week, one of my best friends came to visit, and I had to watch her go having no idea when I'd see her next. She doesn't live in my hometown, and studies on the other side of France from where we went to high school. Meeting up is such a challenge we probably deserve gold stars for managing it every so often. When you live abroad, planning anything with people-from-back-home becomes an absolute nightmare (and more so when people-from-back-home are expats as well. Fun timez.)

Friendship takes on a new meaning and has to be adapted to everyone's new life. Once again, I guess this is an issue of our time. Relationships are evolving. It's good, it challenges you in a good way, it asks for effort. But relationships should be able to exist without being at risk of becoming chores. Distance turns some relationships in nothing more than the nostalgia of what it used to be. And it sucks.

This being said, those who know me know that I could be saying the opposite of this tomorrow. I love being an expat, but sometimes I really, really wish teleportation would finally be invented so that I could at last stop tearing up on my doorstep.


8 Jan 2013

Christmas in Instagrams

A few snapshots of my December and Christmases, from my iPhone that I still had not introduced to the blog! He's called Alfie. He's a good kid.



1. Our tree in London town. 2. Filling in my secret Santa duties by making biscuits.
3. The tree drowning in presents back in my French home. 4. Homemade trifle for our family Christmas meal in London.
4. New Year's day recovering walk in Gloucestershire. 5. Another tree at my grandad's.
5. Bredele are a compulsory Christmas treat in my family. 6. Christmas Eve toast.

5 Jan 2013

2012 -- The year everything happened

So it looks like I took a month off. Oopsie.

The end of the year tends to always be very busy. There are presents to buy, Christmas dinners to organise, essays to research and trees to decorate. This year was no different; it was just even busier. My mum came to visit for a week-end, I went to the university """ball""" (very loose understanding of the word ball) and I had a photography project to finish and hand in before the holidays.

After all of this was done, I worked a couple shifts to win back what I'd spent on presents, packed my things and got on the Eurostar to head home for a few days. As I was enjoying a complimentary breakfast in business class (apparently, this is what happens when my mum books my tickets), I took a moment to think back on 2012.

There's this great thing on Facebook this year called "2012: Your year in reviews." Using what I'm sure are very advanced algorithms (not), it tells you what are the twenty major events of your year. I thought it'd be pretty lame; turns out it got my year quite right.

Although it did select this:

Well... Almost right.

2012 was a pretty big year for me—and that's an understatement. I turned 18, I voted in presidential elections for the first time, I moved into a house that I picked without even consulting my parents and signed a rental contract with my name on it (!!!!), I got a seriously cool job, I went to freaking New York, I made some incredible friends that contributed to big changes in how I go about my life, and last but no least—I reached 10,000 views on the blog.

Most, if not all of these things have one thing in common: they resonate with a sense of adulthood that I wasn't expecting so early. Of course, leaving home and moving abroad when I was only 17 certainly accelerated the separation from teenagehood (French understanding of teenagehood, it stops around 18 rather than 20 to me.) But as I was lying on my university halls bed, eating Ben & Jerry's from the tub while watching Twilight (this is pure fiction by the way), I most definitely did not feel like an adult.

I recently had a conversation with two good friends of mine about The Future. After a fancy greek dinner with fancy skewers and fancy fried chorizo and super tasty tzatziki, we sat down with a glass of wine and discussed Real Life Problems, things like job opportunities and youth unemployment and asked each other important questions such as 'Would you rather work for McDonald's or The Daily Mail?' The view I had on these issues was pretty pessimistic. Looking at what goes on in the outside world these days, my first instinct is to hide under my covers.

However, when I think of 2012, of all the amazing things me and my friends went through, I feel like my generation might actually be ok. It might be a hell of a ride, but at least we've been taught to fight for what we want and hold on even when things look terrible.

So—2012, the year I sort of became an adult. But only just. I still sometimes have cereals for dinner.