Burn Black

That ain't a vulture that's a fucking pigeon…

Make Your Own Houmous…

I love houmous/hummus.  I can sit down with a tub of the stuff along with some pitta/carrot sticks/celery and quite happily munch away until my heart and tummy is content.  It’s so bloody easy to make too that I have no idea why I even buy the stuff anymore.  It works out a lot cheaper to make your own too, if you go by weight. Below is my easy go to recipe.  There are no measurements as such as it’s the kind of food that everyone has different preferences for.  Some like it smooth, others lumpy, some like lots of lemon juice etc etc.  My advice would be to have a play and see what works the best for you.  If you end up with something that tastes and resembles houmous at the end then well done.

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The main ingredient of houmous is chickpeas (or garbanzo beans).  I never buy tinned if I’m honest.  A tin of ready soaked costs 55p.  I can buy a lot more chickpeas for my moolah if I buy a 500g bag of dried for £1.10.  I normally go by the 1/2 a cup of dried = 1 tin of soaked ratio too.  The only downfall to buying dried however is that you need to prepare them in advance but it’s easy when you know how.  I normally just measure as many cups as I can get out of a 500g bag, soak them overnight and then stick them in the slow cooker the next day.  Once cooked I’ll then measure them out in equivalent of tins and freeze in individual freezer bags until required.  I do the same with the majority of my dried beans and pulses too.  I have heard stories of people sprouting them for additional nutrients but I’ve never tried that myself I must say.

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When it comes to making actual houmous I normally grab one or two freezer bags (remember these have been measured to be the equivalent of a tin each) bring them to the boil just to defrost/make sure that they’re properly cooked, bung them in a food processor with a little bit of the water, some garlic, some salt, pepper, ground cumin, lemon juice, tahini and olive oil and blend it until it resembles the consistency/taste that you require.  It keeps for a few days in the fridge and if you’re feeling adventurous you can add any extras to it, such as chilli or roast veg.  In my view there really isn’t a set of concrete rules with this.  I’ve used limes when I’ve had no lemons, flaxseed oil instead of olive oil etc. etc. and as long as it tastes great to you then that’s all that matters.

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I hope this has helped and if you discover any good flavour combinations then please let me know.  Also if you know the reason behind the different spellings of houmous/hummus then let me know too.

 

 

 

Avoiding/Curing Hangovers…

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Overindulgence and heavy partying normally leads to feeling as if Death himself decided to do ten rounds with you in a ring when you wake up the next day.  I’ve noticed that the older I’m getting the longer and more painful the hangovers are.

In my early 20′s hangovers were but a mere myth.  I would easily go out, get rather trollied, go clubbing and be at my desk the next morning bright eyed and bushy tailed.  At the very most I may have needed a coffee.  Nowadays however a hangover will mean that I’m lucky if I see the afternoon of the next day and even then if I’m not vomiting it’s a major plus.  A typical bender will leave me ill for about 2 days now and although I have it sussed where I can normally stop before it gets that bad, sometimes the best laid plans of mice and men go up the proverbial shitter as soon as someone mentions shots.

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Therefore this is a list of my favourite hangover cures for you all to try out as/when applicable.  I hope you never have to use it, however the only way I can guarantee that you wont, is if you don’t drink in the first place and if you’re willpower is anything like mine…

*  Before you go out eat something.  Make it something stodgy too.  Anything that’s going to line your stomach.  Research indicates the fattier the meal the better.

*  Make yourself neck about 2 pints of water before you go to bed, more if you can.  I’ve found that this will either eliminate or lessen the after effects.  Even if I have to stay up and go to the toilet another 3 times during the night it will be worth it the next day.  Bonus points if you are semi conscious enough to brush your teeth/take your make up off too.

*  Sleep.  Lots of it.

*  Fizzy Lucozade (it’s full of electrolytes that your body needs, even more so if you’ve been vomiting).  Did you know it was invented by a fellow Northerner?  My favourite is the orange flavour.

*  Fizzy Fanta.  None of this zero sugar lark.  I normally need the full fat stuff, if anything to help with the shakes.

*  Food.  When I have a hangover I normally only crave either of two things:  Pizza or Eggs.  I love the fact that I can order a pizza without even ringing up thanks to Domino’s website.  If you go down this route it’s worth looking online for money off vouchers.  My hangover pizza normally only consists of cheese, onion, mushrooms and possibly sweetcorn.  If a pizza is too much of a challenge then egg on toast is a good call too (boiled/scrambled/fried).

*  A shower.  If I’m able too I’ll throw myself into the shower where I’ll wash my hair (and the smell of cigarettes away) and myself.  Sometimes it may take all my strength to climb into it and I will just stand there for half an hour whilst I try and muster the very basic of motor skills whilst drinking the shower water (yes really) but once I’m dressed and dried I normally feel so much better.

*  I’m rather scared of taking pain killers when hungover.  I’m allergic to aspirin and a doctor friend once advised that taking Paracetamol is rather dangerous as it gives your already overworked liver even more work to do.  So I normally just do without.  At the very most I’ll either have a sachet or two of Dioralyte and/or maybe some Motilium to settle my tummy.

*  A good TV series, either a box set of something on Netflix.  I have to admit when my attention span is rubbish I’d rather watch a TV series than a film so that if I fall asleep during, I won’t have to rewatch the whole thing.  My TV show of choice at the moment has to be American Horror Story.

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Vegan Friendly Pancakes…

I love pancakes.  I don’t think I’ve ever turned my nose up at them.  I like them sweet, I like them savoury, I like both sweet and savoury (bacon and maple syrup in my meat eating days f0r example).  Although I’m not vegan (just a veggie) I do eat and try to eat a lot of vegan friendly food and to be honest I feel as if it’s a waste of egg  if I use one whilst baking so I never bother and use substitutes instead with great success so far.  Anyway I was really pleased with this pancake batter recipe.  I’ve tried it with both plain and self raising flour and plain definitely made the better pancakes.   They’re seriously easy to make and you can have a plate of them in about 20 minutes.

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Vegan Friendly Pancakes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • A pinch of salt
  • 1 cup soya milk (could use any other dairy free milk or even water at a push)
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil

To be honest there’s not much needed in terms of instructions.  All I did was stick my frying pan on the hob (the hotter the pan the better the pancakes), whilst I mixed all of the dry ingredients together and all of the wet ingredients together.  Once I’d done that I whisked everything together until my pancake batter was nice and silky smooth.

I didn’t want huge pancakes as small and thin seem to come out better in my experience so I used about 1/3 of a ladle per pancake (this made tea saucer sized pancakes which were perfect).  Once bubbles appear on the surface of the pancake, flip it over to cook on the other side for a few minutes.  It’s that simple.  I got about 8 pancakes from the above measurements which easily served 2 hungry people for breakfast.  We had these with chopped banana and maple syrup.  I’m rather tempted to make another batch now.

Music Monday: Rasputina – Secret Message.

I love Rasputina.  Have done for years.  I still consider myself lucky for finding out about their gig in Leeds last year too, even if it were a support slot for about 40 minutes.  It still meant that my best friend and I after waiting *years* finally got to see them.  We have also always said we were going to learn to play cello too but never have hah.

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The only merch I bought at the gig.

Operation Frugality: Week 5.

Monday 27th January:  I stayed at V’s the night before and so needed to buy lunch whilst at work today which was £2.99 (soup and a sarnie from Fatso’s actually).  I also bought myself a coffee from Starbucks before my shift too which was £3.60.  Total spends = £6.59.

Tuesday 28th January: Today I made lunch so at least I saved money there.  I however needed some new hairspray and setting lotion and since my hairspray was on special offer in Superdrugs I bulk bought (£13.43).  I also bought a sample votive Yankee Candle for £1.90 and a pack of ten fags for £3.82.  Total = £19.15.

Wednesday 29th January: I met a friend for tea and was treated to cocktails and scran in Revolution which was very nice of her.  I  bought us a few drinks which cost £14 and a pack of fags which we demolished between us (£7.70).  I really enjoyed myself tonight and I had a good catch up with a good friend.  Total = £21.70.

Thursday 30th January:  I went on my regular errand to South Shields so spent £3.60 on bus fare.  Also bought some fags (£7.70) and an energy drink (£1.50).  Total = £12.80

Friday 31st January:  I spent £11 at the PostOffice on postage and I had to meet some people in Starbucks so 2 drinks and a sandwich for V later I’d spent £8.99.  I also needed a new pair of tights (£6) and some underwear from Primani (£5).  That evening I went out for belated birthday drinks and spent a small fortune on fags (£8.38) and cocktails (I’m rather fond of The Aviation) (£48).  Taxi home cost a tenner too. I also got charged £1.99 for getting money out of one of those cash points that charge too.  Booo.  I really needed to let my hair down on this evening so I really don’t care as to how much I spent.  Total = £99.36

Saturday 1st February: I was a bit hungover from the previous evenings entertainment so gave V some money for fizzy drinks and some Lucozade.  Apparently my local corner shop thinks that bottles of pop are rarer than unicorn tears as I had no change from the tenner I gave him and I got no Lucozade.  :(  Total = £10

Sunday 2nd February: I bought 3 new gel nail varnishes on eBay.  Total:  £13.78.

I spent a total of £183.38 this week.  I did overspend and I know I did.  I also chain smoked like Pats in AbFab by the looks of it too.  Of that £183.38 I can tell that I needed to spend around only half of that.  A bad week in terms of expenditure but I did get to catch up with a lot of friends which was ace and well needed as I still have a lot on my plate (hence the chain smoking).

Music Mondays: RuPaul – Glamazon.

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I’ve been watching a lot of RuPaul’s Drag Race as of late.  Initially I only started watching it for make up tips but in honesty I’ve learnt a lot more.  RuPaul comes across as a very strong role model for positivity and lets face it we all need to embrace more PMA in our lives.  Anyway this song is catchy as hell and has became a bit of a gym favourite.

Operation Frugality: Week 4.

Monday 20th January:  I met a friend for a few drinks and a catch up.  I spent £24.70 in total but that was including a packet of smokes and some food and since I hardly ever get to see said friend it was worth every penny. I also donated a quid for charity.  Total = £25.70.

Tuesday 21st January: Nothing

Wednesday 22nd January:  I went to Sainsbury’s to get some groceries (£22.09) and also ordered some pet food online.  Lemmy is on a diet and it works out a lot cheaper to buy his food via the internet than via the vets and a huge 4kg sack will last him around 10 weeks.  They also sell a high protein food for Hilda too which I normally buy from the pet shop but laziness prevailed so in total I spent £47.86 on cat food. I also bought a song on iTunes for 99p.  Total = £70.94.

Thursday 23rd January:  Nothing.

Friday 24th January: I needed to go to South Shields on an errand so a return bus ticket cost £3.60, In true Northern style I also bought some lunch from Greggs (£2.85) and some snouts (£7.70).  Later that day my parents took me out for a meal for my birthday where I bought a round of drinks in (£13.50).  I also bought two songs on iTunes too (£1.78).  Total = £29.43.

Saturday 25th January: V and I went to Newcastle and en route we went to the garage to get some energy drink (£3.70).  When we got to Newcastle I paid for the parking (£2.50).  Considering I had birthday money burning a hole in my pocket I decided to treat myself.  I bought a red lip liner (£10) from M.A.C. and got a free lipstick thanks to their Back To M.A.C. scheme.  We then went to one of my favourite foodie shops Mmm… where I refilled a bottle of Olive Oil, bought some eggs, a really nice bottle of wine (V offered to cook a meal for us so I bought a bottle for us to drink) and also a bottle of Fentimans Rose Lemonade which tastes AWESOME with gin (£25.50)  I also bought some parmesan cheese (£2.10), some veg (£2.20) and a new toy for the cats (£3.99).  Total = £49.99.

Sunday 26th January: Today is my birthday and even though I had shown great restraint with the Illamasqua sale, they then sent me a 15% off code “for my birthday” and so I went and spent £34.  To be fair I am desperate for a good foundation and a nude lip liner.  I obviously and finally bought that bottle of Freak too.  Total = £34.

In summary you can tell two things from this week.  Firstly you can tell I got paid and secondly that I was feeling rather sociable.  I spent a total of £210.06 this week and from this I can see is that it’s about a 50:50 split from frivolity and necessity.  It was my birthday so getting a few treats is to be expected, as is a few social gatherings but V and I did have a meal at home instead of going out so we did save money there hence why I feel justified in spending money on good ingredients, especially when I know I’ll get more than one meal from them.  I’m running low on a few make up items too, mainly pencils and a foundation which I’ve now bought and I’m glad I now have a matt red lippy.

Operation Frugality: Week 3.

I was determined to make this week a week of low spendage, especially after last week but I didn’t manage, far from it in fact.  Firstly my mobile phone stopped letting me make or receive phone calls unless I had the speaker on and there’s some conversations you just don’t want the world to hear when you’re in the middle of Tesco’s.  Therefore I had to get an upgrade, it seems that current events have gotten the best of me as of late too…

Monday 13th January - Nothing.

Tuesday 14th January – I’ve had a lot of things going on and as a result my plate has had lots on it.  As a result the emotional crutch that I’ve tried so hard to avoid has once again stuck it’s nicotine stained claws into me and I bought a packet of cigarettes which cost £7.70.  I also needed a lighter 90p.  Great eh?

Wednesday 15th January – Nothing.

Thursday 16th January – This is the day I finally had enough with regards to my mobile.  A short trip to the phone shop and I had a brand new iPhone 5s and had to pay £49.99 upfront.  I also needed a new screen protector and cover as my one from my iPhone 4 are too fat now.  I bought this bling one from eBay for £5.99.  Since I’m running out of ideas as to what I can make in the house and emotional drainage making me unmotivated to do pretty much nothing at home I ended up buying lunch too £4.10.  A bad day really.

Friday 17th January – It’s my birthday next week and since the Kurt Geiger shoes from last week were far too high for me (I gave them to a friend who I’ll know will make them her bitch) I ended up buying a dress (£25.44) and a replacement pair of heels (£54.94 – In fairness I have wanted these FOR YEARS) for when I go out in a fortnights time.  I think totally unnecessary but these are staple items that I’ll get lots of wear out of therefore feel semi-justified.  Plus did I mention it was my birthday soon???

Saturday 18th January –  I bought V and I a meal from M&S after work (£15.61) and some fags (£7.70).  I could have probably done without but my nerves are still shot and after all the shit I’ve had to pick the scab from and go through this week I felt we both needed a treat, especially since V has proven himself a rock as of late.  Plus I figured it would be cheaper than a takeaway.

Sunday 19th January – Nothing.

So yeah.  Out of all the above I pretty much feel justified in buying the phone, the dress and the shoes.  The fags would probably come next.  I am pretty much livid with myself for letting things get to me that much but I’m sure once it’s all over as will my useage of them also.  All in all a really bad week.  Total Spends:  £172.37.  It would appear that when depressed I’m not only an emotional smoker but a shopper too. :0/

 

Operation Frugality: Week 2.

So far this year I have to admit that I’m rather liking this challenge in a masochistic kind of way.  If anything I am noticing spending patterns and am acting upon them which is the whole point in this exercise after all..  A perfect example of this is my tendency to hoard stuff that I buy from work.

Anyone who’s ever been in my bathroom will testify to the amount of Lush products in it.  At this moment in time I have the equivalent of over 6 litres of shower gel, a shoebox filled with soap and at least 2 carrier bags worth of bath bombs and various other bath treats in there as well as various lotions, potions, shampoo and massage bars.  Safe to say I don’t think I’m going to need any of those this year.  Same goes for perfume which has actually proven difficult thanks to Illamasqua who currently have a sale on.  I’ve wanted a bottle of Freak for ages and it’s currently reduced.  I’ve had to be a big girl and say no however because a) I must already own something like 20+ bottles of fragrance so I know I won’t need anymore for a very long time and b) V bought me a bottle of the Tom Ford perfume I’ve been lusting over for a very long time as a late Christmas/early Birthday present which to be honest is literally the best aroma that’s ever filled my nostrils and I’m really grateful for him to have spent so much money on something so decadent.   Recognising what I already have/how often I use things is going to be key to this challenge I feel.  So here’s a daily breakdown of expenditure for week 2.

Monday 6th January:  It’s marmalade season and I need some Seville Oranges so I went to the local greengrocers to see if there were any.  There wasn’t but I did need some fresh garlic so bought a bulb of that (in the past I would have bought about 3), some fresh coriander which I now regret as I already have some in the freezer from the last time I bought some  (at least I can freeze this if I don’t use it however and I now know for next time) and 4 Persimmons for £1 which is a bargain and I love them.  That lot came to £2.99.  None too shabby but I still need those oranges.

Tuesday 7th January:  I spent 87p on a load of carrots.  What with the coriander I’d bought the day before I made soup which sorted me out for a few meals.  I also spent £4.99 on dried dates and some dried apricots in Holland & Barrett.  Not necessarily needed but I want to try and make my own version of these for after exercise etc. which I’m sure will work out cheaper in the long run.  After work I went to the gym.  I walked there and got the bus back which cost me £1.85.  This brings the days total to £7.71

Wednesday 8th January:  I admit now that the money I spent today was not due to necessity.  Firstly I got my nails “did” (acrylic infills) which cost £11.25.  I like getting my nails done.  They’re less hassle than my real ones as they’re really low maintenance, and it’s a treat and a bit of me time at the end of the day which is always well received by myself whenever the time comes around.  I work hard so why not?  I then bought a lipstick (£3.01) and a new gel nail varnish on eBay for £3.99.  I have the UV kit to do my own gel manicure and doing my nails myself saves me around £15 a pop so I find it well worth it in the long run.  May as well be hung for a sheep than a lamb I guess.  Bit of a bad day really.  Total spends = £18.25

Thursday 8th January:  On this day I went a bit mental.  However I did buy things I actually needed as opposed to things I wanted which is always  a plus.  What with my going back to the gym I’ve discovered that I a) hate wearing baggy jogging bottoms as I don’t like how they flap about when I’m on the treadmill and with me wanting to start running I figured I needed some new gym clothes and £44 later I had some.  Later on that day I made the mistake of going onto ASOS and ended up purchasing a pair of £140 Kurt Geiger heels for a bargalicious £13.50.  I’m sorry I know it was completely unjustified but I did spend a few minutes gingerly thinking about pressing the checkout button, and well…

Friday – Nothing

Saturday – Nothing

Sunday – Nothing

So this week I’m quite please that I didn’t spend any money on lunches, or coffee for that matter whilst at work which was rather ace.  The shoes and lipstick? well did I need them?  Not at all but I did actually want that lipstick for ages so it wasn’t an impulse buy, the shoes? a totally different matter.   The gym wear was a must however as I normally look like a tramp when I’m there and getting new gym wear has been on my “to do” list for a while.  I also know that I don’t *need* the acrylic nails but I do enjoy wearing them.  They make me happy and dare I say *ladylike*  and so for now they stay.  I may review it when they need to come off but I’ll review it then.  The food items I obviously need and when the weather improves I’ll cycle to the gym and back.  Total spends this week:  £86.45 (eek).

Music Mondays – Pentagram Documentary “Last Days Here”.

This film was recommended to me the other week so I watched it and bloody hell!!!  I spent the majority of the film on the edge of my seat exhibiting so many different emotions along the way.  I don’t want to let on which ones in case it ruins the film for you.  I was left with mixed feelings towards Bobby Liebling but ones of utter awe and amazement towards both his parents and manager.   I can’t say I’ve gave Pentagram much of a chance in the past but still, it was a pretty interesting watch.