29/31 Enter the cave of wonders…

29. Where have you travelled?

That’s a bit of an open-ended question… is that travelled today, this year or travelled in my lifetime? We’d be here for a while if I opted for the latter that’s for sure…

So instead I’ll write about the last press trip I went on before I left NG Kids last year. I was sent to Slovenia in October to check out Postojna Cave and the mysterious olm that live there.

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Postojna Cave was discovered in 1818 by a local caver, called Luka ČeČ. This vast underground kingdom boasts extraordinary natural sculptures that sprout from more or less every surface. It’s so huge that you have to take a train to get into the main part of the cave! The stalactites and stalagmites here begun forming as far as two million years ago, by the water seeping through from the Pivka River. An easy way of remembering which formation was a stalactite and which was a stalagmite, was all thanks to one letter. Stalactites hang from the ceiling and stalagmites form on the ground. Clever right?!

Then there’s this little guy, which are thought to live up to 100 years old! Nicknamed the human fish, it was once thought that they were the offspring of dragons. These cave-dwelling salamander have adapted to life in the darkness in the most peculiar of ways. Although born with eyes, they soon stop developing. By the time they are four months old, skin begins to grow over them. They are still sensitive to light though, which is why it’s so tricky to get a decent picture of them. To combat the loss of vision, their hearing and sense of smell is highly developed. They’ve even got electroreceptors in their heads to help them hunt for food!

Talking about food… that’s one thing I did thoroughly enjoy – even though we were given way too much of it! Each day we were given a four course meal for both lunch and dinner, and each course came with a different wine. Needless to say, I was severely ill the second day of the trip because my body just wasn’t used to that much food – I felt I had to clear the plate each time otherwise I was given a disapproving look and asked if I didn’t like it. No pressure! However, here are some of my favourite dishes… I can’t remember exactly what was in each of them now but I just remember how amazing they tasted – especially the desserts!

On the trip, we also took part in extreme caving, visited Predjama Castle and even was given a tour of the caves underneath the castle, where there were loads of bats!

 

 

27/31 Best pudding in the world

27. Post your favourite recipe

My most favourite recipe at the moment can be found on page 140 of Jordan and Jessica Bourke’s book, The Guilt-free Gourmet, for their sticky toffee pudding. My flatmates and I made it this Sunday, and were not disappointed in the slightest. It’s a really simple recipe with incredible results, so I highly recommend that EVERYONE gives it a go!

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For the pudding

  • 225g/8oz dates pitted and chopped
  • 200ml/7fl oz boiling water
  • 100ml/3½oz rice milk
  • 90g/3¼oz dairy-free butter (such as sunflower spread)
  • 150g/5½oz coconut palm sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs
  • 2 tbsp date syrup
  • 180g/6oz gluten-free flour or rice flour, plus extra for flouring the moulds
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

For the toffee sauce

  • 100g/3½oz dairy-free butter (such as sunflower spread)
  • 175g/6oz coconut palm sugar
  • 1 tbsp blackstrap molasses
  • 100ml/3½oz maple syrup
  • 230ml/8oz soy cream, plus extra to serve
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of sea salt

25/31 Why we gotta have favourites?

25. Your five favourite blogs

Since I’ve only recently come back to WordPress, I haven’t had a chance to fully explore all of the new content new bloggers have to offer. So, to make it fair, I’ll simply list the last five blogs I’ve followed…

1) Tifness

I’ve only just taken a look at Latifa’s blog in the last couple of days and I’m not disappointed. I love to travel and I love food, so this is the perfect combination! My flatmate cannot eat wheat so we are often making gluten-free recipes when we have meals together. For example, this Sunday we made deep-fried, stuffed courgette flowers; gluten free pea and asparagus ravioli with parmesan; and sticky toffee pudding with Madagascan vanilla custard… the custard is the only part of the feast we hadn’t made from scratch. So it’s safe to say, we are serious about our food! I’m looking forward to making some of Latifa’s recipes in future 🙂

2) Wilson Reviews

Jake is someone I work with at The Week Junior and it was only last week, at our 25th issue anniversary/we won Launch of the Year at the British Media Awards drinks, that I found out he was also on WordPress. He writes about the latest and greatest movies out there, as well as recommending titles that people may not already be familiar with. Just be sure not to read too many in one go, as it’ll leave you struggling to decide which film to watch first!

3) Cooking with a Wallflower

Andrea has so many amazing recipes… all of which I would like to make. Well, I should be more specific – eat! Every time the pictures manage to make my mouth water. I don’t even have to know what it is, I just want to take a bite.

4) We Love Food

I see a trend here… I clearly love food, too! What I like about Saff and Ade is that they not only write about what they eat, they also describe the atmosphere and overall experience all the while injecting humour into each post. I may or may not be using their reviews as more of a to do list since they’re mostly London based.

5) Second blog to the right

And if you don’t get this reference… what planet do you live on?! One of my other great loves is theatre. I found this blog because of their Cirque du Soleil reviews and it was only when I took a look at what they had previously reviewed, that I discovered they also love Disney and had seen the Toddlerz Ball. I can’t wait to see what’s next!

 

 

21/31 Food glorious food

21. Your 10 favourite foods

Oh well this is going to be easy as I absolutely LOVE food! I’ve never been able to understand when people say they don’t like trying new foods or they only like one food group/cuisine… it baffles me since there’s so much variety out there for the tasting – quite literally!

So in no particular order…

  1. Avocado
  2. Fajitas, burritos, quesadillas, nachos, frijole…
  3. Lamb dupiaza with garlic rice, garlic naan and mango chutney
  4. Pret’s tuna and cucumber baguette with a packet of salt and vinegar crisps
  5. Tapas
  6. Dim sum
  7. Afternoon tea (of any variety)
  8. Cake or the dipping pot from Choccywoccydoodah, with a banana and white chocolate milkshake
  9. Vegetarian cottage pie
  10. Chocolate tea cakes – especially the giant ones!

12/31 Ain’t nobody got time for that

12. What’s inside your fridge

Not much to be quite frank.

This week has been insanely mental so I just haven’t had time to go shopping or cook proper dinners (shhh… don’t tell my mum!) Work is normally busy on a Monday and a Tuesday anyway because it’s press deadline, but this week we began to host flat viewings as our newest housemate is leaving to go travelling next month.

So, currently in the fridge is some mature cheddar, salad cream, a selection of tomatoes, Quorn turkey, tomato ketchup, eggs and butter… totally living the dream right!

8/31 I carry what now?!

8. What’s in your handbag

As mentioned previously, I have an unhealthy obsession with backpacks. You’ll very rarely see me with a handbag these days unless it’s for a professional occasion… otherwise I resort to backpacks or pockets to carry my worldly possessions!

However, in the backpack I’m using at the moment (the space/galaxy one), there is:

  • Purse;
  • Small make-up bag;
  • Carrier bags (since you have to pay for bags now, I always carry a couple spare);
  • Umbrella (not sure why that’s still in there…);
  • Perfume;
  • Paracetamol & Ibuprofen;
  • Antibacterial hand wash;
  • Glasses cleaner;
  • Packet of tissues;
  • Pocket mirror;
  • Small hairbrush;
  • Pens;
  • Polo mints;
  • Spare key (just incase I lose my other set from my pocket);
  • A receipt from Abokado for Teriyaki Chicken and rice I treated myself to last Monday.

Not very exciting as bag contents go…

The best day ever

#358: You get to enjoy the best day ever — describe in detail what that means to you. Where are you? What will you do? What’s the weather like? What will you eat? Who will you see?

I’d be with my family of course – my mums side and my American relatives that are currently over for Christmas (hence why my posts have been fairly late recently). It wouldn’t matter too much where we were so long as it could fit everyone in cozily. We’d be reminiscing and playing games… sort of how today went really! We’d eat lots of mini versions of the classics – fish ‘n’ chips, fajitas, bruschetta, filled naans and of course, mini puddings!

Merry Christmas everyone!

Festivus for the rest of us

#348: You have been named supreme ruler of the universe. Your first order of business is creating and instituting a holiday or festival in your honour. What day of the year is your holiday? What special events will take place? Describe YOU DAY in as great a detail as you can muster: the special foods we’ll consume, the decorations we’ll use… everything.

Well for a start, this day would be in the middle of the year, as it would then give people something else to look forward to (of course, aside from Christmas). It would of course be classed as a bank holiday – an official day off work! There would be street parties, carnivals and lots of street food… churros, burritos, paella, falafels, nachos!! Ahh, if only this day were true…

Five items

#338: A classic question, revisited: what are the five items you must have on a deserted island?

Since it’s late and I’m super sleepy after an evening of Christmas shopping, I’ve decided not to think to much into this.

So, item number 1 – a (free of charge) phone box, that also charges my gadgets (don’t ask how – I’m not a techie).

Item number 2 – sun cream (self explanatory).

Item number 3 – shelter/some sort of house that spiders can’t penetrate.

Item number 4 – some constant food supply (magical of course).

Item number 5 – my cosy pjs, dressing gown and slippers… Although, when you think of a desert island, you think of a hot place. Hmmm, I think I’ll stick with it though.

Simply irresistable

#329: Tell us about the favourite dish or food that you simply cannot turn down.

I was really struggling to think of something because I’m fairly temperamental when it comes to food – I can be in a sweet mood, I can be in a savoury mood. But it’s something I’ll never know until I’ve sat down in the restaurant and soaked up the atmosphere. For example, one of my favourite Mexican restaurants is Las Iguanas and I absolutely love their gooey, chocolate orange Aztec cake. However, after gorging on Totopos (nacho chips with freshly made salsa) and a huge burrito, I can very really fit it in!

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And then, I had a magnificent lightbulb moment – Choccywoccydoodah! Of course! Shamefully, in the past I have been known to already be full before heading to this incredible establishment and STILL ordering a wedge of cake or a delicious dipping pot! I will never be able to say no to their delights.

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P.s – photographs to come (they’re on my iPhone, which I forgot to pick up this morning as I left for work – doh!)