Friday, 2 February 2018

Easy Miso Courgette and Fried Rice

If you're weaning yourself off eating so much meat, you might be finding it difficult to find that extra thing to put on your plate... to make it a 'meal'. A lot of life long meat eaters probably have the 'meat, veg, carb' mindset, so taking one part away can leave a hole that you itch to fill.

During Vegetarianuary I had to think up ways to stop me missing that significant element of a meal that meat has always been. I found that eating veggie for a prolonged period forced me to change how I viewed a meal - it doesn't have to follow the formula of 1/3 meat, 1/3 veg and 1/3 carb. But sometimes you want that extra element, and there is a lot you can do for replacements.

Yes this courgette could be chicken, but it's very good as not chicken. It adds the 'main' element to a meal like this which is what you might be missing, and the miso topping is incredibly flavourful and filling. I first tried it with aubergine at a really fancy Japanese restaurant and couldn't stop thinking about it. Determined to make my own I ventured to the shops only to find no aubergines in sight. Luckily, it's just as nice with courgettes, and as they tend to come in packs of three I've had this meal all week, haha!


1 Courgette or Aubergine
3+ tbsp of Miso Paste 
Soy sauce
Chopped Spring onion

Brown miso paste is preferable as it's a lot stronger, but if you use white miso just add in more soy sauce. Honey and powdered ginger (to taste) would work really nicely as extra ingredients.

Half the courgette lengthways, then cut a hash all along the flesh to give space for the topping to sink in later. Grill for 30 minutes, or until well done. In the meantime mix up the topping ingredients, leaving the spring onion out for garnishing. When the courgette is done, spread a thick layer on top and grill for a further 10 minutes. Sprinkle the chopped spring onion.

Cooked rice of choice
1/2 medium white onion
1/2 bell pepper
1-2 chopped garlic
1/2 finely chopped fresh chilli or powder to taste
1 egg
1-2 chopped spring onion
2 tsp (or to taste) soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil

Fried rice is a really really simple, easy meal that everyone should know how to do. But until this summer, at the ripe age of 21, I did not, and I assume some of you won't either. I like to use microwave bags of rice for this but if you cook it yourself it will be miles cheaper. Sesame oil is an optional extra but v nice. This can make one or two portions depending on how much rice you add.

Chop the onion into decent chunks, and the same with the bell pepper. Fry them on a high heat with your chosen oil. Chop the garlic and pepper and add them in, then once everything looks browned add the cooked rice. Stir in the soy sauce until everything is coated, then move everything to one side and crack in the egg. Move quickly because the egg will harden fast. Scramble it into little chunks, then once it's all cooked mix it into the rice. Don't mix raw egg into the rice, you want the scrambled texture. Mix in half the chopped spring onion before serving, then top with the rest.

I'm so happy about this dish. It's very straightforward and I know it will be a great meat-free pick me up when I want tasty, tangy food. If you make it, please let me know! :) I really enjoy food content and sharing meal ideas! 


Sunday, 31 December 2017

Accomplishments of 2017

Inspired by Adam J. Kurtz' tweet asking people to share and celebrate their top accomplishments of 2017, I've had a little look back on my own milestones of the year.

I like the concept of the new year and the potential it inspires. I try to use that weird week between Christmas and NYE to reflect and plan. Planning makes me happy, because I always have aspirations brewing, ready to be written down in whatever notebook I've picked up this month. Reflecting is hard, though. I'm the kind of person who really doesn't like to look back. I'm always upset or embarrassed by the past, so when I first saw that tweet I closed it without much hope. 

The negatives tend to stand out to me. I finished 2nd year with a 1% drop in my grade, made less money with my business than the previous year, had a shit living situation until summer and have recently dealt with quite a lot of negativity. So I in general I focus on moving forward.

However, I had a scroll through my camera roll and realised there were things that didn't deserve to be dismissed. I've had a lot of happy moments this year, I've done multiple new things that I've been terrified of and put off for years (see 1, 2 & 7!). So here we go:


Thursday, 21 September 2017

My YCN Submissions 2017


This summer I found out I had been commended for the two YCN projects I entered and was absolutely gobsmacked! During A levels I visited student awards exhibitions in London, staring adoringly at all the amazing entries, and hoping that one day I could be as good as them, so to receive recognition from one of the same made my little self very happy indeed. It really proved to me that the projects you enjoy working on usually turn out the best, too.

Instead of one flat out winner for each project, YCN chooses a number of commended entries that their judges, as well as members of the companies who set the briefs, have decided worked best. I think this is a wonderful way to run a student competition, as not only do more people get to feel like hot shit, but you also get to see lots of different, successful interpretations of the briefs you entered!

I thought I would write a bit about the projects themselves and the awards ceremony, as I know a lot of the people who follow me are design students themselves, and may be entering next year!

To my knowledge, YCN is an educational initiative that runs courses and events for creatives. It also hosts a Student Awards every year where companies (often very big companies) set a brief each for design students and recent graduates across the UK to enter. The briefs are suitable for Graphic Design, Illustration, Creative Advertising, Vis Com and really students of any commercial focused design course to enter.

As part of second year Illustration, we had to enter student competitions on our own, and collaboratively. I entered other, smaller, competitions too. There were so many projects that I was interested in, but as it's my first year studying as an illustrator, after switching from graphic design, I chose briefs that allowed me to focus on my new practice.


Friday, 15 September 2017

Advice On Settling Into Your University Room + Room Tour

When it came to September 2015, I was less than the squishiest marshmallow. I was liquid marshmallow, melted by fear and terror and worry. I was terrified liquid marshmallow, running down the street and into the drains. It was a difficult time because as much as I was very worried about moving to university, I was also extremely eager to set up a new life in my city of choice, Leeds. I was ready to combine all the information I had gathered about the world and cooking and become not only a Higher Education student but also an Adult who flew from the nest and set up their own, fully functioning nest.

Setting up a comfortable bedroom was a crucial part in my settling into university life, and that has continued to be the case every year. Note that my emotional stability increases at the exact rate that you add cushions and nice mugs. A lot of people will be the same, I'm sure.

This post is going to be a little walk around my room, while I explain why it is the way it is and how it's designed to help me settle into the groove.


Saturday, 26 August 2017

A Trip to Somerset and London

This week I spent a fab 5 days with my best pally from uni, Meg. It's so interesting to go home with uni friends and see where they grew up, because unlike the people from your hometown who you've probably known since you were at least 12, the folks you meet at uni have secret pasts you know nothing about. It was lovely to see where Meg grew up, went to the pub and walked around for 19 years.

If you keep up with my Instastories, you'll have seen how sweet farmy Somerset was! This post is more a collection of photos from our Lyme Regis and London days.


On day 2, Meg and I arrived in Lyme Regis to be met with a typically grey sky - it is England, after all. I mean, does anyone expect to sunbathe? The optimistic among us pack jumpers and wetsuits. But anyway, our trip wasn't for the beach, it was for coffee, catch ups and a wander around the seaside streets.

Very quickly we spotted this *incredible* pink house with blue doors and had to take advantage. It was a good day to wear a yellow bag and purple shirt.

Bag: Topshop | Jeans: Urban Outfitters BDG | Top: Pull & Bear


Our trip to London for day 3&4 revolved around Hella Jongerius' "Breathing Colour" exhibition at the Design Museum. It was probably one of the best art exhibitions I've been to, purely because every piece was properly explained. I am not one for interpretive art. I'm too uptight. I want to know things were made for a specific purpose or I get bothered about how people have the time to make the Art and how and why they even thought of it. Yeah, I'm that kind of person.

The exhibition was all about how light effects colour, how colour isn't static. My favourite piece is above. The sculptures were painted one colour, but with a carefully placed lamp, the shadows created make them look like colour palettes.

That evening we attended a talk that coincided with the exhibition, which I really enjoyed. Three designers who worked with colour in product design & architecture were interviewed, and it focused on how to open up clients to working with colour, why people are scared of colour and gender/social issues surrounding colour. Colour.

I was very affected by the exhibition. I now see the world in swatches.

An appreciation collage of the foods we ate in London. From left to right:

  • Falafel King on Portobello Road. We walked in for lunch and couldn't locate the menu until we saw that sign on the wall saying "falafel £7". They only do falafel wraps, and let me tell you, they don't need to bother with anything else. I've never had such good falafel. We both went for the wrap with houmous and a pickled pepper, which was delish. Ohhh and they give you free lemonade!
  • Bone Daddies, Soho. I'm going to keep this short because it's painful. We ended up catching three taxis to find one that was open, because I was so determined to try ramen. Sadly, I fucking hated the ramen. It's been a long time since I have been physically unable to eat something, but I was genuinely getting nauseous and had to breathe deeply into my glass of water while Megan slurped the noodles happily and said she didn't know what I thought was so wrong with it. Regardless, the sesame cucumber was fantastic. I might just not be a ramen kind of person.
  • Temple of Seitan, Hackney. You can't go to London and not hunt out a vegan restaurant. I'm fascinated with meat alternatives and how they compare, and this place has been all over my Insta feed for months. We both went for the *fillet burger with *bacon, *cheese, *mayo and lettuce with a side of chips. To Meg's surprise the chips tasted like normal chips. Yes, chips are vegan. The burger was bloody good, however I did take out the cheese because it tasted exactly like quavers (I like quavers, just not in burgers). After posting this photo on IG everyone was recommending the mac & cheese, so that must be good too! The seitan is their meat alternative of choice, and is a great texture, just like quorn. 

For the night we stayed in an Airbnb, which I would highly recommend using if you're looking to do city trips! We got a room in the quirkiest house on Portobello Road. Everything looked like a theatre prop. The location was great for getting to the design museum and finding food, too.

If you're interested in signing up and staying in someone's home rather than a hotel (£££) I have a link for money off your first trip! *click this*

Jumpsuit: Pull & Bear | Bag: Topshop | Belt: Urban Outfitters

I hope you enjoyed the little photo diary! I should probably get on with the more helpful studenty/arty blog posts but this kind of life update is my favourite procrastination.


Sunday, 6 August 2017

Venturing Into Pattern and Colour

It's tine to reopen my shop, but I want there to be something new. Over the past year at university, I've been truly inspired to test the boundaries of my personal style, because after 2-3 years of doing virtually the same thing, I am bored.

Making the decision to switch courses from Graphic Design to Illustration triggered a (slow and tentative) change in the way I view myself and my work. I feel more comfortable identifying as an art student, somehow. Graphics always seemed like visuals were used as tools, the skill was decision making, whereas on my illustration course the visuals matter a lot more, they're valued and developed lovingly.

I want to make beautiful things. I want them to have a purpose, but definitely be beautiful and a pleasure to own. Scrolling Instagram is becoming a dangerous game as so often I get the restless itch of wanting to jump up and make a ceramic bowl (glazed to perfection), create vibrant patterns on canvas, weave an intricate wall hanging with big fluffy bits and paint fancy ladies with pastel gouache.

Before, I'd stare in awe, but now I'm thinking... why can't I do that? Nothing is holding me back. I finally want to learn all of the things. If I'd been this open in 2014, maybe I would have continued on my foundation course for more than 3 days and never applied to do Graphic Design. Oh well, it's better late than never. Better in third year when I get to write my own projects and still have access to the university's equipment, than after uni when there would be a lot more in my way.

So last week I decided to give some pattern making a go. Colour is something I adore but have very little skill in, so working with abstract marks and shapes has helped take the focus off my usual form & lettering, and onto how to create an appealing colour piece. 

Probably the BEST THING I HAVE EVER LEARNED at uni, and that arguably is completely worth the estimated £21k I've already spent in fees, is how to change colours with adjustment layers in Photoshop. All these marks were made with black ink, and edited digitally. It blew my fucking mind. I used to select the areas and fill them with colour. You would not believe the pixelation. I'm living in a new world. I bet you all knew how to do it too.

This was a really quick post, I just wanted to shout from the rooftops that I'm excited to learn and try new things. I hope you guys like what I make next!


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

What I ate: Feta & spinach puffs and Halloumi Kebabs

The second I got back to my uni house in Leeds (well, after laying on the floor panting. It’s far too hot to drag a suitcase up hills) I planned out my meals for the week. Knowing all the good food waiting in my future is a good way to raise my spirits and makes me feel at home!

During the summer I really like having a load of pre made salads/mixes/bites in the fridge to pick at during the day and put together for meals. Usually that involves a big pork pie that I segment out for each meal, but I’m trying to cut down on pork pies again. However, that pastry taste and texture would be missed, so I thought why not make something else of my own.

I’m not trying to convince you that feta and spinach puffs are a direct vegetarian alternative to pork pies, but they hit the spot in similar enough ways. Pastry & feta: filling, caramelised onion: sweetness. 

And another element I like to keep in the fridge is leftover kebabs. Not the scary kind from takeaways, the chopped up, seasoned and grilled kind. I decided to keep the meatless theme and go for halloumi, bell pepper and onion, which would top salads nicely & add some substance!

Together, these took about an hour. Read on for the recipes!

Leftover Kebabs:

  • 1 pack of Hallouimi 
  • 1 Bell pepper 
  • 1 small-medium onion
  • [extra ideas: 1 courgette, diced chicken/lamb] 
  • Black pepper/fajita seasoning/a marinade of your choice
  • Kebab sticks - wilkos do packs of 4 metal ones for like £2!

1. Chop your ingredients into similar sized squares and apply to the kebab, alternating each ingredient. You want the ingredients to flavour each other. They can touch, but don’t pack them too tight or they won’t cook well in the middle. Once done, sprinkle seasoning (to taste) over each kebab, covering each side evenly.

2. You can either barbecue or grill your kebabs. I rested mine on the edges of a foil lined baking tray, so the kebabs were suspended. Some of the halloumi is likely to get soft and fall off, so if the tray is lined it will still cook nicely and be edible!

3. Grill until the tips blacken, take out to turn, and repeat until you’re satisfied everything is cooked. Be particularly careful if adding meat by chopping off a piece to make sure the centre is cooked. 

4. Store in tupperware the fridge and use to top salads/add to pasta dishes that week!


  • Pre-made puff pastry 
  • 1 bag of spinach 
  • 1 pack of feta 
  • 1 onion 
  • 1-2 garlic cloves 
  • (nutmeg)
  • black pepper
  • (lemon juice)

1. You don’t have to do this step, but I wanted caramelised onions in the parcels. Chop your onion in half, and then into thin [5mm] strips. Fry with oil or butter on a medium heat, and cover with a lid for up to 10 minutes, stir, add a small spoonful of sugar, then stir and cover again. Keep checking on them until they’re soft and browned. Remove from the heat and put to the side. 

2. You can use the same pan for the spinach mix. Crush the garlic and fry it off in the pan. Add the bag of spinach, maybe a little at a time until they wilt down and free up space. Add black pepper and a little nutmeg (to taste). When completely wilted, remove from the heat and stir in the roughly chopped/crumbled spinach. Add a little lemon juice to taste. 

3. Pre heat the oven. 

4. Flour a clean surface and roll out the puff pastry slightly with a floured rolling pin. Cut into fairly large squares of 3-4 inches. Mine were all slightly different sizes which resulted in different shaped parcels! Only the proper squares will fold diagonally into nice triangles, but you can fold more rectangular pieces in half.

5. When the mixture has mostly cooled, spoon it onto one half of each pastry piece, leaving room around the edges to seal. Consider how each piece will need to fold. You can easily nudge the mixture around if you go wrong though! I ended up mixing the caramelised onion into the spinach & feta, however It would be nice to spoon the onion on top of the filling, creating layered flavour. 

6. With your fingers and lukewarm water, rub a little water along the edges of the pastry. Fold each pastry down the middle, over the filling. To seal, use a fork to press the top pastry layer into the bottom, creating a nice edging. To decorate you can poke little holes in the top or place a slice of onion.

7. Bake for 20 minutes, making sure to check them periodically. Remove when golden on the edges and top.

8. When cooled, place in tupperware or wrap individually in foil.

I hoped you liked the post! I'm going to make an effort to do more of these "What I ate" posts as I do get a lot of messages asking for recipes of the things I make & show on Instastories. Do let me know if you make these & how you get on!! 

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