Sunday 8 January 2017

How To: Mushroom Risotto

If you're not making risotto this winter, get on it quick! It's one of the most wonderful, wholesome, filling and versatile dishes you could put on your weekly meal plan. Today I'm sharing a mushroom risotto, the classic, but of course if you don't like mushrooms just leave them out!

So, what do I love about risotto? All of the above, plus it's cheesy, creamy and a fab way to use up all the leftover veg in your fridge! Does anyone else usually have 1/4 of a broccoli, a few leaves of spinach and 3 string beans left in their veg draw at the end of the week? Just chop 'em up and throw them in a risotto with the last of your cheese. Sorted.


  • Arborio rice - This is the only rice you are allowed to use, it puffs up and goes all creamy, trust me! It's been available in every supermarket I've tried, and £1 from Morrisons!
  • 1 stock cube - Vegetable or chicken
  • 1 glass of white wine {optional}
  • 1 onion
  • A tub of mushrooms - They shrink!
  • Greens - Here I've used chopped string beans and spinach
  • 1 or 2 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil (or butter)
  • Cheese - How much is up to you, however for this recipe I used 2/3 of the brie you see above, with some left for topping. Parmesan is also a favourite, and blue cheese if you're up for it! Just combine them all if you're anything like me...


Heat up some olive oil/butter (start small, you can add later - mushrooms soak it up!) and fry off your onions and mushrooms together, on a low heat. When the onions are golden and the mushrooms have shrunk down, add the garlic and fry that off for a few minutes too. 

Rinse your rice (it's just good practice) drain and add it to the hot pan, mixing it in with the veg. After 2-3 minutes add the glass of wine and let that sizzle until the rice soaks most of it up. Make up your stock following the instructions on the box. I really don't bother with exact amounts, I keep adding hot water until the rice is done anyway! Start adding stock to the pan, one small pour at a time. Wait until the rice has soaked it up, then add in more. You need to keep stirring to ensure no rice sticks to the pan, believe me, it happens quickly! Add in your greens along with the last bit of water so it gets to boil a little.

Once all the stock has been added and the rice is fully puffed (taste test to check!), mix in the chopped brie (etc). Let this melt as you stir. Season with pepper and you're done! Serve quickly with a bit more cheese to melt on top and enjoy!!

I usually make far too much risotto for one portion, so put the rest into containers for lunches over the next few days and freeze some for a later date. If you don't hide it away, you'll definitely be back for more - it's SO GOOD!!

I'm constantly making risotto and it's nearly always different, depending on what's in the fridge. There are so many ways to make an amazing concoction, so I'd love to bring out a little recipe zine, to share ideas? Would anyone be interested? Recipe book/food illustration is where my heart is at, it's about time I give it a go, right?!


Thursday 5 January 2017

Where Did My Confidence Go?

I want to write and blog, but I don't know what to write and blog. You know? Well, I didn't used to know. I used to have unlimited things to talk (moan) about on the internet, but now I just have a complete compulsion to keep everything to myself. A voice that says no one cares anyway? Growing up and realising I don't actually matter, at all, to anyone, was traumatic, to say the least.

This is sarcasm.

I read the Georgia Nicolson series as a teen and it undoubtably had a major influence on my life outlook. Very insular, you'll know what I'm talking about if you've read them. Secondary school was horrible, riddled with people who enjoyed nothing more than to pick at me for everything I did, especially what I shared on the internet in The Early Years (Tumblr). The only way I toughened myself up to get through it was to believe that they were only picking on me because I was very interesting and they were very not at all. This helped a lot. It was a fun few years being a human shield of confidence. However, once this all stopped I kind of had a very belated breakdown. After college, away from anyone who had anything against me, I developed a horrible, constant expectancy that in the street, on my timeline, sitting on the other side of the coffee shop that I couldn't see to because of my poor eyesight, was a group of people who were laughing at me. I began to hold myself back from doing things just in case they came out and attacked me for it. I absolutely would not put myself out there, so obviously my ~online career~ had a ceiling. Because that's how it works, right? You share more, people connect more, they share it, everything grows organically? Well I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to keep an online diary about running a small biz (&life) going, I wanted to give Youtube a go, but the idea of these things caused so much anxiety and worry that I just absolutely would not try. I even started to hold back on the shop side of things, the thing that made me happiest and actually proud. I worried about selling at craft fairs, pitching my products to retailers, expanding in any way whatsoever, in case it was presumptuous, I was being silly, getting too big for my boots, etc.

So these ghost people that I had imagined were there, ready and waiting for me to try something that would fail so they could laugh at it, started holding back everything that might have been if I had just tried. And I know it might have worked because I love sharing, nothing brings me more joy than being open and finding out everything about another person, and vis versa. I believe that if you have a true passion, you'll be able to make anything work! And I've had so many requests for me to start Youtube, or a podcast, but I've batted every one away. Just over two years ago I finally persuaded myself to get snapchat, and really quickly started pseudo vlogging, but these days I can hardly bring myself to do even that, for a different reason.

After essentially freezing my career, my hobby, I've watched it slowly, but predictably, fade. It is downhill. Going. On a roll, down a negative gradient. As has my motivation because of this weird, ridiculous unwillingness to try.

And God, I feel terrible, because I still get messages, requests for interviews, saying how well I'm doing and asking for advice. I'm not doing well! I'm doing pretty horribly, to be honest. I haven't been doing well since August 2014, before I left for uni. And even before then. I was probably only doing well in 2013. I definitely have the complex where I would be upset if I got a B in a test I was working to get an A on. It doesn't matter that a B is good, I know within myself what my dreams are, my goals, my capabilities, and how much or little I'm working towards them. I'm not happy now because although I'm still working every day at what I do, I used to and should be working on another level. I could still be if it wasn't for the horrible insecurity that hovers like a squishy but solid and black wall above me, not letting me through the trap door to the next level of the doll house game I could be in if life was actually a video game.

How do I explain what I'm feeling? Why it's an issue?

  • I feel as though I can't design new products because they're not good enough, which comes from a general and quickly spreading, overall insecurity. I even tried collaborating for a few months because I was so insecure about my work. Totally loosing sense of what I wanted.
  • I feel the decline in the success of my business, whatever area it may be, is un motivating. Obviously that's a cycle and is a side effect. Everyone goes through this, it needs pushing through.
  • I feel intensely uncomfortable with putting myself out there, trying. When I do, usually I feel happy. But I rarely do. It's too much of a block to start. That's why this post is completely unstructured. I'm just getting it all out, capturing this short burst of motivation. 
  • I feel embarrassed and even more insecure in my abilities because it seems a lot of people haven't noticed. I assume most people have. But the messages make it worse. I'm sorry if you've said something kind and this makes you feel bad but I just can't take the compliments if I don't consider them true..

All this has affected me at uni, too. I don't know how to talk to people anymore. I haven't been a very smooth socialiser since school, really, but it's just pathetic now. I don't have confidence in who I am, so I stay silent a lot of the time. I hate it!! People must meet me and think I don't care, or that I'm really boring. I just don't know how to present myself, why would they care to talk to me?

Positivity. Let's think positively. I've considered that maybe this is an internal journey and I'm currently on the cusp of the sort after and long awaited realisation that nobody cares so do whatever the hell you want. But I think it's more along the lines of nobody cares so don't do anything, or they'll care but in a bad way and it will be terrible. Oh my god, I'm so ridiculous?

This post is like really, really crap self therapy. How do I end it..

I need to find myself, to try everything that I want to do. Because I do WANT to do it. I have the thoughts, I still have dreams. I need to try things, set goals for myself again. I need a plan, I need to meet these plans and feel proud again. I had a plan from Year 11 until uni, but I'd forgot to plan what happened once I got to uni, so completely spiralled into uncertainty. Anyway, positivity. Brains are so complicated, self worth and efficacy are hard to keep when you're capable of being your worst enemy. So what's the answer, just get over it?

I think that's all I have to say. I kind of hope no one reads this, but then again I want to share it. Happy 2017, make it lovely. Don't let others bring you down.

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