Monday, 27 July 2015

Food | Cooking for one, my fave tomato sauce

It's been a hell of a long time since I did any cooking posts on my blog (way back in 2013 was the last time I think).  I'd been thinking for a while that I'd like post more recipes, and an opportune moment to jump back into it came when I heard about Age UK's campaign focusing on cooking healthy and nutritious meals for one.

Now obviously I'm married, but Gaz and I both lead such busy lives that each of us ends up cooking our own meals from time to time.  Age UK's advice got me thinking about the types of food I try to cook when I'm home alone and I want something fast, nutritious and versatile.  Of course it got me thinking about my tomato sauce...  I cook up big batches of it, use it as a base for loads of meals and it's damn tasty.  Read on if you'd like to know how to cook it...

Cooking for one, my fave tomato sauce


1. An onion
2. Garlic
3. 1 tin/carton of chopped tomatoes
4. Oregano
5. A chili pepper (optional)
6. Oil (for cooking)
7. Salt and pepper, to taste

Cooking for one, my fave tomato sauce


Chop your onions and garlic however you like, it doesn't have to be neat, you're just cooking for yourself here, who've you got to impress?  I always like to throw a chilli in my tomato sauce so I chop that up too.

Soften the onions and garlic for a few minutes in your oil (your chili pepper too if you're using it), until they're just translucent then add in your tinned tomatoes, a good sprinkle of the dried oregano (try 1/4 of a teaspoon to start) and a pinch of salt and pepper.  Leave it to cook for 5 minutes and hey presto in less time than it takes to cook up some pasta to enjoy it with, you've got a basic tomato sauce.  

It's a really easy recipe to double so you can cook up big batches and freeze it, but what's really great about it, is how versatile it is...

Cooking for one, my fave tomato sauce
Cooking for one, my fave tomato sauce


Here are just a few of the ways I transform this basic recipe to be used for lots different meals.

Arrabiata: Add some extra chopped chilis, a pinch of mixed herbs and some chopped ham to create a really delicious meaty sauce, serve with penne or rigatoni.  A sprinkle of parmesan cheese finishes this one off nicely.
Huevos Rancheros: This one has been a favourite recipe of mine for a long time.  I add some chopped bell peppers and some extra oregano, the warmed up sauce is served on poached eggs on top of toasted tortillas.  Sounds weird I know, but it's really delicious!
Baked white fish: I add some chopped olives, capers and basil to the sauce and bake it in the oven on top of some fish fillets.  It's a beautiful light meal, and goes really nicely with a simple salad and some bread.

There are so many other meals I create using this tomato sauce as a starting point.  What sorts of things do you cook when you're just cooking for one?

To read more about the great work that Age UK do, click here.


Friday, 17 July 2015

Blogging | The D*cks and the Cliques

Disclaimer: This post might be a little long, a little swear-y, it's full of my opinions and I have a tendency to sound like a thesaurus at times.  If any of those things are likely to offend you then it might not be a good idea to read on...

Blogging is very much a hobby for me; I'm not out there competing for views, comments and shares.  If I get an opportunity or two through my blog, that's awesome but if not it's no skin off my nose.  Perhaps because I don't give two fucks about becoming established as a superior being in the blogger hierarchy I don't find myself embroiled in the melodramas I see happening in the community on a regular basis.  Don't get me wrong, I put myself firmly in the category of someone that is a bit of a dick at times but there are certain types of behaviour I see happening again and again in the world of blogging, and particularly on Twitter, that just go too far.

Differences of opinion 
On more than a few occasions in recent weeks, I've checked my Twitter feed after a long day at work only to find that some drama or other has kicked off.  This would be all well and good should everyone express their opinions like adults, but more often than not, some unsuspecting twitterer, whose only crime is to express an opinion that differs from the masses, is summarily ridiculed and torn apart.

We've all seen it happen, but should we put up with a person or people who find it necessary to treat someone else's opinions with scorn and derision just to assert their own?  Absolutely not!  And lets's not beat around the bush shall we?  These people are not only dicks, but they're bullies, plain and simple.  If we wouldn't put up with it any other walk of life why should we in our community?  I know I won't again if I see this type of shit happening in the future.

Just plain passive aggressive 
When the dust inevitably settles after conflicts of any sort it would be lovely if everyone could agree to disagree and go their separate ways.  Whilst this happens for the most part, there are always a few exceptions, many of which tend to take on a particular form - the passive aggressive tweet.  You know the type I mean, they're dripping in sarcasm, heavily hinting they're not happy about someone or something and are just generally hoping to cause a ruckus.  It's always the same type of people that post and react to these tweets too, you can see them circling like carrion birds.  But you know what?  If you don't have the cojones to come out and say what you mean, or address the people who are bothering you in an up front manner, keep it to your bloody self!

You can keep your clique
Hand in hand with the passive aggressive bullshit comes the cliques.  It's an inevitability that when you get large groups of people together cliques will form.  That's fine if the clique is just a group of people with similar thoughts and opinions and it's all kept friendly, but when they're gathering together to purposefully cause drama I take major issue.  From what I can see that kind of negative crap isn't wanted or needed by the vast majority of bloggers so let's just be buddies shall we?  If you decide you can't play nice, then you know where you can go...

The upside
I'm aware this post sounds pretty negative, but none of us would carry on blogging if it was all bad.  Most people I talk to and meet because of my hobby are genuinely nice and I've been lucky enough to make some true friends in my time in the blogosphere.

There will always be a few people who bring a bad attitude and try to ruin the good vibes, but it's great to see that it doesn't put off a lot of the good folks.  If blogging is what you love then keep on keeping on people!

What do you think? 
Opinions are like arseholes, everyone has one!  But unlike the aforementioned sphincter, I'd welcome your opinion in the comments below.


Thursday, 16 July 2015

Life | When It All Gets A Bit Sh*t...

I try not to get massively negative about things, but sometimes life just gets a bit shit, you know what I mean?

Between my house getting burgled in February, my energy hitting rock bottom and getting diagnosed with hypothyroidism and then a family member ending up in court (for something that wasn't their fault) it's all felt like a bit much to take!

But not for me the furrowed brow (as my favourite vampire slayer once said).  I figure life is all about how you decide to deal with things and so I've got myself a new-found determination to keep being my usual chilled self and to make sure I'm doing things, however little, to make my life happier.

So far that's meant taking some time off work, having a weekend away with my husband, indulging in a bit of pampering, and even writing on StargazyEyes again.

Here's hoping a positive attitude can help my life turn a corner eh?  Until next time...

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