Classy dining

What a manic day for me. Well, when I say manic… I had my hair done, went for a meeting with my new employer and went to one of the poshest restaurants of my entire life. So not exactly the busiest day of my life so far…

I’m all too easily getting back into day to day life in England and its getting me down! There’s nothing exciting to look forward to and I’m not interesting to people anymore! I’m no longer that English girl who lives in a German village. Boo hiss! But it’s only 2 months until my food blogging will resume from Germany. Could not be more excited!

Breakfast
Belvita breakfast biscuits

Fast becoming a bog standard breakfast in my life as the only other thing available in our house is bran flakes. And to be honest, I think that’s just one step away from muesli. No thank you!

Lunch
Tuna salad with a slice of goats cheese tart

Today you will discover that as part of my love for all cheese, I have a particular fondness for goats cheese. So this was a very good day for me! I’m slowly becoming more and more used to eating salad on a regular basis and I’m sure that can do me nothing but good in the long run. I actually took a lot of pleasure in condemning my parents for having cheese topped rolls instead of salad. I know – get me off my high horse. But I seem to have acquired some motivation from somewhere!

Dinner
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Goats cheese, tomato and pancetta pizza
Chocolate pudding with salted caramel ice cream

Oh my god. Okay I know I went to Italy last month and yes the food there was incredible but this pizza was something else. Strangely enough, I’ve begun to like tomatoes. Originally I belonged to that very distinct group of people that love tomato ketchup but hate the actual tomato. I’m very sure I’m not alone! But on this occasion I really made the best choice.
Unfortunately, this restaurant was one of then poshest places I have EVER been and I felt extremely out of place in my floral cutout dress and heeled clogs. My friend’s dad decided to pay for it as a 21st birthday present and the minimum price for a bottle of wine was ¬£21 so I’m very sure I won’t be returning for a while.
And I know I shouldn’t have but in my defence, I did share dessert. I have no regrets. That ice cream was to die for! And because it was a posh restaurant, the dessert was a customary small amount on a very large plate. I know it’s naughty but you can’t deny yourself everything!

Tomorrow I’m heading to London for another friend’s 21st. They all seem to be coming at me all at once! But I can’t wait. All this travelling has meant that I’ve neglected a lot of my friends. But not anymore! They are going to be a priority for me. That, and my next step on my healthy eating journey: Exercise.

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Back in blighty blues

I know it’s been a while since I wrote. Slap my wrist. But I’ve been through a lot in the past few weeks. I’ve moved home from Germany, found a new job and unpacked my life into a room the size of a shoebox.

And I came home to a pile of Easter eggs. Oh no.

I immediately asked my mom to hide them from me – but only after consuming an entire box of malteasers with my dad. I know, I feel the shame.

But now, I will get back on track. I’ve sorted through the paperwork, unpacked the bags and organised my life generally. It involved a lot of call centres and a lot of stress. Pass me the wine? I wish.

Breakfast
Belvita breakfast biscuits

I’m sure it’s not the healthiest breakfast anyone has ever consumed but its better than nothing. Right? At least I didn’t dive into the can of bacon grill I found in the cupboard. (It may sound gross to you but it has been a personal favourite of mine since I was a child).

Lunch

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Brown bread sandwich with hummus, feta cheese and caramelised onion

Possibly or definitely, the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Naughty carbs – I could have had the jacket potato. But damn was it good. And I ate all the salad that came with it too. I’m actually starting to enjoy salad. What’s wrong with me?! And I had a bottle of water with it instead of diet coke. I’m doing oh so well ūüėČ

Dinner
Cheese and onion pasty with chips and salad

The day was going so well. But apparently since I moved out of home, Thursday became chip night. I’m absolutely gutted. Although the pasty was great. Germans genuinely don’t know what a pasty or a pie is. Poor poor people. But now I’ve had my obligatory pasty, I’ll try not to have another one for a while. I might just go out every chip night. Avoidance all the way.

Anything else
Iced coffee

I stopped myself ordered it with a shot of caramel. I’m entirely sure that there’s still more than my daily amount of sugar in it but I needed my coffee fix in the sun. Does anyone have any healthier alternatives? I’d love to know what they are. I really can’t give up my coffee. Sad times.

Thats my diary for today. Not brilliant, not bad. Just average. Much improvement is needed. But in related news, I stepped on the scales today. I’ve lost half a stone. How? I have no idea. There was far too much schnitzel involved in my last few weeks in Germany. But I couldn’t be more delighted! Long may it continue.

Studying and sad looking food

Three in one month.

Germany has really outdone itself this time. I know they like to celebrate everything and they love a good public holiday, but I really think three in one month is pushing it. I don’t feel like I’ve worked at all. Whilst I’m not complaining on that front, it would be nice to spend time with my pupils since I leave at the end of the month to go back to England. I’m also feeling a little sore about the situation because this bank holiday gave me the opportunity to do University assignments that I’ve been putting off. And I really hate them. With every fibre of my being. A little part of my soul dies inside every time I have to write a new entry about what a wonderful linguist I’m becoming. I’m not being melodramatic, honest. Opportunities like this often mean a large mug of coffee on one side of my laptop and a large bar of chocolate on the other. But not today.

Breakfast
Crunchy nut cornflakes

Yeah yeah, we’ve heard all this before. Boring. Next!

Lunch
Tuna and sweetcorn pasta

Today, I could not be bothered. I was a girl on a mission – to kick my assignment’s ass. I had no time for this thing called salad and the preparation it requires. I’m eating my pasta, pre-prepared, from yesterday’s bowl. I’m a time-efficiency maverick, I know.

Dinner
Instant mash, mixed vegetables and gravy

I think this is the embodiment of the turn my day took as soon as I really started to work instead of clicking around my screen willing my assignment to write itself. I needed comfort food and quick to get me through the second after-dinner slog. I have a defence for the instant mash. It was always a comfort food that my mom would make for me when I was little. And it was really yummy. Not like this awful slop I bought in Germany. I had to add almost the whole bag of ‘flakes’ to half the required liquid to give it any kind of consistency. I was so sad about the outcome, I cooked a whole can of mixed vegetables, poured roast onion bits all over it and drowned it in Auntie Bessie’s gravy. The saddest, most tasteless meal I have experienced in recent times. Not even the homely gravy could save it. A veritable disaster.

Anything Else
My last bag of curiously cinnamon cereal

I don’t know if you’ve ever had these. But they’re the best cereal ever invented. Except you should never eat them as a breakfast cereal; splashing milk over them would be a travesty. They make a great snack, especially at the cinema. They are so much better than tasteless popcorn. But back to the point. About a month ago, a lovely friend of mine discovered that snack packs of my favourite cereal are being produced in England and decided to send me five packets. Today was my last one and I needed all the motivation I could get. So I swapped my chocolate bar for a bag of cereal. Whilst I understand it’s not the healthiest study snack I could have had, it’s one step at a time and this was progress for me.

Tomorrow I start back at the school after one and a half weeks off. I haven’t planned a single lesson yet. It’s so evident what takes priority in my life.

Dreaded Sundays

I used to love Sundays as a child.

It was the once a week opportunity to spend quality time with my dad, get breakfast in bed and go on a day trips to exotic places like the local garden centre. As a student, it was a day of vegging out on the sofa and seeing how many episodes of Sex and the City me and my housemates could watch before the guilt took over that we hadn’t opened a textbook all weekend. As a teacher in Germany, I loathe Sundays. Nothing is open. Absolutely nothing. Shame if I should travel over the weekend and arrive back in Naumburg on a Sunday evening with nothing in the fridge; I guess I’m not eating today! The strangest part is, the town is busiest on Sundays. Full of tourists wandering around in their Jack Wolfskin gear, brandishing their fancy cameras in one hand and an ice cream cone in the other. (Okay, I was a bit dramatic. Ice cream parlours ARE open on Sundays – But what help is that to me?). My Sunday plan is often to stay in bed as long as possible and to pretend it’s not Sunday.

I’m always successful.

So the first entry of today is

Lunch
Crunchy nut cornflakes

Fast becoming my breakfast staple; today it has become my lunch. When you don’t get out of bed before 12pm, you’re no longer entitled to breakfast and lunch; that’s just greedy.

Dinner
Tuna and sweetcorn with pasta and salad

I am a bit of a tuna and sweetcorn addict. I also promise that I only added a teaspoon of mayonnaise. Not particularly exciting but plenty of colour on my plate, which is always a good sign. I’ve also made enough for lunch tomorrow again. I’m feeling very efficient. That, and I’m trying to put off work by any means of procrastination possible.

Anything Else
Coconut and chocolate ice cream

Okay okay okay. I cannot excuse this at all. However, in feelings of guilt that I’d wasted my ‘oh so valuable’ Sunday, I put on my hiking boots at 4pm and climbed to the highest point of Naumburg in 25 degree heat. Not the wisest move I’ve ever made, I must admit. It was absolutely boiling and one bottle of water does not suffice. I also almost got lost in the forest, which was less than ideal. I walked for nearly 2 hours, stopping for a break to take in the views, which I will be leaving in 14 days. Therefore, when I got back into town, I couldn’t help myself. Where in England would I be able to buy homemade Italian ice cream for 80 cents a scoop? It’s ludicrously cheap and delicious. And I earned it. Right? The classic food addict denial.

Tomorrow is another Feiertag (bank holiday) and I’m not sure I’ll be able to put off my University assignments for much longer. I’m also not sure if I can continue to eat as much junk food as I have been and pretend that I’m making progress.

Except, who ever heard of university assignments and salad in the same sentence?

Cooking with friends

My stomach bug was extremely poorly timed.

I’d already organised with some friends to have a barbecue in my back garden, which just so happens to be the school playground; complete with swings, climbing frames, slides and trampoline. The perfect place for a barbecue if you ask me. But not only did my illness have other ideas, so did the weather. After experiencing a week of questionable weather in Italy, I have returned to the most miserable, rainy weather I have seen in Germany since I moved here. True, it did snow for nearly six months but at least it wasn’t grey.

Of course this put paid to our original plans but everyone still agreed to come over – This meant a VERY quick tidy up for me as I had arrived back to my apartment from Italy the afternoon before, dumped my luggage by the front door and climbed straight into bed for the next 15 hours. Nevertheless, my main worry was whether I could really stomach any food at all. I couldn’t have been more wrong. It seemed starving the bug had really worked and I was now ravenous.

My one and only meal of the day РLunch 
Fajitas, homemade wedges and salad

Halloren melt in the middle chocolate pudding with vanilla ice cream

Mexican. Always a foolproof crowd pleaser. Unfortunately, most ingredients are sadly lacking in my local German supermarkets. It really does disappoint me how much I can’t buy since I arrived in Germany. They’ve only really just discovered tortilla wraps‚Ķ Lacking a fajita pack, which is always my go-to in England, we bought all our own ingredients and improvising on the fajita spice by buying a packet of chicken spice for a ‘paprika chicken’ recipe; it pretty much fit the bill. We also decided to make my homemade potato wedges. They’re not healthy; Part-boiled potatoes, tossed in copious amounts of proper butter and baked in the oven for up to an hour until crispy. But they don’t half taste good – especially with the addition of ‘chip salt’; a fab find in the spice aisle! So I didn’t feel too guilty, a side salad was an absolute must. Except deciding on a salad between four different people can be minefield. Everyone has their own preference, likes and dislikes. I settled for just fishing out the parts of the salad that I liked and leaving the rest for the others. Needless to say, I still have half a packet of cherry tomatoes in my fridge, which will NEVER be touched.

But onto dessert.

Naughty me.

I have to say at this point though, I’ve had this ‘Halloren Chocolate Pudding mix’ in my cupboard for nearly five months and haven’t touched it once. Namely because you have to make all six puddings at once. And while I have a binge-eating tendency, even my conscience couldn’t deal with that much chocolate consumption in one go. Unfortunately they didn’t go according to plan. There is a fine art to producing melt in the middle puddings. Too little time, they have the consistency of a hot chocolate fudge sauce. Too much time, they become a regular cake with no ‘meltiness’ to be seen. Unfortunately the former occurred. While it made a great ice cream sauce, it wasn’t exactly what I had in mind.

You can see now why there was only meal today. Because it was an epic. And extremely unhealthy. I don’t plan to continue with this trend at all. But this is the peril of cooking with friends – not everyone plans on eating healthily. Not everyone needs to watch what they eat. There are those pesky people out there that can eat exactly what they like without consequences, and why shouldn’t they? I know I would. If it wasn’t under my friends’ influence I’m very sure one fajita and a side salad would have sufficed but I’m a sucker for dessert. I can’t blame my friends on that count.

From tomorrow, normal business will be resumed.

Men’s Day

Germany has the most bank holidays I have ever encountered.

Today is ‘M√§nnertag’ (Men’s Day) and in it’s¬†simplest¬†form involves groups of men gathering with crates of beer and having a good ol’ knees up just because they can. You may think this day is sexist but actually a ‘Frauentag’ (Women’s Day) also exists; I just kind of missed it. Essentially ‘M√§nnertag’ has affected me in two ways. 1. I get the day off work 2. I can’t go out on a bike ride as I would like to. There’s something a little scary about going on a bike day trip on your own when you know there’s going to be groups of rowdy men getting hammered by the river. I already heard on the radio that a man had been seriously injured in the night due to excessive drinking then driving. I’m not sure I¬†wholly approve of the tradition but overall people usually partake in good faith.

Bank holidays in Germany also mean that absolutely NOTHING is open. There’s no point in walking to town just to look in shop windows in my opinion, so this should have been a day of catching up with work and packing for Italy. Unfortunately, lazy Charis has taken over. Yes, I’ve ordered my friend’s 21st birthday present and I’ve printed out google maps to the apartments I’m staying in next week; except I haven’t actually moved a hell of a lot. I think this is one of my major issues. I’m capable of eating healthily but it’s the exercise that goes with it which I find difficult. I’m definitely not a runner. I’m not really a swimmer either, although I prefer it. I love badminton but you can’t play that on your own – curse of the singleton. After I’ve finished writing, I’ll probably go and run up and down my spiral staircase a few times to make myself feel better. For now, today’s menu.

Breakfast
Crunchy nut cornflakes

If I’m anything, it’s consistent. I also chopped up an apple but then put it straight back in the fridge. Can I count that as progress?

Lunch
Red pepper, spring onion and cheese melt on wholegrain breadLunch 09/05/13

I admit it. I was craving carbs. But then I opened the fridge and the vegetables looked at me¬†disappointedly and I knew I had to create something which contained at least 50% vegetable. I don’t know if I achieved it, but it tasted damn good. I’ve had a packet of pre-sliced cheese in my fridge for nearly two weeks now. That is an achievement; I’m an absolute cheese addict. So I didn’t feel so guilty about including it in this recipe.

Dinner
Plaice with red pepper, onion and tomato

This was totally uninspired and the product of the fact that it was past 9pm and I hadn’t eaten yet as I was desperately trying to figure out how many dresses is too many dresses on a trip to Italy. I have a dress addiction but we’ll get to that at a later stage… I don’t know if Dinner was tasty or whether I was just starving but I’d gladly eat it again!

At nearly midnight it’s definitely now off to bed for me as I have an early flight to Pisa which I could not be more excited about! I’ve never been before so its new culture, new food time.

Can’t wait to post what I discover.

The Asparagus Takeover

The sun has found my little German town again. And so has the asparagus.

I don’t know if it’s a little known fact or not (I certainly didn’t know until I moved here), the Germans love their asparagus. So much so that during asparagus season you can’t enter a restaurant without every daily special containing their favourite vegetable. Weirdly enough though, they don’t tend to eat green asparagus like us English people, they prefer the white – I have yet to discover what the actual difference is. In any case, this little fact leads me nicely onto today’s menu.

Breakfast
Crunchy nut cornflakes

I’m not sure you can get Kelloggs in Germany so when I say crunchy nut, I totally mean Kaufland’s cheap equivalent – they both taste exactly the same. I woke at 9am today feeling absolutely¬†ravenous, which is highly unusual. I looked at the apples in my fridge and knowing they’d been sat there for at least the last month, I thought I’d better not risk it. Does anyone know how long you can keep apples in the fridge? (I’d rather not throw away fruit that is perfectly edible). Anyway, crunchy nut cornflakes it was! Whether or not they have ever graced the same sentence as the word healthy, I’m not sure; but I was proud to have eaten something before 12pm.

Lunch
Ham with boiled potatoes and white asparagus in hollandaise sauce

If only the Germans didn’t drown their vegetables in the yummiest, unhealthiest sauce in existence. Overall, lunch left a little to be desired but I guess it’s school dinner, not a restaurant. I wish I could pop over to the school caterer and explain to her how to properly boil potatoes – at least it stopped me from eating more than I needed. As for the ham, it would have looked better on a sandwich. The asparagus therefore was definitely the pi√®ce de r√©sistance¬†on my plate – sneaky opportunity to practice my French there. I tried as hard as I could (promise) to get as much vegetable and as little sauce on my plate as possible. I understand why they put hollandaise sauce with it, it really is amazing; it just doesn’t help my healthy eating plan! Needless to say, whilst I approve of asparagus, I kind of don’t get the Germans’ obsession. I might just try every wonderful variation they’ve created and report back as to whether my opinion has changed!

Dinner
Thin crust base pizza with tuna, onion and salami

Dinner 08/05/13

There’s hardly much choice when your friend invites you to a pizzeria for dinner. And this pizza was so delicious that I don’t care how long tomorrow’s bike ride will have to be to make up for it. I also cycled to and from the train station to get a head start on those calories. It’s amazing how good Italian food is in Germany. They absolutely love it and its often made my real Italians, rather than Domino’s in England. I also guess you may be wondering about the tuna/salami combo but I can absolutely assure you that it’s a revelation. My lovely mom has ordered it ever since I can remember and it is most definitely my topping of choice.

I am now extremely excited to travel to Italy in two days. I just have to hope I don’t go off the rails with all the carbs and gelato on offer!