Tuesday, 30 December 2014

Cauliflower crust pizza


Not to be seen as an imitation of ya standard Domino's, this wholesome take on the humble pizza should be appreciated in its own right. Gluten free and packing a veggie punch, the cauliflower base is a satisfying synthesis of doughy and crisp; just how I like it. Hope you do too!

For 2 full-size or 4 more petite pizza bases, you will need:

> 1 cauliflower
> 5 tbsp gluten free flour (I use Doves Farm wholemeal spelt)
> 2 eggs*
> sea salt
> 1 tsp dried basil
> 1 tsp dried oregano
> coconut oil

*to go vegan: substitute the eggs for 3 tbsp ground chia seeds mixed with 6 tbsp water, then allow thicken up for 10 minutes or so. Health food stores tend to stock ready packaged egg replacer, if chia seeds aren't your thing!   


Make:

1) Pre-heat the oven to 180ºC.
2) Chop cauliflower into florets, then place into food processor and pulse until it resembles couscous consistency.
3) Put the cauliflower "couscous" into a large bowl and add the eggs (or egg substitute), gluten free flour, and season according to taste. 
4) Stir together until dough-like, adding additional flour if the mix is still too gooey. 
5) Affix baking paper onto baking tray, then spread thin layer of melted coconut oil over the paper to prevent the bases from sticking. 
6) Spoon the mixture onto the baking paper, flattening and forming into desired shape - I tend to opt for a rustic circle - with a suitable utensil (a spatula or spoon works just fine). Brush lightly with coconut oil. Repeat for each base.
7) Put into the oven for 15-20 mins.
8) Add the topping! For the pizzas pictured, I used: tomato purée, feta cheese, caramelised onion chutney, steamed kale. 
9) Finish off by placing in the oven for an additional 5 minutes or so, then add a couple of fresh basil leaves if ya fancy. Enjoy!

Sunday, 21 December 2014

An ICAfternoon




It wouldn't be a home trip without a visit to one of my top London culture haunts, the Institute of Contemporary Arts. With its totally affordable £1 Day Membership, this lovely spot provides an ideal weekend (or holiday) motive for even the most thrifty of folk. Centrally situated on The Mall, a mere stone's throw away from Trafalgar Square, ICA is an absolute go-to for the culturally curious; its artistic offerings - whether cinema showings, contemporary expos, or gift shop goodness - seldom disappoint.


My personal highlight of this Saturday's excursion was undoubtedly The Poundshop, a seasonal showcase selling a wholesome array of present-worthy products, all dashingly designed. Housed within the ICA Theatre between 19-21 December, the creative venture sets forth a nifty concept: selling design wares for set - and above all economical - colour-coded price bands of £1, £3, £5, £10 and £15 in a bunch of cultural institutions around the city, pop-up style. Suffice it to say that my sucker-for-pretty-things self was in perfect contentment, picking up inessential ephemera left, right and centre. (Almost) all to gift to others, naturally! 



It wasn't just the showcase's content that set my easily pleased heart aflutter, though. The design aesthetic of the display itself was simplistic but sweet, with the products shelved on DIY-esque industrial ladders within the walls of the vast, minimally dressed interior. Teamed with the fun little addition of their resident 'Photobot', The Poundshop made for a refreshing retail experience with a cool creative slant. 



Also running throughout the winter months is Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2014, a mixed media diversity of contemporary works from an assortment of talents, and Julie Verhoeven's Whiskers Between My Legs, her self-termed "grotto of visual excess" - a most fitting definition - which interrogates prevalent perceptions of femininity, gender and taste. In short, if you're on the lookout for a culture-rich, low-cost activity to help fill the festive break, get ICA on the agenda. 

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

This week I'm lovin'




DHM -> LDN: Though the uni workload doesn't exactly lighten up during the festive hols, my much loved London ends most certainly do. Far from a frosty reception, the Brit capital has greeted me back with seasonal sights and foodie delights - not to mention the odd log fire-fuelled night (or two). Ohh, home comforts never get old.

Thursday, 11 December 2014

Cribmas joy




If you're anything like me, yule have thoroughly caught tinselitus and be stocking up on festive frills to adorn your crib and spread some good vibrations by now. Oh (rein)deery me. Terrible Christmas puns aside - so sorry - I really do lapland up any excuse to rejig my room's interior a little, and this high-spirited season is the ultimate occasion to do just that. True to my all-consuming personal design aesthetic, you'll see that I like to keep it minimalist even during the most sparkling time of year. This doesn't, however, detract from the next level cosiness granted by the merry little additions rockin' around my uni room of late. And it's not totally sparkle free. Have a nosy!




// "Happy Holidays" decoration: Paperchase (£2.50) | Reindeer + Christmas tree: Wilko (£1.50 each) | Festive mug: Paperchase (£6) | Sparkly stag: Primark (last year) //

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

A hot cup of *clean* Reese's Peanut Butter Cups


Though they're a regular occurrence, I'm always a tad hesitant to post my - thoroughly experimental - food and drink concoctions, largely for fear of being the only one they'll appeal to (in turn exposing my partiality for offbeat, even controversial culinary combinations). However, this latest little brew has attracted quite the curiosity amongst my friends, leading me to think it might just take the fancy of people other than my peculiar self. 



So, my loves, I present to you a dairy-free, gluten-free, and indeed refined sugar-free liquid variant on the Hershey's classic: Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Naturally, you can mix up the ingredients according to your own dietary requirements (or lack thereof), but these are the go-to components of what has become one of my staple warming winter beverages.



You will need:

> 1 tbsp peanut butter - ideally the 100% peanuts kind (Meridian is great)
> 1 tbsp raw cacao powder (I use Bioglan)
> a few generous drops of Sweet Freedom Choc Shot (dreamy liquid hot chocolate made of fruit extracts and cocoa)
> milk of your choice (soya works well, thanks to its slight sweetness)

Make:

1) Heat milk in pan.
2) Once the milk begins to warm up, add the peanut butter, cacao powder, and Sweet Freedom Choc Shot.
3) Stir constantly, until piping hot. 
4) Pour into a nice big mug. Think happy thoughts. Enjoy. 


Thursday, 27 November 2014

World Press Photo Exhibition 2014


In case you missed this year's World Press Photo Exhibition - which came to a close yesterday evening - I thought it might be apt to outline some of the highlights from the 2014 contest, having checked it out on my latest London jaunt. Housed on the main floor of Southbank Centre (a personal fave), the renowned event's 57th installment presented the most remarkable press images from the past 12 months. As per every year, a jury of reputed figures within the photojournalism realm sought out the photos that showcased a particularly outstanding amalgam of aesthetics and journalism.


As this year's jury chair Gary Knight underlined in his intro to the display, handpicking the annual photo crop is a pretty contentious endeavour; opinions on what constitutes a winning image are diverse to say the least. Above all in the field of press photography, the value of an image is not just determined by its surface beauty, but its portrayal of the story and its narrative per se. Therein lay the key concern of the judges: striking the balance between a "well-photographed" image and the means of depicting the issue at hand. The events captured, too, found themselves in a debatable hierarchy of importance, adding further complication to the selection process. 


Despite not knowing what didn't made the cut, I can most definitely vouch for the rich line-up that did. The (totally free) exhibition encompassed a whole wealth of worldwide issues in striking, highly affecting ways. Plucked from a submission selection of nearly 99,000 shots (I don't envy the jury), the winners were categorised under: Contemporary Issues, Observed Portraits, Daily Life, Sports, General News, Spot News, Nature, and Staged Portraits - all making for a collection replete with variety and giving rise to some serious reflection.  


From stark, hard-hitting portrayals of global disasters - both natural and manmade - to candid portraits of domestic violence, to vignettes of the relationships between Egyptian bodybuilders and their mothers, as well as stunning insight into the lives of bonobos in Kokolopori, 2014's World Press display was outstanding to say the least. If there was ever an expo to epitomise the age-old "picture is worth a thousand words" phrase, this was it. To a T. 


Check out the winners here.

Friday, 21 November 2014

It's a colourful life


Now we're into the second half of November, I don't think I'm being overzealous when I say that the festive season is well and truly upon us. After all, the home of the red cups has had their - arguably premature - Christmas playlist on repeat (on repeat, on repeat, etc.) for a solid number of weeks. This in mind, I felt it more than justified - right?! - to invest in a few seasonal style staples to see me through the chilly months ahead.




It was only when I got my miniature haul home that I realised my present penchant for muted tones has got a bit out of hand. On a practical level though, a - perhaps drab, perhaps minimalist - neutral wardrobe acts as a neat blank canvas on which to embellish more exciting personal touches, from a flamboyant flower, to a statement necklace, to a bold lip (as pictured). After all, they say that "women who wear black lead colourful lives" (or so I shall convince myself); that little adage will do just fine.

// Jumpers: H&M | Oversized Scarf: H&M | Collared Shirt: American Apparel | Necklace: Tatty Devine | Lipstick: Rival de Loop Berlin #58 | Earrings: Primark // 

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

This week I'm lovin'


Lucuma // lu-koo-mah

One of my wild habits of late is to pop into the local health food store and get a lil experimental in my ingredient choices (just to keep it lively). This week's choosing was a bright orange packet - tricky to miss - containing a certain power powder by the name of lucuma. Sourced from Peru, this little wonder ingredient has been termed the "Gold of the Incas", thanks to its notable nutrient density and caramel-like flavour. Turns out it's quite versatile, too - so far I've been adding it into smoothies, natural yoghurt and raw baking recipes. 

I went for Naturya's variety (who stock a sweet selection of superfood stuffs), but no doubt there are other quality lucuma lovin' labels! 

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Saturday, 8 November 2014

Global EyeEm Adventure




Last weekend saw the online and offline worlds come together under the most utopian of circumstances, in the shape of the Global EyeEm Adventure. Indeed, on November 1st, the mobile photo app - which I’m sure you’ll recall me bigging up a bunch of times before - challenged their burgeoning band of followers to capture the most photogenic spots across the globe, meet-up style. Having been a keen advocate of EyeEm's vision since hitting upon the startup in Berlin this year, it was with open arms that I accepted their kind request to host the London leg of the worldwide event. 


Photography lovin' folk were beckoned to connect out of life 2.0 and meet a likeminded line-up of lovely people in our respective cities, from Tel Aviv, to New York, to Kuala Lumpur. Together, these relaxed independent affairs amounted to an impressive large-scale effort, with designated EyeEm albums offering an insight into the event's international engagement.  


For the London edition, I decided - after quite the deliberation -  upon the city's multifaceted East End. An obvious choice, ya might surmise, but there is so much more to the Shoreditch area than the hipster stereotype it's become synonymous with. As we determined during the course of my lil route (which lasted about 2.5 hours), the E1 ends are an absolute melting pot of characters, cultures and curiosities. And, within a somewhat limited timescale, I felt it an ideal patch to shoot a decent dose of diverse images; there's a pretty high concentration of marvels in a not-too-vast space. 


After convening outside the overground station, I gave my camera-bearing crew a petite briefing, and armed them with stickers to spread some EyeEm love on our travels. The group was made up of totally distinct characters, from all walks of life, bridged through a mutual appreciation of photography and a fancy to capture some of London's most photogenic facets. This diversity also lent a freshness to the end results, with identical scenarios captured in totally idiosyncratic styles. Throughout the afternoon, we grew to be an endearing unconventional family, content and creatively elevated in each other's company. See: the virtual and the real ain't so antithetical after all.  



*See also: 1 // 2 // 3*