Food

Sunday chicken roast

I believe that in every country there is something people traditionally eat for lunch on Sunday. It’s probably because that is the time of the week that the whole family gets the time to gather around the table, share food, their news from the week, gossip, laughter, and sometimes insults (???!!! no, never ever in my family, no…)

Where I come from this traditional Sunday lunch dish is roast chicken with oven potatoes. A simple and cheap dish that can feed 4 people easily. It’s still one of my favourites, because you can not really go wrong with it.

The recipe I will give you today is a very quick one, that gets its extra taste from the spices we are using.

Here’s all you’ll need:

  • 1 chicken (the size does not matter in this situation…)
  • Potatoes (again, as many as you want, depending on the size of your baking tray. Just make sure that they’re all spread our nice and even, like in the picture below, to avoid any of them being left uncooked). Cut them in whatever form you like, but I usually go for long-ish pieces. The recipe works very well with baby potatoes as well.
  • Spices: This is actually what will take the dish to the next level. Exactly because chicken and potatoes have a pretty basic taste, it’s always good to spice things up (pun intended). What we used for this recipe: salt, freshly grounded pepper, smoked pepper (this is a bit more difficult to find, but I would recommend you get some not just for this recipe but pretty much for every meat dish you prepare. We use this one all the time, it’s of course difficult to find it outside Greece, but it’s really the best sh^&t ever, try to find it and make it happen!), oregano, and some sweet paprika. What you can also do to give your chicken this golden colour, is to rub it with some “chicken mix” spices (these are pretty easy to find).
  • Olive oil (50ml for a 20x30cm baking tray)
  • 250 ml water (again, for a 20x30cm baking tray)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tablespoon of mustardimg_0615

How to cook it:

  • Pre-heat your oven at 180℃.
  • Sprinkle the chicken mix, the smoked pepper, the salt and the freshly grounded pepper all around the whole chicken and rub it well! (slightly pornographic, I know!)img_0589
  • Add the tablespoon of mustard inside the chicken.img_0602
  • Add the garlic clove inside the chicken as well (just put the clove as a whole, no need to smash it beforehand).
  • Add oregano, sweet paprika, salt and freshly grounded pepper on the potatoes.
  • Sprinkle olive oil all over the chicken and the potatoes.
  • Add the water.
  • Place the tray in the oven and let it cook for about 30 minutes at 180℃. After 30 minutes, you should take the tray our, turn the chicken on the other side and also turn all the potatoes to make sure that they are not overcooked on one side.

I hope you do try it and let me know how it was!!!

BON APETIT

(and yes, in case you were wondering, this the boyfriend cooking, hihihi #solucky)

 

Life

The art of doing nothing

Yesterday was a public holiday in Belgium. November is great like in this little country, as in many other European countries, two days off close to each other (the second one being on November 11) give people the perfect chance for a mid-season getaway.

The day was the perfect autumn day. The sun shining, not too cold but crisp enough to make one feel the winter that’s coming, golden leaves everywhere, quiet and calm.

And how did I choose to take advantage of the day. BY DOING NOTHING. Like absolutely nothing. Except of course for eating a lot, cooking a meal, finishing my book (A Room of One’s Own – highly recommended to all women out there!), finishing Narcos AND watching The Bridge on the River Kwai for the first time in my life.

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Me realizing the day has gone by and all I did was eat.

Funny thing is I couldn’t wait for this day off. Monday evening I was making all these plans in my head as to how I would have a big breakfast at home, go out early in the morning and take pictures of the amazing nature (yes, we’re lucky enough to have great green spaces in Brussels), do a little picnic in the park with my boy and a book, go visit a museum (I currently have this Picasso exhibition on my radar), then go back home, update my blog, study a bit of French and then finish off with a light dinner and Netflix.

Instead, I didn’t leave my apartment not even for a second. My boyfriend at least took out the trash, but me? No, no way, on the lovely couch ALL.DAY.LONG. I didn’t even try my usual Sunday evening routine to fight the “OMG this holiday is so short” blues.

Am I proud of it? Nope. Did I enjoy it? Yessssss. There is a certain guilty pleasure in doing nothing, like eating a lot of ice cream or reading gossip magazines that are full of extravagant lies or doing these two things simultaneously. I very firmly believe that we are more and more in need of some quiet time when we really don’t have to do or even think of anything. Just be. With our loved ones preferably but also on our own. I spend most of my days hooked on my phone, sitting on a desk across my laptop, running from meeting to lunch to meeting to dinner, trying to meet with friends, talk to my parents on Skype, do cultural stuff and go to the gym. On a daily basis. Which at some point starts looking like it’s the impossible deed that everyone is working towards. I’m lucky enough to live in a small city, I cannot even begin to imagine how life is for the New Yorkers or the Londoners out there. So, yes, very proud of not doing anything productive yesterday, just feeding my mind and my body 🙂

What I ate: We tried two new recipes these past couple of days that really made my head fly off the roof.

  1. Greek version of meatloaf with bacon and eggs: Ok this is seriously the most delicious minced meat version I’ve ever tried in my whole life. Plus it was so much food that we were eating it for 3 days in a row – quite perfect if you ask me for a lazy day off that you don’t even want to think about cooking. Here below a token of this recipe’s amazing quality and here’s the recipe for those who date trying the most perfect meatloaf of all time.

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    Greek-style meatloaf and thank God for food.
  2. Chocolate brownies with tahini – completely vegan btw, which also kind of blew my mind. I couldn’t believe how delicious the result of this recipe was. If you’re lovers of orange and cinnamon like I am (not simply a fan, not even a huge fan, but A LOVER), then please try the recipe this weekend, you’ll thank me every bite of the way.
Life

How to really enjoy your birthday (even if all you want to do is eat cake and cry)

P.S. The majority of this post was written before the terrible events in Nice took place. I was always proud that my birthday coincided with the French National Day, which stands out among all national holidays for the powerful message it comes with: Freedom, Equality, Brotherhood. These principles need now to be reinforced. With every blow on our bodies we must strike back with a thousand blows of love in their hearts.

Yesterday was my birthday! Yay!!!! Or……nay?

My birthday and I have a complicated relationship. I kind of hate it, but then it turns out to be one of the sweetest days of the year, because every single person I love and cherish takes a few seconds to remember me and send some good vibes my way. Then again, I really hate growing old(er), I’m not one of those people who feel like they really make the best out of every age, rather I’m always feeling left behind, unable to do all the things I would like to do. Time to me is a ruthless enemy, not a trusted companion, not at all!!!

I’ve celebrated 31 birthdays so far, almost 15-16 of them trying to organise some kind of entertainment for my friends. I’ve tried pretty much all formulas: party at a club, party at home, dinner party at a restaurant, dinner party at home, huge groups of people, small groups of people, just with my boyfriend naked in bed, completely on my own watching Miss Congeniality and/or Moonstruck. 

There are true merits in every one of those options, except maybe for the alone one, because as I grow older I get more and more insecure about the people around me (it totally works if you’re in the 18-25 box, I can totally see my 18-year old self eating a whole cake on my own in front of the TV).

What I have done though with great success the past four years is an intimate drink/dinner with the 3-4 people in Brussels I can really call “my own”. It’s true that if I was back home I would usually throw larger parties at the beach. Or if my birthday were not in the middle of the summer, I would have more of “my people” in Brussels as well. Or if my friends stopped having babies, THINGS WOULD ALSO BE EASIER (just kidding guys, keep on bringing babies to this world, they’ll be the smartest and most beautiful people of the 2040’s!)

It’s a great relief knowing that there people who I can really call my friends and rely on pretty much for everything pertaining to my survival. I value my true friendships very much. And of course I also enjoy the more superficial ones, the friends I have to have coffee or go shopping with, but for my birthday, I really want my besties with me. And that’s more than enough. That’s why I’ve been having these very small intimate dinner parties the past four years. We’ve really had the chance to enjoy ourselves much better this way, eat a lot, drink a lot, dance and sing more and more than just a lot, and also cry a little at the end (me mostly, I’m a big cryer).

Exactly because I’m a very emotional person, birthdays are kind of a big thing for me. I’d prefer if everyone forgot about it, but then again if I don’t get enough people wishing me on Facebook I get totally depressed “because people forget about me as years go by”. And because I’m so emotional, it is really important for me to not get overwhelmed and try to have fun without any pressure on this special day. Everyone should find what makes them happy on their birthday and go with it. If you can master huge parties, go ahead and do so! Because there’s not better excuse than birthdays and because noone really throws huge glamorous parties any more! If you’re more the “I like cooking for an army” type, throw a huge dinner party with 3 courses and a lot of art de table! Then again, you might enjoy wine, in which case you only need several bottles of the finest wine and lots and lots of cheese, and you’re done!

But whatever you do, make sure to have people you love around you and most of all – relax and have fun. Birthdays are a celebration of ourselves and our lives. Treat them both with love and respect and have lots of fun on the way.

And if you’re looking for the ultimate tip to make any gathering (even the one with just yourself) successful, here it is: PICK A THEME. It is always a guarantee for fum (I’m planning my next dinner party to feature “Woody Allen movie types” as a theme. Precious.)

Here are a few ideas about how we celebrated yesterday:

  • Food: Starting with some spanakopita (i.e. Greek spinach pie) and with chicken roast as a main course, noone complained much.
  • Instead of a typical birthday cake, I shove my one and only candle on a moelleux au chocolat served with vanilla macadamia ice cream on the side.
  • Best present ever: Black leather clutch.
  • REALLY best present ever: Flowers and a very delicate necklace from my boyfriend. I think I’m in love with this guy. Seriously.

 

 

 

Life

4 tips to happiness when moving in with your partner 

As you might remember, a few weeks ago my partner and I decided to take the big step and move in together. We’ve now reached our first month as roommates, which I think it’s a bigger milestone than our actual anniversary!!! This is the first time that any of us are living with a significant other, which kind of was a terrifying thought at the beginning as it felt like two blind people trying to drive a car….But it has worked out (at least so far!) and there are some great lessons I learnt in the meantime. So here’s what living with a boy over the past 30 days taught me:

1. Privacy is important, more so in a long term relationship: so invest in a spare room, be it a study, an extra bedroom or a smaller living room. It is a great relief to know i have my own space when I want to read, talk to my mom on Skype or watch another rerun of Sex and the City without him rolling his eyes.

2. Discover what you like to do together in the house and do lots of it!: many people like board games. Others watch movies, attend to their garden or enjoy washing the dishes (in the movies at least..!) What we do is playing music, watching movies but also, more than anything else, cooking. Big time. My man loooooves cooking and spending time with him in the kitchen has actually also improved my skills a lot. Although I’m not as good as him, I always try to give him a hand and this makes the whole process much more fun. Here are a few recipes that require 4 hands (or more):

 

Pancakes

 

Bacon, pepper and mozarella pizza

 

Gemista (i.e. stuffed vegetables with rice) – I use tomatoes, peppers and aubergines, but you can also use zucchinis.

3. Keep the mystery alive: He doesn’t know how I wax the hair off my bikini line. I don’t know how he trims his nose either. This is something I feel very strongly about: there’s no need for a couple that has just started sharing a life and a living space to start acting like they’ve been married for 40 years. My partner is still my lover and I won’t sacrifice a bit of that by leaving the door of the toilet open, asking him to help me wax or postponing taking a shower until I actually have to leave the house. (But because nobody’s perfect, I have to admit I tend to shave my legs a little less often than if I was just going on dates…)

 

4. Try a bit harder (but just a little bit): I’m one of those people who tend to nag easily. If I don’t get things the way I want them, I might turn into this deeply unhappy creature causing strife to anyone around her. I consider myself a relationship person, but then again, I feel compromise doesn’t come easy to me. But exactly because I love this guy so much, and he loves me back, I’ve decided to try a little bit harder. To think twice before nagging. To try to make it work with less or with different material. To get used to his way of doing things while showing him what mine is. It’s like tango. Steps might be going back or forward, but it certainly takes two to dance it.

Life

Sunday blues

In my 30 years on this planet I’ve discovered exactly 3, and only 3, ways to fight off Sunday blues.

sad
Me on Monday morning (for more Jon Snow on every.day.of.the.week. see here.)

I have a serious case of Sunday evening blues. I’ve had them for many years, especially since I started working and having a day to day routine that I usually enjoy but more often than not feel trapped in. I’ve tried to do several things to fight this feeling off, but after numerous experiments I’ve come down to the following three:

1. Movies

2. Cooking

3. Rearranging my closet

Movies

This is a trick as old as movies themselves. In wintertime I’ll choose the 7-8pm show, in summertime a bit later (I always need to go to the movies during nighttime, don’t ask me why). You call a friend, choose the picture, dress up super casually and then just relax in your seat with a bag of oregano-flavoured crisps in your lap. Hello bliss totally #worthlivinit!! Going for a movie on a Sunday night is perfect to get you out of your home and your pyjamas, connects you with an other human being, offers an interesting topic for conversation, increases your chances of sitting really close to a cute guy AND is alcohol (and hangover) free. What’s better than that?

My recommendations currently in Belgian cinemas:

Café Society by Woody Allen

Le masque de Dimitrios by Jean Negulesco (I love films noires!!!!!)

Cooking

This could be the response to the aforementioned question, but it’s much more than that. Cooking is the first form of mediation I managed to really grasp and internalize. Until a couple of years ago I really hated cooking. As  I grew older I started getting this great accomplishment feeling from cooking for friends and loved ones (but still I sucked at it, because I hated it). In the past few months, I really discovered the secret that really helped me improve my cooking skills and also make friends with the whole idea of cooking: CHOPPING IS F&^^&ING RELAXING. Stirring is too. Having to check the food in the oven every half hour or so gives me a feeling of  reassurance. And that’s how being stressed at work really helped me with getting better at cooking. Here are the two recipes I made last Sunday evening – both super easy, feeling and worth my time and zen:

Mediterranean Pasta Salad 

Spinach, Sun-dried tomato and Goat cheese stuffed sweet potatoes

Rearranging my closet

If I could live in a state of constant spring cleaning, I would! That’s how much I love moving my clothes around. I also love packing, I could spend a couple of hours packing every day just for the sake of being able to move clothes around. It took me some time, but I have now discovered the reason behind my fixation with this: I LOVE LOOKING AT MY CLOTHES. Limited closet space (or excessive amounts of clothing, it really depends on how you see it), has led me to stuffing things at the back of my closet which results in me never seeing them for months. So, whenever I feel sad and a little blue, I take out all my clothes and start building my closet a-new. (How’s that for amazing rhyming?) I’ve also found mediation powers in folding, although I’m still to perfect my method because I’m still folding like a 5-year old (that’s right, just make all my shirts look like hedgehogs sitting on my shelved). But I now have the right person to teach me that as well- my manfriend who could really give seminars on how to fold clothes. If it really makes sense I’m going to make a video out of it as well!!!!

HAVE A GREAT WEEK YOU AMAZING PEOPLE.