While I Was Away


It has been a little over a month now since returning to Scotland.  Here is what I have cooked/ate whilst I have been AWOL from Bendi Benri.

Feeling a lot more settled in now I am ready to embark on my new life as a student AGAIN and get back into creating more yum.

Enjoy!

First up, home-coming welcome dinner, beautifully and deliciously prepared by my wonderful mother.  It is very clear to me now that my mum is the source for my desire to cook.  She effortlessly manages to put on amazing wholesome spreads.  What a mum.

Nutty Chocolate Brownies (heaven in your mouth) & Scones with Home made Jam

Victoria Sponge

prawn & avocado cocktail

Home Made Steak Pie

Home Made traditional Scottish Oatcakes

What I forgot to capture was the Ultimate Chocolate cake smothered in Ganache! I am gaining pounds just thinking about it! I swear that cake was to die for! Here’s a link to the recipe.

A flying visit home then back to Edinburgh to meet Izumi and Sofie, friends we met in Japan.  They had never tasted Haggis before, so Andy and I decided to take them to Urban Angel to give it a try.  I love the concept of this Restaurant, stylish and delicious, “using the best local, organic, free-range and fairly traded produce available.”

To follow I visited a three-day foodies festival, filled with freebies of scrumptious organically prepared fresh food from all over the country.  Some healthy and some just down right naughty!  I was in my element.

Salmon and potato pie!

Tiger Prawn Paella

Feeling inspired from my weekend boozing and munching, I bought a nice big bunch of fresh beetroot and put together a yummy beetroot cake smothered in cream cheese icing.  Here’s the recipe I used.  Yep, I AM growing by the day! Twice the size I was a month ago. Oops!

No time to break just yet.  The Edinburgh festival brought my folks and brother up to Edinburgh.  The weekend consisted mainly of indulgence and laughter. Good times!

Below we eat at Amore Dogs another very trendy restaurant serving Italian scrum.

tuna nicoise salad on the side of a grilled sea bass on a bed of baked tomatoes.

Goats Cheese & Sun dried tomato Risotto

Wow what a month.  Loved every minute!

I really miss Japan and crave a lot of the food we ate whilst we lived there, especially Soba noodles, so I treated us to a yummy crispy tofu soba dish.   Satisfying beyond expectation! Go me!

Ingredients; serves 2 if you really have to share.

2 portions of soba noodles

150g Tofu (drained and cut into cubes)

1 small red onion (sliced into half moons)

1 stick of celery

around 12 sugar snap peas (halved)

2 cloves garlic

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

1 T light soy sauce

1 tsp pure honey

1 T chopped fresh basil

1/2 teaspoon chilli (from the jar or fresh)

2 T olive oil

2 tsp vegetable powdered bullion

2 T corn flour

Directions:

1.  prepare all ingredients

2. evenly coat the tofu in the corn flour

3.  heat up the olive oil in a wok or frying pan then add the tofu.  When coloured a reddish brown remove from the pan and place on some absorbing kitchen paper

4. In the same pan add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent

5. add the all of the other ingredients except the soba and basil and lemon then stir through on a medium heat.

6. In the mean time boil the soba until just tender then rinse quickly under cold water to avoid over cooking.

stir through the noodles, tofu, basil and lemon juice to the vegetable mixture then serve in warm bowls.

To finish, here is yesterdays lunch…

Chilli Squash Soup accompanied with rice crackers topped with cheddar cheese (hello my long-lost naughty friend) and cranberry sauce. yummmm…..

Ingredients; serves 4-6

I small butternut squash

4 sticks of celery

1 yellow onion

3 cloves of garlic

50g low fat soft cheese

2 tsp vegetable bullion

Directions:

1.  Saute the onion and garlic until translucent

2.  In the mean time bring a med/large pot of water (2 litre) the boil

3. cut the squash into cubes then allow to boil until tender

4.  when the squash is ready add all other ingredients except the cream cheese, then mix through

5. Turn off the heat then use a hand held blender to pulse the mixture until smooth(ish) stir though the cream cheese then serve in warm bowls

Don’t just eat your food, wear it too.


This post is mainly for personal reference, but contains useful information for anyone interested in natural simple cosmetics for the face and body. I have gathered some concoctions made purely from some of the goodness you have in your fridge.

Unluckily for me, when I’m stressed it shows in my skin.   I have tried so many products to relieve me of my discomfort, but regardless of how expensive or popular they are, nothing has worked better than the good old natural remedies.

Here are a few which are straight forward and easy to prepare.

Lemon & Milk peel lotion with AHA

For all skin types (except very sensitive due to the use of lemon)

Ingredients
  • 62 ml milk (whole milk)
  • 2 tsp Lemon Juice  (fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp of warmed pure honey
Directions
  1. Combine all the ingredients thoroughly and refrigerate.
  2. Use within 4-5 days
  3. Use in the evening as the lemon juice makes your skin photo sensitive.
  4. Apply with a cotton pad/ball after cleansing and toning and sleep on it.
  5. In the morning your skin will feel all soft and plumpy and look radiant.

Olive & Lime Mask

This mask is full of AHAs which will soften and revive dull skin.

Ingredients

  • 2 tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tsp lime juice

Directions

  1. whisk the ingredients together until the mixture becomes cloudy
  2. apply to skin and leave for 30 mins
  3. wipe gently with a dry cloth.
  4. You can also leave this on overnight and rinse off in the morning.

Spot Treatment:

rub a little pure natural honey onto the blemish then leave for an hour.

wash of with warm water then rub a halved clove of garlic on the blemish.

Garlic is a strong antiseptic, which should rid you of the unsightly blemish in a couple of days.

Green Tea is not just for drinking.


What drink solves all your problems when you feel you need a pick me up any time of the day?

This week has seen litres of green tea pass my lips.  I can’t seem to get enough of it.  Surprisingly enough I have been craving it more than wine or gin or the multitude of alcoholic drinks I seem to regularly poison my body with.

I wish green tea was just as popular back in the UK as it is here.  I have almost taken for granted how lucky I am to have it practically on tap here.  I’d better get stocking up now so I can send home a years worth to see me through my masters.

I love this tea so much.  I drink it hot, cold, I bake with it and even bathe in it…well…not my whole body, just my face.

Facial toners are always full of ingredients and chemicals and are often very expensive and harsh on your skin.  At least when I’m in scotland I have the option of reading labels to see which products to avoid. Unfortunately though, in Japan I don’t have that luxury of being able to understand everything I read.

Often you’ll find brands advertising their products with the selling point that it contains green tea or Aloe or both.   It is common for people to apply aloe straight to your skin, so why not do the same with freshly brewed green tea (chilled of course)?

Ok, If you do decide to do this, it will have to be fresh as it doesn’t contain preservatives, but considering I drink it every day, it isn’t much to save a little for my face too.

As you probably already know green tea is high in anti-oxidants.  It’s powerul benefits are written all over the internet telling us that  it inhibits the growth of cancer cells, lowers total cholesterol levels.  It also protects skin from free radical damage.  Apparently it is helpful for all skin types too.  Perfect for me as my skin is annoyingly sensitive to everything.   I have also read that green tea helps burn calories faster (perfect for all those dieters out there).  It is also supposed to kill bacteria found in dental plaque, preventing tooth decay.   In saying that it also stains your teeth, however all the goodness out weighs this problem for me.

It’s pretty obvious that this drink is good for you.   Even if you are one of those who are sceptical about all these types of stories you read on the net.  It won’t do you much wrong to indulge your body both in and out with a few cups.

For me I just love the taste and the feeling it gives me, the rest is just a bonus.

Here’s a little toning mixture I use on my skin every night I’d like to share with you:

Ingredients:

  • 2.5 tablespoons of fused green tea
  • 2.5 tablespoons of fused peppermint leaves (I find the peppermint adds that extra freshness)

Directions:

  1. Simply mix the infusions in a bottle then refrigerate.
  2. Use within 4-5 days