Beetroot and Halloumi Burgers

IMG_5394“The beet is the most intense of vegetables. The radish, admittedly, is more feverish, but the fire of the radish is a cold fire, the fire of discontent not of passion. Tomatoes are lusty enough, yet there runs through tomatoes an undercurrent of frivolity. Beets are deadly serious.

Slavic peoples get their physical characteristics from potatoes, their smoldering inquietude from radishes, their seriousness from beets.

The beet is the melancholy vegetable, the one most willing to suffer. You can’t squeeze blood out of a turnip…

The beet is the murderer returned to the scene of the crime. The beet is what happens when the cherry finishes with the carrot. The beet is the ancient ancestor of the autumn moon, bearded, buried, all but fossilized; the dark green sails of the grounded moon-boat stitched with veins of primordial plasma; the kite string that once connected the moon to the Earth now a muddy whisker drilling desperately for rubies.

The beet was Rasputin’s favorite vegetable. You could see it in his eyes.”               -          Tom Robbins

When I hosted my blogiversary giveaway and asked you what you’d like to see more of, a lot of people asked for recipes of the delicious veggie (and mostly healthy) food I like to eat.

Well, ask and you shall receive! And today’s recipe is an especially good one.

I rediscovered my love of beetroot when I read Jitterbug Perfume in 2008 and I’ve been obsessed ever since.

I often get into food ruts – eating the same meals week after week because it’s easier when I’m pressed for time and trying to eat on a budget. But lately I’ve been craving new flavour combinations and itching to try new recipes. So when I saw a recipe for beetroot and halloumi burgers, I decided to make it my own by adding fresh mint for a fresh, zingy flavour to accompany the earthy beets and salty cheese. The result was absolutely delicious.

IMG_5389Beetroot and Halloumi Burgers

Adapted from Wanderlusting

3 small steamed beets, grated
125g (half a block) of halloumi, grated
half a cup of quick cook oats
1 large egg, beaten
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
1 clove of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
olive oil (for frying)

  1. Mix all of the ingredients, except for the olive oil, in a bowl.
  2. Divide the mixture into four and form into patties. Set them on a plate and put them in a fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  3. After 30 minutes, lightly line the bottom of a frying with olive oil and place over medium heat.
  4. Fry patties until golden brown and then flip. Approximately 3-4 minutes per side.

IMG_5397These burgers are great on a bun with all of the traditional fixings, but I loved them even more on a bed of lettuce topped with smashed avocado and served with a side of roasted sweet potato fries. Mega yum!

Now I can’t wait to concoct all sorts of other burger recipes. Sweet potato, cheddar, & jalapeno. Chipotle, chickpea, & kale. Mushroom, walnut, & sage. The possibilities are endless!

What’s in your favourite burger?

Let me know if you decide to give these ones a try!

Love & foodgasms,
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Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Missy Rhysing

Missy-Rhysing1Missy Rhysing, 37, Ritual Tattoo & Gallery in Denver, Colorado

I recently won an Instagram contest for one of Missy’s prints (squee!) and decided it was the perfect time to ask her to be interviewed for this series. I love how she incorporates her inspirations, like traditional tattooers and the work of Emily Rose Murray, into her work while making each piece distinctly her own. Her story of becoming a tattooist is really inspiring for anyone who has a big dream but faces major obstacles or doesn’t think they have the skills to make it. She’s been kind enough to chat about it a little bit today.

How long have you been tattooing?
13 years

How old were you when got your first tattoo & what was it?
I was 23 when I got my first tattoo. It was Tibetan stylized clouds on both of my wrists. It was shortly after the birth of my son and I didn’t want to go to my husband’s shop so he did them right in our house! I loved them so much – it was a magical experience for me, very transformative. I immediately wanted more!

Missy-Rhysing2Do you have a favourite tattoo of your own (ie. in your collection, not that you’ve tattooed)?
My favourite tattoos right now would have to be my hands, recently tattooed by Tiny Miss Becca out of Essex, U.K. She is a huge inspiration to me and it was a lovely experience getting tattooed by her. I originally was going to just get one hand done, and asked her to draw either an ornamental Victorian heart or a chihuahua head. She ended up drawing both so I asked if she might be able to do both hands, and she moved her schedule around a bit and made it happen. I love them so much!

How did you get started in tattooing? What was the journey that brought you from there to here?
I started wanting to learn to tattoo when I moved to Maui in 2000. I just loved the experience of getting tattooed and wanted to do it myself, but I had never drawn anything in my life. I started studying what other tattooers were doing and trying to draw like them. It didn’t turn out so hot! I studied Sailor Jerry and found that style to easier for me to work in; it seemed to come a little more naturally to me. I tried to get an apprenticeship in Maui but the guy I wanted to learn from told me that he “would never teach a woman, there’s something about women, they just don’t make good tattoo artists.” I was like umm, ok. I ended up moving back to Minneapolis, my hometown, and getting an apprenticeship at a really great shop under many excellent tattooers. I was very lucky.

Missy-Rhysing3Did you have an artistic background before you started tattooing?
I had no artistic background at all! My family wasn’t artistic, I was not exposed to art in any way growing up. Tattoos were my first exposure to art, which is probably why they seemed so magical to me. I learned about tattoo art as I was learning to draw, which is probably why my work is so readable. I learned that there are some things in art that just cannot be tattooed, and ways to make art pieces tattooable. Now almost anything can be tattooed it seems, but I will always go back to my traditional roots in tattooing, I believe that style persists best over time and stays beautiful forever.

Missy-Rhysing4How have your thoughts about tattoos and being tattooed changed over time (if at all)?
Tattooing has changed a lot since I started. It seems there are almost no limitations anymore and I think it’s incredible. Artists are doing innovative things every day. I love that tattooing is heading in the way similar to art collecting. I have people who travel to me to collect a tattoo and that is amazing. It’s so different than when I started and people were picking flash pieces off the wall. I know people were doing innovative things back then as well but it amazes the direction tattooing is going right now.

How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Most people classify my style as neo-traditional or new traditional. It is based in traditional as far as the principals go – clean line work, simple design, simplified shading and color. But I add in multiple line weights, fresh palettes, and new subject matter. I loved tattooing only traditional, old school work for my first 6 years or so but got bored with it so this keeps my interest and keeps things fresh and new for me.

Missy-Rhysing5Who or what influences your work?
I was first influenced primarily by my teachers and by a few people who I feel really started new traditional, such as Seth Ciferri and Adam Barton. They were doing innovative things with traditional work in the early 2000′s and continue to influence me. I am heavily influenced by many European and Australian tattooers as well- namely Lus Lips, Jasmin Austin, Emily Rose Murray, and Eckel. I think these artists are influencing the world of tattooing right now to be honest. I also love the photographer Francesca Woodman, and am inspired by Victorian photography and have amassed a very large collection of turn of the century cabinet cards, cdv’s and antique photos.

I was shocked to learn that Missy hadn’t drawn before she started her journey of becoming a tattooist; all of her work is so beautiful and intricate. It really goes to that with hard work and determination, you can accomplish anything you set your mind to. Thank you for sharing your story, Missy. You’re such an inspiring woman!

Love always,
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I’m a Feminist Babe.

IMG_5225I used to absolutely love debating. So much so that even though I abhorred most extracurricular activities in high school, I was the president of the Model UN Club. And I absolutely relished the mock trials in my grade 11 law class. I remember arguing vehemently in one of these classes that there was still a need for affirmative action programs in some industries. One of my male peers stopped me and said, “Well of course you think that, you’re a feminist.”

It sounded like an accusation and I was instantly indignant. Of course I wasn’t a feminist. At the time I believed feminism was the equivalent of man-hating. I thought it meant subscribing to a very specific set of beliefs that would limit the way I could dress and what I could be interested in. I wasn’t a feminist. I just believed that men and women should have equal rights, have equal access to opportunities, and be treated with the same level of respect as one another.

*record screeches to a halt*

Hold on a tick. That’s exactly what feminism is all about.

Luckily I’ve learned a lot about feminism since then. In fact, this blog’s name is inspired by one of my favourite feminist essays. It’s a nuanced movement as diverse as the men and women who identify with it. But at it’s core is an understanding that patriarchy, gender-based oppression, and gender norms hurts all of us. Both men and women.

You probably know that Emma Watson recently gave a speech at the UN to launch the HeForShe campaign. It was poignant and emotional and, not surprisingly, went viral right away. But the backlash she received makes it clear that the work of feminism isn’t done. That it’s so important to identify as a feminist and to work towards gender-based equality every single day, whether it’s by speaking up when you hear someone utter a sexist slur or by refusing to limit what you do, wear, say, or achieve because of your genitals.

These days I couldn’t imagine not identifying as a feminist. It just seems like common sense. Rather than shying away from the term, I choose to celebrate my feminism. Last week I even decided to express it sartorially.

IMG_5218IMG_5226IMG_5227IMG_5229IMG_4645IMG_5223I’m wearing a custom t-shirt c/o HiCustom.net, a gold Nicole Millen cardigan from a charity shop, a Louche skirt from a charity shop, black tights from Boots, United Nude flats c/o AllSole, a vintage belt, and a custom ‘feminist’ necklace c/o PunkyPins.

On a completely different note, can we talk about these shoes for a minute? Because they’re amazing. The AllSole website is chock-a-block full of temptation for a shoe lover like me. But I knew that it was these fuchsia, faceted  flats from United Nude that had to be mine. The laser cut rubber reminds me of a sparkly gemstone and they add a playful pop of colour to any outfit. They’re actually quite comfortable and because of their unique construction, they tend to garner many compliments whenever I wear them.

I have to admit that it’s a relief to be able to be a feminist and also love shoes and pink lipstick as much as I do. Because feminism isn’t about limiting our choices; it’s about freeing us to live whatever life we choose.

Love, heart-shaped sapphires, & riot grrrl anthems,
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How to Bake the Perfect Cake

IMG_5214The Great British Bake Off seems to have all of England in a baking frenzy and I couldn’t be more on board. As someone who loves to bake cake almost as much as I love to eat it, when I was invited to the Curry’s #SeriousAboutBaking event, I sent off my RSVP straight away.

To celebrate their new range of KitchenAid appliances, Curry’s brought together a group of bloggers for an evening at CakeBoy, learning about baking and sampling cakes with celebrity chef Eric Lanlard. We were greeted at the door with a glass of champagne (my favourite greeting!) and had a chance to mingle with the other bloggers while sampling delicious canapés before getting down to business.

Eric used his favourite Kitchenaid appliances to demonstrate making two of his own recipes: a red velvet cheesecake and West Indes chocolate tart, before we had a chance to try icing our own little red velvet cakes. All through the evening Eric dished out his top tips for becoming a master baker and creating perfect cakes every time. Today I’m going to share my favourites with you.

IMG_5186“You’re having a bad day? Bake a cake. … Bake to put a smile on someone’s face.” – Eric Lanlard

heartIf you’re baking with food colouring be sure to buy bake stable food colourings, not the generic ones from the grocery store. Otherwise your gorgeous rainbow cake will come out looking like a muddy mess.

heartUse the highest speed on your hand mixer when creaming butter. Use the lowest speed for mixing in eggs and add them in one at a time to avoid curdling. If  the mixture does curdle, add a little bit of flour to recombine it.

heartAlways sift your dry ingredients, even if the recipe doesn’t call for it. Especially in a humid climate like Britain’s, it’s inevitable that a little bit of moisture will get into your flour and cause clumping (no one wants a clumpy cake, right!?)

IMG_5197heartFor the perfect cake, use self-raising flour plus a little bit of plain flour to give it “bite” (Eric argues that grocery store cakes are too fluffy).

heartIt’s no longer true that you need to avoid opening the oven door to check on your cake while it’s baking – in fact he encourages it (how else are you going to properly ogle that beauty?). Modern ovens can maintain their temperature, as long as you don’t hold it open for too long.

heartThink of your hand mixture as an extension of your arm and move it around in figure 8′s for best results.

heartIf your ganache separates add in a couple of tablespoons of COLD cream and fold it in by hand. Ta-da! Problem solved.

heartStart by mixing icing sugar into your frosting by hand so that it doesn’t make a mess when you turn on your mixer.

heartUse lots of flour on your counter when rolling out pastry so that it doesn’t stretch, because if it does stretch it will “stretch back” in the oven and you’ll be left with a thick crust.

serious-about-bakingheartPush the crust of a tart a little bit higher than the top of the tin so that it will stand slightly above the filling.

heartBaking beads should be piled high in your baking tin to keep the sides of your crust from sinking down.

heartJust like a fine wine, you should serve chocolate desserts at room temperature for best texture and full flavour (my favourite tip of the night! Who knew?).

What could be better than an evening of cake, blogger babes, and champagne? Well, I suppose the fact that we were all sent home with a KitchenAid hand mixer of our own. You better believe that as soon as I get moved into my new house, I’ll be getting busy in the kitchen and putting these tips to good use. I might not be ready for a spot on GBBO, but that won’t stop me from practicing!

What are your favourite baking tips? Please, teach me your secrets!

Love, chocolate ganache, & glittery sugar lips,
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Tattoo Talk: An Interview with Beau Redman

beau-tattoo4Beau, 26, Manchester, Blue Cardinal Tattoo Studio

I’m so excited to be interviewing Beau today! She’s an inspiring artist with a love of Disney who works at her studio in Manchester. Today she’s chatting about how she became a tattooist, her style, and sharing a few cautionary words on getting quality tattoos.

How long have you been tattooing?
Nearly 3 years

Other social media links: Instagram: beautattoo Facebook: beau tattooer

How old were you when got your first tattoo & what was it?
I was 17 (naughty) it was a Blink 182 one at the bottom of my back. It’s still there, and I am still rather fond of it.

beau-tattoo1Do you have a favourite tattoo of your own (in your collection, not that you’ve tattooed)?
Definitely my gorgeous gypsy lady I got off one of my biggest inspirations, Xam The Spaniard.

How did you get started in tattooing?
It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do. I’ve hung around shops in my village since I was 17, hoping to get a break. Sadly it took a lot longer than I hoped and I didn’t land an apprenticeship until I was 23.

What was the journey that brought you from there to here?
Worked in a shop for over a year, but was never allowed to pick up a machine. It didn’t work out and I left on good terms. I got a break in a little street shop where I was thrown in the deep end! I tattooed for about 4 months with little guidance and advise, until I got a lucky break and landed a job at Thou Art in Sheffield, where James Aitken took me under his wing, and taught me everything I know. He made me who I am today and I am eternally grateful for everything he has done for me.

beau-tattoo2Did you have an artistic background before you started tattooing?
Yeah, definitely. I drew constantly. I didn’t have qualifications, but I drew everyday and tried to perfect a style. I’ve always loved colour and drew tattoo designs for friends. Looking back, I wasn’t too bad, but obviously I’ve come a long way since.

How have your thoughts about tattoos and being tattooed changed over time (if at all)?
When I was younger, I wasn’t cautious enough about getting tattooed. I’d get tattooed off apprentices, and anywhere I worked, not caring about the quality of work. Now I collect from artists I aspire to be like and who I respect. I think a lot of people are in that frame mind now a days. Cheap tattoos, free tattoos, no matter how poor they are, they will get them because they’re cheap, and aren’t willing to pay good money for good tattoos. Not only do they get poor quality work, they’re getting it on hands, necks, and faces. People need to have a good sit and think, and do some research before they go ahead with such visible, permanent decisions. I wish I had.

beau-tattoo3How would you describe your style of tattooing?
Colourful, bold, and quite feminine.

Who or what influences your work?
My interests really. Most people can tell I’m a huge fan of Disney, and I love all animals I practically own a small zoo! Also, I’m fortunate enough that my partner Dom is also a tattooer, and we bounce ideas off each other and point each other in the right direction.

Thanks, Beau! I completely agree that it’s so important to think carefully about what tattoos you get and where. If you think about your tattoos as a curated a collection and wait until you can afford to get work from artists you admire, you’re more likely to end up with ink that you really love.

Love, sparkly gemstones, & Disney princesses,
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