Why is it that secondary characters are always the most interesting? They have the best humour, best advice and best back stories.
Main characters are mostly these bland personalities that need constant reassurance and assistance to get through their day to day. Is it so that producers can paint their main characters with the “every-man brush” to appeal to the masses? Maybe.. But why can’t we have both?
I think we can all agree that we’ve had enough of the shy brown haired boy/girl protagonist who feels insecure and needs to overcome their obstacles to discover that they are special.
I want to watch/read the stories about the outcast, the best friend, the voyeur, the ignored and the overlooked.
I know these stories must exist, albeit outside of the mainstream, so if you have suggestions, please let me know below. I’m starved for good content.
Get out your tin foil hats people. It’s time for a conspiracy theory!
My suspicions first started when a colleague and I were debating over which is better, Mc Donalds hashbrowns, or their fries. When shortly after an advert for Mc Donalds hashbrowns showed up in my Facebook feed. A coincidence, sure, but a mighty strange one. How often do I talk about hashbrowns? And how often do I see Hashbrown ads? Pretty much never.
But, I forgot about this incident shortly after and only recalled it months later at a braai at my place. Where a friend of mine mentioned that a similar thing happened to him. I then told my fascinating hashbrown story and we theorised that it must only be really big brands with big budgets who would have access to this sort of voice activated targeting and that facebook/whatsapp/instagram is likely listening through our microphones and picking up on keywords. Remember when we gave them permission to use our microphones? Yup. Remember when we read through all those terms and conditions? Yeah, me neither.
So we spent some time trying to talk about the biggest brands we could think of and said we would check our feeds later in the night or the next morning. And well, we forgot about that part.
Now, I happen to work in digital marketing and so this coincidence has fascinated me. It’s not until I had two further conversations with people who brought the subject up, uncoerced, that I am convinced this is really happening. I know that certain brands with bigger budgets are given access to Beta products through google that are only later released to accounts with smaller budgets. So this begs the question. Is this really happening? Have you had a similar experience?
Listening to music at work can be a great way to drown out the noise of an open plan office while I’m trying to do the thinky thing. I often get sick of my usual playlists and have tried out various pod casts (suggestions are welcome) and listened to almost every Ted Talk that ever was.
I recently discovered a band whose music is able to help me drown out the noise and it keeps be upbeat, yet calm.
As with every new band that I discover I played them on repeat, ad nauseum. Usually this would result in me being unable listen to yet another song of theirs, however, it’s been months and I am yet to grow tired.
I only hope I can find more of the same.
Oh Wonder – Without You
I’ve always been a huge fan of one pot meals. For obvious reasons. Less effort to make, less effort to clean. I discovered this recipe on a particularly lazy day and adapted it to fit in with what I already had in my kitchen. Because the height of all laziness is cooking without having to go to the shop. I prefer to think of it as being resourceful though..
It ended up being so easy and delicious that this recipe, and the numerous variations that can be tossed in will certainly become a staple in my life.
One Pot Pasta: Bacon, Tomato and Basil
What you will need:
- 1 Packet of Spaghetti (Or any long pasta)
- 1 Punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved
- 1 Onion Sliced
- 4 Cloves of garlic, sliced
- 2 Tablespoons of Basil Pesto
- 1 Teaspoon of dried chilli flakes
- 4 cups of water
- 250g of Bacon
- Salt and Pepper
Now Martha’s recipe is vegetarian, but since I didn’t have any fresh basil leaves or Parmesan I thought it could use some bacon. Everything is better with bacon.
- Chop your bacon into bite sized pieces and fry it up. (I just cut mine with scissors over the hot pan) Once it’s nice and brown, set it aside.
- Throw everything into your pan all together. Add the water and crank up the heat.
- Stir it around until the pasta is nice and soft.
- Add the bacon bacon and the end.
Done, dinner is ready in 10 minutes.
I do think it could do with a bit of green next time. So I will either add the fresh basil as Martha suggested, or maybe even some baby spinach. Yum.
I’ve made many a roast in my day but I have never before attempted a Roast Beef. Lamb and chicken are my go-to when it comes to roasts and I’ve even dabbled in pork from time to time. But I’ve always been quite intimidated by the thought of a roast beef so I thought I would give it a bash.
Being that this was my first time trying a Roast Beef there are a few things I would change next time round. Call this a learning experience, if you will.
I initially had planned on buying a Picanha and trying to roast it in the oven. It’s this beautiful cut of beef that my friends ana I will often have on the Braai. It has a delicious layer of fat on the top that I imagined would be like a cross between pork with crackling and roast beef. mmm. BUT, alas, there were none in the shop, so I settled on a regular hunk of roast beef.
The recipe is pretty easy and takes about 2 and half hours from start to finish, most of that time can be spent drinking beer on your couch (or hanging up laundry depending on the kind of Sunday you are into).
Sunday Roast Beef
What you will need:
- 1 kg of roast beef
- 1 punnet of cherry tomatoes (I used a tomato medley.)
- 1 bag of Pickling onions (Baby Onions)
- 1 bunch of leeks
- 4 cloves of garlic
- 8 Carrots
- Fresh Rosemary
- Dried Thyme
- Course Salt
- You want to take your beef out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before you are going to roast it. Remove it from the packaging and place it in your roasting tray allowing it to reach room temperature and to breathe. Pat it down with some kitchen towel to dry the beef. This will help it brown. (I forgot to do this). Sprinkle with some course salt..
- Preheat your oven to 240°C. Peel your potatoes, chop them into quarters and put them on the stove to boil until they are par boiled. (Until you poke them with a fork and they slide off.) Empty them out into a colander and shake them around to roughen up the edges a bit.
- While you were waiting for the potatoes to boil you can prepare your baby onions. Just chop the ends of and peel off the skin and keep them whole. It is a bit more of a chore to use baby onions than regular onions, but the flavour is so worth it. Place the baby onions and cherry tomatoes around your beef roast. Keep some onions aside for the carrot dish. Pop four cloves of garlic in there peeled and whole. Drizzle your roast beef with some olive oil. Stick the rosemary in the pan (anywhere) and pop it in the oven. Turn your oven down straight away to 200°C.
- Now for your roast potatoes, this is the best way to get them nice and crispy: Coat an oven pan with a thin layer of olive oil. Put it in the oven to heat up for about 5 minutes. Then pour your potatoes into the pan with the hot oil, be careful to pour them away from you so you don’t burn yourself. Put them in the oven. Do not touch them for at least 40 minutes. Then you can flip them over.
- While the potatoes and the beef are in the oven you can prep your leeks and carrots. I chose to do these as a side veg as it’s a nice light side dish, to compliment the heaviness of the beef. Cut the tops and bottoms off your leeks, rinse and slice down the middle length-ways. Peel your carrots and slice down the middle as well. Place these in an oven dish with the remaining onions and sprinkle with a bit of dried thyme. No need to add any oil, the onions will create enough moisture.
- You should have about half an hour now to go relax with a beer or hang up your laundry or whatever. After your beef has been in the oven four 1 hour (Apparently it’s 30 minutes for every 500g) remove from the oven and set aside to rest. I covered mine in foil to keep it warm.
- Once your beef is well rested your veg and potatoes should be ready. Slice the beef and enjoy.
The beef was a little too over done for my liking. Which is funny because I was scared of it being under cooked. But this was fun and not as scary as I had first thought. I’ll have to give it another go to see where I went wrong. I either cooked it too long or I wasn’t meant to cover it in foil while it was resting, or both. I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.
I have a number of series that I watch over and over again, that suit different moods and that I gravitate towards when I need a pick-me-up or because I’m too tired or lazy to go through the rigmoral of trying something new. The tried and tested shows that I know I can watch after a long hard day while eating my leftovers because I’m too lazy to cook and I can unwind with a glass of wine. I’ve recently added new inventory to this list.
I had been interested in trying out Master of None after it showed up on my Netflix feed because it stars Aziz Ansari who was incredible in Parks and Recreation. However, I was hesitant because I imagined it to be a show staring his character, Tom, and I thought that might be a bit exhausting to take on. Boy was I wrong.
I enjoyed this show so much that immediately after I finished the second season, i started it again right from the beginning.
Not only is it hilarious and current and diverse, but the methods of story telling are so different from what I’ve seen before. It mimics the way we actually interact with people, not in a sitcommy “always have the perfect come back” kind of way. And Aziz has proven to me that he can be an incredible dramatic actor as well as being stellar at comedy.
Two of my favourite episodes are the ones that follow a different kind of narrative to the norm. The first is the Thanksgiving episode where it shows the evolution of his friend, Denise’s, coming out story. The other is where it follows the lives of everyday people as they interact with eachother, cementing the concept of sonder.
Of course then there are the few episodes in season two where he lives abroad in Italy. The visuals, the food, the language. It’s all beautiful.
I highly recommend this show to EVERYONE. It’s certainly up there in my top 5 favourites of all time.
Usually when I get home from work I spend a bit of time sitting outside trying to unwind. Most times with a glass of wine and now that it’s winter, sometimes a cup of tea. I try to spend as much of that time “screenless” because I spend most of my day on my computer and I try not to jump from one screen to the next (the TV). But more often than not I end up opening YouTube on my phone and watching some of the latest videos from the various channels I subscribe to.
A lot of the channels I subscribe to are comedy channels but a few of them are also channels about subjects that I find interesting like film techniques or the latest developments in technology.
A channel that I recently stumbled upon, The Financial Diet, is one that I don’t watch a lot of because listening to people talk about financial advise is not always the best way to unwind after a hard day of work. But the girls on this channel are always positive and they have great advise from their real world experience.
The video I watched most recently really spoke to me because it was about something that I had been feeling unconsciously and didn’t realise it was a universal feeling. Ah the wonderful thing about the internet.
So the subject of their video is something called the Impostor Syndrome, which is quite common for people to experience when they’ve just started a new job or recently been promoted into a new position.
As someone who has changed jobs and career paths many times I know all too well the uneasy feeling of starting a new job. Everything is new, it takes time to adjust to new surroundings and a new environment and I’ve gathered that it takes about 3 months until I start to feel “settled”. So when I start to feel overwhelmed or frustrated for not being as on top of things as I should be, I try to remind myself that I”m still settling in and that everything will be ok.
These lovely ladies have included 5 Tips on how to handle impostor syndrome. And I for one, think they have given some great advise.
There are a number of people in my life who are also starting new jobs or progressing in their careers and I think they would benefit from this too.
Even if you aren’t currently embarking on a new adventure, I would recommend checking out their channel. There’s some really useful tips, some that I wish I had heard earlier in my 20’s.
So here it is, the moment you have all been waiting for. I am about to divulge the recipe for my famous mushroom sauce. I may lose a few friends after this, simply because I’m pretty sure some people only keep me around in case I spontaneously whip up a serving of mushy sauce.. but.. that’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make.
I’ve always stood behind my philosophy of good food is made to be shared, and good recipes as well. It irks me when I enjoy something someone has made and when I ask for the recipe they tell me no. Why? Why won’t you share? Why would you give me a taste of something so heavenly and then force me to live my life without it?
Perhaps I’m being drammatic..
Nevertheless, this mushroom sauce is easy to make, but not so easy that I haven’t managed to stuff it up a number of times. I’ll give you a few tips so that you can learn from my mistakes. Although, even when it goes wrong, it’s still really great.
- Don’t crowd your mushrooms. Fry them in batches and let them brown nicely before adding more or they will have too much moisture and will taste soggy. (This is more of a tip from Julia Child, but it still stands).
- Don’t forget to add your sprinkling of flour before you add the cream. If you add it after your sauce will be gloopy instead of smooth.
- Don’t let the cream boil. Rather let it simmer while stirring consistently. It will thicken, just be patient.
Famous Mushroom Sauce
- 1 x Punnet mixed/button mushrooms, sliced.
- 250ml Fresh Cream
- 1 Tbs Cake Flour
- 2 Tbs Butter
- 2 Tbs Soya Sauce
- Heat the butter in a frying pan or Saucepan.
- Fry your mushrooms until brown.
- Sprinkle the flour over the mushrooms and mix well
- Add the cream
- Let it simmer while stirring until it thickens
- Add the Soya Sauce
You can also make it ahead of time and then reheat it.
Serve with steak, chicken schnitzel, burgers, steak rolls etc.
These cheesy garlic mushrooms were first brought to my attention by my friend’s father at a family braai. He grilled them on a snackwhich machine and I fell in love with them instantly. This was 5 years ago and I’ve been meaning to recreate this taste sensation since then.
On boxing day last year I heated up some left overs and we had some brown mushrooms in the fridge. Finally, this was my chance. But my sister didn’t own a snackwhich machine so *shrug* I decided a frying pan would work just fine. and boy, did it work.
I’ve since made them in a different style as well, which is grilled in the oven on an oven rack, and I substituted cheddar cheese for Feta. Damn, they were delicious.
I would recommend serving these heavenly mushrooms as finger snacks before a braai or as a side dish for dinner or breakfast. The only trick is to be generous when applying your butter and garlic.
Grilled Cheese and Garlic Brown Mushrooms
2 x Pack of Brown Mushrooms
2 tsp Crushed Garlic
- Slice the cheese into thin square slices about the same width as the mushrooms.
- In a bowl, mix the butter and garlic together. Room temperature butter is best.
- Apply about half a tsp of garlic butter to each mushroom
- Add some buuter to a frying pan and fry up the mushrooms
- As they start to brown, lay the cheese on top.
- Once the cheese is melted, remove from the pan and enjoy
Tip: You will always need more than you think you do