Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Bacon & leek risotto


My friend made this combination for me when I went to visit her in Barcelona in January during the big freeze when it was colder in her heating-less apartment than it was outside.  Ever since then I've always thought of this risotto as a winter dish and proper comfort food.  Perfect for the colder temperatures that are fast approaching us!

You will need:
400g risotto rice, 70g of butter, 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped), one large onion (finely chopped), a packet of lardons, a leek, 2 wineglasses of dry white wine, approximately 1 liter of chicken/vegetable stock, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, sea salt, black pepper and 15g of freshly ground parmesan.  Serves 4.

Recipe:

1) Prepare your liter of stock according to the instructions on the packet, put aside for the moment.  Finely chop up the onion, leek and garlic.  

2) In a separate pan heat up the olive oil with some of the butter, then add the onions and fry for a few minutes.  Then add the garlic and lardons.  Fry for another few minutes then go ahead and add the leeks with an extra bit of butter.  Fry all of this for about 15 minutes until the leeks become soft and largely translucent.  

3) Add the risotto rice, mix it thoroughly and make sure that the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

4) The rice will start to fry slightly so keep stirring.  After a while it will look translucent, then add the white wine and keep stirring until the wine has cooked into the rice.

5) Once all the wine has gone add the first ladle of stock you prepared earlier with a pinch of salt.  Turn the heat down to simmer.  Keep stirring the risotto (this is crucial to the recipe, you can't leave the risotto unattended).  Carry on adding ladles of stock.  Allow each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next.  This will take about 15 minutes.  Taste the rice.   Carry on adding stock until the rice is soft with a slight bite.  If you run out of stock before the rice is cooked add some boiling water.

6) Take the pan off the heat once the rice is ready and then add the butter and the parmesan.  Stir well.  Place the lid on the pan and allow the risotto to sit for 2 minutes.  

7) Serve with some black pepper and freshly chopped parsley.  

Enjoy!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

CFQ


Cardiff is forever finding ways of getting me to part with my hard earned money (trust me my job is very very unglamorous).  Cardiff Fashion Quarter opened up on Saturday.  People can rent stalls/parts of the building to sell vintage, second hand things or things that they've made themselves.  CFQ is all about encouraging the ~alternative part of Cardiff.  I for one am pretty happy about this.  I walked in with the sole intention of looking around and came back with a gorgeous vintage jumper for a measly £10 and a cardigan for just £15.  I'm not really sticking to my one item a month rule as such anymore but I'm a lot more fussy with what I'm buying now.  I love buying vintage because you're reusing and recycling clothes, I find it so sad that a lot of the clothes we buy from places like Primark really compromise on quality.  It's also exciting having independent shops, makes a nice change from the high street and seeing other people wearing the same dress as you.  

It's exciting seeing Cardiff embrace independent retailers and letting people get creative.  How amazing is the art on the building?

More soon
x
Nina

 

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Du fehlst mir sehr


Wenn's mir nicht so gut geht kriege ich immer furchtbar schlimmes Heimweh.  Ich hab meine Familie seit Mitte Juli nicht gesehen und mir fehlt Deutschland sehr.

When I don't feel so great I always get terribly homesick.  I haven't seen my family since mid July and I miss Germany a lot.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Sŵn 2012


I have had the craziest week ever.  Had to be separated from my long suffering MacBook so it could get fixed by Apple, worked 2 late shifts and then the best bit that I want to talk about in this post: Sŵn Festival.

Sŵn is Welsh for sound (pronounced: 'soon') and the festival is curated by BBC Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens and Cardiff-based promoter John Rostron.  Sŵn is a 4 day festival that takes place in all the different venues around Cardiff, from the Student's Union to Clwb Ifor Bach and in the basements of bars.  It's a really fantastic opportunity because Cardiff has amazingly varied venues so you get to be really close and personal to the artists.  I absolutely love Cardiff and Sŵn is all about celebrating what Cardiff has to offer and music that comes from Wales. 

I worked 2 different venues over the weekend and got to see some amazing bands.  My highlights probably include seeing We Were The Evergreen playing to a full house, Sweet Baboo and Fear of Men.  Working till 3 in the morning on two nights was grueling but: work hard, play hard.  The Sŵn after party called 'Dim Sŵn' (Welsh for no noise) was intense to say the least.  Volunteers got to drink what was left over from the band riders.  So free beer all night.  Hard to beat.  I'm writing this lying in bed suffering from a tequila related headache (the tequila was free too...).

I love live music and how it brings people together.  I love that moment when you see a band in a tiny venue and you fall in love with them.  Being part of a group of people that make things happen was incredibly rewarding.  Everyone is a little mad (my venue supervisor saw Nirvana live at Reading in 1992 so when I was 1 year old) but it's just so much fun.  My dream job would be working in the music industry so this was a great taste of where I could go if I work my behind off.  Working Sŵn was incredibly hard but so rewarding I wish I'd done it before.  It's so worth coming to Cardiff for this festival I really can't recommend it enough!









Monday, 15 October 2012

Treats


I decided to treat myself with my first payday so I hit up the MAC counter in Debenhams on the weekend.  It was hard not to get swayed into the limited edition collection and buy another slightly different version of So Chaud or Morange.  I have far too many orange lipsticks, it's becoming a real problem.  With winter approaching faster than I'd like, I decided to go for something totally different this time and see how a purple berry lipstick would work.  Turns out it works pretty well.  The MAC girl was very sweet and was all flattery telling me my brown/green eyes looked even more green with purple lipstick.  Who am I to resist the charms of MAC make up artists?

I ended up buying Rebel, in the tube the lipstick looks pretty much black.  I was a little put off at first but once I tried it on I loved it.  Rebel comes out as a very warm berry.  With a lip liner it looks more vampish for evening time, for daytime you can wear it just dabbed on so it's not so full on.  I'm pretty much in love with this lipstick and it might replace my good old Morange for the time being.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Choices colour all I've done


The leaves are changing colour and so I thought it was time for my hair to do the same.  Autumn always makes me want to dye my hair darker.  So I finally bit the bullet and got a home dying kit and went for it.  I'm so boring when it comes to hair and I was terrified that the dye was going to go wrong but it turned out perfectly.  This is semi permanent so it'll wash out slowly and it's not too far off from my natural colour.  Hope you like it

University has been kicking my butt, I'm only in week 2 and it's been pretty intense.  Still, it's exciting to be working hard on things that I love.  Having uni work and a job is keeping me on my feet so it's nice to actually be able to enjoy my free time because it feels like I deserve it.  

More soon
x
Nina

Saturday, 6 October 2012

Portsmouth


Here are just a few more photos from the trip my boyfriend and I took to Portsmouth last weekend.  Can't believe it's already been a week.  Time is just flying past me at top speed.

This was my second visit to Portsmouth and it's a really cool place.  There's a big university in town so there are lots of students.  Meaning lots of quirky shops that selling vintage clothes at reasonable prices (London vintage prices were ridiculous!) and lots of exciting cafes.  We took my boyfriend's little cousin pedal boating in swans on our last day and went down to the beach. I really miss the beach when I'm in Cardiff.  We only have the bay which doesn't have a beach and so getting to sit on the pedals taking in the sunset was a really nice way to round off the day.

I'm into my second week on university as of Monday, and I've been pretty busy since I started.  Between work and trying to keep ahead with my academic work it's been a little hectic.  I'll get some more things to share with you together so that I don't disappear from here completely.

More soon
x
Nina


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