Documenting our disastrous move from leafy north London to the grungy south...

Monday, 14 April 2014

Trapdoor havoc

After spending a lot of the UK winter in Australia, I got back to our flat (which don't get me wrong... I absolutely LOVE) and freaked out about the size of our kitchen. It's really teenie and half of it is taken up by a set of stairs which lead into our garden. And my mum's kitchen in sunny Oz is HUGE... with no stairs! 

So I racked my brains, downloaded the IKEA kitchen design program and agonised for hours over what to do out here. With a set of stairs smack bang in a tiny kitchen - low windows and a fireplace in the adjoining dining room, it was proving quite hard to re-design.

So what it came down to was our first (and simplest) idea. 

1. Build a trapdoor over the stairs
2. Knock a servery window to open up the space (read: knock a big hole in the wall)

So we enlisted the help of our handyman to build us the trapdoor, frame to support it and to knock out the hole. Then L stained, painted, decorated and finished the room.

What a transformation. Holy moly - it's like we have a brand new kitchen - double the size and all bright and airy. The trapdoor is made in two pieces so it can be easily lifted up (and when the trapdoor is up, it forms a railing) so it's still really easy to access our garden. We are so happy. But really you need to see pics - so take a look.

Here's the first before and after:

Now check out the difference:

Dusty progress
From top: the new kitchen/dining room; the trapdoor closed, and open; looking from the kitchen through the window; flowers and blossoms from the garden and my clocks... moved to a different wall now

The trapdoor will never be a perfect match to the floor being different wood and all - but we're so excited to have that extra room - and not have to play kitchen tetrus that we don't mind. I might get a mat to disguise it, but for now, we're coming into summer and I think the trapdoor might be in use a little more often!

We have yet another room in progress at the moment, so watch this space for more renovation havoc soon.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Healthy havoc

I've had such a lovely, long, lazy summer... well winter... I've been in Oz avoiding this rain, cold and grey. And in Oz I certainly didn't diet...! But after spotting these fabulous Banana, chia and oat balls on instagram recently, I decided to make them as a treat for a friend who wasn't feeling crash hot.

Thanks to Karen for the fantastic recipe - which you can find here. The only alteration I made was to add a quarter of a cup of cocoa powder. The dried coconut she talks about in her recipe I used coconut powder which I get from the fabulous Turkish supermarket on Lewisham High Street (cnr Lewisham High Street and Morley Road). I used bananas that were past their best and I don't have a food processor big enough, so I just mashed it all together with a fork. A great recipe for cooking with little ones I'd say! 

Don't forget to check out my instagram feed to see what I got up to over the "summer".


Monday, 30 December 2013

Panettone French Toast Havoc

• 1 x Paul Hollywood Panettone - sliced thickly
• 6 eggs
• splash of full cream milk (it is Christmas after all!)
• juice and zest of 1 orange

Whisk the eggs, milk, zest and orange juice in a large bowl. Pre-heat the oven to 100-120 degrees. Put a frypan (or two if your cooking for your whole family) on to heat up, with a little oil brushed in the pan. Quickly dip the sliced Panettone into the egg mixture and pop straight into a hot frypan. Cook for approx 1-2 minutes, then flip carefully. Repeat with the remaining Panettone, and keep the cooked French toast in a low oven to keep warm.

Serve with lots of maple syrup and a strong coffee... or a glass of bubbly!

Panettone Havoc

L decided that he wanted to start a new tradition this Christmas and the recipe included Panettone. Normally I'd just pop out and buy one, but we had just watched The Great British Bakeoff Christmas Masterclass and Paul Hollywood had made one, so we carefully read the recipe and got baking!

You can find the recipe here - but just be sure to allow lots of time for resting and follow all of the instructions! We didn't have a panettone tin (which is a really tall cake tin) so we improvised and cooked it in a pudding bowl - i put paper up the sides so it could rise, but we had a little issue with the collapsing panettone. L rescued it by chopping the top off and cooking seperately - crisis averted! 

Here's how we got on...

Clockwise from top left: using dough hooks for the first time; stirring; cutting that first slice; fresh baked Panettone with jam and tea

Find out how our new Christmas breakfast tradition of Panettone French Toast went in my next post.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Sugar-free havoc

I completely fell off the wheat/dairy/sugar-free wagon this weekend... but we DID go to Paris, plus I wasn't sure how to say "wheat free" in French... not sure it would even translate!

I have to admit, while I miss sugar and bread SO much, I do feel better for not eating them. So, I'm back on it this week and I thought I'd share a few of my favourite sweet recipes I've made of late... that have kept me sane!

1. Coconut pancakes
  • 1 cup wheat free flour or rye flour
  • 1 cup coconut powder
  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 cups almond milk
  • 1tbsp coconut oil, melted
Whisk everything together in a large bowl. This is always a trial and error recipe, I find they are best to be more like crepes than thick pancakes - they seem to cook better and taste nicer. So get the mixture to the consistency you want, then cook in a frypan brushed with coconut oil. Serve with maple syrup and berries.

2. Chocolate "icecream"
  • 2 frozen bananas
  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp dessicated coconut toasted
Blend everything together (except for the coconut) and either eat immediately, or freeze for later. This makes enough for two.

3. Chocolate "biscuits"
  • half a cup of coconut powder*
  • Handful each of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and oats
  • 1 Tbsp cocoa
  • 1 Tbsp flaxseed
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp maple syrup
  • 1 big spoon of melted coconut oil
  • 1 egg
Mix everything together, spoon onto a tray lined with baking paper and cook at 180 degrees for 20 mins. These aren't that sweet - so I think I'll try them again with a little more maple syrup.

So I know this post is not the norm... but there are changes coming. So watch this space... and my instagram... and my twitter...  

* I buy coconut powder from my local Turkish supermarket - corner of Lewisham High Street and Morley Road

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Homegrown havoc

I've just picked my first figs! Although, have to admit, I haven't exactly looked after them... they just grew!

So before all the birds and squirrels feasted on them, I thought I'd pick some, find a Silver Spoon recipe and get cooking.

My tomatoes are almost ripe, so stay tuned for more recipes cooked with some fruit and vege I've actually tended to! 

And don't forget to follow me on instagram @hithergreenhavoc

Spiced figs: simmer ginger, cinnamon, corriander seeds, cloves, sugar, water for 10 minutes. Add the figs for 5 minutes then reduce the sauce and pour over the figs.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Upcycling havoc

A few weeks ago my lovely neighbour was having a spring clean. She was getting rid of a little pine side table and asked if I wanted it. I went to say no, cause (no offence lovely neighbour!) it was really nothing to look at. But then the arty part of my brain made me bring it home.

So I took a trip to a hardware store and purchased the brightest sample pot of pink paint  I could find (Little Greene, Leather 191 if you're interested), some black, and a glossy clear top coat. Check out the results below.

After this little project, I've discovered a few local second hand markets and shops, and with plenty of black paint leftover, stay tuned!

The pine table before and working out some decoration
My handywork after! The zig zags aren't exactly straight or even... shhh don't tell!