What I've been cooking #9: Dining in by Alison Roman

I first found out about Alison Roman through my fellow cookbook addict Hannah. Alison has been called the 'American Nigella' and has food columns for Bon Appetite and NY Times online. She's well known for her viral recipes which go berserk on Instagram. The famous stew and cookies are just two of them. Her first cookbook Dining In is very much geared towards home cooks who want something simple yet delicious to rustle up in the kitchen. Over the last few months I've found the book a joy to use and its fast become one of my favourites. Some of the veggie sides have taken a hell of a lot longer than expected and we have had to have them separately to the main course. I think the timing may be a little off. I find this sometimes when a cook is translated from its American origins into a book for a British audience. But 90% of everything I have cooked has been utterly delicious. The viral cookies I mentioned above were absolutely delicious and by far the best cookie recipe I have ever made. Dining in will be a book I'll continue to use in high rotation in the future and I can't wait for her second book Nothing Fancy to be released.


Cocoa banana bread
I think banana bread is a cake I make the most. I always have blackened bananas in the house dying out to be recreating into a delicious moreish cake. I usually add chocolate chips for my sweet tooth but this was the first time that I added coco powder. In return you get such a deep, rich, dense cake that really hits the spot. The sprinkled sugar on top is a game changer and something I'm always going to do to every banana bread recipe in the future.


Salted butter and chocolate chunk shortbread
Ah the viral cookies! Cookies are something I struggle with, I always tend to overcook them. These are frozen for two hours which makes them easy to cut into rounds. They're rolled in sugar to give them a tasty crunch. A sprinkle of sea salt on the top before cookie is what really makes them special. They are more like a shortbread rather than a cookie. I don't think I'll ever use any other chocolate chunk cookie recipe again!


Honey yogurt pound cake with raspberries
I only had a quarter of the raspberries needed to make then but needed to use them up so YOLO! It would have been so much better with the right amount of raspberries but it was pretty delicious regardless. I love cakes with yogurt, they always taste so light. The honest added a lovely sweet addition.

Vinegar roasted beetroot with spring onion and yogurt
This recipe was a bit a disaster. I'm not sure if I didn't cut the beetroot into small enough chunks but it look nearly three hours to cook! I was doing the recipe for dinner guests and ended having to do emergency peas because the chicken was already done. We had the beetroot the next day cold. It was really good but the effort it took it make it wasn't really worth it.


Crispy smashed potatoes with fried onion and parsley
I LOVED these. They could have done with being cooked for a bit longer to crisp up more but I was getting impatient with dinner. There's just something about fried onions with potatoes that sings to me. Such a great combination. I would definitely make these again.

Blistered green beans with creamy tahini and fresh hot sauce
No picture of these because I've cheated a bit and not actually cooked these. My boyfriend cooked them instead but I did taste test them! I don't think I've ever eaten as much yogurt as I have when I'm cooking recipes from this book. Alison loves yogurt! Yogurt and tahini is such an addictive combination and I could eat it every day. The nuttiness of the tahini and freshness of then Greek yogurt is perfection. I think this veggie dish was a bit of a faff so one to save for the weekend I think.


Baked eggs with crushed chickpeas, chorizo and breadcrumbs
There's a running joke about chickpeas on our house. My boyfriend isn't much of a fan but I still always try to feed them to him, to try and change his mind. I've been looking for the perfect recipe to convert him and this is it! He absolutely loved it and said he preferred to the traditional shakshuka we normally have. The chorizo was the star of this dish and went perfectly with the slightly crispy chickpeas. I can't wait to make this again!

Steamed artichokes with salted garlic butter
This was a complete and utter disaster. I don't know if it was me or the recipe but it all went terribly wrong. I got some artichokes in my Abel & Cole box and was pretty excited as I'd never cooked them before. Well it was completely ruined and we ended up throwing them away! They just never steamed. I keep adding more and more water but yet nothing was happening. I think they were on then hob for around 2.5 hours. Won't be attempting to steam artichokes again any time soon!


Spicy, garlicky white beans
I cooked these to go along some left over BBQ meat we had in the fridge following an afternoon hosting. I wanted something I could easily put together in my hangover state and didn't have to leave the house for ingredients. This ticked every box! For something so simple it was great. It hardly took any time at all and is a great option for a non-carby side to meat.
1 Comments

Postcards from Dublin


Last month we spent a few days in Dublin for Connor's 30th birthday and we both fell in love with the Irish capital. There isn't a lot to see in Dublin but the best thing about the city in my opinion is simply wandering around, dipping in and out pubs stopping for a quick drink to soak up the atmosphere.

The city is extremely touristy, we joked that you heard more American accents on the streets then you did Irish. It's really busy and you'll spend your days dodging people especially in the Temple Bar area. It took a while for us to get used tooas all the other places we've visited in Ireland haven't really had to many tourists. The city felt very European which was a surprise and at times it didn't feel like we'd only flown over the Irish Sea.




One thing I'd 100% recommend should you find yourself in the city is book a tour at Kilmainham Gaol as it was the best thing we did. We may be biased and have a huge interest in Irish history because of my boyfriend's heritage but it was so fascinating. I thought I already knew a fair bit about the partition of Ireland and the Easter Risings but the guide was incredibly knowledgable and offered snippets of history I had no idea of. You have to book a fair few weeks in advance because it sells out very quickly. It's only around 8 Euro.




As cliche as it may be it's also worth booking a tour around the Guinness Storehouse. The self-guided tour is a lot of fun and it's fairly interactive too. You get top enjoy a free pint of the black stuff in a bar offering 360 degree views of the entire city. Keep in mind its a fairly long way to walk from Temple Bar but it's quite a nice walk to enjoy. Definitely go for at least one drink in Temple Bar, I don't think it's worth spending your whole night in there but it's definitely worth a quick tipple to say that you've done it!

We had such a fab time in Dublin that we're thinking about when we can pop back for a second round!





1 Comments

My top ten must see sights and places to see in Malaysia

I've been back from Malaysia for nearly six months now and still can't stop thinking about it. It was such an incredible trip and at times I can't quite believe I was able to visit such a stunning country. Travel is pretty incredible eh? I feel like we covered so much ground during our trip but there is still so much of Malaysia we still didn't get to see. But if you're planning your own trip travelling around the country, here are ten places and sights you absolutely have to put on your itinerary.



1. Take a tour of a tea plantation in Cameron Highlands
The tea plantations in Cameron Highlands were stunning. I had no idea rows upon rows of tea could be so beautiful. You'll struggle to buy tea from this area outside Malaysia as they don't make enough to export it to other countries. The towns which make up the Cameron Highlands are very touristy but it's well worth making the effort to go all that way up above sea level. Definitely make sure you book yourself on a guided tour as you'll get so much out of it. I'd recommend Eco Cameron who promote sustainable tourism and have such knowledgable guides. He really did make our trip.



2. Spend a day in Melacca
To me, Melacca was exactly how I had imagined Malaysia to look like when I had images in my head. The city is full of old colonial buildings from when the Dutch and British colonised the country.  It is quite tourist heavy so keep this in mind. The best things to do is simply wander and soak up the atmosphere. It has a fab cafe culture so you'll find lots of cute places to sit down, escape from the blistering sunshine and rehydrate before heading off on to the next site. Make sure you climb to the top of the hill to St Paul's Church for some cracking views over the city.



3. Go to the top of the Petronas Towers
No trip to any capital city is complete without a visit to the top of the tallest building right? Admission to the Petronas Towers is around £15 (depending on the exchange rate) and this includes a visit to Sky Bridge which connects the two towers together and the main observation deck on the 86th floor. Seeing KL below you really is a sight to behold.



4. Try all the street food in George Town
I don't know about you but one of my favourite things about traveling to different places is trying the local food. In fact I plan most of my holidays around food. If you're a foodie too then you're in for a treat in George Town. The city had the best food I ate in Malaysia. Make sure you pay a trip to all the hawker stalls. If you have a travelling partner share dishes so you can try twice as much.



5. See the street art in Ipoh
Much like George Town Ipoh is full of cool street art. Some of it has been created by Ernest Zacharevic who was commissioned to do the street art in George Town too. Seeing the murals does get busy so go hunting for them early on the morning to beat the crowds.



6.  Stay off the grid in The Sticks
You'll need a car in order to make it to The Sticks but the off the grid guesthouse is well worth attempting those Malaysian roads for. Located in Fraser's Hill, this guesthouse is surrounded by flowing rivers and lush forest. You won't be blessed with any WIFI signal which is a god send. Enjoy home cooked food, going down the rapids in rubber dingy, talking long leisurely walks and if you're feeling adventurous, paragliding.



7.  Visit Chinese temples
I don't know if it was because it was my first time to Asia and I'd never been to any type of temple before but I absolutely loved seeing all the Chinese temples during my trip. We went during Chinese New year so they were so packed and it gave a great insight into everyday life. I was fascinated. Everyone was so welcoming to us and took the time to give us tours and tells us all about traditions which was so kind.



8.  Do the Sky Cab in Langkawi
This isn't something I enjoyed but something that you absolutely have to do if you find yourself in Langkawi. I'm so glad I did it! The Sky Cab is the steepest cable car in the world and it definitely feels like it when you're in it. You're treated to absolutely stunning 360 degree views of the whole island and it will blow you away.



9.  Hire a car and take a road trip
The first week we were in Malaysia we took an epic road trip consisting of six different cities and towns in seven days. It was pretty intense being in a new place practically every day but it was such a fantastic way to see the country. It made you appreciate the cities even more because you knew you didn't have much time there to explore. Road users are pretty chaotic in Malaysia but they all drive on the same side of the road as us so it makes it a little easier.



10. Take a rainforest trek in Cameron Highlands
We did an organised tour with Eco Cameron for a visit to the Mossy Forest. The Mossy forest a type of environment which only exists in Cameron Highlands and Malaysia. Driving 6,666 feet above sea level to the eco-system our guide took us on a walk to explain all the different type of plants. It was so interesting and incredibly sobering to listen to what will happen to this eco-system if we fail to look after it.

3 Comments

Search This Blog

About me

About me
A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

Get in touch at
sophie.warner89@yahoo.co.uk.

As from July 2015, all PR samples will be marked with a *.
Follow

Blog Archive

Design by elevatormusik. Powered by Blogger.

Copyright

All content copyright to The Story of a Girl Who Lives Above Her Means unless stated otherwise.