Since my last blog post a lot has happened, I went on a photography course at the Bishop's Gate Institute, this was a super big deal for me. I haven't gone to study anything in a class room type setting since leaving university over 2 years ago now because my mental health was so bad. I was extremely anxious at the thought of walking into a group of people I didn't know, and nearly had a panic attack when I realised I had forgotten a pen. Somehow I found the strength to ask the lovely lady next to me, called Rachel for one, and from that point on wards things got way easier. In fact the day turned out to be really fun. And more importantly I learnt loads, and I can now happily say I took these photos in full manual mode. I have in the past played with focal length, but this time all the settings were under my control! And I think the photos look ok. There's a few things I'm not happy with, number one I don't think the styling is as creative as I would have liked. I felt like I could have done more with the photos, but ya no what can you do. I was feeling quite stressed when I did this and was trying to think how to make it better but was just beating myself up, so I decided to call it a day. Now I can see what I would change, which is a good learning experience. Sometimes you just need fresh eyes. Anyway if you want to see someone of the fun photos I took while on the course, they are below!
A hovering Rachel
I have also been pushing myself to work harder, I have a lot I want to accomplish over the next few months and there really is no time for dilly dallying! Due to my anxiety I often spend a lot of time stressing about things rather than actually getting on and just doing them. I've set myself the task of trying to accomplish one thing each day. Admittedly Monday I spent in tears, and I didn't accomplish much at all, but since then I've been powering through. Sometimes you just got to suck up the fact not everything you produce can be perfect, but the only way to get better is to keep trying to produce things. I've also got to not be hard on myself on days when things don't go according to plan. I've got to keep reminding myself of just how far I've come and how well I'm doing. In recent weeks I had a real mental health blip and felt like my life had once again come crashing down around my ears, it hadn't, I was catastrophizing to the most extreme degree, and so I'm trying to be more mindful of all the good in my life.
Having said that it's extremely hard to feel good about yourself with chilli in your eye! This recipe calls for plenty of heat, so cutting up is a must, but I swear every time I use a chilli in my cooking I managed to rub it in my eye. I then have to spend like half an hour crying burning tears. TOP COOKING TIP! Do not rub your fingers in or around your eyes after using , even if you think you've washed your hands, I swear to god those crafty chillies will still be lingering. I love a cheeky take away, and one of my favourite dishes from a Chinese is salt and pepper chips. Although not a traditional Chinese dish, I love that it takes all the flavour and best bits from vegetable noodles and then just adds that to chips! While a takeaway once in a while is great, I can't indulge to regularly because there are countless negatives. Firstly all that grease, secondly would you look at all that plastic waste (I do wash and reuse the Tupperware takeaways are delivered in but there's only so many plastic tubs I can fit in my cupboard), I also worry about the use of fish oil in dishes (although I'm pretty certain at most places you should be safe with salt and pepper chips) and finally my bank balance. So I decided I would make my own salt and pepper chips because that way I can feel like I'm indulging with none of the guilt!
And boy did I smash it, these chips are much healthier than their takeaway cousins but they don't lack in any of the taste. Plus this recipe is super easy and can be whipped up in no time at all, so what excuse do you have for not making it!
I think I have waxed lyrical before about the humble potato, in fact I wrote a whole piece about jacket potatoes here, but really would you just look at how versatile they are! Sometimes I think people are scared of potatoes, like all the carb or something. Don't be scared of the potato, the potato is your friend, unless you have a potato allergy I guess, but even then maybe you should just risk it, eat with an epi pen beside you! I friggin love potatoes, mash, boil, stick them in a stew, (cheeky Lord of the Rings reference there) or make chips!
The one thing I would say with this recipe is it calls for more salt that I would often add to a dish. I often don't add salt at all to my food, but they wouldn't be salt and pepper chips without salt. I used 1 teaspoon of salt, but if you are watching your salt intake maybe reduce that to half a teaspoon. There's so much flavour in this dish I doubt you will miss it.
4 medium sized potatoes
3 spring onions
1 white onion
1 red chilli
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon Chinese five spice
1 teaspoon Korean red chilli flakes (or standard chilli flakes)
1) Slice your potatoes into thin chips. Place into a pan of boiling water and boil until soft.
2) Once boiled drain the potatoes and allow 5-10 minutes, for them to steam, this will give you the best quality chip. Place the drained potatoes in a large tray, drizzle with a small amount of oil and cover with the spice mix. Shake the pan to make sure the spice is evenly distributed.
3) Place the chips into the oven at 200'c for 20-25 mins, or until the chips are slightly brown and crispy.
4) While the chips are in the oven thinly dice take white onion, spring onion and red chilli and place in a wok and stir fry until the white onions are soft and translucent. Add in the beansprouts and cook for a further couple of minutes.
5) Remove the chips from the oven and add the stir fried veg, mix and serve!