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Kick Off the Holidays with a Pair (or Two, Nay, Three!) of New Shoes

Published December 22, 2014 by The Feminist

All the fabulous shoes on this even more fabulous list were most definitely not made for walking (except maybe for one lonely pair of flats, but even those are way too fancy and hence I wouldn’t dare to walk in out of fear of getting them dirty)

However, who cares if these shoes were not made for long hikes or an afternoon of frantic Christmas shopping (i.e. my forte)? After all, isn’t the only walking activity you will be doing on Christmas simply wobbling from the kitchen to the dinner table? Surely you will be able to manage that in these high-heeled beauties? So what are you waiting for? Go ahead and buy them!

If my words for some odd reason haven’t convinced you to buy a pair of awesome shoes, maybe these pictures will be able to persuade you. (Btw, for once I tried to remain realistic and listed only those shoes that are actually affordable. So no designer shoes this time, but splendid beauties from Asos and Topshop that will only set you back for a maximum of 100 euros! What a bargain!)

These are from Asos:

asos shoes3

asos shoesasos shoes 2

river iland shoe

These are from Topshop:

topshop feather shoestopshop

And for those women who get soar feet merely from looking at these pictures, there is always this option:

topshop brogues

Baking With Booze: Italian Amaretto Coffee Cake

Published December 20, 2014 by The Feminist

Dear readers, it has been a ridiculously long time since my last Baking with Booze video. Not because I was lacking inspiration – I’m never short of inspiration!- but because I was lacking time. These past couple of weeks have been absurdly busy and I regret to say that the first thing that suffered from my busy life was my blog and my Baking with Booze spin off show.

However, this doesn’t mean I have forgotten all about you, dear readers. You still have a special place in my heart and that is why I decided to clear my busy schedule and make some time to put together another Baking with Booze video.

This cake is – to use Tom Kerridge’s favourite phrase- “utterly lush”: a moist loaf packed with aromatic coffee and Amaretto flavours and topped with a tasty walnut crumble. It is by far the most perfect cake to kick off the Holidays, for it will get you into a Christmas spirit in no time.

PS: With this video, I also took the liberty to bombard you with my favourite song of the moment: Therapy by Mary J. Blige. I hope you all like it as well, because otherwise you are so screwed. 😉

Ingredients:

For the walnut crumble:

  • 50gr walnuts, finely chopped
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 20gr butter
  • 1 heaped tbsp. flour
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup

For the Amaretto coffee cake:

  • 150gr butter
  • 200gr cane sugar
  • 200gr flour
  • 1 tbsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 100ml hot water
  • 1 tbsp instant espresso powder
  • 50ml Amaretto

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a loaf tin with baking parchment.
  2. Make the walnut crumble. Mix the butter, maple syrup, cinnamon and flour together in a blender until you get a thick paste. Stir in the chopped walnuts by hand until evenly dispersed and set aside.
  3. In a bowl, mix together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  4. Mix the hot water together with the espresso powder and let it cool slightly before adding to the butter and sugar mixture. Mix well. Now stir in the Amaretto as well. Your mixture will look disgusting at this stage, but it will change, trust me.
  5. Stir in the eggs, one at a time and whisk well after each addition.
  6. Finally, stir in the flour and baking powder and pour the batter into the baking tin.
  7. Scatter dollops of the walnut crumble all across the top of the batter and bake in the oven for about 40-45 minutes.

Same Ingredients, Different Dish: Cooking with Aubergine, Feta, Dill and Pomegranate

Published December 14, 2014 by The Feminist

same

Many of my single friends have often told me that the most annoying thing about being single is the fact that you have to cook one-person meals.

“This may sound strange, but sometimes I have these moments when I really want to eat cauliflower. I love cauliflower. And yet, I never buy it. Because no matter how much I love cauliflower, I sure as hell don’t want eat it all week.”

Friend X is right. As a single woman, you often shy away from buying ingredients that are too big to eat in one meal (or in  case of the cauliflower: ingredients that are the size of your own head.). Nobody wants to eat cheesy cauliflower 4 days in a row. That’s just sad.

The problem here is that most of my single friends (no offence, ladies) don’t realize the potential culinary goldmine that comes with cooking for “just you”. It is not because you have bought a cauliflower that you have to eat the same dish every day. You’ve got to experiment! Be creative! Because apart from the traditional cauliflower coated in a thick cheese sauce, you can make a cauliflower and chickpea curry, miso-glazed BBQ cauliflower or a cauliflower, herb and freekeh salad. Yes, you will be eating cauliflower 4 days in a row, but trust me: when you do it like this, you won’t even mind! (Plus: it is also really good for you budget!)

So, this week I went to the supermarket and bought a “family pack” of feta cheese (sometimes supermarkets are just cruel), a pomegranate, a huge pot of fresh dill and 3 aubergines (because I am one of those crazy people who gets seduced by phrases such as “buy 2, get the 3rd one for free!” )

Needless to say, I had to be creative. And man, my culinary mastermind did not disappoint, because these 2 dishes were amazeballs.

In fact, they were so incredibly delicious that I suddenly realized that with a couple of fancy tweeks, these 2 dishes can become real showstoppers at the Christmas table!

Moroccan-spiced aubergine soup with feta, dill and pomegranate

The warmth of the heavenly spiced soup works really well with the tanginess of the cheese, the sweet and juicy pomegranate and the fresh dill.

This soup would also be a great starter for a Christmas dinner. Just serve some homemade flat bread with it or serve it as part of an aubergine trio, which could include baba ganoush (with some sesame crackers) and tempura aubergine slices.

same1

Ingredients (2-3):

  • 2 aubergines
  • 2 shallots
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tomato
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • ½ tsp nigella seeds
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ½ tsp harissa paste
  • ½ tsp turmeric
  • Pinch of sumac
  • 300gr feta cheese
  • Lots of fresh dill
  • Seeds of ½ pomegranate
  • Vegetable stock

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 250°C. Score the aubergine with a knife in a few places and place on a baking tray and put in the oven for 30 minutes. Turn them around every 15 minutes or so.
  2. Remove the aubergines from the heat and allow to cool slightly before cutting them open and scooping out the soft flesh. Put aside.
  3. Meanwhile make your soup by heating a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and adding the shallot, garlic and spices. Add the chopped tomato and 500ml of vegetable stock. Stir in the harissa paste.
  4. Let it simmer for 20 minutes. Add the aubergine flesh and let it simmer for another 5 minutes. Blitz the soup to a smooth liquid with a hand-held blender. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add a sprinkling of sumac.
  5. Before serving, put some feta, dill and pomegranate into your hot plate of soup.

Roasted aubergine “chips” with fried eggs, feta, dill and pomegranate

This is like a modern, exotic and healthy version of “eggs and soldiers”. Do note that the aubergine chips aren’t supposed to be crisp like normal fries. On the contrary, they are supposed to be soft in the middle and all lovely and roasted on the outside.

If you would like to serve this as a starter for Christmas, replace the fried eggs with fancy poached ones and serve it in a mini tagine with some homemade flat bread.

egg

Ingredients (serves 1):

  • 1 aubergine, cut into thick chips
  • 150gr feta cheese
  • Pomegranate seeds
  • Fresh dill
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp mustard seeds
  • ¼ tsp ground ginger
  • ¼ tsp cinnamon
  • Pinch of sumac
  • Pinch of pink pepper corns
  • ½ tsp za’atar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a pan and fry the aubergine fries for a couple of minutes until golden brown. Season with salt, pepper, cinnamon and ginger.
  2. Transfer the aubergine to an oven-proof dish and put in the oven for 10 minutes.
  3. Take the dish out of the oven and crumble the feta cheese over the top and finish with a sprinkling of za’atar. Put in the oven for 3 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile fry the eggs. Put the fried eggs on top of your aubergine soldiers and feta cheese and season with sumac and pink pepper corns.
  5. Finally, scatter some pomegranate seeds and fresh dill over the top. Delish!

7 not so traditional ways to prepare yourself for Christmas

Published November 27, 2014 by The Feminist

Now that we have had Halloween and Thanksgiving, we can start to look forward to the most festive of holidays: Christmas

There are plenty of ways to prepare yourself for Christmas – like buying presents, decorating your house and listening to Mariah Carey’s notorious earworm- but I decided to look past the clichés (well, sort of anyway) and give you a list of all the other not so traditional ways to get ready for the Holidays.

  • Dance around the house in your PJ’s

I’m not sure why this reminds of Christmas, actually. Maybe it’s the PJ’s. Maybe it’s the dancing. Maybe it’s both. I just know that if you spend half an hour dancing like a complete and utter doofus, suddenly the entire Christmas season will not seem so crazy after all.

Plus: it is just so much fun! You should try it, dear readers

.prepare for xmas

prepare for xmas1

  • Drink hot chocolate, red wine and eggnog

Maybe it is not advisable to drink all of the above at once– because throwing up in a bucket is anything but a great way to kick off the X-mas season – but if you want to, I’m not going to stop you. Just Let me know how it turns out.

red wine

  • Light your house with a thousand candles

Okay, so maybe this is one of those Christmas clichés, but there is simply no getting around it. Because everything starts with candles! It creates warmth, encourages love and friendship and if you opt for the scented version your house will smell heavenly too.

  • Watch this video of a cute dog wearing a teddy bear costume and running on a treadmill

Yes, you’ve read that correctly. A dog. Dressed as a teddy bear. Doing a workout. On a treadmill.

Why would I want to watch it, you ask? Well, cuz it’s darn awesome! But also because watching this video has a very therapeutic effect on body and soul.

First of all, try watching this without starting to oooh and aaaah because of the dog’s insane cuteness. Seriously, watching this has suddenly made me want to throw a pre-Christmas My Little Pony-themed slumber party.

I wish I were joking, but I’m not.

Secondly, this cute dog might actually inspire you to wear an animal costume as well. Just for fun. (Admit it! I know you want to!)

And finally, this dog will make you feel so f***ing lazy –because you’re watching this from behind your laptop whilst wearing sweatpants and eating Ben & Jerry’s ice-cream – which will hopefully encourage you to hit the gym more often to prevent having to buy gigantic holiday pants.

  • Do Burpees

This one is closely linked to the previous item on the list. If you want to avoid those holiday love handles, you have to start now! So come on, do those burpees! Yes, I’m aware that they are absolutely awful. They are absolutely terrifying. But will they have an effect? Absofuckinglutely.

a-da-mo-1

  • Listen to Frank Sinatra

Since it is not even December yet, some people may consider it to be a bit early to start listening to Wham or Ricky Martin Christmas songs. Not to mention singing along to Christmas carols! That is why I suggest you start getting into a Christmas mood by listening to dear oll’ Frank. Mister Sinatra is able to recreate that lovely, cozy Christmassy atmosphere without actually having to use words such as “Christmas tree” or “Santa”.

  • Make soup

Although there is no direct correlation between soup and Christmas, stirring in a large pot of soup makes me feel all fuzzy and warm inside, just like Christmas does. These past couple of weeks I’ve gone all out on the soup front. I’ve made some exotic Garam masala and coconut pumpkin soup with peanut butter. I’ve made Russian beetroot soup with pink peppercorns and vodka (yessss) and yesterday, I conjured up some insane turnip and saffron soup with harrissa roasted pecans.

Sigh.

Needless to say that I couldn’t be in a better mood. A soupy state of mind truly is the best way to roll into the Christmas season.

So these are my seven weird ways to get into a Christmas spirit. What are yours?

Having a Bad Day? Listen To This Song And You’ll Feel So Much Better!

Published November 18, 2014 by The Feminist

bruno-mars-uptown-funk-video-2

Dedicated readers of this blog will probably know by now that I’m a true admirer of the God-like über man that is Bruno Mars (Correction: dedicated followers will probably be sick already of all my Bruno adoration!). Although my inner Bruno-fan has been hibernating for these past few months, I think it is about time to unleash that crazy fan once more.

Why?

Because my imaginary lover has just released his collaboration with the brilliant Mark Ronson.

“Uptown Funk” is without a doubt the best song you will have heard in months – nay – years! It’s funky, it’s groovy and with sassy, albeit not particularly deep, lyrics like “uptown funk gon’ give it to ya” and “gotta kiss myself, so pretty” these two wonder boys truly make my ovaries tingle.

Even if you’re not a Bruno or Ronson fan, this song has everything (ev-er-y-thing!) to bring a smile to your face. A smile so ridiculously large, people might start to wonder whether something is wrong with you. (At least that was how people were looking at me when I was grocery shopping a couple of hours ago.)

Seriously, dear readers. If this song doesn’t become a huge/massive/ record-breaking hit, I’m honestly going to move to another planet.Interstellar-style.

Fo realz.

Thursday Trash Talk: Feminine Frustrations

Published June 12, 2014 by The Feminist

Frustrations. We all have them sometimes. And some people have them more often than others. Personally, I seem to be dealing with a lot more frustrations than usual and I find it increasingly difficult to find an outlet for those filthy creatures.

Hence, this post. I’m currently stuck at home, forced to write one paper after the other, so who else am I supposed to turn to?

Over the past couple of weeks, when I was busy studying/writing/working my bloody ass off, there have been quite a few things that have been bothering me. Little things. Stupid things. And yet they are still driving me mad. When I told my brother about these little frustrations, he simply rolled his eyes and sighed “phaaa, women”.

So since I can’t use my family as a sounding board for all the things that have been bothering me, I decided to share all my “feminine” frustrations with my dear readers! Aren’t you all excited! 😉

Are you ready?

Okay here I go.

Frustration Nr. 1: World Cup Craziness

I’ve said this before: I honestly don’t get watching sports on television. I seriously don’t. I simply don’t have the attention span to sit through an entire game, watching how men run after a ball.

So you can imagine how I feel about the FIFA World Cup.

frustration sport don't care

And yet, football is everywhere. Everywhere I go, every newspaper I read, every supermarket I visit, the World Cup is there to torment me. Don’t get me wrong, I normally have no problem with tournaments like these. Everyone deserves a moment of glory. But what on God’s Green Earth is the point of selling  sausages, bread, soda and beer with a football image on them? Or –the horror!- with Belgium’s national flag?

frustration weep humanity

Normally, Belgium is not a very patriotic country. If people ask us whether we like living in Belgium, we say meh and shrug our shoulders. But all of a sudden, we have turned into a nation of frantic, national anthem singing, flag waving, football obsessed lunatics.

And these lunatics are driving me insane!

Frustration Nr. 2: Game Of Thrones’ Killing Spree

I absolutely adore Game of Thrones. It has intrigue, great dialogue, some nudity and awesome fighting scenes. It is honestly the best show on the planet.

However, it is also the worst show on the planet. Because week after week, this marvelous series has got the habit of killing off all my favourite characters.

[spoileralert]

Last Sunday, Ygritte was next on the GOT death list. I don’t know about you, but I always thought she was so incredibly cool; with her arrow, fiery red hair and charming Jon Snow insults.  She will be missed. I mean, who is now going to remind our dear Jon Snow that he knows nothing?

But the most horrifying, cruel and agonizing GOT death -by far!- was the episode from two weeks ago in which the smolderingly hot Oberyn Tyrell was literally squashed by a terrifyingly large guy called the Mountain. Seriously, not only was his death incredibly sad, it was also horrendously revolting.

I didn’t know what to do first.

This:

frustration GOT

Or this:

barf

Yes, yes. I know Game of Thrones is just fiction. But it still remains a mystery why someone would ever want to kill a character so handsome as Oberyn (played by the divine Pedro Pascal). I mean, that guy is sex personified…

pedro

Do you understand my frustration?

We are now almost at the end of season 4, and there are hardly any handsome actors left to drool over. Indeed, we have Jamie Lannister, but the incest thing is still kinda creepy. Yes, we have the mysterious Grey Worm, but we still don’t know for sure whether he has his pillar and stones. And then there is Jon Snow, who admittedly is ridiculously handsome, but just looks so mopey all the time. (Like a rougher, bearded version of Sheldon Cooper who didn’t get tickets for Comic-Con.)

Frustration Nr. 3: People Dressed like S***

For some reason, some people seem to believe that nice weather is nature’s way of telling us to wear boring clothes. Suddenly, everyone is wearing jeans shorts, gladiator sandals and printed T-shirts. Yawn.

frustration fashion

Summer is supposed to be a time of joy, fun, bold choices and equally bold colours! So throw out those boring, hideous sacks and buy some interesting stuff for a change!

Frustration Nr. 4: When arguments don’t go the way you planned

We’ve all been in this situation before. You’re talking to someone and he or she is saying something you absolutely do not agree with. You try to explain yourself but for some odd reason, he or she still doesn’t see where you’re coming from and now starts acting like a serious dickweasal. All you want to do at that moment is to give him or her the most articulate speech on the planet. To blow him or her away with your fancy words. But anger and frustration are a serious bitch as well. So all you end up doing is stuttering like an imbecile:

frustration comment

This happened to me twice these couple of weeks. Every single time I just stood there like a complete idiot, and the most frustrating thing about it is that only one hour afterwards, I came up with the most brilliant, most eloquent remarks of rhetorical genius.

I mean… aarrggghhh!!

 

Frustrations: we all have them.

But I finally got mine off my chest.

frust breath

So thanks! 😉

How to Survive in a Post ‘How I Met Your Mother’ Era: Watch The Mindy Project

Published April 7, 2014 by The Feminist

Almost one week ago, the much anticipated (and dreaded) finale of the best comedy TV series on the planet How I Met Your Mother was aired and left us all with a gigantic –nay, legendary!– hole in our hearts.

What are we going to watch next? That is the million dollar question that lies on all our lips. Yes, you could watch some Friends re-runs or indulge in some Big Bang Theory “binge watching”, but this very sad moment in television history might be the ideal occasion to discover a new comedy TV series, like… say… the Mindy Project.

The Mindy Project, of course, is not a brand new show (the pilot episode was aired somewhere in 2012) but for some odd reason it is not very well known across the Atlantic ( in this funny place called Europe). When I talk to friends and say how much I love the Mindy Project they frown and look at me in bewilderment. They had never heard of it and maybe some of you –my dearest readers- haven’t heard of it either.

It’s a shame, because it is completely awesome. And bonkers. And over the top. And bonkers. And hilarious. And crazy. And bonkers.

And.. oh yeah, did I mention that it is bonkers?

I often ask myself: why the hell am I watching this? But then I realize… it’s because Mindy gets me. She says out loud all the things I only dare to silently mumble in the hope that no one notices. She is like the American version of Bridget Jones, but with much nicer hair…

And here is a fun fact: Did you know that on the exact same day of the last episode of HYMYM , the Mindy Project returned after a mid-season break? Talking about destiny!

In order to convince you of the brilliant craziness that is the Mindy Project, I decided to give you a list of all the things Mindy and I have in common:

1)      We love chocolate fountains

mindy chocolate

2)      We are crazy ass smart

mindy smart

… But why does nobody see that??

3)      We both have trouble defining what’s more important in a guy: beauty or brains

mindy brain angy

4)      Why can’t guys talk about their bloody feelings??

mindy feelings

…Why, dudes? Why?

5)      We are both very rational people…sort of.

mindy outdoors

6)      We know what we want

mindy picky

But maybe those standards are a little bit too high…

mindy want

7)      So yeah, we both really really like Michael Fassbender

mindy fassbender

… But, I mean, who doesn’t??

8)      We both watch too much Scandal

mindy pope

9)      We have the same problem…

mindy problems

10)   And then the last one…

mindy flea