(Not So) Christmas Baking: Creamy Salmon Pie

The most important part of Christmas baking is the Christmas songs! – Rheyza, 2016

So I’m not a baking or cooking person. Mostly ’cause I’ve never had the opportunity to bake or cook. But I was determined to get started after I got an oven as a wedding present. So, adapting from Jamie Oliver’s recipe on Creamy Fish Pie, one of my bestest friends, Rheyza, and I set out to bake a creamy salmon pie:

Serving – Four people12-ready-to-eat

Ingredients

  • 900 grams of potatoes (we used Hertha)
  • 4 spring onions, roughly chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large carrot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 500ml warm milk
  • 25 grams of butter (for the mashed potatoes) + 75 grams of butter (for the cream sauce)
  • 110 grams of cheddar cheese
  • 75 grams of flour
  • 350 grams of salmon, skinned, boned and cut into chunks (possible to use up to 600 grams)
  • Salt (can be sea salt)
  • Pepper (black or white)

Steps/method

Basically there are three separate parts you are working with with this recipe: the potatoes, the vegetables and the cream sauce. It helped having an extra pair of hands around because Rheyza and I were a tag team pair when it came to getting both the vegetables and cream sauce ready at the same time.

  1. Preheat oven to 200°C.
  2. Peel potatoes (optional to chop them) and place them into a large saucepan with cold water and add a pinch of salt.
  3. Bring to boil over high heat then simmer and cook for 12-15 minutes, i.e. until potatoes are tender enough to be pierced with fork.
  4. Drain, then mash potatoes with butter then add the chopped spring onions and stir.
  5. Heat oil (we used a canola/olive oil mix) in frying pan.
  6. Add the garlic, carrot and celery then saute until tender.
  7. Remove vegetables and place them in a large high-sided baking dish. (We used two aluminium pans.) Add the salmon to the baking dish.
  8. Melt butter into another saucepan and stir in the flour quickly till you have a smooth paste.
  9. Gradually whisk in warm milk and bring sauce to a boil.
  10. Reduce heat to a steady simmer and simmer for 2 minutes till sauce becomes thick.
  11. Remove pan from heat and season with salt and pepper.
  12.  Pour sauce over fish and vegetables and mix.
  13. Gently spread mashed potato over the top, season with salt and pepper.
  14. Sprinkle on the cheddar cheese.
  15. Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until golden on top.

Obviously no plagiarism intended when putting in mostly the original recipe here. This is for me to be able to go back and recreate the steps in future.

If you do try it, let me know! It’s delicious! Enjoy!

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

Advertisements

Favourite New Youtuber Finds of 2016

Hey everyone!

Oh my goodness, I just got my Macbook back from repairs. It is working! Finally! And I bought a new keyboard protector, and it feels so amazing to type. And I thought it would be a waste not to just post more things on my blog after being so deprived from it.

I thought one good thing I could make a list of, a new one, is one of my favourite new youtubers. These youtubers are not meant to surpass the ones I’ve always been following, and because they are new to me, doesn’t mean they are new at all, but just to put the new ones I’m following this year, and have fallen in love with, into the spotlight. (Not that they need it.) Oh, and I also wonder if I did start following some this year – a year is both long and incredibly short – but they are definitely youtubers I fell more and more in love with.

I feel like for a lot of these youtubers I’ve jumped on the bandwagon so so late. But I’ve just absolutely fallen in love with them. So, in no particular order:

1. Dodie Clarke, i.e. doddleoddle

Dodie just might be my spirit animal. Her voice is sooo beautiful, and when she is off on her little chats, I feel like grabbing a warm tea and just cozying up on the couch. She is just so relatable as a person to me and I can only wish her so much success on her path to pursuit more music and more happiness.

2. Carrie Hope Fletcher, i.e. ItsWayPastMyBedTime

Okay, I feel so behind the bandwagon for this one. But Carrie is sooo amazing! She’s so articulate and insightful and at the same time so so talented and cheery. She’s another British youtuber who I just fell in love with this year.

3. Alex Rainbird Playlists

And this last one is less of “youtuber” and more of an entire music channel that I’ve just loved. I’ve been collecting songs to create a playlist for my wedding dinner, and a lot of my songs came from Alex Rainbird’s monthly indie playlists. I would just play them while I have a shower, and just note down whenever I fell in love with one – which was honestly extremely difficult because I would love an entire string of them and I’d be like “CRAP I NEED TO LIST THEM ALL DOWN!” But it’s a happy problem.

Anywho, those are the three channels! They also feel like ones that will be staples on my subscribe list. (I usually recycle some yearly so I don’t go overboard with Youtube videos – if you’ve read my blog you’ll know how much Youtube I watch … it’s a proper addiction.)

Well, till next time!

cumuloq ❤

Christmas Reflections: You are not your own

Listening to …

It’s been a really long time that I’ve just sat down and reflected on this blog. I guess the past few blog posts are welcome distractions to the cloud of thoughts coffining my head. Today I woke up, warmed something up for lunch, made tea and sat down and watched the Vlogmas videos I’ve been missing. All welcome distractions.

I found myself gravitating towards the Michalak videos as opposed to the Sacconejoly or Zoella ones. Their Vlogmas videos are a struggle. And – I liked that. And not in this sadistic way where I like to see people stuck in difficult situations, but in a way that I related to them trying to just make it through every day with these real world obstacles. It felt honest, real. No fancy tinsel and mistletoe – just peaks and troughs.

I’ve had some really wonderful Christmases in the past. Christmas is so sacred to me. Admittedly because of the elaborate commercialism surrounding it. But also because of how it somehow just makes everyone kinder and more generous and warmer. December seems like this shining orb that just cannot be touched by any of the troubling worries of humanity. Even if you’re in it for the Christmas lights, shopping deals, presents, family and friends, holidays and free time, the kindness and love – the message of what Christmas truly means just permeates through – hopefully.

But this year Christmas feels so different for me. It feels like a reality check. It feels like a reminder that the world is not kind all the time – even during December. And, worse of all, it’s a reminder that as kind as you try to be and as generous as you try to be and you try to hold onto something pure within yourself … some things just don’t work out.

You are not your own [… or …] You do not belong to yourselves. – 1 Corinthian 6:19

The full verse: Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own.

I understand that this verse is supposed to be positive – that nothing can claim you but God. And since God is Love, nothing can claim you but Love – that there should be no one else on earth, nothing else on earth, that should be able to claim yourself but Him. It means you are in safe Hands.

But when I first read it, it was not a good feeling. Maybe because of the person I am – I feel like I’m constantly pursuing something idealistic, perfectionistic and, sometimes regrettably, individualistic. I seek shelter and secrets and some sort of magic that sometimes disappears from the world so completely I feel lost.

More than anything, I feel like I belong to people and things that claim me as theirs and pull me in so many different ways, when I just want to hold myself together. My brain is not my brain, my heart is not my heart, my house is not my home, my experiences are not mine. This view is not my view, this song is not for me to love, this book is not for me to keep close to my breast, these phrases are created not for me to use.

And I know it’s stupid to want to keep them as mine – to not share them with others, but it also makes me question who am I if I do not belong to myself – if companies and money and corporations seem to own me and everything I “possess”. These words are not even my own, this website I’m typing on is not my own, these thoughts – are they manufactured too? What is completely organic and whole and of the earth anymore?

I want to find it – but – it requires things that are not mine. And if that’s the case, is that experience in itself not mine? Is it claimed by the people and the objects that brought me there?

I feel changed, that’s all. Like I’m looking at everything with questioning eyes. Because I feel like I need to reassess what I’ve built up as my own. Like I need humility and modesty and I need to figure out whether I’m okay with the constructed nature of societies – and belonging in one, and how to keep myself sane in one, and to not lose groundedness. And, I guess, to accept the fact that only God can claim me. And that that is a good thing.

So, let this be a very different Christmas. Let me discover what I want to keep and how much this will cost me and how I can lose “myself” and find myself in return. These moods in the past have tried to destroy me … but I think this time there is silver Christmas lights still flickering in the dark.

Till next time,

cumuloq ❤

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Book Tag (Day 3)

Hi everyone!

And this is the last day of a very short challenge. But, at the same time, I guess it kind of reminds me of the books that have stood out the most for me in the last few, most recent years, and I guess it also singles out what books left a lasting impression on me by the words they had in their pages in the most perfect sequence.

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
Nominate three new bloggers each day.

So today I wanted to change it up. I guess the most accessible quotes have been those that are ambiguous and can be applied to almost any context, at any time and space. Something useful. But I think sometimes we also need quotes to remind us of the situations of others, minorities, the overlooked. And that’s why I want to end this challenge with a quote that reflects on the absolute hate of the human race from a young black woman who was just trying to live a life of her own.

Photo of Maya Angelou

“It was awful to be Negro and have no control over my life. It was brutal to be young and already trained to sit quietly and listen to charges brought against my color with no chance of defense. We should all be dead. I thought I should like to see us all dead, one on top of the other. A pyramid of flesh with the whitefolks on the bottom, as the broad base, then the Indians with their silly tomahawks and teepees and wigwams and treaties, the Negroes with their mops and recipes and cotton sacks and spirituals sticking out of their mouths. The Dutch children should all stumble in their wooden shoes and break their necks. The French should choke to death on the Louisiana Purchase (1803) while silkworms ate all the Chinese with their stupid pigtails. As a species, we were an abomination. All of us.”
Maya Angelou, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings

Nominated bloggers today:

  1. khrissycorruption
  2. Janika Senados
  3. Journeytotruthblog

Please feel free to accept or disregard the challenge. 🙂 And, now I’m done! Again, thank you The Ultimate Book Geek for the challenge.

cumuloq ❤

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Book Tag (Day 2)

Hi everyone!

Continuing with the 3 Days, 3 Quotes challenge, and on to day two.

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
Nominate three new bloggers each day.

So another natural choice for me is The Ocean at the End of the Lane – or really any Neil Gaiman book. But I chose Ocean because it stuck out more to me as something wonderful to be read.

Ocean-At-The-End-Of-The-Lane

“Monsters come in all shapes and sizes. Some of them are things people are scared of. Some of them are things that look like things people used to be scared of a long time ago. Sometimes monsters are things people should be scared of, but they aren’t.”
Neil Gaiman, The Ocean at the End of the Lane

Nominated bloggers today:

  1. littleonion
  2. NerdGirlStyle
  3. GeekyZooGirl

Please feel free to accept or disregard the challenge. 🙂 To be continued tomorrow!

cumuloq ❤

3 Days, 3 Quotes: Book Tag (Day 1)

Hi everyone!

So it’s been a really long while since I’ve written anything here. I was nominated by The Ultimate Book Geek to take part in a short challenge. Thank you for the nomination! And do check out her blog where she reviews books (esp. if you’re looking for a new book to read).

The Rules:

Thank the person who nominated you.
Post a quote for 3 consecutive days (1 quote for each day).
Nominate three new bloggers each day.

So the quote I chose is from a book that was recommended for me by one of my literature professors, The Book of Lost Things. I read it and it was such a quotable book. But more importantly it was a quotable book of quotes about books. And I thought it was befitting to start this challenge with one of them:

The Book of Lost Things

“Without a human voice to read them aloud, or a pair of wide eyes following them by flashlight beneath a blanket, books had no real existence in our world. Like seeds in the beak of a bird waiting to fall to earth, or the notes of a song laid out on a sheet, yearning for an instrument to bring their music into being. they lie dormant hoping for the chance to emerge. They want us to give them life.”
John Connolly, The Book of Lost Things

Nominated bloggers today:

  1. Rhey of Sunshine
  2. DitchtheBun
  3. Paula Acton

Please feel free to accept or disregard the challenge. 🙂 To be continued tomorrow!

cumuloq ❤

On Stress, Emotions and Hurdles

Hey guys!

It’s been a stressful and emotional past few days. Last night I was up at 3am finishing off assignments that were due earlier today. Less than three hours ago I submitted four different assignments to three different professors. I wrote a total of four thousand words of essays. Submitted a 22-page assignment. And prepared for two presentations. I have two essays more to go by the end of this week – but now I’m taking a breather.

This past month has also been emotionally-loaded for other reasons as well. For one, it came to me as a huge shock to find rwby-01-large-02out that Monty Oum, creator of RWBY, passed on. I read about him falling into a coma earlier that week and I thought to myself, “No way is it that serious, he’ll be alright.” But, I guess sometimes things don’t work out the way we hope. RWBY has been one of the few animes that I’ve watched since I was a kid. And it was kind of surreal reading how he had impacted other people from the RoosterTeeth Community’s lives through his various works with the company. I don’t know what else to say. Thinking back on the event still leaves me pretty speechless. I was in such a pensive mood for the rest of the day when the news came out.

Maybe on a more positive side, although just as emotional, over the past weeks I feel like I’m growing more and more attached to the vlogs of the SacconeJoly family. Especially because their last ten days or so have been spent in Disney – and I want to go to Disney so badly as well. I admit watching the below video had me in happy tears because of how magical it was for Emilia to go to Disneyland at such an appropriate age and meeting all the Disney princesses and characters.

Alongside this I saw a video that made me tear up even more and that was the fanmade video of Jonathan and Emilia. You guys may not know this but I’m just such a sucker for father-daughter relationships and stories. Heck, even father and son ones. There’s something about them that just stabs a soft coushy spot in my heart. Plus seeing Emilia when she’s so young with those fat cheeks makes me all gooey inside.

Last but not least, in my series of emotionally exhausting videos is one of Markiplier reacting to a fanmade video celebrating him reaching 6 million subscribers. I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, Markiplier is honestly one of the most humble youtube Let’s Players I’ve ever watched. And him in this video is no different. Plus the song that the fans use, Everything’s Alright, from the “To The Moon” soundtrack just instantly gets to me. It’s such a sad song.

So, I guess the past few days have been emotional for so many different reasons. The funny thing is that the next ten weeks for me are supposed to be the most taxing and emotional time in my last year studying. I wonder how in the world I can muster the strength for it after having exhausted myself through these assignments. All I can hope for is strong support systems that can help me make the tough times easier.

And, to all readers out there, if you’re having tough times too, hang on! Count the tasks off one by one, and before you know it they’ll all be gone. Maybe sometimes the best thing to know is that time goes on whether you like it or not, and whether you like it or not, things will come – but that will also mean they’ll pass.

Till next time!

cumuloq ❤