FRENCH ONION SOUP

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

So first and foremost, I'd like to say a huge thank you to all of you. My first week of blogging has been full of fun - also a lot of frustration as I battle with photobooth, but hey ho. I never anticipated just how friendly  the blogging community would be, and I'm really touched by the amount of support I've received. I squeal like a kid at Christmas whenever I get a comment, and have been driving my flatmates mental with my running commentary of my viewers ("Five! I have five followers! Wheeeeee!").  I'm a bit bowled over that five whole people care enough what I have to say to follow me; thank you to all of you for making my introduction to blogging such a riot. 


Image from weheartit


Anyway, back to the point of the post. I made French Onion Soup today. And it was, if I do say so myself, scrumptious.  The original recipe is from Jamie Oliver's book, Jamie's Dinners, but it was asking for all sorts of ridiculous things that the Tesco's Express round the corner just don't have. So I improvised. Because that's just how I roll.

RECIPE:

6 large onions, finely sliced
5 cloves of garlic, finely chopped or crushed
1 tbsp dried thyme
1.3 litres of stock (I mixed vegetable and beef stock cubes, as I didn't have enough of either)
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Bread (I used Tescos ciabatta)
200g cheddar cheese, grated
1 knob of butter
A drizzle of olive oil

Put the onions, garlic, thyme and butter in a big pan and fry with a generous drizzle of olive oil. Once the  onions are all fried, cook with the lid on on a low heat for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. When onions are cooked, but not coloured, add the stock and allow to simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Separate soup into serving bowls placed on an ovenproof tray. Rip up bread and place on top of soup, and sprinkle with grated cheese. Place tray in oven on a low heat (I think I used about 70 degrees Celsius), until the bread is toasted and the cheese is melted.

Serve and enjoy!




I cooked supper for my friends the other night using Miss Beeton's carbonara recipe. And no-one died, and they're all still talking to me, so I consider it a resounding success! Tonight I'm making chocolate snowball truffles... I'll blog about it tomorrow, they're fun to make and make great Christmas presents.

In other news, today was a good day. I got two parcels (exciting!), one containing cheap rowan wool from this fantastic website (I'm embarking upon one of those turbany hat things, I'll report on my progress soon), and one from my Ma containing advent calendars for me and my flatmates. I still get ridiculously excited when I receive parcels. There is another to come - I went a bit mad on ASOS last night (oops.) 

I ordered super-stupid practical things for winter, though. Including a swimming costume, and an anklet. AW11 essentials, didn't you know?

I hope you're all being good and not squandering all your monies on frivolous, unnecessary things.

Mona.

SUNDAY SHARE

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Howdy,

Hope you're all having a good weekend? I've been enjoying a thoroughly lazy Sunday, and thought I'd share some of the details with you...

Firstly, a massive thank you to my friend Marc, who, I must say, truly is a renaissance man. Marc threw together my beautiful new header on Photoshop last night, and is also the little photo-editing elf responsible for making my pictures look vaguely presentable. These skills are added to being annoyingly good at all sports, and a rocket scientist (no jokes, he studies Aerospace Engineering). Marc loves nothing more than faffing around on photoshop, so if any of you less techie bloggers out there would like a shiny new header, drop me an email and I'll let him know.

So today... I ate these:

Giant Belgian Chocolate Muffin from the German Market - My God, did I feel guilty. But you know... Worth it...

Cheese and Pickle Sandwich, made for me by my beautiful flatmate. I'm very spoiled. 

Later, I'm going to attempt to make quick carbonara, from a recipe on Miss Beeton's blog. Best luck to me and everyone I'm supposed to be feeding. I am a dreadful cook. I'm a bit of a whizz at baking, however, and may also make some cookies, to get us all through the essay-ridden week. 

I hung out here:

My bed. The best place in the World on a cold, windy day like today.

I read this:

Hunger - a new fashion, lifestyle and arts bi-annual by Rankin.  A real visual treat.

I also read Suri's Burn Book. And laughed. A lot.

I bought this the other day for my room; it's pretty, so I wanted to show you all. 

The Ikea tealights inside are making my room smell like vanilla. So, double win.

I've been listening to The xx and David Bowie. So all in all, it's been a good one. 

How do you unwind on your lazy days?

Mona.

K(N)ITTED OUT FOR WINTER

Saturday, 26 November 2011

I have three brothers who are all avid gamers. To counteract the loneliness while they stay locked up in their gaming room, slaying Nazi Zombies, I took up knitting and found it seriously addictive. It's so satisfying wearing things that you've made (although seriously frustrating to unravel your jumper for the umpteenth time because you realise you dropped a stitch twenty rows ago).

A while ago I bought Sarah Hatton's pattern book 10 Simple, Cosy Projects (buy her books here). This book is brilliant for beginners as the instructions are in longhand (you can learn all the stitches on youtube). Here are some pictures (sorry, only photobooth) of some things I have knitted recently.

Sarah Hatton's Nuzzle Hat

Sarah Hatton's Nuzzle Hat again - This time I added stripes and a pom pom . If I had my way, everything I knitted would be covered in pom poms, but my flatmates prevent me from too many additions, and stop me looking too ridiculous.

Sarah Hatton's Nestle Headband - As it turns out, cable knitting is actually quite simple! This has come in super-handy in keeping my ears warm, and keeping my ridiculous wonky fringe in check.

The coup de grace! Sarah Hatton's His & Hers Sweater. This jumper took me ages and the wool cost me about £60 but it was definitely worth it - it's so warm and has become my go-to comfy outfit, worn with burgundy jeans or black leggings.


I'm also currently working on two more things...

A really long cream soft - the wool is really soft and only £2.50 a ball. When finished it will about 3 metres long and covered in tassels. But not pom poms. Because they're "not allowed".

Sarah Hatton's Classic Cosy Sweater. I cannot tell you how long I have been working on it. I've almost finished the first part now, and will hopefully be done for Christmas. I've edited the pattern quite a lot to make it longer, and round-neck instead of turtle neck. If it works, I'll write up the instructions, if anyone's interested.


That's all for now... I'm getting quite the collection of slightly amateurish-looking knitwear. Yay! 

Do any of you knit? If so, I'd love recommendations for patterns...

Mona.

JUDY'S AFFORDABLE VINTAGE FAIR

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Usually, I am one of those traditionalist types who refuses to enter into the Christmas spirit of things until the First of December. However, occasionally, something comes along that tips me into fully-fledged festive fever a bit early...

Cue Judy's Affordable Vintage Christmas Fair, which took place last Sunday in the Town Hall...

Dear person who spams our flat letterbox with flyers. You are annoying, and we all hate you. On this occasion, however, you are excused. 

It was truly magical, and I've been left really feeling the Yuletide Joy ever since. I had to bribe my flatmate to join me by promising to buy her mulled wine and fudge at the German Market afterwards, but it was totally worth it. Here are some offensively horrible, low-quality snap-shots that I took.



Trusty ShitCam strikes again.


Everything was shiny and smelled a bit musty. Magical.

I picked up a few bargains, leaving me feeling £16.00 poorer and feeling awesomely smug about my thriftiness (as well as a little pissed off mulled wine... mmm).

Vintage Liberty Jumper - £15

Handmade Apricot-Scented Soap - 4 for £1

There were many more things that I wanted, in particular an enviable assortment of Christmas Jumpers, but I had to control myself as I need to eat for the rest of term, and I have those needy, presumptuous sorts of friends and relations who expect Christmas presents from me... In actual fact, I spent more on bratwurst, fudge, mulled wine and other assorted snacks than in Judy's. So lucky the jumper was oversized, I suppose...

Speaking of the jumper, I wore it today. Here is another photo, the quality of which may make your eyes bleed (sorry).

[EDIT: This was in no way intended as a slight to the photographer; who has many fine qualities such as being a wizard in the kitchen and possessing a magnificent head of hair. She does, however, have quite shaky hands. Also, it was more directed towards my awkwardness as a "model", and my crapness as an "editor"]

Beret - Gift; Shirt - Vaudeville and Burlesque; Jumper - Liberty; Shopper - Urban Outfitters;
Tights - H&M; Chelsea Boots - Urban Outfitters


I am really, really trying with this whole photography thing, so thank you for bearing with me. In defence of the last shot, my photo-editing elf was not available tonight, so I had to try and do it myself. If it's too dreadful to stand, drop me a comment or email, and I'll have him come over and try to salvage it.

Anyway, thank you Judy for a fantastic shopping experience, it really is great, and the photos don't do it justice. If you'd like to read more about Judy's Affordable Vintage Fair, which travels the UK quite regularly, then you can follow their blog here or check out their website. Go on, I dare you.

And if anyone happens to know of any more vintage fairs happening in Manchester any time soon, please let me know so I can start squirrelling my pennies away. Thank you!

Mona.

THE FIRST ONE

Monday, 21 November 2011

Greetings, Blogosphere.

I'm Mona. I'm a 22 year-old student, currently residing in Manchester. I'm beavering away towards a B.A. in Chinese Studies, which is primarily learning Mandarin with a bit of history, politics, culture and the like thrown into the mix. First year was a breeze; Second is proving to be distinctly more challenging and time consuming. As the year progresses, I'm looking more and more dishevelled. I barely have time to root through my bag for my carmex. Hence the blog title.

I've always jotted a lot down, so this blog is a more permanent means of recording thoughts, events, opinions etcetera - consider it a sort of online scrapbook, if you will. It is intended to be, in short, an account of my attempt to stretch out my student loan so that I don't have to slum it up too badly whilst studying (wow, serious sibilance!). Expect musings on style, beauty, knitting and baking; the odd review or rant; and many, many dire warnings on why it really is a very bloody bad idea to cut your own fringe.

Because you won't look like Uma Thurman... You'll look like this.

Unfortunately, I'm somewhat of a luddite. I (clearly) have no idea about web design, and only have photobooth and a very battered second-hand camera at my disposal (donated by my big brother upon the discovery that his iPhone camera is better). Please bear with me, and hopefully in time I'll pick up a few tips, and it won't look too amateur and heinous.

I hear you're a friendly bunch, Blogospherites; please be gentle with me.

Mona.
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