Full hearted life

Saying yes to new experiences and opportunites!

Monday munchies – Tuna patties


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My grandmother used to make wonderful tuna patties, complete with left over mashed potato. We, however, never seem to have any leftover, but I love me some tuna patties. Fortunately, this recipe from Korean cooking site Maangchi doesn’t use mashed potatoes. As an added bonus, it’s quick to prepare, doesn’t require shaping or refrigeration time. Score!

The original recipe called for 1/4 cup of onion, but some people have a giant spring onion plant in their kitchen that needs to be used up. Personally, I actually prefer it with the spring onions.

1 small can tuna, drained (about 140g drained weight)
1/4 cup chopped onion/spring onion
1 clove minced garlic
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 egg
1 tsp sesame oil
1-2 Tbsp plain flour

1. Heat a non-stick with 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil or butter.
2. Dump everything in a bowl and stir to combine. You may need more flour to make it all stick together, but remember these won’t need to be shaped, so will have more of a batter consistency.
3. Drop spoonfuls of the mixture in the heated pan and fry 3-4 minutes per side until done. You should get about six patties from the mixture.


Lovely links

pepper youngdoo

Hello wonderful people! How was your week? Mine was pretty quiet – an exam, a chocolate tasting and probably a bit too much Twitter. On to the links!

Love this post on running and writing. Side note – I am listening to his selected music as I type this.

Celia wrote a lovely post on how learning new skills has empowered her.

This NY Times article really opened my eyes on the science and marketing of mass produced food.

Cassie’s done it again! Check out her advice on why you’re failing at dieting.

I need an excuse to make these no bake banana caramel cheesecakes. The husband hates bananas and I know if I made them I would eat them ALL.

What have you found interesting/useful/bizarre on the interwebs this week? Do share!

Photo courtesy youngdoo.

In my kitchen – March 2013

After my last IMK post I kept thinking of things to include in the next one. I then promptly forgot about all of them. (Note to self: Start writing things down.) So here we go with a bunch of random stuff I found around my kitchen today!

In my kitchen…

IAIN BURNETTis a box of Iain Burnett chocolates bought for Valentine’s Day. We’re finding the milks a bit sweet, but the lemongrass ganache has been a firm favourite of mine. (Photo from Alexeeva & Jones)

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are these small Chinese tea cups, bought from our local Asian grocery store for £1 each. Perfect for dipping sauces or frequent drinks of Celia’s ginger tea.


is a bunch of spring onions. You may be asking yourself what is so special about a bunch of spring onions? Well this bunch was grown by taking the roots of a supermarket bunch and sticking them in water. Plain water! What you see above is about a week’s growth. I’ve already trimmed them several times, but they just keep growing!

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are a few bars of Pacari and Amedei chocolates – my favourites from the tastings I went to at Alexeeva & Jones. Apparently, Amedei only make 20,000 bars of the Porcelana each year, so if you’re looking for bar 7692, you’re out of luck. It’s mine, all mine! OK, maybe I’ll share it with the husband.

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is a giant bottle of fish sauce. Bought for the great meatball Olympics of 2012, I used one tablespoon in some Vietnamese meatballs and the bottle has been sitting on my bench ever since. Please send me some recipes to use it up!


is a bag of maca powder and a bag of chia seeds, part of my new healthy eating regime. The maca is an acquired taste, but I’m slowly working my way through both bags.


is a book by food anthropologist Katarzyna Cwiertka detailing the shifts in Japanese cuisine throughout the centuries. I’m not finished with it yet, but so far it’s been interesting to learn how Western influences have changed the landscape of Japanese food and cooking since the 1850s.

What’s happening in your kitchen this month?

Thirty-six Thursdays – Make mince pies


Like many things on my 36 before 36 list, I really couldn’t tell you why I wanted to make mince pies. Perhaps it was the girl in my old office you used to bring in delicious home made mince pies every Christmas. Or perhaps I just haven’t been that impressed with the supermarket offerings in recent years, which leave a fatty coating in my mouth. Or perhaps I just wanted the satisfaction of making my own.

Do you know how long it takes to make mince pies? Three days. Minimum. Unless you buy a jar of mincemeat. But no. I had to make mine from scratch. Fortunately, Frugal Feeding has a wonderful recipe for mincemeat, which I went with. I was slightly sceptical about the inclusion of an apple, but the finished product tasted delicious and smelled just like Christmas. Note to self: Make sure container lid is properly sealed when shaking mincemeat.

Frugal Feeding also has a recipe for shortcrust pastry which, going through a gluten-free phase at the time, I didn’t go with. Big mistake. I am not going to link to the pastry recipe I used because it really didn’t work for me. It didn’t roll out well and came out very hard and brittle. It may just have been me – I am not known for my pastry making skillz.

Despite the rock hard pastry, I would definitely like to try making mince pies again. If anyone has a foolproof shortcrust pastry recipe, please let me know. Also, does anyone have any suggestions for using up leftover mincemeat?

Monday munchies – Emergency soup

emergency soup

So how are we all going with our New Year’s resolution to eat more healthily? Unfortunately, over a third of us would have broken our resolutions by the end of January. A quarter of us wouldn’t have even made it a week! And last week’s Valentine’s chocolate and candy binge would not have helped. Or was that just me?

Regardless, it’s never too late to start over! And Amy’s Emergency Soup will definitely help you get back on track. It’s easy, delicious, nutritious and keeps really well. It is the perfect end to those cold February days we keep having. Because my husband in a carnivore, I added in some leftover roast lamb on the second night, which worked well. But the vegetarian version is equally good. Enjoy!


4 cups of mushrooms – I used chestnut, but use whatever you like
3 carrots, chopped
1 brown onion, diced
1 parsnip, chopped
2 leeks, chopped
1 cup barley, pre-soaked and drained
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 head celery, chopped
2.5 litres vegetable stock
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt, pepper and fresh parsley, to serve

  1. Heat the oil in a large pot.
  2. Add onions and garlic and cook until onion is translucent.
  3. Add the parsnip, leeks, carrots and celery, and cook for a few minutes until softened.
  4. Add the stock and the barley and bring to the boil.
  5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 45 minutes.
  6. Serve with fresh parsley.

Radical change; or why I’m not doing a 30 day yoga challenge

yoga stretch mike baird

My Bikram yoga studio regularly runs 30 day challenges – 30 classes in 30 days. They are a really great way to improve your practice and learn about yourself in the process. I’ve done a few in the past and when I when I saw that they were running one to coincide with my 12 week transformation, I thought it would be great to include one in plans.

Then I thought some more and decided that I didn’t actually want to do one this time round. A few people have asked me why not, so please allow me to explain.

The 12 week transformation is supposed to be about radical change. For me, that means changing everything, not just one thing. By undertaking a challenge I would be committing 3 hours of my day every day for the next 30 days. Yes, it would be possible to fit this in, but I would have to turn down a lot of other opportunities to make it happen. And as the challenge would be my main focus, I wouldn’t be doing justice to the other changes that I’m trying to make.

The changes I’m working towards are lasting changes. I know that every time I do a challenge I get yoga burnout. I complete the 30 days and then need to take some time off. Usually a four week minimum, which is not great and makes it harder to get back into the studio and breaks the yoga/exercise habit. I would much rather do 3-4 classes a week for an extended period of time and get into the habit of going to class regularly than going hard then not at all.

I am changing my behaviours over the next 12 weeks, well, 10 now, and I need to be able to change them in all aspects of my life – study, career, creative, home, relationship, health, and spiritual. It would be so easy to change just one and let the others slide until one of them became an emergency priority and then the others were ignored until a different one of them became the next emergency priority.

I’ve lived that way for far too long and it just leads to stress and feeling overwhelmed all the time.

So while I need yoga in my life and I heartily recommend doing a 30 day challenge at some point in your life, this time I’m saying “No, thanks.”

Photo courtesy Mike Baird.

Lovely links

Valentine cake Karen Newman

Hello lovely people! How have you been? I have had a brilliant week! I attended my first ever Twitter party (yes I am *finally* on Twitter), finished the first week of my twelve week transformation and spent a wonderful Valentine’s day with my husband. I also discovered loads of amazing links for you.

Amy wrote a wonderfully honest and authentic piece on how her yoga training is changing her life.

Joy shared some fantastic blogging tips.

Pamela wrote about getting more than she bargained for on the massage table. WARNING: NOT FOR THE SQUEAMISH!

Oh wow, so useful: How to get started when when you’re a life-long procrastinator. Thanks Bev!

And finally Cassie shared a beautiful post on what love feels like.

How about you? What treasures have found on the internet this week?

Photo courtesy Karen Newman.

That was the year that was

procrastination waste so much time

I’ve spent the past week cleaning the house. This means that everything has been dusted, polished, scrubbed, vacuumed, mopped, laundered, ironed or just put away. It also means that drawers and cupboards are full to bursting and can’t be opened for fear of having items lunge out at you. I hope that I will be able to keep the place clean as I slowly go through every drawer, cupboard and box looking for things to “release”. It’s gonna be a big job; I’ve got 300kg to find.

Now that that’s all done, it feels like 2012 is really over. (Yes, I know it’s been a few days.) With that in mind, here’s my usual ruminations on the year that was.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before?
Cooked asparagus, touched an elephant, made pasta, segmented an orange, made ice cream, dined at a Michelin starred restaurant, rowed on the Thames, made meatballs (so many, many meatballs) and cooked with buttermilk.

2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year?
I didn’t make any last year. This year I plan to get 300 hours of exercise, throw away 300kg of stuff and have 30 “meetings”.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?
Naomi had a daughter.

4. Did anyone close to you die?
Unfortunately, Eugene passed away. He still owed me a beer.

5. What countries did you visit?
The Maldives, Thailand and France.

6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?
A clean flat and a new job.

7. What date from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?
The day before my birthday, wandering around Paris, window shopping, actually using my French and eating glorious food. Apart from the celery mousse for dessert.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

9. What event made you stronger?
Completing the Bikram 30 day challenge.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
A sprained ankle, a few minor colds and one big one.

11. What was the best thing you bought?
Flip flops, aviator sunglasses and a blender.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?
Jenny Lawson’s

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed?
Surprisingly, nobody’s.

14. Where did most of your money go?
Groceries and bills.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?
Touching an elephant!

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?
Gangnam Style.

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
i. happier or sadder? Happier.
ii. thinner or fatter? Thinner.
iii. richer or poorer? Poorer.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Getting out of the house.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?
Watching TV and stressing about exams.

20. How did you spend Christmas?
I spent it with my husband, cooking a goat and catching up on episodes of University Challenge.

21. How many one-night stands?
Zilch. I think I need a new question here…

22. What was your favorite TV program?
So hard to choose. I can’t decide between Community and Revenge.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Fiction – All quiet on the western front by Erich Maria Remarque
Non-Fiction – Let’s pretend this never happened by Jenny Lawson

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?
This YouTube video

26. What did you want and get?
Time to myself.

27. What was your favourite film of this year?
Probably The Avengers

28. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. I went to Paris and ate way too much food.

29. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?
A bit more self-confidence.

30. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Exactly the same as last year. I am still sorely in need of a makeover.

31. What kept you sane?
My husband.

32. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?
Louis Smith was pretty nifty.

32. What political issue stirred you the most?
I kept right out of politics.

33. Who did you miss?
My family and friends.

34. Who was the best new person you met?

35. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012:
Always have two feet on the floor before getting out of bed.

36. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
“Something has changed within me
Something is not the same
I’m through with playing by the rules
Of someone else’s game
Too late for second-guessing
Too late to go back to sleep
It’s time to trust my instincts
Close my eyes: and leap!”

Photo found here.




Lovely links

raindrops sirwiseowl 249288228_5d160ca871


Hello gorgeous people! How were your weeks? I spent mine learning a new computer program, cooking, trying out burlesque dancing and cleaning all the things.

Sarah Helpola has written on why having a bucket list may not necessarily be the best thing.

After all the indulgences over the festive period, I think I’ll be cooking up a big batch of Amy’s emergency soup this week!

The Dame has compiled a list of awesome and inspirational women bloggers you should totally check out.

Still haven’t made any resolutions yet? Nubby Twiglet wrote a great post on dreaming big, setting goals and doing what you love. OK, so it was written for 2012, but is still relevant to 2013!

I am loving the London Grumblr! So, so true.

How about you? What have you found interesting on the interwebz this week?

Photo courtesy Sirwiseowl.