Recipe: Roasted Cauliflower Soup

I had a cauliflower that needed to be used, saw a recipe for roasted cauliflower soup and it’s winter so perfect time for a warming soup. I didn’t exactly remember where I had seen the soup recipe but Google helped me find several vegan cauliflower soup recipes so I got a basic idea of where to go. I ended up going by Girl Cooks World’s recipe, which I tweaked to my likings.

I don’t know why but I’ve only recently discovered how to properly clean a cauliflower head without making a huge mess of it and while it’s probably known to most people, here’s the trick anyway:

Clean of the green parts and what you can get of the stem and then cut the head in four pieces, which then makes it really easy to get out the remaining parts of the stem and have your cauliflower fall into the florets you want.

On to the soup!

Ingredients

1 Cauliflower head
3 Potatoes
3 Cloves of garlic (I used 3 cloves but you can use less if you prefer)
3 Onions
Olive oil
1 tsp Curry powder
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp Coriander
1 tsp Cayenne pepper
(I’m not completely sure on how much I used of the spices so feel free to vary or add or leave out some)
Vegetable stock (I used 700ml but I recommend a bit more depending on the amount of vegetables)
Soy milk (I have no idea how much I used, I just went by look and feel of the soup
Salt to taste

I roasted the cauliflower and the garlic with some olive oil, lots of garlic for me because one can never have enough garlic!

While the cauliflower was roasting, I sauteed the onions…

…and decided I wanted some potatoes in my soup as well so I put them in the oven with the cauliflower. I highly recommend deciding about the potatoes before and put them in right at the beginning.

I added the spices, roasted vegetables and vegetable stock to the onions.

I let all of that simmer for a while because the potatoes still had to cook through completely and once it was all done I mashed the vegetables and added some soy milk to make my soup a bit more creamier. I served it with some flat bread I roasted in the oven with a bit of olive oil sprinkled on it and garam masala on top, which worked really well with the already spiced soup.

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Movie: Zero Dark Thirty & Lincoln

Yay!

  • It made me think. A lot. The day after once it had really sunken in, I started to think about all the issues raised in the movies. another friend who had seen it joked that she regretted telling me she had seen it because I couldn’t shut up about the whole politics involved in this movie.
  • Jessica Chastain was awesome, I really liked her portrayal of Maya and I think she did an awesome job in showing the growth of an agent like her from the start of doing that job to how she ended up being, having insecurities at first and needing to look away to becoming cold blooded and following her own way.
  • Even though not a whole lot happens and you know how it all ends, the movie manages to keep you captivated the whole time.
  • I liked the fact that the movie just tried to show something, tell a story everybody knows about and it didn’t embellish it, it was a different kind of way of watching a movie.

Nay…

  • It’s definitely not a movie everybody can enjoy, not that there are such movies, there are always people who like something and people who don’t, but I feel with this one that you do have to be somewhat interested in the topic to enjoy the movie. 
  • While I was expecting much worse torture scenes, I can see how this part of the movie can be off putting, some thing you get to see are quite stomach churning, not even because it’s particularly graphic but just the idea of what is happening there.

 All in All

Not a movie for the faint-hearted and the topic does have to interest you in some way. I found it a well-done cinematographic work with great acting that keeps you on the edge of your seat but I can imagine that it’s not everybody’s experience.

Yay!

  • The acting was amazing, Daniel Day Lewis did such a great job with this part, he really brought Lincoln to life. It was not him alone who was sublime, Sally Field and Tommy Lee Jones gave their best was well.
  • The fact that they only showed a small part of Lincoln’s history and concentrated on that and how it affected him, his family and everybody else.
  • I liked the mixture of the political scenes and Lincoln’s private life which was not without trouble but also touching at times. It’s always nice to see the real person behind the public figure.
  • Everything else, the whole movie looked very real concerning scenery, locations, atmosphere, etc.

Nay…

  • The political talk can get a bit boring which can be off putting for people that are not interested in the topic.
  • There is a lot of talking going on. A lot.

All in all

I really liked the movie but I’m interested in American politics and history so that helps but besides that the movie is worth seeing because it deals with an important topic and as I’ve mentioned it’s executed really well and the acting is marvelous.

Recipe: Indian Spiced Quinoa with Raisins and Pine Nuts

I’ve got quite some new recipes I tried to share but I’ve been too lazy to write them up, transfer the photos to my computer etc… I finally did the latter so I should start writing now as well. I guess I’ll just go backwards and see how much I remember.

Saturday I made another recipe out of Vegan Planet, something I usually do on Fridays, or well try to do unless I feel like eating something else like last night or in case I find another recipe to try elsewhere or if I feel like trying a new recipe another day. The recipe I tried was Indian Spiced Quinoa with Raisins and Pine Nuts, unfortunately it all sounded much better on the paper than it ended up tasting. Maybe it was because I had a little accident with my quinoa and had most of it going down the drain (so I used couscous), maybe it was the fact that I replaced the cardamom with turmeric (I really need to remember to look for cardamom at the Asian store next time I’m there because I’ve not been lucky at other places), maybe it was the fact that I added more water so the couscous didn’t cook dry. Or maybe it just wasn’t really my kind of thing.

About quinoa, I’ve cooked with it twice now but I’m not a huge fan of it. Mainly because of the hassle rinsing those little suckers and draining them, which was what went wrong today. I used a wrong drain with too big holes so a lot of the quinoa went through them. Yes, sometimes I don’t really use my brains. The first time I cooked chili with them and while I didn’t mind them in my chili much because they added some texture and all the other things overpowered the taste, when I tasted them before adding them to the big pot, I didn’t really like it. I’ll have to try again sometime and find a better method for rinsing and draining them. After all I gave tempeh another chance as well (another adventure I still have to write about I just realized).

I started by rinsing and losing my quinoa so that’s not pictured because there wasn’t much left of it. I then continued by chopping the shallots and ginger.

I sauteed the onion and ginger…

 …and added the quinoa, couscous, spices and vegetable broth.

While all of that was simmering, I decided to make some vegan cheese but I also had to roast the pine nuts for the dish I was cooking. Not the best of ideas because stirring and tasting in one pan and roasting pine nuts in another can lead to not paying proper attention for a second and roasting a bunch of your nuts to the point where they’re black. In the picture everything was still alright with the world.

I decided to add them all anyway and just pick out the burned nuts while eating, which didn’t make for the most relaxed meal but I was hungry by that point so I just wanted to get dinner on the table, which looked like this:

It doesn’t look like the tastiest male you’ve ever seen and as I said at the beginning, I didn’t like it that much but after I added some salt (which I forgot before) it was alright and the raisins did give it a special twist. I might try it again but maybe add some more spices or make it with quinoa completely.

Book: Level 2 – Lenore Appelhans (The Memory Chronicles #1)

 

The Cover

It’s quite appealing, it’s simple, the colors are clean and there is not a whole lot going on that is distracting. I also find the red in combination with the silver and the white nice. However the cover doesn’t really give much of an impression of what the book is about. It does have a bit of a futuristic look about it but still it doesn’t give that much away.

The Story

The main character, Felicia, is dead and currently residing in Level 2.When people die they end up in level 2, which is sort of a gateway to the final place, which is level 3. In level 2, people live in so-called hives that group together groups of people that within those hives have their own pods, chambers in which they spend most of their time reliving their memories. Felicia does this as well and we quickly find out there have been two guys in her life, her boyfriend and the guy who broke heart. And the latter came to level 2 to get her. Which is when she finds out there’s a rebellion out there and Felicia apparently is a key player in this rebellion.

Yay!

  • I liked the concept, it was refreshing to read a novel dealing with what happens after death.
  • It was interesting getting to know Felicia and the people in her life through various memories she relived throughout the story, all sparked by things happening in the current time frame of the story. Slowly the whole mystery of what happened to her unfolds.
  • The Our Town references, I really liked how the play was thematically interwoven with the story of Level 2.
  • Felicia lived in different countries during her lifetime, which was interesting to see in her memories. You don’t get a whole lot about these countries but just the fact of it makes her more interesting.
  • The novel is well-written. I’m definitely interested in seeing what Lenore Appelhans has to over after this series.

Nay…

  • The religious aspects of the novel are not really my cup of tea but I guess when reading a book about afterlife that can be expected.
  • Some things in the story happened way too quickly, Felicia adapted way too quickly to being away from her pod for example.
  • The world itself, while craftily and well built didn’t completely convince me.
  • Once Felicia joined the rebellion there was a lot of the same things going on, which ended up being a tad boring.
  • Besides Felicia and Julian, I found that the other characters weren’t that well-developed. And none of them were really likeable.
  • Some of the memories are a bit too long and not really relevant so they end up a bit boring.

All in all

3 to 3.5 stars

I did quite enjoy this book and it was an interesting and well-written read but it didn’t convince me enough to really like or love it. What mostly bothered me is that some things were handled too quickly and the repetitions of certain things in the story. Also, while I liked getting to know Felicia through her memories, some of the memories where a bit too long and not really relevant for the story. I will definitely be picking up the second book in the series because I do want to see where this goes and that said I’m happy that the ending isn’t too much of a cliffhanger, it could have also ended right there and then.

Movie: Life of Pi

Life_of_Pi_2012_Poster

I knew the book for years now, I had never read it but I knew of its existence, for some inexplicable reason it never really appealed to me. Honestly though I had no idea what the story about and some part of me had always thought it was about some mathematics genius and I don’t know how it happened but on the version of the book cover I knew I had never really noticed the ship, tiger and fishes. Somehow in my mind it had settled itself as a blue cover with math signs on it. Boy was I wrong! I still haven’t read the books but it’s on my to read list now so I’ll get there at some point. As one of my reading resolutions of this year is to read a bit more adult fiction (not counting the ones I read for my research), I should give it a go this year. The movie seemed like one of those one has to see so off to the movies I went with my friend.

Yay!

  • The stunning visuals, it’s a long movie but you never get bored due to the wonderful cinematography. Be it India or the wide open sea, a tropical island or hallucinations, there’s never a boring visual moment in this movie.
  • The acting skills of young Pi Patel, Suraj Sharma. I love that they chose an unknown actor for this part, it gives the main character that innocence it needs and not somebody who maybe tries to overdo it.
  • The fact that the tiger was CGI most of the time because really in this day and age we don’t need real animals anymore, also it was amazing CGI because Richard Parker looked amazingly real. Although I would have liked to see a 100% use of CGI.
  • The way Pi embraces all religions, I’m not religious but I liked the way it was dealt with in this movie.
  • The main thematic of the movie, when somebody tells us a story, can we ever completely believe it? And what is actually reality and what is fantasy?
  • Man’s relationship with the forces of nature and how helpless we can be in the light of some things juxtaposed to the fact that Richard Parker and Pi have to find a way to survive the wild open sea.
  • The hopelessness and desolation coming across the screen, the movie in some way feels a bit claustrophobic but it’s beautiful to see how Pi never seems to completely lose hope.

Nay…

  • I keep thinking that the theme of which story is true lends itself better to a book, thinking of the question how reliable a narrator is or can be. It was however wonderfully done in this movie and I can only really judge this when I read the book.
  • They could have used only CGI for the tiger.

All in All

I really liked this movie and I went in not knowing a lot about it which was probably a good thing because I could just let it all wash over me. It’s a long movie but you won’t be bored for a second. There’s nothing really bad I can say about this movie so if you want to see a stunning movie that has amazing visuals and tells a wonderful story satisfying your mind and eyes, you should definitely watch this.

4 stars

January Movies

As I haven’t done any movie reviews of any of the movies I watched in January so let’s have a look.

I started out my year by re-watching both of the Bridget Jones movies, after I had re-watched Love Actually, I felt like seeing some more Hugh Grant so I decided to re-watch these two.

bridgetjones1 bridgetjones2 

Yay!

  • Hugh Grant. Seriously, nothing else needs to be said. So sexy as a bad boy.
  • Colin Firth. I’m a Hugh fan girl but in these movies Colin Firth even convinces me, he’s just the perfect mix of a man.
  • Bridget, she’s not perfect and relatable to a lot of women, which is quite refreshing
  • The group of friends, they’re awesome and honest
  • The humor, they’re the kind of movies that have you laughing out loud even though you’ve already seen them.
  • The romance, which is so perfect yet not perfect because Bridget keeps messing it up.
  • The fights between Hugh Grant and Colin Firth, one should only watch these for those alone.

Nay…

  • The second movie seems to be trying a bit too hard and relies a too much on practical jokes.
  • The whole plot in Thailand and Bridget going to prison is far from realistic, she’s not THAT stupid.
  • Daniel having ordered a hooker and taking Bridget to his room, seriously?!

All in all

These are obviously not highbrow movies but I like my romantic comedies from time to time and even more so when they star Hugh Grant (in any format, bad boy or not) and these are particularly funnies and movies that I can re-watch from time to time and still get lost in it. They’re kinda refreshing and Renee Zellweger is the perfect Bridget, even though there was probably nobody who thought she would be when she was first cast.

4 stars for the first one and 3 stars for the second one.

518efKfpDWL._SX500_ 

Yay!

  • The ending was great, loved the music and the dancing.
  • Melissa McCarthy.
  • The friendships.
  • The food poisoning and the scene at the bridal store, I’m usually not a fan of this kind of humor but this was kinda funny, I mean Melissa McCarthy on that sink? Hilarious!

Nay…

  • I’m not a huge wedding fan so the whole theme of the movie was not my kind of thing.
  • It’s a movie you easily forget.
  • It wasn’t as funny as it’s made out to be.
  • The main actress was kinda meh.
  • The creepy cousins.

All in all

Honestly, it’s one of those movies I watched and didn’t really think about, I remember some things and I remember laughing about some things and liking the end of it but I don’t really have a lot to say about this one.

3 stars