Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Vegetable Breakfast Hash with Fried Bread Croutons

This breakfast just kind of happened at one of the last weekends. It's a beautiful chance marriage of ingredients that I threw together after a quick kitchen raid. I felt like having a fry-up, but did not want to eat meat, did not have beans, had only the butt end of a loaf of bread left, and definitely did not want to change out of my PJs to go to the shop. What I ended up with was way more interesting to eat than a greasy plate of eggs, sausages and bacon (although that also has its merits) and was probably even a tad healthier. A tiny tad. 

I liked this dish a lot, if I say so myself, and wrote down the super-simple recipe so I'd be able to make it again. The vegetables are only suggestions here, you could substitute any other varieties you have at hand (mushrooms, green beans, peas, tomatoes, kale, celery, broccoli, you get the gist).



glug of olive oil
1 thick slice of bread (brioche, or any other soft bread), cubed
1/2 red onion, roughly diced
1 red pepper, roughly diced
1 small eggplant, cubed
1 small zucchini, cubed
1 generous handful fesh spinach
1 handful fresh basil, chopped
2 eggs


Heat the olive oil in a deep pan and turn heat down to medium. Fry bread cubes until they are golden brown on each side, but be careful: if the pan is too hot, they will burn easily. Set fried bread aside on a plate lined with kitchen towel.

Add more oil to the pan if necessary, and fry onion until it starts looking translucent. Add diced pepper and stir-fry until that starts too soften, about 5 minutes. Add eggplant and zucchini and stir-fry for another few minutes, until all the vegetables are almost at the point of softness you like them to be. Stir in the spinach and basil, season to taste.

Clear two little spaces in your vegetable hash, so you can see the bottom of the pan. They should be the size of fried eggs. Crack one egg into each space. Turn the heat down low and cook until the eggs are set. It helps if you have a lid to cover the pan with for two minutes or so. If you do not like your eggs sunny side up, you can also fry them in a different pan to a finish of your liking.

When the eggs are done, add the fried bread back to the pan and serve it all up.

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Monday, 21 July 2014

Wembley Color Run

If you have had a look at my list of desirable lifetime achievements, you know that partaking in a Color Run was one of them. Ever since I first started seeing photos of happy runners covered in technicolor dust on American blogs, I had been wanting to take part in one myself. I am happy to report that I can now put a tick behind that one! 

I started running jogging slogging (slow-jogging, natch) again last fall, after a hiatus of about 8 years of hardly doing any type of cardio at all. I used to be really good at running in my late twenties, going out every other day or so, running several kilometres at a stretch. I really enjoyed it, then I stopped. I gained a lot of weight. And now it is SO HARD to get back into it.

Fortunately, Marco is volunteering to be my running buddy, and it helps to have somebody else by your side to stay motivated. He is being lovely by keeping to my snail pace, but also tries to push me those last few minutes after I have gasped my first Must... Stop...

We both signed up for the London Color. I think it was the second year that it was being organized here. I thought that what without being timed and the added rainbow, this race would be a good motivator. I have been using the 10K Runner phone app to get me up to speed and pace, and it works really well to keep me on track with its timings. I hit a bit of a low when I also started to use Endomondo to record my actual running distance, because that is when I found out that my speed was a lot slower than what 10K Runner expected, and I was quite a ways away from my 5K goal a couple of weeks before the Color Run. And in true Annika-fashion, I beat myself up over that and stopped training altogether. I nearly did not even go through with the actual Color Run. Silly!

In the end, I gave myself a good talking-to. Surely I was going to be even more disgusted with my slow-moving self if I did not even try. So I tried. I did not run the whole 5K. There are colour throwing stations every 1000 metres, and I ran all the way to the first one, up a hill and in the hot, hot sun. Then I took a walking break, but started running again through the next shade of dust. Walked. Ran again. I made it to the end, and even had a glorious final sprint when I could see the finish. And I wasn't disgusted with myself at all. I was happy I had taken part. Of course, there were really athletic people who were already nearly done when I was still trying to make it around the first few bends. There were little kids that ran a lot faster than I. But there were also slim people who walked the whole distance. And I was not the fattest person there.

I am still slogging now. It is a struggle to stick with it. I don't do it as regularly as I should. I still haven't even reached the full elusive 5K-distance. But I am determined to get my mojo back and to be able to proudly call myself a runner again. Because it is something I enjoy, even at the moment, when all I do is I sweat and pant and spit and swear. And if I stopped, I would be depriving myself of this enjoyment. In a weird way, I have to get over myself to be myself. If that makes sense. 

Anyway, here are the pictures Marco and I took when we were at The Color Run. From clean to rainbow in 5 kilometres.

The before. We did well in arriving early and being in the first group to start. It was such a hot day and the waiting area was not covered. With nearly 18,000 participants, some people had to wait a few hours in the sun.

The after. For every kilometre you pass, you get doused in a new colour. The colour stations where like psychedelic sandstorms. Wearing sunglasses is a good call, and also keeping your phone or camera in a ziploc bag. I pretty much just tried to make it through without eating too much pink and red and yellow (incentive to keep running!), but some people stopped and literally rolled in it.

Behold my space dust body parts. The colour stuck particularly well to the sweaty bits, I was still rinsing off the pink a couple of days after the event!

If you like, you can have your souvenir picture taken, to be printed and taken home immediately. Whatever that means... In our case, we waited nearly 90 minutes for our print-out. But we were compensated with a whole free bag of Haribo chews. The best way to appease Marco and me is with candy. Are you aware of how candy always tastes even better after exercise, too?

After the run, you get given a small package with colour dust. There's a stage with a DJ who plays funky bass-heavy tunes, and everybody throws they're colour in the air at the same time. Way to make use of your happy adrenaline and stay pumped a bit longer!

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Monday, 23 June 2014

At the Fair

© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

On the Art Trail

I do like it where I live. It's an area with an immense community spirit and lots of creative energy. Once a summer, the two amalgamate and we get a couple of weeks of open artists' houses, studios, galleries, events, and happenings called the E17 Art Trail.

Armed with the official guide, a tightly planned schedule and comfy shoes, Marco and I tried to cram in as much art as we could this year. But even though we spent one solid day during each weekend being amazed and inspired, I still feel like we only experienced a fraction of what was being shown.

All the artists on the Trail are local, but not all the studios are usually open to the public. My favourite venues were the ones where you were invited to enter a private home, you never knew what to expect once the artist opened their door to you. Other times, the art was to be found in shops, cafés or pubs that I hadn't been to before, or on streets that I'd never walked down, and following the map to all the spots we had marked felt like a treasure hunt at times.

I took some pictures of what we saw (hastily, with my phone), and it was a good way to keep track of my favourite exhibitions. Where I can, I will link to the artist, so you can look them up if you like their work.

Bright papercuts by Urszula Wojciulik and book lights by Joby Williamson. Those can be bought for £60 a piece, I have been reliably informed. Of course I'm thinking about it...

Book-themed Two For Joy papercuts at the library.

Martin Adams' mugs and the mug of local patron saint William Morris at Mitre Studios. Embroidery at E17 Art House.

One of my favourite exhibitions was The Ex Warner Project, a catalogue of images and memories from people living in the historic housing estate that makes up my area.

Art Grows On Trees and trees grow in a café. The pineapple, you ask? It is a bit of a local obsession.

We found Amanda Doidge's Experimental Ceramics in a shed at the back of a garden. The artist took the time to explain all the intricate meanings of her delicate ceramic pieces to us, talking about butterflies, psychology and human nature.

I loved the new folk art exhibition by the Pack of Wolves collective.

At the beginning of the Art Trail, Walthamstow got its own set of Little Free Libraries, each designed by a different artist. I now have one just around the corner from where I live!

A knitted front yard and a quarter full of poetry on estate agent boards.

Some local pride from Mister Peebles and Carole Kenrick.

Everyday objects made special at the Show Something Else exhibition.

We had a mini-movie experience complete with popcorn and a complimentary DVD of short films at a local filmaker's house.

These drawings and paintings by Carl Harris are a recurring fixture on the Trail. I've not been able to buy an original (oh, do I want to!), but I do own a framed Catboy poster.

Mural by Lucy Shaw in a pub garden.

Another thing I would have acquired right there and then if money hadn't been an object: a plate designed by Raewyn Harrison. She used traditional patterns and moulds to make modern pieces of ceramics with raw edges. The hornbill on the right is made from paper, each feather was a work of art. It was part of the Encyclopedic Taxonomy museum display by Daniel Vincent.

This web was suspended from the trees at The Makers Yard. This place is a small artist enclave hidden behind houses and only accessible through a garage door. There were lots of nooks and crannies to explore, it feels like a little creative paradise.

Wooden tiles by Danielle Michalitsianos.

A tree re-imagined by Julie Caves, and an interactive greenhouse installation, Waves by Nicolette Murin. The paper doilies have been treated with iron salts that may reveal captures of touch and movement when washed off. Visitors were asked to hang them up during the open day.

Broken Homes by H Locke. Tiny drawings inside egg shells.

This is Saskia Huning's beautiful home. She is a decorator, specializing in mural restoring and preservation. She has used the walls in her house as canvases for her art, trying out and recreating designs she has worked on for customers.

The mural on the left is one that Saskia recreated in a school. The original had been permanetly lost after being painted over.

We went to see Dr. Knit in his Knitting Laboratory. Each of his creatures has a story...

We stopped to have lunch at a café that last Sunday of the Trail, and discovered that they were also hosting a small exhibition.

Funky and useful home accessories at Belgrave Furniture Works.

A church fittingly hosted an exhibition around angels. Here is an angel wing by Kirsten Schmidt and William Morris, angelified by Emma Scutt.
© Text & Photos - Annika - All The Live Long Day (unless otherwise stated).