Tag Archives: cooking

2012 HIGHLIGHTS . THAT’S ALL, FOLKS!

Toi December

In essence 2012 has been one of the toughest years in my life, not because of personal relationships this time, the truth is that something as common as losing a job in a critic moment, while there’s  a terrible economic crisis striking the country, can affect a person to unsuspected limits.

My last period uprising trend was suddenly stopped at the end of March, and 6 months unemployment have brought back quite negative stuff I thought being overcome and forgotten. I will focus on that in a while, not today, I’m not in the mood, but yes, I can advance you my self esteem has become more vulnerable to start with.

Being this 2012 mainly marked by this 6 month period, I’ve also lost some control of myself, and chaos has been present. Perhaps I’ve abused on partying way too much, routines disappeared for some time, and mayhem has been remarkable sometimes. Nowadays I’m trying to get back on the right track, and this year turning point might help me to focus.

Still, not everything has been crap, there are lots of remarkable things I will never forget, thus, being a list lover, I will tell you about them.

 1.    NORMA JEAN MAGAZINE

My relationship with this online magazine started when I was asked to write a review about Shame, the film. Since then, I’ve written more than 30 articles (in Spanish), covering a wide range of subjects: squirting, speed dating, flirting at 35, sex while menstruation, Tarantino and his chicks, corsets, women and music… and I’m proud of being involved in this project and become co-editor. Moreover, since I’ve been writing for Norma Jean Magazine in Spanish, I’ve received invitations for collaborating in order sites, and a proposal coming from an independent publishing house. Through this magazine I’m learning lots, and getting acquainted with very interesting people. Really, a blast!

nj cover

 2.    ANDREA

Lou introduced me to the other half of Norma Jean, Andrea, in April, right after losing my job. Chemistry was obvious since the very beginning and we liked each other right away.

Andrea is a hard worker, a great student and a perfectionist, yet she has a great sense of humor, very compatible with mine. With Andrea the team work has made sense for real, regardless the distance, and I have to thank her for being so inspirational.

Andrea and Toi

 3.    MISS ARIANNA

When I first discovered Arianna’s work via Tumblr, I knew I’d have a piece inked by her the soonest.

She had these 3 days available at Swan Song Tattoo in Rome as a guest artist, and I booked with her right away. I only spent 12 hours in Rome, 6 of them at a tattoo parlor, and I got my lighthouse, my guide, so powerful and firm, it really encourages me to keep on looking forward.  I will never thank her enough, and she will never fully understand what she did to me.

my lighthouse by andrea

 4.    THE WEDDING AND THE GIFT

Artie and Mayra got married, and Kiko, Agnès and I decided to look for the most special gift we could give them: a wood carved piece of the cover of Harvest Moon album awesome Bryn Perrot especially made for the occasion. A unique piece for one of the most rockin’ couples I know, and love. The gift arrived late, the wedding was amazing, and I can’t now wait for meeting baby Ariadna as soon as she’s born.

5.    RICH ROBINSON TOM PETTY, FU MANCHU

These are the artists and bands I moved my ass abroad to see live performing. Amsterdam, Dublin and London were the locations, and as usual, the quality of sound of the venues was impeccable. Special mention to my hostess Sofia, my rock sister, for having me at her flat even though she was in the middle of her exams, and my travel companions Artie, Mayra, Javi, Ani, baby Celia, Gonzalo, Yolanda, Veronica and Joaquin. Anytime, and hopefully soon, friends.

fu

6.    SINCE MY BABY LEFT ME

Yes, this blog, my pride and joy, and my actual baby. This blog was here for me, with its arms open to embrace any crap I wanted to pour on it during these previous months of uncertainty. I’m very glad readers’ response is improving and, even though you don’t comment much (I like to think shyness is to be blamed), visits, subscribers and fav’s are remarkably increasing.

Thank y’all!

 7.    VISITS FROM FRIENDS

This has been the year my Hellhouse has received most visits, and I’m glad my friends wanted to spend some time by my side. Lou, Andrea, Sofia, Agnès, Kiko, Dave, Arantza, Mayra, Marisa and Julio…it’s been great to have you here. Hope you have felt at home, at least I tried you did. Also those hanging out evenings and nights, watching films, eating pizza, playing poker, thanks for coming too.

hellhouse by Lou

Ah! Before I forget, those days I spent with my all time best friend Diana, at her summer house by the sea, were incredible.

 8.    QUIT SMOKING

This wasn’t a resolution for 2012. I didn’t plan it in advance, although I was getting disgusted with so much compulsive smoking. it was a box a day, too much considering I had been a social smoker all my life till my “divorce”, when I started smoking like craze. On Monday I thought I had to reduce little by little scheduling my cigarettes, however by Friday I didn’t want to have even a drag.

My initial anxiety was translated into sleeping 3 hours, truth is that as soon as I got unemployed I earned weight. There’s still lot to do to get fit and lose some weight but I’m on the right way. I’m glad I don’t smoke any more.

9.    COOKING

It’s been 2 years and a half since I stopped eating meat (I never liked fish) and chose to become vegetarian, and this year, in order to enjoy a more balanced diet and also tasty meals, I’ve been looking for new recipes and improving my cooking skills. I still have some challenges in mind for next year, I hope to accomplish.

 10.   SOCIAL NETWORKS

You might think this is something stupid, but thanks to FB and Twitter I’ve got acquainted  lots of new people, discovered artists and musicians, recovered old friends (Tani, so good to have you back!), and even flirted with guys. Thanks to ARF forum I’ll never go to a show on my own, news on Twitter, which spread lightspeed, attach me to reality even though I cannot stand TV news, and I know lots of tattoo artists worldwide thanks to FB. Remembering the main motto of Antonio Montana, with internet, THE WORLD IS YOURS.

The world is yours

Good times are to remember, bad times are to be buried, keeping only the lessons learned from the fall.

Hope 2013 is much better than this one. I wish you all the best friends!

APRON SEASON

Winter is coming!

Never such a simple sentence became so popular and cool. It’s threatening, it works as a warning, and at the end of the day, it’s a fact, an axiom.

I’m more a mid-season person, passionate for Spring and Fall, but even though I’m living in Barcelona, where climate is milder than inland and we don’t experience rough super low temperatures nor snow on regular basis, it’s true we share this same extreme change of season which always catches you by surprise no matter how insistently you’ve been warned about. You just can’t believe temperature is dropping 10ºC overnight, when two day ago you were melting and sweating the shit out of you due to humidity and warm weather. But it happens, and now I’m in front of my computer wearing a ragged jumper, and wrapped in one of these couch blankets, because the house is actually cold, and temperature on the street is finally lower.

Weather changes and the time Daylight saving time is over. Two key factors for rearranging habits only exclusive for Summer. Outdoors activities remain minimum and now I have to focus on what I want to do for these next 7 months.

And this is the perfect moment for giving my last passion carte blanche. Yeah, friends! The season of cooking and experimenting has officially started with me putting on my Swedish apron.

On one hand I’ve started perfectioning all these soup spoon dishes, including different soups and creams, and also, and quite important in my veggie diet, all these legume based dishes. Warm and tasty meals to balance the fresh salads. Cold weather requires solid meals to strengthen and improve our body defenses.

Thus I started with this veggie bean stew which I like to name as Eugenio’s beans, because I’ve never been a die hard fan of this legume, till he prepared this wonderful stew last winter, concerned of my veggie condition.

It is really easy to prepare, even though, as with most stews, it’s a fact that the slower and longer it takes to cook, the better it tastes. Red and green pepper, carrots and garlic, parsley, cayenne and other spices, vegetable soup, olive oil and the beans are required.

As Halloween is getting closer and unfortunately I won’t have my planned disguise ready (I’ll keep the project on hold till Carnival time probably), I was also thinking of skeleton shaped cookies or similar stuff. But there was a consideration I forgot, as simple as the fact I can’t bake cookies yet. Serious, I’ve tried carrot cake and brownies, but bakery is not my specialty yet, probably because I have this idea in mind that you need a large working space for mixing and needing the necessary dough, and the kitchens I’ve been dealing with, are quite narrow and uncomfortable for such procedures.

Once I thought of this, my Halloween plans were reduced to none, well to attend a gig, and perhaps do this Trick or Treat candy exchange thing. Shit! I used to have a beautiful with bag for candies, my cool hat, the perfect tees with skulls for the event, and once I had this bat wing hairband which looked super cool. I hate to realize about how many stuff I was thrown away in the name of “space and order”… MY ASS!

Anyway, let’s forget about crap and let’s focus on me being a super strong headed girl who is determined to learn how to prepare and bake cookies.

First thing I did is one of the typical things I always do, I love anticipating and many times I do it wrong, but as soon as I saw this human cookie cutter at a Tiger Store, I had to have it. I’ve seen moulds and cutters of Star Wars, but I add them to my wishlist, for the future and if I finally enjoying baking cookies.

My friend Arantza is the specialist in bakery, she’s completely devoted to muffins, the so-called cupcakes, cookies, cakes, plumcakes, and bread. Man, her Guinness bread and cupcakes are RAD! She’s also a top Internet tracker, as me, and is able to find all kind of recipes and kitchen utensils and gadgets. Of course you can imagine I thought of her immediately to have one of these quick approach on the subject, so she could send me a cookie recipe for dummies like me. I reconsidered about the flat shape cookies and said to myself I had to start in the humblest and easiest way. There’s plenty of time to improve and be cool.

Thus I had this baking session, having fun with the making of the dough, mixing flour, different kinds of sugar, chocolate pears, eggs, butter…to get this hard to handle stuff, which would turn into a cookie after 20 minutes. For some time I had my doubts, thinking I was doing something wrong, but I wasn’t, everything was under control. Sometimes I feel marveled at such simple things, a disgusting looking piece of dough becoming nice chocolate chip cookies. Love it!

And here’s the result of my first homemade cookies.

Before I forget, I feel the need to comment that the preparation of these treats was done under the influence of the King’s Elvis Live In Las Vegas, thus I’d like to call them Elvis in Vegas cookies. I know, I’m a freak, but I’m pretty sure I’ve made some of you smile, huh?

I tried a couple of them last night but they were still a bit warm and too soft, but I’ve had a couple of them for breakfast and they tasted great. I’m not joking, I know the shape is not perfect, and I’ll work on that, but the most important things, the taste and texture, are outstanding, and I’m very proud of myself, of course.

I really don’t know whether passion for cooking comes together with age, or it’s also my veggie condition which has inspired me in being more creative regarding meals, the truth is that I don’t feel lazy about cooking any longer, and I enjoy being so focused on something which requires my attention in such a way, because I’m usually messy doing 5 things at the same time, but with cooking I’m quite disciplined, and I like it.

What about you, any special recipes for this season you might like to share? I’m all ears and eyes.