Mornings

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It’s been a while since I’ve done this.

/ Banana pancakes*
/ 1 pear
/ orange juice with tap water
/ PG tips

 

Recipe for single serving pancakes:

Ingredients
1 banana
1 egg
2 tablespoons flour

What to do
Mash the banana with a fork (or mixer if you want). Add egg and flour. Stir until you have a smooth batter.
Heat a pan and grease with a bit of butter. Pour the batter and wait for bubbles to show, then turn the pancakes. Bake until golden.

The student – self-worth struggle

Processed with VSCOcam with a6 presetSearching for a job as a student can be tough. It will make you want to pull your hair out and scream. There are some jobs out there but basically, if you don’t want to work in the service sector, a call centre, or hand out flyers on the street, you’re sh-t out of luck.

And this is exactly the position I find myself in.

I’ve worked in a t-shirt store, behind a bar at two different operas, and now I’m working all kinds of jobs that relate to the catering business.
The truth is that while those jobs have been convenient, have supplemented and funded my travels and other activities for the most part, they obviously are not what I truly want to do in my life.

And I’m tired. I’m so tired of having to force myself to be friendly. It’s not that I’m not a nice person per se, you’ll find me smiling a lot, but if someone is rude and condescending towards me I want to have the freedom to defend myself and tell this person off. But no. That’s not possible if you work the jobs I work.

You endure. You endure condescending customers with a false smile that doesn’t reach your eyes. You endure off-handed comments about the youth. You endure stressed and rude bosses that treat you like the exchangeable good and cheap labour that you seem to be.
And you are.

Don’t like your job? Fine, go find another; there are a ton of other students who need a job to pay their bills.

What people do seem to forget is that all these student jobs they look down upon are taken up by people who struggle to balance their studies with the rest of their life. Who try to afford a roof over their heads, clothes on their bodies and a tuition to maybe better their life in the future.

You, my dear people, are talking down to the future doctors and lawyers of this society.

Go see how this will work out for you in 10 to 20 years, when you suffer health problems from all the fatty food and overpriced champagne you’ve had and see who’s going to save your life. Probably that mousy looking girl behind the bar at the opera you yelled at years ago for something she wasn’t even responsible for.

Don’t even get me started on the internships that are available to students. If you’re lucky to score one, you can most probably expect it to be unpaid. Which will mean that you will have to work double: one job to support and feed yourself and another to gain the experience that is apparently required for every job that is out there.
Looking at job ads and all the requirements recently has made me sick to my stomach. I need a job to get experience but these jobs only take people that already have experience. It’s a vicious circle from which I don’t know how to escape.

So go ahead, belittle us. Belittle hardworking people for having hope and making their own luck. Just know that, as much as we want to brush it off, your words do leave an impression, do have some sort of impact and might also do some damage. Self-worth is a fickle thing.

On more than one occasion it has me in doubt if I was qualified or experienced enough for positions. The truth, of course, is that I’m not. But the struggle I’ve mentioned above is not helping that matter.

All these things together have me struggling. They make me doubt myself, question my sense of self-worth. Logic and feelings often don’t coincide and sometimes feeling low and a bit desperate is just something that has to happen to you. I am and it has. And this is why I’m writing these words. I write this to empower myself. To remind me that I am capable. I am worthy. I am good enough.

So go ahead, mock the youth. Mock the students and how they’re living ‘the life’. How they’re lazy and how all they do is party all night and sleep all day. I’m not going to disagree, but I know the truth and I know that there is always more than one side to a story. I do enjoy my life, but I am also one of the luckier ones. I have a family that supports me and a country in which uni fees aren’t too high.

However, I am sick and tired of being treated as cheap labour. Sick and tired of being looked down upon because I stand behind and not in front of a bar. Sick and tired of rude customers and even ruder bosses and large companies with no regard towards their employees.

So go ahead and mock us students. See how that works out for you – to belittle people that are just trying their best to finance their life as well as their studies. Just know that we work hard, and what you deride as ‘young individualism’ is what keeps us going, keeps us motivated.

Here’s to us, the students, and our neverending optimism. Here’s to the hope we carry in us that one day, this all will pay off. Here’s to priorities and sacrifice. Here’s to nights spent studying instead of partying.
Here’s to us. The young and determined ones. The ones that might not know where exactly we’re going or where we’ll end up, but know for sure that there’s a road there that’s worth all the hardships.

Peanut butter-Banana-Chocolate-Oatmeal Cookies

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I feel like it might take you longer to say that recipe name than it does to bake these cookies.

In an attempt to get rid of the excess amount of peanut butter that was residing in my kitchen, I looked up a couple of recipes. Originally my plan was to make peanut butter granola, but then I found a recipe for peanut butter-oatmeal cookies and just couldn’t resist. I haven’t made cookies in so long!

This is the recipe source I used, but I adapted it (I only had one banana, and no coconut oil or agave sirup, so I split the amount in half and worked with what I had at home).

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Ingredients

1 large, ripe banana
1/2 tbsp sunflower oil
1 tbsp honey
1/4 cup of peanut butter (the original source said creamy, I used chunky and I like that it has the extra crunch to it!)
1 1/4 cup of rolled oats
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
a pinch of salt
1/2 cup of dark chocolate (I chopped it myself, but chocolate chips work just as well) I used more because… chocolate!

What to do

Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
Mash the banana in a large bowl. Add the peanut butter, honey and oil, mix until it is smooth. In a medium bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Add it to the banana-peanut butter mix and stir it together. Add the chocolate chunks and stir until it is well blended.
Use 2 spoons and drop the mix on the baking sheet. Bake for around 10 minutes or until the cookies set.

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(Skinny) Apricot Loaf Cake

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Apricots are in season once again. My mum brought home a bunch from a friend’s garden and I didn’t know what to do with them. All I knew was, that I  was sick and tired of the usual apricot cake recipes.
So I went over to Pinterest and looked around for a bit. Pinterest never fails to provide me with fun and easy recipes, today was no exception. After a while I found a recipe that sounded promising. I altered it a bit. You should know by now that I’m a lazy baker ;-)

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Ingredients

2 cups / 10,5 oz / 300g all purpose flour
1/2 cup / 3,5 oz / 100g brown sugar
2 eggs
3/4 cup / 6,7 oz / 190g greek yoghurt
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1lb / 450g ripe apricots (cored and cut into small pieces)

Optional
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
I imagine cinnamon would work too.

I didn’t use any of this and it still turned out really well.

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What to do

Pre-heat the oven to 360°F/180°C. Butter and flour a loaf pan.
Sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
In a medium bowl beat sugar and eggs together. Gently mix in the yoghurt. Stir in the dry ingredients and fold in the apricot pieces. Make sure it’s all blended well together. I was a bit concerned at first because the batter was firmer than what I usually work with but don’t let this deter you, mine turned out really well and moist in the end.
Pour into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Mine was done after about 40 minutes.

Recipe Source (I altered it slightly)

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Rhubarb-Strawberry-Apple Pie

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Rhubarb is back in season, and if you can remember from last year, I go absolutely crazy whenever rhubarb hits the markets.

It’s not a joke, it’s something I take very seriously! I love it. It’s just so easy to make and I love the crisp and sour taste!

Last year I made Rhubarb – Curd Cheese Cake and Rhubarb – Curd Cheese Tartlets. I was tempted to just go back and repeat these recipes because I couldn’t really find anything that tickled my fancy but then I stopped and thought “well, why not do your own thing?”

Why indeed?

Among my friends and family I’m mostly known for three things and ironically I haven’t posted either of those recipes here yet.
As it is I’m known for my Chocolate-Coffee Cake, my Chocolate – Banana Bread and my Apple Pie.

Then I started thinking – I could make that Apple Pie and just switch apples for rhubarb. And yes, it really was that easy. Kind of.
I had to tweak it a bit as I went but if you’re like me and enjoy the hands on cooking more than the fussy weighing of the exact amount of grams, then let’s get started, shall we?

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Ingredients

400g flour
40g sugar
1/2 tsp salt
200g butter (unsalted at room temperature)
1 tbsp vinegar

1kg rhubarb
400g strawberries
1 apple
200ml strawberry juice*
50ml maple sirup (honey works just as well)
3 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp rum
2 tbsp cornstarch
1 egg
2 tbsp milk

* I used strawberry juice but rhubarb leaves more juice than apples so I ended up having a lot of liquid in my fruit mixture which I had to drain out again. So you can either forgo the strawberry juice (as well as the lemon juice as rhubarb is already very sour) or you can just put it in and then drain the excess liquid before you put the fruit on the dough.

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What to do

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

For the dough you mix together the flour, 25g sugar, salt, 175g butter (room temperature and cut in small pieces), vinegar and 9 tbsp cold water until you have a smooth dough.
Divide the dough into two pieces, wrap in foil and let it chill in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours.

Wash, clean and cut the rhubarb and apple into small pieces. Don’t worry if they’re a bit bigger as it will cook and soften anyway. Add the strawberry juice, lemon juice, maple sirup (I usually always use honey instead), cinnamon and rum and let it cook for about 5 minutes. Wash and cut the strawberries and add them to the mixture. If you think this isn’t sweet enough you can add some (brown) sugar or more honey if you want to.
In a separate cup put together the cornstarch with 3 tbsp cold water and stir it until it dissolves. Add this to the fruit mixture and let it cook for another minute or so. Leave the mixture to cool.
If you have used the juice (or even if you haven’t) and the whole mix seems very runny, try to get rid off the excess liquid by draining it.

Grease a form with the remaining butter. Roll the dough until it fits the form, put it in and then prick the bottom with a fork.
Put the fruit mixture in the form. Roll the remaining dough and cut into stripes so you can braid it on top of the fruit.
Mix the egg yolk with the milk and brush it on top of the dough.

Bake for around 60 minutes.
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A couple of days later I basically made the same thing but without the strawberries. I also tried my hand at braiding the crust around the form. With the leftover dough I made some rustic tartlets filled only with rhubarb (cooked with honey, rum and cinnamon – basically that’s all you need!).
It really is easy and such a fun and creative way to try new things.

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