11 February 2016

Do Something New Each Day - February 2016

Day 32 - 1 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'The Revenant'

New month and it's Oscars season, so decided to watch as many of the 'likely' winners as possible. ODEON's offer of 5 movies for £25 obviously helped!

I'm afraid I'm going to disappoint many people that loved The Revenant. Yes, the photography and direction was very good, yes Di Caprio's performance was also good, but it wasn't his best and certainly the movie did not make me want to watch it again. In my opinion, it took small parts of a true story, added a lot of the 'legends' surrounding it and tried to create a movie out of it. Sorry guys, just couldn't really get into it much. Tom Hardy's performance was exceptional though, I have to say.

Day 33 - 2 February 2016 - Made 'Potato Bread'

Another new bread from the bread machine, for those not afraid of carbs. If you have a bread machine, here are the ingredients:

175gr cold mashed potato
240ml potato cooking water, at room temperature
30ml olive oil
500gr strong white bread flour
1.5 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1.5 tsp easy bake dried yeast

Day 34 - 3 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'The Hateful Eight'

Now that was a movie I did enjoy! Tarantino's movies never fail to bring a smile on my face with their wit. This was a more 'who's done it' western, but very well produced and with a great cast. 4 out of 5 stars for me! For more info here.

Day 35 - 4 February 2016 - Made 'Rye Bread'

Movies and bread making seems to be the order, at the start of February! First attempt to make rye bread. Not the same as the one you get in a supermarket, but more tasty! 

500gr rye flour
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 tbps olive oil
2.5 tsps easy bake dried yeast
440ml water

Day 36 - 5 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'Grand Hotel'

As of 2014, Grand Hotel was the only even movie to have won an Oscar for best movie, without having any other nominations in any other category. The storyline follows the stories of a number of individuals staying at a luxurious hotel in Berlin. IMDB gives it 7.6 and I will agree with this marking. More info about the movie here.

Day 37 - 6 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'Spotlight'

Time to watch another Oscar nominee. Spotlight is based on the true story of how a newspaper, the Boston Globe, uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese. Some great performances in this movie and a very well deserved 8.2 from IMDB. More info about the movie here.

Day 38 - 7 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'Trumbo'

Trumbo is one of the Oscar nominees that I had put in the back of my list to watch. But as it turns out, if I was to choose so far my Oscar winning movie, it would be on top of my list. Great movie and awesome performance by Bryan Cranston in the leading role. The film is about the true story of Dalton Trumbo, a Hollywood top screenwriter, who in 1947 was jailed and blacklisted along with others for their political beliefs. IMDB gives it only 7.5, I'd give it closer to 8.5. For more info clieck here.

Day 39 - 8 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'The Man Without A Past'

Decided to have a small diversion from the currently nominated films and to instead watch a 2002 film from Finland, which won numerous international awards and was also nominated for an Oscar for best foreign film. 'The Man Without A Past' follows the life of a man who develops amnesia after getting beaten up and starts living on the outskirts of Helsinki since he can't get a job or somewhere to live.  Although IMDB gave it 7.7 points, I didn't enjoy it that much to be honest. For more info, read here.

Day 40 - 9 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'Birdman'

Yes ladies and gentlemen! I admit that up until 9 February I had not yet watched last year's Oscar winner. I enjoyed it, and to be honest I've enjoyed most of Inarritu's movies. But, as with The Revenant, I found it missing something that I can't quite figure out. So, for now, 21 Grams and Biutiful still remain my favourites of his movies. For more info about the movie click here.

Day 41 - 10 February 2016 -  Watched the movie 'Still Alice'

A really touching film and a well deserved Oscar for Julianne Moore, who was exceptional in this film. For more info about the movie click here.

Day 42 - 11 February 2016 - Made 'Honeyed Carrot Soup'

Time for another delicious soup, since the weather seems to be getting colder and colder! Click here for the recipe.

Day 43 - 12 February 2016 - Made 'Farmhouse Loaf'

I have to admit this is one bread that didn't really impress me. For all of you with a break maker:

320ml water
425gr strong white bread flour
75gr wholemeal bread flour
1.5 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
25gr butter
1 tsp easy bake dried yeast
Use basic setting for white bread, medium crust.

Day 44 - 13 February 2016 - Ate Scouse for the first time

Yes, I know! It's kind of ridiculous to have lived in Liverpool for over 10 years and never tried Scouse before! But say no more! This is now history!

I had to try it twice, at two different places, before I could form an opinion on this lamb or beef stew. As you can guess from the photos, the second try was the most successful!

Day 45 - 14 February 2016 - Visited the International Slavery Museum, in Liverpool

The museum displays untold stories of enslaved people, information about the life and culture of West Africa before the transatlantic slave trade, the history of slavery and also special exhibitions about the legacies of slavery and current human rights issues.

One of the most interesting parts of the museum, when it comes to Liverpool, is a section that gives detailed information on many Liverpool streets and buildings, and the significant part they played in the history of slavery. For more info about the museum click here.

Day 46 - 15 February 2016 - Made 'Bran and Yogurt Bread'

This is a bread that will split opinion amongst those who try it. You'll either love it or hate it. I think it's the slightly bitter taste molasses give to the bread. But it's one of the most aromatic ones you'll find and, personally, one of the tastier! For those with a bread maker:

185 ml water
175 ml natural yogurt
1.5 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp molasses
260 gr strong white bread flower
200 gr wholemeal bread flour
40 gr wheat bran
1.5 tsp salt
1 tsp easy bake dried yeast

Use the white/basic setting, medium crust.

Day 47 - 16 February 2016 - Cooked 'Sherba'

This is one of the tastiest stews I've ever tasted! Apparently Sherba is a speciality in North Africa. Full of flavour and very easy to make. Click here for the recipe.

Day 48 - 17 February 2016 - Made 'Apple and Cider Bread'

This week I'm suffering from a bad cold so I can't do much apart from stay indoors and try to cook, make breads or watch a movie. So, this bread was next on the list. Although warm out of the machine does not taste anything special, it's a complete different experience when eaten cold. 

260 ml sweet cider, left to become flat
30 ml extra virgin olive oil
125 gr green eating apple, finely chopped
525 gr strong white bread flour
1.5 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
1.5 tsp sugar
1 tsp easy bake dried yeast

Use the white/basic setting, light crust.

Day 49 - 18 February 2016 - Watched the movie '4 Months 3 Weeks and 2 Days'

A Palme d'Or winner at the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, this is again one of the movies I sat to watch with great anticipation, but left me unsatisfied. The film tells the story of two students in Romania, who try to arrange an illegal abortion. It was not bad, in fact I watched it with great interest. But it's not one of those movies that I wouldn't really watch again and again. Click here for more info.

Day 50 - 19 February 2016 - Watched the movie 'Joyeux Noel'

Nominated for an Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film in 2006, 'Joyeux Noel' is a great movie! It tells the story of the Christmas truce during World War I between French, Scottish and German soldiers in December 1914. For more info click here.

Day 51 - 20 February 2016 - Visited Hitchin

Hitchin is a small town about 40 minutes from London. I visited two friends of mine on the day, so there was not much time to see the town in detail (given the weather too), but it looked like a beautiful place. The photos are from Google. For more info about the town click here.

Day 52 - 21 February 2016 - Made 'Poppy Seed Loaf'

I love poppy seeds! And this is a loaf that's definitely better eaten warm! mmmmmmmm!!

200 ml milk
100 ml water
450 gr strong white bread flour
4 tbsp poppy seeds
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
25 gr butter
1 tsp easy bake dried yeast

Use the white/basic setting, medium crust

Day 53 - 22 February 2016 - Cooked 'Shaker Chicken Pudding'

The Shakers - or Shaking Quakers - settled in America from Europe during the 18th and 19th centuries. This recipe is a great example of their belief in the rich rewards of simple living.

It's a fantastic, flavourome dish that it's so easy to make that it's perfect when you need something quick. It uses leftovers to create a brand new filling meal. The recipe in the link here.

Day 54 - 23 February 2016 - Cooked 'Moroccan Chicken And Lemon Soup'

AMAZING!! That's all I can say about this soup! To be honest, when I read the recipe I was very concerned that I wouldn't like it. I liked all the individual ingredients, but there are some very strong and diverse flavours mixed in there! You have the hot, strong flavour of the hot curry powder, fighting against the sweetness of the honey and the raisins, not to mention the acidity of a whole lemon.

However, the result is a soup that takes you into a journey of flavours with each and every spoonful! I will be making some more of it soon! The recipe in the link here.

Day 55 - 24 February 2016 - Cooked 'Lamb And Irish Guinness Stew'

On a day when the temperature drops below zero, you need a meal that can warm you up and fill you up at the same time. This stew brings memories of cold winter nights, sitting by the fireplace and drinking ale. The recipe in the link here.

Day 56 - 25 February 2016 - Cooked 'Spicy Vegetable Soup With Peanut'

This is yet another unusual soup. It is based on a traditional recipe from Lesotho, in South Africa, but slightly changed to become more suitable to a British palate. The recipe in the link here.

Day 57 - 26 February 2016 - Made 'Cider And Poppy Seed Bread'

This is my first attempt to create my own bread - not from scratch, but by amalgamating my favourite parts of two breads I made previously. Although it make not look appetising (I know why and will fix it) it turned out to be one my favourite breads!! Love the slightly sweetness the cider brings, the taste of poppy seeds and the 'heaviness' of it, like a rye bread.

320ml medium sweet cider, left to become flat
625gr strong white bread flower
100gr poppy seeds
2 tbsp milk powder
1.5 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar
1.5 easy bake dried yeast

Use the basic/white bread setting, medium crust

PS: I think the mixture needed a little bit more liquid, so next time I'll add a bit of water or more cider.

Day 58 - 27 February 2016 - Had lunch at 'Lox And Caper', in Liverpool

Lox And Caper has been in my list for quite some time. Mainly because of the great reviews of their sandwiches and soups. Its a tiny place in the centre of Liverpool and you can easily miss it as its entrace is shared with the Merseyside Youth Association. In fact, the reception area is shared too!

A really lovely lunch. You can read my review here.

Day 59 - 28 February 2016 - Went to a Capital One Cup Final

Yeap! It may surprise you but despite the fact that I've been to a few finals with Liverpool, this was my first ever time in a Capital One (call it League Cup, if you like) Cup Final!! Unfortunately the result kind of ruined the occassion and made the journey back to Liverpool seem even longer. But we'll be back again no doubt!!

Day 60 - 29 February 2016 - Cooked 'Harissa Lamb with Bulgur Wheat'

Well, after the disappointing result of the Cup Final, I was in no mood to do much on Monday. So I opted to a quick, easy and tasty recipe for some lamb I had in the fridge. The recipe here.

February review

Films and food were the main order for February. In its 29 days I watched 10 new movies, cooked 7 new recipes for the first time, made 7 new breads, visited 1 restaurant and tried Scouse for the first time!! I also visited one museum, one town and attended my first ever League Cup final! March brings the start of long days and hopefully sunny weather, which means my travels are about to begin!

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