Smoked Mackerel Breakfast Salad

Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.

Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.For years our morning meal has contained a single item… a coffee. Well, we both aren’t morning eaters and the very idea of solid foods in the earlier hours of the day just isn’t very appealing to us, normally but things can change… Lately, we have swopped sitting in the office in front of the PC for more physical work like gardening or woodworking. This change has forced us to reevaluate our eating habits. We are now much more inclined to have a proper, high protein breakfast which will keep us going till lunch or maybe dinner time, depending on how busy we are. We have started to experiment with different food combos and this salad is just a perfect result from this experiment. Who would have thought that fish and a white cheese could go so well together? I know it might sound a bit off but don’t diss it before you try it. The smoky taste from the fish rounded out by the creamy white cheese, the mildest hint of mayo zinged to the heavens when a piece of spring onion is bit a truly wondrous combo.

Ingredients:

  • 500g smoked mackerel
  • 150g soft white cheese*
  • 3 eggs
  • 2tbsp mayonnaise
  • Handful of chopped spring onions
  • Fresh cracked black pepper; to taste

*if you are in the UK you could check your local supermarkets’ Foods Of the World fridge section and see if they stock a Polish white cheese called twaróg  – it will work perfectly 🙂

Method:

Put a pan of water and 3 eggs on to boil, when done remove from the heat and allow to cool.

De-bone and flake the fish, then place it in a bowl. With a fork, mash it up a bit to reduce in size any large clumps of fish.

Add the white cheese and mash some more.

Once cooled and peeled, roughly chop the eggs and add to the bowl of fish and cheese. Sprinkle the spring onion over the top, add the mayonnaise and finally crack some black pepper and stir gently till everything is just combined.

Serve as a salad or even as a sandwich filling, it works perfectly both ways. And if you have any leftovers after breakfast time, pop it into the fridge and use as a dip for some crackers come evening time.

Enjoy!

Fast and easy to prepare, this salad will provide everything one might need for a good start of the day, including plenty of protein.

9 Interesting Facts About Denim

Denim – everyone’s favourite. We love it and we live in it: jeans, shirts, jackets, skirts… the list goes on. Having been in use since the 15th century this fabric is still very much in demand; modern-yet-classic, fashionable-yet-casual, plain or faded in different patterns we simply can’t get enough of it.

Denim – everyone’s favourite. We love it and we live in it: jeans, shirts, jackets, skirts… the list goes on. Having been in use since the 15th century this fabric is still very much in demand; modern-yet-classic, fashionable-yet-casual, plain or faded in different patterns we simply can’t get enough of it.I used to be a denim junkie. Before my now famous KonMarie session my wardrobe held over 30 pairs of jeans alone. Crazy, I know… but not to worry as most of them didn’t give me joy anymore they were donated to charity and I am sure someone else somewhere is making very good use of them right now. Anyways, winter is over and spring is upon us, which can mean only one thing – wardrobe change! All this rummaging about in my clothing kind of put me in the mood to find something interesting out about my beloved denim, so here you have it… 9 facts I didn’t know about. I hope you will also find them interesting.

Denim was invented in the 1500s in Genoa, Italy to be worn by the sailors in that city’s navy; it took over 300 years for it to become popular and worn by masses.

In the earlier years, denim was associated with hard working labourers like miners, farmers or railroad workers who needed a durable, long-lasting yet comfortable clothing.

Cowboys = denim. Picture a cowboy. What is he wearing? Cowboy boots, well-worn blue jeans, denim shirt and a hat… am I right?

Blue jeans became popular outside of the United States, thanks to American Soldiers in World War II who wore jeans when they were off-duty.

Every American on average owns 7 pairs of wearable denim clothing? Seems like a lot but just look into your wardrobe, you might really be surprised.

About 2.5 billion yards of denim is produced every year all around the world. Over 50% of denim is produced in Asia alone, specifically in China, India, and Bangladesh.

Most of the denim fabric is washed in water after colouring in order to prevent the shrinkage.

One bale of cotton can be used to produce 225 pairs of denim jeans.

It takes 1800 gallons of water to grow enough cotton to make one pair of jeans… ooops! That’s a lot of water!

Are you a denim lover? Could you survive without your favourite pair of jeans?

* This is a collaborative post.

Home-Grown Food – From Meadow to Veggie Patch

Creating a garden, or a veggie patch to be precise, from scratch isn’t a picnic… it’s a whole load of hard work but it is work which at the same time as being hard can also be surprisingly satisfying.

Creating a garden, or a veggie patch to be precise, from scratch isn’t a picnic… it’s a whole load of hard work but it is work which at the same time as being hard can also be surprisingly satisfying.

When we were buying our new house we knew that a part of our land would be made into usable garden space with eatable thingies growing in it. As it ended up our new home had no dedicated garden space at all. The former owners of our place didn’t grow anything besides tons of beautiful flowers including about 100 bushes of roses. They did, however, support the local bee population by having some well-developed wild meadow… All good but we needed to make the room for our veggie patch 🙂 The plan became obvious, we had to turn part of our meadow into a veggie patch!

Our preparation work began in autumn. Luckily for us, a local man in our village called Ivan owned a mini tractor and plough and was kind enough to come to us with his tractor and plough our designated field. Then nature and the harshest Bulgarian winter in 65 years did their job. Over the winter months under piles of snow, the soil began breaking down and all the wild plants and grasses turned to mulch… super, everything so far was on course for getting ready for spring.

Once the snow melted it was time for step two… rotovation. But things aren’t always going to go according to plan. The snow melted, the sun came out to play but with it came also the rain. We were told that Ivan will be able to come on the 4th day after the last rain, so we waited… One day with no rain, two days with no rain, then the rain came… and so the countdown resets and begins again… after waiting for almost 2 weeks without the needed 4-day dry stretch we decided to start to clean up the soil by hand. It was a hard task, especially for two unfit people who have never done any gardening and had spent most of the last winter chilling indoors by the fire recovering from all of last years’ stresses. But day after day, meter by meter we slowly progressed… Until finally last Thursday at about 9am the doorbell rang, it was Mimo with the good news, Ivan is on his way as today was the 4th day pass the last rains. Around an hour later of precision driving and our entire patch was all turned and cultivated.

Time for step three – root removal 🙂 After Ivan had finished rotovating the soil this task became much easier. It took us a further 3 full days to finally finish our patch. We stood at the edge and looked upon our huge area of lovely brown crumbly soil set within a backdrop of wild meadow and marvelled at the transformation and felt deeply satisfied, it was a good life moment.

At this point, we were ready for marking the veggie plots out and the essential pathways. After some arguments and lots of running about with a measuring tape, a giant ball of string and an armful of marking sticks we had completed the task and created 9 even(ish) plots plus a 10th designated for root vegetables. Happy times!

One would think that this was it, but evidently no… after we marked out our plots, it was time for the final clean-up of the soil. I was not convinced and must admit to a fair amount of whining about unnecessary extra work but Mark started turning the soil over with a spade in one of the plots, I sank to my knees and started picking up anything that shouldn’t be there. I still mumbled about the stupidity of our actions till I tried to tug a root that wouldn’t move. I blamed my exhausted arms for their lack of power and asked Mark for help. He couldn’t pull it either, so being a bloke and refusing to be beaten by a mere root he started digging, and digging and then more digging. Turns out my little root was attached to a medium sized root that was in turn attached to a giant root that finally ended in a tree stump! 2 hours of digging and pulling and just a hint of swearing and the root was out. Mark turned to me and simply said: “A waste of time hey…” I resumed picking up old roots and didn’t mutter a word. Then, at last, all the remaining roots had been picked, we raked until all was flat and smooth and we were done! All we have to do next allegedly is plant our seeds.

I don’t know if you have any experience with gardening and growing veggies but if you do, please tell me, does it get any easier? Because right about now the concept of going to the local supermarket and buying a basketful of veggies is making an awful lot of sense. We were told this is the hard part and that now until next spring it is easier, but at this point, it is really hard to believe in it.

How To Choose The Best Food For Your Dog

Canines are the perfect domestic pets because they can adapt to living with humans very well. Many people prefer dogs over cats for many different reasons, but this decision should be considered carefully. Be sure to consider your needs, lifestyle and schedule, before inviting any puppy into your home. Start by doing some research on puppy care, feeding schedules, dog foods and housetraining. Once you have made up your mind that you are ready to make the transition, it will be time to start looking for that new puppy.

Getting a pup is just the beginning, now, you have to decide what to feed it and this choice can be very confusing. The right food is key to the good development of your new family member, so make it a wise choice. I know some of you were not overly keen on the raw diet I wrote about lately so let’s talk about shop bought feed for a change. In this article, you will discover several tips on how to choose the best dog food for your furry friend.
As a rule of thumb, in general, a dog’s food shouldn’t be changed too often as this will cause problems but as soon as your dogs’ circumstances change you should consider changing their diet too.

Dog’s Age

Dog food manufacturers often offer a variety of dog foods to us the consumer. The type of dog food will be determined by the pet’s age. For instance, puppies will require far more nutrition than a middle-aged or senior dog, because they are still growing. The manufacturer labels each of its dog foods, so we can easily find what we are looking for. Don’t be tempted to buy that bag of senior food for your 3-month-old pup just because it’s on special offer, the distinctions between foods were made for a reason.

Dog’s Activity

As well as the age, the dog’s activity levels will play a crucial role in picking the right food. An almost housebound dog, which rarely gets taken for a walk (yes, dogs like this exist all over, just look at some of your neighbors which proudly walk them only on a weekend, or the thousands of miniatures used as “accessories” that get carried everywhere in a handbag or under an arm) these dogs will have totally different needs than say a working breed, which runs around for most of the day. Mixing it up may well result in the dog becoming overweight or malnutrition.

Branded Food

A sad reality of modern life and shrinking budgets is that many pet owners will end up choosing a brand because it is more affordable. This can be a huge mistake, as some generic brands will not offer the same nutritional value as some named brands. Now, this is not to say that all generic brands are out of the question, far from it but I do recommend reading the labels and seeing for yourself what’s going into your dogs’ food. There is a reason some kibbles cost 3 times more than a superstore brand, for example.

Brand / Food Research

As mentioned above, named brand dog foods are deemed to be much safer and more nutritional than generic brands. However, this is just an opinion and not an actual fact. Instead of taking the advice of others, you should do your own research. You will find an array of websites that offer genuine customer reviews on many different dog food brands. Yes, I know that customer’s reviews are just an opinion but if you find a food with a majority of negative reviews it might be a good idea to stay clear of it.

Canned / Dry Food

When comparing the cost of canned dog food to dry, you will see a major difference. Canned foods come with a higher price tag, making them out of reach for some consumer pockets. This is generally the reason why dry kibble foods are so much more popular, plus many of the brands will actually provide the same nutritional benefits. If you have difficulty making a decision, you may want to consider mixing the two together. Many owners will utilize the dry food as a mixer to create a tasty feast just like we did for years, add a few spoonful’s of canned food into kibbles just to make food a bit more attractive (from a human’s perspective that is as the dogs didn’t really care about aesthetics)

And if everything looks too confusing, you know there is always the raw diet option… just saying 🙂

Moving Abroad – Do’s and Don’ts

For some moving abroad might be out of necessity for others a planned choice. For some, it may feel like a nightmare, for others an adventure, a new beginning yet whatever your reasons or feelings there are some basic DO’s and DON’Ts which will apply in any situation.

DO your research

Even if it is only basic research, as some is better than none. Moving abroad on a whim isn’t a good idea, no matter how adventurous you are. A good basic knowledge about your new country, its people, traditions and customs is a must before you pack your bags.

DON’T talk, do

I know quite a few people who talk and talk about making a move but never actually get around to the moving part… Well, we’ve been there… we talked for three years or so before we actually took the plunge but we did do it. If you want something, take a deep breath and act on it. Life is way too short to just talk about the changes you want.

DO invest in a lawyer and /or translator

All countries are different and some can be vastly different to what you are used to. They will have their own laws and procedures and without a person on the “inside”, it can be really easy to get caught out with something you will come to regret in the future. Even if you do extensive research beforehand and you really know all the basics, you will not possess all the knowledge about local unwritten laws, laws which are in use but can’t be found within any written Acts. Getting the proper legal advice is really important, it will give you piece of mind and potentially save you a lot of money. DON’T skip it.

DON’T forget about your income

When moving abroad especially to a cheaper country a lot of people forget that they still need money to live off… yea life may be more affordable but it isn’t free; even if you decide to live off grid you will still need some cash. Depending on your abilities you might move and think about work later but if you don’t have any transferable skills, it might be hard or nearly impossible to find work, so DO remember to find a realistic plan on how you can feed your bank balance.

DO pick the right place to move to

I am not talking about the right house, I am talking about the right part of the country, district or even street. When we were searching for our house, some offers seemed too good to be true… well, once we actually visited the once in a life-time deal we would discover why… the house was just as advertised, borderline perfect but no one mention anything about its neighbourhood, or the giant factory just across the street or the subsidence, the mildew and damp etc.

DON’T remodel your house right away

The chances that your new place will be perfect are slim. Once you move in or even before you move in, most people feel the urge to make it feel like theirs, renovating before actually living in and bonding with the house never works well. All that painting, decorating and putting your own mark on the place hardly ever works in the long run. Move in, live in the house for a few months, get a feel for it and then make more informed decisions about what or how things need to be changed – this approach will save you a lot of nerves as well as money.

DO insure your new house

House insurance is always a controversial topic; if you are buying a house and you have a mortgage you have no say in that matter, insurance is a must but what about buying it out right? A lot of people don’t pay for building insurance thinking that nothing will ever happen to them… well, in 8 years in our old house in the UK, we claimed house insurance twice – a burglary and a leak in the roof… needless to say, our monthly payment for house insurance paid off.

DON’T be a hermit

You moved to a new country so go mix with locals and become a part of your new community. It’s quite scary to see Brits living here for 5+ years with no real abilities to communicate with their neighbours or having any local friends. I know people are different but I personally don’t get it. Why move 1000 miles away and mix only with other expats?

Oh and most importantly DO enjoy yourself!

Have you ever considered moving abroad?