Drawing dogs for Boden – Johnnie B t-shirt

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Another t-shirt I illustrated for Boden is now in the shops. Hooray! This might be my favourite one yet, but that’s maybe a no brainer because it includes lots of dogs. The design was inspired by my Drawing For Dogs project – in which I raised over £1500 for Battersea Dogs & Cats Home. For Boden I included Johnnie Boden’s own pup Sprout in the design :)
You can buy the shirt here. (It’s in the teenage range but age 16 fits a size 10-12 – if you like this kinda thing!)
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The Best Moussaka Ever – A recipe

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Moussaka is one of my favourite meals ever. I first tried it on Exmouth Market when I used to work nearby. There was this one stall who sold an incredible one for £5 with rice and salad. I think I ate it at least twice a week for months! Since then, I’ll always order moussaka if it’s on the menu. This was the first time I cooked it myself. I referenced a couple of different recipes and sort of picked the bits I thought would work well to make this one. It did turn out really well and bloody tasty so I thought I’d share!

Just a note… this is not a quick meal to make. It took me between 2-3 hours in total before we ate it!
This does make enough for 4-5 generous portions though so you could save it for another day. It’s a Sunday cooking adventure, if you will.

What you need:

For the delicious insides:
Olive oil
2 large aubergines, sliced
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp dried oregano
500g minced lamb
250g tomato passata
150ml red wine
Salt & pepper

Small bunch of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

For the bechamel topping:
500ml whole milk
60g butter
60g plain flour
50g Parmesan cheese, grated
2 eggs, beaten
A sprinkle of nutmeg

Method:

1. Heat your oven to 180°c degrees, place your aubergines sliced into 0.5/1cm slices onto a baking tray with a bit of olive oil and salt over them. (You can pile them up, but make sure a tiny bit of oil is between each layer!). Bake for around 20-30 mins until soft and golden.

2. While the aubergine is cookin’, oil a large pan and cook your onion and garlic, season with the cinnamon and oregano. Add your lamb mince and cook it through making sure it’s brown. Once the lamb is cooked through add your passata and red wine, add a little of your parsley and some salt and pepper to taste. Cook for around 30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated.

cooking

3. Go make yourself a cuppa while your meat base is cooking, then in the last 10 mins, make your bechamel sauce. Heat up your milk in a pan, but do not boil. Melt your butter in another pan and stir in your plain flour. Make sure you use a whisk! That’s my tip for making the perfect bechamel sauce, as it helps it stay smooth. Add the milk in little bits and whisk as you go along until it thickens and is smooth. Once all your milk is in, add your grated Parmesan and stir until smooth. Take off the heat, cool slightly, then add your beaten eggs. Whisk until smooth. Sprinkle in a bit of your nutmeg. If you’re a big nutmeg fan feel free to add a bit more, personally I find it a bit overpowering so didn’t put too much in!

4. Arrange a layer of your cooked aubergines in the bottom of a large baking dish, pour in your lamb mixture and then place some more aubergines on top. To finish, pour on your bechamel sauce. Place in the oven at 180°c  and cook for about 45 minutes until the top is brown.

Serve with white rice and a side of salad if you fancy. Tomatoes would go well too :)

Hopefully you’re as much of a fan of moussaka as me!

Istanbul pt. 2 – Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque

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sleepingdogs
There are mosques everywhere in Istanbul, and when I say everywhere, that’s no exageration. Our flight arrived to Istanbul just before midnight, so to save money on the first night, we stayed in a cheaper hotel. I was having The Best Sleep Ever, when I was woken up to the super loud call to prayer from a mosque which was right next to our bedroom window! Kinda weird to wake up to when not expecting it, but also amazing.
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One of the activities that all Istanbul guides in existance say is: visit Hagia Sophia and The Blue Mosque. So we did…
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Istanbul, Turkey – Bosphorus, Soho House Istanbul & lots of delicious food

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Phew! I’ve finally edited all my Istanbul photos and now I’m wishing I was still there drinking beers in the sun! It’s such an amazing city, all based around the beautiful Bosphorus stretch of water. It’s actually bigger than London which surprised me during my pre-trip research. There is so much to do, and during our 5 days there we definitely didn’t cover everything! Highlights were the Galata tower area, a Bosphorus river tour (totally do it), exploring the Mosques (post number 2 – to come), eating all the foods and the Grayson exhibit I blogged about a couple of weeks ago.

Istanbul is certainly a product of it’s geographical location culturally. It feels very middle eastern in lots of ways, which I love: the people, the mosques, the food. But then it feels very western: the galleries, the little shops, bars, the younger trendier kids everywhere! For example the area around Galata tower feels a little bit East London or Berlin. But then it’s really unlike anywhere I’ve been in Europe, yet not quite as strict and influenced by it’s religion as the Middle East.

galatabridge
Henry kindly took me for my birthday and we stayed at Soho House Istanbul which was the best hotel I’ve ever been to! You’re not really allowed to take photos in the Soho House buildings but it was incredible place, a 19th century palace. The food was also super nice in there. Though in Turkey, most of the food is AMAZING… I’d get obese if I lived there for sure.
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What I wore today – NEW FLAT!

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Breton top, c/o: Petit Bateau – Skirt: Gap – Pumps: H&M

Please excuse the fact I look a little bit awks. I’m so tired after moving flats! Almost a week later and everything is finally tidied away and all IKEA furniture is built. Phew. After realizing I have too many clothes, here is an OOTD ;)! I kind of match my new sofa, right…? Also minimal French style is always a good shout when you don’t know what clothes are where and finding items that match is more effort than it’s worth.

Now time to catch up on crappy YouTube videos and blogs. Flat tour soon? Oh… and those Istanbul photos I wanted to edit weeks ago. Oops! Hope everyone in blog land is good. xx