Sunday, 30 October 2016

Otherness.: I PUBLISHED MY DIARY

A note from Joelle... 
♫♪Happy Ending - Mika♫♪
otherness
noun
  1. the quality or fact of being different.
Otherness Joelle Owusu

A lot of you guys have noticed that I haven't blogged much this year. And some have even emailed, but  mainly tweeted asking if I am alright and if I'm leaving the blogosphere. The answer to those questions are... no, I'm not leaving and yes - I'm alright, now.

Basically, I've already touched on this topic, but at the start of the year, I was really, really unwell. So unwell, that I found it hard to leave my bed, let alone write 5 blog posts a week!
Buuuuut, during this time I kept a poetic diary. The reason I'm bringing that up is because I published it.
I chose to let the world read my thoughts because writing this was really therapeutic and was play a big part of my recovery. So much so, that I was curious if anyone else going through serious mental health problems would benefit from reading it. 
My poems are split into 5 chapters: denial, delusion, despair, defiance and dignity. These are the stages I went through before I found a new love for myself and embraced my 'otherness'.
That sounds insane, right? I mean, would you publish your deepest thoughts that were meant only for your eyes?
I think the really odd thing is that I wasn't even a poetry fan. I studied the classics at school, but that was it. It was only when I was about to publish that I discovered the likes of April Green, Madisen Khun, Nayyirah Waheed, Ysra Daley-Ward, Rupi Kaur, Lang Leav, Alison Malee and Nikita Gill through Instagram. I class these women as contemporary confessional poets/micropoets and really hope you check them out.
Although I had already written my book by the time I found them, they are all a huge inspiration, because they are fearless and unapologetic through their writing.

So, yes, it's really scary and  nerve-wracking to know that friends , family and total strangers are reading my brutally honest (an often uncomfortable) thoughts from early this year, but I am so glad I didn't back out.
Otherness Joelle Owusu
I would like to say a big THANK YOU to everyone who has supported the book so far. It really means a lot!
Click HERE if you want to buy my book. Oh, and please leave a wee review if you want!
Please let me know what you think! It's not all doom-and-gloom, I promise :).

This book isn't just for me - it's for everyone.
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Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls Event

A note from Joelle... 
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls

Heinz, wonderful Heinz. We all know it and any of their varieties can be found in pretty much any British household. One of their latest ventures is Seriously Good mayonnaise, which is thicker and creamier than the others on offer.
Heinz hosted a competition where bloggers were tasked with creating a recipe (that could fit on a spoon) and I was invited down to taste the shortlisted recipes and see who won the competition.
There were black forest brownies, coconut crispy prawns, salmon parcels and even banana bread recipes, all made with Seriously Good mayo as an ingredient!
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls
As you can see, my pictures came out incredibly blue due to the cool lighting in the studio space.
Heinz Seriously Good Spoonfuls


I can't even begin to explain how delicious and professional all the finished dishes were. My favourite had to be this one:

Extreme Salted Caramel and Petzel Brownie (bySmokey Joe BBQ)

Ingredients
For Salted Caramel + Pretzel Brownie
200g dark chocolate,70% cocoa solids, chopped into small pieces
100g self-raising flour
50g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
100g light muscovado sugar
11/2tsp vanilla extract
3tbs salted caramel extract
3tbsp full fat milk
2eggs
100g mayonnaise (I used Heinz Seriously Good Mayonnaise)
Salted caramel (to drizzle over and decorate)
White chocolate (to drizzle over and decorate)
Pretzels (as many as you fancy to decorate)

Cookie Dough Base:
100g butter, softened
100g brown sugar, softened
1tbsp golden syrup
150g self raising flour
1/2tsp vanilla extract (optional)

Method
Make the brownie:
Heat oven to 170C/fan150C/gas4. Pour enough water into a small pan to one third fill it. Bring the water to a boil. Put the chopped chocolate into a large bowl that will fit snugly over the pan without touching the water, make sure you check the size and no one wants to cry over spilt chocolate! Sit the pan over the water and leave the chocolate to melt slowly for a few mins, stirring occasionally until it has melted evenly, make sure nothing sticks to the bottom. Remove the bowl from the pan, and then let the chocolate cool slightly.
Meanwhile, lightly grease and base – line (add greaseproof paper) a 19cm square cake tin that is 5cm deep. In a separate bowl combine the flour and cocoa. Using a wooden spoon, stir both the sugars into the cooled chocolate with the salted caramel extract, vanilla and milk. Stir in 1tbsp warm water. Break and beat in the eggs, one at a time making sure combined after each egg,  then stir in the mayonnaise just until smooth and glossy. Sift over the flour and cocoa mix, then gently fold in with a spatula without over mixing. Set aside to make your cookie dough base.

Cookie Dough Base:
Mix together the sugar and butter using a wooden spoon. Stir in the golden syrup.
Once creamy and smooth add the flour to the mixture. You want the consistency to be smooth but pliable, you need to be able to form the dough into ball without it being overly sticky. You may need to add a little more flour, but not too much.
When the dough is the right consistency you will need to add this to the prepared tin. Add dollops of the mixture to the tin, then smooth over so flat, ensure mixture reaches the corners. You want to fill the bottom of the tin without being top deep (any cookie dough leftover you can use to make cookies, just chuck in some chocolate chips and bake at 160 fan assisted for 10-12mins:)).
Pour the brownie mixture directly over your cookie dough base, then gently and evenly spread it into the corners. Bake for 30mins. When a skewer is inserted into the middle, it should come out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it, you want it to have a little wobble to it. If cooked too long, the mix will dry out; not long enough and it can sink. Leave in the tin until completely cold, I normally leave it overnight in the fridge. Turn out onto a board, peel off the lining paper and decorate.
Melt the white chocolate in the same way you melt the dark chocolate. Once melted, drizzle over your brownie. Add some pretzels to deviate then drizzle over salted caramel and then add even more pretzels!!  
Cut into squares and serve with vanilla ice-cream! Perfection on a plate! By using Seriously Good Mayonnaise it gives the brownies a different dimension. It brings together the combo of salt  and sweet perfectly!

Amazing, right? I would never have guessed it had mayo in it, but it not had been as smooth and rich without it! What do you think? Would you consider adding mayo to more of your homecooked recipies?
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Sunday, 9 October 2016

RECIPE: Spinach and Goat's Cheese Tartlets

A note from Joelle... 

Hello there! Today, I bring you another super delicious and easy baking recipe that looks really impressive at picnics and can be eaten hot or cold. This  post really should have gone up in the Summer, but I guess they are so good, they can be eaten all year round!

RECIPE: Spinach and Goat's Cheese Tarts

Goat's cheese is so rich and creamy, so it's a surprise that it's not more popular. I think many people are scared of moving away from cow-based dairy produce, because that is what they have aways had. However, goat's cheese is so delicious and really is worth a try in a salad or a mini pie, like this...


Ingredients:

Flour, butter, salt and water to make the pastry or shop-bought shortcrust pastry, if you want to save time
Spinach (I used frozen, as it's more value for money, but fresh spinach is fine too)
Chives (chopped)
Single or soured cream
3 large eggs
1 tspn salt and white pepper

Method:
  1. Add the eggs, single cream, chives, salt pepper, spinach, cheese and chilli flakes into a  bowl and beat until all is combined and the cheese is broken down into small lumps
  2. Roll out the pastry and cut out circles that are larger than your muffin tray/pie dish (pastry shrinks when cooked).
  3. Grease the baking tin well with oil!
  4. Concertina the pastry over itself to make it fit neatly and also for that rustic mini-pie look
  5. Pour in the egg mixture almost to the top of the pastry cases
  6. Brush the pastry edges with a bit of milk for a nice golden shine
  7. *optional* sprinkle a bit of mature cheddar or parmesan on the top before baking
  8. Bake for 20 minutes at 180 degrees Celcius
  9. Don't worry if the egg puffs up, it will return to a flat state during cooling
  10. Once golden brown and firm, take out and allow to cool for at least 10 minutes

These tartlets may be small, but they are packed with a tonne of flavour and trust me, people will think you bought them from a shop! 
What do you think? Let me know if you give these a go!
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