Author Archives: monicaminimon

About monicaminimon

Well hello there! I'm Monica. I am an Irish/German/French lassie who adores food, cooking, thoughts and other loves that life throws in between! And conveniently, that is what I blog about! Check out my 'About Me' below for more information. I am also on Twitter and Instagram and you are very welcome to follow my random life... Enjoy! x

Choices

Got to thinking, that life is held together by choices, one after the other. All shapes and sizes; Right or wrong, doesn’t matter. Because life just keeps unfolding. It won’t wait around for you. If you sit still, it can pass you by, altogether. I guess I’d like to believe all these choices are made for us the instant we enter into this world. Because, if that’s true, then we’re exactly where we are supposed to be.

Forever.

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Today

I’m undecided about everything.

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Fridge Love

I just have to admit it…

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Yes, I am a soppy sod.

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Roses In A Teacup

This arrived for me today….

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I really have some ace people in my existence.

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100 Days Happy – 14.29 Weeks of Photo Dedication

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I’m never really one for challenges. Don’t get me wrong. It’s not that I am an unmotivated sloth or anything. I am quite driven and determined but I don’t like the restraint a challenge brings and the wording associated with it when you accept one; “MUST”, “HAVE TO”, “BETTER DO THIS”, “EATING THAT ENTIRE ICE-CREAM CAKE IS NOT HELPFUL”… You know, those kind of things. I am more of a passive breed of species that thinks, “If I just say I want something, I will focus on the fact that I want it and not think about how to get it”. Call it positive mental attitude, cockiness or just blind, jammy luck but for some reason, this method has always worked for me. (Bets are on that it is just sheer luck. I am the human bunny foot).

However, I am now about to jump on the challenge band wagon and do something called “100 Days Happy”. Basically, I just take a picture of one thing that makes me happy on a daily basis, tweet the positive entity in question and do this for 100 days. Simple right? Eh no. Seriously, I’ve had socks that barely made it past the second wear before they were binned.

Must. Dedicate. Myself.

Why am I doing this? I guess because I am always looking at what I want rather than what I have right then, in a moment and I would like to remind myself that every day, something big, medium or little makes me happy. I am grateful for this life thing with all its ickle, bickle quirks.

Happy me; happy life.

So here I go. Let’s do this. Let’s devote myself to a 100, snap-happy photo’s over the next 14.29 weeks! (Yo b*tch, I did the math).

Should you be interested in this absolute candied, rainbow fest of positivity, you can follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/MonicaMiniMon or just click the Twitter button on the right of this page. Pretty easy stuff.

P.S. I really hope this doesn’t turn into a “100-Days-Of-Making-Stuff-Make-Me-Happy” kind of scenario. That just sounds plain tiring.

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A letter to Lilly

A letter to her pooch from a relatively new mother. Oh silly Lilly…

The Airing Cupboard

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Oh Lilly,

Your name rhymes with silly. And you are. Even at 7 years old, you are still a giant puppy. You go mental when the doorbell rings, greeting guests with your patented divebomb approach, your paws tap tap tap-dancing on the tiles.  You treat each and every tennis ball as though it were your long lost love, and no, you won’t give it back, and why should you? Even if it spoils your own fun when we’re out throwing balls and you have to be coaxed and cajoled (and occasionally manhandled) into giving them back. You shed like a fucker in the summer and I curse you as tumbleweeds of black hair float down my hallways, but you know what? You are completely worth the hours of sweeping. Although I wouldn’t have said that when I was 8 months pregnant.

We’ve had you since you were 2 years old…

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Moany Mon On A Monday

My Saturday – Sunday – Monday…

dinner

To…

us

To…

drunk

To…

bed

To…

monday

Finish…

scone

Moral of this story? Never say “I’m actually not drinking much tonight” to an Irish friend.

http://www.labodega.ie/

https://twitter.com/TaphouseDublin

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Week!!! Move Your Ass

This week is going too slow!!! I want the weekend to arrive with all its fanfare and glory. With its butter soaked meals and alcoholic grape juice. With its glorious daytime walks and social late night banter.

More importantly, I want to wake up naturally and stick a middle finger up to my phone who wears the evil mask of “The Alarm” every 7am Monday-Friday and 8am on Saturday’s. SCREW YOU ALARM/PHONE/EVIL HYBRID!!! I’m snoozing on the slumber train this weekend.

On another note, I did come home wearing a second coat last Saturday night after a “quiet” dinner in Jamie Oliver’s restaurant with my sister. “Quiet” means I didn’t come home with an injury or stray animal. Or both.

I wonder if I will ever find the owner and have them reunited once again.

coat

That’s me. The coat-napper.

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Prague-tically There

A different blog this time.

Less about food. Something about travel.

I was in Prague for work last week. When I say I was “in Prague”, I mean I saw the outdoors from indoors within various restaurants, my hotel bedroom, conference rooms, a hotel lobby and random company coach rides that transported our 500+ army of selected European employees. We RULED the indoors of multiple Czech establishments.

We were the business cockroaches of the city. And the window was our friend.

I hate staying in a country and barely seeing it. You can never really say you were actually there. Even though you were there. But you weren’t. But you were. But you weren’t… Yes, this can go on for a while.

I did manage to get some time to myself though and venture out of our massive, towering hotel for an hour. I’m pretty sure I was approached by a spy as I was sitting on a bench by the river and actively throwing loaves of bread at ducks.

Spy Dude: “It is nice weather we are having, no? But not as nice as Is-ra-ale”.*

*Deliberate misspelling of Israel to sound like a Russian accent. It’s hard to type accents.

Me: <blink>

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

Awkward silence ensues…

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

Spy Dude: <stares>

Me: <blink>

He walks away. I sigh a relief.

I then ponder, “Was that tall, raincoat clad, briefcase wielding dude a spy? Hang on… Wait… Am I A SPY”??? I wonder if I am an agent of the shield and perhaps I blinked the wrong way which portrayed my amateur status and I have to be reprogrammed or destroyed.

I then realise I’ve allowed my thoughts to wonder into the random again… Back to the Hilton Prague.

Ugh. A “Hilton”. I wonder how many more dresses, cars, houses and private jets our company just contributed to the Paris Hilton brand. I shudder to think.

Despite barely seeing Prague, what I did see through the windows from indoors, I enjoyed and it was fun work-wise. I travel a good bit for work but this was intense. The 4 days were a marathon of rushing from meetings to more meetings to quick hotel room changes to bars to coaches to restaurants to more bars to more meetings and so on. I barely remember sleeping. Did I sleep? I remember a room, a bed, a floor… but did I sleep?

Ah sleep is for the weak!

Despite being part of the drab* Hilton brand, the hotel was nice.

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*(Views and opinions of hotel brands, Heinz versus Hellman’s, twerking, Madonna’s British accent, why Canadian’s say ‘aboot’ etc, are of my own and do not reflect the opinion of my company, my butcher, the barista who served me my soy milk cappuccino in Starbucks this morning, my hairdresser or the ducks I threw bread loaves at). 

At the top of our hotel was the sky bar, otherwise known as the “Cloud 9 Bar”. It was a fun maze to get to between catching an elevator to a random floor, following the hidden, ambient advertising signs that lead to a service corridor suspiciously resembling the one from a scene in “American Psycho”, then catching an additional lift that brings you to another floor. The elevator doors suddenly part and present a long corridor whose decor resembles the love child of Studio 54 and Hugh Hefner’s bedroom.

It made me want to crimp my hair and don a bikini.

But it did give us a great view over Prague.

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More indoor to outdoor viewing. More windows.

 At the end of this corridor, we reached the Cloud 9 Bar… “(or the Bar of Opposite Personalities)”.

This was the place where the flamboyant cocktails loosened the work ties and suddenly our very formal, corporate and powerful business colleagues were transformed into loud, vivacious, shot drinking hillbillies where business talk was supported by various slurs and “WE ROCK” high fives.

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Thankfully, no one decided to strap their tie to their head, á la Rambo style. But it was close.

Talk about upstairs/downstairs.

On our final night we had the Gala Ball in a conference centre somewhere in Prague.  I took in whatever view I could from our coach ride to the venue. This exercise was futile.

This time, the window was not my friend.

The centre was excessive and hired out for our company which basically gave us more room to carry out the usual nonsense, frivolity and networking. Except this time, woman wore cocktail dresses and the men wore… well exactly the same; suits. The food was formal (trout, veal and a selection of desserts), the waiters were EXCEPTIONALLY friendly and the wine tasted like a hangover in a glass.

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On the large main stage, the Czech performances (which were designed to inject us with some local culture) went largely unnoticed… The necessary “What do you do for our company in your country?”, type questions and sizing-up chatter was abundant… But with alcohol, it’s called “Business banter, darling”!

Meal over, Czech performances generally unappreciated, a few of us ventured upstairs where we plonked into massive bean bags that overlooked the river and bridge. We drank champagne and drunkenly expressed our happiness to see Prague while we soaked in the views… More indoor to outdoor viewing. The window was my friend again.

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 It was pretty darn nice though and I was in Prague.

Well, not really, Kind of. Sort of. Well, I was practically there.

 

That dude was so a spy.

 

 

OBLIGATORY SHOUT OUT MOMENT: Photos taken by a colleague named Matt. He’s also a DJ “SLASH” Producer, the London based kind. He can be found on Instagram as MattRich91. Stalk him there.

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Chicken & Chorizo Stew – A Cold Nose Dish

Project4_Page000Yes, it’s that time of year again where the nights are getting darker, the bikini’s are firmly locked away in their summer drawer and we are all freezing are bottoms off when we open our front doors to head to work in the mornings.

It’s stew time!!! And I have the perfect one for those that want warmed-up cold noses and one-pot-wonders. I present to you, Chicken & Chorizo Stew!

This dish is good. And why wouldn’t it be? You’re pairing chicken with a fiery Spanish pig sausage for God’s sake! Definitely, a greater love story than Twilight… Match made.

Chorizo packs a great deal of flavour and it works really well with the delicate chicken. This stew has a slightly smoky, spicy flavour and the chicken ends up falling off the bone; moist and succulent!

It’s also super for winter dinner parties. I made this last year (yes; last year. Worst. Blogger. EVER) and it was for a dinner party with some friends. The dish was delicious and convenient because once you have done the prep and done the simple steps outlined below, there really is little else for you to prepare but maybe a green salad and opening a few bottles of red wine.

So warm up those noses, sit back and enjoy!

Difficulty: Easy

Prep and cooking time: 95 minutes

Price:  €16

Music I listened to: 

Instead of listening to music, I watched a few episodes of “Friends”. Ah, it never gets old.

Wine I drank: Pinot Noir

Serves: 4

Ingredients:

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  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 150g chorizo, cut into ½ cm slices
  • 850g-1kg chicken pieces
  • 1 large onion, peeled and sliced
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
  • 1 stick of celery, trimmed and diced
  • 200ml of white wine
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 1 yellow pepper, deseeded and cut into 3cm pieces
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 4 potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • Sea salt  and black pepper

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 170˚C/330°F.

Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large ovenproof casserole dish over a medium heat. Gently fry the chorizo until it starts to brown and the oil has turned all lovely and red. Remove the chorizo from the casserole dish to a clean plate.

Turn the heat up to medium-high and add half of the chicken pieces. Brown them on all sides for about 3-4 minutes and then remove them to the plate with the chorizo. Brown the other half of the chicken in the same way and remove to the plate as well.

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Add the rest of the olive oil to the pan and then the onion, garlic and celery. Fry until soft. Add the wine to the pan and let it boil for a few minutes,

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Now add the tomatoes, chicken and chorizo.

While the casserole is coming to the boil, add the pepper pieces, paprika and the potatoes to the casserole and cover with a lid. Let it simmer for 5 minutes and then transfer to the oven for an hour.

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Remove the lid for the last 15 minutes to let the top brown.

Serve with a lovely green salad and a spicy Rioja Reserva to wet the pallet!

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Categories: Chicken, Main Course Dishes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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