Yelly Writes

Hello there stranger!

Yes I am writing again. And no, I didn’t go on a writing sabbatical (as is my perennial excuse for being a lazy so and so).

I just haven’t been visited by the writing muses lately and real life adulting has been keeping me busy and most days absolutely shattered. By the time I get home, I’m more than ready to go to bed. But of course, there’s still dinner to be made and eaten and dishes to be washed. Some days, I really would just like to get in, lock the door behind me, take of my shoes, put down my bag, take a shower and go to bed. I’ve neglected all forms of creative pursuits – writing, crocheting, sewing. All my creative endeavours have been put on an extended pause until I find the motivation to start working with my hands again.

I’ve been feeling very down in the dumps lately. Maybe it’s the hay fever, but I feel like I have this blanket of general dissatisfaction about everything weighing me down. I try to busy myself and just keep my head down and just keep chugging along, ticking off one task after the other. If I keep myself busy, I stop noticing the little things that make me grind my teeth in annoyance. I try to smile through everything, be kind, be helpful, be pleasant and biddable, because that’s what’s expected (and I know that it’s not good for my mental health, all this tamping down of feelings). But there are days when I just want to shout in frustration and demand that people take care of me for a change. I keep wondering whether people would notice if I disappeared. I know…dark thoughts. I’m probably just feeling a bit neglected, taken for granted and a little invisible.

I do, however, want to write more. I have a hashtag that I use a lot on my Instagram stories (please follow me — I’m @yellywelly on Instagram and Twitter) – #girlonthetrainfeels. Yes, very, very inspired by Paula Hawkins’ book The Girl On The Train, which I loved and read several times over. Because, I am, for all intents and purposes a girl on the train. I commute to work on a train. I’ve been asked by people to write about my train journeys because my Instagram stories make them laugh.

I need to get writing. What I’m afraid if is that people will think I’m mean. Because I make up names for the people that get on the same train as me – the regulars. I also wonder about them, and have observations. I don’t think I’m being mean-spirited. It’s just a bit of fun on the train whilst I’m waiting for the train to roll onto my platform so I can get off and go to work.

I wonder if people will be interested in reading my stories and musings….

Yelly Eats

A hidden gem a stone’s throw from The Secret Annex

Originally posted on my TripAdvisor Account

With so many things to see and do in Amsterdam, one can be forgiven for opting to settle for the familiar internationally known fast food brand names. But as with every trip we do, we like to eat “where the locals eat”.

Sefa BBQ and Grill restaurant hasn’t actually come up in any of the searches we did while we prepared for the trip and researched food places to try. But, as luck would have it, most of the places we wanted to go to weren’t evening meal-type places. When we searched for cheap eats in Amsterdam, this came up. We loved a good mixed grill and the reviews were good. It was a a stone’s throw away from Anne Frank’s house, and this was a plus as we wanted to get our bearings because we were going to visit the Secret Annex the following day.

We got off the tram and only had to cross the street to get to Sefa. We were greeted with smiles and were seated right away. We looked at the menu. We chose our dishes from the grill section and chose the Kip Sis (chicken) Schotel and Isgara Kofte (minced lamb meat koftas) Schotel. The dish comes with bread and rice or chips (you can also choose to have half chips and half rice, or all rice or all chips), and a serving of salad.

When the dishes came out, we couldn’t believe how generous the portions were. There was a large amount of rice, a large serving of salad and a VERY generous portion of the grilled meats. We ordered fresh mint tea as our drinks (you’ll find that most restaurants in Amsterdam will have this on the menu).

The meats were beautifully cooked and seasoned well and not at all dry. It would be very easy to over cook the meats but the lamb patties were soft and juicy and the chicken pieces were grilled perfectly and succulent.

The service was quick and efficient and the food came out piping hot! Everyone was so kind and friendly. I loved that they automatically left containers of chilli and garlic sauce on the table. We didn’t have to ask for them!

The meal was excellent value for money. We paid just under €40 for our meal (including the 2 teas). They were generous with the meats and the sides, and what is most important is that the food was most certainly delicious! We are definitely going back and we will be telling our friends about Sefa!

If you see it, know that the unassuming and “usual kebab shop” front is deceiving. Go in and have something from the grill menu. You won’t regret it!

Yelly Eats

Going the full monty

Sometimes, nothing else hits the spot like a full English breakfast.

This is my idea of a full english: rashers of bacon, hash browns, sausages, eggs over easy (or sunny side up), mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and black pudding. It’s a huge breakfast but it does fortify you for the day. Don’t get me wrong, it’s yummy and it’s a massive meal, but it’s not something I’d have every single day. It’s one of those things that you get when you’re on holiday or treating yourself to a lie-in.

Everything in moderation folks!

Yelly Eats

Yamagoya ramen

We visited Yamagoya several weeks ago, and as is always the case, real life gets in the way of my writing entries in my blog (yes, excuses, excuses! I know!).

 Yamagoya has 2 branches in London that I know of, in Southwark, just across from the station, and In Shaftesbury Avenue near Chinatown. We went to the Southwark branch because we thought it would better to visit the Southwark branch because it would be less busy than the Shaftesbury Avenue one. Yamagoya had a special edition cherry blossom rainbow cake.

But we thought, since we were there, we may as well try the ramen.

It felt like we stepped into a homey mom & pop ramen-ya, or at least it was how I’d always imagined it would look like. We went to the counter and ordered the gyozas, the chicken karaage and the signature Yamagoya ramen.

It was out-of-this-world-delicious! We took forever to photograph our food (this is what happens when a group of foodie instagrammers together!) but we managed to stop and actually enjoy this hug in a bowl!

The bone broth was SO good! It was so tasty! One sip and I felt like I was enfolded in a massive hug! Every element of the ramen bowl was meant to offer you comfort. The noodles were light enough for me to finish all of them but substantial enough to make you feel like you’ve had a meal; the marinated eggs were so flavourful — I can’t put into words how pleasurable it was when that runny yolk coated my mouth; but my absolute favourite was the chashu pork! I would love to order a few extra slices and have just that and rice!

If you’re near either the Shaftesbury Avenue or the Southwark branch, do go! It is an experience not to be missed!

Yelly Writes

Notre Dame, la plus proche de mon coeur!

“I wanted to see you again, touch you, know who you were, see if I would find you identical with the ideal image of you which had remained with me and perhaps shatter my dream with the aid of reality.-Claude Frollo ” ― Victor Hugo, The Hunchback of Notre Dame

When I visited Paris, I said to myself the next time I went, I would buy myself a ticket to go around Notre Dame, to walk through its aisles, to gaze up at the beautiful rose windows, to crane my neck and stare at the beautiful flying buttresses that have held my imagination ever since I learned about them during a Humanities class in high school, to climb as high was what was permitted to gaze at Paris from its heights. The last time, I stared at Notre Dame from a seat in the square just in front of the cathedral and I imagined how much I would enjoy myself during the next trip with quite possibly a day adoring the beautiful Lady of Paris.

I can’t be sure I can do that now. Because the beloved cathedral that has stood the test of 850 years and has watched Paris evolved is burning. My heart breaks as I watch the breaking news on telly. The beautiful spire that has towered over the roofs and the nave collapsed as the world watched. I’ve read from reports that the gargoyles were seen tumbling down from their lofty posts.

I’m going to stop watching the news now. I don’t think I can bear hearing about the flying buttresses collapsing. I know that Paris can rebuild, as it often has, because it survives and it evolves. But even if they rebuild The Lady, it will never be the same again.

I’m going to try (very hard) to remember Paris and Notre Dame the way I saw Notre Dame last. Beautifully incandescent in the unexpected Parisian sunshine and blue skies 💔

Yelly Eats

How to make: Chicken Karaage

I’ve been unwell and when I’m unwell my body craves comfort food.  Unfortunately, this means I have to cook said comfort food.  Not that I mind so much, because I do love to putter about in the kitchen.  It’s just that this weekend, I’ve been left with so little energy that I, almost, couldn’t be bothered.

I’ve had chicken karaage from a few places and I must say that this is probably one of my favourite versions of fried chicken (closely rivalled by Korean fried chicken — soy ginger please!).

I’ve tweaked my version of chicken karaage, and this time, I’m using mirin, instead of using Shaoxing rice wine, in the original recipe I posted, funnily enough, almost 4 years ago.  Chicken karaage uses sake, which I have never had the pleasure of tasting.  I’ve switched to using Japanese mirin to inch closer to finding out what home cooked karaage tastes like.

I do love it though and I hope you will too!  As always, if you try any of my recipes, I would love to hear from you and your cooking experience.

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken thigh fillets, cut into large-ish bite-sized chunks
  • 2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 tablespoons mirin
  • 4 tablespoons light soy sauce
  • 100g plain flour
  • 100g cornflour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • vegetable oil for deep-frying

Directions:

  1. In a ziplock bag, combine chicken, ginger, garlic and soy. Carefully massage the chicken through the bag and marinade for at least 1 hour (better if you let the chicken marinade overnight though).
  2. In a bowl, mix the cornflour, flour and salt, and coat the chicken pieces with the cornflour-flour mixture until the pieces are dry to the touch.
  3. In a frying pan, heat up the vegetable oil.  When the oil is hot enough, carefully drop chicken pieces and fry until golden brown (should take about 3-4 minutes).
  4. Serve with a slice of lemon or a teriyaki sauce, on its own or over a bed of fluffy steamed rice!  Speaking of rice, I wrote a post on how to cook rice perfectly (I’ve been cooking rice since I was 11 so I like to think I know what I’m talking about – way before there were non-stick pans!).

Here’s a little recipe on sticky sauce that goes well with the karaage.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 200ml water

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to a rolling boil, stirring constantly.  Once boiling turn the heat right down and allow to reduce until there is only half of the liquid, making sure that you stir occasionally so that none of the sugar burns.  This is brilliant as a little sauce to be sprinkled (sparingly) on steamed rice if you’re having friend chicken or fish.

Yelly Reads

Writing weekend


This weekend I’m going to do a lot of writing…and tackling a huge amount of ironing!

I posted a question on my Instagram stories a few days ago because I’ve been building a list of books I’m aiming to read this year. What are your book list must-haves?

Right. Enough prevaricating. Those clothes aren’t going to iron themselves!