My Foodie Adventures

Making up healthy recipes as I go along...

Month: May 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Cooking With Tunes: May 23rd

Bloody Hell! Sorry this one is so late! I got caught up in my meat-free challenge and just figured that one blog per day would be enough.

This month has been a strange one for my music. It’s been all over the place. There isn’t a theme running prevalent throughout this post. It’s somewhat of an audio hodgepodge. Which is a bloody good word, isn’t it?

Hodgepodge. People should use this word in everyday sentences with immediate effect. Hodgepodge.

Anywhoo, there’s neither rhyme nor reason for this eclectic mixture of music. I just kept jumping from one thing to another, whatever tickled my fancy at the time.

There are ups, there are downs, there’s a kind of middle ground and all the heights and depths between.

Right, you’re not here for my words. You’re here for the music. So pop on some headphones and let’s get our groove on…

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National Vegetarian Week: Day 7 and the End of the Affair

Before I begin the summary of my week, let me just fill you in on the outcome of Anna Jones’ Really Hungry Burger, which I made last night.

Well, I had it again for breakfast. If that isn’t a high praise, I don’t know what is.

It is an absolutely incredible blend of flavours and flawless texture which will be made again when I get the chance. I did have to take a few liberties with the ingredients (I couldn’t find fresh thyme, I’m not making tahini paste and I live in Scunthorpe so if I asked about Medjool dates people would just laugh at me).

I made a couple of alterations based on my little sister’s directions and the resulting burger was, honestly, one of the most delicious things I have ever eaten. It’s not that I couldn’t tell it was vegetarian or anything like that. The truth is, I didn’t care. I knew exactly what it was I was eating and after the first bite, the pang of dismay I felt at a lack of meat washed away to reveal a fervour and intensity that I haven’t really had for food for a while.

I savoured every single bite. I chewed for as long as I could in an attempt to stave off the inevitable end of this burger. It was a revelation and an experience between two toasted buns. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Now, onto my vegetarian experience…

So, this is it. I have completed a whole week of being vegetarian.

I’m still alive, I have none of the symptoms of protein deficiency and I don’t feel like I have starved myself at all. In order to keep up this week of blogging, I’ve actually eaten more often than usual. Which is a bonus.

Now, for the verdict. Has this changed my mind about my lifestyle and diet?

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National Vegetarian Week: Day 6 Veggie Bolognese and Burgers

Before we begin, today is World Whisky Day! Probably one of my favourite holidays (if I actually had any whisky in). If you do, do yourself a favour and make a good cocktail tonight. You deserve to treat yourself. If in doubt, I have the recipe for an Old Fashioned, right here! (Shameless self-plug)

I thought the weekend would be the most difficult part of this meat-free challenge. I’m used to burgers and massive great big breakfasts for tea.

In fact, it’s been much easier than anticipated. With the extra time, I’ve been able to really think about what I want to eat and plan accordingly.

I still want burgers but, fortunately, my little sister sent me a recipe from Anna Jones a while ago. It’s called the Really Hungry Burger and you can find it here.  I have been trying to find the time and a reason to make these burgers (other than the behest of my sister) and this just feels right.

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National Vegetarian Week: Day 5 and My Food Saudade

Today was a bit of a non-starter. I just didn’t feel the urge to create something new and wonderful.

Instead, I was struck with a sense of saudade.

There is no word like it in the English language. It’s a Portuguese word which means:

“The feeling of longing for something or someone that you love and which is lost.”

Do you ever get a memory of a food that you’ve eaten before? It could have been as a child or even just earlier that day. And all you can think is “Damn, I wish I had that right now!”.

That is what I have been feeling.

Damn, I miss that sandwich.

I’ve been trying to think of a word which will perfectly encapsulate what it is that I’m trying to get across but words seem to fail me. I tried foodstalgia (I’m not a fan of portmanteau), gastronomic heartache (which sounds like something Jane Eyre’s chef would say). I just can’t come up with the word.

Is there already a word? I’m dying to know!

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National Vegetarian Week: Day 4 Steamed Bao Buns with GLORIOUS! Vietnamese Soup

Today was a good day in my meat-free challenge, I think I just needed to get over the mid-week hump (a phrase I can’t usually stand to use but felt apt this week). So I’m going to put a different spin on the struggles of my week without meat.

I wasn’t at work today so I found myself with plenty of time on my hands to make some vegetarian delights and I used that extra time to my advantage. And to watch some TV I wanted to catch up on but mainly the whole vegetarian food thing.

To be honest, I thought it was going to be a boring day today. I bought a bag of lettuce and a pot of fresh soup yesterday because I was tired of coming up with these wild and wonderful recipes but, for some reason, I felt inspired this morning.

I’m blaming it on the soup. I’ve owned lettuce before and it’s never acted as a culinary inspiration, that I can recall.

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National Vegetarian Week: Day 3

This is much harder than I anticipated…

I wouldn’t say that I’m craving meat right now, I just think that I ate it so often that it became my go-to thing. There were times when I would literally grill and eat 3 chicken breasts because I couldn’t be bothered to actually cook anything.

My 3 days so far as a vegetarian are forcing me to think more about my food. There are no meaty snacks to just tide me over.

Although, I did almost give in when I got home from work.

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National Vegetarian Week: Day Two

Two days down and I honestly think that this is the longest I have ever gone without eating meat. I’m not noticing any discernable changes to my general sense of well being but I have noticed that I am thinking about food much more often.

I assume that this is more due to the fact that cooking with meat is easier and something I’m used to as opposed to a side effect of overdosing on vegetables. I have to plan what I am going to make for lunch tomorrow, whereas I would usually just have a vague idea of what I have in and hope for the best.

I am at least 80% sure that I will stick this out for the week; I’m also 100% that this hasn’t resulted in a complete change in lifestyle for me. I think that I will take days off meat because I am coming to realise that I probably ate far too much of the stuff. But that is going to more a case of “Meat Free Mondays” as opposed to “Meat Free May”.

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National Vegetarian Week: Day One

How do you people do this? This is the longest amount of time I’ve had to spend thinking about what I want to eat.

I sent a query into the Twitterverse about whether I’m allowed to eat eggs and, to be honest, you folks were ready with the responses. Thank you to everyone who told me that I’m still allowed to smash out some omelettes. Without that, there is no way I would have made it through this week.

So, I have fully caved. I bought Quorn mince and made a chilli. It tastes just as good but, as a certified carnivore, I feel wrong. While I can barely taste the difference, my heart knows there is something amiss. I think I’m going to avoid this in future. I will just go full veggie. For the week. I understand and respect that people choose to do this, I’m just not that person.

How to Make Croissant Pizza Bites

First of all, I can’t come up with a snappy name for these things.

I’ve tried the obvious portmanteaus of pizzants (obviously, no) and croizzas (also, no).

I just can’t think of a snappy way to name these incredibly delicious little treats. If you have any suggestions, please send them to me. I may even think of a prize for the best one…

Whatever we decide to name them, these little savoury pastry delights are just wonderful and so easy to make; especially if you opt for the shortcut I did.

If you have kids, this would be a great thing to make together. What kid doesn’t like pizza? Or fresh croissants? Weird kids, that’s who. Don’t give me that look, if I had a kid and they didn’t like pizza I would refer to them as a weird kid, even if they were in the room.

The only difficulty I found with these snacks is that, as it turns out, I have no idea how to properly roll a croissant. I was aiming for the traditional croissant shape but, as you can see, I ended up with… something slightly different.

Step 1, I will take you through how to make your sauce (you can just use ketchup if you’re a heathen, but I would prefer that you didn’t).

Then there are just a couple of steps until you’re chowing down on some incredible edibles.

The Sauce

This is super easy, especially if you have a blender (you should know by now, I love my blender). Just quickly chop it all, throw it in and hey presto!

Ingredients:

2 Fresh Tomatoes

1 Shallot

1 Garlic Clove

Handful of Fresh Basil

Lemon Juice

Brown Sugar (you can leave this out if you want)

Salt

Pepper

Oregano

Thyme

A Drop of Olive Oil

Not going to even write a method. Chop it and blend it. Now you have a sauce.

Here come’s the shortcut!

The croissant dough I used was store bought…

That was far too much build up for that anti-climax.

Anyway, I bought it from Lidl. Actually, come to think of it, everything here is from Lidl.; it’s probably my favourite supermarket. I have an extremely limited budget and Lidl has everything I need for a price I can actually afford.

Apart from that Jamon Iberico leg that keeps catching my eye. Good Lord, I just want to buy that and sit and eat it like a  Viking.

To Make the Croissant Pizza Things

Ingredients

Lidl Croissant Dough Thing

Your Sauce

Your Choice of Cheese (I was ballin’ with mozzarella)

Any Toppings You May Want (don’t go crazy, you need to be able to close the thing)

Olive Oil

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
  2. Follow the instructions on the packaging to roll out the croissants
  3. Spread a thin amount of your sauce onto the top, leaving half a centimetre around the entire edge
  4. Put on your cheese
  5. A light smatter of toppings (if required)
  6. Now, the folding. You can either try to fold it like an actual croissant or you can do what I did. Just sort of fold the whole thing over. Make sure the edges are tightly pinched together or you’ll get, what we call in the business, a blowout. That’s not as gross as it sounds. It just means that the cheese will explode out of the edges
  7. Put them on a baking tray lined with greaseproof paper and lightly brush them with the olive oil
  8. Cook them for about 10-15 minutes. When they look pretty golden on the outside, you’re on the right note
  9. Enjoy!

Hasselback Potatoes

So, you have a potato. What next?

A quandary that many of us will have faced in our lifetimes. How do we jazz up the humble potato?

Honestly, the options are endless. Jacket? Wedges? Mash? There are a plethora of methods to make that starchy little lump into a delightful meal.

I’m here to talk to you about the road less travelled. The Hasselback potato. The mid-point between crisps, chips and a jacket potato.

Just a few simple swipes of the knife and you can create a masterpiece (editors note: I strongly advise against swiping with a knife. That is dangerous). The edges crisp up, the middle stays all fluffy and it is just a wonderful sight to behold.

The best thing about the Hasselback potato is that it looks far more complicated than it actually is. All you need is a fairly steady hand and a few extra bits. It can be a side dish or, in my case, the main event. It’s just ace.

I will tell you how to create the actual potato first, then I will tell you what I did with it. That made me sound like I tortured a potato…

Ingredients:

1 Decent Sized Potato (of whatever genus you prefer, I used a sweet potato in mine)

Olive Oil

Sea Salt (it’s actually quite important to use the right salt on this one)

Rosemary

Garlic, Crushed and Finely Chopped

Black Pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4
  2. Put the rosemary in the oil. You can do this the night before so that it fully infuses… a word that I never thought would make it onto my blog
  3. Give that spud a scrub. This is for 2 reasons. 1, potatoes are grown in the ground. If you’re the type of person who doesn’t mind the taste of dirt… I’m not sure I want you around here that often. 2, this will give the potato skin a bit of a roughing up, which adds to the texture
  4. Rub the sea salt all over the potato. Get your hands on in there, don’t be shy
  5. Slice the potato down to about half an inch from the bottom. Don’t slice all the way through because then you’re making chips/wedges and you’re on the wrong page. And try not to twist the knife as you’re pulling it out (as I learned the hard way) as you’ll just snap the potato bit off
  6. Make these incisions every 2mm… ish along the potato
  7. Once you’ve run out of potato to slice, pour over the oil (making sure you get it into every slice) and carefully give it another rub
  8. Cram the slices with crushed garlic and black pepper, you can also chuck in some more rosemary if you love it as much as I do
  9. Put on a baking tray and put in the oven
  10. Check it after about half an hour (depending on the size of your potato)
  11. Then check it every 10 minutes or so until the edges look crispy and the insides are cooked
  12. If you want cheesy hasselbacks, you can sprinkle some on and stick it back in for another 10 minutes

There you have it, one fancy potato.

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