My Weekend Food Diary

Tyler and I took a trip down to Eastbourne last weekend for the annual nerd fest that is the air show. As much as I’m terrified of flying, I love planes and get fan girl excited over the Red Arrows. As we stayed over for the night I thought it would be a perfect opportunity to share a food diary with you. It didn’t quite go to plan as I was really unwell on Sunday and ended up eating nothing all day so my weekend food diary ends on Saturday night!

Friday 9pm – Dinner at Zizzi’s

Starter: Arancini with tomato sauce

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Main: Chicken and vegetable skewer with potatoes, slaw and a lemon and parmesan sauce

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Dessert: Mango and coconut sundae

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Saturday 11am – Breakfast at Wetherspoons

Vegetarian breakfast

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Enjoying the lovely weather and planes!

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Saturday 3pm

Tango Ice Blast, mixed cherry and raspberry. So refreshing in the heat!

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Saturday 3.30pm – Lunch from a Thai street food stall

Tempura prawns with sweet chilli dipping sauce

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Saturday 9pm – Dinner at home

Crispy chilli beef, plain chow mein, chips and curry sauce from the Chinese takeaway. Too exhausted to cook!

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I’ll try and get a full weekend of food in next time I try this! Hope everyone else had a lovely weekend too!

 

Recipe: Greek Salad

So you don’t really need a recipe for a Greek salad. The ingredients, if the recipe remains true to it’s heritage, should always be the same. That is tomatoes, cucumber, olives, red onion and feta cheese, along with a dressing rich in olive oil. In my opinion it’s best served at room temperature or just under rather than straight from the fridge and makes a wonderful side dish to grilled or roast lamb. This is the way I make mine.

Serves 4

What you need:

  • 350g good tomatoes, chopped into chunky pieces
  • A chunk of cucumber about 6 inches long, halved lengthways and cut into strips
  • 1/2 a red onion, finely sliced
  • a handful of pitted black olives
  • 200g feta cheese, broken into chunks
  • a sprinkling of dried oregano
  • 4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tbsp cider vinegar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper

What you do:

  1. In a large bowl, combine all of your prepared vegetables.
  2. Add in the feta cheese and sprinkle over the oregano.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the extra virgin olive oil, the vinegar and the salt and pepper until combined. When ready to serve, pour the dressing over the salad, give it a good toss and take it proudly to the table.

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Perfect for an alfresco summer lunch!

What I Ate In A Day #12

I went to an amazing wedding on Saturday, probably the best wedding I’ve ever been to even though the lovely couple already got married officially abroad last month. The weather was gorgeous and set off the beautiful venue perfectly. Of course my main concern was the food. I’m pleased to say that it was absolutely delicious, all Indian in style and really tasty. I ate a lot and drank a lot of Pimms. Like, a lot. Naturally, I was feeling a little worse for wear the following day so dragged myself to my local Wetherspoons for breakfast. I went for the vegetarian option as I like the sausages better than ‘real’ ones and washed it all down with an ice cold apple juice which worked wonders for the hangover.

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Watermelon is also a pretty amazing hangover cure so I munched on some of that as an afternoon snack, followed by some cherries.

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It was another hot day on Sunday so we wanted a simple, light dinner that didn’t involve the oven as we just aren’t coping with the extra heat that generates into our kitchen. Lazy admission – we bought a ready cooked chicken and had that with new potatoes dressed in butter and lemon and thyme sea salt, mixed salad with Caesar dressing and a little bit of Blackstick’s Blue cheese. This cheese is amazing, a little goes a long way as it’s pretty powerful stuff but the taste is unlike any other cheese.

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After dinner I had a watermelon slushy made by whizzing some frozen watermelon chunks with a little sugar syrup and a splash of water.

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And then, my favourite part of any Sunday. Putting my comfy clothes on, tying my hair up and relaxing on the sofa with a naughty snack. Tyler and I shared this Cadbury Dairy Milk with Daim bar. No really, I honestly did share.

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I love a selfie me.

July Roundup

July. The month that felt like the early 2000s with everyone talking about Pokemon and Blink 182. Not me though. I’ve been harping on about Celebrity Masterchef, the lack of decent strawberries in the supermarkets and how summer just doesn’t feel like summer when you don’t have a 6 week holiday.

Oh the good old days of school when life’s biggest worries were getting a ladder in your tights or not having a boyfriend like all the cool kids. I thought my teenage years were such a struggle. I knew nothing. I used to come home every day to my bed made, a home made dinner on the table and my washing done and ironed for me. Now, I come home to a messy house at whatever time the traffic allows and have to engage the brain enough not to mix my dinner up with the cat’s. I tried a cat treat once. It was a terrible, terrible mistake.

I’ve made some damn good food in July, though I do say so myself. I’ve recapped all of this month’s posts below in case you missed any or want to have a re-read.

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Recipe: King Prawn Linguine / Recipe: Steak’n’Stuff / Recipe: American Pancakes with Bacon / What I Ate In A Day #11 / Recipe: Masterchef Style Smoked Haddock / Top 5 Must Have Cook Books For Eating Well / Recipe: Peanut Butter Brownies / Recipe Review: Gordon Ramsay’s Bread and Butter Pudding / Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad / How to be a Better Cook in 5 Easy Steps

See you in August!

Recipe: Chicken Tikka Salad

Sometimes you just want something light for dinner, especially when the weather is so warm, but the thought of a salad can be depressing. This is where you need to up your game and inject some funky flavours and textures into your salad to make it exciting and exotic. This is a great weeknight recipe as it can be ready in around 15 minutes and is easy to eat in front of the TV should you want to.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 3 tbsp natural yogurt
  • 1 tbsp tikka seasoning
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • juice from half a lemon
  • 1/2 tsp mint sauce
  • 1 pepper, cut into bitesized pieces
  • 1 red onion, cut into chunks
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 handfuls of mixed salad leaves
  • a few slices of cucumber
  • 2 spring onions, finely sliced
  • 2 ready to eat poppadoms

What you do:

  1. Put your chicken breasts into a bowl along with one tablespoon of yogurt, a good squeeze of lemon, the garlic, the tikka seasoning and some salt. Stir well and leave this to marinate for as long as you have. 10 minutes is better than nothing but overnight is best.
  2. Mix together the remaining two tablespoons of yogurt with another squeeze of lemon, the mint sauce and some salt and leave this to one side to drizzle on the salad later.
  3. Heat up the oil in a frying pan and add in the pepper and onions, tossing regularly and cooking until they start to char. Remove these from the pan and set aside.
  4. In the same pan, cook the chicken pieces, turning regularly and scraping any marinade from the pan to coat the chicken. Let the chicken catch slightly to give a lovely flavour.
  5. To assemble, put 2 handfuls of salad leaves into each waiting bowl then top with some cucumber. Sprinkle over the warm peppers and onions then add the chicken slices. Drizzle over some of the mint yogurt sauce then top with a crushed poppadom each and a sprinkling of spring onion before finishing with a little more sauce if you like.

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Enjoy!

Recipe: MasterChef Style Smoked Haddock

I’m a little bit obsessed with Celebrity MasterChef at the moment. Seeing Sinitta nearly poison John and Gregg with raw mince in a raw aubergine was a particular highlight. Sinitta will do anything for a few quid it would seem but sadly she was booted off before she could find a new cooking career and, more importantly, before she actually killed someone. One of my favourite Essex exports, Amy Childs, also left the competition early. Despite continuously pouting her way through the first round, it wasn’t enough to make up for her raw steak and she too was asked to leave.

On a much more positive note, I loved watching Mo from Eastenders try to make her liver and bacon dish look more Masterchef friendly by piping her mashed potato in three tiny pea-like dots around the plate, which didn’t go down too well with the celebrity judges. Sid Owen (Rickaaaaayyyyyy) and Alexis Conran (I know right – who?) have both got off to a good start and have delivered some tasty meals to John and Gregg. I’ve been thinking about Sid’s bread and butter pudding since watching the episode.

Taking inspiration from some of the dishes the celebs have made, I decided to up my game and take myself out of my comfort zone and create a dish that I think John would describe as a ‘tasty, tasty thing’ and Gregg would be like ‘GET IN MY FACE’. Not blowing my own trumpet (I am) but I think I achieved it. If only I had India Fisher to soothingly describe my dish to you. I will just have to do it myself.

Tania has made poached smoked haddock on a bed of mustard mash with a cheddar cheese sauce and spinach cooked with lemon juice and crispy bacon.

Serves 2

What you need:

For the mash –

  • 3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
  • a splash of milk
  • 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tbsp soft butter
  • a good pinch of salt

For the fish –

  • 2 fillets of smoked haddock
  • enough milk to almost cover the fish in a shallow dish
  • 1 spring onion, halved
  • a few black peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp soft butter

For the cheese sauce –

  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 tbsp plain flour
  • 100g grated cheddar cheese

For the spinach –

  • 1 tsp olive oil
  • 2 rashers of smoked streaky bacon, finely chopped
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach leaves
  • squeeze of lemon juice

What you do:

  1. To make the mash, boil the potatoes in salted water until they are tender then drain well and mash thoroughly with the butter, milk, salt and mustard. Beat with a wooden spoon for fluffy, creamy mash. Keep warm until ready to serve.
  2. Grease a shallow dish that is the right size to allow the fish to sit in without overlapping. Lay the haddock fillets in skin side down and cover almost all the way with the milk. Add in the halved spring onion and black peppercorns then spread the soft butter on top of the fish before covering the whole dish tightly with foil and placing this in the oven at 180°c for 15 minutes.
  3. When the fish is cooked, remove it from the milky liquid and keep it warm. Strain the milk into a jug as you will need this for the cheese sauce.
  4. To make the sauce, melt the butter in a pan then add in the flour and stir to create a roux. Gradually whisk in the strained milk until you have a smooth, voluptuous sauce. Add a little extra milk if it’s too thick. Cook out for a few minutes before beating in the grated cheese off the heat and adding salt and pepper if needed.
  5. To make the spinach topping, heat the olive oil in a pan on a high heat and cook off the bacon until it’s golden and crispy. Add in the spinach and keep tossing in the heat until it’s wilted then squeeze in a little lemon juice to taste.
  6. To plate up, create a ring of mashed potato in the middle of your plate. Remove the skin from the haddock then lay the fish fillet on top of the mash. Spoon over some of your lovely cheese sauce then top with the spinach and bacon mixture.

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The soft, creamy mash spiked with sharp mustard makes a delicious base for the flaky smoked fish and the rich, indulgent sauce. The spinach with its tang of lemon cuts through the richness and the crispy little shards of bacon add a welcome crunch. I’m putting myself out there here but I’m certain that this is one of the best dishes I have ever made.

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You should have seen the state of my kitchen though. MESS EVERYWHERE.

What I Ate In A Day #11

Otherwise known as what I ate in a day whilst feeling sorry for myself because I have a cold. It really is only a cold, a cough here, a sneeze there, one of those annoying little niggles of an illness where you’re not too sick to be off work but really want to do nothing more than watch trashy tv and eat cake. No room for self pity here though, I had a full day at work followed by a two course dinner when I got home all made from scratch. One could argue that I’m mad, but I’ve had this most evil craving for bread and butter pudding and it simply had to be fulfilled so that was had for pudding.

Anyway, I should probably start with breakfast. I’m almost bored of saying it now such is the regularity of it, but I started my day with granola, yogurt, coconut flakes and fresh fruit. I then had a banana shortly after.

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Lunch was one of my favourites. There’s a sandwich place near me called Francombs who do really lovely pasta salads made to order. This is my take on their New Yorker boxed salad. It contains a base of pasta and Romaine lettuce then has pastrami, stilton, cucumber, gherkins, jalapeños, crushed tortilla chips and a dressing made with extra virgin olive oil, wholegrain mustard, balsamic vinegar, maple syrup and salt. It involves a bit of prep work but I make enough for a few days, leave the prepared ingredients sitting in individual boxes in the fridge then toss them together with the dressing the night before and take the tortilla chips separately to add just before eating. It’s really good.

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I had a homemade peanut butter brownie with my lunch. Recipe coming soon!

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To tide me over until dinner I snacked on a satsuma and a fake Penguin biscuit from Sainsbury’s. These are hilariously called Polar bars but don’t have the terrible jokes you find on a proper Penguin. Sort it out Sainsbury’s! I did eat a nectarine too but I forgot to take a picture.

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Dinner was one of my favourite things to eat at the moment, my king prawn linguine. The recipe can be found here. The two slices of garlic bread on the side were there for aesthetic value. I actually ate 4 slices. I get really hungry when I’m ill.

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And now, what I’ve been waiting for all day. Nay, all week. Bread and Butter Pudding with double cream. *insert excited squealing here*

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I’ll tease you with this for now and treat you to the recipe soon! One thing’s for sure, I’m totally having some of this for breakfast tomorrow.