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!

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.

Recipe: Pimped Up Kidney Beans

When you’re not eating meat, or at least reducing the amount of it you consume, you have to find inventive ways to add flavour to your meals. Kidney beans don’t exactly evoke the same mouth-watering emotions that bacon rashers sizzling in a pan do, but they’re good for you and can be made quite sexy with a bit of special treatment. I learnt the trick of frying kidney beans from Jamie Oliver and now always cook my beans this way. They burst open, their deep maroon skins making way for their fluffy, pale interior, allowing them to take on any other flavours that you add to the pan. These are a great addition to a grain bowl or to chuck into any other recipe that needs a bit of extra pizzazz.

Serves 2-4 depending on what you’re eating them with

What you need:

  • 1 400g tin kidney beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1 tsp tomato puree
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • Generous pinch of smoked sea salt (use normal salt if you must)

What you do:

  1. Easy one this. Heat up the oil in the pan and add the kidney beans, stirring and sizzling for a couple of minutes. Add the garlic, tomato puree and spices, stir well, and cook for a few minutes more.
  2. Add the maple syrup and smoked sea salt and make sure the beans are well coated in all the flavourings and are heated through. Sprinkle with a bit of parsley or coriander to make them look more Instagrammable.

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Bish. Bash. Bosh. Beans.Yum.

 

What I Ate In A Day #10 – Vegan Edition

As part of vegan week on The Gammon Kitchen, I figured it only right that I take you along for the ride and share everything I eat in a day on a vegan diet. I’m halfway through my trial and I’m feeling tired, grumpy and in desperate need of a McDonalds. I kind of want to give up but I’m not going to. I’m just eagerly waiting for the day when I bound out of bed full of vigour with wonderful glowing skin and a new found zest for life. Please God, let it be soon.

Breakfast today was of the liquid variety. I made my chocolate and peanut butter milkshake that was featured on my blog earlier in the year, but used cashew butter rather than peanut and coconut milk rather than almond. Anything goes really. It was delicious and set me up for the day.

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The 11am slump was fixed by a few dates. Ugly little things aren’t they? Medjool dates are amazing, like soft, chewy toffees. They’re more expensive than other varieties but totally worth it.

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I’ve been making the most of leftovers for my lunches and today was a classic example. It’s great to have a fridge full of things that you can just throw together to create a pick’n’mix lunch bursting with flavour and nutrients. Today was brown rice, roasted vegetables (peppers, onions and courgettes), garlic and herb roasted sweet potatoes and some homemade spicy, smoky humous (made smoky by smoked sea salt – AH-MAY-ZING.)

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I snacked on some fruit between lunch and dinner. Doughnut peaches, or flat peaches as they’re sometimes called, are my favourite fruits ever. I had a plum too but ate it without thinking so didn’t take a photo.

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The biggest hurdle I’ve faced during this trial is having time each night to cook a healthy meal, prepare my lunch and tidy up all the mess made along the way. It’s hard. I can’t just order a pizza now and it means every night is chore night. Tonight I decided to go for the easy option. I’d bought some ready made bean burgers in my weekly food shop to have on stand by for when this day came so we had those with oven chips, homemade guacamole and a bit of salad. It’s the first night Tyler and I have had the same dinner since I started my vegan journey. The bean burgers were alright but I probably could have made better myself.

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As an evening snack I had a slice of wholemeal bread, toasted and spread with cashew, cinnamon and honey butter and topped with a sliced banana. Snack heaven.

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I ate a little more today than I have been to see if it would help my energy levels. Here’s hoping! I love having such colourful, vibrant meals and I’m not really missing meat (apart from that McDonalds craving) but I would give an arm for a bit of cheese now and then.

What I Ate In A Day #9

Welcome to the great British Summer! What happened to the bright, sunny days and long, balmy nights of my childhood where I would be playing with the hosepipe from dawn till dusk and only stopping for some al fresco feasts? Will we ever experience the sun on our shoulders again or were those couple of days last month the start and end of our summer season? Lest we forget.

Despite the downpours and plunging temperatures I refuse to go back to slow cooked stews and porridge. I refuse I tell you! This particularly wet day started with some fruit compote made with a chopped peach and a large handful of frozen summer berries, topped with Greek yogurt and some homemade sultana and almond granola. You can find the recipe for that here. It’s super easy, tasty and great to have on hand for a quick, filling breakfast. As usual on a workday most of my food was eaten out of plastic containers ‘al desko’.

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This surprisingly got me through until lunch, where I chowed down on some potato salad. To make this you just boil some Jersey Royals or other salad potatoes then drain and cool. Once cooled, combine the potatoes with some chopped ham, tomatoes, gherkins, shredded spinach and salt and pepper. Mix through some extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice and a little mayonnaise until well coated then box up and leave in the fridge until you’re ready to eat. It was pretty good.

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I had a banana at lunch too. Boring but true. It wasn’t the nicest banana. Shame.

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Then this angelic little voice from the other end of the office said the words that everyone likes to hear on a gloomy afternoon: “does anybody want anything from the shop?” “YES!” I shouted, as if I had just been offered a date with Jason Statham. I put in my order for a bar of Galaxy and 5 minutes later was greeted with this baby. My naughty colleague had bought me the big one as I ‘looked a bit stressed’. I vowed to only eat half. I failed.

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We went food shopping after work so needed something quick and easy for dinner. Cue the quiche. No, its certainly not homemade, I mean who has time to make quiche from scratch? It was lovely though and I had it with another helping of salad potatoes with butter and cheddar cheese melted on them plus some tomatoes marinated in extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar and a pinch of smoked sea salt. Simple but delicious.

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In keeping with my ‘screw the weather it IS summer’ theme, I had my first strawberries from Kent. They were absolutely amazing and didn’t even need to be dunked in Nutella.

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This weather might be rubbish but it has reminded me of one thing: IT’S NEARLY CHRISTMAS!!!

Recipe: 3 Ingredient Asparagus Brunch

Welcome to another recipe in my 3 ingredient series! These prove that you don’t need a fridge full of ingredients to make tasty food so are great for people on a budget or stuck for inspiration. I’ve been wanting to feature asparagus in a blog post as it’s now in season and  quite underrated as a vegetable. True, it isn’t everyone’s cup of tea and is a fairly acquired taste but here you mask some of it with lovely crispy ham so even if you’re not a lover of those little green spears, try this one out and see if you can change your mind.

Serves 2

What you need:

  • 250g asparagus spears
  • 2-3 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 eggs

What you do:

  1. Prepare the asparagus by bending each spear at the stalk end. They will naturally snap to remove the woody part and leave you with the good bit. Steam or boil the spears for a couple of minutes until they are tender but still with some bite. You don’t want a floppy spear. (innuendo alert)
  2. Drain the asparagus and leave them for a bit until they are just cool enough to handle. Tear the prosciutto into strips and wrap a piece around each spear of asparagus then lay them on a baking tray and cook in an oven pre-heated to 180°c for 5-10 minutes until the ham is staring to crisp.
  3. Meanwhile, poach two eggs. Everyone has their own way of poaching eggs. I do mine by bringing a smallish pan of water to the boil, adding a splash of white wine vinegar then carefully and slowly adding the eggs one at a time from a cup rather than straight from the shell. I then cook them for exactly three minutes. This method works every time for me.
  4. To assemble, lay some of the prosciutto wrapped asparagus onto a plate, top with a poached egg and finish with a grind of black pepper.

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#eggporn

If you wanted to turn this into more of a side dish, remove the egg and scatter over some parmesan shavings instead. Yum.