May Roundup

Guess who’s got over 100 followers??? Me!!! Thank you all ever so much for taking the time to read, like, comment on and follow my blog. I love my little corner of the internet and have enjoyed spending another month sharing my stories and recipes with you. You can like The Gammon Kitchen’s Facebook page to see more.

A few things that happened in May:

  • I tried Pizza GoGo. Let’s just say Domino’s have nothing to worry about as they won’t be losing my custom.
  • I ate an Indian takeaway for breakfast.
  • I watched the entire previous 5 seasons of Game of Thrones in the space of a month and now have to wait for the next episodes with the rest of the peasants.
  • I had the worst case of flu known to man. Or so it felt.
  • I rediscovered Ben & Jerry’s Cookie Dough ice cream and couldn’t be happier about it.

And here’s all the blog posts from the past month, in case you missed any.

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Recipe: Berry Rose Smoothie / Recipe Review: Byron’s Ronaldo Burger / Recipe: Rocky Roads / What I Ate In A Day #8 / Recipe: Courgetti With Pesto Chicken, Mushrooms and Goat’s Cheese / Jamie’s Food Revolution 2016 / Recipe: Chicken, Leek and Mushroom Risotto / Recipe: Easy Cinnamon Swirls / My Cookbook Collection / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Asparagus Brunch / How To Spot A Foodie

I hope all you lovely people have had a wonderful month filled with delicious food and lots of fun!

 

My Cookbook Collection

Last year we had to move twice in the space of 6 months. You know what my partner’s biggest grumble was? Not the extortionate fees we had to pay for a removal company. Not the stress of the upheaval and all the work involved. No. None of these things. He did, though, spend a good month or so after each move moaning about having to transport my cookbook collection. I get it, they’re heavy, I’m protective about them getting damaged. But I mean all girls have their vices right? Sure, it might be easier if I were addicted to buying fountain pens or stamps. But I’m not. I’m a cookbook addict, and proud. For the next move, as my collection has grown further since, I may just need to sweeten him up with a new PS4 game or something.

To date my cookbook collection stands at 170. I had lost count and actually thought I was on more than that so it came as a disappointment when I did a stock take and tidied my shelves up. They sit in my dining room which is open plan with my kitchen so works well for recipe raiding. I am soon going to need to invest in another bookcase as you can see these are now pretty well stocked and I will also need to upgrade them, look at the bowing on those shelves! Dad, if you’re reading, I can hear you giving me a telling off already.

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On top of my left bookshelf sits a fake flower arrangement with some copper fairy lights in which looks ever so pretty in the dark, a huge Zara candle and a photo frame containing snaps of mine and Tyler’s trip to the Lake District last year. On the other side is a cactus which I only remembered to water when doing this post, a stone heart ornament which is actually meant for the garden, two kitchen themed plaques that my mum bought for me and my radio which I never use as I never get signal. I thought that was the whole point of DAB no?

So allow me to introduce you to my ever growing, much loved collection of cookbooks.

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The top left hand shelf starts with my Jamie Oliver books. I’m yet to purchase them all but am still working on it! He has another book due this summer which I’m already very excited about. I particularly love Ministry of Food and 15 Minute Meals. Jamie’s Italy is the one I use the least.

The row then moves on to Gordon Ramsay which are Tyler’s favourites for recipes, a couple of Rick Stein’s which I’ve only just purchased, the two gorgeous books from Sabrina Ghayour, Persiana and Sirocco which are absolutely stunning, a couple from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall, three from Gino D’acampo (Gino’s Pasta is a must buy!) and then two Sainsbury’s cookbooks which are surprisingly good. This is one of the most used shelves in my collection.

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Beneath that sit some huge hefty bible style books, my favourite of those being the USA cookbook. It has some great sounding recipes in there but unfortunately no pictures. Next to the bibles are a few random books including Posh Toast, which as the title suggests contains recipes for things on toast, and The Pooh Cook Book which is utterly charming and smells of an old house. I think I bought that from a boot fair. At the other end of the shelf is a pile of everyday, simple cookbooks which I very rarely use.

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The bottom shelf of the left hand bookcase is home to my much prized Nigella Lawson collection. I have every book she has released but annoyingly not all from the same editions so they are all of different sizes and styles. Nevertheless, I love them and treasure them. How to be a Domestic Goddess was one of the very first cookbooks I purchased and is my go-to whenever I’m in the mood to bake. I adore Kitchen, the recipe in there for Chocolate Bread Pudding always comes to mind, and Nigella Express introduced me to Rocky Roads. It’s also not Christmas until Nigella Christmas moves from bookshelf to coffee table, as is the case every year, normally in October. Yes, I love Christmas.

Next to Nigella is Nigel Slater. I have 5 of his books, plus two more in the paperback collection next-door. Tender Volume 1 is a vegetable bible and Tender Volume 2 is the same but for fruit. I adore these books, and Nigel’s writing style in general. He can write about something I’m not particularly even fond of but once I’ve finished reading it all I want to eat is whatever he has been writing about. Maybe Nigel could start a campaign telling kids to eat their vegetables, it worked for me with aubergines!

The books at the end of the shelf are ones I purchased in packs and don’t get used all that much.

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Onto the top shelf on the right hand side, this is my healthy and vegetarian section. This shelf also gets used quite a lot. My favourite books here are the two Leon books (I really need to get more of the collection!), Lorraine Pascal’s Eating Well Made Easy, Davina’s 5 Weeks to Sugar Free and both of the Deliciously Ella books. All of these are my go-to options when I want guilt free snacks. I love the muffin recipes from Lorraine Pascal, and Ella’s Raw Brownies are one of my favourite things ever. The Hemsley Hemsley cookbook was such a disappointment but as other people rave over it so profusely I’m going to give it another look soon and see if I can change my mind.

The books at the other end of the shelf are more diet books, mostly from my days of Weight Watchers and Slimming World. The Slimming World Fakeaways book is brilliant whether you’re following the plan or not. The Weight Watcher’s ones are less so. There’s two cocktail books on this shelf are I had no-where else to put them. I do love a good cocktail.

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The second shelf down on this side is split into two categories. On the left are some random cookbooks featuring global cuisine. There’s one from Crete in there that I picked up on holiday and an authentic book about Parisian cooking, the rest are mostly Italian. On the right are a plethora of baking books. The Couture Chocolate book is a dream to look at, the Cadbury Chocolate Cooking book is a delight to cook from.

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The very last shelf holds a random assortment of cookbooks, mostly from Celebrity chefs. I like this shelf a lot. Baking Made Easy from Lorraine Pascal has the best brownie recipe ever, Cravings by Chrissy Teigan makes for a jolly good read, Levi Roots’ books bring a touch of much needed sunshine on even the gloomiest days and my latest purchase, Perfect Plates in 5 Ingredients by John Whaite looks promising from an initial flick through.

I hope you’ve enjoyed seeing my collection of cookbooks and that it was worth the hour it took me to tidy up! I would love to know what your favourite books are and what’s missing from my collection. Really, just leave me a comment and give me an excuse to go book shopping!

April Roundup

So McDonalds Monopoly happened. Damn you McDonalds. I’m annoyed not only with Ronald and his minions but also at myself for being so easily bought. Here I am collecting stickers by the hundreds (OK, probably not hundreds) and the most I won was a cheeseburger. Give me the chance to win a luxury holiday or a new car and I’m anybody’s, especially when there’s a Big Tasty involved.

Thankfully for my waist line Monopoly is over and I can stop trying to kid myself that gorging on burgers is going to make me rich. It didn’t and it won’t. All I gained was an extra few pounds of weight and lost a few pounds of money. Real money, not the Monopoly kind.

Because of this trickery from McDonalds, and the fact that I’ve had a really lazy month with takeaways and meals out galore, I’ve barely cooked lately. And I’m just getting fatter.

I’m going to make some new month resolutions for May. It seems like a good time for a new start just before summer begins. Here’s what I want to try to achieve:

  • I’m going to try to exercise three times a week, even if only for ten minutes. Trust me, that’s more than I’m doing at the moment.
  • I want to make more exciting dinners and use my cookbooks more. It’s so easy to become set in your ways and turn to simple food instead of trying new things.
  • I’m really close to 100 followers on my blog so want to reach that milestone next month!

I think that’s enough goals to work towards for now, I don’t want to be an overachiever now do I.

April has seen me post less than normal due to taking a week off blogging whilst on my holiday. There was still lots of recipes and foodie ideas though, so if you missed any you can catch up here.

Recipe: Roasted Vegetable Cous Cous / Recipe Review: Nigella Lawson’s Nursery Fish Pie / What’s In My Fridge? / Recipe: Spaghetti and Meatballs / Help – I’m A Food Addict / Recipe Review: Jamie Oliver’s Insanity Burgers / What I Ate in a Day #7 / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Chocolate Bark / A Week in Devon! / Recipe: Churros French Toast / 100 Things About Me!

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Don’t forget to go follow me on Facebook!

 

 

What I Ate in a Day #7

I do love to be beside the seaside, oh I do love to be beside the sea! We made the most of the hottest day of the year so far and had a little drive down to Folkestone for some fish and chips and a coastal walk. And what a lovely day it was too.

Before setting off, I tried these new breakfast biscuits from Sainsbury’s. They were OK. I made myself a mocha in my posh Vera Wang travel mug to enjoy on the journey. How lovely is that?

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When we got to Folkestone we took a nice walk through the coastal park and made the most of the fresh air. It was full of kids though which hurt my ears and general well-being.

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Second breakfast (my favourite meal of the day) was a tropical cooler and a blueberry muffin in Costa. These drinks are amazing and make me long for hot summer days.

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The sun came out properly in the afternoon and I went coat free for the first time this year. It was glorious. We had THE BEST FISH AND CHIPS EVER from a place called The Smokehouse. If you’re in the area you have to go. The chips are cooked in beef dripping which made them amazingly crispy on the outside and perfectly fluffy within. I do wonder how many vegetarians have missed the sign advising of the beef dripping and munched their way through a portion of chips in total ignorance? The thought made me chuckle.

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SUNSHINE!

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I had the best nap when I got home as I was suffering with a tummy ache from the chips. They always give me tummy problems but alas, I still eat them. I munched through some coconut yogurt with blueberries, passion fruit and coconut flakes to settle my tummy. Plus, it was delicious and made a nice picture for my post!

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I’m totally addicted to spaghetti at the moment so had a late night bowl of spaghetti tossed in a sauce made with red onions, red peppers and tomatoes, enjoyed on the sofa watching TV.

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I finished my lovely day off playing Unchartered on the PS4 as apparently I’m a geezer bird now.

March Roundup

It’s Spring! Yay! I love when the days get longer, the skies get bluer and the lambs get…well….tastier. Sorry vegans. Don’t know about you but we still have the heating on daily and I’m still always cold but it doesn’t matter, because the end is nigh. The darkness has fallen and summer is just around the corner. My skin is in desperate need of a break from the central heating and a good old dose of vitamin D and my feet are itching to make their way into a pair of sandals. It’s time to paint the toe-nails, shave the legs and make a last ditch attempt to lose 2 stone before beach season is upon us. Maybe. Maybe not.

So that’s a quarter of the year done. Already. The older I get the more I find myself saying things like “I just don’t know where the time goes anymore” or “that month just flew by”. I’m only one step away from looking outside and commenting “oh what a lovely day for drying washing”.

Even though March really did fly by, I got up to a few nice things.

  • I went on my very first spa day, how very grown up of me! Breaking my spa day virginity was, unlike losing my actual virginity, everything I had hoped for and more. I swam, steamed and lounged in between having a lovely facial and drinking the best hot chocolate ever. You knew there was going to be a reference to food in there somewhere right?
  • I also got a brand spanking new shiny big girl car. No more rusty little Golf for me (no offence to other Golf drivers, mine was just old and lacking the crucial element of brakes that work), I now have a beautiful white crossover that makes me feel like I’m driving a bus. In a good way. There is no food reference here as food is absolutely forbidden in the new car. At least for the first few weeks.
  • I’ve eaten a lot of chocolate. I mean, Easter, come on. Even just the build up to Easter meant there was chocolate shoved in your face from every angle and I’m weak, helpless even. It wasn’t my fault. One of my work pals re-intorduced me to the delights of a Cadbury Flake. Am I the only one who thought they were extinct? Well apparently they’re not and are just as delicious as I remembered but don’t have the wrapper that twists at the ends anymore, which I must say was very disappointing. Sort it out Cadbury.

I should also introduce you all to my new Facebook page! If you like my blog you can also follow me on Facebook to keep up to date with my posts and see some extra foodie stuff. The link to my page is right here.

If you missed any of my posts from the last month, fear not, as they are all listed below.

Recipe: Chocolate and Pecan Banana Bread / What I Ate in a Day #5 / How to Host a Dinner Party / Recipe: Huevos Rancheros / Recipe: Rhubarb and Rose Bellinis / #Foodporn: Episode Two / Recipe: Pork Fillet in a Mushroom Cream Sauce / Recipe: Chocolate Nest Cakes / What I Ate in a Day # 6 / Recipe: Sweet Potato Bowl / A Little Kitchen Haul / Recipe: 3 Ingredient Oreo Milkshake

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See you in April! x

 

What I Ate in a Day #5

I was very naughty last week and barely cooked at all, choosing to eat out or order in instead. As much as I enjoy a Dominos pizza, I was ready to get myself back in the kitchen. The trouble with me is that I’m really really lazy. Once I’ve been to work all day and then done any household chores that await me when I get home, the prospect of making dinner makes me want to set my kitchen on fire. I love to cook, but I also love to just chill out in my pjs stroking my cat (note, this is not a euphemism) whilst I wait for a takeaway to arrive. This is why, every Sunday, I do a load of food prep and make some breakfasts and lunches for the week ahead so that I can have a fairly balanced diet for at least part of the day, not including any panic trips to the shop to buy chocolate. Mondays, therefore, are normally pretty good for me as I’ve planned everything the day before. So this is what I ate on a Monday spent at work.

Before I left in the morning I had a glass of orange juice. Just a bog-standard orange juice from a carton, regrettably I didn’t pick and squeeze the oranges myself, though I wish I could.

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I usually take my breakfast to work with me as I find it hard to stomach anything solid first thing in the morning. Today I had some raspberry and apple compote topped with coconut yogurt and almond and sultana granola. You can find my granola recipe here.

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I spent most of the day thinking about my lunch, it took all my strength not to eat it as soon as I got to work. I made a cheddar, chorizo and jalapeño quesadilla with some smashed avocado and a few baby plum tomatoes. It was awesome. To make the quesadilla you simply grate some cheddar cheese on one half of a tortilla wrap, top that with a few slices of chorizo and some jalapeños from a jar, a little more cheese then fold over the other side of the wrap. Cook for a couple of minutes on each side in a dry frying pan then cut into wedges. You can eat it straight away or do as I did and resist until the next day. Forgive the avocado and tomato mash up, I had them in the same pot to transport.

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I also had this huge, rather phallic looking pear at lunchtime.

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I can’t get through an afternoon without a snack so I had a hot cross bun spread with butter to get me through. I’m like a bird, I have to eat every few hours or I get weak. And grumpy.

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Woohoo, dinner time. Tyler had the jacket potatoes cooking already when I got home as I was working late so I just had to cook some steaks and throw a bit of salad on a plate. I was hungry so don’t judge me on my presentation skills here please. We had ribeye steak, medium-rare, jacket potatoes, and some mixed leaves and cherry tomatoes in a mustard dressing, made with dijon mustard, extra virgin olive oil and lemon juice. I could eat steak everyday, I’m such a bloke. And you can see how huge my steak was in comparison to my jacket potato!

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If you’ve never had these Rolo dessert pots then your life is not worth living. What a nice treat to end my day on.

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I spent the rest of my evening doing boring adult stuff like sorting out paperwork. I hate adulting.

Cookbook Review: Deliciously Ella Every Day

Ella Woodward’s debut cookbook, simply titled Deliciously Ella, was Amazon’s best selling cookbook of 2015. Look at me being all factual! Last month, Ella released the follow up book, Deliciously Ella Every Day. Both books now sit very happily together on my overstocked bookshelf in my ‘good for you’ section.

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I was shamefully late to the Deliciously Ella party and only bought the first book at the very end of last year but it’s already one of my most used cookbooks and I love making recipes from it. It was only fair that I got the new book too so ordered it ready for release date and was super excited when it arrived. It doesn’t disappoint.

What I love about both books, other than the lovely photos of Ella and her dog, is that they don’t intimidate me. I find some books in the same genre really unnerving, mentioning no names *cough-Hemsley Hemsley-cough*. I don’t want to feel like I’m being lectured and I don’t want to feel inferior for not having a chlorine filter on my shower or not knowing what the hell amaranth is. I still have no idea by the way. Ella manages to completely simplify her recipes so that they are relatable, easy to follow and not in any way intimidating. Yes, the ingredients may seem a little expensive and you might not be able to pick them up in your local corner shop, but most of the recipes only rely on a few elements and quite often the prep time is so quick and simple that it makes up for a few extra pounds spent in the supermarket. All of the recipes are well thought out, well written and accompanied by gorgeous photography.

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Although my diet is completely different to Ella’s (she is a dairy free, gluten free vegan, whereas I consider chocolate, burgers and pizza the three main food groups) I really enjoy the recipes. In reality, I love all food and enjoy healthy recipes as much as I do takeaways and these books have completely opened my eyes to the amazing food you can create from just really good produce. I will never be a dairy free, gluten free vegan (1. steak 2. cheese 3. bacon) but I can still enjoy these great recipes safe in the knowledge that Ella won’t judge me for that.

There’s so many dishes that I still want to try from this book and I’m excited to work my way through it. The biggest success I have had so far is the Spiced Sweet Potato Stew. It’s basically just sweet potatoes and a red pepper cooked down in a spiced tomato sauce with beans and spinach added in at the end of the cooking time. Obviously it’s insanely good for you but more importantly it is absolutely delicious. I made a big batch on a Sunday night and we had it for dinner in the week plus lunches for a couple of days too with some brown rice. It really filled me up and was a bit different to my normal lunches.

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The Warming Pesto Butter Beans were good too. These are butter beans and spinach cooked in some lemon spiked pesto with pomegranate seeds thrown on top. I am so into pomegranate lately and I loved the little bursts of juiciness against the dry beans. Again this made a lovely lunch and was something completely different to anything I had made before. The picture below shows the butter beans with some tomato rice and some caramelised onion hummus with a sprinkling of feta cheese.

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I’ve previously gushed about the Raw Brownies from Ella’s first book and have found a similar recipe in the second one. The Fizzy Truffles are so good; really nutty and chocolatey and a perfect afternoon pick-me-up. I didn’t fancy the ‘fizzy’ element so skipped the baobab powder as per Ella’s tweaking suggestion and they turned out great. Like the brownies from book one, these are a work of moments and just rely on a food processor to do all the work.

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I already had a lot of the ingredients hanging around for the Warming Winter Bowls so we made these for dinner on a cold and windy night. This was my least favourite of all the Deliciously Ella recipes I have made so far. It wasn’t bad, but I wouldn’t necessarily make it again as it just didn’t suit my tastes.

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I’m super excited to try more recipes from the book. I’ve got the Winter Spiced Pear and Apple Crumble lined up already, it looks like it would be the perfect Sunday pudding and make an awesome Monday breakfast. To be honest, there’s not much in the book I wouldn’t try and knowing all the recipes are so good for you is such a bonus.

So should you buy this book? HELL YEAH! Here’s a link to Amazon so you can buy it right away and a link to the Deliciously Ella blog if you want to learn more about this wonderful woman.

Overall Rating: 9/10