This isn’t a normal foodie post, mainly because I have been suffering from a touch of writers block.
Due to some recent changes, I have been feeling incredibly overwhelmed lately, and not taking enjoyment from things I am normally so passionate about- cooking for example. Instead of forcing myself to get writing, I have decided to take a little break.
Anxiety is an issue I have experienced since my early teens, and recently it has begun to takeover my life some what. Basic daily tasks have become a struggle. In order to fix this, I am taking some time for myself, leaving social media to a bare minimum, and trying to focus more on uni.
But, it isn’t all doom and gloom, I got to uni AND to the gym today, which is a good step in the right direction. Tomorrow I aim to tackle the shops on my own, something I haven’t managed for the past 3 weeks.
I am open about my worries and concerns and actively seek help from friends and family, but many people prefer to deal with their problems alone, meaning things can escalate quickly. Be there for the people around you, be kind, and be open.
Making your own salad dressing is super simple, and cuts out a lot of the added sugar that shop-bought dressing include. I made mine with 4 simple ingredients: garlic, lemon, parsley and oil- plus a little salt and pepper to taste. I minced the garlic and added this to the oil, to which I then squeezed 1/4 of a lemon, added a teaspoon of parley and a small sprinkle of salt and pepper. Give it a quick mix and thats it! For a deeper flavour, you can also add a teaspoon of mustard.
The salmon was baked the same as Monday’s, which you can read here if you missed it! Simply, cooked in a foil parcel, with oil, salt and pepper. Although fish skin is really good for you, I recommend removing the skin unless you are eating it straight away, as when it is cold it looses its crispiness and becomes a bit gooey.
The potatoes were very simple. I roughly chopped 2 new potatoes into quarters and set to boil for around 10 minutes with a little salt. When cooked, I drained the water and left them under a cold tap to stop them from cooking further. This helps to prevent them going mushy and allows them to cool down quicker, ready for boxing up!
For the salad I kept it pretty simple, with mixed leaves, cucumber and spring onions. The dressing is flavoursome, so I didn’t want to over complicate with any added cheese or other components. However, I believe beetroot would work well as it adds a little liquid to the meal, which would help balance out the starchy potatoes. If you like tomatoes, the acidity would also work well with the oiliness of the fish.
To serve, I added a big helping of mayo, however sour cream or salad cream would also work too! The salmon flavour is quite subtle, so any bolder sauces or flavours may become over powering.
This lunch was very filling, and was perfect after the gym as it had the carbs and protein I needed. The potatoes and fish give slow release energy too, meaning I was fuller for longer.
Today’s lunch was tasty, and after a busy morning, I was looking forward to getting a nice helping of carbs- roasted greens, brown rice and feta, with a balsamic glaze. If, once again, you are looking to add meat, or fancy some different ideas, click here… Meal Tips
I chose to eat todays lunch cold, however, it is definitely something you could pop in the microwave at work or uni if you are in need of a warmer option. I drizzled on the balsamic this morning, and this prevented the dish from being dry.
I added a little paprika to my broccoli when roasting, as I described in yesterday’s blog, so if you missed that, make sure to pop back and give it a read!
Broccoli and other greens are really good for your diet, in terms of fibre and nutrients. Broccoli is also full of antioxidants which protects the body from illnesses like colds. Maybe our parents weren’t lying about eating our greens after all!
The veg took around 20-30 minutes to roast, and the rice took 30 minutes on the hob. Prepping this meal is so easy, you can always get on with other jobs too when its cooking!
Today’s lunches was one of the most simple, but the veggies were flavoursome, the feta added a salty twist, and the balsamic added a sweet taste too.
As the feta and courgette add Mediterranean flavours to the lunch, a lamb kofte, or spicy meatballs would work well as a meaty accompaniment. (I will soon be uploading a homemade lamb kofte recipe!!!)
Swap out the feta for halloumi if you’re looking for something slightly more filling, it will still provide the same saltiness
Substitute the cheese for hummus, or another vegan dip, if you want to cut out all dairy products
If you want to reduce your carb intake, half the portion of rice and add more greens. E.g. roasted asparagus or green beans would also be great
Salmon is an oily fish, high in omega 3 and also a great source of protein. Not only this, but it is a great option for meal prep as it tastes delicious hot and cold, and can keep in your fridge for up to 3 days once cooked, if sealed and stored properly.
If you don’t eat fish, or fancy some different ideas for this dish, check out meal tips below!
Cooking the salmon is also simple, and you can cook up a few portions at a time. To ensure the fish doesn’t dry out, I bake the fillets in foil parcels. Drizzled with a touch of oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper, once fully sealed, the salmon parcels take around 20 minutes to cook at 200 degrees (Fan).
The brown rice took 30 minutes on the hob, however microwave packets are just as good, and can save a LOT of time. They are perfect for sharing between meals too, and the precise portions reduce any possible leftovers or food waste.
The veggies I roasted for the week ahead were: – Broccoli – Courgette – Red onion – Red pepper – Sweet potato
Roasted veggies are so easy to prep, and I cooked mine in one roasting tin for around 25 minutes. Sweet potato takes the longest, so ensure this is chopped up a little smaller than the other ingredients. I used all the veggies for this dish, creating a real mixture of textures and flavours.
I added oil, salt and pepper to the whole tin, and then mixed up the flavours a little by introducing paprika to the sweet potato and broccoli. This helps to add extra flavour combinations to the meals, meaning its not the same boring veg everyday!
Finally, all the cooked components were added to my food tub. These boxes are reusable and recyclable, and are both microwave and dishwasher safe- all of which is great for the environment too. Although it is easy to chuck out tubs and tupperware, a quick whiz in the dishwasher or through the sink gets them shiny and new again.
This is a dish that can be eaten hot or cold, I enjoyed my cold today with a squirt of mayo and a squeeze of lemon. These extras can be easily added in the morning before you begin your busy day!
Switch out the salmon for baked or grilled chicken as a meat alternative
Use veggie sausages, or falafels if you don’t eat meat or fish
When baking your salmon, add extra ingredients into the parcels. For example: pesto, sweet chilli sauce, lemon slices, ginger or fresh herbs and spices
Roast your veggies with garlic and fresh herbs for different flavours, rosemary works great! (Watch our for garlic breath at work!)
Using cayenne or chilli flakes for some veggies to add heat to your meal
Mix up your veggies, depending on season, and see what’s on offer in your local supermarket
There’s nothing worse than going to school, or uni, or work, and eating the same boring packed meals over and over again. Or, due to saving time, or lack of planning, grabbing something to eat from a cafe or supermarket. On average in Australia, a salad/sandwich meal combo at lunch can cost up to $10, totalling in $50 a working week, and $200 a month.
Meal prepping is a great way to not only save money, but make sure you are getting all the nutrients and daily macros you need. Also, if you are trying to cut back on meat, or are concerned about the meat industry’s impact on the environment, by making delicious veggie lunches, you are one step closer to reducing your consumption. If you are a big meat eater, all of the meals in this blog can easily be adapted to include your fav!
I started off by planning what I fancied for the week ahead. It is slightly challenging to eat gluten free and vegetarian, and it can mean recycling the same dishes multiple times throughout the week. However, I have tried to vary the choices as much as possible, giving me something to look forward to each day.
I did the majority of my shopping in Aldi, grabbing a couple of bits from Woolies too. All of the items were less than $60, which also includes extra leftovers for dinners as well over the next week or so.
My meal plan is:
Monday: Baked salmon, roasted veggies and brown rice
Tuesday: Brown rice with courgette, broccoli, feta and balsamic vinegar
Wednesday: Baked salmon, salad and boiled potatoes with homemade dressing
Thursday: Roasted mixed veggies with brown rice and sweet chilli sauce
Friday: Salad nicoise- tuna, boiled potatoes, boiled egg, cucumber, spring onions and mixed leaves with homemade dressing
As I said, cutting out gluten also made this challenging, and as I go through the dishes throughout the week, I will add in possible alterations to spice it up a little more!
The meal prep today took a couple of hours, and although you may think “I’ve got better things to do on a Sunday” (I thought that too), it really gives you more freedom during the rest of the week.
Todays preparations included: – Bake the salmon – Roast veggies – Boil potatoes – Boil eggs – Boil rice – Make salad dressing Simple as that!
During the next 5 days I will be writing a little something on my lunch each day, and hopefully it will spark some inspiration for your work/school lunches in the future too! Check back tomorrow to see how my salmon, rice and veggies came along.
It is quite often that when I write my food blogs, it is actually the first time I have ever cooked the dish. So, I have to admit, this recipe is no different. Prior to making this, I had never made a risotto from scratch on my own before. I have eaten a lot of risottos, just never made one.
I love risottos, they are so versatile and relatively simple to make. The ingredients in a risotto can be very diverse, for example… fish, meat, veggies, plain, spices and herbs, dairy free, gluten free, vegan (the list goes on). But, on this occasion, I opted for a fresh spring veggie risotto both gluten and dairy free, that can be easily made vegan too.
My ingredients were: – 1 Leek – 3 Mushrooms – 1/2 Cup of peas – 1 Brown onion – 2 Cups arborio rice – 2 Glugs of white wine (I chose a cheap Sav Blanc) – 2 Stock cubes, or homemade stock (I used chicken style, which is completely plant based) – 1/2 Lemon juiced – Oil
I began firstly by prepping all the veggies. To a frying pan I added a glug of oil, the diced onion, the roughly chopped leek, and after around 5 minutes the mushrooms. I finely chopped the mushrooms, because I am not a huge fan of their taste, but I know they’re very good for you, so I am trying to force myself to eat more! Once they are small, you can barely notice that they’re there.
After a few more minutes, the leek should have softened and the onion turned a translucent white colour. I transferred the ingredients into a large saucepan, ensuring everything was evenly combined, before adding the arborio rice. Once again, I gave everything a good stir, and added in the peas. I measured these more by eye, so its completely up to you how many you put in- I am guessing it was about a cup.
Now it is time for the wine. Once again, I measured this by eye, and added in two healthy glugs. Remember, you can always more! Wine is great in a risotto as it helps to balance out the richness of the rice and stock, creating a slightly acidic taste. There isn’t a super wine-y taste as the alcohol burns off during the cooking process.
Once the wine has dissolved, it is time to begin adding the stock. As I was using a simple recipe as a guide, I went slightly off piste and added as much stock as I thought right for the texture and consistency of the risotto. It ended up being 3 cups. I began to add the stock 1/2 cup at a time, stirring constantly until the liquid was fully absorbed, and then adding another 1/2 cup… etc…
Finally, all the stock will be absorbed into the rice, which should take around 20 minutes. The rice should now be puffy and soft, and the risotto should be an almost thick texture. However, if the rice is a little al dente, you can reduce the heat and continue to stir the risotto until cooked.
Into the pot I then squeezed the juice of 1/2 a lemon, which helps break up the richness like the wine! I also added a little salt and pepper, but I think this is better to add after serving as it should already be very flavoursome.
I also added some dried chilli flakes, which gave it a good kick, and I believe helps break down the creaminess a little.
Not only is this a simple recipe, it can also be done at a very low cost. The wine is the most expensive ingredient, but it means you can drink the leftovers so its win:win really. This recipe will produce about 4 large portions, or even more if you serve with a side salad and reduce portion size. All the ingredients cost me less than $10, averaging at $2.50 or less per portion.
So… yesterday I tried something a little new. Instead of writing out a blog, I recorded some short videos and posted the content to my Instagram story. Sadly, I have no photos of the different stages, but check out my instagram story highlights to see a step by step guide! (@gffoodobcecd)
Instead, I am going to give a brief summary of the steps so you can follow along in future, if you decide to give this delicious recipe a try.
Ingredients: – 4-6 Good quality Italian sausages (preferably spicy) – 2 Onions (I used white because we had no red, but either work well) – 2 Cloves of garlic – 2 Bay leaves – 1tsp dried chilli flakes (or more/less to flavour) – 2 400g Tin tomatoes (Crushed/diced/peeled) – 1/3 Bottle of red wine – Grates nutmeg (to taste) – Parmesan – 1tbsp of creme fraiche/double cream – Salt and pepper – Oil
Skin the sausages and crumble the meat into small chunks- I did mine slightly too big so broke them down more as they were cooking
Heat the sausage meat in a large pan with your oil
Once browned, add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and chilli (Always remember you can add MORE chilli, but you cannot take it away)
After the onions have browned on a low heat (around 20 mins), add the wine
Allow the wine to evaporate on a higher heat
Pour in the tins of tomatoes, stirring in all the ingredients, and lower the heat
Add a lid to your pan and allow to cook on a very low heat for 45-60 mins (At this point we went to the pub!)
Once thickened, season the sausage sauce with grated nutmeg and salt- it may already have strong pepper flavours from the sausage meat, so make sure you taste as you season!
We grated a fairly big chunk of parmesan and used around 3/4 of this to add into the pasta, the remainder was for serving
Once off the heat, stir in the creme fraiche/double cream- this can be done to taste, but I recommend around 1tbsp
Serve your sauce over pasta, or mix the pasta straight into the pan
The recipe really was this simple, and tasted delicious. It’s a great recipe for entertaining, and can be left to cook itself for the majority of the time. Also, it makes your kitchen, and the rest of your house, smell like an Italian dream!
Travelling is by no means a cheap experience, but there are many things you can do to stick to a budget, whilst having fun and eating well. I would love to share some tips and tricks I found on my recent travels.
Travelling is incredibly different depending on your destination, so travelling in Bali, exploring South America and heading down under in Australia will introduce many different opportunities in terms of food and a foodie adventure.
At the beginning of January I began travelling down the East Coast of Australia, beginning my journey in Cairns, and finishing down in Sydney. Myself and two friends travelled, by bus, a total of 3115km, stopping at 13 different locations on route for 4 weeks. With so much to offer, we wanted to save our money for the day trips and exploring, so we had to come up with a plan for the cheapest eating and drinking.
Here are some things I found along the way, and I will definitely use in the future:
Look for hostels that offer free breakfast- A quick search on Hostelworld brings up lots of different hostel options, and sometimes this can be daunting, but by narrowing down your search it can make the job easier. In many cases, we found that hostels with free breakfasts weren’t in fact more expensive than those that didn’t, and this was such an easy way to reduce costs. However, I must admit, that many hostels don’t provide gluten free breakfast options for free, and I had to sort my own brekkie out. The other girls were able to make the most of toast and spreads, cereals and sometimes fruit and yoghurt too.
Don’t fancy free breakfast? Head to the supermarket!- So, if like me, you can’t eat what’s on offer, you can still eat at a low cost. A trip to the supermarket in each location allowed me to buy big bulk sachets of flavoured porridge and top this with fresh fruit that was on offer at the time. Although, during the trip I had decided apricot flavour should be avoided, I became very fond of apple and cinnamon. These big boxes cost less than $5 and oats have slow releasing energy too- keeping me fuller for longer.
Packed lunches are your friend!- The thought of packed lunches may take you back to school, but you can do a lot better than cucumber sandwiches and a chocolate bar. Grab a plastic container from the supermarket- ours were from Woolies and only cost around $3- and your lunchbox potential is limitless (well not quite). A big pack of rolls, ham, cheese and salad will not break the bank, and, although grabbing something whilst you’re out seems easier, you can get a lot more for your money if you buy from the supermarket. Cereal bars will be your saving grace- I wish I had counted how many I ate!
Sharing is caring!- Group meals are great for many reasons. I find cooking relaxing, so after a long day of trekking, cycling, surfing or even a trip to the shops, I love to rewind by making a big meal. Making your own food not only means that you can have a great social experience, but it also saves money and allows you to control exactly what you’re eating. Even as a solo traveller, making a big meal means leftovers, so if you’re staying in one place for a few nights, a big curry or pasta dish is a great idea. With a whole veggie meal costing around $7, or a meat one around $10/12, this creates about 4 portions which gives you so much for your money. However tempting a Dominos seems, a big veggie stir fry will save your pocket and your waistline. Tinned food, for example mixed beans, rice packets and stir fry/curry sauces make cooking quick and easy!
Do your research! – Food deals and happy hours occur everywhere, and are the great chance to get out and about without breaking the bank! I LOVE eating out, and drinking and exploring bars and restaurants, but when travelling, I have to be sensible. Checking with hostels about local restaurant deals, and by having a quick check on Google, you will be loads of choices. Taco evenings are a great option, and many Mexicans also do drinks deals too. Some hostels may even put on dinners, we were able to have all you can eat tacos for $7- including GF corn tortillas. Happy hours can save you pennies on house beers and wine, and many hostels offer wristbands for nights out and free drinks at local clubs and pubs. A frequent check at the local supermarkets for ready meals and snacks in the reduced section mean you can save money and put it elsewhere- e.g on beers!
These are some of my tips as a travelling foodie, specifically in Australia. It can be simple to save money, eat well and have fun whilst exploring the most amazing places. Just remember to be wise, plan and enjoy everything that comes your way!
As a huge lover of all things Italian: pizza, pasta, bruschetta, cheese, lasagne and most of all garlic bread… the list goes on, becoming gluten free was a huge struggle for me. With gluten free alternatives always being at an extra cost, I have begun to avoid Italian food all together. There are alternatives in the supermarkets, but nothing comes close to the real deal, and most of the time I end up being disappointed.
With this being said, Mum and I decided we needed to find a great Italian restaurant in Adelaide before we move on with our Australian adventure. There were actually a few restaurants in the pipeline, but we chose Osteria Oggi. I have read about this restaurant numerous times, with raving reviews and beautiful pictures, but without a menu on their website, I have always been nervous about progressing. All it took was one simple call to discover they in fact have plenty of gluten free options, including PASTA, and with this, we were sold.
We visited Osteria Oggi at lunchtime today and were both very excited. We had only had a light breakfast, ready to indulge in a buttery, herby Italian feast. The restaurant is in the main business district, surrounded by sandwich and coffee shops, we almost walked past it- if it wasn’t for trusty Google Maps. The entrance to the restaurant is light, with a long bar and casual dining tables, however, when you walk through to the back, it opens up into a beautiful restaurant with high ceilings, seating booths and long communal dining tables.
There was freshly baked bread on the bar, along with amazing smells of cheese, cured meats and the main attraction, pasta, filling the air. After ordering drinks to start, an Aperol spritz for myself, and a prosecco for Mum, to our surprise, we were told that there was only a tasting menu due to the proximity to Christmas. I was slightly nervous as I like to see the ingredients of meals to try and identify hidden allergens, but I had to put my trust in the staff and food preparation in the kitchen.
Our waitress was clued up on intolerances and put my mind at ease, letting us know our set menu would be completely gluten free. We chose a three-course set, although there was also an option for five courses too. In the end, we were pleased with our decision, as we both ended up pretty stuffed.
With our drinks, we were given bread and olives. The bread was from the freshly baked loafs on the bar, served with delicious oil. Although this was not gluten free, Mum assured me it was delicious- nothing like rubbing it in hey?! I did munch my way through most of the green olives though, they were also very tasty.
Our first plate was a king fish carpaccio with grapefruit and radish. The fish, native to South Australia, was incredibly flavoursome and paired perfectly with the slightly sharp flavours of the grapefruit. The radish added texture to the dish, which otherwise, melted in your mouth. I was really pleasantly surprised by this and would definitely order it again if I saw it on another menu.
The second plate was not quite to my liking, but it required a lot of cooking skill and smelled amazing. The base of the dish was a cheese flan, which is very similar to a soufflé, topped with meaty, rich Bolognese. The Bolognese was delicious, and I did have a couple of big spoons of this, leaving the flan to Mum. She loved it.
Following the cheese flan, we were bought an orange and fennel salad as a palette cleanser, before our mains arrived. The salad had a balsamic glaze with fresh basil and pine nuts, along with radicchio lettuce and ricotta cheese. The sweet perfectly balanced with the tangy balsamic, and the soft ricotta was subtle but delicious.
There was a short wait between these dishes and the pasta, which was actually well received, as we needed some breathing time, and maybe some time to have another wine or two. This also gave us time to take in our surroundings, and mainly spy on what the other tables were eating. Large parties were sharing four or five different types of pastas, others with plates of cured meats and cheese.
Eventually it was our turn, with 2 plates of sausage pasta placed in front of us. One with gluten free rigatoni pasta, and Mum’s with curly pasta. I am pretty sure ‘curly pasta’ is the specific Italian name! Along with the pasta and sausage, there was also more fennel, chilli and a lot of delicious rich butter. Although this meal may have not been good on the hips, it was certainly a treat for the taste buds. It took me back to previous Italian holidays with Mum and Dad.
The gluten free pasta was delicious, and I honestly wouldn’t have been able to tell it apart from any other pasta they were serving, in terms of appearance. Mum said there was little to no difference in the taste either. All the pasta is made daily in house, and you could tell it was amazing quality. If I could buy bags and bags direct from the kitchen, I certainly would.
The food was rustic and relaxed, whilst also being incredibly stylish, an amazing combination. This description can also be extended to the dining experience as a whole. The staff were calm, yet also attentive, making our time at Osteria Oggi enjoyable to say the least.
Sadly, our only grumble was that there wasn’t any tiramisu soft serve ice cream for pudding. However, after all the carbs, maybe we didn’t really need ice cream too?! This won’t be stopping me from returning, I can’t wait to try the full menu after Christmas.
It isn’t often I write a restaurant review anymore, however, after a trip to Roxie’s today, I felt inspired to do so.
Set slightly further afield than the main streets of Adelaide’s CBD, we came across Roxie’s purely by chance, on our way back from Flinders Street Christmas Market. I must say, a Christmas market in 25+ degree weather is very weird, but it meant we were looking for somewhere in the sun for a bit of lunch.
Roxie’s was like a Mediterranean tardis- unassuming from the outside, but once you’re through the gate it’s a tropical garden with amazing character and atmosphere.
To our surprise we were the only people there, however, this did mean we got full pick of all the seating options. High tables, benches, stools, chairs, in the sun, in the shade, everything you could imagine.
The food and drinks are ordered separately, and after a quick scan on the menu, we placed a food order, followed by drinks. Although the menu wasn’t extensive, there were delicious choices, and intriguing pairings of ingredients. Which, I guess, is why I have been inspired to write this blog; the food excited me.
To drink we opted for something refreshing… and alcoholic. I haven’t been drinking since I had my wisdom teeth out, so I eased back in gently with a Pimms spritz; fruity and delicious! Mum chose an Australian Riesling, perfect on a hot sunny day.
Now onto the main attraction… the food. We selected three plates to share. Mum chose the Croquetas from the tapas section of the menu, which both looked, and smelled, amazing- but sadly they weren’t gluten free. The croquetas were served with delicious aoli too, which I did try!
Along with the croquetas, we ordered a broccoli dish from the grill section, and the special pizza with a gluten free base. The broccoli, for me, was the best dish! With a super garlicy sauce, almonds, hazelnuts, egg and herbs, it was crunchy and delicious, with a smoky finish from the grill. I was unsure about the egg, but it worked so well with the other ingredients, a really clever dish.
The pizza special was crispy and just the right amount of greasy. The toppings were mortadella ham, green olives and mozzarella. I do normally like my pizzas to have the tomato element, but I really didn’t notice it missing. I took a couple of slices we had leftover to have as a snack as we walked around Adelaide Zoo.
If the food, drink, atmosphere and surroundings aren’t selling points enough, the staff were also great. Both behind the bar and in the kitchen, the staff were amazingly friendly, helpful and chatty, and really added to our dining experience. I imagine Roxie’s gets super busy, and it seems a great location for a summer party, or a casual beer after work.
Like I have said, everything was great, and I will certainly be returning. It is definitely worth veering off from the usual track, away from Hindley Street and Rundle Mall.