Comfort Eating, Uni Stress and Joe Wicks’ Blueberry Oat Muffins Recipe

Gluten Free, Sweet Treats

During exam season I find it really hard to watch what I eat. With the lack of sleep, constantly whirring mind, and a room covered in cue cards and revision notes, comfort eating really seems to be a common coping mechanism for myself, and no doubt, others in the same position. When trying to remember module upon module, key words, diagrams and theories, the last thing I want to be doing is taking time to make salads, vegetables and balanced meals. I need carbs, and bread (gf of course), and sweets and energy and salty snacks.

As much as I crave these naughty treats and “cheat meals”, that inevitably turn into cheats days, and even weeks, eating healthily is so important for our brains, especially when we are under exam/uni stress. With this in mind, I thought I would share some of my eating tips, before giving you a yummy, and mostly healthy, recipe.

  • Plan, plan, plan…Having a meal plan for the week is so useful. Not only does it help when doing a food shop, but I always feel so guilty if I waste food, so sticking to the plan prevents this. You also know that you are getting the right nutrients for your body, and, more importantly, your brain.
  • Eat at appropriate timesWith late nights, and sometimes even all-nighters, it can be so easy to lose track of meal times. Ensuring you eat to a reasonable schedule will mean you shouldn’t get super hungry and start craving naughty treats. Having meal times also gives you revision structure, set goals for completion before lunch and dinner, keeping you on track.
  • Stay hydratedWater is so important for your body, brain, skin and countless other things, but it also acts as a way to help stay full. Boredom strikes so often, and it is really hard to determine whether you are hungry… or whether your textbook is just sending your mind wandering to other things (food!). Mixing fruit into your water makes it a bit more exciting too.
  • Reward yourselfEating well, focussing on good grades and keeping up with housework, work or friends is so hard to balance. It really is ok to have a treat now and then, as long as you don’t do it excessively. A chocolate bar here or there, a sugary coffee, some tangy sweets, whatever your body is wanting, the chances are it wants it for a reason. If you are really, really tempted to get a pizza, pick a set day and have that as pizza day, something to help break up your work.
  • SnacksIt can be all too easy to grab a packet of crisps to munch on whilst you work, or a brownie from the coffee shop at uni. However, if you pre-prepare snacks then you will never need to spend that extra money. Unsalted nuts, like almonds and cashews are a really good source of energy, as is fruit with its natural sugars. However, if overeaten, both of these can end up being naughty treats too. Everything in moderation!
  • Find things that make you happy (Not a food tip, but a life tip)I find that I get so bogged down by grades, test scores and essay answers, that a lot of the time, I forget to have fun. I forget I am the other side of the world, in a completely new place, with so many opportunities around me. Getting fresh air is so important to clear your mind, de-stress and it also brings you firmly back to earth. Take time to do things YOU enjoy!

I hope some of these might be slightly useful, but if not, I have a delicious recipe to share too.

I have chosen this Joe Wicks recipe because it is so simple, tasty and low cost. I must admit, I didn’t come across this recipe msyelf, it was actually made for me by Soph earlier in the year, and ever since, it keeps popping back into my mind- I just had to make it for myself.

The ingredients are:

Ingredients

Ingredients!

  • 2 Bananas (mashed)
  • 125g Blueberries
  • 2 Eggs (Whisked)
  • 180g Porridge oats
  • 2tsp Vanilla extract
  • 2tsp Baking soda
  • Dark chocolate chunks (Ok, so this isn’t in the original recipe, but… who doesn’t like chocolate?!)

This is a recipe for muffins, however, I do not have a muffin tray, so I used a roasting tin, and built a little barrier with foil so it only filled half.

There is only one step to this recipe once all your ingredients are prepped, and it is to mix everything together in one big bowl. Simple as that!

The oven was heated to 190 degrees, and once I had transferred it into the baking tin, it took 19 minutes to cook. I thought 19 minutes was a bit pedantic when I first saw the recipe, but it really does cook perfectly in this time, however, one minute extra can’t hurt either I’m sure.

Once cooled- if you can wait that long- the muffins/tray bake will be ready to eat. The fruit is part of your 5 a day, and the oats have slow release energy, making this a perfect morning snack. Or, for that matter, afternoon snack, midnight snack, breakfast snack, or any time of the day! They are also really easy to reheat in the microwave, which makes the chocolate go gooey again.

Enjoy, and good luck! x

Kangaroo and Beef Slow Cooker Stew Recipe

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

Although it is nearly summer here in Australia, I have got a pre-exam cold, and what I have really been craving is a hearty meat stew to blow away the cobwebs. I know it is getting very chilly in the UK now too, so this is perfect on a dark autumnal eve.

Like usual, I got this recipe from BBC GoodFood, and it didn’t disappoint! I only loosely followed the ingredients and measurements and added a few extra ingredients. My housemate also let me use her slow cooker, which was a great new experience for me.

My ingredients were:

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Ingredients!

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Celery sticks
  • 3 Carrots
  • 5 New potatoes
  • 1 Leek
  • 2 Bay leaves
  • 2tsp Dried thyme
  • 2tbsp Tomato purée
  • 2 ½ Beef stock cubes
  • 900g Beef/kangaroo mix
  • Parsley
  • Oil
  • Salt and pepper

I began the dish by prepping all my veggies.

fullsizeoutput_2a86Firstly, I chopped the celery into even (ish) chunks, the size is up to you! I am not a fan of celery at all, but once it was cooked, I was pleasantly surprised that it added to the flavour. Maybe these chefs do know what they’re talking about?! I halved the carrots, also cutting them into rough chunks, along with one leek, and finely diced the white onion. I also quartered the potatoes, ready to be parboiled.

In a large frying pan, I added the onion, celery and a glug of oil. This cooked on a low heat until the ingredients began to soften, and the onion started to turn translucent. Following this, I added the carrots, leek, bay leaves and dried thyme and continued to fry for a couple more minutes. In a separate saucepan, I also par boiled my potatoes for around 10-15 minutes.

fullsizeoutput_2a87When all the veggies were mixed, I added the tomato puree, along with 800ml of boiling water. At this point, I transferred all of the ingredients, including the potatoes, into the slow cooker and ensured everything was combined, before crumbling over the beef stock cubes. At this point I also added a large helping of pepper and gave the stew a big mix. I tasted the broth and added a little more thyme.

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Into the slow cooker!

I cleaned out the frying pan and began to prep my meat. I used a combination of beef and kangaroo as this worked out as the best price, as well as the fact that I am trying to incorporate kangaroo into every meal whilst I have the opportunity! Obviously, if you are in the UK and you do not know an exotic butcher, beef will do just fine!


I pan-fried the chunks of meat in batches, each with a little oil, until they were all well browned. Once this was complete, I added the meat to the slow cooker. If at this point you need more liquid, you can add extra water.

I gave everything a big stir and it was ready to cook! I chose to use the high-power setting, which meant that cooking time was 4 hours, however if you are going to be out all day, you can leave it on low for 8-10 hours. I guarantee as well, if you will be out the house all day, you will be greeted at the door by amazing rich meaty aromas.

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Ready, steady, cook!

I checked on the stew occasionally, giving it a stir now and then, to make sure all of the seasoning had time to absorb into the veg and meat. For the last 30 minutes I removed the lid, to reduce the amount of liquid in the stew and to thicken it up slightly. This can also be achieved by adding 2tsp of cornflower and a splash of cold water in the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Finally, I was able to take a break from revision and have some well needed brain food! I added a handful of chopped fresh parsley to finish the whole dish off. The reason I chose a stew was in an attempt to kick a horrible cold, and although I cannot claim it had medical properties, it felt like a warm hug!

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Yum!

I managed to get 6 portions out of all of the ingredients and shared it around my housemates too. I served the stew with thick gluten free toast; however, the recipe recommends a buttery mash accompaniment as well. I must add, the recipe does not include potatoes, that was an extra I added, but I am sure two potato varieties in one meal is not a bad thing!

The overall dish cost more than I would usually spend on cooking, mainly because of the price of the meat, however, it was really worth it. I also have lots left over in the freezer, for any occasional blustery Australian days or sudden runny noses!

Here is the link to the original recipe: https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/slow-cooker-beef-stew

Joe Wicks- Cheat’s Chicken Parmigiana Recipe

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

* First off, I have to say, this meal was bloody delicious *

I love simple cooking, and I especially love a tray bake! The other day I was feeling a little glum, so I treated myself to a new cook book- Joe Wicks, Cooking for Friends and Family. As much as I enjoy cooking for others, what I really had in mind for this book was that I could make big dishes and freeze them- making my life easier! Not only are the dishes low in carbs and fat, all the recipes have really clear guides, and also highlight whether or not they’re good for freezing.

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Cooking For Friends and Family- Joe Wicks

Today, my chicken parmigiana is both reduced carb and freezable- perfect. I had to do a huge shop today, and instead of going to Aldi, I managed to get everything in Coles Supermarket. I was pleasantly surprised by some of the bargains I found, especially a loaf of GF bread for $1.27. As I bought (nearly) all the ingredients today, I am able to do a cost per serving too, this will be at the bottom of my blog!

So, here we go… Chicken Parmigiana!

My ingredients were:

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Ingredients!

  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 2 Aubergines
  • 600g Tin tomatoes
  • 50g Tomato puree
  • Mozzarella (I used 210g bocconcini)
  • 2tsp Italian herbs
  • Fresh basil (Sadly I couldn’t find any)
  • 1tbsp Balsamic vinegar
  • Salt + Pepper
  • Oil

 

Start with a preheated oven. Mine is set at 250 degrees, but it is a useless university halls oven- Joe Wicks recommends 190 degrees.

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Squashed!

The first step is to prep the chicken and the aubergine. I started off by tenderising the chicken breasts. Only doing two at a time, I laid one piece of cling film over a chopping board (hard surface is required), placed two chicken breasts on top of that, and then another layer of cling film again- like a cling film sandwich. Using a rolling pin (or other blunt object) I then bashed the chicken, so that it became thinner and flatter. I repeated this with the second two breasts.

Once this was completed, I seasoned both sides of the chicken and pan fried, once again, in batches of two because I had a small pan. The pan had a drizzle of oil in, which I ensured was hot before adding the chicken. They only needed around 1 minute on each side, it is only to brown the edges, the actual cooking happens in the oven a little later! Once again, I repeated on the other two breasts.


The prep for the aubergine is very similar. Using a sharp knife, I carefully sliced each aubergine into around 6/8 slices, depending on your desired thickness. If you wanted thin strips, a mandolin may be useful, however, I found the knife did the trick! In the same pan as before, I added another drizzle of oil and browned the aubergine on both sides, making sure each piece was well seasoned. This took about 3 batches so that I didn’t overcrowd the pan.

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Tomato Sauce!

As my aubergine was in the pan I started on my tomato sauce. This was really simple. In a jug, I mixed together 600g tin tomatoes, tomato puree, Italian herbs, basil, balsamic vinegar and salt and pepper. I chose diced tomatoes; however, the recipe does call for chopped- I guess it is up to personal preference, and how chunky you like your tomatoes. Sadly, I couldn’t find any fresh basil in Coles today, so my sauce went without. Despite this, it was still really tasty, but I imagine the basil gives it a deeper, more Italian-y flavour.
Now for the fun part- the construction. For this you need a large oven-proof baking tray or roasting tin.

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Assembly Time!

I started by pouring 1/3 of the tomato sauce into the tray. Following this, I added ½ of the cooked aubergines, followed by a layer of half the mozzarella. Seasoning with each layer. The next step was the chicken, which overlapped a couple of the slices of the mozzarella/bocconcini- Bocconcini are mini mozzarella balls, which I find easier to source here in Aus. Finally, the remainder of the aubergine was added, along with the remaining sauce and leftover slices of mozzarella to finish.


Now it is time for the oven! For the first 15 minutes of cooking, cover the roasting tin with tinfoil, and after this time is up, remove the foil and cook for a further 15 minutes. The smells coming from the oven during cooking will be like an Italian, fragrant pizza restaurant!


I served my parmigiana with a few gem lettuce leaves and it was good to go! I think the chicken would go well with a number of accompaniments, including rice and even some green seasonal veggies.

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Finished!

This dinner was honestly SOOOO delicious! I even let two of my housemates try it, to share the amazing flavours- which, I must say, is a rarity for me, because I rarely share food. I am so glad I have 3 more portions in the freezer.

To make the dish EVEN better, it was relatively low cost, the most expensive aspect being the chicken. However, when this is split into 4 portions, all of which were a really good size, it doesn’t amount to a lot at all! All in all, each serving would cost $4.45 AUD, totalling to £2.41 GBP. Absolute bargain!

I am really pleased with how this dish turned out, and how easy the recipe was to follow! I really recommend this recipe, along with many more from Joe Wicks.

Chilli Con Carne Recipe – Perfect now Autumn is here!

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

Although I am currently having some on-off beautiful weather in Australia, I am aware that the nights are drawing in back in the UK. Although it is sad to wave goodbye to summer, the time calls for hearty winter meals and tasty autumnal recipes! With this in mind, here is my recipe today, Chilli Con Carne.

Despite the sun here, I do still love a warm meal at the end of the day, and chilli is perfect for making in batches and freezing. As well as this, it’s simple once you know how, and it can be done on a budget!

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Ingredients!

This is a great recipe from BBC GoodFood (I will link it at the bottom), my ingredients are:

  • 1 Large onion
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1tsp Paprika
  • 1tsp Ground cumin
  • 500g Beef mince
  • 1 Stock cube (beef)
  • 400g Tin tomatoes (chopped/diced/crushed)
  • 1 Square dark choc (I used 70%)
  • 2tbsp Tomato puree
  • 1 Tin red kidney beans
  • Oil
  • Salt + Pepper

To Serve:

  • Rice
  • Sour cream/crème fraiche
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Magical Garlic Plate!

I started by preparing the veg, which was really simple. Using my amazing new garlic plate, I minced 2 cloves of garlic to a chunky paste. However, if you are not lucky enough to have an amazing garlic plate, using a mincer, or finely chopping would work too! I diced the large onion, and also roughly chopped my red pepper.

(Check my insta to see my post about the little garlic plate, and the link to where you can buy one!)

In a large pan, I started by heating a glug of oil, and, once this was hot, I added the onion, cooking until it became translucent. Once the onion was soft, I added the garlic paste and red pepper, stirring the three ingredients together.

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Veggies and Spices!

Now time for the spices! I added all the spices by eye, however I have included the exact measurements from the recipe to make it easier. In went the paprika, cumin and cayenne pepper. If spicy food isn’t to your fancy, you could use mild chilli powder. At this point, the smells from the pan should be spicy and fragrant. It is important to make sure all the ingredients are evenly combined.

After a good stir, I left this to cook for around 5 minutes on a medium heat.

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Browning!

To my pan, I added the mince and slowly began breaking it apart- however, it is important to keep some of the larger chunks, as to give the chilli texture. After the meat had had a good sizzle in the pan, I carried on stirring for around 5 minutes, until all the pink had become brown. This should be done on a high heat to ensure it is cooked through.

To create the sauce, I first added the stock. Into a 300ml jug of boiling water I crumbled 1 beef stock cube. This enhances the meaty flavour and juices from the mince, whilst combining with the spices- it should REALLY be smelling good now.

Next I added the tin of tomatoes, I chose diced, just because that’s what I could grab from Aldi, however, any other variation would be perfectly fine too. I also added 2tbsp of tomato puree. So far, I’ve yet to find tomato puree in a tube in Australia, however, the organic puree I got from Aldi in a tin seems just as good, if not better.

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Chocolate Time!

Now time for the magic ingredient- the dark chocolate. The chocolate acts as a natural sweetener, that deepens the flavour of the tomato sauce. It is important to only add a small amount, so that the actual chocolate flavour is unidentifiable. (Note, I had to change pans here so I could use a lid!!!)

At this point, the sauce should be bubbling away. Give it a good stir and pop the lid on the pan. This should then cook on a low heat for 20 mins. I checked occasionally, to check the consistency of my sauce, and to ensure the chilli wasn’t catching on the bottom of the pan. Mine did a little, so I added a couple of tablespoons of water, which made this issue disappear straight away. Also, if it is looking a little dry, add some water too. The mixture should be looking thick, juicy and bubbling away nicely.

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Adding the Beans!

After the 20 minutes are up, it is time to add the last ingredient, the kidney beans. I drained and rinsed the tin and stirred the beans into the chilli mixture. Turning the heat back up, so the mixture boils again, this then cooks for another 10 mins.

When the 10 mins was over, I seasoned the chilli. The recipe does say you will need more seasoning than you anticipate, and I also found this to be true. I did end up adding a lot of salt and pepper, but as it is split into portions, I wouldn’t worry about it. The seasoning really makes the dish come together. You can do this to taste, adding a little at time, until its perfect for you.

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Finished!

Once this is done, and all stirred in together, replace the lid and take the chilli off the heat, it then has to stand for 10 minutes. This last 10 minutes is really worth it, allowing all the flavours to infuse. However, I was really hungry at this point, and the amazing chilli smell was very tempting- somehow, I did manage to wait the whole 10 minutes.

To serve the dish, I boiled brown rice, and added a big spoon of sour cream. Sour cream in Australia is more like crème fraiche at home, so either would be great.


Although this isn’t the most beautiful dish, it really tastes amazing, good enough that I went back for seconds (and maybe a small bowl for thirds).

Like I said, this can be made on a budget, with beans and tomatoes costing around 50p/80c a tin. Lean mince can also be bought at a good price, especially in Aldi. The extras like paprika, cumin and cayenne are some staple spices I would recommend to everyone, and I use a lot in my kitchen. It is definitely worth the time it takes to cook, and now I have lots of more portions in my freezer for colder days.

https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3228/chilli-con-carne

 

Melbourne Foodie Experiences- Hardware Societe and Much More!

Gluten Free, Other Adventures, Restaurant Reviews

As soon as I have booked a holiday- and, perhaps, even before- I begin to trawl through blogs, google searches and social media to try and find some hidden gems for eating and drinking. My trip to Melbourne was no exception to this. I have had a list on my phone for weeks of cafes, bakeries, coffee shops, fancy restaurants, hawker centres and street vendors. The only problem was I only had 3 full days… how do you eat EVERYWHERE in 3 days?! Sadly, the answer is you don’t, well unless you have a very big wallet and a never-ending stomach. Although my list was as long as my arm, I did manage to tick off quite a few places, and I am saving the rest for my next trip with my Mum.

I won’t go into all the boring details, tracing my exact steps over the past few days, but I will share with you some great places I found- including one very special brunch café called Hardware Societe.

On Thursday morning, our attempt to grab a cup of coffee and some toast seemed to be slightly thwarted, with all of the cafes on my list being full to the brim with people in smart suits, carrying fancy briefcases and wearing designer shoes. However, despite the first few cafes being chocka block, including Patricia coffee shop- renowned for amazing coffee- I remembered somewhere we had walked past only a couple of days before.

I had read about the Hardware Societe online and only found it by chance on our street art tour. There was a queue out the door and a huge rooster with a sign saying, “Please wait to be seated”. Both of these factors caught my eye as you can imagine, so when we found ourselves wandering round, getting slightly hangry, I thought it would be a good place to try next- and it was.

M6NyKg2iRa6E3e4xSvVMqAWe were lucky to get a table as it was full to the brim, and although we sat on a big shared table we had loads of room. The staff were immediately lovely and accommodating and I felt so comfortable. The space was decked out with funky lighting, butterfly wallpaper and bold colours, it was eye catching yet also very homely. I really felt excited to be there, which only flourished when I read through the menu.

The first page included an Anthony Bourdain quote, which, once again, only made my excitement grow. We ordered a selection of coffees, including an oat milk latte for myself. The waitress was very knowledgable about dietary intolerances and showed me the info about gluten free options- of which there were many, with only a $1 for GF bread.


I am SO pleased there was gluten free bread because the table was decked out with a jam tree. This is as good as it sounds! The jam tree consisted of a variety of Bon Mamam jams, including cherry, strawberry, raspberry, rhubarb, apricot and finally… caramel. A jar of pure caramel.  Needless to say my healthy eating went out the window for brunch.
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The only problem I had was deciding what to choose. There was a wide selection of breads, porridge, muesli, veggie dishes, meat dishes, fish dishes… I could go on! I opted for chorizo baked eggs with GF toast. Not only did everything look and smell amazing, it also came out very quick, which was a huge plus point at this point of the morning. I can’t actually explain in words how great the eggs were. The yolks were perfectly runny, with chorizo, potato, peppers, a crispy cheese top and aioli, finished off with delicious toasted almonds. A M A Z I N G!

Everyone else ordered a selection of breads and Soph got salmon baked eggs, which looked just as good as mine!


The price for this breakfast was also extremely reasonable, I would have even paid more! With all of this in mind we returned again for our breakfast this morning before we headed off to the airport.  This time I opted for the GF toast, so I could try all of the jams, my favourites were rhubarb and raspberry. Somehow, I even managed to avoid the caramel (only because there was none on our table).

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Deco!

I’ve blabbed on a bit now about this amazing café, so you get the gist… it was brilliant. I really recommend giving it a visit, if only just for a coffee. Its right in the CBD and close to the shops, a perfect pre-shopping fuel!

I did go to a few other places whilst I was in Melbourne too, below is a little list!

Breakfast/Food

  • Operator 25- CBD
    Great breakfast and coffee with GF options. Amazing building that was the first telephone exchange building in Melbourne- full of character.
  • Long Story Short- Brunswick
    Delicious breakfast choices, smoothies and coffees. Bright and airy with lovely staff.
  • Mollies Bar & Diner- East Melbourne
    Big portions, reasonable drink prices, very fun drag bingo on a Wednesday! Cool outdoor area too.
  • Kilda Pier Kiosk- St. Kilda
    Great selection of soft drinks and some fun frozen alcohol slushies! Amazing views at the end of the pier, lovely staff.

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Bar/Drinks

  • La Di Da- CBD
    Good for drinks before dinner or before a night out. Really funky location and décor. 
  • Transit Bar- CBD
    Great happy hour from 5-6pm, $5 base spirits, draft beer and house wine. Perfect for watching the sunset, heated outdoor area too.
  • Storyville- CBD
    Alice in Wonderland themed bar with dry ice cocktails and colour changing drinks. Cool music and décor but slightly $$ for drinks!
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Tea for Two!

Satay Sweet Potato Curry Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

The past few weeks I’ve been trying to eat healthy, exercise regularly and do all my uni work, and I feel like I’ve not taken time to do things I enjoy, including cooking. So, today I took myself off to the shops to fill my fridge with exciting new ingredients for the week ahead.

Pasadena Foodland is the most amazing supermarket that’s only 10 mins from my doorstep. The shelves are stacked with everything you can imagine, it’s even got an oyster bar- does a supermarket need an oyster bar… apparently so.  Anyway, I went around with my strict list and my budget in mind, and tore myself away from the walls of treats and expensive organic produce to get exactly what I needed.

Below is a picture of my food haul- all for $55, which is equivalent to just over £31- not too bad for everything I bought. I was doing some bargain hunting too and managed to save about $10.

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Food Haul!

I have been craving a curry for a while now, however, as much as I’d love to order takeaway, the funds just aren’t there. So, the next best thing (or maybe even better) is homemade. I had a quick look online and came across a veggie curry that sounded amazing. The ingredients are:

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Ingredients

 

  • 1 Onion
  • 2 Garlic cloves
  • 1 Small piece of ginger
  • 3 tbsp Thai red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp Smooth peanut butter
  • 3 Small sweet potatoes
  • 400ml Tin coconut milk
  • 100g Spinach
  • 1 tbsp Lime juice

I started off by ensuring all of my ingredients were prepped and ready, this made it easier and quicker when it came to the actual cooking. There was no rushing around desperately mincing garlic and peeling sweet potatoes.

I started by heating a drizzle of oil in a large pan. The curry serves around 4/5 portions so unless you are going to split the ingredients I would recommend using a big wok or casserole dish. Into the pan I added the chopped onion and cooked this until it had begun to golden.

Once the onion was translucent I added the garlic and ginger. The recipe recommends grating these two ingredients but, sadly I don’t have a grater, so I finely chopped them instead. The smell at this point becomes super fragrant and after a minute I added the Thai red curry paste.

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Paste!

I then added a large spoon of smooth peanut butter. I love peanut butter, so I would happily add another spoon or two, however, I promise once it has all been cooked you can’t actually recognise it, so please don’t let this put you off if you don’t like it on its own.

The nut butter melted into the curry paste, making a lovely sticky mixture. At this point I added the peeled sweet potato that I had chopped into rough chunks. I must admit I only started with 2 sweet potatoes, but I thought the sauce to potato ratio wasn’t quite right, so I added another. The recipe calls for 500g but I don’t have scales, so it was a bit of guess work on my part.

Once the potato was mixed with the curry paste I added the coconut milk and 200ml of water. I used the can to measure the water, ensuring I didn’t waste any of the coconut milk. At this point it was smelling really good, I couldn’t wait to eat it.

Sadly, it needed to cook for another 20 minutes or so, until the sweet potato was soft. I bought the curry to boiling point and then turned the heat down to a gentle simmer.

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Almost ready!

When the curry was ready I stirred in the spinach, lime juice and added salt and pepper. Finally, it was ready to eat. I served the curry with brown rice and a gluten free wrap that I toasted slightly.

 


I managed to purchase everything relatively cheaply, the most expensive ingredients being the Thai red curry paste. However, I only used a few spoons so there’s loads left in the jar for future use. The spicy gift that keeps on giving? The peanut butter is the same too, however you can buy peanut butter pretty cheaply in the UK.

The whole meal cost around $7. I had to guess with the nut butter and curry paste, but it makes it around $1.64 per serving.

Not only delicious but far healthier and cheaper than getting takeaway!

If you want the full recipe check it out below!
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/satay-sweet-potato-curry

Cauliflower and Chickpea Burger/Hash Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I was unsure about blogging this, mainly because it didn’t turn out at all as I had planned. The original dish was supposed to be a veggie burger, however, I didn’t have some very important utensils, for example a potato masher, and therefore, my burgers didn’t work at all. Instead I was left with something I can only describe as a veggie hash, but it was delicious; so, I wanted to share my experience.

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Ingredients!

My ingredients were:

  • 1 Head cauliflower
  • 1 Can chickpeas (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Red pepper (or capsicum as the Aussies call them)
  • 1 Clove garlic
  • 1tsp Turmeric
  • 1tsp Cayenne pepper
  • Salt
  • Pepper
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Cauliflower

The process was a tiny bit fiddly, but nothing too hard! I started by grating the head of the cauliflower with a box greater, into a bowl, over which I had placed a large tea towel. This tea towel was then used to strain the cauliflower to remove all of the liquid. I added 1tsp of salt to the cauliflower and left it to rest for about 30 minutes before it was ready to strain. The salt draws all of the liquid from the cauliflower.

 

In a separate bowl I mashed the rinsed chickpeas with a fork, this is when I could’ve used a masher! Once again this was a bit fiddly and made my hands hurt even more- poor me! I added the mashed chickpeas to the cauliflower once it had been strained.

I finely chopped the onion and bell pepper and minced the clove of garlic. I added these to the bowl too, along with the spices.

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Veggies

At this point I knew that the likelihood of me forming the mixture into burgers was incredibly slim, so in a bid to salvage everything I added the mixture to a foil-lined roasting tin. I pressed down all of the ingredients and put the tin into the pre-heated oven.

Overall the cooking took around 30 mins, and I added a sheet of foil near the end so that the top didn’t burn.

I was really pleasantly surprised by the outcome, it smelt delicious, and it was a lovely golden colour.

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I had bought some GF buns from Coles, and I was still fancying a burger, so I did my best to pile the hash on top of one half. I added lettuce, avocado, hummus and a touch of mayo to the bun, topped with a squeeze of lime.

Apart from being a bit crumbly it was delicious! The spices were just right, and it didn’t have the classic cauliflower taste that I was a bit nervous about. The recipe claims it makes four burgers, however I had a lot of leftovers, which I was worried about wasting. I didn’t really know what to do with them at all.

The next morning, I had a dash of inspiration, and thought I would try some with sausages and toast, which is where the name breakfast hash came from. I chopped up a GF garlic and herb sausage and mixed it through as I reheated the hash in a saucepan, the juices from the sausages made it even tastier.

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Breakfast hash!

The following evening, I was making a veggie stir fry and instead of rice, once again, I thought this would be a good opportunity to use some more leftovers. It worked as a great carbohydrate replacement.

So, after a bit of experimenting I managed to find a few dishes that worked well with my mystery concoction. It was all delicious, I was really surprised. However, I think if you had a potato masher I’m sure the burgers would have actually been delicious. I will link the proper recipe below!!!

Happy burger (hash) making. x

https://tasty.co/recipe/cauliflower-chickpea-burgers

 

Day 6/7- Rice Noodle Stir-Fry Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Well, today should’ve been day 7, but, because of quite a hectic day yesterday- and probably one too many ciders- I had to give blogging a miss. So today we have day 6. This also means I have switched up the dinner plan too. Tonight, I made Asian stir fried veg with rice noodles.

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Ingredients!

I have been amazed at how well all of the veg has lasted since I went to the market, and those delicious enoki mushrooms and beansprouts have been catching my eye for the past few days. Finally, it was time to put them to good use. My ingredients for this dish were:

  • Enoki mushrooms (and one random mushroom I found in my fridge)
  • Beansprouts
  • Pak Choi
  • Garlic
  • Chilli
  • Rice noodles
  • Oil

I went to the cinema tonight and needed something quick for dinner. This was perfect.

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Ready to cook!

The veggies and the noodles basically took the same time to cook, around 8 minutes.

Very simply, I firstly chopped ½ clove of garlic, and a small piece of red chilli, and added this to a pan with a drizzle of oil. After about 30 seconds I added the rest of my veggies. The Pak Choi had begun to wilt slightly in the fridge, however, once it hit the pan you would never have known!

 

I stirred the veggies in the pan for around 6/7 minutes until they begun to golden. I added quite a lot as I knew this would be great for leftovers, but also because the mushrooms and Pak Choi shrink down when cooked, and therefore I wanted to make sure there was enough.

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I drained the noodles, which I boiled in salty water (only a little salt!), and everything was ready to plate up. Simple as that!

img_2711.jpgTo serve I added a drizzle of soy sauce too. I had intended to pick up some ginger from the market the other day, but completely forgot, I would’ve loved to have added ginger too. My Mum actually gave me a great tip the other day. If you freeze ginger it is perfect to grate over stir-fries or Asian dishes. I think this really would’ve lifted the dish to another level. However, I made do with what I had, and it was still delicious.

Spicy, tangy and sweet- a tasty dinner that doesn’t break the bank or take hours to make!

Day 5- Burrito Bowl Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

Dinner tonight failed, mainly because I spent the afternoon eating chips and dips… oops. But… my lunch was delicious, and it took a while to cook so it makes up for this evenings laziness!

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Ingredients!!

My lunch today was a veggie burrito bowl and it was actually really tasty, I made myself proud. The components were: brown rice, guacamole, black beans and corn, red onion salsa, lettuce and sour cream.

I made each topping from scratch, minus the sour cream obviously. So, let’s start with the guacamole.

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Avo!

This was very easy, the ingredients were:

  • Avocado
  • Lime juice
  • Seasoning
  • Chilli

Very simply, I mashed a whole avocado with ½ lime and a few finely chopped pieces of chilli- the spice level is obviously up to you. Once It was all combined I added salt and pepper and mixed again. I have quite a bit leftover too which is great news for lunch/dinner tomorrow.

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Guacamole

Secondly, onto the beans. This was the first time I have cooked with black beans myself and it was a bit of a nightmare to start with. I didn’t realise the beans would be in black, oozy jelly and it took me a few minutes of frantic googling and problem solving to work out I had to put them in a sieve and thoroughly rinse them. I am not sure how black beans come in the UK, but if it’s the same make sure you wash them lots. I guess it’s how you have to thoroughly clean chickpeas too.

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Beans and corn!

I simply pan-fried the beans and frozen corn for a few minutes until the corn had a cooked through. I added cayenne pepper and fried again for a couple more minutes. Delicious. Once again, I had leftovers which are waiting patiently in my fridge.

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Onion Salsa

The salsa was another very simple element, the ingredients were:

  • Red onion
  • Spring onion
  • Cucumber
  • Lime
  • Oil

Once again all I did was mix the ingredients. Both types of onion and cucumber was diced into small chunks and the oil acts as a little drizzle to prevent it from going dry. I only added a drop, and a large squeeze of lime.

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Finished!

The lettuce was simply chopped, and the brown rice cooked for the usual 30 mins. Once everything was ready I plated it up, I tried to make it look aesthetic but honestly as soon as I started eating it became a huge mix of Mexican mess- delicious!!!! I finished it wish a last squeeze of lime and a blob of sour cream, I can’t wait to have it again!!!

Please try this at home x

Day 4- Garlic and Broccoli Spaghetti Recipe

Gluten Free, Vegan Delights, Veggie Dishes

I haven’t exactly tried to hide my love of garlic, but this meal makes it the main attraction.

Following on from my salad at lunch I was craving some carbs, so I am glad that spaghetti was on my meal plan.

My salad was tasty, using my leftover veg and rice from last night to supplement the salad leaves, cucumber, avocado and spring onion. I do like salads but I am getting a bit bored of eating rabbit food, and as I knew I was going to the gym I wanted something substantial to look forward to.

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Salad

All of my recipes are simple but this one is probably the easiest. I remember having this at home in front of the TV after school with Mum too, so it is very comforting. My ingredients were:

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Ingredients!

  • Spaghetti
  • Broccoli
  • Garlic
  • Oil
  • Seasoning
  • Lemon (One squeeze)
  • (Plus a tiny bit of cheese to top it off)

The GF spaghetti I got from Aldi was very reasonably priced, and after being impressed with the penne, I was looking forward to cooking something new. Don’t get me wrong, gluten free pasta is nothing like the real thing, but I have to make the most of it. All you lucky gluten-eaters can obviously use the real deal.

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Pasta!

I followed the instructions on the pasta, cooking it for 8 minutes. This was also perfect for the broccoli, so I used the same pan to cook both simultaneously. I do like my broccoli maybe slightly overdone however, so cooking time is completely up to you. I added a drop of oil into the water to prevent the pasta from sticking together.

Once the veg and pasta were drained I heated up ½ minced clove of garlic in some oil and once it was golden, and added the spaghetti and broccoli. I ensured the garlic and drizzle of oil were mixed in with the other ingredients, and simple as that, it was ready to serve.

All in all, from chopping to plate, the meal took about 10 minutes and tasted delicious!

Cheap, easy, and very tasty.