Spicy Sausage Pasta Recipe

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

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

  1. 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
  2. Heat the sausage meat in a large pan with your oil
  3. Once browned, add the onions, garlic, bay leaves and chilli (Always remember you can add MORE chilli, but you cannot take it away)
  4. After the onions have browned on a low heat (around 20 mins), add the wine
  5. Allow the wine to evaporate on a higher heat
  6. Pour in the tins of tomatoes, stirring in all the ingredients, and lower the heat
  7. 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!)
  8. 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!
  9. 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
  10. Once off the heat, stir in the creme fraiche/double cream- this can be done to taste, but I recommend around 1tbsp
  11. Serve your sauce over pasta, or mix the pasta straight into the pan
  12. ENJOY!

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!

Osteria Oggi- Gluten free pasta so good, you wouldn’t know it was gluten free

Adelaide Eats, Gluten Free, Meat Eater, Restaurant Reviews

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. 

Roxie’s Garden Bar and Eatery- A Hidden Gem

Adelaide Eats, Gluten Free, Meat Eater, Restaurant Reviews, Veggie Dishes

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! 

Croquetas

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. 

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

 

Spicy Turkey Bolognese

Gluten Free, Meat Eater

Once again, I found myself sifting through my freezer, before I finish Uni for the year, and I came across a pack of lean turkey mince. Not only is turkey mince far cheaper than beef or lamb mince it is also far healthier. I really enjoy treating myself, but it is great finding healthier recipes that taste just as good!

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Ingredients!

I have made turkey burgers before which were delicious, but I fancied making something a bit different, so this time I chose turkey Bolognese. As turkey mince is less calorific, less fatty and higher in protein it was a great choice after a busy few days in the gym, whilst also delivering that comfort food feeling with the rich tomato sauce and pasta.  I found a great recipe by The Kitchen Alchemist and was excited to give it a go.

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Onion, Chilli and Pepper!

My ingredients were

  • 450g Turkey mince
  • 450g Passata
  • 1 White onion
  • 1 Red pepper
  • 1 Red chilli
  • 2 Small cloves of garlic (or 1 large)
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1tbsp Sugar
  • 1tsp Chilli flakes
  • 2tbsp Mixed herbs
  • Salt and Pepper (heavy on the pepper)

 

I started off by heating a big drizzle of oil in my casserole dish over a high heat on the hob. Once the oil had become piping hot I added the diced onion, red pepper and the finely chopped red chilli. I used a little water to ensure the ingredients didn’t stick to the pan as they browned.

After about 5/10 minutes I introduced the turkey mince; breaking it up with my wooden spoon so that it began to cook all over. Once the turkey mince had coloured I then added the minced garlic and continued to cook for a few more minutes.

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Turkey!

The next ingredients I needed to add were the 450g passata- you could use chunky chopped tomatoes instead- chilli, sugar, salt and pepper. At this point I also added 1tbsp of dried basil and another of dried oregano. These herbs give the dish a more Italian feel and make the sauce smell, and taste, amazing.

Once everything was combined and mixed together I turned the hob down to a low/medium heat and covered the pan with the lid. I then left this to simmer for around 25 minutes. In this time all of the amazing spices, herbs and flavours marinated into the turkey mince and passata giving it a rich flavour.

Whilst the Bolognese was still simmering I cooked up a big portion of whole-wheat pasta. I was making enough for one portion for myself and another to take to work, however, I managed to cook enough for a small family?!

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Bubbling and Ready!

After the 25 minutes were up I added two ladles of pasta water- just as the pasta was nearing the end- and the juice of one lemon. The recipe calls for one juicy lemon and I was in luck. Once the lemon and pasta water had been added to the Bolognese I gave it a big stir, ensuring all the liquid had soaked in.

I drained off the pasta once it had cooked and got ready to plate up. At this point it would be the perfect time to add fresh parsley or basil and a hearty helping of parmesan cheese, however I am trying to save money and reduce food waste, so I didn’t add these ingredients to my shopping list. Instead, once my Bolognese was piled onto my pasta, I added another sprinkle of pepper and it was ready to eat.

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All Finished!

I was pleasantly surprised by the outcome as I am always very aware that no Bolognese will ever come close to my Mum’s! But, however, I think I did give it a good shot and I am happy I will have got a good helping of protein too.

IMG_9044As I said, turkey mince is really good value, I got mine in Aldi for about £1.40, and the Bolognese recipe has made enough for about 4/5 portions. To make the whole big batch the cost would be around £2.75 (inc. an estimation regarding the price of dried herbs), making it an amazing 70p per portion.

Not only can this be eaten with pasta, but the recipe also suggests using it as a side to a crispy jacket potato, or with rice, as an alternative to chilli. I would definitely recommend this easy yet tasty recipe. If you fancy it, follow the link below:

https://www.thekitchenalchemist.co.uk/recipes/2014/11/16/spicy-turkey-pasta

A Foodie Day in London…

Meat Eater, Other Adventures

For the last of Jack’s birthday celebrations I had planned for us to go to London to see a show, and luckily this also gave us the opportunity to go on a new foodie adventure! The weather was really on our side and we arrived in London at about 1pm. The heat when we got off the train made it feel like we were stepping off a plane somewhere far more exotic than London Bridge.

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Borough Market!

The food journey began in Borough Market. I love it there, all of the amazing smells, the bright colours, the food samples- what’s not to love? The only issue I have every time I go is what to choose to eat?! Yesterday my choice was slightly easier as we had already booked a table for an early theatre supper in Covent Garden, so I knew I didn’t want to be too full.

We wandered around, scoping out the food stalls and checking our options. We tasted amazing cheese, bread and oils, which fuelled our search, and after a few laps I decided on a falafel wrap. Jack was saving himself for dinner so had a few bites of my wrap to keep him going.

Borough Market was far quieter than when I have been before, mainly full of business men and women in fancy work wear- not what I would want to be wearing in 26-degree heat! However, this meant there weren’t any long queues and we were able to find a pavement in the sun to perch on. The falafel was delicious and the salad accompanying it was fresh and tangy. I have no complaints I loved every mouthful, and I think Jack liked his nibbles too.

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Falafel!

After my first Aperol Spritz of the year, and Jack’s first pint of the day, we headed off to Brixton to meet up with a friend that works in a beautiful bar called Canova Hall. The drinks list was plentiful, with gins distilled in house, a wide range of cocktails and lots of beers to try too. The space was large and light and had a great atmosphere. I went for an Apples and Pears Collins which came in a glass bigger than my head- trust me I am not complaining though. The cocktail was fresh and perfect for a summers day.

After our second round of drinks it was time to head to Covent Garden to Maxwell’s Bar and Grill for our table reservations. Booking at 4.30 we managed to time this miraculously well, qualifying for both happy our and the theatre menu.

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Maxwell’s Bar!

As I had already started on the cocktails I thought it would be a shame to stop… so my first drink was a killer zombie. Served in a large Tahiti Tiki glass with a burnt orange and crushed ice, the mix of rums and liquors was a great start to my meal. Jack also followed me on the cocktail route, starting with the watermelon martini. Somehow, he always picks flavours that I don’t like, maybe he’s scared I’ll drink it all otherwise!

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Wings, goujons and cocktails!

The theatre menu turned out being a really good deal at £11.95 for two courses. With 4 starters to choose from and 6 mains there were dishes we both liked. I started with the crispy cod goujons followed by the Maxwell’s old timer burger. Jack’s
choices were BBQ wings and ribs for his main- meat on meat!

The food was really tasty and even though the wings ended up being a lot messier than anticipated, after 2 or 3 wet towels to clear up sticky BBQ sauce we were ready for our mains. I chose to have my burger cooked medium rare and it was cooked to perfection. Still pink in the middle, it oozed with meaty juices that were soaked up in the light brioche bun. The gherkins were my fav bit! Jack’s ribs, once again very messy, were dripping in glaze and he really enjoyed them too. The fries were thin and perfectly salted and the apple coleslaw was fresh and fruity.

Although there was the option to add a pudding on, and they sounded great, we were both too full up, and instead chose another cocktail. This time I went for whiskey, having a tall Jack Daniel’s based drink and Jack kept it fruity with a lychee gin cocktail.

The food and drinks were really good, and the staff were also really accommodating and helpful. I would definitely recommend anyone who loves meat, lovely cocktails and ginormous milkshakes to give Maxwell’s a try.

Before we were due to go to the theatre we had time for one last stop… for ice cream. I must say at this point, about 30 mins had passed since we had left Maxwell’s and watching the street performers in Covent Garden flipping around had made me work up an appetite for ice cream. There were loads of shops around the main square selling sweet treats, but I decided to try Venchi. The storefront was luxurious, covered in gold, and the queue out the door could only mean good things- delicious ice cream. I only had one scoop, a tasty salted toffee flavour in a small tub. As it is central it was quite expensive, but I didn’t mind treating myself a little after a great day.

We truly did eat and drink our way around London yesterday and I am so pleased I was able to try lots of new things and go to new places. I think I will have to wait a little until my next trip as the price of alcohol is a lot and I am not made of money!!!

Brighton Foodies Fair!

Brighton Foodie Treats, Meat Eater

Brighton Foodies Fair had popped up on my Facebook timeline a few weeks ago, and on inspection I decided that £16 was a little too pricy for my current budget. I was super disappointed, so when I found tickets on the Wriggle app for £10 I decided it was worth the money and bought one for myself and Jack.

After following the page and seeing all of the stalls begin to pop up and start advertising I was really starting to get excited- along with the 18 degrees weather predictions too! On the day the weather was even better, at a scorching 21 degrees- it was bliss.

I had never been to Hove Lawns before and the walk down was lovely. The sun rays were beating down on us and I even saw a few new restaurants to add to my list of Brighton eateries I must try.

We got there slightly later than I had planned so I was a bit worried there would be queues, but with the wriggle tickers we were able to enter straight away. I was immediately excited, looking around at the bars, food tents and stalls. We began our systematic walk around the whole fair, scouting out all of the food and drink before making our lunchtime choices.

The first stall we came across was decked out with chilli sauce and pickles- right up my street. I did have to give most of them a try, even the super spicy ones, which, I must admit, were maybe even a bit too adventurous for me! All of the staff on the stalls were so friendly and chatty which really enhanced our experience too.

As we wandered around we spent the first hour or so sampling: gin, whisky, tequila, cake, olives, cheese, cold meats, chilli jam, peanut butter and so much more- everything you could imagine really- as well as lathering up with sun cream as to avoid the sun burn that a lot of people became subject to.

Although I did spend a lot of the day yearning to buy bits and bobs, I am almost happy I didn’t take a lot of cash with me as I imagine I would’ve left with bags full of goodies, especially gin.

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Oysters!

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The big moment!

I really wanted to make the most of the day, trying new dishes and ingredients and when I saw an oyster stand I thought that maybe instead of ME trying something new, it could be Jack’s turn. As we stood at the oyster stall I had flashbacks to the time I tried to eat one on a holiday in Cyprus, with tried being the appropriate word. I know some people love them… but I do not. Maybe spurred on by my doubt, Jack decided he would sample one. The oyster man suggested chewing the oyster before swallowing so Jack could get all of the flavour. With a squeeze of lemon Jack gulped it down. I think it was safe to say he wouldn’t be having oysters again, and although he did put on a good front at the stall, it wasn’t until later that he admitted that they perhaps weren’t his favourite dish!

Luckily there were so many other tasty treats the hint of salty sea was quickly washed away by fresh cider and cured meat.

In between our wandering it became the perfect opportunity to stop for a refreshing beverage. I started off with a long island iced tea cocktail and jack tasted some local lager. After this I was treated to a delicious Pimms, full of fruit, and Jack moved onto a different lager. We sat in the sun and watched a few live bands, all of which really set the scene. The atmosphere was great, and everyone really seemed to be having a good time. Even when Jack accidentally sat on the lady behind him, whilst he was trying to get comfy on the grass, she didn’t seem to mind!

When it was time for lunch, we had looked around a few times, but the decision was a really tough one! Although I was attracted to the souvlaki and calamari stalls I knew I wanted to push myself out of my comfort zone a bit, so we continued to wander.

Now… lunch… decisions decisions. I had finally chosen that I was going to sample some Nigerian food, which is not a cuisine I know a great deal about. I was really intrigued and the smells wafting from the amazingly decorated stall sealed the deal for me. For a really reasonable £7.50 I chose a little bit of everything. I say it was decent because the plate was really big, and I ended up getting Jack to help me finish it off.

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Delicious!

1525551720387On my plate was rice, a chicken drumstick, some green veggies I think were spinach (I am not 100% sure I wish I had asked) and plantain, which was honestly the best plantain I have ever had. The food stall was called Flavors of Africa, and as they’re punchline says, I really did feel the afro taste! The spicy chilli sauce that I drizzled on was so good too, I wish I could’ve taken some home. The flavours offered deep heat, as well as sweetness from the plantain and a crunch from the rice. I was so full by the end, but I couldn’t put my fork down! I was also really impressed that they weren’t using plastic like a lot of the stalls were!

 

Jack chose calamari and chips, and luckily for me he gave me a little piece of calamari that I drizzled in garlic mayo- it was delicious. The batter wasn’t too thick or heavy and it wasn’t too greasy either. The squid itself was silky and not at all chewy, it was so easy to eat, I reckon I could have eaten around 4 portions!!

Although there were so many sweet stands I couldn’t eat another thing by the time pudding came around. The huge milkshakes, gooey brownies and even deep-fried Oreo doughnuts couldn’t tempt me. I wish now I’d got some bits to take away however I only would’ve had to work it all off at the gym!

There were tents dotted around that held host to local chefs and TV competition winners, for example the 2017 GBBO winner and this year’s Masterchef champion. I did see that a chilli eating competition was scheduled at 6pm but sadly we didn’t stay that late! Although we didn’t sit and watch any full talks it was interesting drifting in and out throughout our day.

We spent around 4 hours at the food fair in total and it was honestly a lovely way to spend a summers day. I would definitely go again, and I think that it was £10 well spent! Maybe next time I will save a few more pennies and splash out on some extravagant cocktails or a watering can full of Pimms!

Tuesday Night Treat- Homemade Chicken Goujons

Meat Eater

After a long day at the library I was in the need for some comfort food. Although a takeaway sounded so tempting, or even a pizza from Co-op, I decided I should make do with what I have at home, saving money and all that.

The remainder of my breadstick had been sitting on the side taking up space for way too long, so this was the base for my dinner. I scanned the fridge and saw a defrosted chicken breast and a host of veggies. So, with that being so, I chose baked chicken goujons with garlic roasted veggies. A slightly odd mix, but I get my comfort food and  a couple of my five a day.

As I cook veg all the time I won’t bore everyone with the chopping and roasting and all that jazz and instead I will cut to the homemade chicken nuggets.

My ingredients were:

  • 1 Chicken breast, cut into strips
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Plain flour
  • 1 Egg
  • Paprika
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper
  • Vegetable oil

 

IMG_3664Firstly, I whizzed up the remainder of my breadstick, this was a bit tricky as it had become far more solid than I anticipated, but I soldiered on and it still tasted yummy. To the breadcrumbs I added salt and pepper, cayenne pepper and paprika. The cayenne and paprika made the breadcrumbs slightly spicy, I guess a bit like KFC, however I am not keeping my ingredients a secret, so you can all make your own.

I used the plain flour and one beaten egg to make the chicken sticky, allowing it to be coated in breadcrumbs. My breadcrumbs, egg and flour were in three separate small bowls.

This bit gets a little fiddly, and it is best to only use one hand and have one mess-free. One at a time I dipped my chicken strips in the plain flour, then the egg and finally in the spicy breadcrumbs. To make my goujons super coated I ended up re-dipping them in the egg and once
again in the breadcrumbs too. This is means I wasted less food which is a bonus!

I prepped a baking tray, covering it in foil and a light drizzle of vegetable oil. Once the goujons were coated and placed on the tray I gave them another drizzle of oil and an extra grind of salt and pepper.

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Coated and ready for baking!

Now it was time to bake them. There are many recipes that include pan-frying or shallow frying however I wanted to go for the healthier option and bake them. My oven was already on because my veggies were cooking away nicely, but if not, make sure the oven is pre-heated to 180 degrees.

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Cooked!

After about 15 mins I flipped the chicken strips over, ensuring there was a lovely golden, crisp coating on the outside. They then cooked for a remaining 15 mins. I checked that they were piping hot and cooked evenly throughout before serving and plated them up with my veggies.
The chicken remained moist in the middle, and the coating was crispy and a little spicy, just how I like it. They weren’t too odd with the veggies and I covered the whole lot in a big glug of sweet chilli sauce, and a big spoon of my FAV mayo.

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Goujons!

As this was a higgledy piggledy meal I am unsure on price, but all of the ingredients can be bought super low cost. I also have quite a lot leftover which will sort my lunch tomorrow, and maybe even the day after.

Although I was exhausted after uni today I am glad I took the time to make something a little different. Chicken goujons are like a hug from the inside!

(Also sorry about the lack of pics, I only decided to do this blog half way through dinner!)