Eating out Options: Nandos Part 2

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Following up on my first review of the eating out experience at Nandos I returned recently and thought I would share this other experience. First of all I previously praised the Rubro Iced tea available and commented on how I would try the other flavours on future visits and so I tried the lemon. But I have to say though it was very refreshing it just wasn’t as satisfying as the peach. I shall have to try the berry flavour before I can say for sure which flavour is the winner.

As for the food I was going to go with a salad but I have a confession to make: though I frequently tell people how much I love salads and that I eat them on a regular basis this is a convenient lie. Convenient because it’s easier than explaining the meals I do eat to the ignorant and frustrating individual asking ‘what DO you eat?!’ who finds it difficult to imagine a diet without pasta, bread and meat.

Mini rant aside, though I do enjoy my salads my idea of a salad is very different to what most people’s idea is and I find that often other people’s salad concept (without meat and wheat products) is often rather dull. So though I really enjoyed the Mediterranean salad I ordered on my last Nandos visit and do enjoy salads I have to admit on this visit I was not particularly keen on the idea.

Nor was I keen on the idea of being ill and uncomfortable the next day which, without a little creative thinking, seemed to be the only other alternative. However, I came to a decision: the Mushroom and Halloumi burger with macho peas and spicy rice, my sister a keen candidate for my inevitably discarded burger bun. Unfortunately they didn’t have any Portobello mushrooms left (an excuse to return again to test out the berry Rubio) and so I opted for the Beanie burger (chickpeas, cheese, sweetcorn, pumpkin seeds and lentils) which I had been contemplating getting anyway. And I was certainly happy with my choice, the dinner was very satisfying and full of flavour (I ordered medium heat and poured lots of extra medium heat sauce on top. So here’s my meal in three easy steps:

Step 1- The arrival of what I ordered
nandos full meal

Step 2- What I ordered minus the bun which was now on my sister’s plate
nandos meal

Step 3- My half eaten burger being enjoyed greatly and topped with lots of medium heat sauce
nandos burger

As for the side dishes, I had spicy rice before turning vegetarian and so knew I would still love this however I had yet to try the Macho peas. I was very impressed, they have a slight spice to them with a strong mint flavour and like the rice are good value for money satisfaction and portion size wise.

Again, I definitely recommend Nandos I think that it is a very good option for vegetarians as even people I know who are non vegetarian tend to opt for the vegetarian option due to them being more flavoursome.

My only regret is playing it safe with medium spice. Next time I may brave Hot.

Experimenting with Homemade Veggie Burgers: Trial 3

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I’m back with another Vegetarian burger recipe/ inspiration: the Mexican burger:

DSCF1294I served this with sweet potato fries (my new addiction), avocado and a side salad and featured it as a favourite meal in my second favourite experiments of the week post.

Ingredients (to make 4 burgers):

  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 of a large can of black beans
  • A handful of spinach
  • 1 small/ half a red onion diced
  • 2 carrots
  • Chilli Powder

Boil the carrots and sautee the spinach and red onion. Then use a potato masher to mash together all of the ingredients together so you end up with something like this:

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Add a beaten egg to the mixture to allow the burgers to hold their shape better (and of course for extra protein). Now, as always, divide the mixture into small patties for either storing in the fridge if they will be cooked in the near future, the freezer or for cooking immediately.

DSCF1284Bake in the oven for 40-50 minutes on 200 degrees celcius and serve, my personal serving suggestion shown at the beginning of this post.

Experimenting with Homemade Veggie Burgers: Trial 2

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This post details my second encounter, read about the first here, with making my own veggie burgers- the cauliflower quinoa burger:

DSCF1270As can be seen above I served mine with a poached egg with a salad of spinach, red bell pepper, cherry tomatoes and sun-dried tomatoes. As always my recipe is rather vague but I believe that cooking is an art and not a science and I wish to inspire rather than instruct. And after that little piece of wisdom here goes:

Ingredients you need:

-One small red onion
-Two cloves of garlic (adjust to taste)
-Half of a red Bell Pepper
-Half a cup of Quinoa
-A handful of shredded spinach
-A few florets of Cauliflower

I actually originally intended to add butter beans but me being forgetful I didn’t remember this until the burgers were already done, but feel free to test out this addition to the recipe yourself. I think that cauliflower makes a superb ingredient in homemade veggie burgers as it really helps to hold the patties structure without the addition of binding ingredients like eggs, bread crumbs and flour.

So, first of all I cut up and sauteed the onion, garlic, pepper and spinach whilst the quinoa and cauliflower were being boiled. when the quinoa was done and the cauliflower was sufficiently soft (sliding off a sharp knife) I drained these and put all the ingredients in a pan before proceeding to mash these with a potato masher (again if you have a food processor feel free to use this instead though it’s rather a good arm workout to do it by hand). You should have something that looks a little like this:

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Now distribute the mixture into burger patties, ensuring to flatten and round them into shape. I made five burgers in total with this mixture but of course it depends on the size you wish. I cooked one in the oven immediately but saved the other four- sealed in cling film and a freezer bag, ensuring they were lying flat, in the freezer for future convenient veggie burger meals.

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The burgers take about 40-45 minutes to cook on 200 degrees Celsius in the oven. And so there you have it, a new way to use the ever adaptable cauliflower and to avoid the processed store bought veggie burgers. Have fun experimenting!

Experimenting with Homemade Veggie Burgers, Trial 1

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So I was originally going to put my trials with veggie burgers into one large post but have decided to break it up a little bit, so here is the first trial: the carrot and lentil burger (I know, catchy name right?). I showed this in my last post as a meal I had enjoyed recently and here’s the details on how to make your own. Of course, feel free to adjust the recipe however you see fit.

veggie burger

 

Ingredients for the burger:

  • 2 Carrots
  • A half cup of lentils
  • A large handful of spinach
  • 1 clove of garlic (adjust to taste)
  • A third can of chickpeas
  • 1 small red onion
  • Any spices/ flavourings eg. chilli powder, pepper, salt, herbs

Ingredients for serving suggestion:

  • 2 thick aubergine slices
  • 1 large tomato
  • 1 large pickled beetroot
  • a small handful of sliced mushrooms
  • Any salad extras: lettuce, cucumber etc…

First off I boiled my carrots and lentils in saucepans and meanwhile worked on chopping the onion and garlic before sauteeing these. Just before they were finished I added some shredded spinach to the frying pan and then, when wilted, took the pan off the heat. When the carrots and lentils were done I drained them off and then threw in all the ingredients into one pan along with a third of a can of drained and rinsed chickpeas. I proceeded to mash up all the ingredients (the fun part) with a potato masher, if you have  a food processor this process will be easier but to be honest I like my veggie burgers to not be completely mashed anyway. I then took the mixture and carefully formed burger shapes with it, two on tin foil for eating that week and two on cling film for saving in the freezer:

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Ensure that the patties are tightly packed into the shape you like and then cook in the oven on 200 degrees Celsius for around 40 to 45 minutes, depending on the power of your oven. Also spray the foil with some cooking oil prior so the burger doesn’t stick. Though they take a while to cook they don’t really brown up that much, just expect them to go a little golden with a crisp. Be careful when moving the burger onto a plate or your bun of choice (more on that in a second) because they can crumble a little.

So how to serve? I personally went with grilled sliced aubergine as my wheat-free bread option. I simply sprayed the two aubergine slices with cooking oil and put under the grill, turning over halfway, they don’t take long at all. I also grilled some slice mushrooms for on the side and had sliced beetroot and tomato as my salad.

WP_20140505 4So there we have it, I am so pleased I finally had the time and courage to finally trial out my own homemade veggie burgers. I usually just pick up the veggie burgers in the supermarket freezer but I am trying to stay away from processed food and most veggie alternatives contain wheat/ gluten. I got a little carried away and tested out two more veggie burger combos shortly after this trial so expect posts on those soon.