Eating Out Options: Nandos

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First of all, apologies for the lack of posts recently I had a period of no internet and then spent the last week in the wonderful city of Budapest (expect a summary of my Hungarian food experience soon).

So a few weeks ago now I visited Nando’s with my sister for dinner so I thought I’d review my experience there. This was not my first visit, though it was my first visit after becoming wheat free.

I’ve always liked Nando’s as the service is quick since you order and pay at the til, the food is simple but tasty, it is good value for money and you can never go wrong with spicy food.

For vegetarians Nando’s provides a great option choice on the menu, in fact I know many people who opt for the vegetarian option even though they are not vegetarian because there is so much flavour. The veggie options include: Beanie burger- sweetcorn, chickpea and lentils, a mushroom and halloumi burger and the Veggie Burger- soya and tomato. These can be served with a burger bap, pitta or wrap and with one or two sides from a large choice including: mash, spicy rice, coleslaw and corn on the cob.

I was rather tempted to get one of the veggie options without the bread but then I decided to opt for a salad instead for convenience and I am most definitely glad that I did, I was very impressed with my Mediterranean salad:

WP_20140613 1For the price (£5.25) this was a superb portion size, I had ordered a side of Luso beans (black beans, tomatoes and pepper) but to be honest the salad alone would have been plenty enough, though the Luso beans were certainly very delicious. I often find that salads aren’t worth getting in restaurants since they are over priced and over flavoured but I cannot fault this salad in any way. I thoroughly enjoyed my meal without having to feel ill afterwards, as I so often have suffered from from eating out.

In my past trips to Nando’s I either ordered wine or stuck to the bottomless refills of fizzy drinks. However, this time I decided to try something a bit different and went with the Peach Rubro (iced tea):

WP_20140613Again, I was very pleased with my choice I only wished the can was bigger since it was such a refreshing drink that I am afraid I drunk it far too quickly. If I visit Nando’s again I will be sure to try either the lemon or berry alternative flavour.

Overall, I would definitely recommend Nando’s if you are yet to make a visit and if you have I would definitely recommend trying out one of the salads if you have been hesitant in the past.

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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!

FEOTW- 25/05/2014

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So here is another summary of some ‘food experiments’ I have been enjoying recently. I’ve been so busy with exam revision that this post is 2 weeks of meals combined into one, and not as wide of a selection as I would have liked. Though, the purpose of this post category is to show highlights of foods that don’t quite make an individual post.

First things first I have a confession to make: I am seriously addicted to sweet potatoes. Why they have not been a cupboard staple for me up until recently I will never know, all I do know is they are completely delicious. I’ve tested out sweet potato mash, sweet potato jackets but my favourite has to be the sweet potato fries:

mexican bowlHere is what I’m going to call the ‘Mexican Power Bowl’: Chilli sweet potato fries, black beans, lettuce, cherry tomatoes and grilled and sliced mushroom, aubergine and pepper. All topped with some avocado mashed with a little mayonnaise. mmm. Expanding on the south western theme was my homemade black bean burger (the post for which is in the works) with an avocado topped side salad and yes more sweet potato fries:

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It was a sad day when I ran out of Quinoa which I still haven’t had the chance to replace, still this ‘Quinoa Power Bowl’ was the perfect post-workout meal, giving my brain and body a healthy, nutritious and protein enriched boost. Roasted sliced carrots and mushrooms, sliced cherry tomatoes and black beans with quinoa cooked with a few drops of tomato puree for added flavour.

the quinoa power bowl

Anyone else get bored of breakfasts easily? This week I trialled ‘baked banana oats’ and breakfast certainly wasn’t so boring:

baked banana and peachAs above I served my baked banana oats with sliced peach and Greek yoghurt. How to make? Simply mash a ripe banana, sprinkle in some rolled oats, add a drop of milk and a dash of cinnamon then add anything additional, above I added a few raisins. Then bake in the oven on 180 degrees for around 10-15 minutes (the smell is heaven):

WP_20140525 1^ The banana mess before it has crisped up. I also tried this over a handful of blueberries and honey drizzled greek yoghurt to form a makeshift blueberry pie. This time I omitted the raisins and sprinkled some pumpkin seeds over the top:

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Thanks for reading and I hope that this post has given you inspiration for some meal ideas. Let me know what foods you have been enjoying recently.

Who Says Salads are Boring?

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I have to admit for the first week of going wheat-free I did feel a little disheartened at the prospect of salads being seemingly the only option available for packed lunches especially at a time when I was spending most of my days in the university library away from my kitchen. But now I have to admit I am a little addicted to salads, if somebody asks me how I can eat salads almost everyday I would turn around and pose the question how can you eat sandwiches and pasta everyday? There’s so much creative license involved with a salad and so many different ingredients to experiment with, so I thought I’d show a few examples of salads I’ve being enjoying.

Salad option 1- Grilled Courgette Salad:

WP_20140428 2WP_20140428 15Grilled Courgette batons make a great addition to a salad. I cut up the courgette and then place the batons into a bowl to mix up with olive oil, salt and pepper before placing them under the grill, turning every so often until done. A sprinkling of grated cheese is the perfect finish. I would usually serve these on a salad of spinach, bell pepper slices and avocado slices but can vary it up with any ingredients: mushrooms, cucumber, tomatoes, variety of lettuce leaves etc… Also is it just me or does grilled courgette smell really good?!

 

 

 

 

Option 2- The salad for a sweet tooth:

WP_20140502 1This is a great salad for if you are craving something a bit more sweet. I simply chopped up one pickled beetroot, one apple and one sweet pepper and added it to a bed if spinach before sprinkling on some feta cheese.

Option 3- Roast Veg Salad:WP_20140502 12 

For this salad, I cut up some button mushrooms, courgette and carrot and roasted them in olive oil in the oven before adding them to a bed of spinach to form an easy packed lunch.

Option 4- Falafel Salad:

WP_20140502 22This packed lunch salad uses my homemade falafels over a handful of spinach, chopped yellow sweet pepper, tomato slices and again a sprinkling of feta cheese.

And this is only a very small sample of the variety of salads I make for myself. So if you aren’t already a fan, like I am, then what are you waiting for? Get experimenting.