FEOTW: 17/08/2014

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It has been a while since I published one of these posts. I didn’t get chance to experiment much with food after moving back in with the parents, after graduation, but then I had a whole week to myself house sitting for my sister and I was over the moon to have a kitchen to myself again. Here are a few recipes I have trialled out over the past few weeks and have enjoyed:

20140807_104123_AndroidAvocado Chocolate Brownies:

Recipe courtesy of Southern In Law I made these delicious wheat/ gluten free brownies, I lack confidence in my baking skills but I had a spare avocado and unlimited free time and thought why not? I was also having serious chocolate cravings. I added marshmallows into the recipe which made it oh so tasty and I omitted the sugar (which was fine for me since I was more interested in chocolateyness than sweetness but I know the result was definitely not sweet enough for other’s taste so do add the sugar). I don’t normally use recipes but where baking is concerned I think this is probably the only way.

 

 

Banana Oat Muffins:banana oat muffins 2

About to contradict myself here as I actually did some experimental baking and it somehow went right! I went simple and it worked: oats, mashed banana, baking soda, cinnamon, crushed nut mix, peanut butter, greek yoghurt and an egg, as always the ingredients were measured by eye. Like with the brownies I would add some sugar next time to sweeten them up a bit but they served well as a breakfast muffin and to satisfy my banana addiction.

 

 

20140806_202308_AndroidChocolate and Banana Ice Lolly:

Another sweet treat ‘healthified’ and one that took me back to my childhood of homemade ice lollies. To make this I mashed a banana, added a few drops of milk and some melted chocolate. I also mixed in some mint chocolate pieces and then put it in the freezer. To be honest I only tested this out because I had one too many ripe bananas but it actually turned out pretty tasty!

 

 

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Minted Courgette:

Back to non-sweet food I have found yet another thing that is a match made in heaven with courgette: mint. Luckily my mother has some fresh mint growing in her garden and so I decided to try some to make a courgette side dish. I sauteed the slices of courgette in a frying pan with oil and a handful of chopped mint. Really easy to make but a great addition to a meal or to be used on a salad.

 

 

20140814_185013_Android20140814_183908_AndroidPeanut Stir Fry:

I’ve found a new homemade simple sauce for stir fries which works great with fried rice dishes as photographed here and also rice noodle dishes. Toasted Sesame Oil, Peanut Butter, Soy Sauce and Sweet Mirin (feel free to omit the soy sauce if you are totally wheat free). I warmed it up in the microwave for half a minute to let the peanut butter melt so I could fully mix it and then poured it with the stir fry. Also if you don’t have sesame oil in your kitchen go out and buy some, I only recently discovered it and now can’t believe I ever made stir fries/ fried rice without it! (also smells amazing)

For daily food inspiration find me on Instagram, I for one have a new found addiction to seeing foodie creations on there. Happy experimenting!

My Hungarian Food Experience

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So recently I went to Budapest for a graduation celebration city break, a city which I definitely recommend visiting if only for the stunning architecture. It was a cultural adventure from visiting the synagogue to watching the opera and of course discovering the food and drink on offer. Unfortunately Hungarian food is predominantly meat and so I didn’t try out the local cuisine, in fact there were a lot more East Asian restaurants than Hungarian and so as you’ll soon see this was predominantly the food I ate.

First of all, I have to put in a mention for the restaurant Imazs as the food was delicious and very affordable and the service was equally excellent. It was just a short walk away from our hostel and because there was plenty of choice on the menu we ended up visiting twice. Here are some of the dishes I enjoyed:

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As pictured above: Vegetarian Pad Thai (the tofu was cooked to perfection), Avocado salad, Cucumber Maki and Tamago Nigiri and Miso Soup.

On the East Asian theme we visited a Japanese tearoom where I had this delicious drink (basically a green tea milkshake yum):

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And there were plenty more café stops. My personal favourite was the Cat Café where there was a range of adorable cats as company whilst we sipped delicious drinks from a menu with plenty of variety including a ‘catpucino’! I had a cinnamon hot chocolate on my first visit and a gingerbread latte on my second.

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I also had my first Iced Chai Latte on the journey back from the baths and it tasted like any other chair latte: heaven:
iced chai latte

Moving on to some more food, we went to a restaurant with a variety of food on offer, though I would not recommend the restaurant, based on atmosphere service and value for money, the food was both interesting and tasty. I wish could remember the details of the soup I ordered but it had rice, spinach and chickpeas the other photo is my friend’s stuffed aubergine starter:
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We also stopped for lunch at a Mediterranean restaurant which specialised in hummus and Falafels. The dishes looked delicious but unfortunately most of them had flatbread and so, avoiding wheat, I went with olives (not pictured) and an eggplant tahini:
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We came across a little sweet store that had tasty and addictive treats! Though I can’t remember exactly what I bought but I do remember that they both contained peanuts as I was having major peanut butter cravings for the entire trip (how Hungarian people cope without peanut butter is beyond me):

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On the last day we stopped for breakfast at a restaurant where I had a mushroom omelette and a latte which I’d developed a dangerous addiction too which has continued since!:

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So that concludes my Budapest food and drink round up. We stayed in a self catering apartment so prepared and cooked most of our meals, I’m really missing eating breakfast out on the balcony but I am not missing struggling to prepare a wheat free packed lunch. Going to the market was a highlight of the trip and I only wish I’d taken a picture of the impressively sized aubergine we picked up from there.

Quiche Bites

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DSCF1314Here is an easy vegetarian and wheat free make in advance snack for on the go lunch or breakfast: Quiche bites.

What you’ll need (suggested ingredients):

3 eggs
Handful of washed and cooked kale
Grated cheese
Half a red onion sliced
Handful of boiled frozen peas

using 3 eggs makes about 9 bite size quiches.

Whisk together the eggs in a large bowl or jug and season according to preferences (salt and pepper) add the other ingredients ( kale, cheese, peas and onion) to the egg mixture. I had cooked and the peas and the kale but left the red onion raw. This is optional but I also added a dash of milk. Then I simply distributed the mixture into a grease proofed muffin tray and baked in the oven at 200°C for 15-20 minutes.
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And there you go: vegetarian and crustless bite size quiches. I tend to serve them with a salad for an easy packed lunch, they are also a very adaptable recipe as you can add any number of different ingredients to use up any leftovers. It would also be easy to turn this recipe into a meat version, I would suggest using some Pancetta pieces.

 

Feotw- 10/06/2014

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So here are a few little food experiments I have been enjoying over the last fortnight that I thought I would share with the online world:

Homemade Potato salad:

DSCF1360Here is my take on the potato salad. Boiled potatoes flavoured with salt, pepper and mayonnaise mixed with chopped raw red onion, spring onion and cooked chopped asparagus and garden peas mmm.

Pineapple Stir Fry Lunch:

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Pineapple is my new favourite cooking ingredient. Here I stir fried it with sliced pepper, baby corn and Quorn pieces with a dash of chilli powder and a bit of tomato puree. I then put it in a lunch box with a few cherry tomatoes for an easy and tasty packed lunch.

Veggie Pasta

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Of course I opted for gluten-free pasta for this. This sauce is a mix of butter beans, chopped courgette, red bell pepper and red onion with a bit of spinach thrown in and chopped tomatoes. I seasoned with salt, pepper and chilli powder (because yes even pasta should be spicy).

Sweet Potato Hashsweet potato hash
This is my new favourite go-to brunch recipe. Boil or microwave a sweet potato then chop into chunks and fry in oil until brown and crisp, here I also fried spinach and chopped cherry tomatoes then topped with avocado slices and a poached egg. Mushrooms are also great in this dish.

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I would do a whole blog post on these delicious snacks but honestly this was even more of an experiment than my usual recipes, I literally just threw together some ingredients and put in the oven hoping it would all work out. Luckily it did. I used a mashed banana and mixed in some oats and raisins before stirring in a mixture of honey and peanut butter which I’d heated in a bowl in the microwave. I added some cinnamon before laying out the mixture on some foil sprayed with cooking oil and baked in the oven. I cut the result into squares for snacks on the go.

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A basic but forever enjoyable dish. I marinaded sliced tofu in a mixture of soy sauce and paprika and cut up cabbage, asparagus, red bell pepper and red onion. I stir fried them with tomato puree and added some Greek yoghurt before adding in the cooked rice noodles. Totally satisfying and leftovers for lunch the next day.

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.

Homemade Falafels

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When I became a vegetarian I discovered the wonders of falafels, and then when I decided to go wheat free I faced the disappointment of these no longer being in my life. So I decided to overcome that and make my own wheat free alternative since these are the perfect little packages of protein to add to salads. An advance warning they do not look like the falafels you buy in the supermarket but they are tasty (and probably healthier).

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As above I served my falafels with spinach, tomato slices and beetroot slices. So how did I make them? First you want to boil the chickpeas to make them easy to mash. I used tinned chickpeas and approximately a third of large tin to make six falafels. I then drained them and put them into a bowl for mashing, I used a fork for this process but if you are lucky enough to own a processor feel free to use this instead. I then fried one small chopped onion, a handful of shredded spinach, two chopped cloves of garlic in some olive oil and added some salt and pepper. I put this mixture into the bowl of mashed chickpeas and squeezed in a lemon slice before adding in a beaten egg to the mixture. I then divided this up into 6 onto a foiled oven tray (to avoid making the same mistake as me and struggling to remove them from the foil spray the foil with some oil) Bake in the oven on 180 degrees Celsius for 20ish minutes or until they are browned to suit your liking. (As you can see like I don’t measure I also neglect to time my cooking). In summary:

Step one: Mash the boiled and drained chickpeas

Step one: Mash the boiled and drained chickpeas

Step two: fry the onion, spinach and garlic

Step two: fry the onion, spinach and garlic

Step three: mix the two together in a bowl

Step three: mix the two together in a bowl

Step four: Mix in the beaten to hold the mixture together

Step four: Mix in the beaten to hold the mixture together

Step five: divide up the mixture and place in oven

Step five: divide up the mixture and place in oven

Step six: take out of oven and serve in the way of your choice or store in the fridge for lunches

Step six: take out of oven and serve in the way of your choice or store in the fridge for lunches