Posts Tagged food

Christmas Feast

I was really pleased with how Christmas Dinner turned out. Mum made our customary Christmas Cranberry Chestnut Ring which is made with leeks, carrots, onions, cranberries, and chestnuts with a vein of feta cheese through the middle. The outside is then wrapped with pastry and decorated elaborately with pastry holly leaves and sprigs of rosemary and cranberries for colour. Never fails to gain a gasp of awe when it’s brought to the table. It’s a stunning piece and knocks seven shades of sh*t out of a dry old turkey carcass any day.

For the meat eaters I made Christmas Kebabs but substituted beef for smoked ham. This was ideal particularly for my nana who struggles to feed herself these days, so the bitesize chunks of meat and veg on the kebab sticks was perfect as it didn’t require use of a knife and fork.

To accompany I made:

Red Cabbage with Apple and Raisins which was spiced with a very festive flavour of cinnamon.

Maple Glazed Sesame Parsnips

Lemon, Ginger and Honey Stir Fried Sprouts with Cashews – I used baby frozen sprouts which I warmed through in some boiling water briefly before cutting in half and stirfrying. They turned out so nicely that 3 of us who are avid sprout haters actually ate more than one (and enjoyed them).–ginger-and-lemon

Butter and Rosemary Roast Potatoes

Dessert was courtesy of a Jamie Oliver recipe and went down an absolute treat. Winter Pudding Bombe looks stunningly elaborate but is actually very simply put together with Pannetone, icecream, pistachios and glace fruit. I also used some frozen fruits of the forest as I had trouble sourcing different glace fruits.

Today I used the left over red cabbage & raisin dish and blended it with chickpeas, lemon juice, cumin, tahini and olive oil to make the best tasting hummous which Wil and I scoffed with some veggie sticks, crackers, cheese and a glass of red wine. A welcome treat after the bingeathon we had yesterday!

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Doomed To Eat

I love to eat. I love food. One of the reasons I exercise as much as I do is so that I can afford the luxury of stuffing my face with food all day without becoming a rotund lardy fatass who could hide small animals in the folds of my stomach.

The good thing is I love healthy food – vegetables, rice, fruit, nuts, fish rank amongst my favourite foods. If I go a couple of days without eating salad or fruit I start craving something fresh and crispy – or what Wil and I refer to as a ‘Clean Dinner’. When Wil contracted for a living it used to be a popular request from the mobile phone in the car when I asked him if he’d want dinner when he got here. He’d nearly always sigh a breath of relief and state ‘yeah a nice Clean dinner would go down a treat’. What I’d cook would be something along the lines of steamed salmon, carrotts, courgettes and potatoes – all fresh, non-fussy ‘clean’ foods that were a screaming oasis of heaven in a week filled by stodgy restaurant and hotel food. Foods that made you feel self righteous in that you were doing something cleansing and good to your body. I get the same urge when we’ve been away from home on holiday for a week. As much as I love to dine out, I really enjoy my own home cooking and can’t seem to go too long without it.

I sound like a smug bugger don’t I. The thing is like many people I also get those hellishly bad sweet cravings. I don’t care much for chocolate and sweets but desserts and cake are my thing. Trifle, ah god, trifle is the stuff the best dreams in the world are made of. The custardy, creamy, fruity bits laden with jelly and sponge and magical greatness I could die for. Every once in a while Wil buys me a Trifle when he goes shopping and I eat it for breakfast on a weekend.

Icecream is another favourite, especially plain organic handmade vanilla icecream made with clotted cream. I could eat it by the gallon.

During the last 6 months I’ve had bad trouble with my hamstring injury.  I got a nasty shock when I found that during my down time I’d gained some weight. Nothing horrendous but enough to make me feel quite heavy and clumsy on my bike and while running. The problem when you exercise a lot and then stop is that the eating doesn’t seem to taper off as easily as the sport does – therefore I ate the same but did nothing to work it off. I’m lucky in that my build and height disguise the addition of 10lbs fairly well, unfortunately those heavy legs and increased jiggly bits when you’re trying to run are not as forgiving, so the extra ‘me’ had to go. The thing is – when you only really make a habit of eating natural fresh unprocessed food and the occasional trifle or cake there really isn’t a lot to cut out so I had to take a closer look at the amount I was eating.

I joined Tesco Diets for a trial period. I’m not an advocate of diets – I like to eat what I want and I don’t like to omit particular foods altogether as it’s unrealistic to think I won’t occasionally binge on trifle or cake. Fortunately TD had a plan for me – Mediterranean Plan with no meat or poultry. I have to say it’s fantastic. The recipes are all really easy to make, it gives you an option to buy the list of shopping you require online and all the foods are the normal every day foods I’d eat anyway but I’ve learned some awesome new recipes that all the family are loving. (Before anyone worries – I give them a lot more than I eat!)

I chose the setting which suggested I sit or stand all or most of the day and don’t take regular exercise. Although this is only a partial truth I felt that for the time being it’d suit me better as I’ll be able to chance those odd moments where cramming an icecream into my face overrules all rationality and care I had about not feeling the backs of my legs jiggle enough to hit my arse when I run. Because of my recent sweet tooth spurt and increased hunger due to plentiful exercise I’ve only lost 4lbs in the last 4 weeks however, I’m fine with that because the idea of losing weight really isn’t realistic when you’re creating muscle in it’s place. The dissipating jiggly bits is where it’s at for me.

If you’re trying to diet or lose weight or, like me just try to gain a better perspective on portion sizes and quantities Tesco Diets is well worth a try… It has to be said, for me ‘Every little’ wasn’t helping!

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If You Don’t, You MUST!

I found these on the shelf when I went shopping a few months ago and we’re addicted. Peppadews are little piquanté peppers about the size of cherry tomatoes. They are fresh and crunchy and soaked in a lovely sweet water. At the moment there are two varieties. Mild and Hot. The mild ones are not hot but quickly and gently brush your mouth with little bite before disappearing – even Cameron will eat them without wincing and the hot ones aren’t killer either.

Anyway, we went for dinner at the Vegetarian Restaurant near here a week or so ago and they had a Red Pepper and Peppadew Hoummous on the menu.

I ordered it and between Wil and myself it lasted all of about 4 mouthfulls. GORGEOUS. So gorgeous that I had to come home and try to replicate it.

I used:

1 Red Bell Pepper – Sliced and grilled until blackened
1 Can Chickpeas (Garbanzo Beans) rinsed and drained
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried Oregano
1/4 tsp Cumin powder
6 or 5 Peppadew peppers
1 tsp lime juice
1 flat teaspoon Tahini Paste*
Salt to taste

(These measurements are rough because I didn’t exactly document them as I went)

*I didn’t have any Tahini Paste which is a paste made from sesame seeds. However, I did have some sesame seeds and some sesame seed oil. So I used random quantities of seeds and sesame oil and smashed it into a paste in my pestle & mortar. How Jamie Oliver do I sound now eh?

Ok – Basically stick the the lot in a blender and whizz it. You may need to add a little drop of water to give it a smoother consistency.

We ate it with poppy seed crackers and sticks of carrot and celery although when we had it at the restaurant they served it with pitta bread which was really good. It took 10 minutes to make it and 5 to eat it. Luvley jubbley.

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