Monday, 10 March 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 10th March


My one and only picture from my day in the lakes on Saturday

You may have noticed that I didn't publish a meal plan last week, there is a reason for that. I didn't eat at home at all last week, I had one of those crazy busy weeks and while I had an absolute blast, I have missed cooking. So this week I plan on being a bit more of a homebody, or at least try.

Monday
It is mine and Paul's 8th Anniversary today! We are going for coffee at the place we had our very first date, then onto dinner. I can't quite believe its been 8 years, but I am excited to celebrate us.

Tuesday
I am off to the cinema to see The Grand Budapest Hotel, what was I saying about being a homebody? I'm a fan of Wes Anderson films so couldn't wait to see this one.

Wednesday
Homemade chicken pie with mash and veggies. I had pie at work on Friday, so promised Paul I would make one for him this week.

Thursday
Pasta bake, keeping it simple.

Friday
Gammon with homemade spicy potato wedges, fried egg and salad.

Still a bit of a busy week, but trying to get more balance.

Hope you all have a lovely week! Lookout for a recipe post for me later in the week. Here is a little sneak peak...

This post has been added to the Meal Planning Monday Linky, check it out for some other great meal plans!

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Traditional English Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas (and a giveaway!)

We all know it is Shrove Tuesday on the 4th March in the UK. You would be hard pushed to find a bigger pancake lover than me, but I am not a fan of Shrove Tuesday. I know that doesn't make sense but allow me to explain;

Pancakes should not be limited to just one day a year, I feel like they get neglected 364 days of the year, pancakes are for life my friends, not just for Shrove Tuesday.

There are so many different style and flavour combinations you can give to your pancakes, fluffy american one, thin crepe ones, savoury, sweet, toppings, fillings... Seriously folks, they are the most versatile vehicles for all of the best flavours and ingredients.

I decided to keep my recipe simple for this post, as it IS Shrove Tuesday, I went for crepe-style. My go-to recipe is much more fluffy and american in style, so these felt a little more special. I steered clear of the traditional lemon and sugar and opted for a caramelised banana topping.

I used coconut oil to caramelise the bananas which lifted the whole dish to something pretty spectacular!

I also cooked the pancakes them selves using coconut oil, it gives a very subtle coconut flavour to the whole dish, not overpowering at all, just a little jazz hands to the dish on a whole.

print recipe
Traditional English Pancakes with Caramelised Bananas.
Ingredients
  • 300ml Milk
  • 1 Egg (medium)
  • 90g Flour
  • 1 Banana
  • 1 Tablespoon (plus extra for the pan) Coconut Oil
  • 1 Tablespoon Caster Sugar
Instructions
Whisk the egg into the milkSift in the flour and whisk until smoothMelt a small pea-sized amount of coconut oil in a frying panPour in some batter, not too much, you should slide the batter around to coat the pan. Don't be afraid to go for a thin pancake.I slide a silicone spatular around the edge of the pancake, and shake the pan until the pancake slides around freely.Once it is sliding freely, go for the flip! Once nicely browned on both sides, start on the next pancakeThis mixture made 6-7 thin pancakes, which was perfect for a Sunday brunch for one. Once all the pancakes are done, add a tablespoon of coconut oil to the pan and the tablespoon of sugar.Throw in the chopped coins of banana, cook for just 2 minutes, until softened, then pour the bananas and syrup over the pancakes.Scoff Immediately!

The one good thing about Shrove Tuesday is the amount of delicious pancakes toppings that are available in the shops.

So, as I love you all dearly, I wanted to give you the chance to win some delicious pancake related things, due to some TNT courier issues this is a little late for Shrove Tuesday, but hopefully my "pancakes fo' life" campaign has convinced you to eat them any day of the week.

So to win a wonderful hamper courtesy of Abra-ca-deborah, simply complete the rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Vanilla & Chocolate Baked Doughnuts.

I finally did it. I bought a doughnut pan.

I've been contemplating it for a while, one has been in my amazon basket since Christmas. Finally during a late night trip to Sainsburys, I saw one, it was reduced, I couldn't not buy it. I decided to stay basic with the first recipe, keep it simple; vanilla, chocolate, BOOM!

I am not going to lie to you and tell you these taste just like Krispy Kreme, because they don't. they aren't the same, not even a little bit. You know what though? They are still pretty damn good.

I still want to tweak the recipe, try other flavour combinations, play with yeast... The possibilities are endless. Watch this space for further doughnut experiments.

This was the ideal starter recipe, a good place to start my slightly unhealthy doughnut obsession.

I'm going to be completely honest with you, I found these heart shaped sprinkles in my cupboard and thought to myself...

"These will make them valentines doughnuts, which will make me a proper blogger, blogging seasonally and all that".

I smugly sprinkled the hearts on, and then remembered it was the 23rd February and Valentines day has long gone. FAIL!

I may fail at being a proper blogger, but I win at doughnuts.

print recipe
Baked Vanilla Doughnut
This recipe is adapted from the Lakeland recipe here.
Ingredients
  • 155g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Powder
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, medium
  • 1 tablespoon Greek Yoghurt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 80g Dark Chocolate
  • SPRINKLES!
Instructions
Combine the dry ingredients in a bowl.Combine the wet ingredients in another bowl.Add the wet to the dry and stir to form a smooth batter.Spoon the batter carefully into a ring doughnut pan, about 3/4 full (allow room to rise).Bake for 10-12 minutes at 180C.Once cooled, dip the tops into a bowl of melted chocolate, shake vigorously to get rid of excess and smooth out the chocolate.Sprinkle on sprinkles while the chocolate is still wet.Et voila! Super easy and basic oven baked doughnuts.

If you have any doughnut wisdom to share, or recipes for me to try please leave a comment below

Monday, 24 February 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 24th February.


Another adorbs Ruby picture for you

It's Monday, I know, it sucks. Lets get through it together, OK?

Monday
Mini roast chicken dinner - Chicken breast, potatoes, yorkshire puddings, veggies and gravy

Tuesday
I am out for dinner with my sister, still undecided where. If anyone has a North East based restaurant recommendation, let me know.

Wednesday
Spaghetti and Meatballs, I got some venison meatballs in Aldi, quite excited to see what they are like.

Thursday
Bangers and mash, I am out for drinks after work, waving farewell to a colleague. So Paul will be on cooking duty, his mash potato skills are top notch.

Friday
Both me and Paul are out after work, so no cooking once again.

It is a pretty busy week for us, so a quiet week for the kitchen. I found getting back to blogging my meal plan last week actually helped us stick to it, and remember to defrost things in time. Now, if I could just find a way to stay on top of the dishes situation, I feel like the dirty dishes in my kitchen are breeding! Its like tribbles, but way less cute.

Hope you all have a lovely week! Lookout for a recipe post for me later in the week. Here is a little sneak peak...

Monday, 17 February 2014

Meal Planning Monday - 17th February

meal planning monday
Gratuitous cat picture, because, why not?

Morning!

Been a while since I did one of these Meal Planning Monday posts! To be totally honest with you its been a while since I planned anything. There has been a lot of take-aways and cereal for dinner around here and it needs to stop! I did my food shop at Asda yesterday and I am ready to plan the heck out of this week... LETS DO THIS!

Monday
Cottage pie with carrots. I bought one of those huge packets of mince for £5 which I split into 3 portions to freeze. This makes for three delicious yet budget-friendly dinners. There will also be plenty leftovers for lunch on Tuesday.

Tuesday
Sticky BBQ chicken thighs with crush potatoes and corn on the cob. I managed to grab some seriously reduced organic skinless and boneless thighs which I plan to marinade in a BBQ sauce and serve with my new favourite potatoes. Boiled new potatoes, which I crush slightly and roast... They are seriously tasty. Is this a recipe you'd like to see blogged?

Wednesday
I am out at a friends house, so no meals planned.

Thursday
Bangers and Mash, an oldie but a goodie.

Friday
Beef lasagne with salad and garlic bread, if I am feeling particularly organised I might even make my own pasta dough on Thursday night in preparation!

No plans for the weekend yet.

*deep breath*

Feels good to have a plan guys! What have you got planned this week? Always on the hunt for new and interesting recipes to try. Feel free to share your ideas and blog posts in the comments! :)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Stuff What I Did - Episode Two

You may have noticed things have been a little quiet around here lately. To be totally honest I have been in a little bit of a blogging funk. I just didn't feel like I had anything new or interesting to say. This tends to be a cyclical thing for me, this blog operates in peak and troughs and I learned a long time ago to just go with it, if I try to force posts out it only makes it worse.

I read so many wonderful blogs it can sometimes be hard to think of new and interesting things to write about, although comparing yourself to others is a dangerous game and I need to stop. I blog for me, not because I take the best pictures or come up with new recipes every day. I think sometimes I just need to slap myself and remember that.

Anyway less whining, more blogging.

On a sidenote, if there is anything you'd like to see here, recipes, reviews, more personal posts etc... Do let me know, I am always open to suggestions. I sometimes toy with the idea of branching out from writing about only food, would you like to see some other topics?

Now back to the point of this post, stuff I have done recently (and by recently I mean 2-3 months ago...)

I went on a day trip to Leeds in early December. It was on a student social trip in which I was the "responsible adult"... I know, ridiculous. I had to get up crazy early to get to the rendezvous point before 8am, there is something really beautiful (and a little scary) about an empty metro station.

I asked the people of Leeds (through the medium of twitter) for food recommendations and of course they came up trumps! I went to Reds True American BBQ which is near to the Coin Exchange in Leeds City Centre. There was a queue for tables but as there was only two of us we managed to sneak a seat at a bar by the window. I ordered the Beef Brisket with sweet potato fries, and my friend ordered the pulled pork with skin-on fries and onion rings. The meat was so tender and full of flavour, I was seriously impressed.

So if you are in Leeds, get yourselves a reservation.

The bill including non-alcoholic drinks came to £23, which was more than fare for the quality.

The day after Leeds I hit the road with fellow Newcastle foodies Lauren and Kate. We were heading to Glasgow to see James Morton (from Bake-Off fame) at The Stand comedy club. The show was called Stollen Christmas, and it was basically a baking demo. He showed us how to make a Stollen and gave us tips on all things bread. The relaxed location worked really well and we had an absolute blast!

In hindsight it may have been slightly crazy driving to and from Glasgow in one day, we spent more time in the car than in Glasgow, but it was worth it. We got to pick James' brain on baking and also came away with a signed book and a bit of his sourdough starter! I have yet to make anything with it but its on my to-do-list.

After the show we had coffee at Artisan Roast on Gibson Street, hands-down one of the best coffees I have ever had, and it has a really cute interior too.

Glasgow looks like a great city from the small section of it that I saw, definitely want to go back there soon.

The following weekend I hit the road again, this time to York for the weekend. Despite York being only an hour away I have never actually been! I headed there with a friend for a weekend full of Christmas shopping.

We had so much fun, we are making it an annual event. The shops in York are so cute and there are a lot of pubs and restaurants to chose from, although we shopped till we literally dropped and ended up back at the hotel by 9pm watching Die Hard and eating Pringles. I know, Rock n Roll.

FYI, if you are looking for an affordable place to stay in York, we stayed at the Shoulder of Mutton which is a 10 minute walk from the shops and was great! Comfortable, quiet and great breakfast (I have not been paid to say this, a genuine recommendation)

It was busy two weeks of travelling but was really fun, I definitely think more UK city breaks are needed in 2014. If you have any tips or recommendations for places to go, let me know in the comments below!

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