Thursday, 23 November 2017

Saying no to Christmas and yes to cauliflower (for now)

Recipe of the week...
... Prawn Fried Cauliflower Rice

Ingredients: 200g fresh king prawns, 1 small cauliflower, 2 carrots, 1 tin of peas, 4 eggs, 1 bunch of spring onions, 2 cloves of garlic, 2 splashes of olive oil, 1 small root of fresh ginger, a big glug of soy sauce (or tamari), a small glug of sesame oil, salt and pepper.

Serves: 2 big portions or 3 modest ones.

Time taken: Half an hour veg prep and then 20 mins cooking.


Hi readers,

How are you all today, my lovelies? Are you doing okay? As I write, it’s a bright and sunny winters day in November. The weather may have been blowing a gale last night but, today, we’re enjoying the calm after the storm. And locating our outdoor furniture.

It’s Thursday, and we’re not on with advent yet.. but Christmas is creeping. Sheffield lit its Christmas tree on Sunday (I was along to see, with a tasty mulled wine in hand) and the shops are stocked with Christmas gifts. We’ve perfume ads on every TV break and they’ve sent some ‘celebs’ into the Australian jungle for I’m a Celebrity… I’ve tried a Starbucks eggnog latte and greatly enjoyed it. Go! Get one.

@seenamizu25

But, the Christmas tree is not yet up. I refuse until at least the 1st December. And – other than picking up the odd bit – Christmas shopping isn’t underway for real yet. If they’re playing Christmas songs in shops, I’ve successfully dodged them so far. The radio remains a safe space. And I’m yet to launch Christmas baking, although I did recently succumb to a mini mince pie or two after wine…

Whether you’re on-board or heavily resisting the looming prospect of Christmas, readers, it is on the approach. And that’s exciting, I think. I may not have donned a Christmas jumper mid-November, but I am looking forward to the fun of Christmas when we get a bit nearer. For now, though, at least until my work Christmas do kicks things off a week on Friday, I’m enjoying some last normal non-jingling non-carolling days of peace.

@bybuelow

For now, I’m trying to eat relatively normally and keep up exercising and maintain regular yoga and book club and pub quiz attendance. Things can stay normal for just a bit longer, for my liking. The thing that has (so far) made my week? A body combat class! My first one. Which was loads of fun, with a bonkers instructor and rave music, and loads of enthusiastic punch and kick moves. Was great.

Also, some new music. I had a hunt around online and was – in general – vastly disappointed with the new music on offer. C’mon UK alternative music scene! But, I did find a few new songs to jazz up my playlists.

@bunnymama

Here are the best, I reckon, of the bunch:

1. The Bay – Stereo Honey
2. Brooke Bentham – Losing, baby
3. Clean Bandit – I Miss You (ft. Julia Michaels)
4. Tove Lo – shedontknowbutsheknows 
5. Major Lazer – Love Life (ft. Azaryah)

I recommend. And if you have any new tunes to recommend – please do! I’m suffering a musical drought, so that would make my day. And now – hopefully – I can make your day with a fantastic recipe to rock your socks. This week’s recipe, readers, comes from Instagram.

An account I’ve discovered, called Tipbuzz, posts fascinating recipe videos of the kind where the camera hovers over the pan and you watch them do the whole recipe super-fast. Once you start watching you can’t look away! I’ve adapted slightly, but here’s the original recipe written up on Tipbuzz and you can watch the video here on Youtube.

And here’s my take on the recipe in just 12 simple steps…

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Recipe: Prawn Fried Cauliflower Rice

1. Prepare yourself for some serious veg prep! Open a window for some air and set a little upbeat music playing in the background. Pour yourself a drink – whether soft or alcoholic – and dig out your choppiest kitchen knife.

2. First, use a grater to shred the cauliflower into coarse rice grain-size pieces.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: Persevere, even if your arm hurts. I hate food waste and for this recipe you can grate the whole cauliflower including its stalk – do so.

3. Then, slice and dice your carrots; top and tail your spring onions, and finely chop; peel your garlic and ginger, and finely chop both.


4. Open your tin of peas and drain. Then… ta-da! Veg prep complete. Heat a splash of cooking oil in a frying pan or wok, and pat your prawns dry using kitchen roll.

5. Once your pan has heated, add your prawns to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Let your prawns sizzle for a minute or two on one side, before turning over to cook on the other side.

6. After a minute or two, once your prawns are pink all over, remove the pan from the heat and spoon your prawns into a bowl for now. Set aside.


7. Wipe the pan clean and return to the heat with a fresh splash of cooking oil. Once heated, add the carrots, garlic and ginger to the pan and fry for five minutes to soften your carrot.

8. Next, add the peas, grated cauliflower and ¾ of your spring onion to the pan. Stir everything together and fry for a further five minutes. In the meanwhile, crack your eggs into a mug and whisk together using a fork.


9. Add a big glug of soy sauce (or tamari) and a small glug of sesame oil to the pan, stir into the veg until evenly mixed, and then spoon everything aside to make small well in the centre of the pan.

10. Turn the temperature under the pan down to a low heat. Pour your egg mix into the well in the centre of the pan, and then use your fork to scramble.

11. Once your egg mix is quite solid and scrambled, then you can mix everything together once more so your eggs spreads about the pan. Season with salt and pepper.

12. At last, remove the pan from the heat and spoon your fried cauliflower rice onto plates to serve. Top with king prawns and a scattering of spring onion. Tuck in!

What a plateful of tasty, healthy food!

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What do you think, readers? Does this recipe tickle your fancy? Are you tempted by the tasty pic? Fancy an arm workout grating all that cauliflower?? I recommend! If you’re looking for a gluten-free, carb-free recipe to try out, in these last few days/weeks of healthiness before Christmas kicks off for real… then I say give it a go.

This recipe is a great way to get 4 of your 5-a-day all in one go, there are no complicated ingredients to go out and source, and the only costly ingredient really is your prawns. So, this isn’t a dish that will break the bank. It’s healthy and tasty and colourful food! It MIGHT give you wind. Just a little bit. If you’re maybe not used to such veg content in your diet.


So.. this recipe did maybe give me a little wind, readers. I will concede! But that’s the ONLY drawback about it, I so promise, and maybe that’s only me! Perhaps you can digest this no problem, you could eat it three meals a day and not bat an eye. I hope so, readers. I hope you try out this recipe, and you like the food, and you do not spend the whole night blowing your bedspread up in the air.

Let me know! If you give this recipe a try, readers, please do let me know how you get on, and send over any feedback or ideas for improvement. All will be greatly received. And have a wonderful rest of your week, everyone! Not long until the weekend now. Power on.

Sizzle safely,

Hayley




Thursday, 16 November 2017

Spanish adventure and foooooood

Recipe of the week...
... Grilled Seabass & Heritage Tomato Salad

Ingredients: 2 fillets seabass, 400g mixed heritage tomatoes, 1 shallot, 2 tablespoons small capers, 1 tablespoon sliced black olives, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, ½ teaspoon pimenton, 1 teaspoon honey, 3 tablespoons good quality olive oil, a small handful of fresh mint and basil leaves, sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Serves: 2 platefuls of good Spanish grub

Time taken: 10 minutes prep then 25 mins cooking time


Hi readers,

How are you all?? Are you well? And wonderful? As I write, it’s a cold and dark November night in Sheffield. Pretty chilly out and cosy inside! I’ve just eaten a delicious dinner (recipe to follow…) and am steeling myself to head out into the night for the pub quiz. How about you, readers? I hope you have lovely evening plans, or – blissfully – no plans at all!

It’s been a shock coming back off holiday to this cold, readers. I spent 5 nights last week in the lovely, sunny Barcelona. And I was ready to come home for my own bed, and a return to normalness, and crumpets and all that… but – what am I saying?? Take me back!



Take me back to the warm sun on my skin, and a total lack of an alarm clock, daylight in the morning and daylight in an evening, too. Take me back to warm croissants and freshly squeezed Spanish orange juice, bustling markets and sizzling paella, cracking open a cool Estrella on the hot sandy beach. Take me back to crazy Gaudi architecture and little winding Gothic streets, with Catalan flags proudly strewn over every balcony.


SIGH sigh sigh sigh… oh well, readers. I miss Barcelona but most good things do tend to come to an end. It was a welcome break from the everyday, and I have some holiday spirit still brightening my November. And I’m still telling the grand story of my holiday, featuring all the most exciting moments from my solo adventure abroad, the wonder that is Find My iPhone, and surprising kindness from strangers…


I will stop now, readers. Going on about my holiday and ever so SLIGHTLY rubbing it in, for anyone who hasn’t also escaped abroad for some November sunshine. But, I will say – if you get the chance to go to Barcelona, definitely do. There’s the beach, there’s the food, and culture, and history, and anything more you might ever want from a holiday… with EXCELLENT tapas and sangria. Not to be missed. And I’m DONE gloating!


This week, readers, our recipe of the week is one inspired by my recent trip to Barcelona. This is a recipe I found within a menu at my hostel, the Generator Barcelona. I didn’t actually eat at my hostel – per se – mainly I was just drinking sangria. But I was merrily leafing through a menu at one point and happened upon this colourful-looking Spanish recipe, for Grilled Seabass & Heritage Tomato Salad, which I vowed I would defo recreate when I made it back home.

Now I must confess, readers, despite my absolute determine to recreate this recipe… I did fall short on a weekday evening shop with sourcing all the right ingredients. So, my first attempt at this Grilled Seabass & Heritage Tomato Salad does feature seabream instead of seabass, paprika instead of pimenton, and cherry tomatoes instead of heritage. Not my best effort! But tasting great all the same.

If you fancy a taste of the Barcelona sunshine, on a cold and dark evening, then this light summers dish could be just the perfect antidote to your wintery world. Here’s the recipe, readers, in just ten simple steps…

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Recipe: Grilled Seabass & Heritage Tomato Salad

1.     Set the scene… I’m thinking a few candles lit, a glass of Spanish wine in hand (maybe a rioja? or a tempranillo?), some traditional Spanish flamenco music playing (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X0hpxQ9H87M).

2.     Begin by trimming the sea bass (or bream) so the edges are clean and tidy and the fillets are both the same shape. Pat the skin dry, and then use a sharp knife to score the skin every centimetre.

3.     Slice the tomatoes randomly into halves and quarters. Don’t worry, different shapes and sizes look nice for variation. Rinse and roughly chop the capers, then finely dice the shallot, and roughly chop your mint and basil leaves.

4.     Add the olive oil, honey, lemon juice and pimenton to a large mixing bowl. Mix and season to taste.

5.     Then, add the shallots, capers, black olives, sliced tomatoes and ¾ of the mint and basil leaves. Stir together your salad.

6.     Heat a non-stick frying pan – or, even better, a grill pan – until very hot. Meanwhile, season the fish with a little salt, pepper and a drizzle of olive oil on both sides.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: Randomly, I decided to use my George Foreman grill instead of a grill pan… and it worked! I definitely got lucky there, readers. Could have gone terribly wrong. But, if you have a George Foreman, I say go for it!

7.     Add a couple of drops of oil to the pan and place a square of greaseproof paper on it. Lay the fish fillets on the paper in the pan, skin-side down. As soon as they go in, press each fillet down with your fingers to stop them from curling up.

8.     After a few minutes, once your fish looks to be around 75% cooked, carefully turn it over and cook for a further minute. Then remove from the pan and set aside.

9.     Dish up your tomato salad in the centre of two dinner plates and place the sea bass, skin up, on top.

10.  Drizzle with some olive oil and the rest of the chopped mint and basil leaves… then serve up! Enjoy a fine tasting Spanish tea.

Mmmmmmmmmm yeah!

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And that’s all there is to it, readers! Not too tricky, I don’t think? If you’re a better chef than me and you manage to actually get all the ingredients then who knows maybe this tastes even better than my first attempt tonight! I certainly plan to give the recipe another go with the full roster of ingredients soon.

Let me know what you think, readers. Is this dish something you’ve tried before? Something you’ve ordered in Spain while holidaying, maybe?? Does this look like the kind of food you’d like to try? I’d love to hear your thoughts! I’m still new to the world of fish eating, having only started up eating fish very recently, so I’m easily pleased and thought this was a simple but exciting tea – would you agree?

Shout out with your thoughts on this Grilled Seabass & Heritage Tomato Salad, readers, and please do let me know how you get on in the kitchen! Did it all go to plan? Any disasters to speak of? Is there anything you’d do differently? Can you improve on this recipe at all??

Until we meet again – have a great weekend, everyone!

Salad safely,

Hayley


And GO TO BARCELONA!



Thursday, 2 November 2017

Ten thing to be grateful for... and food to make you go PHWOAR!

Scrambled Eggs with Spinach
on Smoked Salmon Toast

Ingredients: 2 slices of bread, a pack of smoked salmon, 2 eggs, a large handful of fresh spinach leaves, a splash of milk, a splash of olive oil, salt and pepper to season.

Time taken: 15 mins max.


Hi readers,

How are you today? Are you having a cracking week so far?? Karate chopping your way towards the weekend? Dreams of bonfires and sparklers and fireworks? I hope everything is going wonderfully well for you, readers, and you have fun plans for Bonfire Night to look forward to.

And if you’re reading this, feeling stressy, thinking NO everything is not going wonderfully bloody well. I’m having a terribly day/week/life. Then, why not have a go at writing down the things you’re grateful for? To remind you? Sounds annoying. Is NOT annoying. I sat for half an hour this morning and found ten things in life right now to be happy about…

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Ten things I’m grateful for on Thursday 2nd November 2017:

1.     Get togethers with friends. I think it’s easy nowadays, with social media, to feel connected with friends but not actually see each other. Which is a bit pants! You miss out on hugs and laughing together. It can be an effort to meet up with friends, really in real life, but I find it’s definitely worth it. I got to go to a Halloween party at a friend’s last weekend and have another friend visiting for tea tonight – winning!


2.     New possibilities. Readers, I’ve joined a new gym. Yes, I have and am in the I’m-so-excited-I’m-going-seven-times-a-week phase of a new gym membership. To clarify: I haven’t actually been yet. BUT I’m so excited I feel as if I could go every day. And this gym may be the best one yet because friends are members too – so hopefully we can hook up and make it to classes together – and because I’m going to ask them how then weight machines work. Then, use them. Prepare for impressive arm pics…

3.     A good book. Last weekend, readers, I sat down to read The Book of Dust, by Philip Pullman. Has anyone read it yet? What a brilliant read! For anyone who’s read the original His Dark Materials trilogy and fancies a return to the world of Lyra and Jordan College, the Rusakov field and Dust, Mrs Coulter and Lord Asriel, witches and daemons… I do recommend. I’m now planning to re-read the original trilogy.


4.     My colleagues. This may sound random – but they’re the people I see more than any other people. And they’re a great bunch! Will after school club be on? Will the baby sitter show, so they can finally get a night out together? Will the shower head arrive or will she have to keep showering at work? Is he ever going to get that tattoo, or is it all talk? Is a hangover even worth it anymore? Might seem boring to some, but I think my colleagues are fab. And they’re very complementary about my baking.

5.     Interesting new interests. So, my knitting’s coming along well readers. I’ve maybe made around ten knitted squares now and still enjoy knitting away while I watch Scandi crime shows in an evening. Dreaming of the knitted blanket I will one day have made. It’s cosy. And ALSO randomly my work have a project to do with girls’ and women’s football, and so I went along to a WSL game last weekend for Sheffield FC Ladies “as research”… and got really into it. I think I’ll go along again to support!


6.     A return to enjoyable running. Finally, readers, after four weeks of shit runs following the 10K race in September – I seem to have recovered. Four weeks of being out of breath, having an outfit malfunction, being thirsty, an ankle popping mid-run, having to stop to walk sooner than I’d planned… I was about ready to throw in the towel and declare the 10K to be my peak as a runner. Just retire and live for the memories. But, then, I’ve had a few good runs! And all is well again, it’s a relief.

7.     CDs in the car. I accidentally pressed some button on my car radio a few weeks ago readers, meaning I tuned out of radio and onto some other planet wavelength. One without singalong tunes. SO I did what all technophobes would do – gave up on radio, resigned myself to a life without it, and bought a load of old CDs from a charity shop instead. I got Madonna, Stereophonics, Dido, Joss Stone, Scissor Sisters… it’s been a karaoke party in my car ever since. And my Father Bear’s just done me a copy of Jessie Ware’s latest album, Glasshouse, so the tuuuuunes are set to continue.


8.     Laughs! I went along to the Comedy Club at Leadmill last night and we got a good bunch of comedians. Tickets are only £6 and you really never know what you’re in for… could be good, could be diabolical. But this month it was good! We got Paul Tonkinson as the headliner and I laughed so much I did cry a little bit at one point. Hadn’t seen his comedy before, but I do recommend. He’s a funny chap.

9.     A holiday. That’s right, readers, I kid you not – for the first time in over two years I’m going away on a holiday. I head off to Spain on Sunday, for five nights in Barcelona, entirely on my own… and I can’t wait. It’s kind of scary, the prospect of going away on my own. But, mainly, it’s super exciting. I’ve never been to Barcelona before, and I’ve never been abroad in winter, and I’ve never gone on holiday just by myself. But I’m a grown up now and I’m pretty sure this is going to be incredibly fun. Wish me luck! And check the ChefBeHere insta feed over the next week for snaps of Spanish foods and drinks (hopefully, in the sunshine!).


10.  Tasty food and drink. Sounds a cop out writing this on a food blog? Well, I’m writing it anyway! As I’ve been eating and drinking some delightful things lately. And I so easily fall into ruts and unhappy times with food, so I’m really grateful for this. Like, pineapple seems to be really good right now. Maybe it’s in season somewhere in the world? And, an espresso martini… have you had one of these, readers? Because I had my first ever one last month and it tasted SO GOOD. My new favourite cocktail.

Then, there’s fish. Confession time: I recently started eating fish again for the first time in a decade, for a bit of a change and to introduce more variety to my diet, and I’m enjoying it. A lot. I hope it won’t put any of you off following this blog, readers, if I share the odd recipe involving fish. Maybe some of you eat fish, too? Hopefully, no one will be offended by my decision. And perhaps my newfound interest in fish dishes might inspire some fab new recipes on ChefBeHere – fingers crossed!

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How about that, readers? On a seemingly unremarkable mid-week morning, I have loads to be grateful for. And I bet you do, too! Maybe give this a go if you get a mo :)

AND, in the spirit of tasty food and drink, how about your Recipe of the Week, readers? Yeah! This week our recipe is inspired by a post from instagrammer @rhitrition, for Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, on Smoked Salmon Toast. Looked great on in Instagram… and tastes great in real life, too! Here’s the recipe in just ten simple steps…

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Recipe: Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, on Smoked Salmon Toast

@rhitrition

1.     Half an hour or so before you’d like to eat, take your smoked salmon out of the fridge and leave on the side to warm a little, so it will be around room temperature by the time you take to the kitchen.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: I took my salmon out the fridge, then went on a run and showered, before I started cooking. I was running and dreaming of a salmony tea – good motivator.

2.     When you’re ready to cook, pop your phone on flight mode. Set some calming music playing, and have a big stretch out towards the ceiling. Open a window for some fresh air, and pour yourself a large drink. Much better.

3.     Begin by cracking both your eggs into a mug and adding a splash of milk. Stir together using a fork.

4.     Then, heat some olive oil in a saucepan and add a handful of spinach leaves.

5.     As your spinach leaves begin to wilt, pop two slices of bread in the toaster to toast.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: If you’re preparing this for breakfast or lunch, or you’d simply like a slightly lighter meal, then stick with one slice of toast.

6.     Once your leaves have begun to wilt, add your egg mix to the pan.

7.     Stir the contents of your pan with a fork until your eggs are scrambled, with spinach mixed in.

8.     Once your toast pops, transfer onto a plate and drape your toast with smoked salmon.

9.     Spoon your spinachy scrambled eggs over the toast, and season with salt and pepper.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: Add a little warm water to your pan now and leave to soak while you have your tea, to stop the egg mix from sticking.

10.  Tuck in while it’s warm! Enjoy a tasty tea of Scrambled Eggs with Spinach, on Smoked Salmon Toast.

NOM
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That’s all there is to it, readers! Takes no time at all and you’ve put together a healthy, good tasting, colourful plateful of food. What do you think? I realise you have to be feeling a little loaded and reckless (I just got paid two days ago) to blow the budget on smoked salmon… but everyone deserves a treat once in a while and it’s still cheaper than eating out or ordering takeaway! I advocate a smoke salmon splurge every once in a while.

Because you're worth it!
Fifteen minutes of your time, a handful of ingredients, only one pan required… what’s not to love? What do you think, readers? Would you give this recipe a try? What do you make of the flavour combination? Would you see this maybe as more of a breakfast or lunch option, rather than a dish you’d prepare for dinner? Have you tried this recipe before?

Shout out! I’d love to hear all your thoughts on this recipe and, if you give it a try, do share how you get on in the kitchen. Otherwise, I’ll leave you to enjoy your Bonfire Night weekend, readers, and I’ll see you when I’m back from Spain. ¡AdiĆ³s!

Scramble safely,


Hayley