Thursday, 12 October 2017

Autumn Series - Post #7 - Car Crash, Cakeaway and Cooking

Recipe of the week...
... Indian Goat's Cheese Salad

Ingredients: 1 garlic clove, 125g soft goats’ cheese, 1 lime, 1 red chilli, 1 red onion, 15g fresh root ginger, 1 teaspoon nigella seeds, 100g baby leaf salad, 300g sweet potatoes, 20g fresh coriander, olive oil, sugar, salt and pepper

Time taken: 40 minutes max

Serves: 2 super filing, super healthy, super tasty portions

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Hi readers,

Happy Thursday! How are you today? And this week, in general? Are you having a good one? I think I’m having a good week, readers! There’s been a cheese n wine night which is ALWAYS cause for celebration – had a fab night munching cheese with the girls. And I’m storming on with my newfound knitting hobby while watching Fortitude.. quite getting into the knitting! It’s easier to enjoy once you’ve learned the basics.


Then this morning I dramatically reversed my car into another car while trying to park at work – doh! So, now my white car is a bit red and someone’s red car is a bit white. And it was scary for half an hour or so while I recovered from the shock. But it turns out I’ve scraped the car of an angel! This person doesn’t want any help repairing their car and they don’t seem upset about the damage. They text me that it’s cool. And my faith in human beings is restored – what a guy!


And it’s almost the weekend, readers, which I think I’m about ready for!! How about you? Have you got much lined up for the weekend? I’m going to struggle to top the last one – I brunched with friends, and walked in the peaks with my Father Bear, and got myself a HUMONGOUS cakeaway and took it to the cinema. Watched ‘The Glass Castle’ – a cracking film. Can such a good weekend be beaten?? We shall see!


Let’s talk food, readers, as I’ve been mulling this over again these past few days. Following on from my last blog post, in which I tackled the first of three ways to overcome an emotional eating habit loop, as suggested by Rachel at re:wellbeing…

1.     Address the cues
2.     Increase wellbeing
3.     Change the behaviour

… I’ve since been thinking through Rachel’s ideas on ways we can increase our wellbeing. Because, in my mind, this is so important! Don’t you think, readers? So many of us – especially women, in my opinion – are resigned to putting ourselves at the bottom of the pile and prioritising anything and everything over our own wellbeing. Why is it that we always come last, even with ourselves? How is that fair?

Sometimes, it isn't always going to be possible to remove or change the cues and triggers that cause emotional eating. As such, it can help to build wellbeing and self-care activities into your life. Self-care doesn't just mean booking a massage, it’s much broader and is about having your needs met – including physical, emotional, social and spiritual needs. When your needs are met then negative emotions can be felt less frequently and intensely, and you find yourself better equipped to deal with them (without turning to food) if they arise.

And, thinking beyond food habits, wellbeing and self-care activities can help people to function better in all areas of life. Sometimes, we can be so busy we forget to take time for ourselves, or we feel selfish for making 'me' time, but it's important. Both for mental and physical health, and for our relationships, too.

Think about how easily you’re irritated when you’re hungry, or if you slept badly, or you’re stressed out? Dragon You doesn’t only impact on your own day, but also on those around you as well. And nobody wants that! Give it a think – are your current self-care activities working? What activities give you a sense of wellbeing? Are there loads or just a few? How often do you make time for these activities?

Which emotions do you need to feel or would you like to feel more often? What activities could you do to fulfil your needs – both physical and emotional? When and how can you make time for wellbeing and self-care? How can you make it part of your daily or weekly routine?

Seriously, readers, what would have to change for you to be able to make space for these wellbeing and self-care activities in your life? Maybe it’s going to require a shake-up of your beliefs surrounding self-care? I say, go for it! Maybe you need to ask for help, allocate a budget, join a club… go go go for it!

As Rachel, at re:wellbeing, spells out for us…

“Building more activities into your life which improve your wellbeing in terms of physical and mental health can help you to:
- experience negative emotions less often
- be better able to deal with negative emotions that do arise
- live a happy life”

Simples? I hope you’re inspired, readers, to make at least a small change to increase your self-care. It doesn’t need to be anything big – everyday activities, including yoga, can affect your wellbeing. And I’m a big believer in yoga! Practicing yoga is really great for helping you to feel grounded and in the moment, putting the day and your worries behind you. It helps you to know your body, and yoga’s also been linked with reducing anxiety and depression.

@yogasusie

I think some yoga may be required after my dramatic bump in the car earlier!! And perhaps a little more care for my car in the future, as well as self-care! … but seriously, readers, do take care of yourselves. And remember how important it is to do so. One sure fire way to treat yourself with kindness? Cook great food! Feed yourself something healthy and delicious!

My recipe of the week, this week, readers, is a Gousto recipe for an Indian Goats' Cheese Salad and it’s a smashing recipe if you’re looking to eat something healthy and great-tasting, too. That perfect balance of cheese and leaves! Feast your eyes – here’s the recipe in just ten simple steps…

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Recipe: Indian Goats' Cheese Salad

1.     Treat yourself to a few minutes deep breathing, concentrating on each breath in and out, as you open the windows, pour a drink and gather your ingredients together on the kitchen counter.
2.     Heat the oven to 200C and chop the sweet potatoes into bite-sized pieces, leaving the skin on. Cut the red onion into quarters, leaving the skins and root on.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: According to Gousto, leaving the skins and root on an onion while it roasts, stop the onion from drying out and falling apart – I would have known that!
3.     Add the chopped sweet potato and onion quarters to a baking tray, drizzle with cooking oil, and season with generous pinches of salt and pepper. Carefully transport your tray into the oven to roast for 20-30 minutes.
4.     Meanwhile, you can be prepping veg! Pick a few coriander leaves and set them aside for now, to use as garnish later. Chop the remaining coriander finely, including the stalks. Peel and finely chop the garlic. Peel and finely chop the ginger. Cut the red chilli in half lengthways, deseed and chop finely.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: You can make good use of a teaspoon here! It can be used to peel the ginger (just scrape the skin off with your teaspoon) and to deseed the red chilli (scrape the seeds out with the same teaspoon).
5.     Next, you’re going to make your chutney. Add the chopped coriander, garlic, ginger and chilli to a pestle and mortar and grind to a paste. Add a few tablespoons of olive oil and the juice of half a lime, and mix to combine. The season with a pinch of salt and a pinch of sugar – this is your spicy green chutney.
6.     Time to sort your dressing! In a small bowl, combine the juice of the remaining half a lime with 2 tablespoons olive oil. Season with generous pinches of salt and pepper – this is your dressing.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Don’t forget about your veg in the oven! Once the onion is tender and the sweet potato is cooked and starting to crisp, you can safely remove from the oven and leave to cool in the baking tray for a few minutes. Turn the oven off.
7.     While your veg cool a little, spread the nigella seeds over a chopping board. Roll your block of goats’ cheese in the nigella seeds until evenly coated and dotty as a Dalmatian.
8.     Once you won’t burn your fingertips, carefully remove the skins from the cooked onion by cutting off the root and peeling off their skins. Then you can separate the onion quarters into petals.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: If – like me – you’re not a fan of greasy foods, take a moment now to tip your sweet potato out on some kitchen roll and pat dry to remove any excess oil.
9.     Add the onion petals, sweet potato chunks and baby leaf salad to a large bowl and toss everything with the dressing. In your hands, break the goats’ cheese into small pieces and spread over the bowlful of salad.
10.  Garnish the salad with your reserved coriander leaves and dollop with spicy green chutney. Set the table with dinner plates and cutlery, and top up your drinks, then tuck into this colourful, summery tea!

So many brilliant colours on one plate 😃

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In the words of Gousto…

“In this Indian salad, mixed baby leaves are tossed in a zingy lime dressing with roasted sweet potato and red onion petals. You’ll roll our creamy goats’ cheese in aromatic nigella seeds and break it up over the salad. All topped with a homemade bright green coriander, ginger, chilli and lime chutney which adds a zingy-spicy kick.”

What do you think, readers? Would you give this recipe a try?? Only forty minutes of your evening required… and you can have a wine on the go that whole time! Plus, there’s only really one unusual ingredient (I’m thinking: nigella seeds) involved in this week’s recipe. Everything else is pretty much standard supermarket fodder.

And this is a bit fancier than a pizza, isn’t it? C’mon! What a great looking plateful of food! I think this salad both looks and tastes great, readers, another triumph from Gousto. And the pride that comes with eating a salad where you’ve made the dressing all by yourself is pretty cool, I say.


Let me know, readers, if you give this salad recipe a try. How did it go in the kitchen? Did you like it? And have a wonderful weekend, readers! Take care in your cars and DEFINITELY get the cake.

Dollop safely,

Hayley

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An informative footer

I’d like to note, the above is part of a series of posts that I’m currently having fun writing, while undertaking a fresh start with food. Food bloggers can’t admit they got bored with food, you say? Well, I beg to differ! In August 2017, I made two wonderful decisions; I signed up for Gousto – a food delivery company who send recipes and ingredients in the post – and I began a health & wellness program to transform my food habits, with Rachel of re:Wellbeing. In this blog post, and others like it, I share one of the wonderful recipe that I’m taking on, and an idea that I’m exploring as part of this fresh start.

If you would like to find out more about Gousto, please visit https://www.gousto.co.uk/

(I have a sneaky discount code! If you’re new to Gousto, then click HERE for 50% off your first 2 boxes and I’ll get a discount too for referring you… so errrrybody wins)

And, if you would like to learn more about re:Wellbeing, then visit https://www.rewellbeing.com/




Friday, 6 October 2017

Autumn Series - Post #6 - Risotto and reasons for red wine

Recipe of the week...
... Green Risotto & Pan Con Tomate

Ingredients: 30g 3 seed mix, 20g fresh basil leaves, 2 ciabatta rolls, 40g Italian hard cheese, 1 tablespoon Shaoxing wine, 1 vegetable stock cube, 160g arborio rice, 1 brown onion, 3 garlic cloves, 10g fresh parsley leaves, 3 tomatoes, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, olive oil, salt and pepper

Time taken: 40 minutes max

Serves: 2 super filing, super healthy, super tasty portions

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Hi readers,

Hope this finds you well? And feeling like a funky Friday chicken, ready to spread your wings wide, fly the coop and strut your way towards the wonderful weekend? That’s right, as I write, we are once again wearied by the week and ready for couple of days’ respite. It’s Friday, readers, and I feel some gentle yoga and soft pyjamas coming on!

And red red wine


This week at work’s been HEAVY for me, sure you know the kind. Like – the kind of workload that has you messing up basic phrases (How’re you going? What? Doing! What? Doing what? I mean how are you doing? Um… fine.) and clueless as to whether there may be milk in the fridge / change for the meter / repercussions if you buy a one-way ticket to Canada.

Although I did learn to knit, sort of. It took a few nights of gritty determination to last out the American youtube tutorials. But now I’m at it without them (thankfully) and in the process of knitting a holey square, proud as punch. And my cousin had a baby and I got to hold him and he’s smaller than I’ve ever been. Melting still. He’s a warm, wriggly fellow.

Three days' knitting progress

And yes, readers, we made it to Friday… let’s have high fives all round. So, how’s your week been? Is it the kind that’s flown by – blink and you miss it – or are we crawling over the finish line of an epic five days? Because, either way, without fail I savour that finish line feeling on a Friday when you bust out of the place and you’re heading towards two days of who knows what! Unknown wonderfulness.

Last weekend I made it down to London for a reunion with some fabulous uni friends, with cocktails and much chatter, afternoon tea and champagne, hugs and catch ups. It all was most lovely. Although the loooong coach journeys wiped me out, as anticipated, so this weekend I’m planning a much more low-key affair. But how about you, readers? Big weekend plans? Will you be living it large and busting a move or two??

Take me back

Though the very thought exhausts me – I wish you well! Go shake and shimmy what yo mamma gave you, kids. Sing and dance. Stay out late, get in early. Think not of work, care not for the Catalan people. Get yourself the chips and sod the high heels, take them off.  

Meanwhile, on the topic of food-related thinking, readers, I’ve been giving this headspace again over the past few days. Following on from the past few blog posts, in which I’ve been pondering the thought processes behind emotional eating – as a habit that loops and that perpetuates as a response to a certain cue, I’m thinking in my next few posts it would be good to look forward to the ways to  overcome an emotional eating habit loop.

In the re:wellbeing program that I’ve been following recently, Rachel suggests three possible ways to overcome this loop…

  1. Address the cues
  2. Increase wellbeing
  3. Change the behaviour

If I start today with addressing the cues. By this, I mean addressing the cues that trigger emotions and cravings. How can you avoid getting into a situation, or falling into a thought process, which creates emotions… that then trigger cravings making you want to eat?

If you’ve followed my last few blog posts (or you can catch up on them now!) then maybe you’ve identified the situations or your thought patterns, which can prompt an emotional response, triggering a craving to eat, and keeping you stuck in the emotional eating habit loop – maybe? So, the next step moving forwards could be to change the cues that start this whole cycle off – give it a try!

Changing some of the cues could be simple and you could get rid of them in a single action. For instance, unfollowing accounts on social media that make you feel bad about yourself (even if they’re health and wellbeing accounts!). And making your favourite comfort foods harder to access. Rachel at re:wellbeing recommends you try moving foods away from where it is that you find yourself eating. You eat in bed? Then – for real – no keeping treats in your bedside table! Kick them out.

On the other hand, some cues may take longer to change and require more steps to remove from your life. For instance, thought patterns – as it’s hard not to fall back into these. You could use a mantra to steer yourself away from the thought patterns you’d like to shake off – every time you find yourself thinking these unwanted thoughts you can overcome them by reminding yourself of a powerful message – although this takes time and consistent practice.

What do you think are the most important cues that influence your emotions, and make you want to eat? How could you remove, change or respond to these? Bear in mind your surroundings, your thoughts and life experiences, your knowledge and skills, and family and friends. Are there any barriers that might stop you? If there are, how could you overcome these barriers? Might there be something that’s keeping you stuck? Might you need help?

As Rachel points out, if you can't remove a trigger completely or replace it with something different, then this is still okay. It's just important to be able to recognise and deal with the situation before it influences your emotions and behaviour. For example, say you’re going through a stressful time at work, then take 10 minutes to relax by yourself when you walk through the door in an evening. This could prevent emotional snacking or overeating at tea.

As Rachel also makes clear, “It would be overwhelming and impossible to address all of the things that you have identified above at the same time.” Focus your efforts on addressing an important cue first, the one which you think has most influence on your emotional eating, and see if the changes you make are having a positive impact on your emotions and your behaviour. Maybe you’ll find there’s something you’ve overlooked, an important factor that means you need to rethink? No worry! Start afresh if you need to. There’s plenty of time.

Food for thought, readers! One to ponder while crunching leaves and breathing in crisp fresh air.. on an autumnal walk this weekend, perhaps? That’s my plan, anyway! It’s beautiful out and about in and around Sheffield this time of year, with our many trees. AND a big walk call for hearty plateful of food upon your return SO – without further ado – I give you our recipe of the week.

This week, readers, I’m sharing with you a Gousto recipe for Green Risotto & Pan Con Tomate. A warming bowlful of tasty Italian grub to fill your boots up even after the trekkiest and hilliest of walks. Here’s the recipe in just 12 simple steps…

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Recipe: Green Risotto & Pan Con Tomate


1.     Set some funky tunes playing in your kitchen and turn them UPUPUP. Gather your ingredients all together on the counter, set the kettle boiling and heat the oven to 220C. Dissolve the vegetable stock cube in 700ml boiled water.

2.     Heat a big non-stick frying pan over a medium-high heat, add the 3 seed mix and toast for a minute or so until the seeds are just starting to brown and pop. Then remove from the pan and set them aside to cool.

3.     Peel and finely dice the brown onion, and return the pan to a medium-high heat with either a splash of cooking oil or a knob of butter. Once the pan is hot, add the onion and cook for 5 minutes until the onion’s softening but not yet coloured.

4.     Then add the arborio rice to the pan and stir briefly to coat the rice grains in oil. Add the Shaoxing wine and cook for a minute or so until this has almost all evaporated from the pan. Next, add a third of the jug of stock, along with a pinch of pepper.

5.     Keep an eye on the pan and, once this dose of stock has absorbed, continue to add the stock a little at a time until you’ve added it all. Keep stirring the contents of the pan every minute or two to prevent any from sticking to the base of the pan.

6.     Meanwhile, as your risotto cooks, you can be making the pesto. Begin by peeling and finely chopping 1 clove of garlic. Then roughly chop the basil and parsley together, including the stalks.

7.     Add the toasted seeds, basil, parsley, oregano, chopped garlic, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, a splash of water, and a pinch of salt and pepper to a food processor. Blitz to a coarse paste – this is your pesto.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: If – like me – you don’t own a food processor then you can either add everything to a smoothie maker to mix, you can crush it all in a pestle & mortar, or you can just pop everything in a bowl and try to mash together using a fork.

8.     Next, slice each ciabatta as you would a loaf of bread. Lay the slices flat on a baking try and drizzle with olive oil. Carefully transport the tray into the oven for 5 minutes or so, to toast the bread.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: If you remember, turn the ciabatta over half way through toasting. You’re aiming for both sides to be nicely toasted with no burning smell filling the kitchen.

9.     While your ciabatta slices toast, peel the remaining 2 garlic cloves and cut them each in half. Slice the tomatoes in half then grate (using your largest grater) into a bowl.

10.  Returning to your risotto pan, once all the stock has absorbed and your rice is cooked, then you can stir the pesto through the risotto. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed. Once you’re happy, remove from the heat and turn your hob off.

11.  When your ciabatta slices are nicely toasted, safely remove them from the oven and turn the oven off. Rub some garlic on each one and spread with grated tomato, then season with salt and pepper – this is your Pan Con Tomate.

12.  Spoon your risotto evenly between two bowls and grate the Italian hard cheese over the top to garnish. Serve your risotto with Pan Con Tomate on the side – time to tuck in to your tasty, warm tea.

Check it out! What a wonderful bowlful of food

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In the words of Gousto…

“The base for this risotto is a pesto made from 3 seed mix, parsley and basil. It forms a soothing fragrant rice dish, accompanied by ‘pan con tomate’, which is a Spanish tapas side and translates to ‘bread with tomato’, just in case you were wondering. Italian and Spanish…. we think it works, just don’t tell either!”

And that’s all there is to it, readers! What do you think? Is this a recipe you’d take on? Because you don’t have to give up too many minutes of your weekend – this recipe is cookable and eatable in under an hour – and you’ve only a couple of tricky ingredients to source from a supermarket of the bigger kind (I’m thinking Shaoxing wine and arborio rice).

So, it’s a doddle really! A fun recipe to keep you occupied and enjoying your time in the kitchen. And then some super tasty food to enjoy for your tea after all that hard work – what’s not to like? I always feel fancy eating a risotto at home and there’s a definite moment of pride spooning it out of the pan when I’ve taken care to stir, and it’s not cemented to the bottom!

Readers, whether or not your weekend features green risotto, I do hope you have a splendid time and soak up some of the autumn scenery outside. And if you try this recipe – lemme know how it goes. Best of luck cheffing!

Toast safely,

Hayley

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An informative footer

I’d like to note, the above is part of a series of posts that I’m currently having fun writing, while undertaking a fresh start with food. Food bloggers can’t admit they got bored with food, you say? Well, I beg to differ! In August 2017, I made two wonderful decisions; I signed up for Gousto – a food delivery company who send recipes and ingredients in the post – and I began a health & wellness program to transform my food habits, with Rachel of re:Wellbeing. In this blog post, and others like it, I share one of the wonderful recipe that I’m taking on, and an idea that I’m exploring as part of this fresh start.

If you would like to find out more about Gousto, please visit https://www.gousto.co.uk/

(I have a sneaky discount code! If you’re new to Gousto, then click HERE for 50% off your first 2 boxes and I’ll get a discount too for referring you… so errrrybody wins)

And, if you would like to learn more about re:Wellbeing, then visit https://www.rewellbeing.com/