Friday, 30 January 2015

New collage!

Today I mashed together a selection of aptly worded photos, ones that I've been liking on Instagram lately. Some are very wise, others funny, and a lot are just rather ME . . .



Time taken: 40 minutes
Ingredients: Half a cup of brown pasta, half a bag of spinach leaves, a couple of mushrooms, oil, maybe a third of a jar of green pesto, and an egg.
Hi readers,
‘Tis me! The one and only ChefBeHere, brimming with Friday cheer and offering you all a super new dinner/tea/whatever recipe to try out! It’s my very own invention, this one.

First, I want to say well done for making it through the week everyone. This is a terrific achievement, especially in January, and you should all be very proud of yourselves. You may not have climbed Everest (or maybe you did!) but making it through 5 working days is more than a lot of people manage. So feel good about yourself.
I myself am PHYSICALLY still not really well. I did a downward dog earlier and the pressure in my head was not funny. It was off the scale. I’m full of cold! However, MENTALLY I’m good. Today, I received a wonderful compliment about an essay from a lecturer. I’ve been productive with my work. And I got Starbucks.
Plus, my friend is here to visit from Birmingham! Hurray! This is one of my bestest gals, Miss Bitty, and we’re off to a swanky restaurant for wining and dining tonight, along with my flatmate Dr Davies. Newcastle, you have been warned.
So, there’s no ChefBeHere-ing going on tonight. I intend to take hold of a menu and order every veggie option they have going. Butttt I was cooking up a storm earlier this week and I haven’t told you yet… about my beautiful creation!

I was inspired by the
Spanish Baked Eggs that Floss produced for me last weekend and, in the spirit of baking eggs on top of things, I decided to crack one on my pasta! Luckily, this worked like a charm.
Here is how you go about producing your Pasta-al-Egg, in just ten easy steps…

1.       Heat your oven to 200˚C.

2.       Boil the kettle and chuck your pasta into a small saucepan.

3.       Add hot water to cover the pasta, stick a lid on your pan and leave the pasta to boil for quarter of an hour. Take five minutes to yourself. Grab a cuppa, maybe?

4.       Then chop up your mushrooms into quarters.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: I was cooking with chestnut mushrooms rather than white ones. These taste reeeally flavoursome. More mushroomy than normal. If you haven’t tried them already then you definitely should do. You won’t go back.

5.       Heat your oil in a frying pan and chuck in your mushrooms.

6.       Let them brown for a few minutes, then add your spinach.

7.       While the spinach wilts, remove your pasta from the heat and drain into a colander.

8.       Add your pasta and pesto to the frying pan. Stir it all up!

9.       Then spoon everything into a small ovenproof dish and crack an egg right in the middle, in top of your pasta.

10.   Season with salt and pepper, then safely transport the dish into the oven to bake for about quarter of an hour, until the egg is firm. Then you can tuck in!

ChefBeHere Top Tip: As soon as your egg seems done you can take the dish out of the oven. You don’t want to leave it in their too long or the pasta might turn crunchy on top, I reckon.

And you just made… Pasta-al-Egg!

This really is a lovely, hearty and WARMING dishful of grub. The pasta itself is quite plain, as there aren’t any fancy vegetables involved, but then the egg jazzes it up and adds a really great extra flavour to the dish. This is a very good idea for people who normally grate cheese over pasta maybe (all raise your hands!) as a low- fat alternative topping for your pasta.

And, if you like eggs, then this tastes pretty decent I must say! The egg goes hard as if it’s been boiled, and I enjoyed it alongside flavours like pesto. This recipe sort of proves that as a student you can make something out of the ordinary for yourself with really simple and cheap ingredients, and without slaving in the kitchen or dedicating loads of time to it, if you just stop being ordinary.

You flatmates might be like WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?! But then they’ll calm down. And you can have a jolly weekend together. I hope that you do!

Egg it up safely,


Wednesday, 28 January 2015


Raw, vegan, eat clean, energy-packed, superfood titans...
Bliss Balls

Time taken: Half an hour
Ingredients: 1 cup of dates, ½ a cup of almonds, ½ a cup of hazelnuts, & 2 tablespoons each of chia seeds, ground flax seed, cacao powder & coconut oil. (Optional extras... desiccated coconut & goji berries).

Hi readers,

Life. How IS life today? How are things going for you?? It’s mid-week right now, so take a minute to think… How is this week going? Where is it heading? Evaluate your week. I hope things are looking tip top!

Today in Newcastle… January is ploughing on and we’ve had a day of wild, wild weather! Really, it thundered with rain, then there were raging winds, a brief snow storm, some beautiful clear skies, more flurries of snow… it’s madness!

As a result, I think everyone has made the decision to stay inside today, as much as is possible. I certainly have. Plus, everyone in North America is holed up still to hide away from the Juno Blizzard. And if all they’re doing across the pond is tweeting and berating weather forecasters… then I’m not stepping outside to jog.

So, instead, today I channelled my energies into some serious KITCHEN CREATIVITY. I got excited online the other day after I happened upon a blog called Deliciously Ella. This was recommended to me by my Mother Bear’s hubbie, Mr Mash. He said this blog was full of very ‘me’ (read, healthy) recipes, so I rushed to check it out… and it is! I love this blog! So many colourful photos and interesting ideas for things to try out in the kitchen. Check out Deliciously Ella HERE.

I was struck by one recipe that Ella makes for superfood snacks, to munch on during the day when you’re busy. This is exactly what I need right now for energy when I’m working in the library. I’ve drunk so much coffee that it’s increasingly just leaving me feeling dazed.

Instead of being caffeinated, this snacks are full of all-natural goodness. For a boost the right way! They're vegan, gluten-free and raw. Totally clean. Ella calls her creations ‘Ultimate Energy Bites’ but I’ve seen similar ideas online with the lovely name of… Bliss Balls. How cute??

I had to give them a go! So, I sacked the budget and invested in some exciting ‘cacao powder’. This is a  raw version of cocoa, I believe, which can be bought from health food shops like Holland & Barrett. It cost me a fiver. And, I’m such a squirrel, I realised that was the only ingredient I needed to buy for these! So, today, I had a cosy morning hiding from the weather, and set about making my first ever batch of Bliss Balls.

You should too! Here’s how to blend your way to bliss in five easy steps:

1. Scoop your tablespoons of coconut oil out of the tub, and melt in the microwave for a minute so that your oil turns from solid to liquid.

2. Chuck your almonds, hazelnuts, flax seed and chia seeds into a blender. Blend until a flour forms and the nuts have crumbled.

ChefBeHere Top Tip: I had to stop the blender to shake things up a few times, in order to make sure that all the nuts had been blended.

3. Add all your remaining ingredients and BLEND AGAIN. Within a minute, sticky dough should have formed.

4. Use your hands to rolls the sticky mixture into truffle-sized balls.

5. If you like, roll your bliss balls around in some desiccated coconut or goji berries, or both! These stick to your balls and give them a tasty coating.

And you should have yourself a delicious batch of bliss balls, like mine. :)

You store them in the fridge and eat them whenever. Probably at a rapid pace. What do you think? Don’t these look so impressive?! I think they’re wonderful! Once you have the crazy ingredients, these aren’t hard to make at all. In fact, they’re quite fun! You get messy fingers and it’s an explosion in the kitchen. An explosion OF FUN.

And these taste… unbelievable. I don’t use protein powder, so I switched that out of Ella’s recipe in favour of extra cacao – this was a superb decision. These Bliss Balls are stodgy, sweet, chocolatey, yummy, indulgent, lovely little snacks. Guilt-free chocolate truffles. They taste SO GOOD. Like heaven! They’re the best. The BOMB.

I can't decide if I like the Bliss Balls with the coconut or with the berries more. I will have to eat more before I decide.

And I've been saving up cute fro-yo pots when I finish with them. So I'm going to use these to store my Bliss Balls in, to take to the library with me. :)

I am a convert. I love Bliss Balls! I feel… blissful. Readers, if you have the will and the budget to go buy the ingredients for these, then you definitely should. No regrets, I promise. Do this for your health and your happiness. Go.

Feel bliss safely,


Monday, 26 January 2015


Hi readers,

In case you hadn’t noticed… there are some exciting changes to the blog!! Today I’ve been at home feeling quite poorly, but just about well enough to update ChefBeHere! There have been a couple of changes to the blog’s design and now there are new pages for you to take a look at. :)

To save you playing spot the difference, here is what’s different to yesterday…
ChefBeHere has a logo!
This has been in the making for a few weeks now. I turns out that I have a contact in the business, who knew! Jamie, an ex-coworker of mine and NOW an animation/video/motion graphics/online design extraordinaire (!!) was in touch over Christmas to offer his help with my blog, asking nothing in return. Such a lovely surprise! A CHRISTMAS MIRACLE.
And thanks to this turn of events, following some serious computer artistry, the blog now has a fabulous logo. Which I love. I hope that you do, too!
If you’re someone who happens to be in the market for a promotional video, a website intro, a logo (though, obviously, not as good as mine) ANYTHING OF THE KIND… this is your guy. Jamie has a portfolio that you can check out online here and you can get in touch with him at You should!
ChefBeHere has tunes!
Secondly, today have set up a YouTube account where I intend to throw together a bunch of music playlists. You might like to dance around your kitchen to these, while trying out some new recipes. :) Visit the new ‘Kitchen Tunes’ page on the blog to take a look.

ChefBeHere has wallpapers!
Plus, I’ve set up a Flickr account because sometimes I like to make collages of photos in my spare time, to use as wallpapers for my laptop. A lot of these involve food and baking. Now, you can scroll through these collages online if you like and maybe pick yourself out a laptop wallpaper. Sharing is caring! Visit the new ‘Collage Zone’ page on the blog to take a look.

Also, readers, today I baked Lemon Drizzle Muffins. Utter bliss. The recipe is on the blog for you to take a look at! Today has been a day of big changes and tasty muffins. Let me know want you think to all this newness.

And take care,


Lemon Drizzle Muffins

Time taken: An hour
Ingredients: 350g of self-raising flour, half a teaspoon of baking powder, a pinch of salt, 75g of light brown sugar, a lemon, 75g of butter, 2 eggs, 300ml of milk and 75g of icing sugar.
Hi readers,
We’ve made it through another Monday! Hurray!! Every week, I feel that this shouldn’t be taken for granted. I would like to know if more people die on Mondays than on other days of the week. It can’t be just me that feels like this could actually be true?? Mondays are tough going!
Today, I’ve had a rubbish one. There’s a mystery illness brewing within and it’s threatening to take me down. Symptoms: dry throat, feeling hot/cold and I have a bit of a headache. Nothing awful. But I sense a storm brewing. This definitely does not bode well.
But I’ve been proactive! I shuffled to the shop this morning for foods full of vitamins. Ate well. Then I holed up inside out of the cold and decided today was to be a restful day. I baked and invited Woody over with the promise of a muffin. He cheered me up!
As someone that panics when I’m not doing ten things at once, it’s good to speak to someone who takes a more relaxed approach to how to fill their days… this makes me feel ok about taking a day off uni work. Sort of.
And my muffins seem to have made lots of other people feel good! These are Lemon Drizzle Muffins and the recipe for them I found on the shift calendar at work this weekend, of all places. The calendar has a recipe for each month of the year, and this January at the airport we’re being urged to bake Lemon Drizzle Muffins. To which I say… alright!
Here’s how you go about baking your very own Lemon Drizzle Muffins. Of course, in ten easy steps…

1. Heat your oven to 200˚C.
2. Line a muffin tray with 12 muffin cases, and melt your butter in a small saucepan.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add your flour, baking powder, salt and sugar.
4. Grate the rind of your lemon into the bowl. And mix it all up!
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Don’t throw away your lemon! You need this later on.
5. Add your melted butter, eggs and milk to the bowl, then fold the mix together until it is smooth.
6. Spoon your mix evenly out into the muffin cases you’ve prepared and transport the tray safely into the oven, to bake for twenty minutes. 
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I filled my cases almost to the top and then some of my muffins rose so much that they overtopped their cases a little, while they baked in the oven. It was dramatic. When the muffins had baked, I had to chop off the overspill bits of muffin and feed them to my flatmates. To avoid this happening: only fill your cases until they’re about two-thirds full.
7. Take your muffins out of the oven when they're well-risen and golden brown.
8. Sift your icing sugar into a bowl and add the juice of your lemon.
9. Stir this briskly until you have a smooth, lemony mix.
10. Drizzle it over your muffins and serve them up!

Like these babies here
And, hey presto, you have before you a wonderful batch of muffins. These are your weapons with which to spread happiness! For you and your loved ones. These muffins are lemony gifts of love. They’re delicious!

So, I lost patience somewhat with my sieving and, as a result, the drizzle on my muffins is a little lumpy. Also, I don’t really know why, but my batch of muffins all seem to be very attached to their muffin cases. They don’t come out of them very easily! My flatmates have all been licking out their cases to get the last bits of muffin. And me too!

Does anyone out there know how to stop this from happening? It’s no real hardship having a muffin stuck to its case, of course, but you do end up with sticky fingers and crumbs on your nose!

If anyone has any suggestions for how to avoid this, please send them over. And do enjoy your muffins, everyone. Ready… set… BAKE!!!

Sift safely,

Sunday, 25 January 2015



Ingredients: 2 large potatoes, 1 small onion, 1 clove of garlic, half a green pepper, a can of chopped tomatoes, 2 eggs, 2 handfuls of black olives, oil, a dash of paprika, a sprinkle of freeze-dried chives, salt & pepper.
Time taken: Three quarters of an hour.

Hi readers,
At last… it’s Sunday. May we all be thankful today for the Day of Rest. I hope you have a superstar, all-out, ultimate chill kind of Sunday. Complete with a scented candle and a good book.

Like this (the scene from last night in bed)
So, in my last blog post, I advocated going to sky high with end-of-exams celebrations. Drinking irresponsibly and shaking your Beyonce? Well, I did it! Friday night here was THE BOMB.

The lovely ladies I live with… and a bouncer from Riverside :P
However, probably due to the champagne you can spot in this photo here, the early hours of Saturday morning got messy! We lost someone. I took an injury to the arm. My flatmate was ill. Everyone got cold. I burned myself making a hot water bottle.

So… the last part of the night was not really great. It’s like we could have drunk SLIGHTLY LESS and woken up in a better state. And be able to remember more of the night. But Y’KNOW.

I managed to dress myself but missed my Metro. Paid £13 (unlucky number) for a taxi to work. Endured 7 hours on my feet. Regretted having drunk so much.

HOWEVER I got home and showered. And walked all the way to the road over from mine. Literally, a thirty second epic journey. And Floss had cooked me tea. My belief in the universe was restored and my belly was full!

To cook up a storm like Floss, you should have a go at this recipe from the Veggie Nosh for Students cookbook. For veggie students this book is our Bible!
Here’s how to whip up a terrific tea in ten easy steps…
1. Heat your oven to 200˚C.
2. Prep your ingredients! Dice your potatoes, chop your pepper, cut your onion into wedges and chop up your clove of garlic.
3. Boil your kettle. Then pop your potato cubes into a saucepan and boil for about ten minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat your oil in a frying pan and cook your onion, garlic and green pepper for a few minutes.
5. Add your tomato, paprika, chives  and olives. Cook for a few more minutes.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: For the sake of your pan, keep giving things a prod so they don’t stick. There’s nothing worse than ending your meal scraping away at a charred pan. Especially when hungover.
6. Drain your potatoes and chuck them in the frying pan with your other stuff. Mix it up!
7. Spoon the contents of your pan into a greased casserole dish and make a couple of hollows for your eggs by prodding the surface of your grub using a spoon.
8. Crack an egg into each hollow and season your dish with salt & pepper.
9. Bake in the oven for quarter of an hour or until your eggs are cooked.
10. Serve it up! We ate ours with homemade chips and salad. ‘Twas a feast!
And this was our most amazing tea straight from the oven :)
How amazing it this??? No fancy ingredients and no difficult manoeuvres in the kitchen, but this looks like you’ve made something really proper and restaurant-standard! It’s healthy (full of veg!) and really warming and tasty. Our eggs went tough like a boiled egg, which worried Floss as she had anticipated runny eggs, but I thought it was excellent.
And I was just extremely thankful to have been cooked food. I was burned, bruised and tired after a day’s work. And STILL HUNGOVER. Without Floss, at best, I would have been attempting a brownie in a mug. More likely, I’d have had another bowl of cereal.

My superhero friend sent me home with survival tools
She SAVED THE DAY and I am eternally grateful
I think this dish could save your day! If you like eggs and veg and tomatoeyness then go for it!! Next time you fancy making something a bit different, or you’re just in the mood to chef it up in the kitchen and pose with numerous spatulas… then this is the recipe for you! Fill me in on how you get on with Spanish Baked Eggs. I wish you luck!

Spatula safely,