BLOG: Not Vegetarian?

I’ve been a vegetarian for about 6 years now and for the longest time I thought I had a handle on all things vegetarian and all things NOT vegetarian. 

Let me show you an example:

Vegetables = Vegetarian friendly 

Meat = Not vegetarian

Simple as a pimple, right? Right. Except for the fact that in the past year or so I’ve had a few bombshells dropped on me regarding food I deemed ‘safe’, which have then turned out to be… well, not so much! 

I look at labels as much as the next person (ok, ok, probably a little less because I’m lazy), but due to these aforementioned bombshells I’m now having to re-check a lot of things I thought we OK, just to be on the safe side. 

So! What am I harping on about? Well, here is the list of things I assumed were Veggie, but have turned out not to be. 

French Fancies (of the Mr Kipling variety)

Nutella (I know… heartbreaking… but it gets worse…)

Oreo’s (However, only in the Uk, the US ones are vegan)

Ferrero Rocher 

Apparently ANY Kinder chocolate (though I still have to look into this…)

some Tic Tacs (again…unsure and will be looking into it!)

Apparently most sweets that are RED!

 

So there you have it – I’m sure there are a million more, but they are some of the ones I’ve only recently been confronted by and shed a tear for. I mean… French Fancies and Nutella? Am I being punished? 

 

Let me know if you’ve found something you thought was fine but turned out not to be!

 

Until next time,

Sam

Recipe: Mint yoghurt

My last recipe had a suggested dollop of mint yoghurt, and yes, you can buy it ready made, but where’s the fun in that?

 

For an easy mint yoghurt I suggest getting some natural yoghurt (Yeo Valley is always good) and a sprig of fresh mint.

Diced up the leaves and stir into the yoghurt and voila! It really is that simple. Sure there are more complex recipes out there, but why do complex when you can do simple with maximum results?

 

Just a suggestion – let me know if you have any good mint yoghurt ideas!

 

Sam

RECIPE: Quinoa, red pepper & cucumber salad with avocado and lime

This is a great recipe to try if you’re entertaining friends, because it makes a lot of food and it’s easy to make, so you don’t have to spend hours in the kitchen. It’s also one of those ones where you can make it in advance – which is always great! 

Ingredients:

(serves 4-6, easily)

salt 

Not my photo – I didn’t take one of my meal, but I will do and replace this ASAP.

1 cup quinoa 

1 garlic clove

1 large shallot – finely diced

1 jalepinio , deseeded and finely sliced

2 limes, juiced

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

1 medium red pepper, diced

1 medium cucumber, diced

2 ripe avocados, sliced

Method:

Bring a large pan of water to the boil with a pinch of salt. 

Rinse your quinoa under cold water and then add to the pan – you’ll want to cook this until tender. How do you know when it’s ready? I still have trouble being able to tell, because the grain is so small, so I’d just say after 10-15 minutes you should be good to go!

drain the quinoa and spread it out onto a baking sheet to cool – this will help it dry out (you don’t want a soggy salad!) and also cool quite quickly. 

Whilst that’s cooling, take a pinch of salt and your garlic clove and pop into a bowl. If you have a pestle and mortar you can crush these together to make a grainy paste – if you don’t you can do what I do and just use the back of a table spoon to grind it together. 

Next, add this paste, the diced shallots, jalepino and lime juice into a small bowl – season with salt and pepper to taste, and stir. You’ll want to let this sit for about 10 minutes. This will be your dressing. After it’s rested add your table spoon of oil into the bowl and stir. It may not seem like a lot, but you can always add oil later, you can’t take it out if you put too much in!

Next, take your quinoa, the red peppers and cucumber and put them into your serving bowl (I like to use a large glass bowl so you can see it all) and stir in 3/4 of your dressing. You can season to taste again, depending on how salty/peppery you like it. 

When serving, pop your sliced avocado onto the plates, spoon out the quinoa salad and drizzle with the remaining dressing. If you feel you’d like more oil, add it, but I find that it’s not needed. 

This sounds like it will take a long time, but it really doesn’t. It’s all in the prep. 

Serve this with warmed pitta bread (yes, I love pitta!). 

I’d also suggest serving this with olives, humous, and mint yoghurt – it’s great food to pass around in a party and it’s really healthy. For someone who loves eating, I can say I was truly full from this meal, and there was plenty of left overs, even with 5 of us eating it. 

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Chunky Tomato salsa

This recipe goes hand in hand with the recent Falafel pitta bread burger recipe I posted. It called for a good tomato salsa, which you can buy… if you’re a big cheat! But if you want a challenge, why not try out the below:

Ingredients:

1 garlic clove – chopped very finely

1 small onion – diced very finely (or roughly chopped if you like onions and want to avoid the tears as much as possible!)

4-5 medium sized tomato’s – chopped up roughly

1 lime, juiced

1 tablespoon of chopped coriander

1/2 tsp chilli powder

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

Method:

MIX!

It’s that simple. The longer you leave it the tastier it should get, as it will marinate and mature etc. But don’t leave it too long, you don’t want someone else to get their paws on it!

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Falafel pitta bread burgers

I first saw this recipe when I was looking for things to add into my recipe board on Pinterest (see HERE if you’re interested). I’ve been looking for healthy meals to learn for a while – you can’t live on pasta alone (said someone, who obviously didn’t love the stuff as much as me), and so I popped this recipe into my ‘to make’ list – eager to give it a go. And today I did.

The recipe is pretty simple and it’s fast to make. It calls for tomato salsa – which you can purchase, but if you’re looking for more of a messy challenge I’m also going to post a recipe for a good salsa which I’ll link HERE when it’s done.

So here goes:

Ingredients:

(Serves 4 – or two hungry people!)

Image

400g canned chickpea’s  – rinsed, drained and patted dry.

1 garlic clove

1 handful of flat/curly parsley

1tsp ground cumin

1tsp ground corriander

1/2 tsp harissa paste or chilli powder

2tbsp plain flour

2tbsp sunflower oil (or whatever oil you like to cook with, I used rapeseed)

toasted pitta breads (brown if you’re trying to be healthier)

200g tomato salsa (purchased or homemade – see HERE)

Salad leaves of your choice

Method:

Dump the dried chickpea’s into a food processor – it’s pretty imperative you use a food processor, as you want to make a paste.

Add the garlic, parsley, spices and flour and salt. The recipe calls for a ‘little’ salt, but when I cooked this it really could have done with more, so I’d add half a teaspoon and then more to taste.

Blend until fairly smooth and then scoop out and shape into 4-6 patties, depending on how big you want them.

Heat up your oil in a non stick frying pan and add the burgers – they take about 3-5 minutes per side, depending on the heat of your pan/ oil, so keep an eye on them! Once they are golden brown on each side remove from heat.

Serve with toasted pitta’s, tomato salsa and salad – I threw some light mayo onto mine as well and it was delish!!

And that’s pretty much it – it seems like a lot of work, but it actually was super quick, and

Image

the outcome was a great looking meal with minimal effort.

As you can see here, they didn’t last long!

Give them a whirl – let me know what you think and if you have any suggestions on how to make them extra tasty!

BON APPÉTIT!

Sam

RECIPE: Summer Sauce

I’m sure I’m not the only person who loves a healthy dose of pasta, whether it’s summer or winter! I practically live off the stuff and so I’ve become very skilled in the sauce making department. I don’t use jar sauces due to the oils and sugars they are filled with, so here is a simple sauce you can use in the summer – the good news is, this sauce  doesn’t need to be cooked! (in this weather, slaving over a sauce is the last thing I need!)

Ingredients:

(Serves 2-3 people)

4-5 large tomatoes – chopped roughly

a handful of rocket leaves

a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil

a good slosh of your favourite balsamic vinegar (I use quite a lot, as it’s the majority of the sauce and I just LOVE it)

salt and pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of dried oregano

Method:

Mix it all together in a bowl!

It’s that simple. Of course, you can tweak to how you like it. If you want to crush some garlic or chilli and throw it in, go for it. I’m actually allergic to garlic (I think), so I’ve not put it in, but if you fancy it, do it!

The recipe’s I use are all from experimenting, so I’d encourage you to do the same – you don’t need to cook a sauce to make it tasty – throw this on some pasta, grate a little cheese and EAT!

bon appétit!

Sam

Welcome!

This may be the start of something great… but it might also be the start of something that no one wants to read… that’s right. Another food blog. But how does one choose from all the other food blogs out there? What makes MY taste in food and MY recipes so different from someone else’s? Why should you stick around?

All of these questions and we’ve only just begun – it’s kind of intimidating, yes, but hey! Wait! Let’s get to know each other before we make any judgements.

So, let’s settle those questions right here and now. Let me introduce myself. My name is Sam and I love food – just like you do… and everyone on this planet. Yes. I have a taste for food. Vegetarian food, yes, but also tasty, non-rabbit food, and very healthy vegetarian food. I’m trying to sell this to you, ok?

Food is something I work my days around. What’s for breakfast? When’s it time for my mid-morning snack? How soon can I eat my lunch without looking like a pig? You know, the usual stuff every girl goes through every single day. But I also have this love for cooking real food, not junk, but really god-damn tasty recipes that I collect, tweak, come up with when I have nothing else to do but look around on the internet at pictures of house interiors and amazing looking cakes.

So now you know about me, let’s address those questions.

But how does one choose from all the other food blogs out there? The great thing about the Internet is that you don’t have to pick just one. You can follow loads and feel the benefits of people’s creativeness without dedicating your life to just one outlet.

What makes MY taste in food and MY recipes so different from someone else’s? I really believe each person has their own take on what’s tasty, what’s easy and what’s healthy. I like to think that my taste is, without doubt, impeccable, but we all think that about what we like, don’t we? I mean, not everyone has the same love of pickles as I do. So my take on some recipes might just appeal to you too… you know. If you love pickles too! *

Why should you stick around? Well, you don’t have to, but it would be nice if you did. I’m going to post recipes, articles about food related stuff/ health, pictures of food and it’s all going to be vegetarian. But don’t let that put you off – just because there’s no meat, doesn’t mean it’s not sweet (yeah, check out my rhymes and puns… I’m a writer, what can I say?**). 

So there you have it. I’ve laid it all out on the table, pun intended, and now it’s up to you to decide. Stick around, say hi, tell me you love food and I’ll tell you I love food, and then bombard you with pictures of it.

Until next time,

Sam

*Don’t worry, pickles don’t actually feature in any of my recipes… yet!

**Say sorry, Sam. Just say sorry.