Tuesday, 31 March 2020

RECIPE: Chipotle & Nut Butter Hummus


I love hummus, I really do. The annoying thing though is that I just don't like shop bought hummus. It find it just too acidy. Maybe it's the preservatives of the fact it's just made in a factory, but I'm just not a fan. 

Hummus for me is smooth, creamy and rich. Like the type you get in a traditional middle eastern restaurant. So because of this, over the years I have played with many a recipe at home. Some really successful, others sadly not. This one today however was delicious!

I decided I wanted to make hummus, so opened my pantry only to find I didn't have any tahini - and after searching on Amazon, it was 'on offer' for £18 for two jars! Erm... no, I think not! 

Lockdown has made me play with some recipes without a doubt and so here is my chipotle and nut butter hummus!

WHAT YOU NEED

  • 1 can of chickpeas drained
  • 2 tbsp garlic oil (or Extra Virgin Olive oil and 1/2 a minced garlic clove)
  • 1-2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Good grinding of salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsps almond butter
  • 1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • 2 tbsp greek yoghurt (optional)
  • Chipotle paste (if you don't have this, you can leave it out and just have plain hummus)
  • Pinch of Z'atar to garnish
  • Ice water
METHOD

Chickpea topping
  • Mix together a couple of spoonfuls of chickpeas with a drizzle of chilli oil and a little chipotle paste in a small bowl.
  • Place in an air fryer to roast for 10 minutes or fry in a small frying pan until they are golden
Hummus
  • In a food processor add the chickpeas, garlic oil, lemon juice, almond butter, peanut butter and chipotle paste and blitz for a few seconds until combined.
  • Add the yoghurt and blitz again for another few seconds.
  • I like my hummus super creamy and smooth, so with the motor running, I like to add 1-2 tbsps of ice water down the funnel to get it to the right consistency. You decide how smooth you like it though.
  • Taste for seasoning and add anything extra you feel you might need i.e. more lemon, more salt etc
  • Serve in a bowl with chickpeas on top, a sprinkle of z'atar and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
  • Enjoy with some crackers or with your dinner.
I hope you found this useful,

Thanks so much for reading,

Em x
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Thursday, 26 March 2020

RECIPE: Super Quick Pesto Pasta Dish



Well as most of us have a store cupboard full of pasta, I thought it might be a good idea to post a pasta recipe (or two or three!).


This is a dish I make quite regular at home when I've come home late, want some kind of beige food and don't have a lot of time to cook. It's pretty much all store cupboard and if I don't have any veggies in at all, I just use frozen peas and it still tastes great.



WHAT YOU NEED
  • 1 cup pasta (per person)
  • 1-2 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • pinch of sugar
  • handful of fresh basil
  • salt & pepper
  • balsamic glaze and parmesan cheese to garnish
  • Selection of vegetables - here I have used chestnut mushrooms and courgettes
METHOD
  • Start off by boiling your pasta according to packet instructions
  • Chop up your veggies and fry them in a little garlic oil
  • Whilst the veggies and pasta are cooking, get making the dressing. In a pestle & mortar (or mini food processor) add 2 tbsps of garlic oil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of sugar, salt & pepper and a large handful of fresh basil. Blitz until all the ingredients are blended
  • Drain the pasta when it's cooked and then add your cooked veggies, basil dressing and a good grating of parmesan cheese to the pasta pan.
  • Stir together to combine and then serve with an extra grating of cheese, a drizzle of balsamic glaze and a sprinkle of fresh basil.
This is just super quick, comfort food for when you're needing a quick fix of pasta.

I hope you enjoy,

Stay safe guys,


Em x
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Wednesday, 25 March 2020

How To Make The Perfect Matcha Latte



With all this working from home, it can be hard to stay motivated and sometimes coffee can be the only thing to keep your mind focused.

We all know though that coffee isn't the best thing to be drinking a lot of, plus you might get the high, but you also get the massive slump not long after.

Matcha is great, it's bursting with antioxidants and also has a high caffeine content. It gives you a slow release of energy and then you don't have that horrible slump afterwards. I wouldn't recommend having a lot of these each day, but one or two a day is a great way to up your antioxidant levels.

It's super easy to make, but there is definitely a technique to it (nobody wants a lumpy matcha latte - I am that arse who will send it back!)

It's super simple...

- measure it out
- sieve it in
- make a paste with hot water
- whisk it up
- add your hot milk

If you don't sieve it and whisk it, you will end up with lumps. We don't want that!

WHAT YOU NEED (per serving)
  • 1gram matcha powder
  • 1 tsp inulin powder (optional but a great prebiotic to add to hot drinks)
  • water from a recently boiled kettle - not boiled
  • 250ml hot oat milk (or any milk of your choice) - I use a milk frother for this but you can use a sauce pan or microwave
METHOD


I would always recommend warming your cup first with hot water, then put your cup onto the scales with your sieve/tea strainer on top and zero your scales. Weigh out 1 gram of matcha and then add your inulin powder on top and sieve into the cup. You can also buy special spoons that have the perfect measure of matcha. I am that person who has one :o)


Add a splash of water to the powders and then whisk it up with either a matcha whisk or (my favourite) a milk frother whisk. I tend not to add sweetener, but you can add it at this point if you wish.


Whisk until there are no lumps left and its a bit frothy.


Then it's time to add your hot milk...



Pour your hot milk in to the top and if there's any space left, you can always top this up with hot water from the kettle. 


It should then look a little something like this! So sit back, relax and get your matcha on!

I hope you found this helpful,

Stay safe guys,

Em xx
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Tuesday, 24 March 2020

Mushroom & Courgette Barley Risotto

Ok, there are going to be some random recipes coming up over the next few weeks! I've got lots of random grains and store cupboard items that need to be used and although I love recipe testing, this amount of isolation might take it to a whole other level!


I came across this idea from the goddess herself, Nigella Lawson. I know she has done a risotto recipe with barley and so I thought I'd create one too.

I will also admit that this is not by ANY means a traditional recipe. I mean, I've done a lot of 'globe trotting' around my pantry using things like teriyaki sauce and sweet chilli (definitely not an Italian staple!) but it gives it that depth that I struggle to find - plus I don't have any dried porcini mushrooms which would probably work perfectly here. Hey, I'm in quarantine.... porcini mushrooms are not at the top of my shopping list! ha ha!

Barley is super chewy and has more texture than risotto. I'm not usually a fan of normal rice risotto as I find it a bit 'sloppy' and kind of like mush, so this one works perfectly.



WHAT YOU NEED
  • 1 tbsp garlic oil
  • 1 tsp chilli oil
  • handful of chestnut mushrooms quartered
  • 2 courgettes sliced in oval discs
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 1 onion finely chopped (I tend to use frozen, chopped onion for ease)
  • 750ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 tbsp oyster sauce 
  • 1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 1 tbsp teriyaki sauce
  • 1 tbsp dried mixed herbs
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • 1-2 tbsp truffle oil
  • grated parmesan to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley and dried chilli flakes to garnish
METHOD
  • In a shallow cast iron fry pan (with a lid), add a little garlic oil and then add the courgette slices. Cook for a few minutes until golden on one side and then flip them over and cook on the other side.
  • Once they are cooked, put them on a plate to one side and then add the mushrooms to the pan and cook until golden. Then add to one side with the courgettes.
  • Add the garlic and chilli oil to the pan and before you put on the heat add the minced garlic.
  • Turn on the heat and then add the onions when the oil begins to warm. You don't want to burn the garlic or onions, just allow them to warm and soften. Add a pinch of salt to stop them burning. Once they are translucent, add the mushrooms back to the pan and cook for another minute or so.
  • In a separate pan, add the stock, oyster sauce, sweet chilli, teriyaki sauce and mixed herbs. Bring to the boil.
  • To the cast iron pan, add the barley and fry for another minute or so to absorb some of the oil from the pan and then add the hot stock.
  • Stir it altogether, clamp on a lid and cook for around 30 minutes until the barley has softened. Stir it every 5 mins once the water starts to absorb to stop it from sticking to the bottom and once the barley is cooked, add the peas and courgettes and stir well. If the barley is still hard and has absorbed the water, just add a splash of hot water at a time until it's tender.
  • When the peas are cooked, take the pan off the heat and stir through a drizzle of truffle oil, a good grating of parmesan and sprinkle with some chopped parsley and dried chilli flakes.
I like to serve this with some greens such as wilted spinach, but you serve with whatever your heart desires!

I hope you enjoy making this like I did. This is proper comfort food!

Hope you're all staying safe!

Lotsa love,


Em x





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Sunday, 22 March 2020

RECIPE: Super Quick Miso Soup Noodles with Gyoza

When I am in a rush or am just really, really hungry, this is what I eat. I can make it in less than 5 minutes (not including kettle boiling time mind!) and it tastes so so good. 



This to me is comfort food at it's finest...

I like to use pre-made gyozas mainly for quickness, but also because I really love these ones. I use the frozen vegetable gyozas from Itsu and also their instant miso soup paste. This makes the whole thing super super quick!

Serves just one, but just double it to make for two and so on...

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • 1 tbsp liquid vegetable stock or half a stock cube
  • 1 portion egg noodles (or whatever noodles you prefer)
  • 3 or 4 vegetable gyozas (I like the frozen Itsu ones)
  • 1 sachet of instant Miso soup paste (I like the Itsu one)
  • Boiled water
  • Chilli oil and chopped coriander to serve
METHOD:
  • Using a small saucepan, add around 500ml of water and bring to the boil.
  • Add in your vegetable stock and your gyozas.
  • After one or two minutes, add in your noodles (they usually only take around 2-3 minutes to cook but check the packet instructions and cook accordingly)
  • In your serving bowl, add your miso paste and take around one ladle of vegetable stock and add to the bowl to 'loosen' the paste.
  • When all is cooked, add another ladle of stock to your bowl, followed by the noodles and then the gyozas on top.
  • Sprinkle with some chilli oil and chopped coriander to serve
This is so comforting and also really filling too.

I hope you are all staying safe,

Em x
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Saturday, 21 March 2020

The Tea I'm Drinking Right Now

I try and drink as much water as I can throughout the day to help with my skin and also just general health overall.
However, in light of the current climate, I've decided to up the ante a little with this immune boosting tea. Now, I'm not making any claims that this can cure the common cold or beat the flu, but it's a nice way to drink water with some added benefits.


I still love my morning skin and immune booster, but this is an added extra to top me up throughout the day.

Here's the thinking behind it...

PARSLEY - high in antioxidants and acts as a diuretic to help remove toxins and heavy metals out of the body.
MINT - also high in antioxidants and can boost the digestion (keep that gut happy) and freshen breath.
GINGER - anti-inflammatory and warming. Good for cold and flu symptoms
LEMON - high in vitamin C

Now you can serve this hot or cold and just top it up throughout the day if you wish.
This isn't really a recipe as such, but it's how I make mine for one small teapot



WHAT YOU NEED
- handful of fresh parsley
- handful of fresh mint
- large slice of fresh ginger
- 1 to 2 slices of fresh lemon
- boiled water

METHOD
Combine all the ingredients together in a teapot/jug and allow to steep for 5 minutes or so.

I hope this adds something a little different to your regular water. We need to keep hydrated at the moment to keep our bodies as healthy as possible.

Hope you're all well and staying safe,

Emmaline x
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Sunday, 8 March 2020

Restaurant Review; Eating Out at The Bull & Bear by Tom Kerridge in Manchester


THE BULL & BEAR - MANCHESTER

Well I finally made it to Bull and Bear and I was so so looking forwards to it!

Ok, so I don't want to make this a really long post so I will make it straight to the point if I can.

The restaurant is beautiful, the Stock Exchange is rather cool too. I was actually taken back a little when I walked in it was so stunning... but... what's with the TV's everywhere?
So as I was sat eating my lunch, there are two football matches going on over the space of seven televisions! Wait.. what?

I get it, the hotel is owned by ex footballers and so they must have a 'theme' running throughout, but it just killed the vibe a bit. It was rather distracting to be honest... especially to my husband (insert eye roll here!)




I mean... stunning though right?

Anyways, let's get down to the food... when it finally came (the food was pretty slow but apparently I'm not the first to say that)


Check out the full Bull & Bear menu here

So this is one of Tom Kerridge's restaurants (who I'm a really big fan of) so I was really excited. It's got quite a nice menu with lots of small plates to choose from. 

We decided to go for the fish and veggie options as always, but there's quite a lot of meat on the menu for you meat fans.


28-hour Sourdough with West Country Farmhouse Butter


Rotisserie Beetroot Salad with Feta and Hazelnut Dressing


Our mains with sides of buttered hispi cabbage and Rotisserie Celeriac with Winter Truffle.


Cheese, Potato and Onion Pie with Braised Leeks and Parmesan Veloute


Spiced Cornish Monkfish, P.S.B, Moilee Sauce, Pine Nut & Caper Dressing


The B&B Profiteroles with Soured Vanilla Cream and Chocolate Sauce


Ok, so overall the food was rather nice. We always tend to share our food so we can try lots of flavours (I think it's the Asian in us!). I would say though, I'm glad we did. The portion sizes were intentionally quite small (even the bigger ones), but I don't think I could have eaten a whole portion of anything. 

The bread was really good and so was the beetroot salad. The sides were great too, especially the roasted celeriac, that was delicious!

The mains were also nice but really, really salty. I mean salty I guess in a good way if you like that, but my tongue started to burn a bit by the end of the meal.

The monkfish was cooked perfectly and the pie was super crispy. I mean, it was all cooked to perfection - and I wouldn't expect any less either really.

Then came dessert which I was too full to eat. However, I did mange to squeeze in one profiterole which wasn't thick and chewy but actually really light and crispy. The chocolate sauce though was TO DIE FOR!

Overall, would I go back? Well maybe.

We didn't have any drinks, just sparkling water and the bill came to around £77. Not too bad, but I think for the price and the food, I would prefer to go back to Six by Nico instead. The tv's just killed it for me a bit which was disappointing but the food was quite good so maybe I would.

So that's it really. Have you been? Did you enjoy? Let me know in the comments below.

Thanks so much for reading,


Em x
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Sunday, 1 March 2020

Simple Home Cooking Recipes and Eating Out at Honest Crust, Fazenda and San Carlo

Hello, welcome to this week's blog! How was your week? In a food sense, I hate to say but mine has been pretty uneventful. I've been working a lot and travelling and so there's not a whole lot to report on. However, I did make the most amazing cookies which are pretty cool. I will link the recipe below for you.

Let's get into it...


SAN CARLO GRAN CAFE - Selfridges Exchange Manchester
Brownie (normally comes with a scoop of ice cream)

Eating out wise there's not been too much going on. I did however manage to get this lovely looking brownie in from San Carlo in Selfridges - unfortunately it was only just lovely looking, didn't taste of much :( and I also picked up some rose macaroons from Laduree which were heavenly!


FAZENDA - Spinningfields

I also had a rather large plate of salad from Fazenda too which I must say does have one of the best salad bars. Probably not the best meal for somebody who doesn't eat meat, but even so, I bloody love that restaurant!

For those of you who don't know, Fazenda is a restaurant designed for hardcore meat lovers. They come around with skewers of meat and then shave it off onto your plate. Back when I used to eat meat, I loved this place. In fact, I don't think I took advantage of it enough! They do also have fish dishes and some veggie options, but they are pretty limited though.


HONEST CRUST - Alty Market
(left): Margherita pizza, (right) Portabello Mushroom Pizza

I also braved the storm and headed out to Alty Market. These are possibly my all time favourite pizzas ever. The sourdough is light as a feather and the toppings are just so fresh. I don't need to tell you that though because I'm sure you've already been!


Homemade sweet potato, onion and pepper soup

I'm still obsessed with my soup maker. This is such a tasty lunch for work and it's super quick and easy. Bung all the veggies in the pot, add your water and spices, stock etc and then smooth or chunky, then, as if by magic, soup is made within 20 minutes!

I use the small soup maker and it cooks about two large bowls of soup. I also use the sweet potato and  pepper mix from M & S a lot as it's really tasty and quick.


I'm also still loving making these super quick salads. This week I made one with a salad bag, garlic and chilli prawns and also a giant cous cous salad all from M & S and then mixed it together with a little extra virgin olive oil and added some black pepper and seeds. This is a great way to make a quick salad that is also really filling.


Homemade veggie lasagne with lentils

I do love lasagne and when I stopped eating meat I really didn't know how I could create something so tasty without beef. I'm really not a fan of Quorn and so decided to try it with puy lentils instead and I've done it this way ever since.

My recipe is a bit random for this because i just make it up as I go along and then make the b├ęchamel sauce in the Thermomix. If you wanted, you could just use pre-made pasta sauces, just make sure you have enough water in the pan for the lentils to absorb. They take around 20-30 minutes to cook so be prepared as they take much longer than mince, but it's pretty worth it.



Giant Nut Butter and Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy and gluten free)

These cookies are pretty epic. They don't have to be gluten and dairy free if you don't want though, you do you! If you want the recipe, you can find it here


Finally, I just thought I'd share this gorgeous travel mug I bought this week from Paperchase. I did post it on my story, but just incase you didn't catch it, how pretty is it??

Anyways, I better get back to doing some 'real' work instead of tapping away here!

Thanks so much for reading and have a great week,


Em x



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