Friday, 15 April 2011

Come On Over!

Hey guys,

I've had a lot of trouble getting into this blog for the past couple of weeks (locked out - grrrr).

But whilst that happened - I managed to get another blog up and running!

It's exactly the same as this (with all previous content now exported over) but I managed to secure so I decided to haul it over there to keep titles simple!

The link will direct to here for the next couple of days - and then off to my new blog.

I'd love it if you'd come and join me :)

Jenni xx

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

A Colourful Spring Salad

The thing I’m liking the most about my new diet is how bright and colourful the inside of my fridge looks. It’s full of greens and purples, yellows and oranges, reds and even more greens. And I like knowing that every bit of that food is going to be eaten. Nothing will go to waste. Because my veg is carefully chosen to go well with both lunches and dinners.

I love raw veg in a salad. A crunchy carrot, and sugarsnap peas that I can’t help but snack on because it’s too hard not to. A new favourite of mine is red cabbage. I love the texture of raw red cabbage, and equally love the colour it brings to a dish.

On Saturday afternoon, I whipped up a salad with something of almost every colour in my fridge. Red cabbage, celery, radishes, apple (don't forget the apple) and carrot, topped with toasted nuts and seeds and dressed in olive oil, lemon and a dash of honey. There was a lot. So much, in fact, that I couldn’t eat a plate of it, but I had a lot of fun in trying.

There is something so satisfying seeing a plate of colours. Particularly when you know that a variety of colours means that it’s very healthy indeed. I can think of nothing worse than a plate of beige food.

It’s deliciously crunchy and full of flavour. I imagine it would be an excellent addition to a summer barbeque – a sort of coleslaw without the mayonnaise.

I’m on the lookout for super healthy and delicious salads that I can take to work. If you know of any, please let me know!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Roasted Butternut Squash & Rocket Salad

I think the thing I'm finding most interesting with my new diet is that for the first time, I'm actively looking in the fridge to see what I can whip up with what is in there.

Since my weekend away, I haven't been shopping and usually that means I end up picking something up from the supermarket on the way home. But that's not really an option now, as they don't have anything I can eat - so it's off to the fridge to find something interesting.

I had a butternut squash and some spinach, rocket & watercress salad leftover from last night's pancake day feast. A quick google and I found some recipes that looked good. Although I didn't have the feta cheese, nor the puy lentils that some asked for (which made me think that I needed to get some in for back-up), I got to work roasting the squash with some chili flakes.

I made a dressing with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, honey and tamari. I didn't measure - just threw it in to taste. Then lightly toasted some pine nuts and seeds that I had in the cupboard, chopped up some spring onions and popped it all on a plate.

The result was a beautifully light dish. Perfect for me, though Matt did say he needed a bit more to fill him up. We came to the conclusion that next time I made it, he could have a steak on the side. Which is fine by me because even though I do love the taste of a good steak, the thought of one sitting heavily inside me really doesn't fill me with pleasure at the moment.

I will definitely be making this again. Especially for lunch. Mmmmm.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free Pancakes!

Pancake Day. Possibly one of my favourite evenings as a child. Our kitchen table would be full to the brim with jacket potatoes and salad, and my mother would stand by the cooker, handing out pancakes as soon as they had cooked. We’d start with galettes filled with ham, cheese & tomato, and chicken in a white sauce.

Then once we’d eaten about 3 of those each, we’d start on the sweet pancakes. The potatoes and salad would be switched with mountains of sweet treats. Lemon and sugar, toffee sauce, maple syrup, jam, chocolate spread, bananas and ice cream. We’d have to have at least one pancake of each and I vividly remember my brother filling a pancake with huge amounts of chocolate ice cream, pouring out at the sides.

I love traditions like this. Traditions that bring back fond memories and ones which we try to re-create as we get older.

Last year, I held a pancake day party. But it failed miserably because other people aren’t fun. All the girls bailed on me, and all the boys arrived late – having already eaten. Great. This year I wanted it to be just me and Matt having fun in the kitchen. But he got distracted by a film on TV and it wasn’t really as ‘fun’ as I’d have hoped. Instead, I get told that he doesn’t really like savoury pancakes. Why didn’t I know this before I got all the stuff?!

But food wise – the pancakes were a success. This was my first time making them with soya milk and the first time using gluten-free flour. And they were a hit! The sweet pancakes took on a yellow tinge thanks to the milk, but they tasted great. I wasn’t too sure about the ‘cheese’ I bought – but it was alright enough. The Vegan hazelnut chocolate spread was gorgeous, and the dairy free ice cream was incredibly tasty. I moved away from traditional lemon and sugar, and delve into a plate of banana, raspberries and ice-cream.

Despite my shockingly poor effort to plan for this year’s pancake day (instead of having a trial run to make sure I could actually make them properly) they were a success! Proof to me that I don’t need dairy and normal flour to make good pancakes. My next task is now to adapt Nigella’s pancake mix so I can always have some in a container ready to whip up at a moment’s notice on a Sunday morning. Pancake’s aren’t just for one day of the year – we all need a treat every now and again!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Katie's Hen Party

At 24, I have only now began the stage in my life where Hen Parties will be frequent. In just a few weeks, 3 couples I know have got engaged, and 2 others will be married this year. This weekend I attended my first Hen Party – and I had a fantastic time.

Fizz on arrival, a Cocktail Making Class, vodka punch and even more fizz, then a night out on the tiles for some dancing. Can you see the day revolves around what we drank?? We drank… a lot. But I stopped drinking at 8.30pm when we actually ventured out into the City so by the time we got home I had sobered up a remarkable amount and had spent a grand total of £5.10. Brilliant.

The party was hosted by on girl in particular, but the rest of us all chipped in. We all paid £20 for the cocktail-making class, and each provided either a selection of food, drink, decorations etc. I provided music – which was awesome as it was simply a matter of putting fun music on an iPod. I got that because I was already spending a bit to actually travel the 300 miles back north for this party – so if you’re attending something where you’re all chipping in as well as travelling - it's worth mentioning it to the host to see if they can be nice and give you something purse-friendly to chip in with!

Katie looked very happy with her Cosmopolitan in hand.

The party got behind the bar for a celebratory pose!

And showing our drunken state, Mandy thought it would be funny to shove her hand in my face when taking a nice photo.

As for food while I was there? While they were tucking into pizza, I made Alicia Silverstone's Vegan Nachos and Bean dip with Guacamole. It went down a storm and others were tucking in, too! (though I didn't tell them it was vegan & gluten free - these Northern birds would scoff at me!) The morning after we all headed off to a pub in search of some breakfast. The rest of the gang tucked into a full English breakfast. Me? I went with a fruit salad and orange juice. And I can tell you that I felt better than the lot of them for it!
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