Sunday, 1 June 2014

Sorry for the HUGE delay!

Good evening!

I am currently on a train (first class, by the way! It was cheaper than a standard ticket for some reason) back to Carlisle after an amazing half-term at home. A few days ago I realised how long it's been since I posted anything to this blog, and I apologise for that! With placement and half term, I haven't had chance to make many interesting things, but even once a week I will try my best to make something worth posting.

Or, if I don't manage to do that, I might find a recipe online that grabs my attention and post it here, so I can still give you some inspiration. Whatever it is though, I will attempt to post more regularly.

Sorry again, and thanks for waiting!
Emily xx

Friday, 16 May 2014

Cheesy Potato and Sausage Casserole

Hello, and apologies for the long break between posts! The past two weeks have been so busy with placement preparation and the last few assignments of the year. But now I'm back with a brand new recipe for you! This will show you how to make cheesy potato and sausage casserole (with a few extra bits). There are slightly more ingredients in this than usual, but it's still cheap and easy!

What I used:

  • 2 medium-sized potatoes, peeled
  • 3 sausages
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 4 tbsp butter (I used Flora light)
  • 200 ml milk
  • Pinch of salt and pepper or herbs
  • A generous sprinkle of grated cheese
  • Cheese sauce (optional)
  • Sweetcorn (optional)

What I did:

  • Cut the potatoes and raw sausages into small chunks. It might be easier to use a serrated knife to do this, or a very sharp one (unlike mine. I've used it so much it's gone blunt.) 
  • Boil the potatoes on a medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. While the potatoes boil, heat some oil or frylight and fry the sausages until they just begin to turn brown. 
  • When the potatoes and the sausages are done, transfer them to a glass roasting dish. Gently toss them about to mix, add the flour, salt, pepper and butter and mix again. (The butter isn't absolutely essential.) At this point I added sweetcorn too.
  • Measure out the milk and pour into the bowl, making sure it forms an even layer. I don't particularly like milk so I was a bit worried about this bit, but once cooked it disappears and makes the casserole nice and creamy!
  • If you want to use cheese sauce to make the recipe extra creamy and cheesy, then make the sauce as normal and pour evenly over the top. I didn't use it on mine as I thought the milk would make it creamy enough for me!
  • Cover with foil and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes. After this, take out of the oven and remove the foil. Add the grated cheese, sprinkle with pepper or herbs and put back in the oven for an extra 5 minutes or so until the cheese has melted. 

So there you have it... an easy, creamy casserole for everyone! As with a lot of the recipes I post, this can be altered and experimented with according to your own tastes. You could add veggies such as onion, pepper, etc. Or try it with a different meat like fish, bacon or chicken. You could even swap the milk for stock (vegetable, beef, whatever takes your fancy) and see how that turns out! Have fun with it, make it your own and make sure to tell me how it works - I'd love to hear from you!

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Monday, 5 May 2014

Yoghurt-Coated Chicken Chunks

For as long as I can remember, chicken nuggets have been a massive part of my life. I have been, and always be, obsessed with them. But this time, instead of buying them from a shop, I decided to make my own! These yoghurt-coated chicken chunks are amazing with homemade chips, mash, roast potatoes... anything that takes your fancy. 

Looks like chicken from a takeaway... but a LOT healthier!!

What I used:
I forgot to measure out the ingredients, so they are very rough... I just used what I thought looked the right
amount, and added bits where I needed to!

  • 3 mini chicken breasts (3 was slightly too much, so I'd probably use 2 next time)
  • Paxo natural breadcrumbs
  • A sprinkle of mixed herbs and salt
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • Natural Greek-style yoghurt
  • A drizzle of Flora vegetable oil
  • Small amounts of margerine

What I did:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C and prepare the ingredients.
  2. Prepare a glass roasting dish with a drizzle of oil.
  3. Cut the chicken breasts into rough chunks.
  4. Pour enough yoghurt into a bowl to coat all of the chicken. Stir the yoghurt until it is smooth and creamy, then add in the lemon juice and stir. 
  5. Pour the breadcrumbs into a separate bowl. Add enough herbs and salt to taste.
  6. Pick up each piece of chicken, either with your fingers or with tongs, and coat it in yoghurt. Make sure all of it is covered, but make sure it's not drowned in it - just enough for the breadcrumbs to stick!
  7. Transfer the yoghurt-coated chicken into the bowl of breadcrumbs and roll it about to get it completely covered.
  8. Place the coated chicken into the glass roasting dish. Repeat until all the chicken is covered. 
  9. Cover the dish loosely with foil and put it in the oven for 20 minutes. Remove, turn the chicken over and cook for a further 20 minutes until golden brown and crispy. 
  10. Remove from the oven and serve! 

You could serve this chicken with a lot of different things to make the meal that you fancy... pasta and cheese or tomato sauce, mashed potatoes, roast potatoes... you could even make your own chips and make it feel like you're eating a healthier takeaway! There are so many options, so have fun with it and experiment to make the perfect meal for you!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Yoghurt & Honey-Drizzled Granola

Good afternoon! It's a warm and sunny day here, and I've been getting into the habit of trying to eat healthily again. For today's afternoon snack, I wanted to avoid the chocolate and go for something better. So I played around with a few ingredients, and concocted an amazing mix of vanilla yoghurt and honey-drizzled granola. It can be made for a snack, for breakfast or a dessert!

What I used: 

  • Fat-free vanilla yoghurt
  • Asda Hawaiian Crunch Cereal - oat clusters with banana chips, raisins, dried pineapple, coconut, papaya and sunflower seeds
  • Clear set honey
  • Lemon juice
  • Raisins

First, I poured some yoghurt into a bowl and drizzled about 2 teaspoons of lemon juice into it. Next time I make this, I would add more lemon juice because it didn't affect the taste of the yoghurt much. I then poured some granola onto the yoghurt and drizzled it with honey. I love raisins, so I sprinkled some extra ones onto the top. 

And that's it! It takes about 2 minutes to prepare, and is perfect for any time of the day.

I hope this gives you some ideas about how to eat a healthier snack or breakfast. And remember, you can experiment with the ingredients you like to make your own healthy snacks!


I've had a few ideas...

I have a question for you... I've had a few ideas about where to go with this blog, and new types of posts I can write to fill the gaps when I'm not cooking anything worth posting. I've been doing research on things like different types of food, healthy eating and lifestyle. So I thought about transferring this research to my blog to share it with you. These are my ideas...

  • Records of the food I eat, over a certain amount of days
  • Tips, e.g. how to save money on food shopping, how to make unhealthy food healthier, etc.
  • Health benefits of particular foods
  • Things that aren't necessarily all about cooking, but do involve the food you eat. For example, how to be happy and stay positive. 

These kinds of things are the posts I've read online myself, and really inspired me. All I want to do is inspire you in the same way. So, what do you think?

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Almost at 1000!

We're almost at the next milestone... 1000 page views! I am so pleased that this blog has taken off well, and that I've had this many views on just 15 posts!

It's so close to the 500 views milestone just a couple of weeks back, so thank you, and I hope you keep coming back for more!!

Emily xx

Monday, 28 April 2014

Pizza Wraps!

I discovered this a while ago and since then, I haven't stopped making them. The name is self-explanatory really... it's a pizza in a wrap! You can add anything you want into them, and eat them on their own or with a side (like chips) so they're perfect for any meal. Plus, they only take about 10 minutes to make!

What you need:
  • A wrap - I use large ones so I can fit everything onto it
  • Tomato puree
  • A sprinkling of cheese - depends on how much you like
  • Preferred fillings

Step 1: Chuck everything on!

Preheat the oven to about 200°C.

Lay the wrap on a big plate to stop all the fillings falling everywhere. Alternatively, use a baking tray, as you'll need that later on anyway.

Start by squeezing a blog of tomato puree into the centre of the wrap and spreading it all over. As you can see, I didn't go right to the edges on mine - I put everything fairly central so it was easier to wrap.

Sprinkle the cheese onto the passata, and top that with any fillings you have. I tend to put half the cheese down first, then most of the toppings with the rest of the cheese. It all melts together that way!

Step 2: It's pizza origami time...

Carefully fold two sides of the wrap in towards each other, so it looks like this. This is where you need to start controlling the ingredients, or it could get very messy... trust me, it's happened far too many times!

The two sides should stay down fairly well, because the ingredients will stick to each other. If not, the next fold will stop them coming apart. It's like pizza-wrap origami!

~ Top Tip ~ 
If you find that the folds aren't sticking too well, try using a few blobs of tomato puree as glue!

Fold the bottom of the wrap over the top of the two folds you just did, so it looks like this. It should reach to about the middle of the wrap, leaving room for the top half to fold over next.

You're almost done!

Finally, fold the top of the wrap to meet the bottom fold. Use some tomato puree glue to stick the wrap together, as this part won't have much filling on it. If it's not sticking very well and keeps wanting to pop back up again, carefully pick up the wrap and flip it over so that the opening is on the bottom.

Transfer the wrap to a baking tray and put it in the oven for 5 minutes. The wrap should feel crispy when you tap it gently with a fork. If it doesn't feel crispy enough, put it back in for 2-minute intervals until it browns and crisps up. If you have master-wrap-flipping skill, you could try turning it over and toasting the other side for a few minutes!

So there you have it... a pizza wrap. Very easy, quick, cheap and you can eat it for any meal. Perfect student food! I made mine with homemade crispy potatoes... another little recipe for those coming soon!

Thank you for reading, and I hope I've made you hungry...

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Back to Uni Soon...

Good afternoon!

Since being home for two weeks, I haven't done any of my own cooking (being home is always a good excuse to have everything done for you, *wink wink*) so I haven't had much content for the blog... but I'm back to uni life tomorrow so there will be plenty more to post! 

Thank you for being patient, and Happy Easter!