Friday, 28 July 2017

End of July... eating super fly

Recipe of the week... an End of the Month Salad

Ingredients: Potatoes/cheese, eggs, a salad dressing, and a couple of different veg or fruit – anything you have in, really.

Time taken: 20 mins prep the night before and 5 mins on the day.

Serves: One big impressive salad.

Hi readers,

How are thing with you?? What a week, eh? Has it been a big one for you? It feels like it’s been a big week for me – not really sure why! I guess starting the working week on a slight hangover from a music festival probably (definitely) contributed. And as much a tiredness hangover as one from alcohol – that’s what you get at the age I’m reaching!

But, alas, it was worth it. I attended the Tramlines festival in my home city, Sheffield, last weekend, readers. And had a really good – if damp – time! I got to see some cool people, like The Libertines and Cate Le Bon. And I made it to The Coral and Blaenavon – both of whom I really wanted to see live. And I was surprised by people that I hadn’t heard of or intended to see – Toots and the Maytals, Akala, Loyle Carner – all sounding super on the day.

Me and a friend with the
singer from Blaenavon!

It took me maybe as many days to recover as I spent enjoying the actual festival, but I’m feeling better now and most of the glitter is gone. Or, at least, it wants me to think it’s gone.  I braved a wine (or two) last night – four days after saying I would “never drink again”… forgetting in the moment that I’m a person with a job and a commute. All is once again well in the world now.

How about you? Is all well in your world, would you say? Have things been okay this week? I hope you’ve been having a good ‘un, readers, and there are some decent highlights to look back on. I myself – in festival recovery mode – have been watching a lot of catch up TV in bed. I won’t lie, it’s not been the kind of week that’s destined to go down in record books.

BUT I caught some good shows. If this sounds at all interesting to you, I recommend a BBC Three show I watched called ‘Stacey Dooley Investigates: Kids Selling Drugs Online’. This is all about how social media apps, like Snapchat and Instagram, can be harnessed by drug dealers. They get young people networking with their peers, and peers of peers, and via drug-related emojis they arrange deals for selling on drugs. What has the world come to?

I also watched an episode of Panorama on the beeb called ‘Men, Boys and Eating Disorders’, which I highly recommend. Presented by Welsh rugby referee and bulimia sufferer, Nigel Owens, the show documented the different ways boys present eating disorders versus girls. I took from the show that boys – while aiming to lose weight via calorie deficit – still face pressure at the same time, to keep up exercising and eating decent portions, in a way girls perhaps don’t. So, over-exercising and throwing food back up arise as modes of weight loss.

Not cheery stuff, readers, but interesting all the same! I’ve also been reading a book that has me hooked, ‘Run for your life – Mindful running for a happy life’, by William Pullen. I’m enjoying running quite regularly at the moment and believe in the power of the movement during, and the fatigue of resting afterwards. Putting your body to use, and the effects this can have on your mind, are impressive. I’m enjoying learning more, via ‘Run for your life’, about the ways running forwards can help move your thoughts forwards with you.

It’s all very interesting. Keep expanding your minds, readers. Feed them wide ranging news articles and commentaries, wonderful works of fiction and mind-bending academic articles. Feed them insights from people of all walks of life, and even those people’s opinions that you don’t like! Feed them everything you possibly can – minds are greedy. And tell people what you’ve been reading, watching and thinking – share it far and wide with other minds.

I will say no more. But, do. Our Recipe of the Week this week, readers, is one that has sprung entirely from my own mind. This recipe comes about as the stars have aligned in such a way that I am both re-re-relaunching a health kick (again, I know) and I’m also a little low on cash on the run up to pay day. As happens to us all – times are hard until my wages come in and so I’m inventively eating long life food that I purchased in wealthier times.

Living on beans on toast and dry pasta don’t exactly fly when you’re healthy kicking – so I’m throwing together some budget salads with the last of my ingredients! And, readers, this has made me realise how easy it is really to throw together a salad on a budget, with no fancy ingredients required you can still make a really enjoyable dish.

So, if you’re trying to keep your eating on track right until the end of the month, but you’re struggling for the money to fund a quinoa habit, here’s my suggestion for the basic fundamentals behind putting together an End of the Month salad. You can take this into work as your packed lunch and munch smugly, while broke colleagues sit beside you eating yet more baked beans. Feast your eyes on this recipe, readers, in just ten simple steps…

Recipe: End of the Month Salad

1. The night before you’d like to take your wonder salad into work, do some prep. First, begin by pouring yourself a beverage and boiling the kettle.
2. Pop two eggs in a saucepan and – if you have any potatoes (baby or full size) left – then add potatoes to the pan, too.
3. Set your eggs (any possibly potatoes) boiling for ten minutes.
4. While they boil, think fruit/vegetables/pulses. What have you got? Consider fresh, frozen, dried, tinned, in jars. Raid all areas of the kitchen and gather together your fruit and veg.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: I was lucky and, while rummaging for the last of my cucumber in the fridge, found a pepper I’d forgotten I had! If you aren’t so lucky maybe you have some onion you could finely chop? Or a carrot to grate? Look in your freezer – frozen peas or sweetcorn, maybe? Take to your cupboards – do you have sundried tomatoes or olives in a jar, perhaps? Or tinned veg? If it comes to it – think fruit. Do you have an apple or pear that you could cut up into cubes?
5. Pick a winning combination and chop up your chosen fruit and/or veg.
6. If you didn’t have any potatoes – maybe you have some cheese you could add to the salad as your luxury ingredient? Doesn’t have to be a fancy feta or halloumi – plain cheddar will do! You can cut up into cubes. Fill one small Tupperware with your veg (and maybe fruit and cheese).
7. Once ten minutes have passed, drain your pan and leave the eggs (and maybe potato) to cool in some cold water.
8. Once cool, peel your eggs and chop into quarters. If you have potato, chop into bite-sized chunks. Add your egg (and potato) to a second small Tupperware, and pop both Tupperwares in the fridge for overnight.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: As your eggs (and potato) might still be a bit warm at this stage, it’s a good idea to keep them in a separate Tupperware to the one with your uncooked ingredients, or they might turn everything else a little soggy. We don’t want that.
9. The next day, take both your Tupperwares and also some salad dressing into work.
10. Throw everything together at lunchtime and wow your colleagues with an impressive End of the Month salad!


And that, as they say in showbiz, IS A WRAP. What do you think, readers, are you and this recipe compatible? Essentially – you need a couple of eggs and some salad dressing. Either potato OR cheese. Multiple vegetables, or try subbing in fruit if you’re struggling. So – it’s true, this salad doesn’t spring from fresh air, readers. If all you have is bread and beans then I understand you will have to carry on with beans on toast. There’s nothing I can do to help.

But I think it’s reasonable to assume that – like me – many of you will be scraping towards the end of the month with some basic ingredients still left in the house. And – if so – this recipe could help you out of a sticky spot with competing financial vs dietary crises waging war. I hope it does! I hope you take this recipe on, readers, and fly with it. Trucking onwards to the end of the month without needing to class a Fab lolly as a meal. You can do it!

Juss sayin
What do you think, readers? Would this salad be something you’d throw together when times are hard in the kitchen? Might it come in over the next few days maybe, as we limp on towards August? I do hope my ideas help you out and, if you take them on board, please share your stories and successes in the kitchen! Did it work out? How was your salad combination in the end? A victory or was it all in vain?

Plus, if anyone has any low budget, basic bob, salad ingredient ideas they’d like to share then please do fire away with them! We love a good salad hack here over at ChefBeHere, what with the ever-increasing cost of salad leaves, and notably shrinking avocado sizes. Do share – what’s been your greatest rock bottom salad success? Or maybe you have a flavour combination to warn us all away from – two ingredients the should never be paired?

It’s ever interesting to hear such insights! Once more, thanks for taking the time to read this post, readers. Wishing you all a brilliant rest of your July… may there be music and glitterrr.

Salad safely,


Tuesday, 18 July 2017

Ximenez, you say. And how DO you say that?

Recipe of the week...
...Roast New Potato, Kale and Beetroot Salad

Ingredients: 1 handful of new potatoes, 2 cooked beetroots, 2 handfuls of kale, 2 bunches of fresh dill, a sprinkling of sesame seeds, a drizzling of olive oil (or you can use a low-cal cooking spray), and salt and pepper. Plus, for the dressing: 1 tablespoon sesame oil, 2 tablespoons low-fat natural yoghurt, and EITHER 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil and 1 teaspoon sherry vinegar, OR 2 tablespoons Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinaigrette.

Serves: One decent dinner-sized plateful of salad.

Time taken: Half an hour max.

Hi readers,

How are well all today? Are you well? Is the sun shining where you are? I do hope that it is. I hope it’s shining on YOU, and your week is off to a wonderful start. Chin up, lovely readers. We’re two days into the week  already… high five! And guess what? I passed my driving test yesterday! *the crowd goes wild*

At long last, after six months fraught with driving lessons, and one failed attempt at the test in June, I’ve gone and done it. Hurrayyyy!! I took the test for a second time yesterday (first thing in the morning at 8.10am, it was a brutal way to start the week!) and it went reasonable badly, I thought. I caused other cars to slow. I bumped the curb. My sunglasses flew off my head during our emergency stop. And… yet… I passed. Shocking, even to me.

I’m legal at last. And, in other news, here are five things I like at the moment:

·      Despicable Me 3. I went to the cinema to see with my Father Bear this weekend. We did surprisingly well – the screen was packed with kiddies but all were on best behaviour. There were no tears… only, perhaps, tears of laughter (on my part). We watched Gru busting a move on-screen, and enjoyed plenty of laughs. It is, in my humble opinion, a fun film that anyone could enjoy. Anyone with human (or unicorn) emotions. If you’re heading to the cinema sometime soon, I do recommend.

·      Brunching at Tamper. With the gals. I’ve probably (definitely) raved before on this topic, but my love for Tamper only grows with time. I just love the place. If ever you’re in Sheffield, readers. Tamper is a Kiwi-inspired breakfast/lunch/decent coffee serving café, with lots of unusual and veggie-friendly menu options, and an exciting cake counter with the option to take home cake-away (after stuffing yourself with brunch). Long overdue a visit, I made it to Tamper on Sunday morning for a catch up with a couple of the gals. We ordered omelettes – so good – and had a fine time.

·      Listening to ‘Bill Evans - My Foolish Heart’. As my dinner party-attending friends will know, though it takes most people until their senior years to hit upon this, I’ve found a premature love for Smooth Radio. And songs like these. Which make me want to wear red lipstick and a silk gown. Pour some red wine. End my smoking ban. Let my sweetheart dance me around the room, in low lighting.

·      The HandleBards – “CHARMINGLY CHAOTIC BICYCLE-POWERED SHAKESPEARE!”. I somehow this weekend ended up attending an open air performance of a classic theatre play, As You Like It (but with a comedy spin), led by an all-female troupe of travelling actors. Who cycle UK-wide, from show to show, carrying all their set, props and costumes with them as they go. For real, they do. And it was loads of fun! The girls were all hilarious – I want to be them – and we got lovely weather, sipping drinks in the sun as we watched the performance. There’s no booking process or ticket fee, you just turn up to a show and then pay what you can as you leave. Seriously – get yourself along to a performance if they’re coming to a place near you.

·      Salad. The weather’s been warm and stress (regards: driving test) has been suppressing my appetite somewhat. I’ve been enjoying dining light on a medley of salads, at both lunchtime and teatime. One of the besties, Hazoncé, gifted me a boxful of eggs laid at home by her family chickens. These are super flavoursome and yolky, and they’re making wonderful salad toppers when hard boiled.

What do you think, readers? Need a little inspiration, maybe, to muster up this level of enthusiasm for salad? Can I treat your taste buds with a new salad recipe, perhaps? One sure to knocking your salad socks off! Oh, go on then… if you insist! Here, readers, I have for you a new recipe for a summer salad, that you simply must try. It’s gluten-free, tastyyy, and it’s going to rock your world.

Found in the August 2017 edition of Glamour magazine, among an array of potato-centred salads, the ChefBeHere Recipe of the Week – this week – is for Roast New Potato, Kale and Beetroot Salad. In the words of Glamour, potatoes are “more than a bit on the side”. They’re naturally fat-free, gluten-free and a source of potassium and fibre. And they make for a mean salad topper. I’ll say no more, here’s the recipe in just ten simple steps…

Recipe: Roast New Potato, Kale and Beetroot Salad

1.     Crack your windows open wide and strettttch really tall. Pour yourself a drink and shush the voice babbling in your head. Set some chilled music playing.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: As previously mentioned, this week I’ve been listening to Bill Evans! Maybe give him a listen if you’re stuck for some music for the soul.
2.     Heat your oven to 200C and set the kettle boiling.
3.     Prep your veg! Chop your potatoes and beetroot into wedges.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Pretty as it may be to turn the kitchen pink, it pays to pat down your beetroot when remove them from their packet. Soak up as much excess beetroot juice as you can do before chopping.
4.     Pop your potato wedges in a small saucepan, fill with water from the kettle, and set boiling on a hob for 5 or so mins, to soften up.
5.     While your potatoes boil, you can be preparing your salad dressing. Add the sesame oil, natural yoghurt, rapeseed oil, and sherry vinegar to a mug. Stir together.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: In a stroke of luck – I was struggling to find sherry vinegar but then found a dressing in M&S called Pedro Ximenez Sherry Vinaigrette. This combines sherry vinegar and olive oil – perfect! I switched the rapeseed oil and the vinegar for this vinaigrette instead. Handy, if you’re ingredient shopping in M&S.

6.     Once your potatoes feel soft to stab, remove from the heat and drain. Add to an ovenproof dish along with a couple of handfuls of kale.
7.     Drizzle your kale and potatoes with olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and carefully transport into the oven to bake for ten minutes.

8.     Use this time wisely! Heat a dinner plate in the microwave. Set the table and top up your drink. Light a candle and consider dessert options.
ChefBeHere Top Tip: Dance around the kitchen and think something nice about yourself!
9.     Once your potatoes and kale have browned a little in the oven, safely remove and turn the oven off. Get your plate out of the microwave.
10.  Cover your plate with crispy kale. Then, add the beetroot and potatoes, and adorn with a flurry of fresh dill. Drizzle your dressing about, and then sprinkle the plateful of salad with a small shower of sesame seeds. Et bon appétit!

What do you think, readers? Does this look good or does this look gooood? Am I right?? Or am I terribly wrong – because please do share your thoughts if this recipe is actually your idea of hell. Is it the kale? Seeds? Beetroot? What are you thinking, readers? To me – this recipe is tasty but saintly tea option. It tastes good – unusual, but flavoursome – and encourages me to buy ingredients in that I normally wouldn’t. Like kale.

I enjoyed this salad a lot! It was easy to prepare, tasty to eat, and something that I never would have imagined of my own accord. I enjoy adding warm ingredients to a salad, if temperatures drop to cardy-donning degrees – as they often do in England – and will definitely add potatoes to salads in the future. It’s a good tasting combination.

Do let me know, readers, do the photos and the recipe tempt you to give this a try? And – if you do take this dish on – what was your experience in the kitchen? How did you get on? And, most importantly, did you like the food?? Fill me in, readers, I’d love to hear from you. And – remember – should you be stuck for something to bring joy to your day: Despicable me 3, Tamper brunch, Bill Evans, The HandleBards, and salad. I hope these see you through.

Smooth Radio safely,


Friday, 14 July 2017

FRIDAYYY! A mid-July recipe round-up

Hi readers,

Feels like Friday, huh? Fri-DAY? FryYAYYYY?

Fryyyay yay yay yay yay yaaaaaity yay dah dah yayayyyyy…  *drumroll* … FRIDAYYY!

Ahh what a lovely day to be alive. A day of light at the end of the tunnel, a skip in your step, and Friday-inspired pizazz when emailing. On Friday there’s a cheer in your voice, maybe a skip in your step and a hum in your heart.. singing only of wine. For the weekend is near.

Or at least that’s how it feels over here, anyway! Bring on the weekend – for some solid sleeping, for getting out in the fresh air, and for the best food and drink a ChefBeHere can find. The kindly soul that I am, I’ve trawled the blogosphere in search of tasty posts form the past week, and have here a select of delicious looking recipes to tempt your tum…

1.     Baked sweet potato – three ways (Pea and mint smash with feta and avocado, Harissa roasted chickpeas with tomato salsa and tahini yoghurt, and Vegan red lentil chilli) on the Spoonful of Happy blog

2.     Lentil tomato stew on the Veggie Desserts blog

3.     Super greens loaded potato skins on the Hungry Healthy Happy blog

4.     Black bean, avocado & mango tacos on the Nadia’s Healthy Kitchen blog

5.     10-minutechickpea curry with coriander dressing on the Rebel Recipes blog

6.     Crustless roasted vegetable and feta quiche on the Fitness Forster blog

7.     Chocolate & lime truffle squares on the Nutritiously Naughty blog

8.     Iced coffee, chocolate & vanilla slice on the SpamellaB blog

9.     Vegan muesli yoghurt parfait on the Little Sunny Kitchen blog

Tis a glorious time to be alive with all these recipes around! What do you think, readers? Might you give any of these a try? I certainly will be. Right now, I’m thinking I might be a lentil-related recipe a whirl – either the stew or topping a sweet potato. As I’m rubbish at using lentils, so this is inspiring!

You may hear tales of lentil-related kitchen antics soon. Or you may never hear of this – in which case it probably all went terribly badly. Assume I survived but my dinner did not. But watch this space – this could be the beginning of a love affair with lentils.

Only time will tell, readers. I hope you use your time wisely and you enjoy a wonderful weekend. Take care and – if you get a mo – do give these nine blogs a browse. See if you’re inspired to try out one of the recipes they share.

And report back! Success? Absolute catastrophe? Somewhere in between??

Chef safely my loves,