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,


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