I fancy a change

So I have been looking at my blog and thinking I’d love to make a few changes, just to freshen things up.

I’m looking into adding a printable option for any recipes I post and I would LOVE to have my own logo header for the blog. If anyone has any hints or tips for me on how to add these (or if anyone really wants to design a blog header for me, please!) Then I’d love to hear from you (^_^)

I just feel the current wp theme I’m using it quite bland and I would love to have it bright and eye catching, problem is I’m not an expert with coding for wp or anything elese for that matter!

 

HELP!!!!!!!!!!

Meatloaf!

So tonight was a night of experimentation in the kitchen. I was having a bash at the quinoa mac n cheese I mentioned yesterday and the second was another attempt at meatloaf.

I’ve made meatloaf many times before and my family have never been impressed, so I decided to try a version of my own. Before I post the recipe for the meatloaf, I really got to tell you about the mac n cheese quinoa.
 I had reservations about this dish, firstly, I’ve never had quinoa before and I wasn’t entirely sure I’d actually like it, secondly as I’ve never had it, obviously I’ve never cooked with it, so I was a little nervous incase I ended up with some gloopy porridge concoction. I shouldn’t have worried though, it was really simple to follow the original recipe, but I admit I did halve it just to be on the safe side. The only tweak of my own to this recipe were as follows – I used a mix of quinoa and bulgur wheat as this was what I was able to purchase in a local store. Otherwise I would have had to source the quinoa from a specialist store. (Hey I live in Northern Ireland, we’re not exactly exotic or anything here!) I also added some mozzerella pearls to the top as I felt this would give a nice chewy texture to the final dish and boy was I right!

This recipe is totally a keeper, it’s light, it’s healthy (well reasonably, if you use reduced fat cheese I suppose) I will be making this again. Only thing to do now is see how it freezes for bulk cooking purposes.

 

So next, the meatloaf, I didn’t set out with a particular recipe in mind . I will admit to having gotten a a few ideas from watching Diners, Drive ins and Dives though ;)
 and I just kinda went with the flow. It totally worked!!! Even the picky small child who previously went ick at meat loaf, wolfed this down! It’s also a great way to sneak veggies into your kids if you wanna be real sneaky :)

 

Here’s the recipe…….

500g lean mince

1 onion

2 small or 1 large carrot

2 small or 1 large courgette

1/2 cup rolled oats (not instant oats or quick cook oats)

1 egg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

1 tablespoon mixed herbs

2 cloves garlic

 

For the marinade:

4 tablespoon tomato ketchup

1 tablespoon brown sugar

A little south west sauce (only if you have it to hand, if not omit)

Combine these in a separate bowl, mix well to ensure no lumps in the ketchup.

 

Pre heat your oven to 1750 celcius, 350 o farenheit

Using a food processor chop all the veggies in  batches, do this so you don’t have a sludgy soupy mess.

If you don’t have a food processor, just grate the veggies.

In a large bowl, combine meat, veggies, oats egg, salt, pepper and herbs.

Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap

Pack the loaf pan with the meat mix, pressing down well to ensure no air pockets and that the meat all sticks together. Line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place this over the loaf pan and invert. This allows you to have a really neat shaped meatloaf with minimum fuss and mess!

Remove plastic wrap and paint half the marinade mix over your meat loaf.

Place in pre heated oven for 1 hour.

After 30 mins paint meat loaf with remainder of marinade and return to oven for a further 3o mins.

When meatloaf is cooked, remove from oven and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. This will make the meatloaf easier to slice and allow the sauce to cool to a less blistering naplam heat!

Serve with sides and sauces of your choice.

 

I had hoped to have loads of this left to freeze for future bento lunches, but small one decided it was too good and ate a huge slice! This would also be perfect to make in small individual loaf shapes for bento purposes.I think I will try that next time ;)

 

Feel free to tweak the herbs, spices and seasoning to suit your own individual taste :)

 

Inspiration and experiment

So, I’ve been lurking round cyberspace for a while, surfing blogs I subscribe to in my rss feed and pinning away on pinterest.

A few things of late have caught my eye for foodie/bento type ideas. First up is Jenn from Not Exactly Bento, a no nonsense grown up approach to bento/lunch packing. She doesn’t follow a traditional bento style, but rather packs what works for her. Jenn has a brilliant style of writing about things she like to try as her ‘new to me foods’ and sticking with what she knows she likes! I’ve blogged about NEB before after seeing the scrumptious version of Mac n Cheese she made a while back. Jenn very kindly allowed me to reblog that recipe of hers with my own twist as you can see here. So anyhoo, back to my things what caught my eye, Jen recently wrote about mini meat loaves for bento so that gets a tick in my book. My family aren’t keen on meat loaf so this is a perfect version for me to try. Single portion size, bento-able meat loaf, yum!

Secondly off the back of that post, Jenn has been using eco lunch boxes, I’m in the process of sourcing a UK supplier, (Eco lunch boxes are putting me in touch with a UK based supplier, yay!) but in the meantime I will just have bento envy and readers from outside UK can check out the web site

 

My next lunch food find was quinoa mac and cheese from a pin on pinterest. (I’ve linked to the original source rather than the pin)

Never mind making this, first of all I had to find quinoa! Finally got two versions, one is plain quinoa and the other is a quinoa bulgur wheat mix. I haven’t had a chance to make this yet as I’ve been working , but I plan to make it tomorrow night as I’m on a late shift Saturday. This will be a perfect trial for me to see how well it fills me while on shift ;)

Next thing I have to tackle is my photography skills, they suck. End of.

My problem is half time I blog infrequently, I have no idea where in the heck my camera is never mind is it charged! Haven’t really got to grips yet with wordpress on my blackberry (hints anyone?) so for now you lot who still drop by will have to be content with my few and far between posts. I apologise profusely :(

 

So while I toddle off to experiment, browse and generally put off writing more blog posts< please stop by with Jenn at Not Exactly Bento and say hello :)

Not such a good choice!

So tonight for dinner I decided to cook something different, but that had tones of a food this lot love. Baked beans!

I picked a cassoulet recipe and I was sure this would be a sure fire winner, I mean come on, it was a no brainer. Haricot beans, same beans as baked beans, tomatoes and a few other bits and bobs. Nah this picky lot hated my version with a passion. So now I will just feed em tins of baked beans and to heck with making anything remotely interesting!

If you’d like to have a go at the cassoulet recipe I tried, you can have a go here and maybe, just maybe your family will think you’re a wonderful, talented cook :) (unlike this mob!)

Oh and I didn’t have turkey, so I subbed in chicken instead

chorizo tomato pasta sauce

So, I’d written a whole blog post yesterday on my chorizo tomato pasta sauce and I managed to wipe it un saved. *sigh* let’s try again shall we? :)

To make the sauce you will need:
Half an onion sliced or diced as you like
One tin chopped tomatoes
Chorizo ( I used 2 uncooked cooking chorizo from asda)
Black pepper
Dried oregano

Place a pan over medium heat, I use a non stick pan for easy clean up ;)
Add your chorizo to the pan, no need to add oil as the chorizo releases some when cooking.
When the chorizo has released some oil, add the onion and allow to soften.
Add chopped tomatoes to the pan and allow the mixture to become unctuous and reduced.
Now I get enough flavour from my chorizo that I don’t add salt or garlic, but hey if that’s what floats your boat, then go ahead and add some to suit your taste preference!
Just before serving your sauce over fresh cooked pasta season to taste with oregano and fresh black pepper.

Quick yummy and ready in under 20 minutes
I’m just about getting enough time to make lunches, never mind photograph and blog them, so no pics with this post. But I did have this as a pasta pot yesterday for lunch. Topped with shredded basil and heated in microwave for 3 minutes. Very tasty and very filling too :)

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.

An inspiration………

I’ve just this evening stumbled across a very inspirational blog. It’s written by a nine year old girl and it’s about her daily school lunches.

Martha (or veg as she calls herself on the blog) writes about her daily school lunches on Never Seconds when I found out she was only nine I was amazed! Her writing and photography skills are amazing :)

Recently the local council tried to shut her blog down, but thanks to Martha’s amazing audience and the power of social networking< sense prevailed and she’s now up and running again.

I hope you all go and give Martha some love and maybe if you can support her charity, Marys Meals that would be great too!

I’ve succumbed…..

To buying another kitchen gadget. I’ve purchased a dehydrator. Brilliant way to save fruits and veggies before they go off, just bung veg in soups, stews sauces etc. Use fruit for baking, snacking, dried citrus fruits for christmas decorations, dry herbs for cooking and flowers for decorating. The list goes on and on! How many times have I had to compost fruit and veg cos I’ve not been able to use it all quick enough? No more waste in this house I tell ya! :)

Posted from WordPress for BlackBerry.