A Little Update

I wrote my first ever blog post on the 31st August 2018 and since then I have written a few (very few) other posts. I am not excusing this but I do have some reasons – I am lacking money and time.

Im a full-time student with limited funds and time, writing essays and preparing for tests is all that I feel that I’ve been doing for the last three months. This will (hopefully) soon change in the next few weeks, less work and more time to make things. This is the only thing getting me through these last few weeks of the semester.

Like I said, not excusing my lacking because the only person I’m disappointing but putting up this blog post will inspire me to publish more posts – thats the plan anyway.

Coming into winter does mean one thing – Christmas!!!! and if you know me in real life you know that I love everything Christmas. The markets, the food, the smells – just everything! Hopefully this time of year will give a boost in motivation to produce more content and make great homemade food.

I won’t be going to my family home for Christmas until a bit later on in December but hopefully only working and focusing on writing blog posts will get me through that wait till the morning of the 25th.

The new schedule that I will be trying to stick to will be 12pm every Friday and maybe if I’m super organised a second on a Wednesday.

Anyway, thanks for reading a small update in my life – to be fair its not been anything interesting just where I see GrillBye going in the near future and writing it out has helped calm my nerves about everything.

Now I just need to stick to my promise,

TM x

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Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup – fail?!

I was in a cafe a couple of weeks ago and had the best soup of my entire life, Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato! My mouth is watering thinking about it now…

Anyway, I stuffed myself full and immediately started to look for a recipe that was the equivalent so that I could make it at home. This soup is ideal coming into the winter months – warming you from the inside out.

I searched and searched and finally found this recipe from one of our own on WordPress – thetinyvegankitchen ! If you want to look at the recipe here’s the link.

After finding this gem I was so excited to get started and make this soup. I had most of the ingredients in except the peppers, running to the shops is my favourite thing to do (not!).

Roasting the peppers was easy but in hindsight it wondering if I should have left them in a little longer – their skins were blackened and were soft to touch, but some felt like they could have had another few minutes. I also roasted a garlic clove at the same time to bring another flavour.

The tomatoes that were on heat for 30 minutes, but all their water boiled off. In the end it needed some water to make it blendable and smooth.

There is some things I would just slightly change for next time –

  • More peppers – the flavour was lost
  • Longer roasting of the peppers
  • Add in stock – can be a veg stock
  • Cook the tomatoes with the lid on and for less time
  • Boil in a smaller pot – I thought there was going to be more to blend than there was

Keep in mind this recipe says it serves 4, so . I’m not sure where all my ingredients went but this made about 2 and a 1/2 bowls of soup – keep this in mind.

Even with all of these slight changes I think it was a good tomato soup (with a hint of pepper). I feel as though there needs to be 4 roasted peppers than 2 just to make sure there is that punch of flavour. I did add in the garlic which was a nice undertone and the splash of maple syrup helped sweeten the whole thing a tad.

Overall a good soup but not what I had at the cafe!

I hope this helped in some way – come back for another Recipe Review,

TM

Pea and Parmesan Risotto with Bacon

As a student I am always looking for new recipes on a budget and for my Christmas last year I was given the Student Cookbook.IMG_8021.jpeg

So I want to point out I made some changes. I usually make a baked risotto as it’s the same but way less effort. Before we get there we need to prep the ingredients also I halved the measurements as theres only two of us.

As this recipe doesn’t include bacon I fried that first. I then put oil in a pan and added the garlic and onion. The rice was added and then the peas (pretty much the same so far).

This is where I start to go off piste a little – the recipe says to add one ladle of stock  at a time and wait for it to be absorbed but who has time to stand and stir for 30 mins? So I added all of the water into the pan with all of the rice in it. I mixed it altogether and heat up the stock for a few minutes before emptying the ingredients in the pan into a glass (oven safe) dish and put it in the oven at 180 degrees celsius. I put the lid on and left it for 10 minutes before stirring. The rice should get fluffier and the water should start to disappear.

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I did this about three times and then added in the parmesan and put in back in the oven for another 5 minutes. So was in the oven for a total time of 35 minutes.

When taken out of the oven the risotto is sticky and piping hot (mouth-wateringly good) and is ready to be eaten. I set it out into two bowls and served with a tomato flat bread.

This recipe is definitely one for the books – I am pleased I added in the bacon to give it an extra flavour and texture. The peas cut right through the salt, which is nice to taste some sweetness. The rice is so filling so small portions is all that is needed but half of the recipe (which originally serves 4) was perfect for the both of us.

Come back again for my next recipe review – TM x

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‘Homemade’ Chicken Katsu Curry

So I used a cheat, but hold on don’t click off yet.

I have been very busy over the last few weeks and I really wanted a Wagamama’s, but where I live the nearest one is an hour and a half away (I know, tragic). Anyway, like I said I’ve been busy, and I wanted something in the Japanese style and what better way is a Chicken Katsu Curry.

If you have ever been to Tesco you know that there are many options in the shop that are labelled “Katsu Curry”, so I had lots of choice but very little knowledge. So I picked one on the basis that it was cheap and a brand that I’ve heard of, Yutaka.

Yutaka Japanese-Style Katsu Curry 100G Here is the link if you want to buy it; Tesco – Katsu Curry

So basically the instructions tell you to sauté some onions, add some water and add in a few blocks of the sauce. The water will melt them down and eventually thicken up.

On the side I just shoved in some breadcrumb chicken breast (already made from Tesco again) and some veg.

It was a satisfying dinner but the sauce for me did not contain enough heat or curry flavour. So I improvised and added chilli powder, this helped a little. The onions were a strange concept for me but they did bring more flavour and texture to the sauce. Lets just say it was not Wagas.

The chicken for me was the highlight even if I didn’t prep it myself (I’m all about an easy lifestyle – let me off!!) and the vegetables are needed when all you have on your plate is a lump of chicken and some sauce.

I would recommend this sauce to someone who wants a quick fix for the Wagamama’s craving, but I’m going to be trying different alternatives to see if there is any others that are more like the real thing.

I hope this helped and make sure to keep up to date with my other posts,

TM x

My Easy Chicken Fried Rice

Firstly just want to say that this is my own recipe and I am trying out something new. I take inspiration from many things, for this recipe it was mainly from my home-Chinese (the best btw), but so it could be healthier and feel is though I haven’t eaten my weight in oil.

So anyway, a basic fried rice; eggs and rice in a frying pan (duh). My fried rice is not basic, it has multiple vegetables in it and serves 4, it will blow your mind (just saying).

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Utensils;

  • Large frying pan
  • Regular frying pan
  • Rice cooker (or whatever you use to cook rice)
  • Chopping board x2
  • Sharp knife x2

Now, ingredients;

  • 2 cups of raw rice
  • 2 large carrots
  • 3 peppers (any colour)
  • 4 sticks of celery
  • 2 spring onions
  • 2 cloves or garlic
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 or 4 chicken breasts
  • an egg
  • salt and pepper

Method;

  1. Start by cooking your rice, I cook mine in a rice steamer and shove it in the microwave for eight minutes and let it rest until I need it.
  2. Chop up all the veg into small bite-size pieces. The chicken should be cut up to be
    small too.
  3. Add oil to both pans and heat. Add chicken to one and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add the diced garlic into the other pan and let cook on a medium heat. Add the harder vegetables first i.e. carrots and celery. Then add all the others and cook until softened.
  5. Cook the chicken until golden on the outside and completely cooked throughout. By this point the rice should be soft and fluffy and have been standing for a couple of minutes.
  6. To the vegetable pan add an egg and mix to make scrambled. Mix throughout the veg. Then add the rice and turn the heat down. Add some soy sauce (to taste) and serve in bowls.
  7. I added spring onions at the end so they wouldn’t lose too much flavour if cooked. Put the cooked chicken on top.
  8. Serve with prawn crackers and sweet and sour sauce on the side.

There we go! My easy and healthy Chicken Fried Rice! Tag me on Instagram at @grillbyeblog if you recreate this recipe.

TM

Vegetarian?

Jamie Oliver’s Vegetable Jalfrezi Recipe is the best way to get in your veg without even trying.  https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/vegetables-recipes/vegetable-jalfrezi/

For a very long time I thought being a vegetarian meant only salad and carbs, what a boring diet. So I never really explored it, but since moving away from my family home and meat being expensive I have explored more recipes with more veg in them. So when my partner became ill and needed some home cooked goodness to help along the recovery. I thought the best thing to get better is some veg and hot food.

My mum makes an amazing vegetable curry and asked her for the recipe and she gave me Jamie’s. The butternut squash was always the most flavourful bit in the whole recipe, so I was very excited to start.

Ran to the shops and picked up chillis, garlic, coriander and the paste (and paracetamol, of course). We all know that the chopping is always the most tedious and boring part, and there was a lottt of chopping. Prep is obviously key and a trick that I do is just to buy some the frozen veg.

I turned on the pan and put the oil in (forgot the butter) with the intention of adding in the ingredients just to realise I had more chopping to do, i.e. the ginger was hiding under a packet. So I postponed adding the ingredients and left the oil heating in the pan, I quickly found out this was a bad idea. I then looked at the paste jar and it suggested putting half a teaspoon in before the ingredients. It was way too hot and then burned the paste (to a crisp). I didn’t realise this had happened, because I’m too short to see over the lip of the pan. So it was only when I tried to spread it out I realised it was black all over, whoops.

I had no fresh tomatoes and so added in another tinned tomatoes and half the water that was suggested. This seemed to do the trick. I was also a bit heavy handed when adding the balsamic, so to counteract this I added in a slight bit of sugar just balance out the taste (thankfully it helped).

So after a minor fault I stirred it one last time and this is where you put on the lid and let it simmer, but because nothing can ever run smoothly I realised I didn’t bring my lid. So I turned the heat right down and made sure that it didn’t get too dry.

After about 15 minutes on the hob and it was ready to be eaten. Some fluffy rice in the bowl and a peshwari naan in the oven and its ready to be eaten. I did miss a few ingredients like the lemon juice but in all honestly if it was any tarter then it wouldn’t be edible.

What a great recipe to get veggies into your diet but still have lot of flavour. It is very acidic but a great remedy for when you’re feeling slightly lousy. Definitely recommend to anyone trying to include more vegetables in their diet or for a vegetarian.

 

Come back to see my next Recipe Review!

TM

First Disaster

So today I tried the “Lemon Raspberry Cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting” by Baker by Nature. https://bakerbynature.com/lemon-raspberry-cupcakes/

Firstly I needed to go out and buy some ingredients. This ended up being a total of 3 times, due to me rushing and refusing to read the ingredients properly. Finer cake flour was recommended in this recipe to ensure a light and moist cake, but what a serious difference this makes to previous bakes. She does offer a lot of advice about this recipe that is vital for these amazing cakes, coating raspberries in lots of flour was a key to ensure they didn’t sink. I had no idea what ‘Lemon Extract’ was so I just left that out the recipe (whoops) and used extra lemon juice.

Anyway, after reading the pre-recipe instructions a good few times I felt as though I was educated enough to start the prep. Like I said I was in and out of the shops like a mad woman, but these cupcakes looked amazing on the website, so I persevered.

Things were fine with the wet mixture until I added the sour cream and milk. The ingredients started to separate and look less appetising as the minutes went on. She also advised that everything should be room temperature so they would bind. I left the ingredients out of the fridge well in advance, things still separated…

The dry mixture was easy and straight forward, no problems there (thankfully). But I underestimated the size of this batch so ended up moving it into a bigger bowl, so more washing. However, when the ingredients were fully combined it was thick and amazing. Of course I had to taste (who doesn’t), and the hint of lemon in the batter was amazing, it really did steal the show. Finally the raspberries were incorporated and the streaks of pink were mesmerising.

Now I’m not sure if this was just because I couldn’t stop myself from trying (and retrying) the batter but I could only fill 21 cases instead of 24. I also didn’t have a cupcake tray so they were put on a normal baking tray, but its only the taste that really matters, right…. After exactly 22 minutes in the oven they were ready, and brought out to cool. This is when I realised that I needed wayyy more cream cheese (who knew that one tub of cream cheese only has 6oz in it?). After a quick dash to the shops, again, I started preparing the cream cheese frosting and all was going well until the realisation hit that the mixture wasn’t stiffening. It said 4 and 1/2 cups of the the sugar would do, but I reckon I used about twice that amount and still nothing was working. Even being put back in the fridge and whisked a bit more didn’t do the trick, so here you see is where the disaster starts to set in.

I’d been back and forward to the shops all day, I couldn’t go another time. So I opted to just spread on the frosting and hope for the best. Now I have misshapen cupcakes with watery frosting, not my finest ever bake. Note to self – less cream cheese and butter next time.

These cupcakes had the most incredible taste, I used fresh raspberries and could smell them even in the oven. They were a delight to eat and my family all agree. A few tweaks and I think I would have these down to a tee.

Hope this helps even one of you – come back to see my next Recipe Review.

TM