Friday, 27 May 2011

The Sizzle

Thanks to Niall and Kelly at the lovely Belfast food blog Chilli and Chocolate, I won tickets to the May Bank holiday food festival in Botanic Gardens, called The Sizzle. We walk through Botanic going to and from work everyday so we decided to go to the festival straight after work. It was another weary week so cooking was not going to be on the agenda tonight anyway!
Unfortunately, it really wasn't a pleasant evening for sitting around outside, and consequently it was very quiet at the festival, but it was only the first evening, so hopefully it will get busier over the course of the weekend, because of the food was excellent. Rather selfish of me I know, but it was quite nice not having to queue for ages for the food and had our choice of seats so we kept out of the rain. We started at the Balloo House stand- I had pork and celeriac slaw 'bruschetta' and my boyfriend had the salmon and guacamole tortilla.

I then tried BBQ chicken with curry mayo and cucumber on pitta from The Lost Society and the Mr tried the halloumi and veggie skewer with bean salad from Uluru.

Dessert was a sugar feast of of butterscotch cupcake and ice-cream from The Loft in Moygashel (we used the last of our 'food vouchers' to take home a chocolate cupcake each), his was a delicious rhubarb and custard cheesecake from The Barking Dog- we also got a very nice 10% off voucher, so hopefully we'll get to go there again soon- it's always been really tasty.

We finished up with a hot drink (coffee for me, hot chocolate for him) as it was getting pretty chilly! We had a fun evening and for marquee found it was really delicious. It was actually sad to see such a small turnout because the chefs had obviously put a lot of thought into the food and I'd hoped more people would come out to support Northern Irish food producers and chefs, maybe over the rest of the weekend.

So if you're in Belfast over the weekend, grab a warm fleece, a raincoat and wellies and head to the The Sizzle!

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Not Dead!

I've just been so busy this month, every time I had 'free' time I used it to work out, cook nice food or curl up with a book or in front of the TV. Yeh, I've been too busy living to blog, but I miss blogging:( I especially miss having time to comment on everyone's blogs, but I've been keeping up to date with a speed read while sipping my coffee and drying my hair in the am.
Workout wise, I'm walking an hour a day, running twice a week just to switch it up (about 3 miles at a go) and of course following My diet has remained paleo-style, but I've had more cheat meals/desserts this month, probably because I've been so stressed with work. It hasn't relly affected me too much, other than I skip the odd meal because I'm still full from the last dessert, and then end up a bit shakey because I didn't eat when I had time to eat. The last couple of days I've sorted it out by eating a healthy meat or eggs and veggies breakfast as soon as I get into work to keep me going through the first part of the day. A high protein breakfast keeps me going so long, sometimes I'm not even remotely hungry when lunchtime rolls round, but I eat anyway.

Here's a selection of recent eats:

Turkey, goat cheese, avocado and romaine lettuce salad

Pastrami, apple, olive and rocket salad with chilli aioli (eaten as a late saturday morning breakfast)

Sauteed peppers and collards with roast tomato chicken breast (chicken breast smeared with tomato paste, chilli powder and a little cheese before baking)

My current quick meal: ground meat (lamb this time, with za'atar) on a bed of greens. Topped with some grated hard goat cheese

Pastrami again: this time with romaine lettuce and some onion and pepper scramble and hot sauce

Smoked mackerel, mixed with a little natural yogurt, a heap of romaine, a few roasty potatoes and some grated organic double gloucester cheese

An unadulterated mackerel fillet and an egg- a fairly typical at home breakfast these days

Collards topped with ground pork and pepper chilli

Another pastrami and apple salad

More ground meat (beef this time, with onion, peppers and collards and herbs de provence)

The last of the above ground beef veggies mix, scrambled up with 2 beaten eggs and some grated very mature cheddar yum yum)

The best bits of this month's munching have been:
Apple in my salads
Paprika coated pastrami
Za'atar + lamb
Guilt free but admittedly gluttonous ice-cream consumption...!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Efficient cooking

This week I started off by roasting a big butternut squash, 'steamfrying' onion, a couple of red peppers and a massive bunch of collard greens. I then fried some steak pieces and stuck them in the oven covered in tomato passata for an hour, while I baked some salmon fillets spread with tomato paste in foil. The oven was on for about an hour, and I had a couple of meals good to go. I had one of the salmon fillets and some of the veggies for dinner that evening, along with some peeled, boiled and crushed potatoes (mash, but without anything added to the potatoes).

The next morning I had another salmon fillet for breakfast with the veggies and ate two small helpings with the tomatoey steak pieces and baked butternut for lunch and dinner. One evening, I had this little helping for supper:

Plain yogurt, frozen blueberries, a sprinkling of nuts and seeds and shredded coconut.

Yesterday evening I mixed some ground organic beef with spices and an egg and shaped into little meatballs, which I had with the squash for dinner last night, lunch today with salad, and reheated for an hour in the oven tonight with tomato passata and the last of the squash mashed up and spread on top, like a mini shepherds pie. And this morning I had the last of the collards and peppers in a breakfast scramble. Three days of meals from one hour's oven cooking has meant much short prep time (although without a microwave reheating in the oven takes a while, but with much less active cooking time and even better, less dishes).

Before the epic cooking session, I made a broth with leek and carrot and had it on top of chopped up baked chicken thighs.

Another bfast scramble: onion, red pepper, 2 eggs, topped with half an avocado and hot sauce.

It's been another hideously busy week in work, so I was glad I had the foresight to do a little prep on Monday. I must get into the habit more often:)

Oh, by the way, steamfrying is when I heat up a little oil in a skillet, add the veggies and then add a little hot water from the kettle (very small amount, at most about 1/3 cup).