Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Community Clean-Up Day

Last Saturday (March 21st) was our local Community Clean-Up Day and Erin suggested we go out and help by picking up litter in our nearby park.

 We set out at about 10am to pick litter. Erin was wearing a rubber glove and armed with a bin bag to fill.

 I thought our area was quite tidy but on our way to the park we picked up plenty of rubbish we wouldn't normally spot without looking. Lots of litter gets stuck in hedges by the side of the road. By the time we reached the park our bags were almost half full.

 JD getting stuck in.

 Me finding yet another can of Monster. The majority of the litter was drink cans, either lager or energy drinks mostly.

 Erin ran off to claim this bounty because we were competing to see who could collect the most rubbish. (It was me \o/)

When we'd finished Erin enjoyed a well-earned 15 minutes in the park.

Picking up litter was quite satisfying. It was nice to feel like we were helping our community by making it look nicer with less rubbish. JD commented that it was more enjoyable than he thought it was going to be. We filled up two and a half bin bags in about 40 minutes. We had to scout about for the rubbish though, mostly it was under hedges and undergrowth or blown into a corner.

Erin wants to do it again but with a litter grabber. I felt proud of her for suggesting it and pleased she enjoyed picking up the litter. She almost spoiled it on the way home by complaining a lot about having to walk back. Haha. :D

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 53: Adana Kebab

This Turkish kebab comes from the city Adana in Southern Turkey and looks delicious. :D

Here's a recipe if you want to try one yourself -->

These were pretty easy to make. The lamb mince is mixed with a red pepper, onion, garlic and parsley and shaped into small logs. They're meant to be BBQ'd but we fried ours instead.

 Toasted pittas are easy to open up so you can fill them with the meat logs, grilled vegetables and yoghurt.

The lamb logs (the recipe used this word so I'm also using it due to a lack of a better word) looked really appetising with flecks of pepper, onion and parsley through them. They tasted delicious too, very garlicky thanks to 4 cloves of garlic chopped up inside. I could feel the texture of the soft grilled vegetables but they didn't seem to add much taste to the kebab. It was really delicious and I'd love to try an Adana kebab again next time we have a barbecue.

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 4

Coming next Saturday - A Trio of Sweet Sandwiches

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Making Our Own Yoghurt

About a week ago JD found an Easiyo Yoghurt maker in a charity shop for £5 (usually £15). Flavoured yoghurt is one of my favourite snack foods and we also have it on our muesli for breakfast sometimes.

With an Easiyo yoghurt maker you can buy the sachets to make yoghurt by just adding water or you can make yoghurt by mixing a tiny bit of bought yoghurt to milk. We tried the sachet route and it made nice thick greek yoghurt but at £3 a time it's more than we wanted to pay.

Next we tried making yoghurt by mixing yoghurt and milk but the yoghurt it made was far too runny.

Third time lucky we tried adding powdered milk to the recipe to thicken up the yoghurt and it worked!

 Ingredients Assemble!

Pour 1 litre of uht milk into the plastic container and add 1 tablespoon of live culture yoghurt. Add 2-3 tablespoons of powered mik to thicken it if you want to.

Replace the lid and shake until it's all really mixed together.

Fill the Easiyo container with boiling water up to the fill line and put the smaller container inside.

Leave for 8-12 hours and then refrigerate the smaller container of yoghurt for an hour or two to have cold yohurt.

Then you can enjoy your yoghurt anyway you like. I've got a tablespoon of lime curd to mix into it in the picture and it was delicious.

Making the yoghurt this way costs about £1.35 for a litre of yoghurt which is pretty good I think.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 52: Caprese Panino

Today's sandwich is from Capri and is usually eaten in salad form using the same three main ingredients of mozzarella, basil and tomato.

Ingredients: (Might have given them away a bit above, oops!)

Ciabatta roll
Black pepper
Olive oil

Split the bread roll and brush with olive oil Layer up the filling and sprinkle with black pepper. Brush oil on the top of the sandwich too.

 Grill until the top is crispy and the mozzarella has melted a bit.

The grilled ciabatta was a lovely texture. The tomato and mozzarella went really well together, they're obviously a classic combination. We both enjoyed the sandwich but wouldn't make it again. It looks good with bright colours but the flavour is a bit lacking something. The smell of fresh basil is amazing but the taste is disappointing

Ratings: JD - 2, Emma - 3

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 51: Kookoo Sabzi Wrap

Kookoo is an Iranian omelet and Sabzi means herbs. Herbs are used a lot in Iranian cuisine for taste and for their health-giving properties.

Ingredients: eggs, wraps, parsley, dill, coriander, spring onions, salt & pepper.

We made two wraps to our usual recipe -->

Then chopped up the herbs and spring onions.

 Then we made an omelet with the herbs as a filling.

 Place the omelet in the wrap with some cucumber and a dash of hot sauce.

 I was disappointed by this one. The omelet was quite bland and was only perked up a bit by the hot sauce. It would've been better with some feta cheese maybe. It was still nice to eat a warm omelet in a warm wrap. JD said it was alright but he wouldn't have it again. Fine praise indeed. :D

 Ratings: JD - 2, Emma - 1

Coming Up Next Saturday - Caprese Panino

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Saturday Sandwich 48, 49 & 50: Tomato, Marmalade and Nutella Sandwiches

This week we're combining three sandwiches in one post because they're all quite basic sandwiches which quite frankly don't deserve a whole post about themselves!

First up is the Tomato Sandwich. Simply slice up a ripe tomato and sandwich between two slices of buttered bread. Seasoning it with salt and pepper. I had just half a sandwich as I'm not keen on tomatoes.

It was pretty good. The beauty of a one-ingredient sandwich is you can enjoy the flavour of just one thing with nothing getting in the way of it. The down-side of a one-ingredient sandwich is that there's only one thing in it and that's a bit crap after numerous sandwiches stuffed with delicious foods. We've been spoiled lately and this sandwich left us a bit wanting.

Ratings: JD - 2, Emma -2

Next up is a sandwich made famous by a bear called Paddington.

To make a marmalade sandwich spread marmalade liberally on a slice of bread and finish with a second slice of bread. So easy even a small bear could do it.

Again, this was a reasonably nice sandwich but not very interesting to eat. Marmalade is delicious on first bite but gets increasing bitter the more you eat it. I prefer jam or lemon cheese to marmalade.

Ratings: JD - 2, Emma - 2

Finally, the Nutella Sandwich. This is a sandwich I've eaten plenty before but with the twist of toasting the bread and adding a sprinkling of salt to the nutella.

Toasted nutella sandwiches are great. The nutella has slightly melted and gone gooey making it even more delicious. I liked the salt addition too because salt really does bring out the chocolate flavour. I'll be toasting the bread for my chocolate spread (because we usually buy the supermarket brand instead) sandwiches in the future.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 3

In conclusion, we really like sandwiches with more than one ingredient. Please don't let yourself be led down this dangerous sandwich path because then you too will only love sandwiches with many ingredients stuffed inside. :(

Coming up next Saturday - Kookoo Sabzi Wrap

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Adventures in Healthy Eating 4: No-Bake Healthy Brownies

Next up to try are these no-bake brownies -->

Put stuff in the food processor.

Look it's all blended nicely. Mix in gross mashed banana and apple sauce.

Smooth it out into a square pan. Refrigerate for ages and then chop into small squares. The smaller the better since the less you eat the healthier you are, hah.

They were easy to make and were actually better the next day after a night in the fridge to firm them up a bit more. Leigh seemed to really like them and finished them off after a few days, everyone else tried them but weren't that keen. I ate a couple and they were ok but I felt slightly disgruntled that they weren't brownies at all.

Which is the problem with most healthy recipes. They promise something like 'healthy brownies' but what they give you is something entirely different but still call them brownies. I'd prefer if they called it a oaty, nut, banana bar or something so you're not tricked into thinking you'll have something as delicious as a brownie. It's obvious from the ingredients that they won't be brownies but I feel sad that people being healthy think they have to eat pretend not-brownies and never taste a delicious proper brownie ever again.

I'd rather eat one brownie than 3 of these which would be just as healthy but actually enjoyable. That's probably it for trying health foods. We'll stick to homemade regular foods instead.

One thing learned from these experiments is that Leigh and Erin are great at trying new foods now and Leigh will eat anything vaguely chocolatey. :D