Saturday, April 12, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 12: Yakisoba Pan

Apparently this is a Japanese equivilent of the kebab. It's eaten late at night on the way home and can be bought in many convenience stores or on street food stalls. Yakisoba means fried noodles in sauce and Pan means bread.

Ingredients: Bacon, hot dog buns, carrot, onion, green pepper, oil and yakisoba sauce (recipe below).

 Cut up the bacon into strips and fry in the oil. Cut up the vegetables and fry them in oil until soft.

 Cook the noodles and fry in oil for a few minutes. Add the vegetables and bacon. You can make yakisoba sauce by mixing oyster sauce, soy sauce, oil and sugar. Mix most of the sauce into the noodles and hold back a bit for drizzling on the finished sandwich. When the noodles are ready put a generous amount inside two hot dog buns.

These rolls were great. the sauce was really delicious and coated the noodles well. The soft bread rolls were perfect for the noodles and made it all easy to eat. JD said he was surprised how good the noodles were on a sandwich because it's an unusual sandwich filling. We were both a bit displeased we hadn't bought huge bread rolls but that was only because we wanted more once we'd finished. Which is always a sign of good food :D

Ratings: JD - 4/5 Emma - 4/5

My daughter Leigh will be walking the Nidderdale Walk 2014 next month for the Cavernoma Alliance UK charity. It's a charity she particularly wants to support because when she was 18 months old we found out she had a cavernoma and had to have brain surgery to have it removed. She's since had 2 more operations and we all feel very lucky that she's so unaffected by such intrusive surgery. I feel really proud that she wants to raise money to help the charity and we'll be doing the walk as a family to support her.

This is our donation page on Just Giving ---> and it'd be fantastic if anyone feels they want to help out with a donation.


Emma xx

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Saturday (Late again, sorry!) Sandwich 11: Mexican Torta

Ooh this one looks like a good one! It might score reasonably high on the hassle scale but what are Sundays for if not making a slightly elaborate sandwich :D

Ingredients: Chorizo, tomatoes, red onion, lime, chilli flakes, coriander, avocado, ciabatta rolls and refried beans.

Chop up the tomatoes, red onion and coriander then add the chilli flakes and lime juice to make a spicy salsa. Leave it to mix together.

 Mash up an avocado and add salt and lime juice.

Fry the sliced chorizo until charred (it's burnt on purpose I'm not a maniac!)

 Slightly toast your ciabatta bread and then dip in the chorizo oil in the pan (aw yeah). Spread the avocado on the bottom half of the bread then add the chorizo slices.

 Top with salsa. Now spread refried beans on the top half of your bread and sandwich together.

 Admire the Mexican work of art you have created for a moment and then devour.

This sandwich was great in many ways. Firstly it's huge. It's a bulky sandwich that's really satisfying to hold. The textures are great too. The crusty bread is covered in smooth refried beans and smooth avocado plus has the chewy chorizo inside. Chorizo is sooo tasty, it's greasy and delicious but in this sandwich it overpowers the other flavours a bit. I would've enjoyed tasting the salsa more but it was difficult to. JD said it would be better with thinner slices of chorizo so we might try that sometime. He also pointed out how great the sandwich looks, the fillings are coloured quite brightly and it makes for an attractive sandwich :)

Ratings: JD - 4/5 Emma - 3/5

I think this has been the sandwich we've enjoyed most so far but our quest for the perfect sandwich is still ongoing!

Monday, March 31, 2014

Non-Processed Food Month Finishes

Today is the last day of the Non-Processed Food Challenge and to be honest we're not sorry to see it finish. Making all your own food is hard work most of the time. It's all fun when you're in a baking kind of mood but when something runs out and it needs making again over and over it can get a bit tedious.

Before we started this challenge we already made a decent amount of our food ourselves. We made muesli for our breakfasts, wraps for our lunch and usually made our evening meal from scratch (using the odd convenience food to help us along). The reason for trying to use no processed foods was to see how we'd cope doing without sauces, processed snacks and drinks.

We learned how to make lots of things we hadn't previously. Peanut butter was one thing we tried. It was great because it's easy to make and tastes great but the peanuts to make it cost twice as much as a jar of peanut butter. Nutella is the same, who knew hazelnuts were so pricey! Hummous is one of the best things we made. It's cheaper and tastier homemade. Muesli is great too because you can put in what you like and change the sweetness to your own taste.

The biggest change was switching the kids' snacks. Erin loves crisps but this month we haven't bought any at all. Instead we've made cheese straws and she's snacked on those instead. It's nicer to give her foods where we know all the ingredients in it because we made it ourselves. But displeasing when after a few days they've all gone so we have to make more!

Leigh used to eat crisps too or Cornettos for snacks. She asked for homemade cookies and ate those instead. Keeping up a constant supply of cookies is almost impossible especially when they want to share them with friends because they're so good.

A few things we made weren't worth the effort. Making homemade pasta sauce where you have to skin all the tomatoes was one of them. Buying a jar of sauce is going to be great. (Still going to give your recipe a try first though, Manda :)) We also tried making baked beans. Even after soaking the beans overnight and furiously boiling them for hours they weren't soft. We eventually ate them at about 8.30pm, still slightly bullet-like just so they hadn't beaten us. (They had :()

 One of the best things has been our weekly food shopping. Having a trolley full of ingredients instead of processed foods makes you feel good. Food (mostly) costs less when you make things yourself and there's a lot less packaging to throw out too. I'd say the worst thing is the pressure of making something for tea that might go wrong (beans -.-) and leave you having to quickly make something else more edible. At least with a can of beans you know they'll be consistently great. 

We're going to continue making things ourselves and experimenting with new foods to try homemade versions of. We'll still make all the foods we always have with a few new additions from this last month. If we ever eat baked beans again it'll be from a can though.

We're still deciding on our next challenge, watch this space :D

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 10 - Lox and Cream Cheese Bagel

It is said that the ringed shape of the bagel represents the circle of life and lox represents the saltiness of tears...nice cheerful sandwich for this week then!

I've always felt a bit suspicious of smoked salmon and haven't had it for years. I feel worried I won't like the texture of it. JD was brave about the banana last week though so I'll have to give it a go :(

Ingredients: Bagels, cream cheese, smoked salmon

My recipe says you can add capers or red onion if you like.

Halve and toast the bagels.

Let cool slightly then add the cream cheese and salmon. We also opted for red onion.

Top with the other half of the bagel and eat.

I enjoyed it...kind of. The whole sandwich had a nice taste and I couldn't distinguish the salmon's texture when eating it whole. The red onion added a nice crunch. JD said it was nice but weird which sums it up really. I can think of plenty of fillings I'd prefer in a bagel but mostly I like them best just toasted with butter. Maybe I'm just not posh enough to appreciate smoked salmon :)

Ratings: JD - 2/5 Emma - 2/5

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Saturday (on a Sunday!) Sandwich 9: The Elvis

You know it's going to be good if Elvis ate it, he loved his bizarre high-calorie foods :D

Ingredients: Bread, bacon, peanut butter, butter, banana and honey

JD needed a bit of persuasion to try this sandwich because he's not a fan of banana. So we compromised by making one sandwich with banana and one without so we could try both ways.

Spread peanut butter on your bread, fry the bacon and chop up a banana.

Layer the chopped banana on top of the peanut butter and then add the bacon. This is where Elvis probably took things a bit too far. You fry the finished sandwich in butter until it's all crispy and golden.

 When it's done you can optionally add a drizzle of honey to it. We used treacle.

The first bite of the sandwich was really weird but not unpleasantly so. Peanut butter and bacon go surprisingly well together with some added sweetness from the banana and treacle. JD preferred it without banana but I thought the banana made for a really different food taste that wasn't quite there with no banana. It's not a sandwich I'd eat often but it's nice to try it :)

Ratings: JD - 3/5 Emma - 3/5

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 8: Kati Roll and Non-processed food update

The sandwich this week is a Kati Roll. It's an Indian street food that originates back to the 1930s. It seems to be essentially any leftover curry in a flat bread. Sounds good to me. And by some miracle (because we find it really hard to save leftover food and not just scoff it) we have some leftover curry to use up :)

Ingredients: parathas, leftover curry

We used a mixture of leftover dum aloo that JD made and some chicken tikka massala. If in the picture our parathas look suspiciously like the wraps we usually make and not parathas at all it's entirely a coincidence.

Put the leftover curry in the 'paratha'.

Now fold it up and eat. Easy.

Ratings: JD - 3/5 Emma - 4/5

It was good. I imagine it makes a great warming street food.  It was a bit messy to eat though. JD wants to try it with actual parathas because he's a food snob and our wraps aren't authentic enough. (So do I.) It was an interesting way to eat curry anyway.


Non-Processed Food Update

We're two weeks into our attempt to minimise the processed foods we eat and so far so good. We've homemade a ton of things we usually buy. Peanut butter (crunchy and smooth), Nutella, pizza, granola, cheese straws, muesli, pesto, hummous, ice cream, oreos, spaghetti sauce, chicken kievs and more I can't think of right now.

Some have been more successful than others. Pesto and hummous have been my favourites so far. Hummous is really easy and pesto is sooo much better made yourself. The spaghetti sauce we made was distinctly un-red and the Oreos were delicious but a huge pain to make.

We have a pizza night on Fridays to go with our Friday Film so we'll be experiementing with different toppings. This week we had sausage and onion pizza. It was great.

The things I'm missing most are chocolate and I'm craving a Sprite for some reason. JD was a bit displeased with the spaghetti sauce we made (as spaghetti is his favourite meal) but I think with practise it'll get better.

Two weeks to go!

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Saturday Sandwich 7: Chip Butty and Photo Challenge Update

Today's sandwich is the humble Chip Butty. It's always been a favourite of mine so any excuse to eat one is opportunity not to be missed.

We made our own chips but baked them instead of frying them. My Mum used to make chip pan chips when I was a kid but I couldn't condone the unhealthiness of them now. My Stepmum has one of those activfry fryers that can make chips with only a tiny bit of oil. I bet it would make great chips if the roast potatoes are anything to go by.

Ingredients: potatoes, butter, bread buns, tomato ketchup

Make up your chips any way according to your preference. Put them in a well buttered bread roll and add whichever sauce you like. Has to be tomato sauce for me. Eat while hot.

Chip butties are fantastic. The butter melts onto the chips and mixes with the sauce to make it all drippy and delicious. Soft white bread buns are the best to contrast with hot slightly crispy chips. JD enjoyed it too, even though he wasn't expecting to. He also reminded me that chip butties go against my anti-two-carbohydrates-together rule. Bugger! Hoist by my own petard :(

Ratings: JD - 4/5 Emma - 4/5

In other news, I'm still doing my picture a day photo challenge. I'm up to Day 67 so far so still a long way to go! I'm not much of a photographer but I do enjoy taking pictures of our life day to day for us to look back on.

Link to my Flickr --->

Here are some of my favourites so far:

JD making one of his favourite meals, split pea soup. 

A fantastic salad with feta cheese and olives we made.

Erin having a go on a zip-wire. I also had a go but everyone was too shocked to take a picture.

Some caramel salted matzos we made when my Mum came for tea. 

Pretty scenery on a recent walk.

JD and Erin outside The Cairn Hotel where Erin went for her Big T talent audition.

Leigh when she had her braces removed.

Hope fully I can keep the pace going unless I run out of ideas. Some days I looking around at the end of the day for something to take a picture of because it's been a quiet day, hah :)