Pizza & Cocktails On A Hot Summer’s Day! [Ep. 29]

This video is about pizzas. And cocktails. And also cats.

I’m a total beginner pizza maker so please bear with my total lack of technique. It was mostly a bit of fun to play with our new camera lens, which gives us that gorgeous low depth of field. 🙂

Tequila cocktail:
– Bashed up lemongrass
– Lime juice
– Mango, passion fruit and orange juice
– Tequila
– Maple syrup
– Soda water
– Ice

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Music by:
Dixxy on Soundcloud.com
Jeff Kaale on Soundcloud.com

Peace, love and tequila,
Vero

Best usage of QR codes I've seen to date!

Over the past few years, QR codes have been used in various places as replacements for website URLs or to promote products. It’s always felt a little bit naff or unnecessary.

Watching TV tonight, BBC Food promoted a specific recipe by using a QR code on screen. A quick scan takes you directly to the recipe you’re looking for with a full list of ingredients. Now that’s good use of a QR code to replace what would otherwise have been a very long-form URL.

Smart move BBC!

QR code on BBC food advert

Garlic & tomato squid with spinach & broad beans

Recently, I ordered some squid from Ocado to make this Jamie Oliver recipe – Chargrilled squid with rustic guacamole. Squid is always surprisingly cheap and is very tasty when cooked right, so I recommend this recipe. As I’d bought more than necessary, I put the leftover squid in the freezer in small bundles of 2-4 cleaned squid tubes.

Tonight, getting home, I was convinced we didn’t have anything in the fridge for dinner and started scavenging around. Within minutes, I had what was needed to make garlic & tomato squid rings with spinach and broad beans. The lot was served with toasted tiger bread.

Ingredients:

  • Garlic cloves, crushed and chopped
  • Half a big jar of tomato passata
  • Broad beans (frozen)
  • Spinach leaves (mine were frozen)
  • Olives, chopped up
  • Squid tubes, chopped into rings
  • Olive oil
  • Tiger bread to toast
  • Butter

I got the first pan very hot with a dribble of olive oil, threw the garlic in for a minute and then poured the passata, popped in the broad beans, spinach and olives. Let that cook down for a few minutes until it thickens nicely. I added a bit of hot smoked paprika, cayenne and ground coriander for flavour.

Once it’s looking good, get the tiger bread toasted under the grill. Get your second pan searing hot with a bit of oil and throw the squid rings in for a very short time. Add salt and pepper and chargrill until nearly ready.

At the last minute, chuck the squid into the sauce. Get your toast out from under the grill and butter ’em up. Serve the squid in its sauce in a big bowl and use the toasted bread to mop up the lovely sauce.

Yummy, simple, quicker than a Jamie Oliver 30 minutes meal and super cheap to make!

Food, Glorious Food: Towering birthday burgers

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The towering birthday burgers we made this weekend contained (from top to bottom of the burger):

  • Toasted top bun
  • Fresh tomato salsa
  • Parma ham
  • Mature cheddar
  • Homemade burger patty
  • Fried egg
  • More cheese
  • Another homemade burger patty
  • Fresh guacamole
  • Toasted bottom bun

This followed a massive bowl of tasty chicken wings with Reggae Reggae sauce, and was accompanied by some pink cava sangria. Once we recovered from the food overdose, we topped it all up with some birthday cake! Oooofff…

Which British TV Chef Are You?

Everyone approaches life and its challenges in a different way, just like chefs approach cooking and pleasing customers in very different ways.

Are you most like…

Jamie Oliver
jamie_oliverHealthy family fun, you want to change the world and have high ideals. It isn’t always about the final result but about the process and the social change involved in what you do. Grannies think you’re cute and blokes envy your success. Everyone else just thinks you own a funky campervan.

Gordon Ramsay
Unquestionably skilled, you want the best for the other party but sometimes struggle to get your message through without offending first. You enjoy authority, are opinionated and get your way every time – often by being the loudest in the room. Most of the time people think you’re a tosser, except when they think you’re brilliant.

Heston Blumenthal
You’re a bit of a nutter – in a good way of course – and love experimenting and pushing things past their limits. You often opt for the “acquired taste” option, which leaves half the population baffled, and the other half in awe.

James Martin
You’re not bad at what you do, but you realise that luck and being born with a silver spoon in your mouth may have helped you fast-track in life. You’re charismatic when you feel like it, but when you can’t be bothered, you throw the toys out of the pram and show your true colours.

Ainsley Harriott
You like to have fun in life and it shows. You’re less worried about the quality of what you do, and a whole lot more about catering to as broad an audience as possible. You make up for the quality with humour and altruism.

Nigella Lawson
You’re charming, you know it, and you use it to your advantage. Hedonistic pleasures are no strangers to your life and you know how to have a good time, yet remain thoroughly classy.

Delia Smith
You once had it, but now you’re not to sure where and how you lost. In fact, you’re probably not really sure of where you are right now. You occasionally make dodgy time and money investments, finding yourself entirely out of your depth. Regardless, everyone thinks you’re kind of sweet.

Keith Floyd
You talk absolute rubbish most of the time, but people love seeing you because you’re always a good laugh. As long as life is accompanied by an oversized glass of red wine, you’re satisfied. Somehow your drinking, more than your cooking, has made you a legend.

Who did I forget? 😉

The tastiest homemade chicken nuggets recipe ever

It’s Sunday and I’ve got tons to do, but I couldn’t help taking a break to make some yummy homemade chicken nuggets. These were inspired by a Sainsbury’s recipe I found a few years ago when they started making these tiny meal ideas cards you can pick up on your way out. It’s evolved a bit since, getting tastier every single time we have them.

The chicken nuggets are as healthy as you want to make them, and leave plenty of room for creativity – and whatever you have in your cupboards.

Vero’s homemade chicken nuggets

Ingredients

  • Chicken strips, chopped into large bite size pieces
  • Plain fat free yogurt
  • Juice of half a lime or lemon
  • Fresh mint or coriander, chopped finely
  • Bread, preferably a little bit on the dry side
  • A handful of crisps of your choice (I usually use Pringles)
  • Parmesan, grated
  • A bit of your favourite spices (I put in sweet smoked paprika, Aromat salt and pepper

Let’s get cookin’

Turn the oven on to 190 degrees celcius and find yourself a baking tray. Mix the yogurt, lime/lemon juice and mint/coriander and set aside in a bowl.

Put your stale bread, crisps, Parmesan cheese and spices into a food processor and whizz to turn into breadcrumbs.

Now, time to start the action chain. Take your pieces of chicken, dip them into the herbified yogurt, then into the breadcrumbs. Cover with breadcrumbs and press the mountain on top of the chicken to make sure it’s well covered. Put the piece down on the baking tray. Continue until you’ve done all the pieces.

Put in the oven and turn after about 10 minutes. Usually, I leave them in for about 15 minutes, but all depending on the size of the pieces and the mood your oven is in, you may need more or less. Just cut one piece in half when you suspect it might be ready, and for Dog’s sake, don’t leave them in til they go dry! 🙂

Enjoy with some Fiery Guava sauce or some fresh yogurt and mint sauce. (Just don’t reuse the one you used to cover the raw chicken in, that’s not good for you!)

What’s that I hear you say? Om nom nom nom! That’s right!

Delia's new "cookery cheat" show: Has she lost her marbles?

Andrew and I have now watched a couple of episodes of Delia’s new cooking show where she shows busy people how to get nice meals together quickly.

Delia cooking, if you call THAT cooking...Now, what mystifies me is that while she’s targeting time-poor people, she’s unquestionably aiming for the top tier richer people. Last week, when she made her fish pie involving frozen pre-mashed potato cakes, we estimated the cost of the meal at nearly £15! For that price, you could get a delicious Marks & Spencer meal that you can stick in the oven and enjoy just as much without having to fight with frozen potato lumps and pre-smoked, pre-cooked salmon!

I suppose she’s shooting for the even-smaller niche market of those who need to pretend they’re eating “homemade” food to have a clear conscience!

Seriously… pre-mashed potatoes… Delia, honey, you can’t be serious!

You're not allergic, you idiot

As a total foodie, I find that challenging your tastebuds and trying new flavours regularly is one of the joys of life. I always feel a bit sorry for people afflicted with allergies, pregnant women (who can’t eat soft cheese or sushi!) and diabetics.

While we all need to watch what we eat to avoid ballooning in weight or croaking too young from clogged up arteries, the people above need to be doubly careful since there are serious immediate implications to giving in to food they shouldn’t have – I should know, lovely Lynsey at work nearly sneezes her brains out if she eats anything containing gluten!

When I cook for friends, I love to introduce them to new food, without serving anything TOO weird… But when someone mentions allergies, it stops me right in my tracks. Uh oh, must really watch what I put in this dish! I would feel awful to cause a friend the kind of physical discomfort that comes from a bad reaction to nuts, for example.

However, there is a nuance. There’s real allergies, and then there’s what food sissies call “allergies”. When I hear “Oh, I’m allergic to red peppers, I once had a bad experience with red peppers”, whereby they mean they don’t particularly like the taste of them, or they ate a dish which contained bad prawns which gave them the runs, and to which they associate red peppers.

That. Is. Not. An. Allergy.

Comprendes? That’s a food dislike. It’s no more serious than my sister Julie disliking mashed potatoes and spending many childhood evenings alone at the table after dinner, left there to finish her potatoes if she wanted dessert. The only thing that could have killed her there was boredom.

A one-off bad experience with fish shouldn’t be a reason to stop eating seafood altogether. It makes my blood boil that people cover their picky taste with a medical condition such as food allergies.

If you’re one of these people, do yourself a favour. Next time you go out to a good restaurant, somewhere that serves quality food, try something out of your comfort zone. Maybe give salmon a go again? I’m not saying jump straight into the raw oysters, but don’t cut out an entire range of food from your life simply because you’re too weenie to try it again.

Now, how about a chilli fried scorpion to top off that burrito?

Plastic carrier bags vs paper bags

Dear Britain,

Plastic bagsEvery year, over 17.5 billion plastic carrier bags are given out by supermarkets to enable you to take your shopping home. We all collect bags of bags, reusing maybe 5% of them at most, and disposing of the rest either by dropping them in those big supermarket bins, or at home in the usual rubbish.

The above is crap. Completely, utterly crap.

What I want everyone to ask next time they go to the supermarket is whether there are brown paper bags to use as an alternative. I find it shocking that none of the big shops, Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Asda, offer paper bags. They offer reusable bags, but being realistic, the vast majority of people are disorganised and forget their reusable bags at home, or they go immediately after work without popping home.

Supermarkets, please get brown paper bags into the stores. People, demand them and use them.

I’m far from an environmentalist and I know I probably leave a Bigfoot-sized carbon footprint on the planet, but this is one area where I think we’d all benefit.

Thank you.

Peace, love and H2O,
Vero

Oh hello there!

I'm Véro - a crafty, knitty, spinny gal who enjoys making (and drinking) a cocktail or three. If you've stumbled here, you might enjoy browsing some of my older posts with the tags over to the right or finding out more about me.

Say hi in the comments or on Twitter! :)

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