Tag Archives: avocado

Pizzaphilia

Hi.

Just stopping by to tell you about the pizza I made for dinner this evening.

I left all my exciting new flours in Brighton so this base is standard wholemeal flour, you can use the gluten-free one if you like.

From bottom to top:

Pizza base, pre-baked.
One avocado, whizzed up with garlic, salt, pepper and lemon juice.
Spinach, blanched.
Parmesan cheese.
Steamed butternut squash.
Sundried tomatoes.
Egg, poached or fried.
Rocket.

Warm toppings through in oven for about 10 minutes once the base is cooked.

Is there anything more satisfying, nutritious, diverse, delicious and quite frankly perfect than home-made pizza ?

You couldn’t find a more straightforward path to my heart.

Summer is here and the Squirrell family are having a barbecue tomorrow.

See you then x

A Message from my Coma

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Monday: 8am: wake up. Tea. 1 hour of yoga. 50g of porridge made with water; mixed seeds; agave syrup. Essay. 1pm: cycle in to town for 3 hours of health and safety training for volunteering at Boomtown Fair festival with Oxfam this summer. 5pm: cycle home. Apple. Banana. Hot chocolate. 1/2 a homemade pizza. The Emperor’s New Groove. Bed.

Tuesday: 8am: wake up. 50g of porridge made with water; banana; agave syrup. 10 mile run. 3 medjool dates, hot chocolate. 80g of green lentils; 1/2 an avocado; watercress; roasted red onion/cherry tomatoes. Cycle to uni. Apple. Essay. Composition. Lecture. Cycle home. Tea. Make/eat tofu lasagne. Pub. Glass of red. Home. The Nightmare Before Christmas. Bed.

Wednesday: 9am: wake up. Pillow talk. 1/2 an avocado, chocolate soy smoothie. Leftover lasagne. Apple. Walk into town. Shopping. Cinema. Walk home. Banana. Vegan linguine carbonara. TV. Bed.

Thursday: 8am: wake up. 35 minute run. 3 medjool dates. Soy yoghurt; banana; agave syrup. Cycle to uni. Lecture. Cycle to supermarket. Cycle home. Tea. 1 1/2 hours of yoga. Lasagne. Cello. Tea. Apple. Extended sleep. Linguine carbonara; steamed spinach. Cello. Banana sorbet; dark chocolate chips; agave syrup.

Which brings us to now.

I’ve spent the latter part of today lying on my bed, watching sitcoms online that I’ve seen a hundred times, too tired to move. Falling in and out of sleep with my music on. It’s been quite nice, except for I’m cross. For no apparent reason.

I’m exhausted. I’m irritable. I haven’t eaten a dairy product in 11 days. I’m simultaneously starving and have lost my appetite entirely.

I’ve been Facebook-stalking myself (does anyone else ever do this ?). A particular set of pictures from August last year has caught my attention. Being in the state in which I find myself recently, I find the fact that I have even noticed this at all rather distressing.

I look so happy…

… and yet I was at least a stone heavier last August, than I am now.

Looking through the series of pictures and seeing my laughing face in each one just sends an entirely surreal feeling through me. Like it’s starkly obvious how miserable I’ve become, comparing my current mood to how carefree I seem in these pictures. And I remember that day; we drank gin and lemonade out of a plastic bottle and ate chips on the beach – I wasn’t demon-free then but I did these things nonetheless, and I obviously enjoyed myself.

I saw a skinny girl in the cinema eating popcorn and it troubled me for at least 5 minutes how she could possibly allow herself to eat that and still be so slim, when I myself had just passed on a soy cappuccino because I just could not be bothered with the calories. Even though I’ve not been counting, and I feel okay with that. But I got ratty because I had to rearrange my running schedule. Then I got sad that I was ratty about something so ridiculous. I cried on my boyfriend about the same old thing; I’m scared of eating. I make stupid food rules for myself that I cannot allow myself to break. It’s turning me into a bitch.

The counsellor that I saw a few months ago (and who was the reason I decided to quit voluntary counselling after one session because he was so irritating) stopped me as I traversed campus and offered me a promotional stress ball with the university counselling services contact information on it. I wonder if he recognised me. Probably not.

I had this weird dream where I was doing my A levels (I already did them 3 years ago and got all Bs…) but I didn’t know when any of my exams were except that they were definitely all that day, and everyone was naked, and they told me to get naked so I did but then suddenly no one was naked anymore and I was the only one who was naked, and then I got my exam timetable and my performance recital was in 10 minutes and I hadn’t practiced with my duet partner. Running my hands over my body all I could feel was skin and bones and it was terrifying and I was disgusted. Then I was running around my neighbourhood but the floor wouldn’t stay still.

Is this too angst-ridden ? Yeah.

What have we learned ? That my friends and I have excellent taste in films. And that I need to sort my life out.

When the sun comes out I’m going to the seafront with the first person who will accompany me, and we’re going to buy a huge portion of chips and eat it on the beach and I’m not going to give a monkey’s how it may or may not affect my figure.

Who’s up for it ?

Amy x

Potato Gnocchi and Marathon Training

More on these later...

I appear to have taken an inadvertent Christmas break from blogging, mainly because I’ve been working over the holidays and subsequently not cooking, which certainly is a tragedy. But I intend to remedy that; now I’m back at uni and back to my own kitchen, I have free reign to buy/cook/eat whatever I want sans interruption.

Many things have occurred since I’ve been away from the blog ! These are them…

1. My recent announcement that I am to attempt the Brighton marathon this April was met with surprise and a fair amount of scorn from my friends. I applied on a spur of the moment fitness frenzy after reading a beginner’s training programme and thinking, I could so do that ! Notwithstanding those peers who have been very supportive (thanks !), it wasn’t until I revealed my plans to everyone that the looks of horror and derisive comments began to spark a panic that I’d signed up for something dreadful. But I am a runner and I started training last week so fuck you all, I can do this. (I do realise that just maybe no one was being sarcastic or doubtful in the slightest and it’s just me not thinking I’m capable that’s causing me to project my own fears onto my friends to make myself feel better about being nervous, but then I decided that pushing myself out of my comfort zone can only ever be a good thing. So it’s settled. I’m running it, bitches.)

2. Two words: Punch. Fork. If you’re not that into porn but really, really, REALLY love wasting your time looking at artful pictures of food, well THIS is what the internet has to offer YOU, my friend !

3. I’ve been listening to Beyoncé. She makes me feel so EMPOWERED… on the inside. On the outside I’m just hopelessly white with no ass and really bad at dancing. I know this because after being particularly seized by Beyoncé’s personal brand of diva-attitude I was compelled to, er… booty-shake my way across the kitchen, all the time watched by my incredulous housemate. Tom’s face said it all really.

4. I’m growing an avocado tree ! See how you can too here.

5. I made potato gnocchi. As with many of my edible concoctions, it was because I had a load of new potatoes that I got sick of (turns out my taste buds’ collective attention span isn’t capable of getting through an entire bag in a week) but couldn’t bear to throw away, and I’m pretty sure you’re not really supposed to use new potatoes for gnocchi but hey, I’m not picky. And all you need for these little Italian potato dumpling-y wonders is potatoes and flour! Some recipes call for olive oil and egg, which would probably make them tastier but hey, I just love them for their doughy, squishy, comfort-giving properties. And they are fantastic in pomodoro sauce. Actually I did put a bit of olive oil in the dough because it’s good for your heart and stuff. (Hey, I’m training for a marathon, don’t you know…*)

I KNOW they're lumpy... I am impatient

* expect an increasing tirade of righteous comments like this from now until April, where I’ll likely be reduced to something along the lines of “HELP, I’M RUNNING A MARATHON SOON, KILL ME NOW.” Or just mere expletives.

So anyway, gnocchi ! I have, until recently, remained fairly gnocchi-unaware. I can still count the number of times I’ve eaten them on one hand, the first time being in the shared kitchen of a delightfully kitsch youth hostel with brightly coloured walls in Naples, 2009 (how long ago that seems now). They were in a cheesy tomato sauce and I think that is the way I will always enjoy gnocchi. Once they’re made you can poach them in a saucepan of boiling water – they sink to the bottom and after about 1 minute rise to the top, that’s when they’re done and you can douse them in sauce. Or you can bake them with some fried onions and garlic, tomato sauce, mozzarella and basil topped with breadcrumbs and parmesan.

Some other gnocchi pairing ideas include: cheese sauce of your choice plus vegetable (spinach and ricotta; blue cheese, artichoke and walnut), pesto, or simply toss poached gnocchi in olive oil, salt and parmesan. I’m practically drooling right now.

How I made gnocchi (the implication that this is not how you are supposed to make gnocchi is entirely intentional, I must assure you; nevertheless gnocchi did indeed occur at the end of this recipe):
Boil about 10 new potatoes for 15-20 minutes
Drain potatoes and leave to cool before peeling.
Mash them like a mother-bitch. (Seriously, I left lumps and it wasn’t cool. The gnocchi are still nice but… just mash those ‘taters…)
Add some all purpose/wholemeal flour and knead until dough happens… maybe about 300g ? I honestly can’t remember. (Wow, this is turning out to be a useless recipe post…)
Add a dash of olive oil during kneading
Roll out dough into slim worms and cut into 1cm pieces on a lightly floured surface
Roll into gnocchi dumplings ! (See here for a cool video on how to do this, I promise it’s not as hard or as weird as it looks… I did not use this recipe to the letter, though it served nicely for inspiration.)
Poach, bake, or freeze until you are ready for glorious gnocchi-comfort and wonder. Can you handle it ?!

You can also make them in the same way with sweet potato, apparently. Delicious !

6. I’m running the Brighton marathon. Sorry, did I already mention that ? I did ? Okay… just making sure…

Best wishes for 2012, make it a good one. Eat more good stuff, eat less filth, go for more walks, stop wearing fairisle print, change the things that bug you and learn to accept the things you can’t change.

Amy x

Little Update

I just want to make a brief reference to the weekend’s vlog experiment. My friend, Ellie (whose ever-eloquent, intelligent and insightful blog you can read here) said to me on Saturday night: “I watched the videos on your blog. It was kind of like just watching someone go completely insane,” which, I think sums it all up perfectly. I also take this entirely as a compliment.

So instead of my weekly visual food diary – which I haven’t done for reasons that will later be outlined – I thought that I’d just post a few little updates as to the culinary treats I’ve been keeping myself busy with in addition to the ones documented in the videos.

On Monday night I made pizza with spinach and caramelised onion. Which I’ve eaten now so uh, no pictures. Also, Tommy left his camera at home so now I will have to make do with borrowing his iPhone instead of his swanky camera… like that’s a hardship compared to my total lack of camera/smartphone…

I made way too much dough. So then I made garlic flatbread and a few dough-balls with the aforementioned garlic butter to keep in the fridge until I fancy them. Had the dough balls with an avocado salad, with enough dough left for garlic bread to have with some baked cod tomorrow night ! Divine.

I used Jamie Oliver’s dough recipe, subbed the white flour for wholemeal and with all quantities halved… then halved again. This was still a COLOSSAL amount of dough. I recommend halving again ! Although his recipe was for 6… maybe I should get some more friends…

I also made oat cookies (with cinnamon, figs and dark chocolate) which I ended up taking to an impromptu Christmas gathering at my friends’ house (the ones who own the guinea pig !).

What was freaky about this was that in the space of about an hour I got the spontaneous urge to bake, stumbled almost immediately across a low-cal oat cookie recipe for which I already had all the ingredients (whose link I have already lost), and no sooner had I put the cookies in the oven did Will from over the road call to invite us over later for sherry and mulled wine. Great, because it means I won’t eat them ALL (despite having a cold and not being able to taste one lousy bite when I had a sneaky sample. Ultimate disappointment. Tommy and Priya said they were good, but they can hardly say otherwise, can they … ?).

In other news, I’m trying so very hard to stop calorie-counting. I know in the long run it makes me miserable, but not knowing exactly how much I’ve ingested each day makes me incredibly nervous. In a horrible way that I’ve never before experienced, I’m sort of dreading the Christmas period and how I choose to handle it; will I gorge myself and feel insanely guilty and depressed for a long time afterwards ? Or will I restrict and deny myself throughout and end up ruining my and everybody else’s good time ? I can already feel the temptation, nay, expectation for me to stuff my face “because it’s Christmas” creeping closer and closer; my mother posted my chocolate advent calendar to me the other day, parties and meals are being planned, all the shelves in all the shops are full to bursting with chocolate and everywhere I look there are adverts for low-price festive food and drink.

I know a lot of people gain weight over the holiday and that’s fine. But I just don’t know if I can handle the guilt and self-loathing that will inevitably come when I step on that scale on January 1st 2012. Just don’t weigh yourself ? you say. But I will.

I am a total hypocrite, I know (see Alarming Thoughts and Love and Advice) but it’s just the way I think and I can’t help that. Giving other people the nutritional advice that I have stumbled across during my rocky relationship with food makes me feel good, but it clearly doesn’t mean that I’ll necessarily follow it myself. It is certainly very tricky, although hopefully if I deal with the obsession in the right way, it will gradually get better with time and positive thinking, and ultimately I will learn to not be so uptight…

This is why I haven’t drawn a food diary. I think, whilst cute and fun in small doses, that my keeping such a close eye on what I’m eating is becoming just a little bit damaging. So I deleted my food diary/calorie counts from my computer so that I couldn’t look at them and made myself forget exactly what I did eat last week, so therefore am unable to draw a food diary today. I hope to be able to do one next week though !

So plans for this week:

1. I bought a bit of goat’s cheese to have in a bagel with my fig jam… I do hope this cold clears up so that I can taste by the time I decide to dig in !
2. I may have to make some kind of potato gratin-esque dish (although I will obviously have to substitute something for the cream… no no no) because I have leftover mozz from the pizza I made and some potatoes that are about to spoil. I’m sure I’ll make something up.
3. For my birthday in October, Tommy bought me a set of posh jams, of which I have polished off the raspberry. This week, I start the marmalade. I am excited.

And lastly, prepare for a spot of relief from my greasy-haired, baggy-trouser-ed hippie vegetarian culinary escapades in the form of my bouncy blonde, full-face-o-makeup, clean-shaven nubile sister, Meg. She is also a wise cooking owl and has been baking for many years; she will be making Christmas cupcakes as an Amy Eats guest. Watch this space !

Ciao for now, my pets.

Amy x

Avocado, how I love you

These beauteous, nutritious and delicious Mexican fruits are without a doubt my most favourite food at the moment. Okay so there are about 300 calories in a whole avocado (which I have been known frequently to consume in one sitting), and about 30 grams of fat (eek!) but studies have shown that the avocado is actually incredibly beneficial to weight loss programs.

Reasons why one avocado is better than your dinner:

It contains about 4g of protein

It contains healthy mono-unsaturated fats (which apparently speed up metabolic rate AND reduce cholesterol)

It has the vitamins and minerals of green vegetables including vitamin E and C, folic acid and vitamin K (among many more I am sure, look it up)

It is high fibre and low carb (what an angel) which helps regulate your digestion and blood sugar = good post-meal satiation = less sugar cravings throughout the day

It apparently helps your body to absorb more of the antioxidants in carrots and spinach if eaten together (so go make a frickin’ salad !).

So when you weigh up the pros 300 calories isn’t really that much, especially considering you can just whack it on a piece of brown bread with some salt and pepper and BAM, super tasty lunch.

Scoop my tasty, tasty brains !

But you can’t always eat a whole one because all the healthy fats and protein make it very filling. So what happens when you put half an avo on your sandwich, then are left with the other half that is just too damn tasty to throw away, but that goes brown faster than you can say ‘guacamole!’ ?

This:

Creamy avocado pasta (how can you not love something that has the word ‘creamy’ in its title ?!)

Serves 1

Ingredients:

½ medium avocado (or 1 whole, depending on how obsessed you currently are with avocados…ahem)

1 clove of garlic

Lemon juice

Tsp of olive oil

(God, I’m actually eating this dish as I’m typing this, food baby CENTRAL I’m eating it so fast it’s that good.)

Fresh basil

Salt and pepper, bit of oregano

Cheese (parmesan, mature cheddar, optional)

Brown pasta
(you can use white but tsh, shame on you) – I actually used Blue Dragon wholemeal noodles for this and it was really yummy; linguine or spaghetti would be awesome, or any other kind of pasta, but slurpy pasta is always fun.

Method:

Put the pasta on to cook as you like.

Put the sliced avocado, garlic, torn basil, salt, pepper, oil and lemon juice into a tall jug (to avoid av0-splash-back. This is a commonly used noun. Or least it should be.)

I recommend crushing the garlic before you blend, to avoid great hunks of garlic in your meal. Unless you’re into that kind of thing.

Blend it.

Yeah, blend it.

Blend it good.

Drain pasta. Mix in avocado-y goodness. Grate cheese on top should you wish (go on, be a devil. Remember what we said about cheese ?).

Not actually as much cheese as it looks, promise...

I am literally licking the freaking PLATE.

Nutritional values per serving, noodles and all, PLUS 15g grated cheddar (sauce made using half an avo): 413 calories, 22g fat, of which saturates 6.3g. (If served without cheese minus 60 cal, 5g fat, 3.2g sat fat.)

I KNOW 22 grams of fat sounds like a bucketful but remember all the beautiful nutritional facts about the good stuff in avocados means that you’ll feel satisfied for longer/fight cancer/absorb more vitamins/speed up your metabolism/reduce your cholesterol just by eating them. And to be honest, even if you ate 22g of fat in EVERY one of your daily meals (that’s some hefty bowl of porridge ya got there) you would still only amount to 66g a day, which is under the RDA of 70g for women, providing you snack wisely.

Phew. Feeling full.

Amy x

(p.s. this recipe is dotted around various places on the internet, I didn’t make it up. Just adapted it. When I first made it I didn’t have any basil due to what has been and which will from now on be referred to as The Basil Tragedy, so I stuck in some oregano and balsamic vinegar, just a tiny dash, and it was really tasty. Add what you will – I steamed some broccoli once and dry roasted some tomatoes to mix in. Heaven. Creamy Mexican/Italian heaven.)

(A present for KP xxx)