Tag Archives: ginger

Carrot Flax-bread

Well, this is certainly not what I had in mind in terms of making an impressive return to the blog scene, but since it happens to have been the first time camera and kitchen have met since, well, Pizzaphilia, I suppose it will have to do.

Let me preface this by saying that I made a quite frankly disappointing batch of flapjacks this week, friends.

Disappointing flapjack…

They contained shredded coconut, ginger and dark chocolate. Which should be yummy in itself, and I don’t think it was this flavour combination that ruined these would-be treats. No, I blame the absence of taste and feelings of OMG-give-me-more before you even swallow your first bite that flapjacks usually nail, on the total lack of butter and sugar (I’m still afraid of these things, you know) in these babies. Flapjacks should be golden and sticky. This one looks, well, anaemic, soggy, sad, and it was nowhere near sweet enough.

I’ve been doing a TON of exercise to get this summer weight OFF me, Christ, I want to SCOOP OUT the contents of my disgusting sagging pot-belly but sadly, that’s not possible, so it’s off to kickboxing/gym/circuit training for me until I have sufficiently reduced in size. Oh, and tomorrow I start swing dancing classes, which, along with melting some of this disgusting fat, should provide some hilarity as I am the least co-ordinated person ever; having kickboxing in the dance studio in which one wall is entirely mirror has well and truly confirmed this for me… sigh.

I recently returned from spending five days with the love of my life in Naples – the land of fat, carbs and alcohol. I ate the most delicious food on the planet and I left no stone unturned when it came to sampling the delights of Italian cuisine; let me tell you, the mozzarella is to DIE for; the gelato, the coffee and the red wine, utter perfection. I ate pizza upon pasta upon gnocchi upon ice-cream, upon more pizza and more ice-cream, drizzled with olive oil and washed down with countless espressi, cappuccini and bicchieri di vino rosso. Half-board at the hotel meant we were treated to a buffet breakfast every day of cornetti, little biscuits and pastries, even cake, for goodness’ sake, as well as the best scrambled eggs I think I have ever tasted. And with marinaras and margheritas for €3 a pop, well, we could afford to eat a pizza a day, and we did. I totally forgot what it was to even be aware of what I had eaten in a day, let alone count calories or worry about things like double-carbs or fat content.

But the sheer gluttony didn’t end there. When we got back it was our three-year anniversary as a couple, and the day saw us polish off burger and fries and iced coffee that for some reason had ice-cream in it at Brighton’s infamous American diner; a large chocolate milkshake tided us over to red wine, calamari, bread, and yet another pizza in the evening at our favourite Italian restaurant. Needless to say, this summer has left me feeling somewhat… squishy.

I have had enough junk to make up for all the sugar and fat and carbs that I have not allowed myself to eat over the course of the last few years, and should probably see me through the next lot of neuroses to come as a result of gaining I don’t know how much weight from the careless, foolish but oh-so-much-sinful-FUN of Summer 2012. (Well, my BMI said I could have done with gaining a few lbs but of course, that does nothing to comfort me. Oh well, roll on next week’s kickboxing session). The good news is, despite feeling incredibly anxious at the concept of actually having gained real proper mass, I feel wholly more relaxed around junk. It’s not going to kill me. And actually, I feel much happier and can exercise a lot harder when I eat. I know now where I’d rather be.

Anyway, here’s a healthy thing that I made tonight that shouldn’t be marred by the absence of butter and sugar (seriously, what was I thinking? Flapjacks should be made with these things or not at all). It all started with a carrot glut and a recipe for Jamaican Carrot Juice (more on that later). I call it, Carrot Flax-bread.

You see, when you make carrot juice (I freakin’ LOVE carrot juice), you end up with a lot of pulp. It takes like, ten carrots to get one tall glass of juice. Then you take the lid off your juicer and you’ve got the semi-dried out remains of ten carrots, and dumping it all in the bin just makes me feel like a huge wasteful cow.

So here’s what you do:

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C.
Take the contents of your juicer after you’ve made your delicious carrot juice.
Scoop them into a bowl.
Add a few tablespoons of flaxseed, a teaspoon of cinnamon and half a teaspoon of ground ginger. Mix with a spoon.
Roll it together to form a ball with your hands. If it doesn’t stick, add more flax and keep stirring.
Flatten out mixture onto a baking tray lined with parchment.
Bake for 30 minutes or until crispy and sort of solid.

Eat as a snack, for breakfast, with soup, salad, with jam, peanut butter, hummus. Whatever. Gluten-free, protein-rich flat bread for you, courtesy of leftover carrots.

I think it would be equally nice as a savoury with a bit of minced garlic, a pinch of salt and pepper and lemon juice, maybe drizzle a bit of olive oil on top before you bake it to make it extra crispy. You could use it as a cheeky no-rise, lowest-of-the-low-carb gluten-free pizza base. Wow. Who knew carrot-pulp could be so versatile ?

Well, now you do.

Hope everybody had a wonderful summer.

See you at circuit training.

Amy x

Orange and Ginger Loaf: A Citrusy Tale

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“I made bread today ! Well, actually, it’s more of a cake – ”

“Every time you tell me you’ve made bread you say it’s actually more of a cake. Stop lying to yourself, you’re making cake !”

… was how the conversation went yesterday and I must admit, it is entirely true. It seems a common occurrence now that should I decide to make bread, some sort of sweetness ensues and I end up making a cake, and when I attempt to make what I think is going to be a sweet loaf, bread happens.

My reasons for referring to this as bread are as follows:

It contains no eggs.

It is baked in loaf form, in a loaf tin.

… eh, that’s about it.

In support of this concoction as a cake:

It contains a lot of brown sugar.

It was batter when I poured it in said loaf tin, not dough.

So what is this ? You decide. I am calling it a loaf. A tasty citrus loaf with ginger and cinnamon. Like banana bread, but with orange pulp. Why ? you ask. Well, let me tell you a story.

As a child/young adult, I never liked oranges. I’d drink orange juice and eat orange flavoured things, but would never eat a real orange. Recently – let’s say last year or thereabouts – I decided, for reasons that escape my memory now, to eat one. And it was an entirely delicious and refreshing experience ! I began to incorporate oranges into my daily life, cutting them into quarters, pressing each one eagerly to my mouth and chewing off every last bit of pith and flesh and slurping at the juices like a hungry and overzealous monkey.

(Just so you know I should be writing an essay about 20th century avant-garde performance art right now…)

I revelled in my new-found love of oranges for a few months until one fateful day, I think it was around this Easter, back at my parent’s house. I cut up my orange as usual and sat myself down in front of the television, a bowl in which to discard the skin placed on the arm of the sofa, unaware of what was to come. I lifted an orange segment to my face and was met with the most utterly tasteless, textureless, pithy disgusting mess I never thought my precious citrus fruit wonder capable of producing. I spat it right out, shocked that I could be so betrayed by my fruity friend. It was obscene. Denied my orangey treat, I threw the remains in the bin; I put it down to an unfortunate anomaly of nature, how queer. But the next time I ate an orange, the same thing happened ! And again, and again. A bad batch, perhaps ? Wait a few days or so for the supermarket to restock. But no. Ever since the initial incident, I have yet to sample an orange that I did not immediately spit into the bin. Not again ! Where have all the good oranges gone ? So I abstained from oranges for a period of time.

The other day, I thought it time to readdress my complex, and spent a whole £1.50 at the supermarket on 4 British Navel oranges. I ate one. It wasn’t perfect, but it sufficed. I ate the whole thing. The next day I ate a second one. Unnacceptable. One bite, then straight into the bin, I’ve been cheated again ! Left with two scheming and deceitful oranges I had no intention of eating on their own, I headed straight for the internet for some kind of baking punishment for the pair.

In the end I just used a vegan banana-bread recipe, with a few tweaks.

Here’s what you need:
1/3 cup butter or vegan spread
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 large oranges, juice, pulp and zest
2 teaspoons grated fresh ginger
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup regular or soy milk
A teaspoon vanilla extract

Do this:

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C

Cream together the butter/margarine and the sugar

Sift in the flour and the baking powder

Add the orange zest, cinnamon and ginger and combine

Stir in the orange juice and soya milk, alternating a dash of each one at a time to ensure the mixture doesn’t become too runny, but you still want it quite gloopy. You might not need all the orange juice.

Pour into a greased loaf tin and bake for 40 – 45 minutes

Amy x

What I ate last week pt. 3

Can you see the apple cake ?! I had SIX PIECES...

Here is last week’s food diary for you (I bought a sketchbook – bye bye, medium-ruled, hello, class).

It was a busy week. We got a new carpet in our living room, which in our house is upstairs because that’s where the biggest room is. So mine being the second biggest (first in the house on move-in day, boo-yah) we had to store all the furniture in there while the carpet was being fitted. Cue a fun few days of moving a sofa and two armchairs up and down our incredibly narrow staircase. Nightmare. (See the picture of me there trapped under the armchair like some sort of comfy turtle.) Also did a bit of guinea-pig-sitting for my friends over the road while they tried to hide any traces of sawdust for their landlord inspection, so he had to fit in amongst the chaos somewhere too. Hectic !

So here’s a non-food-related “DIY furniture removal” compilation for you. (Photography by Tom Burton.)

I’ve already made a menu plan for next week. Obviously it’s pretty angelic at the moment but as always, it is subject to change. Planned Cake is boring. Spontaneity Pie is where the pleasure lies. I bought these amazing dried fig bite things in the expensive convenience store in Victoria Station on a whim, well, mainly because on the front is the slogan “Food for Health” – how could I honestly refuse ?! Very much looking forward to these.

Also my Graze box is coming on Tuesday, yay ! Use this code: 7N1PQH2 if you’ve never had Graze before to get your first box free and your second half price, courtesy of me ! I very much like their nutrition philosophy at Graze, you should check them out.

AND I also made the crystallised ginger !

Had to leave it to cool completely overnight. I reckon it still needs more time. Soon I’m going to coat it in dark chocolate. I’m so bad ! (But not really because ginger helps digestion and dark chocolate contains antioxidants and raises your serotonin levels, which, what with this harsh November weather, I am definitely going to need.)

Ciao x

(Tommy helped with the ginger photos. Check out his stuff.)

(Learn how to make candied ginger)

Things I am going to put ginger in

Let me detail for you a few happenings that led me on a journey. A long and arduous journey, through much trial and trepidation, to this pursuit. (Well, I’m just being poetic now.) They said I couldn’t do it, they said it wasn’t possible, but I’ll show them, I will !

On Thursday night a few of my friends and I went to the ENO to see The Marriage of Figaro (what we saw isn’t relevant, I just want everyone to know how cultured I am). Post-opera, our fancies tickled and our intellects roused, we decided that all the red wine, organic cherry-flavoured beer and deeply intelligent conversation had rendered us all a little peckish. So on arrival at Victoria station, we all scattered in the directions of our various chosen food outlets. Amongst our choices were Burger King, Upper Crust and The Sweet Express, all with their delightful, delicious array of quick snacks of suspect nutritional value. I however could not feel the least bit tempted by a dilapidated baguette (although Upper Crust’s mozzarella and tomato one is pretty good – probably because there is also basil in it; I don’t think I need to re-outline my thoughts on basil by now – but goodness knows you will EVER catch me eating white carbs at midnight in a train station, unless I’m really, really drunk. In which case bring the lot, is that it I SAID THE LOT) let alone a flappy old burger, so I made my little old way to a (HIDEOUSLY OVER-PRICED) convenience store supermarket-type-thing.

Thus began my first challenge. I figured out the feta salad, reflected upon the roasted vegetable wrap; I studied the cereal bars, pawed the pomegranate seed punnet and mulled over the mango pieces until I found this.

Beetroot juice !

What on earth possessed me to buy beetroot juice, you ask ? I wonder this too. I’ve never had it. I don’t know what it tastes like. I’ve eaten beets before (they’re utterly FANTASTIC in crusty brown bread with hummus and rocket) but have to admit that I have never once in my years suckled its sweet nectar.

So naturally I looked up the nutritional properties of beetroot and its juice (I didn’t end up drinking it on the train – hours of standing in heels, an incredibly crowded last train and eager conversation made me feel too sick and dizzy to consider it. Also maybe the cherry beer went to my head) and it turns out that beetroot is a superfood ! (Okay, I KNOW the term “superfood” is a marketing tool and probably not much else, scientifically speaking, but know that when I use it I mean a SUPER HEALTHY FOOD OF RAPTUROUS PROPORTIONS.)

Here is some illustrative science for you: the nitrates in beet juice = reduction in oxygen uptake = exercise feels less tiring.

NO FREAKIN WAY. Godsend ?!

On Mondays and Tuesdays I take on the dreary and wearisome task of walking the 3 miles that separate my house from my university. I will definitely be consuming this juice for breakfast on those days next week for a supercharged beet-fuelled power walk. I have visions of a Wonder Woman-esque muscle march, smoke billowing from my heels, though something tells me this might not happen. Sigh, I can dream…

Wonder Woman loves beets too

So whilst on my beetroot search I stumbled across, and was subsequently inspired by this blog, specifically the post about beets and the little picture with the caption: “In my garden today: beetroot, banana and ginger smoothies.” WHY CAN’T I FIND THE RECIPE FOR THIS, on the blog or anywhere on the internet ? You’re telling me that the internet has 2 Girls, One Cup and Stuff on my Cat but it can’t tell me how to make a beet smoothie.

Well this is how I’m going to make it: by blending a banana, the little bottle of beetroot juice, a teaspoon of ginger and half a pot of soy yoghurt, which should serve me for 2 breakfasts. Bam.

Wait… wasn’t this supposed to be a post about ginger ? I did warn you the journey would be arduous.

So we were at the opera… Victoria station… beetroot juice… beet, banana and ginger smoothie… Wonder Woman… oh yes, I remember now. This means that I will buy fresh ginger; a sizeable chunk despite my efforts to find the smallest piece possible in the supermarket. Then I will have ginger in my fridge after using but a mere teaspoon for the smoothie. What will I do with all this excess ginger ?  Ginger stimulates healthy digestion (speeding up the movement of food from the stomach into the small intestine, according to The Healthy Living, amongst other web sources) so it would be beneficial to get the most out of this tasty tuber.

I often use it in stir-fry, but I’m not having stir-fry next week.

Can I put ginger in oatmeal ? All I found when I Googled ‘ginger oatmeal’ were cookie recipes (sorry, but no). I think heating some grated ginger in your milk before adding oats would make for tasty porridge, maybe with some cardamom… I might try this anyway (watch this space, it might suck, which would be funny).

A lot of ginger chicken dishes popped up too in my search, which just isn’t going to happen.

I did find a ginger apple honey smoothie, which is just all those things with water to thin. Blend it up good. Going to make that for breakfast next week.

I also used to make a cool smoothie recipe I came across that involves papaya, pear, tinned peaches, mint and ginger. That was pretty tasty.

I could also make ginger tea – just boil some slices of fresh ginger root in some water and add honey and lemon to taste. Drink after meals to aid digestion and avoid bloating and digestive discomfort (sexy).

Or I might just be a total swine and candy it. Here is a method that I found. Could be a cute little treat snack to have lying around, or to put in oat bread next time I make it… it’s likely to improve my weird ginger oatmeal idea too.

We shall see.

Love and sweet things,

Amy x

Easy Tofu Marinade

Happy 5th November !

I was going to make tofu stir-fry with red peppers and noodles for lunch but I just felt like that wasn’t, y’know, BEEFY enough. I mean, not literally beefy but like, filling, substantial, hench, chunky… you get the idea.

So I did what I seem to be doing a lot of at the moment: looking up recipes off the bat, but I had a specific ingredient in mind other than tofu: peanut butter. I’ve come across tofu peanut butter recipes before but never bothered to make them, but I just had a total craving for it today. It’s so comforting and warm and yummy, which I think is very fitting considering I will be spending the most part of my afternoon onwards at the fireworks tonight in Lewes !

This is what I found. As I’ve said before, I just love it so much when you look up a recipe ingredients list and you can just make it right there and then without even having to step foot outside your house if you don’t want to. (Yes, I went for another run, it ain’t getting easier yet but I still hold out some hope that I’ll be able to get back into the swing of it someday…)

Again, I’ve adapted the recipe for one and for what I had in the cupboard. I also work in a very slapdash, “chuck a bit of this in” manner, which you may already have noticed, or are yet to find out that recipe measurements in this blog are incredibly vague !

This is what I did:

You need:

As much tofu as you have/want to eat. I had about 100g

Low-fat peanut butter

Soy sauce

Olive/vegetable oil

Vinegar

Maple syrup (I used honey)

Ginger (I didn’t have any, sadly)

Garlic

Boiling water

Pepper

Method:

Grab a small bowl. Fill it about 1centimetre high with boiling water.

Add 1-2 tablespoons of peanut butter (I used smooth) and mix in.

Splash in a bit of soy sauce (how much depends on how much you like it), vinegar, about a teaspoon of honey and a sprinkle or 2 of pepper. Keep stirring. Chuck in a small clove or half a clove of crushed garlic and ginger if you have it. Microwave it all for about 30 seconds if the peanut butter is cloying.

Slice up your tofu as you like it. Place in the marinade and turn until all tofu is covered.

Marinade in the fridge for at least 1 hour.

Place in a baking dish and bake at 180 degrees for 25 – 30 mins.

Serve with noodles or in a tortilla wrap. I’m gonna stick my red peppers in the baking dish with the tofu and put it all in a wholemeal wrap. MIAM.

Calories per serving (when reduced fat PB is used; not incl. pepper and wrap/noodles): 288; fat: 17.3g; of which saturates: 4g

Love from Amy (double-post extraordinaire) x