As it’s Chris’ birthday in December, and he’s very difficult to buy for, I had to get creative to organise presents for 2 occasions in such close proximity! To make matters worse, it was his 30th as well, so I wanted to do something special. Cue a meal and night away to celebrate, and escape the dramas of Christmas, and our recent engagement. (It was all go in December! – hence this post is only just going out…) Widbrook Grange hotel was the perfect place to relax and enjoy the occasion.
This recipe was born one chilli (get it?) January night, when I was craving a rich hearty chilli con carne, but a) had no mince in the house and b) could not muster the effort to go to the shop. So I delved instead into the kitchen cupboard reserves of tinned beans, topped it up with some veggies, added tomatoes, spices, and chillies, and was extremely pleased with the result. (Especially as I had enough over for 2 lunches!) It’s rich, smoky and satisfyingly savoury, despite all the lovely sweet veggies. I even convinced a very reluctant fiancé that it’s good! (With a little encouragement and a LOT of cheese. But you can’t win em all!) In fact, I was so pleased with the flavour that I didn’t miss the meat at all, and aside from what you serve it with (yogurt or cheese), it’s not only a vegetarian recipe, but a vegan one too! A very happy coincidence, as I want to start making some better choices about the food I eat. So naturally, I felt obliged to share this little discovery with you all – and I’d love to know what you think!
In the winter, all I want to eat is comforting, hearty food, and especially over Christmas, I probably eat a little too much of it! In January I still want the comfort and to feel full, but with a bit of health and a lot of veg thrown in. It’s a great way to recover from the over-indulging, and I always feel better when I eat better. I don’t know if that’s psychological or not, but it’s true! There are lots of different recipes to choose from, but these are 3 of my staples which I fall back on time after time. They all pack a huge veggie punch, and don’t feel like diet food either! I’ve included a stir-fry, soup and curry recipe. The stir-fry is quick and easy to cook, perfect for staving off any Chinese takeaway cravings. The carrot soup is warming, and ideal to cook in a batch so there’s some for lunch the next day (or the whole week!) too, and a veggie curry which is one of my favourite Friday or Saturday night treats, and much healthier than ordering in.
An alternative to turkey, and the star of and Christmas supper or Boxing Day Buffet, this honey and mustard gammon really is a showstopper. In my parents’ house, we have always had turkey or chicken on Christmas day, but whenever we were hosting the wider family for Boxing Day tea, there as always ham home-cooked ham in the buffet line up. While it was intended for Boxing Day tea, we always cooked it and ate it for dinner on one of the days before Christmas, usually the 23rd or 24th December. Freshly cooked, hot, and served as a roast with potatoes, vegetables and gravy, this has become one of my favourite winter dishes, and is an essential part of Christmas.
Crammed with sellers of all things food and drink, from larger companies to small artisanal producers, there is definitely something here for anyone who likes eating food. Which is everyone, right?!
This is a quick and simple dish, perfect when you’re in a hurry. Enjoy with grated Parmesan and freshly ground black pepper. Cooking time 20 minutes (trust me, it can be done!)
I cook and eat the food I love and that those around me will enjoy (hopefully!). I don’t often follow trends or diets – I don’t want to force a shoe that doesn’t fit me. It’s just not worth it. It doesn’t make them bad diets or bad ideas, it just means they aren’t meant for me personally. Our likes and dislikes keep the world interesting and full of variety, and keep inventors dreaming up new tasty ideas. I don’t believe that food is a one-size-fits-all situation! However, it is great to keep updated with new ideas. You never know when inspiration will strike, or what new delicious things you might discover! So with that in mind, I’ve had a look at the predicted food trends for 2018 from company Whole Foods, as curated by their team of super trend spotters. I’ve picked my top 5 trends that I’m most excited to find out more about, and here’s a quick round up the 5, with my verdict.