Food in June

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Lemon and blueberry yogurt loaf

I've dusted off the cobwebs on an old recipe, this lemon and blueberry yogurt loaf I made for Onken's #OnkenTips campaign. The loaf is fabulously light and fresh, with the help of a quick squeeze of lemon juice when pulled from the oven. So far I haven't shared any, I've eaten half and stowed the rest in the freezer for emergency cake situations.

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June Degusta box*

I received my first Degusta Box in the post this week and can proudly say that there's not much left. I'm thoroughly impressed with everything so far, including delivery notifications and how carefully packed everything was. Each month comes filled with different food items to try and is a great way of topping up with cupboards and trying new things.

This June picnic box comes with a variety of soft drinks, snacks, a fruit cider and vodka ice lolly. Stay tuned for a recipe using the coconut sugar; something I've wanted to try out for a while now.

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Pip & Nut

Any snacks that come in a handbag friendly form get a thumbs up from me. I recently ordered a mixed box of Pip & Nut nut butter squeeze packs to try after stalking them for a while on Twitter. Their nut butters are completely free from nasties, just nuts, roasted and sprinkled with a little salt. Handy to stow away in your work locker, handbag, car or to take out for a boost mid-run these have certainly come in handy over the last few weeks.

My favourite way to enjoy these have been squeezed over a banana whilst reading my Kindle on the train to work, to dunk apple chunks in whilst watching OINTB curled up on the sofa or drizzled over my porridge to keep me going on night shifts at work.

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Extra hot chilli sauce

I like making all manner of condiments, most especially chilli jam. But when I spotted a recipe for extra-hot chilli sauce in Waitrose's June magazine and thought I'd give it a go. The men in my family are hot sauce aficionados, so I altered the quantities and added a larger amount of scotch bonnet chillies to ensure this gave a good kick.

To make this extra-hot sauce, you will need to roast 100g red chillis, 50g scotch bonnets, 250g cherry tomatoes, 3 skin on garlic cloves and 1 halved red onion for 25 minutes. Once roasted, remove from the oven and remove the stalks from the chillies and place into a blender. Squeeze in the garlic and the onion free from skin. Add 6 tbsp water, 4 tbsp red wine vinegar, 1 tbsp dijon mustard and 1 tbsp honey. Blitz for a few minutes until smooth. Be careful when opening up the blender, it'll be hotter than Daenerys' dragon's breath. Pour into spare jam jars or bottles.

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Jim Beam's Bourbon BBQ Sauce*

To follow up from last week's post, that dreamy Jim Beam bourbon BBQ sauce is available to buy in Sainsbury's stores from this week. After using most of the jar in my BBQ shredded chicken sandwiches, I've used the dregs to stir through some baked beans for a little mix up. It tastes great!

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Zomato app

If you're into eating out, and you haven't already, you must download the Zomato app. Its a great way of being able to see reviews for nearby restaurants and you can even upload your own reviews and photos. I love being able to follow friends and to have a nose at where they've been and what they chose on menus! The app itself is seamless and super easy to use.

Check out where I've been eating, here.


I'm genuinely intrigued and looking forward to getting some fixing and organising done with a pack that was sent to me to try. Essentially, its described as play dough for adults. Its a material that dries and sets firm so you can use it to organise your kitchen knives or to fix wonky drawers. So far I've used some to stick a hook up for tea towels and its super strong. I'm looking forward to taking some inspiration from their suggested kitchen hacks as well and will report back!

Recipes I've bookmarked to try:

Brookies - Jo from Every Nook and Cranny
Gin and tonic ice lollies - Kirsty from A Dash of Ginger

Stay tuned, I have a giveaway coming up for one reader to win next month's box. Or, use the code '98VWM' to get £3 off which will last until the end of October.

Items marked with an * were sent to me to try out. I have not been paid for any posts and, as always, all views are my own. 

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Recipe: Jim Beam Bourbon BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Blue Cheese and Apple Salad

Prepare ahead for the weekend with this BBQ shredded chicken recipe. Monday's will be far improved when you get to take a leftover sandwich to work.

In order to mark the release of Jim Beam's Original Bourbon Sauce to the UK market I created this simple recipe. Its now time for us Brits to get a taste of the Americana at home.

Think ribs, wings, brisket, pulled pork, baked beans and sandwiches; Jim Beam is your guy.

I roasted a whole chicken and then shredded it when cooled. Feel free to use a rotisserie chicken from the supermarket if you need to save a little time.

Jim Beam's Original Bourbon Sauce will be in Sainsbury's from 29th June.

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Jim Beam Bourbon BBQ Chicken Sandwiches with Blue Cheese and Apple Salad
Bourbon BBQ shredded chicken, served with blue cheese salad.
  • 1 large whole chicken
  • 1 bottle Jim Beam Original Bourbon Sauce
  • 8 Bread rolls
  • 1 pack Crunch salad (greens and shredded cabbage)
  • 75g Blue cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp Mayonnaise
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, shredded
  • juice of 1 Lemon
1. Roast a large chicken as per packaging instructions. Leave to cool fully before removing all the meat and shredding into a large pan. 2. Pour the entire bottle of Jim Beam's Original Bourbon sauce over the chicken, mix well and warm on a medium heat in the pan for 30 minutes. 3. For the salad, crumble blue cheese into a bag of salad leaves, add a few dollops of mayonnaise and stir. Shred and apple and cover in lemon juice. 4. To serve, spoon a generous amount of chicken in each roll and serve with the blue cheese salad.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 sandwiches

This recipe was made for Jim Beam's Original Bourbon Sauce which was sent for me to sample.

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Recipe: Smoked Haddock with Parsley & Caper Sauce

My favourite type of mid week dinners are anything free of fuss and ideally made in as few pans as possible to save washing up. This recipe for poached smoked haddock and steamed veggies can be made in less than 30 minutes, including a homemade sauce!

Smoked haddock is my absolute favourite fish, any way it comes. In this recipe, poaching the fish in milk is a great way to make it tender and flaky. The sauce gives a fresh and salty balance, and the veggies can be steamed in one pan.

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Smoked Haddock with Parsley & Caper Sauce
A quick fuss-free supper, serve with new potatoes and steamed carrots.
  • 300ml milk
  • 2 smoked haddock fillet
  • 4 tbsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp capers
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  • 250g new potatoes, steamed
  • 2 carrot, finely shredded
1. Bring a pan of water to the boil and add new potatoes and a pinch of salt. Simmer for around 10 minutes, until tender. 2. In a large pan, add the haddock fillets and milk (add parsley stalks if you have some). Bring to the boil, cover and leave to gently simmer for 3-5 minutes. 3. Take off the heat and leave the fish in the pan to continue to steam for 5 minutes. After which, the fish will flake when a fork is pressed into it. 4. Place the fish on warm plates and set aside. Set a collander on top of the potatoes and add the carrots to steam for 2-3 minutes, whilst making the sauce. 5. Mix the cornflour with 2 tbsp water. In a small pan, bring the milk from the fish to the boil and add the cornflour mix. Stir continuously until the sauce thickens. Stir in the capers, most of the parsley and season. 6. Spoon the sauce over the fish, or around the plate. Serve with carrots, potatoes and a sprinkle of leftover pasley.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 2

This recipe was made for Leisure Cookers Fish Tribe, check out their impressive fishy shoot and other recipes here.

You may also like -

Salmon, dill and caper linguine - Fab Food For All

Haddock Gratin - Lancashire Food

Or for breakfast, Smoked Haddock Scrambled Egg - Foodie Quine

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Recipe: Chickpea & Cauliflower Satay Curry

Whilst things are warming up in the UK, there's no doubt I'm still going to be stocking up my freezer with meals for work. This cauliflower and chickpea curry is rich and creamy, and surprisingly easy to make. Make some for dinner, double up and freeze the leftovers. 

Feel free to mix things up a little, try spinach, sweet potato and peas if you'd prefer.

I'll be enjoying this on my evening shifts at work, soaking up the sunshine on the roof terrace!

Chickpea and cauliflower satay curry
(Serves 4, suitable for freezing)

2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 large garlic cloves, grated
4 tbsp tikka masala curry paste
4 tbsp peanut butter (smooth or crunchy, or even cashew/almond butter)
500g frozen cauliflower florets
2 cans of chickpeas (approx. 800g), drained
400g can of coconut milk
handful or coriander to serve

In a large pan, heat the oil and add the onion. Leave to soften for 5-10 minutes before adding the garlic. Add the curry paste and peanut butter and stir to combine. Add coconut milk, cauliflower, chickpeas and 200ml water. Season and mix well before covering with a lid and leave to simmer for 20-25 minutes. Uncover and simmer for 5-10 minutes more until the sauce thickens.

Serve with roti or chapatis and a generous sprinkling of coriander.

This curry will freeze for up to 3 months in airtight storage containers. For ease, divide into appropriate sized portion containers and label, include the date as a reminder. I tend to rotate round my freezer, new meals are placed at the bottom to ensure I use up everything else first.

When using coconut in curries for freezing, the texture can change. The masala and peanut butter should help to stabilise this but if you're unsure, follow the recipe but omit the coconut milk. Stir in 100g per portion (or 400g for the whole batch) once defrosted and reheat as normal.

For this particular curry, I also freeze individual servings of roti. The night before work I take out one portion and it'll be ready for lunch the next day at work.

Check out LG's freezer tips and hacks for some handy pointers on getting more from your freezer.

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Meals in May

A little roundup of food and restaurants I've been loving through May.

Mindful Chef Paleo Food Box

Mindful Chef is a food box subscription service offering recipes and ingredients for you to create healthy and lean Paleo meals in your own home. The Paleo diet favours meat, fish, vegetables and nuts and encourages you avoid sugar, grains and processed foods. Mindful Chef claim that after a few weeks of Paleo meals, you'll be sleeping better, skin will be clearer and tired afternoon cravings will be gone. This diet mirrors that of our hunter-gatherer ancestors, much different to the processed foods of the modern diet.

In my box for one, I had three meals. During the week I partnered these with some of my own clean recipes. Minus the batch of brownies I ate on the weekend and some wine (everything in moderation!) I did feel better for it.

The main benefit for me was that each meal is carefully planned in advance for me. The ingredients for each meal in the box come individually bagged to throw straight in the fridge. I'd come home from work, pick a bag and throw some things in a pan, scroll through my Instagram feed, then in 30 minutes have a generous sized guilt free meal.

In the week of my box the meals included were: Turkey meatballs with a red pepper, chilli and tomato sauce, Pork chop with squash, sage, kale and crisp pancetta and Chicken courgetti con pomodoro e basilico. All recipes were simple to follow and didn't require much work. I just found that the meatball recipe perhaps needed a few more pans than I'm used to during the week and a little extra washing up. Having said that, anything that stops me watching hours of Louis Theroux on Netflix is a winner!

To check out Mindful Chef's recipes for next week, take a look here.

Mum's Masala - Universal Indian Curry Base

I'll buy curry pastes from time to time, but am generally not a fan of jar sauces. When you've had the real thing, nothing can compare. I was therefore curious to try a curry base that has recently been heralded as 'the World's healthiest curry'. All ingredients within Mum's Masala are natural and nothing extra is added. This is essentially the closest you'll get to Mum's cooking from a jar.

I was genuinely impressed with this base. So easy to use and so flavourful. Mum's Masala comes in mild, medium and hot. All you need to do is pour the sauce into a pan and let it simmer before adding your choice of raw meat, fish or veggies. Add half a jar worth of hot water and leave to simmer for 35 minutes before serving. In this time your rice can be bubbling away and chipatis warming.

In my curry I added 4 chicken breasts chopped into chunks and a big scoop of frozen peas. Although next time I'd like to try using some white fish or cauliflower and sweet potato. Take a look at their recipes page here, I was impressed to see that these bases can also be used in soups, omelettes and even with beans on toast!

I'll definitely be stocking up on this again for the store cupboard. Currently MM can be found in Holland and Barrett and Morrisons so keep an eye out.

Whyte & Brown, Kingly Court Soho

With all this easy home cooking, I decided to let someone else cook for me and to add another chicken restaurant to my list of conquers in the form of Whyte & Brown. Kingly Court is fast becoming a favourite of mine, home to my favourite cupcakes in Crumbs & Doilies and my favourite burger restaurant Stax. In a bid to work around all the restaurants and bars there, Whyte & Brown was next on the list.

Including free-range Yorkshire chicken, I was seriously impressed with the variety of dishes on the menu. Think hot sticky wings, salads, whole rotisserie chicken, burgers and souvlaki.

I chose the pulled chicken bap; a gorgeous light onion bap filled with lashings of BBQ pulled chicken and blue cheese slaw. Perhaps not a first date meal, or for business meetings, but the mess is so worth it. Boy went for the summer fillet burger, tender and juicy, in a brioche bun with peashoots and a sour cream and spring onion dressing. We both 'shared' the chicken crisps to start: roasted chicken skin seasoned with W&B salt.

GBK at Home Burger Sauces

Timed perfectly for the BBQ season, GBK have released 6 sauces to help spread the burger joy at home. Burger aficionados can now create their own perfect burger with sauces and flavours used in GBK restaurants. So of course, in the name of research, I set out to try them all.

For the ultimate beef burger, try the house relish or habanero jam on a toasted brioche bun. Spread a generous layer of harissa mayo on lamb burgers or blue cheese on BBQ pulled chicken and serve in a sweet onion bun (much like the one at Whyte & Brown). For sides, try roasted carrot or sweet potato fries and dunk in the smoked chilli mayo.

Alternatively, the habanero jam is the perfect accompaniment to a cheese board, or to dunk Thai spring rolls in. Use the mayos or BBQ relish to liven up sandwiches; a little mix of both relish and mayo makes a great sandwich spread.

For tips on making your own burger patties, or just how best to cook them, I have a few pointers here.

These GBK sauces can be found in Tescos, keep an eye out!

Fish and chips on Bournemouth Beach

And not can't really beat fish and chips on the beach. My ultimate favourite meal, rain or shine.

Disclaimer: I was very appreciative to receive samples from Mindful Chef, Mum's Masala and GBK. I have not received payment for my mention of their products, I genuinely love them and feel my readers will too!

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