Food: Eating Meat More Ethically

Before I start, I should make it clear that this isn’t going to be a debate about whether you *can* eat meat completely ethically. Eating meat or not is a personal choice for each and every one of us to make, and one thing I don’t care for is pressure to do one thing or the other. What I do care for, however, is making sure what ever I eat makes me feel good both in terms of health, yumminess and ethically.

If you are completely against eating meat, this post probably isn’t for you. I eat meat. I find my body and mind becomes unhappy without it, and so I eat it. I also grew up with grandparents running a smallholding, so I’m comfortable with the idea of meat production and have been around that kind of thing from a fairly young age. If you’re not particularly comfortable with that idea, I’d suggest stopping reading now.

Buy Higher Quality Meat

Our goal over the next year or so is to transition to only buying meat from our butches, who assure us their producing farms rear happy and healthy animals. It means a lot to me that the meat I eat has been raised well, has seen sunshine, ran around in fields. The issue with this approach is, of course, the price. It is expensive.

For some meats, the quality of butcher-bought items far outshines it’s supermarket equivalent. In particular I find pork and steak to be infinitely better sourced from our butcher. Chicken breasts and mince I’m more on the fence about, though there is still a difference. I don’t dare try a whole roast chicken from the butcher as of yet, as I know it will bring on childhood memories and there’ll be no going back.

By buying higher quality meat, not only do I feel better about the life that animal was able to have, I’m also able to support smaller, local business and farms. Any time my money has gone to ‘Bob the Butcher round the corner’ rather than Tescos is good for me!

Become a ‘Flexitarian’ or Part-Time Vegetarian

Whether you see this as a ‘failed vegetarian’ or not, this is something I personally have seen become a lot more common recently. I have a friend who eats and cooks only vegetarian dishes at home, but will eat meat whilst eating out. I myself try to eat vegetarian breakfast and lunches at least 6 days a week, and a vegetarian dinner a couple of times a week (I’d love to up the dinners, but W isn’t quite on board!).

Some of my favourite veggie meals are Courgette, Pea & Feta Pasta, Risotto (I love Beetroot risotto, though Mushroom will always be my favourite! Make sure you used veggie friendly cheese though…), Chickpea Curry and Falafel.

Bulk out Meat-based Meals

This is kind of similar to eating less meat, but handy if you’ve got a member of your household who isn’t too fond of eating full-on veggie meals! In essence, you’re making the same meals as before, but using less meat – say around half. You can then bulk it out with veggies and pulses, so you’re still eating a ‘meat’ meal but with less impact to the environmental and your purse.

I usually add lentils to bolognese to reduce the mince needed, and a decent chilli-con-carne just begs out for lots of beans (kidney, black and borlotti are my go-tos). Chickpeas add a great texture to curries, whilst adding an egg to a fish pie is a great way to up the protein.

Eat Local/In Season

This is important whether you’re vegetarian or whether you eat meat. There’s very little point in proudly proclaiming you’re helping the environment by not eating meat when you’re eating carrots from Spain, sugarsnap peas from the US, brocoli from Jordan, avocados from South America, if you’re eating Strawberries in the winter.

Eating seasonally is SO important. Eat what’s good at that moment will mean not only does it taste better, it’s also travelled less, and will likely be cheaper too. There’s something about a perfectly fresh British strawberry that is a million times better than one that has flown several hundred miles to get to your bowl of sugar and cream!

Choose Sustainable Meat & Fish

This is particularly important for fish – there’s so much overfishing going on, when it’s not at all necessary. Instead of cod, try pollack or coley. Oily fish like salmon can be replaced with mackerel. You’ll find these options are often so much cheaper – we can buy two mackerel fillets for less than £2 which is a great thrifty meal that’s packed full of proteins and good fats.

Use All of the Meat

Food wastage is my ultimate pet peeve. I hate it. I hate the thought of shops and restaurants throwing out perfectly good food (I’m the first to ask for a doggy bag when I can’t finish my meal!), it annoys me beyond words when we have to throw out food at home. We’ve taken to trying to use every single bit of meat we buy, getting the most value out of the money we spent.

The easiest example is a whole chicken. There’s not many Sundays that go by without us enjoying a Roast Dinner, and chicken is our go-to because, lets face it, it’s the cheapest. We’ll usually get a large chicken, which will serve us generous for our roast, and will also do at least two other evening meals (and usually either a couple of lunches or a meal for one). Not only this, but we’ll also use the carcass for making stock – and it’s not as difficult or as time consuming as you’d think. Sure, a three hour simmer makes the best stock, but I frequently only give it half an hour or so. And to make it even more thrifty? Don’t cut up fresh veggies to use making stock! We throw all the odds and ends (onion tops, celery hearts, carrot peels, even onion skins) into a bag in the freezer, then use this to make stock. One large bag of veg offcuts, one chicken carcass and around 3 litres of water, simmered for up to four hours on the lowest heat possible, will give the nicest chicken stock you’ve tasted – and all out of ingredients that would have otherwise been thrown away.

Basically, one chicken will do us a roast dinner, 2-3 evening meals and stock for 3 further meals. More ideas for using up leftover roast chicken will be coming up in a post soon, but read this for an initial guide…and know that my current favourite involves frying shredded chicken with chipotle paste and piling into tacos with an avocado and sweetcorn salsa. Delicious!

Are you a meat-eater, vegetarian or do you try to combine the best of both?

Food: Where to Eat in York (My Top 5 Places)

A year on from my trip to York (almost to the day, I believe!) and I’ve finally gotten round to getting this post live. Whenever we head off on any trip food is at the very front of our minds, and it was no exception when we went to York – albeit with the exam stress I planned a bit more last minute that I usually like to! I asked for recommendations, read plenty of blogs and reviews – and we ended up eating some wonderful meals. Here’s just the top 5…

Pig & Pastry

Highly recommended by Amanda, this was high on my list for somewhere to visit. It was a tad over-busy for my tastes (it’s popular with mums and buggies, and it’s titchy-tiny) but we sat outside in the Spring sunshine which was really rather pleasant.  W ordered the Chorizo Scrambled Eggs and, whilst the portion size wasn’t huge, it was good value for the price. The eggs weren’t the creamiest we’ve had, but far from the worst, and the chorizo was both perfectly tasty and perfectly cooked.

My breakfast, however, was better in terms of both portion size and taste. I went for a special, involving a toasted muffin, a spiraled Cumberland sausage and creamy Hollandaise sauce. It was buttery, herby and absolutely delicious. Even the slight over-charring on the sausage failed to put me off scraping the plate clean.

Betty’s

No trip up to York is complete without a trip to Betty’s, and I finally posted my full review earlier this month. We avoided the usual Afternoon Tea, instead sampling a selection of dishes from Betty’s Swiss heritage. In essence it was a lunch of cheesy carbs – can’t get better than that!

Skosh

We completely lucked out here, as I only heard of the place the week before our trip – and somehow managed to grab a table at the last minute. One of my best meals of 2017, it was utterly delicious. We had a selection of small and larger plates shared between us – it’s a seasonal menu, mainly British ingredients but with clever twists. Highlights were a cod, pineapple, coconut and lentil dish, and I also loved a mackerel and melon combination.

Read my full review here.

Pairings

This is the kind of place I really, really wish existed in London. We spent a good few hours in here, with a wine flight for me and a port flight for him, chatting about everything and anything. We also put together our very own cheese and meat platter – which was excellent value and the perfect size for a meal for two. Everything was beautifully fresh, even the bread. It also introduced me to Old Winchester Cheese (it’s a kind of cross between parmesan and cheddar and is my favourite cheese ever). The only downsides were the desserts which, whilst yummy, were rather overpriced.

 

Brew & Brownie

Despite my brunch at Pig & Pastry being super yummy, this turned out to be my favourite place in York. Perfectly located for a pit-stop for coffee and cake (or a brew and brownie!), the breakfast we had on our final day was also really good – and the portion size so generous it even defeated W.

Their Brownies were excellent, with a variety of flavours available daily – my personal favourite being the Terry’s Chocolate Orange one (something about that combination of flavours is just so delicious). Hot Chocolates were both rich and light at the same time, though the lightness was perhaps diminished at my insistence of having cream and marshmallows. I highly recommend you visit here, if just for cake.

Breakfasts were also excellent. I went for the pancakes, and a year on they remain some of the best I’ve ever, EVER eaten. They were served with syrup, yoghurt and a perfect tart fruit compote – and nope, I couldn’t finish them. I enjoyed trying though! W also couldn’t finish his (a very rare occurrence!). He had ordered the Black Pudding Stack (black pudding & smoked back bacon stacked with fried hen’s egg, cherry tomato, mustard dressing, toasts). It didn’t sound overly filling on paper, but it was huge. It looked absolutely delicious, but with roasted tomatoes I obviously couldn’t steal a bite…

Have you ever visited York? Where did you eat?

Recipe: Eggs en Cocotte (Baked Eggs in Creme Fraiche)

And this, my friends, is my all-time favourite way to eat eggs at home. I mean, I LOVE boiled eggs with soliders, I love scrambled eggs (especially with pesto and parmesan) but these are whole-new-level yummy. It’s got the gooey running yolk of the boiled egg, combined with the comforting creaminess that reminds me of a pile of scrambled eggs. Best of both worlds and I could quite literally eat them every day of the week.

It took me quite a while to get the timings down for these – I’d been sticking to the “safer” method of cooking the ramekins inside of a roasting tin of boiling water but actually I find it works better just popping the ramekins directly in the oven. Whatever method you choose, once you get your cooking times right (ovens can be funny creatures, the one in this flat DEFINITELY takes longer to cook things that our previous one) I  am pretty sure you’ll fall in love with these eggs too. Creamy, peppery, a little bit cheesy. They can be jazzed up and cooked on top of things (mushrooms and leeks both work really well). But whatever you do, serve with a giant pile of buttered toast.

Recipe – to make 1 pot (I like to serve one egg per pot, you could probably add two but I find the cooking times even more difficult to master)

  • A small amount of butter, to grease
  • 3 tablespoons creme fraiche seasoned with a little salt and plenty of black pepper
  • 1 medium egg
  • A small handful of grated parmesan

Heat the oven to 160C, and lightly grease a ramekin with butter. Add in one tablespoon of the seasoned creme fraiche, and sprinkle over a third of the grated cheese. Crack in the egg, spoon over the remaining creme fraiche (try to cover the yolk, but be careful not to burst it!), then cover with the remaining cheese. If you’re adding any veggies, saute them in butter and add in between this layer of creme fraiche and cheese. Pop onto the middle shelf of the oven and bake until the eggs are cooked to you liking.

I like quite runny eggs, with the white not-quite-set and mine take 10 minutes in my oven. I reckon you’d need 12 minutes for fully-set white, 15 minutes for set but still soft yolks, and 20 for a fully set egg.

And now I’m craving these eggs. It’s currently coming up to half past five on a Sunday evening, we have a roast chicken in the oven – is it appropriate to have a dish of these a snack?!

What’s your favourite way of eating eggs?

Review: An Alpine Lunch at Betty’s, York

Now, Betty’s is well known for it’s cakes, it’s pastries, the Afternoon tea. But what a lot of people don’t realise is that their heritage actually encompasses not only Yorkshire, but also one of my most favourite countries – Switzerland. The founder of Betty’s was indeed Swiss and their influence still shines through on the menu today. From luxurious chocolates to a hearty rösti to traditional Bircher muesli, there’s hidden Swiss delights throughout the menu.

And with it being a bitterly cold afteroon and our trip to Switzerland still a few months away (our visit was shamefully nearly a year ago!) it would have been rude not to indulge…

It was a tough decision, but in the end we were both happy with our plates of food.

I went for the Swiss Alpine Macaroni, with Penne pasta, dry-cured bacon, new potatoes and a rich cream
sauce, with copious amounts of melted Raclette cheese. Oh my. This was good. However first thought of putting potatoes into a cheesy pasta dish deserves a medal. The bacon was thick, so that it was both crisp and juicy. The pasta was perfectly cooked. The cheese sauce strong, but not too overpowering. I’d happily eat this again. And again. And again.

W ordered the Bacon & Raclette Rösti – A Swiss speciality of grated potato, Gruyère cheese and cream,
pan-fried with bacon and topped with melted Raclette cheese. This, with the addition of the cream, was richer than the ones we’ve tried in Switzerland, but delicious none-the-less. I’ve just checked their current ‘specials’ menu and there’s a glorious sounding Turkey & Cranberry Rösti (yes, I am writing this review on my Christmas break, Lord knows when I’ll actually get round to posting it).

We’d planned to order a small selection from the Cake Trolley for pudding, but these mains were rib-busting (in a good way!) and we were far too full. Another time that Engadine Torte will be mine!

Have you ever been to Betty’s? Did you stick to tea and cake, or try some of their Swiss dishes?

Food: Favourite Blogger Recipes

Despite my extensive collection of cookbooks, I’m all too guilty of Googling for a recipe or some dinner inspiration. It’s something I’m trying to change, and one of the ways I’m combating this is that when I do Google, I try to use a blogger’s recipe rather than from a standard recipe site.

This has two benefits – one in that I’n boosting their views (always good to give something back to the community I guess, especially as I *try* to go for smaller bloggers), and two in that it’s giving me some (much needed) photography inspiration. And I’ve found some damn good dishes too…

These are just the ones I have personally tried and loved. Some of them I might have edited slightly, then posted the results on my own blog, some of them I love just how much they are.

Miss Pond’s Squash & Sausage Pasta – link

Now this is super-yum. I generally leave out the feta unless we have it for other recipes (mainly because having it unaccounted for in the fridge leads to me baking it with honey and slathering it on bread), but the combo of spicier sausages and squash is a winner. So, so tasty!

Half Baked Harvest’s Chicken & Orzo One-Pan – link

This is one we made only the other week. Super simple and, although it can take a while, it doesn’t take a huge amount of chopping and hands-on time. The next time we made this we’ll probably leave out the lemon slices as they were a tad bitter for our tastes – and I’ll be trying other versions too. I’m thinking a combo of mushrooms and parmesan would work so nicely with the chicken and orzo! The best thing about this recipe? It uses a small amount of wine, so the rest of the bottle needs drinking…

Rhyme & Ribbons Lentil & Mushroom Bolognese – link

You know me, I loveeee a Bolognese. Amanda was the person who first inspired me to make a vegan mix out of mushrooms and lentils and I love her for it. This is the perfect dish to have in the freezer as it defrosts easily in the pan with a bit of water, and it’s also great to take to work and heat in the microwave.

You can see my recipe for a Tomato Free Bolognese here.

Little Miss Katy’s Potato Skin Crisps – link

Okay, so this recipe is super dangerous – because you’ll never be able to throw potato peelings away again. We don’t tend to make the dip, just adding plenty of spice to the potato and devouring whilst still hot enough to burn our fingers. It’s a Sunday afternoon staple for us as we prepare our roast.

Image credit: Katy

Amy Elizabeth’s Fesenjan – link

Fesenjan was the favourite thing that I cooked in 2017, and having already made my first batch a few weeks ago it’s safe to say it’s still a dish I love. Amy Liz’s was the first recipe that I tried and, whilst I’ve edited it since (my version is here) it’s still a classic. It’s slightly safer in it’s spicing so would be the way to go if you hadn’t eaten any of the flavours before.

Cookie & Kate’s Satay Quinoa Salad – link

This is one of my go-to lunches – it makes a *tonne* of the stuff, it lasts really well in the fridge and it’s just so damn tasty. I have edited the recipe slightly (mine is here), but the original is still super tasty. The dressing is one you really have to make to your own tastes – I like a zingy kick from the lime personally.

Lottie Huckle’s Porridge – link

Okay, so I don’t get the chance to do her level of toppings on the regular morning (read: ever, because I’m always far too hangry to go that far) but I’ve taken her method of cooking my oats to heart. A long soak (I do tend to do around 20 minutes in boiling water), a slow simmer. My porridge is 100x better!

Image credit: Lottie

This post was harder to write than I thought it would be – there’s just so many food bloggers and recipes that I’ve loved recently!

Do you have any favourite food bloggers whose recipes you can recommend?

Review: The Olney Pancake Parlour, near Milton Keynes

A bonus of being a foodie blogger is that is gives you the perfect excuse to visit new places. And when a pancake parlour popped up in a charming little town not too far from my parent’s, welllll I just couldn’t say no! Olney is a favourite place of ours to go for a few hours – cute little shops and boutiques, an excellent monthly farmer’s market and a nice country park nearby to take the dog. Now this place has opened there’s yet another reason to visit.

Olney Pancake Parlour was the venue for a mum-daughter-sister date, and what a choice it was. Yes, it was insanely busy on a Saturday afternoon and, yes, service was a little slow. It was noisy with sugar-high children but that was all part of the charm. I do think perhaps table service would work slightly better, given the dishes were a little cold once the server eventually located the correct table, but that’s my biggest gripe.

With Olney being the birthplace of the pancake race, there’s already a fair bit of pressure on them to get their pancakes right, and thankfully they do. You can choose between a traditional Olney-style pancake (a little bit like a less sugary, less buttery version of a French crepe in my opinion) or a stack of fluffy American-style ones. There’s a whole host of savoury or sweet options, and vegan pancakes are available on request. Sounds good, right? The toppings were even better.

I went for the Terry’s Chocolate Orange (chocolate orange ganache, Terry’s chocolate orange, mandarin and chocolate sauce) on a traditional-style pancake and it was DELICIOUS. The orange flavour came through perfectly, cutting through the chocolate to ensure it wasn’t overly rich or sickly. The small scoop of ice-cream was just the right amount, and the addition of Terry’s Chocolate Orange segments on anything are fine by me.

My mum also join me on the traditional pancake front, going with an Apple & Blackberry Cinnamon Crumble. I really liked this, although she felt it was perhaps a tad overpriced, a little too sweet and far too much cinnamon. Well, I guess you can’t please everyone! Personally I loved the texture-combo, with the silky pancake, soft fruit filling and buttery biscuity crumble.

And then there’s was my sister’s Triple Chocolate Brownie American Stack (brownie chunks, chocolate sauce, Maltesers and Smarties). This was absolutely huge, and well worth the premium for the stack. I, quite predictably, had to help her out in order to finish it and can vouch for the fact that these were some of the best American pancakes I’ve eaten. Light, fluffy and just the right tough of sweetness. I definitely enjoyed this, though perhaps not the right choice for the faint-hearted!

Oh, and if you’re not in a pancake mood then there’s a whole host of other options – salads, breakfasts, sandwiches, paninis, jacket potatoes. But quite frankly if you’re not in a pancake mood I’d perhaps suggest you go elsewhere and leave a table spare for me! Now all that’s left is for me to return and try their pancake-themed Afternoon Tea…

What is your favourite pancake topping?

Recipe: Vietnamese-Style Caramelised Pork Mince & Rice Noodle Salad, with Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce

And the award for the longest recipe title goes to….

Yep. I could have just said “Asian Pork Salad” or something similar, but it really wouldn’t have sounded quite so delicious. In fact, despite me making a royal mess of cooking the rice noodles (I still can’t even fathom what I did to them), this was one of the most delicious date-night meals I’ve cooked in a while.

This is perfect for a light dinner, yet it still feels like a big treat. Of course the sugar quantity isn’t exactly small, so best not to have it too often, but it is delicious enough for me to overlook occasionally! To make it even easier and quicker you could use bought chilli-sauce, but the results are so much better with homemade.

And, okay, so this probably isn’t strictly authentic. But it is delicious. Sweet, but with deep savoury flavours. A real hit of spice. Freshness from the salad. Definitely one I’ll be making again and again.

Recipe – Homemade Sweet Chilli Sauce (makes enough for 2x quantities of the pork dish, freezes well)

  • 4 red chillies, roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 stick lemongrass
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 60g caster sugar
  • 60ml cider vinegar
  • 75ml water

Making this sweet chilli sauce is surprisingly simple, and it tastes SO much better than bottled shop-bought stuff. Simply pop all the ingredients in a blender (I used a mini-chopper) and whizz until smooth. Pour into a small saucepan and bring to the boil, then lower the heat and reduce until the sauce is syrupy – stirring constantly. Mine took around 15 minutes, and the fumes are quite potent so pop your kitchen fan on! Set aside to cool, probably best to transfer to a bowl as it will stick to your saucepan.

Recipe – Caramelised Pork & Rice Noodle Salad (serves 2)

  • 250g pork mince
  • 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and cut into matchsticks
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • Juice and zest 1 lime
  • 100g vermicelli rice noodles
  • 1 tsp fish sauce
  • ½ cucumber, peeled into ribbons (discard the really watery middle)
  • 2 small carrots, cut into matchsticks (I use a julienne peeler as it’s SO much easier) 3 salad onions, cut into thin rings
  • 1 small handful chopped, fresh coriander

Heat a small amount of oil in a large wok, and fry the pork mince for around 10 minutes, or until cooked through and golden. Meanwhile you can prep the veg, and toss it together with half of the lime juice, the lime zest, fish sauce and half of the coriander. Cook the rice noodles via the instructions on the packet.

When the pork is nearly ready, addd the ginger, garlic, soy sauce and half of the sweet chilli sauce. Stir to combine, then add the lime juice to taste. Season well with salt and pepper, then served sprinkled with coriander, along with the salad and rice noodles.

Are you a fan of Vietnamese Food? What other recipes would you recommend?

Review: Posh Pizza at Hai Cenato, Victoria

These monthly pizza reviews could become a bit of a ‘thing’ here – I certainly enjoy writing them at any rate. Any excuse to eat cheesy carbs…

Today’s review is perhaps a little overdue, given that it was another place I visited on my birthday (basically, the day it’s completely acceptable to eat alllll the food). Especially since the pizza was so damn good and, actually, I’d been thinking about it ever since.

Hai Cenato, Jason Atherton’s New York-Italian restaurant and cocktail bar in Victoria, has been on my radar for a while. We met the main man at Pollen Street Social back in April last year, and *really* enjoyed the food there, so I was intrigued to try his take on pizza. With a decent selection of white pizzas I’m only surprised it took me so long to visit!

My beautiful friend ordered the Margherita – with San Marzano tomato, London mozzarella, basil & parmesan. Obviously I didn’t try any, but it both looked and smelt delicious, and it all got eaten so it must’ve been tasty!

And if my pizza was anything to go by, it was certainly tasty. I ordered a pizza with the description “mozzarella, guanciale, egg yolk, black pepper, confit potato.” I mean, egg yolk on a pizza?! How could I resist?! Guanciale turned out to be Italian cured pig cheek, so vegetarians perhaps should be a little wary when ordering, but I have to say it was delicious. A world away from the last potato pizza I tried at Mother LDN, both lighter and more indulgent at the same time. There was just enough potato to be substantial without making me need a nap, the egg yolk was rich and added creaminess and the base was cooked to perfection. I’d put this in my top five pizzas of all time – though the order of which I’m not sure I could commit to paper/a screen.

As for the atmosphere, this seems to have been plagued with criticism in online reviews. I have to say I really enjoyed it. Service was friendly (plus they bought me a complimentary ice-cream with a candle in as I’d mentioned it was my birthday!), the music buzzy without being overly loud. The toilets were also insanely pretty, to the point I regretted not taking my phone so I could Instagram them…

Would I head into Victoria ‘just’ for a pizza again? Yes I would. It’s not going to replace our go-to treat on payday (cheers Dynamo), it’s the perfect date-night spot, and the perfect place to get a ‘special’ pizza. I know I’ll definitely be dragging W there asap!

Have you ever visited Hai Cenato? Where’s your favourite pizza spot?

Food: Favourite Foodie Instagrammers and Hashtags

One of my favourite past-times is scrolling through Instagram. Sure, it drives me mad as I’m finding it impossible to grow my own platform, but I love looking at people’s food styling, people’s pretty plates, yummy bakes and creative dinners. I quite often do round-ups of my favourite accounts on my Stories, but thought I’d do a proper, more permanent one on here too…

What I’ve done is included an embedded picture on their account – choosing on of my favourites from recent weeks. I hope you find new accounts you can follow! (above photo is the un-squared version of my most liked ‘gram of 2017)

Figs & Pigs – blog link

A post shared by rebecca (@figsandpigsinsta) on

Rebecca is one of the people that has really inspired my own photography style – I’ve followed her for a while, but her dark photography really stood out for me. It’s the styling that does it as it always looks both perfect, effortless and totally in keeping with whatever plate of yumminess she’s snapping. And her recipes sound delicious too. I mean, Buttermilk Roast Chicken with Sourdough, Leek and Pancetta Stuffing

Onelifetobake – blog link

A post shared by Hazel Rodrigues (@onelifetobake) on


Hazel’s grid is the perfect mis-match of food and lifestyle photos – very much a heavy focus on food, but like me she seems a sucker for a pretty building! One of my favourite things about this feed is the captions – it’s like a mini-blog and I love the personality it gives! Oh, and she has a recipe for Gin & Tonic Cheesecake. Nuff said.

Kaanunalmiser

I genuinely don’t know how this profile doesn’t have more followers! Every single picture is perfectly thought out and styled, everything looks yummy. I love the usual backgrounds used too – not the usual tea towel or chopping board (I’m guilty of both!).

LettuceFlourish – blog link

This one is quite different from a lot of the styles I love – I’m really into dark and moody photography, this is lighter, brighter and more cheerful. But how damn good do Annette’s Turkish Eggs look?! Her pics almost always make me click straight through to her blog and I plan to make a lot of her recipes.

Nordic Food Tales – blog link

I mean, just go and look at this feed! It’s absolutely stunning, I could spend hours scrolling down it  – and yep, it was a real struggle to only choose one recent photo to embed. In the end I couldn’t resist this photo of a sexxed up hot chocolate. They’ve made a bog standard hot chocolate completely seasonal with chesnut puree and orange. If someone could whip me a great big mug up right now that would be very much appreciated, please and thank you!

And that’s it – a quick round-up of just some of my favourite Instagram accounts. And now onto hashtags – I love #darktablemood, #darkfoodphotography, #foodandflatlay, #foodieflatlay, #beautifulfood, #storyofmytable, #scrumptiouskitchen, and #platedpics.

I’d love to know your favourite Instagram accounts and hashtags too!

Recipe: Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Just before Christmas I wanted a quick and easy cookie recipe. Something that looked special, tasted amazing and was reasonably “wintery” or festive looking. Something that meant mince pie haters (ahem, me) wouldn’t feel left out at a mulled wine and mince pie gathering. I found a recipe for Chocolate Crinkle Cookies, tweaked it a bit and came up with these beauties.

Chocolatey without being too rich, soft and chewy, and so pretty to look at. They were perfect, easy to make (if not overly quick due to needing a spell in the fridge), and went down so, so well. They also kept for a good few days in an airtight container – I originally made around 80 and not unsurprisingly we couldn’t quite eat them all straight away! As an added bonus the rolled dough, without the icing sugar dusting, froze well too. I’d recommend defrosting slightly before coating and baking.

Recipe – for around 25 cookies, easy to divide and multiply

  • 2 1/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1⁄4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1⁄4 cup cocoa, unsweetened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch salt
  • 1/2 cup icing sugar, for rolling

In a bowl, stir together sugar and oil before blending in the cocoa powder – I find it best to do this gradually as it can go a little lumpy. Beat in egg (again, I do this gradually) followed by the vanilla and salt. Sift over the flour and baking powder, then folder the mix together. Note that the mix will be a lot more fudge-like that normal cookie dough! Pop the dough into the fridge for at least two hours.

Use teaspoons to scoop out portions of the mix, then roll into balls (they should be around 1 inch in diameter). Roll each ball in the icing sugar until fully coated, then place on a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper. As these cookies spread, I’d avoid putting them too close together! Bake the cookies in batches at 175 for around 11-13 minutes – they will look gooey in between the cracks, but should firm up when cooled. Allow to cool for 5 minutes on the trays, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Enjoy at any time of the day – we made have had these as a cheeky breakfast on my sister’s birthday!

What’s your current favourite cookie recipe?