Work from home but have nothing to eat?

Note: today is my 5 year bloggy-versary! That’s right; on a whim 5 years ago I started up The Glasgow Food Blog and I never expected it to grow so much – I’ll write a full post about the adventure in the coming weeks!

My kitchen tips & tricks post got me thinking about working from home. Before I started working from home full time (or at Yelp Glasgow HQ as I like to call my office) I imagined that it would be a feast of slow cooked meals on the stove and lots of homemade snacks to keep me going through the day.

And at first, it was. I was able to make sure I had a proper lunch organised, or at worst I would be able to knock something up on my lunch break while still having time to watch Neighbours (don’t laugh, it helps me keep my accent). But then as work got busier, and there was more and more events, things changed. I stopped eating properly and would rely on whatever was fast and simple to keep me going – ranging from Doritos and goats cheese to ready meals … or worse still, pot noodle (side note: pot noodles in the UK have nothing on 2 minute noodles from Australia).

It doesn't get much quicker than scrambled eggs with ham and spinach.

It doesn’t get much quicker than scrambled eggs with ham and spinach.

I came to the slow realisation that my diet was killing my ability to function as a human being, and resolved to do a bit better. So I wanted to share some of the lunch and snack ideas that keep me going – these aren’t really just home working meals, but also adaptable for an office environment (or where ever you work!).

Juices/Blends: 

Not just a healthy option, but a great way of using up leftovers hanging around your vegetable crisper. My personal favourite is inspired by a juice I had in San Fran called “prescription”. Juice two oranges, add to a blender with one apple, a handful of kale (stalks removed) and mint. Blend. I don’t have a juicer so I use a Magic Bullet but this should be easy to adapt to a juicer.

I have a go-to smoothie which I always have after roller derby training, but it makes for a great breakfast smoothie or mid-afternoon pep up. Add one banana and about 200mls of almond milk to your blender with a tsp of raw cacao powder (cocoa powder works too). For an added health boost you can add chia seeds.

Snacks:

I try to keep snacks simple: miso soup, apple with peanut butter, Bounce energy balls (but these are pretty pricey!) I’d love more snack ideas if you have any to share!

Boing!

Boing!

Meals: 

I find batch cooking is the easiest answer to be short on time.

This week I made chilli con carne and portioned it into 200g bags (probably 150g is a better size if you’re having it with rice). I also purchased Tilda bags of rice that go in the microwave. I’d never tried them before, but for a 2 minute answer to rice, I found them quite tasty. The lime & coriander flavour was a little odd though, if I’ll be honest.

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Warm up the chilli and rice and chop some lettuce and coriander while you’re waiting. Whip it out of the microwave, top with salsa, cheese, yoghurt/sour cream and the lettuce and coriander. For an extra treat, add some crushed up Doritos (I’m an addict, ok?)

Otherwise I’m really getting into soup. Graeme made a tomato and lentil soup the other night from The Medicinal Chef which was absolutely delicious and filling enough to have without bread.

If you work from home, I’d love to know how you keep on track with your meals!

Papercup Coffee Co inspired Baked Eggs

I eat out a lot (too much) and one of my fav spots to visit to is Papercup Coffee Co on Great Western Road. There’s a lot of things to love about Papercup – the friendly staff, the delicious coffee (even for me, a novice drinker) and the cool decor – but one of their biggest drawcards is their baked eggs.

The real deal, available at Papercup Coffee Co

The real deal, available at Papercup Coffee Co

As I’m a southsider I have made up my own version for lazy weekends when I can’t manage to get over to the West End. This recipe should be enough for two people (or one really hungry person):

Baked eggs with chorizo

My version – this one has kale rather than spinach

My version – this one has kale rather than spinach

1 red onion, sliced
Some chorizo (as much as you want), chopped into small dice
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
1 handful of spinach (other leafy greens are good too, like kale)
Small amount of feta cheese, chopped
2 eggs, cracked individually into a cup
Some nice bread, lightly toasted and topped with butter and z’atar spice

In a frypan, melt some butter/oil. Add the red onion and cook for a couple of minutes, then add in the chorizo. Allow it to cook over a medium heat until the chorizo is nicely coloured and oozing oil. Add in a tin of tomatoes and the greens and allow the tomato to warm through and the greens to wilt. With a spoon, make two holes in the sauce mix and add in an egg to each hole. Keep the temperature low and allow the egg to cook – if you have it up too high, the egg white will go rubbery. Top with feta when the white is cooked though, the yolk should still be gooey.

Disclaimer: I have no idea what the actual official recipe is – mine is definitely missing *something* special that comes with eating out rather than cooking for yourself!

Poached salmon with grated shiraae salad

I was asked to come up with a healthy recipe for the #HealthyTreats challenge by Rennie – I was a little daunted, I won’t lie. At the moment my eating habits swing between days of fresh, vibrant salads with loads of green tea … then a late night trip through the Maccas drive through on a way home from an event! So I took this as a sign to get my butt into gear and embraced the challenge.

I love all things Japanese, and thought I could put a twist on my usual grated salad by taking inspiration from the Japanese dish, shiraae. Salmon is a regular feature on our menu, and I wanted to try a different way of cooking it so I poached it in some miso and served it with the shiraae salad, pickles and some rice.

We enjoyed this dish on our 3.5 year wedding anniversary so it felt like a decadent meal, even though it was light and healthy. I love that aspect of Japanese cooking; all the different elements come together to make you feel like you’re enjoying an extravagant buffet. (Don’t be overwhelmed by the length of the ingredients list!)

Poached salmon with grated shiraae salad

Pickled vegetables, poached salmon, rice and grated shiraee salad

Pickled vegetables, poached salmon, rice and grated shiraee salad

Poached salmon:
2 fillets of salmon
Miso

Shiraae salad:
2 carrots, peeled and grated
2 sweet potatoes, cut into chunks and microwaved until tender (about 3-4 minutes)
4 sticks of spring onion, chopped
1 lime, juiced
Seaweed sprinkle

Shiraae dressing: 
200g silken tofu
1 tbs miso
1 tsp tahini
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs mirin
2 tsp soy sauce/tamari

Pickles:
1/2 cucumber, diced
1/2 white cabbage, diced
1 carrot, grated
250ml rice vinegar
110g caster sugar

Japanese pickles

Japanese pickles

  1. Start with the pickles by adding the rice vinegar and sugar to a saucepan. Heat until the sugar dissolves, then allow to cool. Add the cucumber, cabbage and carrot to the vinegar mix and refrigerate.
  2. Now it’s time for the salad. You can either grate the sweet potato or cut it into small chunks – it was hard to grate straight out of the microwave so let it cool first if you’re going to grate it! Add all the salad ingredients to a bowl and mix together.
  3. Make the salad dressing by taking the tofu out of the box and lightly pressing it. I do this by placing it on some paper towel on a chopping board, putting more paper towel on top of the tofu and then top with another chopping board. You’ll want to add some weight to the board to help press the liquid out of the tofu, which will get soaked up in the paper towel. For this recipe you don’t need to worry too much about getting lots of liquid out so just let it press for a couple of minutes. Put the tofu in a bowl and stir in the rest of the dressing ingredients, then mix in with the salad. Give it a wee taste and adjust the seasoning with some soy/tamari if needed.
  4. For the salmon, simply add the salmon to a saucepan with enough water to cover the salmon. Add in some miso to turn the water a nice beefy dark brown – a couple of tablespoons should be enough. Bring the water to a very light simmer and allow to cook for about 8 minutes which will perfectly poach the salmon.
  5. Serve the poached salmon with the grated shiraee salad, pickles and boiled rice.

This post has been supported by Rennie®, but all thoughts are my own.

Donburi

There’s something so warm and comforting about donburi that whenever I’m feeling sick or tired, I always crave a large bowl or two. If you’re not sure what donburi is, it is a Japanese rice dish served in different varieties – my favourite being oyakodon which literally means “parent and child bowl” aka chicken and egg. Kind of funny when you think about it!

It is a really simple dish to prepare, and will make you feel better almost instantly (I promise!). There’s lots of different ways of making it, here’s how I like to do mine:

Chicken and egg donburi (Oyakodon) 

This is actually gyu-donburi which is made with beef!

This is actually gyu-donburi which is made with beef!

The ingredients for this are per person, so just multiply accordingly. 

1 chicken breast or thigh, cut in to thin, small pieces
1 portion of cooked white rice
1 onion
1 chicken stock cube
Soy sauce/tamari
Spring onions, chopped.
1 egg

  1. Cook the onion in a small amount of oil in a sauce pan.
  2. After a few minutes, add in around 400 mls of water and the stock cube.
  3. Once it gets to a simmer, add in the chopped chicken breast and a splash of soy sauce/tamari to taste – I add around a tbs and then add more when eating.
  4. Let the stock simmer away and cook the chicken. How long this takes will depend on how big you cut the chicken, so be sure to check the largest piece to see it’s cooked.
  5. Add an egg to the stock/chicken mix. You can either stir it through, or let it poach lightly on top of the water.
  6. Add your rice to a bowl and pour the egg/stock/chicken mix over the rice. By this stage there shouldn’t be too much water left.
  7. Top with chopped spring onion and eat!

Steam Revolution at The Sisters

I was recently invited to a “0 calorie dining experience” at The Sisters by Miele to show off Miele’s steam revolution oven range. Now, I love calories so the idea of 0 calorie dining didn’t appeal to me, but having a meal cooked by Jacqueline O’Donnell, the chef patron of The Sisters was too exciting to pass up, so along I went.

I was lucky enough to get a tour of Glasgow Food Geek’s new place (check out her reno blog at Flat Out Glasgow) with the lovely House of Herby, and then we walked down to The Sisters. So we’d already warmed up – but then there was an exercise class waiting for us! I’m not entirely sure how long it went for but let’s just say I wasn’t dressed for exercising so didn’t really enjoy this all that much – and I was starving!

We were then seated and got to see Jak cook up the delicious menu. Starting with steamed purple broccoli with cured salmon and almonds, this was a lovely light start to the meal and disappeared in a matter of seconds.

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Steamed beetroot with broad beans rocket and puy lentils was perhaps one of the less exciting dishes – to me, it could have used some goats’ cheese with it but of course that would have upped the calorie content!

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Wild Highland venison loin with Scotch brambles. Who would have thought you could steam cook venison? It was steamed and then finished off in a pain to give it a bit of colour. This was an absolutely luscious dish and lovely with the brambles.

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Prawn stuffed lemon sole with herb butter sauce. This was tasty, fresh and really let the delicious lemon sole speak for itself.

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Steamed rhubarb and pineapple with coconut ice cream. I thought I was going to have to skip the ice cream on this course but then realised it was made from coconut milk/cream – amazing! With just a small amount of sugar added and some furious whipping, the ice cream was absolutely heavenly. The steam fruits were scorched lightly with some sugar to give it a little bit of caramelisation.

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I really enjoyed the experience of watching Jak in the kitchen and see the Miele steam oven in use. The food was delicious and packed with flavour, so it was great to see that not much needed to be added to the dishes to really let the ingredients shine.

Anyone can book to go along to the next session which is in Edinburgh on Monday 24 November at Restaurant Mark Greenaway. Just email rsvp@miele.co.uk and specify whether you’d like to go for lunch or dinner and they will let you know if there’s space left.

Thanks to Miele and The Sisters for inviting me along to this lovely evening of deliciousness. For full disclosure, I must admit that we did stop at McDonalds on the way home as I was in desperate need of some carbs! Don’t judge me too harshly!

Gordon St Coffee – Macmillan Cancer Weekend

I *meant* to get this posted up sooner, I promise! Gordon St Coffee are donating 25p from every hot drink sold this weekend to Macmillan Cancer Support. Why not pop in and treat yourself to a coffee made with The Glasgow Roast – using beans from Kenya, Brazil, Guatemala and India, it celebrates the city’s historical trading links with India, Africa and the Americas. The blend embodies the bold & bright characteristics for which the city and its people are renowned.

Gordon Street Coffee will be open from 6am on the World’s Biggest Coffee Morning (Friday September 26) until 10pm, and 6am-10pm on Saturday September 27 and 9am-10pm on Sunday September 28.

You can check out more information about the cancer morning on the Macmillan website here.

Mother India At Home: Recipes, Pictures, Stories

I first heard about Mother India after living in Glasgow for a year or so – I was at a friend’s house nearby, and we were getting takeaway for dinner. The way Mother India was mentioned was with such reverence that I was really curious about this restaurant. Little did I know that there was actually three restaurants in close proximity; Mother India, Dining In With Mother India and Mother India’s Cafe – this time, we were trying the food from the cafe. I remember being really impressed by the difference from takeaway Indian food I’d eaten Australia. Since then I’ve dined at all three restaurants and have consistently been blown away by the variety of dishes, the subtlety of flavours and the amazing, welcoming service.

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As Yelp Glasgow’s Community Manager, I was lucky enough to meet Monir Mohammed and Asif Ali to launch the Pakora Passport last year at Mother India on Westminster Terrace. I heard through twitter that they were releasing a cookbook and I knew I had to get my hands on a copy, stat. Particularly so I could finally get the recipe for daal, which is one of my favourite dishes.

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The book has loads of recipes, as you’d expect – including the above chana daal with scallops which will be the first dish I cook! But the part of it I enjoyed so far was reading Monir’s story about how Mother India came to be. It is a really fascinating read for anyone who has enjoyed the delights of the restaurants and who loves Glasgow – Monir’s story is simply amazing. I won’t give any of the details away, but I will suggest you pop along to one of the restaurants for a meal, and grab a copy of the book while you’re there.

Mother India at Home, by Monir Mohammed and Martin Gray is available to buy from Mother India, Dining In with Mother India and Mother’s India’s Cafe in Glasgow, and Mother India’s Cafe in Edinburgh, for £20.