Showing posts with label food. Show all posts
Showing posts with label food. Show all posts

#GBBO Comes to Life #HBBakeOff

It's not every day where an email pops into your inbox offering to cover travel expenses to London. For a day trip. It's also not every day where you get the opportunity to bake alongside Ugne from the Great British Bake Off.

Holland & Barrett put on an incredible day for all my fellow Free From bakers where we would get the chance to bake an incredible Pecan, Apple and Pear cake that was completely vegan, gluten and lactose free! It was the Deliciously Ella recipe but we used cranberries instead of raisins to make it slightly more christmassy! 

The whole day was incredible, Ugne is such an incredibly lovely person and was so down to earth and an absolute pleasure to meet (and have a little gossip with!). She also really liked my cake, which was definitely a bonus! The whole day was hosted at Cactus Kitchens which is where Saturday Morning Kitchen is filmed and honestly, it was the kitchen of dreams (far better than my student kitchen). It was also very pinterest which was an absolute bonus.

Thank you so much to Holland and Barrett for inviting me - and if you're Free From anything, you can get all your go to ingredients here.

A Coffee Lover's Guide...

I'm a coffee fiend and we're not talking that dreadful instant stuff but the beautiful rich flavours of a home brew that paired with a biscotti, can't go wrong.

So I'm sure you can imagine that I was over the moon when a package packed with ground coffee and thermos accessories arrived on my doorstep. With the weather on a turn, it's easy to head to your closest Costa or Caffe Nero and buy a drink but the cost really adds up. As I'm a uni student, I don't have the extra income to spend on a daily latte which is why I think a to go cup is an essential (plus those early morning lectures don't exactly help). 

This thermos mug is brilliant. It's a brilliant size of coffee (suitable amount of caffeine) and it doesn't get too hot to hold. With christmas around the corner, this would be an ace gift for a coffee lover on the go, especially for someone constantly on the go.

Are you a coffee or a tea person?

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Manchester Cafe Guide #FlauntYourHaunt

[Left to right; top row] 1. Home Sweet Home 2. Art of Tea 3. Federal Cafe

When I was asked by Travelodge to come up with my guide to Manchester, I spent a long time thinking about what kind of things to include and I decided instead to list places to go that I deem worthwhile; in other words, my favourite cafes and restaurants. 

If you're looking for food...

Everyone who has lived in Manchester knows about Home Sweet Home. Famed for it's american style grub and uh-mazing milkshakes, it's a calorific haunt that is worth every penny. Not only is the food to die for but the cakes are on a whole other level so whether it's sweet or savoury, it's perfect for both. They do brilliant burgers and yet again I'll mention how wonderful their milkshakes are. 

Then we have a cafe in South Manchester; The Art of Tea is a lovely cosy establishment which is perfect for sitting with your laptop and does great food. Didsbury is full of brilliant cafes and the Art of Tea is almost always heaving. Great for light lunches and of course tea and cake.

And finally, my favourite place for brunch if I'm looking for a lighter option: Federal Cafe. An Australian cafe, it does amazing avocado based breakfasts with salmon and massive portions without breaking the bank. One word, yum.

For tea and cake...

For my mum's birthday, I took her to Opus One which is part of the Radission Blu Edwardian and does the most incredible afternoon tea. Pricey but for a special occasion, worth the money. It includes a wonderful variety of cakes, sandwiches and of course scones and cream.

If you're a chocoholic like myself, the Bonbon Chocolate Boutique is the ultimate destination. It's a tiny cafe in the Northern Quarter in Manchester but it does amazing hot chocolates (essentially just melted chocolate) and brownies and well, everything. Full to the brim with chocolate and if you're looking for a special present, you can buy chocolate truffles to go as well.

Sugar Junction is another lovely vintage themed cafe in the Northern Quarter. Reminiscent of a National Trust cafe, it's a lovely spot for tea and cake. Somewhere that your mum will love as much as you do.

Cheap, Quick and Easy Vegan Student Meals: Vegan Fajitas

When I used to eat meat, chicken fajitas was one of my favourite meals - it was salty, satisfying and was so quick to do. I've not really craved meat since I went vegan but I have been missing fajitas.

This is such a cheat recipe but I do have my own "marinade" if you don't want to buy premade mixes.

I use the Old El Paso Fajita mix in Smoky BBQ because it's actually vegan (it contains soy protein) so that's what I tend to use however if you're wanting to cut down salt, mix 2 tbsp paprika, 1/2 tbsp garlic powder, 1/2 tbsp onion powder and 1/2 tbsp Cajun Mixed spice for an equivalent version. It's surprising how many ready mixes and sauces are actually vegan (many don't want to label things vegan because they aren't made in vegan factories), just make sure you read the ingredients just to be sure. Often if things say they're vegetarian, they're also vegan just look out for egg and milk in the ingredients.

But I used the mix. As my filler, I went for mixed peppers and mushrooms to give a variety in texture. I'm not big on onion but that could also be a nice thing to chuck in.

The Recipe:
  • Coat your veg in your spice mix and let sit for five minutes
  • Cook in non stick pan (cut out that oil!)
  • Serve on a wrap with lettuce, cherry tomatoes and a sprinkle of vegan cheese.
  • Enjoy!
These took close to ten minutes to make and are such a hit - they're so yummy and cheap to make!

How are you liking my student meal series? Have you tried anything yet?

Meet Your Budget Student Takeaway Choices

Students know all about living on a tight budget - but that doesn’t mean they have to miss out when it comes to gorgeous takeaway. That’s why hungryhouse have launched their student-only Cheap Chow discount programme which guarantees to give students first-dibs on the best takeaway deals in town.

Cheap Chow: The Lowdown

Cheap Chow is a student-only newsletter that hungryhouse sends out throughout the academic year informing students about the best deals, discounts and offers available on hungryhouse. If this wasn’t enough, every student who signs up to Cheap Chow also gets a big 20% discount to use on hungryhouse too.

How can students sign up?

Signing up is easy. Simply go the the hungryhouse Cheap Chow page, and pop in your name & university ( email address. You'll then receive the discount via email. 

The Cheap Chow programme (and the 20% discount) is open to all students who have a valid University email address!

Sounds cool, anything else?

Whether you’re a Fresher who’s new in town or a veteran third-year, hungryhouse have also compiled a guide to the UK’s most student-friendly takeaways in order to help you get to know the best bargain takeaways in your city. The takeaways were recommended by real students, so you know the recommendations are legit! ;)

This is a featured post.

Quick and Easy Vegan Student Meals: Thai Inspired Noodle Soup

I'm not sure what it is, but noodle soup brings back so many fond memories, one of them being my school lunches in Bangkok which nearly always consisted of a noodle soup consisting of rice noodles, some sort of meat, loads of veg and a broth of some sort. But the big thing was the broth. Salty, sour, sweet and spicy were three tastes that Thai food always manages to interweave so I set about making my own version.

The best part is that this is basically made up of odds and sods from my cupboard and is so incredibly easy and cheap

It's so important that you get the broth right as this is what the veg and noodles soak up so you've got to make sure it holds loads of flavour. This is how I did it:

  • 2 Kallo vegetable stock cubes
  • 500ml of boiling water
  • 2 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • Half an onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 2 chopped carrots
  • Frozen spinach
  • Half a cauliflower, chopped up
  • 200g of mushrooms
Add the boiling water to the stock cubes, allow for stockcubes to dissolve and then chuck in the soy sauce, stir and then the veg.

Allow to simmer for about 1 hour, throw in the noodles. Enjoy!

This makes enough for two people because it's meant to be soup heavy so I pop them in tupperware to enjoy during the week! They taste amazing and the veg can be whatever you'd want to use. It really hits the spot and is so much better than a pot noodle.

If you're not sure what kind of noodles to use, I buy noodle nests from Blue Dragon but you could always use the noodles from pot noodles, just not the seasoning!!!

Is this something you might make at home?

White Chocolate and Raspberry Cake | Boohoo High Summer


So. I did a little baking...

With Mary and Paul back on our tv screens my fingers were itching to get back in the kitchen so when Boohoo contacted me and asked if I would like to be involved in their version of The Great Boohoo Bakeoff, I was raring to go.

This is definitely unlike many of my recipes on here as there is absolutely nothing gluten free, vegan or even lactose free in it. It's completely gluttonous but simply divine. 

I like to think of myself as a white chocolate officiando but there is no arguing with the fact that it can be sickly sweet after too much which is why the raspberry works wonderfully - the tartness cuts right through the sweetness. There's no denying that it remains rich, but at least it doesn't make you want to be sick. (You're welcome.)

The Sponge Ingredients:
- 200g self raising flour
- 200g butter
- 4 eggs
- 100g white chocolate
- 200g caster sugar
- 175g raspberries

The White Chocolate Ganache Recipe:
- 200g white chocolate
- 250ml thick double cream

The Recipe:
1. Heat oven to 180C
2. Melt the white chocolate and butter. Allow to cool. When cool, beat in eggs and sugar.
3. Fold in flour and raspberries.
4. Seperate mix into two cake tins and bake for 20-25 minutes.
5. For the ganache, mix 100ml of cream with chocolate over a low heat. Take off heat and when cool, mix in the rest of the cream. Use as a filling or icing.

I decorated mine with ganache and then rolled out fondant icing, then I used the ganache as a glue for the raspberry topping. Although the decoration is rather simple, it's bound to draw an "oooh" from the crowd at a dinner party. 

Let me know if you decide to try this and don't forget to tag me in instagram or twitter - @elliegdickinson if you do!

But of course, I had to pair an outfit with the cake.

I love this split maxi dress from Boohoo - ideal for festivals but still wearable in the city. I paired it with a western style belt and some heeled chelsea boots to make it work for a casual day. 

What do you think of the outfit and the cake?

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Getting Nakd

Healthy eating is everywhere at the moment and particularly plant based diets. With the rise of healthy instagrams and blogs such as DeliciouslyElla and Hemsley & Hemsley, it's back in the spotlight and you can't log onto instagram without seeing avocado on toast!

So recently I've been adapting to a more plantbased diet but as someone with the occasion sweet tooth, it's important to have snacks in the house that won't prevent you from falling off the bandwagon. 

I'm very much of the belief that fruit sugars are jam packed full of goodness which is why Nakd bars are some of my favourites. About a year ago, Nakd bars were tough to find (aside from Holland&Barrett) but now they're everywhere and easy to get a hold of. They're made up of a base of dates and dependent on the specific flavour, cashews etc. But essentially, they're fruit and nut based. Completely gluten free, lactose free and full of energy. 

Dates are a well known source of energy and I almost always keep a bar or too in my bag. The flavours are incredible and my favourites include Cherry Bakewell, Strawberry Crunch and Cocoa Orange. If you've never tried them before, you can get a variety of these healthy cereal bars from Natural Balance Foods for a reasonable price. It's a great way of trying them all without having to buy a box of each! 

This post may contain items that have been sent to me for review. All opinions are my own.

Melt-In-Mouth Vegan Chickpea Burgers

I hate chickpeas. With a passion. In fact I hate all sort of lentils and beans but the thing is, I try to eat them, I really do but the texture always puts me off. But I love hummus.

So when I somehow decided that buying a can of chickpeas was a good idea, I was stumped with what to do with them and I've come up with a recipe that I actually really like (thank goodness for seasoning).

These are the most incredible melt in your mouth chickpea burgers. They're unbelievably filling and so filled with goodness that makes them far nicer than any of those high fat burgers we've grown accustomed to. They're such an ideal summer lunch type meal as despite being filling, they're really light, but they're so quick and easy to make that they're going to be a staple in my diet. This recipe makes four large burger patties:

  • 250g can of drained chickpeas
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 2 tsp mixed herbs
  • 1 tsp dill
  • A sprinkle of salt and pepper
  • 3 small red onions
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
Pre-heat Oven to 200°C.
  1. Rinse the chickpeas in cold water. Then mash them up using the back of the fork. Don't worry about making sure they're all crushed, it gives them a bit of bite if they're not.
  2. Add in the tahini and herbs, making sure they're mixed well.
  3. Add in the lemon juice, a bit at a time - mix well.
  4. Finely chop the onions and garlic and leave them to sweat in either olive or coconut oil in a pan on a low heat.
  5. When the onions and garlic are almost transparent, mix them in with the chickpea mixture.
  6. Shape the mixture into burgers and bake each side for 15 minutes until nicely browned.

They're so wonderful and I really hope you enjoy them! I had mind with a load of hummus, smashed avocado, spinach, cucumber, tomato and a sprinkle of sesame. Have them with what you want but they go well with just about everything.  

Let me know if you plan on making these, anytime soon!

What I Eat in a Day: The Vegan Student Edition

So, I'm vegan! It's quite a new development but I had realised that I had been using primarily vegan recipes and as I'm pretty much lactose intolerant, I decided to make the jump to veganism. But we're talking a plant based diet so no vegan cheese or anything like that. Before I launch into the main purpose of this post, the reason I decided to go vegan was primarily for health reasons so I'm not going to be posting anything about animal cruelty and the ethics behind it because it'll just open a whole bag of worms that I don't know enough to talk about! I'm purely vegan when I'm cooking for myself so if I go out or go to a friend's house for dinner, I might eat meat or animal products - just not in my own home.

But as I was saying, veganism is quite a tricky thing to conquer as a student as a lot of base ingredients are quite pricey so I thought I would share the kind of food I eat on a daily basis that don't cost the earth (and are super easy to make).

Breakfast is such an important meal and I often find if I skip brekkie, I find I'm starving by about eleven o'clock and find myself snacking. If I'm at uni, I love almond milk porridge loaded with flaxseeds, chia seeds and berries (I use frozen as they're cheaper - just get them out to thaw the night before). Because I'm also gluten free, I use gluten free oats but normal oats are so cheap they're an essential! But if I have a bit more time in the morning, I love smashed avocado with lemon on sourdough bread and an Alpro soy yoghurt. So filling but so good.

Lunch is always a tricky meal for me as usually I used to reach for a bag of crisps and a ham sandwich of sorts but I've been really into sushi bowls lately. The name makes them sound so much more complicated than they actually are but they're just made up of rice (I prefer brown rice as it will keep you full for longer), chopped up veg or fruit (I tend to go for tomatoes, cucumber, occasionally avocado and spinach) and then a drizzle of tamari (gluten free soy sauce) and then I mix it all together and it's so good! I've been having this almost daily and it's also really great as a packed lunch (sans avocado) as it keeps me going till dinner. I tend to bulk cook brown rice and then leave it in the fridge to make this easy to do on a daily basis.

Snacks are definitely the easiest part of the day. I reach for fruit or carrots and hummus because hummus is incredible. Let's be honest, I've been tempted to spoon it straight from the container.

Dinner as a typical student tends to consist of pasta or frozen meals partially because it's cheaper and far easier than making a meal from scratch so this was probably the trickiest meal to conquer but I think I've just about sorted it. Roasted vegetables will be your new best friend. They take about an hour in the oven at around 200 degrees but they're otherwise so simple! I buy bags of chopped up sweet potato, courgettes, cherry tomatoes, red onions and any other vegetables I have in the fridge. They're really filling because of the sweet potato and so good for you because they're all vegetables! I have this so much because I love it and it's easy to take to work with me in the evenings.

So I hope you've enjoyed my first What I Eat in a Day. Let me know if you'd like more of them and generally what you think!