Thursday, 28 January 2016

Eat breakfast. Stay smart

I'm back again with another breakfast recipe following Monday's berry sauce and granola. As it is National Breakfast Week, I wanted to make sure you had a few good breakfast ideas to try. Today's recipe comes from a book I was sent called Eat Yourself Smart by Gill Paul. With a title like that, the recipes that are included have to deliver. I chose to create the Apple and Cinnamon Porridge, full of lots of goodness including oats, apples and pecans.

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

Apple Cinnamon Porridge Recipe - Eat Yourself Smart

This recipe is a very easy one but it involves using a pan and a hob, so unless you make this ahead on a busy morning, this one is for a lazy weekend breakfast. I made this last Sunday to try and it was very filling and delicious.

For this, you'll need: 2 granny smith apples (cored and chopped into chunks, skin on or off whatever you prefer), 150g porridge oats, 450ml water, 450ml soya milk (I used semi-skimmed milk), 1 tbsp dark brown sugar, 2 tsps ground cinnamon and 1 tsp grated nutmeg. To top you'll also need 50g pecans and 3 tbsp of maple syrup, or alternatively honey/agave nectar.

Pecans are a wonder-nut according to the book boasting benefits such as improved circulation, reduced stress & anxiety, they promote restful sleep and can lift your mood. Certainly, seem like something I'd like to top my porridge with. The Eat Yourself Smart book is great in that it gives you these little details and recommends recipes based on what you want to gain from the ingredients.

The pecans in this recipe need to go in the oven at 150 degrees Celsius for 8 minutes whilst you carry out the rest of the recipe. To create the porridge put the water, milk, sugar and spices into a large pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, then stir in the oats and apple and simmer for 5 minutes until the oats have absorbed the liquid.

Oats are also said to be a great food to eat, being named in the book as 'grain for the brain'. They are a powerful superfood that helps to improve memory and cognitive ability and boost attention, concentration, mood, energy and alertness. With all that, what a perfect food to eat for breakfast before work or school! To accompany the oats are the granny smith apples, full of goodness to provide energy and reduce stress as well as helping to prevent dementia.

When all the oats are complete, separate into four portions and top with the toasted pecans and drizzle with maple syrup.

The apple, cinnamon and nutmeg are so brilliant together, and the maple syrup just brings an extra bit of sweetness. Definitely a great breakfast to make on a cold Winter's morning.

As it's national breakfast week, do you have any good breakfast recipes to share?

*Eat Yourself Smart sent to myself for review. All opinions my own.

Monday, 25 January 2016

A berry good way to start the day

Breakfast, the most important meal of the day. I'm a lover of breakfast and I'm always excited to eat my first meal of the day. When I was younger it was always a meal that I skipped as I thought it was too early and I just didn't feel up for it. Now that I've gotten into a routine with breakfast I've become a lover. I always try to eat a healthy breakfast but most of the time I end up with cereal or on special occasions, Pop-Tarts!

One day when I was watching one of Niomi Smart's vlogs I saw her making a berry sauce for her pancakes and I decided I could adapt this to use on yoghurt. I also made a batch of this Healthy Homemade Honey Vanilla Granola to accompany it.

To make this sauce you'll need to pick which berries you'd like to use. I chose blueberries, raspberries and cherries. You can use frozen or fresh, it doesn't really matter as they break down the same way. Put them in a small pan with a dash of water and a squeeze of honey then put on a low heat. Keep stirring to ensure they don't burn and squash the berries softly as you go. You'll know by the consistency and how it looks when it's done but I'd say it takes 5-10 minutes.

Let it cool and then store it in an airtight container. I usually get around three uses out of it depending on how much I put on my breakfast. It's super tasty and relatively good for you. It's nice to have something a little different that you've made yourself which looks, and tastes, like it, came from a posh restaurant!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Hamburger or Cheeseburger? Bunsen, Dublin

Wherever myself and Matt visit we've always got to find a classy burger joint. Our trip to Dublin was no different. We strolled upon Bunsen in the Temple Bar area when hungry one lunchtime and decided to try it out. 

The menu is pretty simple, okay very simple. You either want a hamburger with our without cheese, with one patty or two. Oh and do you want the toppings with that?  You can pick from their short list of classics. Then you have the choice of fries; hand-cut, shoestring or sweet potato.

With the business card menus in hand, we placed our order. I chose a cheeseburger with all the toppings bar onions and Matt had a double hamburger with lettuce. We also got some sweet potato fries and shoestring.

Bunsen Burger Restaurant Review Dublin

Bunsen Burger Restaurant Review Dublin

Bunsen Burger Restaurant Review Dublin

Bunsen Burger Restaurant Review Dublin

Our burgers came very swiftly, as you'd expect with a small menu like Bunsen's, wrapped up in their branded paper on a tray with our selected fries. The burger looked lovely. It was everything that I love in a burger; filled to the brim with toppings, covered in cheese and super messy. Matt, on the other hand, was not so delighted. With no knives and forks insight, it was his worst nightmare, but he battled through complimenting the tasty meat patties.

My burger was lovely. All the elements worked brilliantly together to produce a great taste. Although I can't go as far as saying it was the best I've ever tasted, it was definitely a good burger. The shoestring fries were a great novelty and they were pretty yummy.

With our tummies filled with burgers and chips, we set off but not before washing our grubby burger hands.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

Stepping out of our food comfort zone - Red Torch Ginger, Dublin

For a couple who consider themselves quite the foodies, we don't really venture out of our chosen food types. When we go out we like burger/meat joints, Indian, English, Mexican and Italian but we haven't really tried anything outside our comfort zone. As we love fresh food filled with vegetables, I thought it was time we tried Thai food. I knew that we'd have to like something on the menu. For our first night in Dublin, we decided to try out Red Torch Ginger. Rated 19th out of 2,002 restaurants on TripAdvisor in Dublin we knew that we'd be in for a good meal.

We rocked up at about 8.45pm without a reservation and the manager advised us it was fully booked. He did kindly say that if we came back at 9.30pm he may have space for us. After writing our name and number down, we went off to get a drink before coming back to try Thai food.

When we came back the restaurant still didn't have a table but we didn't mind the wait so we plonked ourself at the bar and chose a drink. I picked the Red Torch Cooler which had white rum, spicy mango syrup, apple juice, lime, sugar and soda. It was lovely, so fresh and different to anything I've had before because of the spice.

Red Torch Ginger Dublin Thai Restaurant Review

Red Torch Ginger Dublin Thai Restaurant Review

Red Torch Ginger Dublin Thai Restaurant Review

Red Torch Ginger Dublin Thai Restaurant Review

We were sat not long after watching the master barman make my drink, and then we started browsing the menu. Now I'm not very confident with a lot of meats, most the time I stick to chicken, beef or turkey and a lot of the time I like to go veggie. For my starter, I decided on the Dim Sum Trio as I've always wanted to try them. I see them on movies all the time coming in the little bamboo steamer and I think they look so cool. Rather than getting the prawn ones, I decided on the mushroom and pork. Matt had the porks ones and I had the mushroom. They were really yummy. So different to anything I'd had before but the flavours were delicious. I also tried some of Matt's Thai Samosas which were gorgeously crumbly and the filling was very tasty.

After eating our starters our mains arrived. I chose Chiang Mai Noodles with chicken which was filled with lots of veggies in a chilli sauce. Matt chose the house special of Lamb Massaman Curry which was coconut-based and very creamy. Whilst eating out mains we decided to get another drink, Matt chose another different IPA and I chose a raspberry martini. So lovely and fruity.

We thoroughly enjoyed our first experience of Thai food it was something different that we'd be keen to have again. It's great to try new types of food and especially for us, Thai was perfect as it has all the aspects we enjoy. Lots of veggies, curry, lots of coconut flavours and noodles. Eating at Red Torch Ginger was a great introduction to Thai and we'd definitely recommend it to anyone visiting Dublin.

Friday, 1 January 2016

December Favourites.

Well, let me start by wishing you all a very Happy New Year. I hope that 2016 brings everything you want and that you achieve all that you set out to do. Now back to the main reason we are here, to talk about what I've loved in December.

Sweet tooth. You can't survive the festive period without a million gazillion sweets and chocolate. Let me tell you, I consumed so much I think you'll have to roll me to work on Monday. Like everyone though, I'm now back on the bandwagon and looking forward to a healthy 2016.

A perfect dish. Oh my. Just how nice are roasts though. This month I've had way too many, including the special Christmas day dinner. They were all delicious especially when I covered them in mint sauce. My fave.

All homemade. This year I've really started getting into crafting and tried to make some people's Christmas presents. I personalised some mugs, created a woollen wreath and made some yummy chocolate truffles. I think people really appreciated their homemade presents.

All that glitters. When Anna Saccone-Joly announced that she would be releasing her own line of jewellery I knew that I'd have to get one. I've been on the lookout for a coin necklace for a while now and I thought this would be perfect. I got this for Christmas and I'm in love. It's so sleek, great quality and very cute.

Seeing ma peeps. I love that at Christmas time you make a special effort to see everyone before the big man arrives. Whether this is over a quick cuppa, a delicious meal or five bottles of prosecco, I always have a great time catching up and swapping presents.

Now on TV. Homeland is something we've been catching up on recently. We had the last season recorded and over this festive period we've finally had time to binge-watch it and it's brilliant. I'd go as far as saying it's one of my favourite seasons.

Stomping around town. I asked for some white Converse trainers a while back off Mum for Christmas. When the day rolled around I was pleasantly surprised to open them up. I haven't taken them off my feet yet. Every outing we've been on I've had them on!

Soup for the soul. I like to try and use up what I've got in the cupboard when I'm cooking. Recently I found some red lentils that were soon to go out of date so I found this recipe on Pinterest for carrot and red lentil soup. It was very tasty!

Snazzy new laptop. My old laptop had started to tell me that it needed a new battery. I'd had my Dell for years and years so I thought maybe it was time for a change. I've been saving for quite a while so decided it was now time to get a Macbook. I couldn't be more pleased with it. It's super-fast, super clean and just all-round cool!

What are your December favourites?
© this Northerner.

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