29 April 2013

Meal Planning Monday (Week beginning 29 April 2013)

I have long known that most of my wage flows straight out of my purse into Tesco's coffers.

It's time to get a grip on the spending and what better way to do that than make a meal plan for the week.

I am linking this up with At Home with Mrs M, who hosts this event.

I also thought if I made a meal plan, I could include a new dish each week from a cookbook. One of the ones in the teetering mountain of review copies that are currently residing in our bedroom. Hey, what do you mean you don't keep cookbooks in your bedroom? Cookbooks make great bedtime reading!

I've decided just to plan Monday to Friday for the moment. This gives me scope to get creative at the weekend and go with my mood.


Monday: I have a butternut squash that needs to be used, as it's been hanging about my kitchen for a while now. I'm on a fast day (5:2 diet) tomorrow,  so I'm going to make Squash and Spinach Soup today in preparation.

Tuesday: Baked potato topped with either cottage cheese or cheddar and served with salad. Graham will probably have hummus on his potato as his vegan option. I'll make a balsamic dressing to drizzle on the leaves.

Wednesday: We haven't had a tofu stir fry for ages and I've been craving one. I will use my own recipe for Sweet and Sour Sauce and I'll add lots of veggies to the dish too. We'll have our stir-fry with brown rice.

Thursday: Cooper has Little Dragons, his baby martial arts class tonight, so it has to be a quick meal when we get home. This is a pasta dish I found in my review copy of Titbits at Home, a new vegetarian cookbook. It sounds quite interesting. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

Friday: I work late on Friday, so I will be taking a tub of homemade chilli out of the freezer to defrost, then it's all quick to throw together. A tortilla wrap spread with a little sour cream, topped with salad leaves, then chilli and finished with a grating of cheddar before it's wrapped up. It another fast day for me, so I'll probably skip the sour cream and cheddar this time.

Do you plan your weekly meals?

What are you having this week?


28 April 2013

Bookmarked Recipes #23


Bookmarked Recipes: a monthly event to encourage food bloggers to revisit the recipes they have bookmarked from magazines, newspapers, cookbooks. websites, blogs, to try them out and post about them.

Read on to see all the entries. If you recreate any bookmarked recipes in May 2013, you can join in by adding them to the linky at the end of this post for the next roundup.






Bookmarked Recipe #23
April Roundup




chef: Janet

blog: The Taste Space 




bookmarked from: Post Punk Kitchen






recipe #2



chef: Elizabeth





bookmarked from: Food to Glow







recipe #3

Burmese Yellow Split Pea Fritters 


chef: Claire

blog: Chez Cayenne 




bookmarked from: Has*ba: Please Eat
 





recipe #4



chef: Johanna





bookmarked from: BBC Australian Good Food Guide






recipe #5



chef: Simona

blog:  Briciole 




bookmarked from: "Encyclopedia of Pasta" by Oretta Zanini De Vita










recipe #6



chef: Janet

blog: The Taste Space 




bookmarked from: Chocolate Covered Katie







recipe #7



chef: Anne

blog: Anne's Kitchen 




bookmarked from: Farmhouse Kitchen cookbook





 
recipe #8



chef: Choclette





bookmarked from: Clandestine Cake Club cookbook








recipe #9



chef: Janet

blog: The Taste Space 



bookmarked from: Vegan Lisa








recipe #10



chef: Christian




bookmarked from: JibberJabberUK












recipe #11



chef: Caroline




bookmarked from: The More Than Occassional Baker







recipe #12



chef: Janice




bookmarked from: Belleau Kitchen










Thanks to all the bloggers who joined in this month. I will be bookmarking a few of these. What a great roundup. So varied as well. The Nor Croutons Required roundup is also up, if you would like to have a look at all the soups and salads with indian spices.

May's Bookmarked Recipes is open for business.

If you would to add a post, just go to the linky at the bottom of this post. 
  1. Please remember that bookmarked recipes must be suitable for vegetarians, in line with this blog. 
  2. Please link to this post and state where you bookmarked your recipe from.
  3. Three entries only per blog.
You can find the guidelines, current challenge and past roundups here
 Bookmarked Recipes April will be open until Saturday 25 May 2013.

Yoghurt Maker Giveaway


Ever fancied making your own yoghurt? I've been having a go with this Easio Yoghurt Maker from Yoghurt Direct and it's really simple to use. A great way to eat really fresh & healthy yoghurt.

All you do is:

1. Mix the sachet contents with cold water in the 1kg jar (with the red lid) and shake thoroughly.
2. Pour boiling water to the line marked inside the yogurt maker and place the jar inside.
3. Place the lid on and leave 6-8 hours to set, then refrigerate.
4. Voila! Now just decant the yoghurt into a large tub and pop in the fridge.


Once you've made your yoghurt, you can fruit it up with some of the EasiYo fruit sachets, leave it plain or add some fresh fruit. The choice is yours.


The yoghurt is actually lovely plain and great with a swirl of honey too.




Would you like to win a Starter Gift Set? 

I have two sets to give away. Just enter using the rafflecopter below. 

Remember for your 1st entry you must leave a comment and then tick the rafflecopter box to say you have done so.

This giveaway runs until the 30 May 2013 and is UK only.


Good luck everyone!



a Rafflecopter giveaway

26 April 2013

No Croutons Required - Indian Spices

For this month's No Croutons Required I asked for soups or salads using Indian spices. I didn't manage to make one myself in time and this roundup is late too. Lets just say this hasn't been a happy household with all the poorly people in it. So for my entry I am dipping into my archive.

I do hope you enjoy the roundup. Be sure to vote for your favourite entry.


No Croutons Required

April 2013
Soups and Salads with Indian Spices


name: Janet
location: Toronto, Canada

Spices used: turmeric, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, nigella seeds, fenugreek seeds and mustard seeds

I love dal, but I always make the same one, a Coconut and Spinach Dal. I'm going to try this one next time. Janet has added cauliflower, zucchini (courgette) and tomatoes in hers and it looks utterly divine.




name: Preety
location: USA

spices used: cumin seeds, mustard seeds and garam masala

I did wonder if I would get any salads for this challenge. I am so glad I did and this is a great entry. Preety made us such a pretty rice dish. So healthy and full of wonderful flavours and textures. Kidney beans, sweetcorn, green pepper, onion and tomato, dressed in spices and mixed with rice. Mmmmmm!




name: Lisa
blog: Lisa's Kitchen 
Location: London, Ontario, Canada

spices used: turmeric, green chillies, chilli powder, ground coriander and dried curry leaves

My co-host and good friend Lisa has made us this spicy soup. If you ever need a lesson in spices, she is the one to visit. Lisa is an expert in combining spices and she has done it again with this gorgeous warming soup. Lisa was tempted to make a salad, but she is still freezing over there in Ontario, so decided against it.








name: Johanna
location: Melbourne, Australia

spices used: mustard seeds and curry powder

Johanna beefed up the flavour of her tomato soup with spices, sun dried tomatoes, chickpea flour and nutritional yeast. She served it with avocado on toast and dollops of yoghurt. What a great meal Johanna! I love the idea of serving avocado on toast with soup. So healthy too.






name: Jacqueline
location: Scotland, UK

spices used: cumin and coriander seeds

The weather is rather autumnal here in Scotland today, even though it is Spring. It's cold and alternating between pouring rain and hailstones. Lovely! So, I pulled this warming soup from my archive to share with you. Aubergine, mushrooms, spinach and tomatoes are the base of this soup, but it's finished off with wholewheat noodles.


name: Tanu
blog: Ma Niche 
location: ?

spices used: black peppercorns, star anise, cloves and cumin seeds. 

I really want to try this soup. Tanu was inspired to make it after seeing a recipe over at French Fridays with Dorie. She adapted the recipe, but kept the essence of it. I love that fact it has strips of orange peel in it. The peel must make the soup so fragrant.  Great entry Tanu.




name: Karen
location: France

spices used: cumin, coriander and fennel seeds

Although this is Moroccan on first glance, the spices are really quite Indian and what a wonderful salad this makes. Carrots, onion and fennel, all roasted in those lovely spices then tossed through salad leaves and topped with fresh mint and feta cheese. Oh my, I do love this dish! What a great one to end with.

 


Thanks to everyone who entered. Now before you leave, be sure to vote for your favourite using the voting poll on the right.

Update: The voting poll has been clearing itself, so I will be asking someone to judge this month for me.
 

23 April 2013

A Jam Factory in Action

Copper pan for jam making.


Stuart (Cakeyboi) and myself were lucky enough to have a tour around Mackays jam factory in Arbroath, on the East coast of Scotland.

Mackays was founded in 1938 by the Mackay brothers, but is now owned by the Grant family. The brand is very much a family company and most of their staff live locally.

In fact the lovely Claire who showed us around first got involved with the company as a school project, the brand took her on after school and now she is their Marketing Coordinator. 

Supporting the local economy is really important to the family and they only use berries from the East coast of Scotland.  

Their strawberries, raspberries and blackcurrants come from Perthshire, Fife and Angus and when the berry season is over, rather than using berries from abroad, they use the same berries which have been frozen when fresh, to keep the same high quality in their jams.

Adding fruit to a copper pot.
Strawberry jam simmering.
The Spectrum Test. Checking to see the fruit is evenly distributed.
Ready to be bottled.



They make jam the traditional way in large copper pots, which are made locally in Dundee. Their jams, curds and marmalades are made by hand, only the bottling and labelling are done by machine. The fruit is washed before it is delivered, but the staff check through each batch carefully to make sure it is good enough for their jam. The jam makers measure out the ingredients, make the jam in big copper pots, stirring it with wooden paddles and the pour it into a machine to be bottled up and labelled, they then check over the jars and hand pack them, ready for them to be delivered to shops and supermarkets across the world.


The filled jars whizz around this machine ready to be labelled.


Labelling the jars.


Checking the labels. You will notice how fast the staff work.


Lemon Curd.

Mackays have their core range of jam and curd, but they also produce marmalade and a special range of single farm conserve. Each jar tells a story and has a touch of tartan to show their Scottish heritage.


 

I also have to give a special mention to the marmalade.

Dundee is famous for it's Marmalade.

It was first made in the 18th Century, when a Spanish ship took sanctuary in Dundee harbour during a bad storm. A local grocer, James Keiller purchased some of the Seville oranges on board and to ok them home to his wife to try. They soon found out that the fruit was quite sour to eat, so the grocer's wife decided to boil it up with sugar and voila the first Dundee Marmalade was made Marmalade has been made in Dundee form Seville oranges ever since then, but Mackays is the only local firm that still makes it the authentic way in open copper pans. 
 
They also do a special range of Marmalades with Champagne and with Scottish Whisky.

I've been eating Mackays jams since I was a child and my mother bought them. I am new to their curds and Single Farm Conserves, but I am happy to recommend their products as delicious and now I have seen the care that goes into making their small batches of preserves, I will definitely be more loyal to this local brand.

If you find yourself in the East Coast of Scotland, do take a trip to Arbroath and visit the Mackays Factory Shop. 

The shop is open Monday to Thursday from 9:00am to 4:30pm and Friday from 9:00am - 3:00pm. 

Find out more about Mackays on their website
and follow them on Facebook and Twitter. 



While in Arbroath, why not have a walk along the cliffs or a stroll around the old harbour. If you eat fish, you must try the world-famous Arbroath Smokies, then you can visit the lighthouse museum and  last of all make sure you visit the Abbey.  

photo: Education Scotland
Arbroath Abbey is famous for the signing of the Declaration of Arboath. The declaration is a document Scottish nobles signed in 1320 to swear their independence from England and declared Robert the Bruce as their true king

"...for, as long as but a hundred of us remain alive, never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule. It is in truth not for glory, nor riches, nor honours that we are fighting, but for freedom – for that alone, which no honest man gives up but with life itself."

It's funny how these things all come around again isn't it? We may be signing a new declaration to say we are an independent Scotland soon, but that is a story for another day.

Disclosure: I was not sponsored to write this post. I asked Mackays Marketing Coordinator if I could have a visit to the factory. I was not expected to write a positive review and any opinions expressed are my own. On leaving the factory, I was kindly given some of the preserves to try.