Although I love eating out and trying new foods I don’t think there’s nothing more satisfying than making, baking and eating something you have made yourself.
And for us who are allergic to life basically, home made can be tailored into whatever you require, gluten free, vegan, vegetarian and everything else.
However, making food from scratch can be time consuming and sometimes an effort we just don’t have. I’m not one of those day dream folk who is all smiles and sunshine regarding homemade cooking. Trust me I am fully in touch with the reality of life, I work 13 hour shifts in a psychiatric hospital, i’m currently in the process off selling and buying a new home, plus crossfit and trying to see family and friends in between you really think I have time each day to home cook
So what I like to do is when I am off and have some free time is to cook meals that I can re-heat or eat cold and add fresh ingredients to them each day.
If I do have time to make home made food I will have a ready meal, not often but they are handy to have in just in case. I don’t think there is any shame about eating quick meals as long as you don’t go stupid and live on them. They tend to be full of preservatives and high in salt and/or fat, so they are not always the best for you.
But in reality at times accessibility and time can beat home cooked food.
Now i’m not the best cook, I am a better baker I would say, but i’m a trier and at times its an epic fail other times I stumble onto a little legend! I thought I would share a few recipes of my home cooked meals and a few quick meals I have stumbled upon.
Gluten free, vegetarian mushroom pie
I have tried this recipe before but not gluten free or as vegan as possible. I have said it is vegetarian not vegan as the gluten free puff pastry doesn’t state vegan and I can only says a product is definitely something if the package states so.
So, for this pie I used as many vegan items as possible and I start with the filling.
For this pie filling I softened up some onions and leaks. I have found a really good range from Morrisons, its there wonky range. Its all the veggies and fruits that normally would be thrown away just because they don’t “fit in” with the other veggies. Its so sad to think good food is being wasted just because there not classed as perfect.
I used a little blob of Pure soya spread, 2 of their wonky red onions for this pie filling and 1 huge ass leak which I got from Morrisons too. Let them soften up before adding Alpro soya cream, 2 garlic cloves, salt and pepper to taste. I used 1 bottle of cream as I was making a big pie, but you won’t need a hole bottle if your doing a smaller pie.
Whilst the onions and leaks were cooking off in another pan I was heating up the Quorn chicken pieces. The Quorn range is brilliant, but for most of their products its a choice between vegan or gluten free, I have to choose gluten free as I have an allergy to gluten and am just intolerant to lactose. I heat the Quorn with a little 1 cal spray and wait till they brown off then add them to the pan with the onions, leak and cream filling mixture.
I cook the mixture for a short while afterwards tasting regularly and adding seasoning if required.
Once cooked I placed into a backing pan/tray, its about 2″ deep and about 10″ long. the mixture I made almost filled the dish to the top, normally I wouldn’t make so much but I was prepping for my 2 weeks of night shifts so this pie would last me quite a few nights.
To top the pie I use Asda’s free from puff pastry. To be honest I would have normally used the Jus-rol gluten free puff pastry as I find its a better quality of pastry to use. Asda’s wasn’t to bad but I didn’t puff up as much as the Jus-rol one but it was as tasty.
I pre-heat my oven and put the pie in at 190°c. I am terrible at timing and often just guess what time to leave it in for. For this pie I waited until the top was golden brown and the contents are bubbling hot, it was in around 30 minuets.
(Sorry for the rubbish pictures, I have a new phone which is a bit poo for close up shots!)
Sainsbury’s Free from butternut squash risotto ready meal
This was a great find I got from Sainsbury’s a few weeks ago. I was looking at their free from chilled section and noticed this, their free from butternut squash risotto. Both gluten free and vegan.
Normally I wouldn’t look at the ready meals as I don’t often eat them but this caught my eye.
I love butternut squash, its so versatile and bloody tasty! So to find it in a risotto which I also adore was brilliant.
It was not to expensive at £3.00 and totally worth it. As it is a ready meal it was easy to cook, pop in the microwave and in a few minuets ping! sorted.
Like all ready meals it looked a bit thrown together in the tray it came in, but to be honest a risotto kinda looks like that anyways. I had mine with a huge handful of rocket on the side. I didn’t feel like it needed anything else. The texture was claggy/thick in the mouth but I love that texture so to me it was lovely, but others may not find it to attractive.
It tasted so good, full of flavour and really filling for a little meal.
On checking the ingredients and nutritional information it was as expected from ready meals, quite high fat content and salt. I also noted it had 6 grams of sugar in it, which I think comes from the grape juice concentrate and possibly the coconut ingredients.
For a quick meal that is not frequently used as a regular meal its lovely tasting for a OK price.
Chocolate cake balls
These balls were not meant to be balls they were meant to be cupcakes but failed miserably. I was asked to make cakes for a family member who’s work colleague is in our cool group. A gluten and lactose free member and wanted chocolate cake.
I have made chocolate cakes a million times but I normally use eggs or the oil/water/baking powered combo. Unfortunately I had forgotten the gluten free baking powder so I though I would just make them without it.
Oh what a mistake.
The recipe was as always, 4oz caster sugar, 4oz soya spread and mix until fluffy. Then add your 2 eggs or 2 egg replacement mixture and 4oz gluten free self raising flour, a few table spoons of cacao powder and some vanilla essence and mix.
For the egg replacement I use 1.5 table spoons of oil, 1.5 table spoons of water and half a teaspoon of gluten free baking powder. Be careful however, if you are making a cake that requires more than 1 egg you might want to swap this mixture for another egg replacement mixture as it could get to oily.
Once cooked the cakes had sunken so badly they weren’t cakes any longer. So to save my facon I made them into cake balls. I placed all the “cakes” into a bowl and crumbled them. Once crumbled a added 1 large table spoon of chocolate butter cream and mixed into a sticky but solid(ish) mixture. I then made them into balls and placed in the freezer for several minuets, once hard I covered them in chocolate. As they were meant to be cupcakes I hadn’t got any cooking chocolate for melting so I melted the Tesco free from giant chocolate buttons I had got for the decorations. I dipped them in to the melted chocolate and placed them in the fridge till hard. I finished them off with a drizzle of Sweet freedom liquid drizzle, perfect.
Just because time is limited doesn’t mean your cant eat tasty.