‘Make-do’ Salad Bowl


 
I don’t know about you but I regularly find my cupboards (and fridge) almost completely bare, and in those instances I try to cobble something together that vaguely resembles a complete meal. This ‘salad bowl’ was the result of one such foraging scenario where I was able to utilize a couple of half-used peppers, a handful of cherry tomatoes, as well as some dried goods in the form of bulgar wheat and whole almonds … oh, and lets not forget that broccoli. Broken into tiny, bite-sized florets and served completely raw … in case you weren’t already aware, I kinda adore raw broccoli – crunch, crunch, crunch!

 

Griddling the cherry tomatoes was the key to bringing the simple salad dressing to life. I toyed with the idea of toasting the almonds too but thought it might interfere with the taste and texture too much, so raw they remained. Stirred through the bulgar wheat, the dressing really boosts the, er, blandness (?) of this nutty, nutritious grain – regardless, I’m a bit obsessed and use it regularly, hence why I have a glut of it in my cupboards.

 

So, a bit of this and a bit of that ain’t so bad … I even managed to shoehorn a bit of protein in there too – hurrah! Next time your pantry is in need of a restock, why not have a rummage and see what odds and ends might make a decent (or at the very least, passable) meal.You might be pleasantly surprised.

 

what you’ll need

1/2 large red pepper

1/2 large yellow pepper

1 small head of broccoli

1 cup bulgar wheat

 

for the sauce

handful of cherry tomatoes

1 scant cup of almonds

1 tbsp red wine vinegar

juice of 1/2 lemon

1/2 tsp agave or other sweetener (optional)

3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

 

what you’ll do

Heat a griddle pan. Cut the peppers into large pieces and place skin-down in the pan … cook until the skins blacken and then remove from the pan. Wrap tightly in cling film and set aside for 5-10 minutes before unwrapping and gently peeling away the skin – do not rinse under a tap. Cut into thin strips, season and toss with a little extra virgin olive oil.

 

Add the cherry tomatoes and griddle until they become lightly charred and soft to the touch. Pulverize the almonds in a food processor before adding the tomatoes, red wine vinegar, lemon juice, and seasoning. Whilst the sauce is blitzing slowly pour in the extra virgin olive oil until it thickens. Check for seasoning and if it needs a little added sweetness, put it in now – blitz again to combine and refrigerate until needed.

 

Pour the bulgar wheat into a large bowl and add the same amount of freshly boiled water (i.e. 1 cup), cover and set aside until the bulgar wheat has fully absorbed the water. Fluff with a fork and stir through half the sauce.

 

Cut the broccoli into small bite-size pieces (keep any remaining stalks for soups and stews) and begin assembling your bowl. I used a large platter-style bowl, placing the roasted pepper strips in the centre before spooning the bulgar wheat around the outside. Dot the broccoli florets here and there, and serve with the remaining sauce.

 

Simple, wholesome – and cheap!

 

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Back to the Eighties

 

Remember the last time I did an outfit post? Nope, I don’t either. In fact, it’s been so long I’d almost forgotten this was supposed to be a ‘lifestyle’ blog and not just one where I upload recipes from time and time. I guess I haven’t felt like my jeans and tee uniform of late is very blogworthy (although it is mighty comfortable) but sometimes it’s nice to put a spin on things  – even if that spin includes a slouchy polka dot blazer you found on the pound rail in a charity shop. Sure, it’s needs the pocket mending but that didn’t stop me from wearing it all over St.Ives on Saturday like the sassy skinflint/thrifter I am. The little blue bag was gifted to me from a terrific new vegan bag company called LaBante (thank you!) and is the perfect size (phone, wallet and keys, bingo!) and style for my laid-back Cornish lifestyle … with just enough pizazz to give me my much needed fashion fix.

 

I’ve basically been living in these trousers too – it almost feels (er, and looks?) like I’m wearing pajamas, which is never a bad thing in my book. I’d tried them on a while back when I was in London but hummed and hawed over them for some reason, so they stayed on the rack. A few months later Monki were having a sale and these little beauties were less than half price, which made them all the more appealing. I was still unsure but at £12 I couldn’t really say no and hey presto, they have quickly become a firm staple. And what I can say about that hat, eh? That ludicrously large ‘i’m wearing a hat’ hat. Yup. Another charity shop purchase from last summer … it’s Laura Ashley and sets off this borderline twee outfit to a tee. It also happens to be the perfect beach hat and as such, has become my requisite summertime headgear of late, lending a rather preppy Hillary Whitney-esque air to proceedings. What can I say … you can take the girl out of the eighties but you can’t take the eighties out of the girl!

 

p.s. I’m wearing a bikini under this garb, which goes some way to explaining the lumpy bust scenario. perils of living near the sea I suppose.

 

what i’m wearing … tee/peacocks (old. so, so, old) … trews/monki … blazer and hat/charity shop … shoes/new look (asos) … bag/labante

 

 

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Summer Quencher recipe … and a 66 day challenge


 
I read somewhere that it takes 66 days to break a habit. And whilst I wouldn’t exactly call my alcohol consumption a habit, so much as something I enjoy on a weekly basis (Friday nights usually involve a glass or two or vino) I still like to have a break from it now and again. With that in mind I’ve decided the remainder of the summer and into the Autumn (October 9th to be exact) are to be a booze-free zone … although I may continue it long-term. Truth be told, I get less and less enjoyment from the odd G&T or Pinot Noir than I care to admit, preferring to have a cup of tea or sparkling water (San Pellegrino is my current fav) and so I got to thinking, why bother with it at all? I’m probably just turning into a boring old fart but even parties fill me with dread these days – small gatherings with people I know and trust are fine but other than that count me out. I guess I’m not a terribly social person and find certain situations quite awkward – my Husband feels the same way (weirdos unite!), preferring to have intimate dinner parties over major hooplas and usually without copious amounts of alcohol.
 
Living in the US opened our eyes to our cultural reliance on the hard stuff … our American friends tend to drink much less – not a firm fact just something we observed during our time there. Social events are less geared towards getting blind drunk and more towards eating, chatting and playing games. It sounds corny to say it was ‘good, clean fun’ but it was. I’ve got a few parties planned for the near future … I’ll be hosting a summer BBQ soon and will probably provide Pimms and whatnot for my friends (who, are all moderate drinkers thank goodness) but I will be abstaining and instead reaching for mocktails such as this Summer Quencher – truthfully, it tastes so fab, I really won’t feel like I’m missing out. It would also be terrific served in a champagne glass and topped off with soda water or san pellegrino … oh, and a sprig of mint would be delightful too, I just didn’t have one to hand.
 
Should anyone wish to join me on my booze-free voyage feel free to let me know and we can do it together – please do send any of your favourite mocktail concoctions my way, I’m eager to keep things interesting.
 
As a total aside, my new favourite toy also happens to be a blender … not any old blender (and believe me, I’ve tried quite a few!) but the new Kinetex Control Blender by Heston Blumenthal. It is the absolute bomb and I’ll be sure to do a proper review of it later but, for now, here’s the recipe in question …

 

what you’ll need

1 large orange

1 pink lady apple

1 x 4” piece of cucumber

1/2 lemon

1/2 lime

1 cup coconut water

splash of grenadine

 

to serve

lemon & lime slices

cucumber slices

1 x strawberry, quartered

sprig of mint, ice cubes and sparkling water (optional)

 

what you’ll do

Segment the orange and add to blender. Peel, de-seed and chop the apple and cucumber, and add to the blender along with the coconut water, lemon and lime juice. Blend until smooth and then pass through a sieve to render a colourful, smooth, vibrant drink.

 

Fill a glass with the lemon, lime and cucumber slices, as well as the strawberries and pour over the summery quencher. Finally, add a splash of grenadine. You could pop in a few ice-cubes and a sprig or two of mint.

 

To turn it from a long drink into a refreshing spritzer, simply divide the mixture between two champagne flutes and top with sparkling water.

 

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