I love meat. I can't lie, and I don't think anything will ever beat a bacon sandwich in fluffy white bread, drowned in brown sauce on a Sunday morning. Saying this, I've been trying to make a concerted effort to eat less meat and try and find meat-free alternatives. This isn't really for animal cruelty reasons but more about my health and trying to eat better/more sustainable.
I've already started by swapping my extra lean mince for the Quorn alternative, which works out much cheaper for me and I notice no difference to the quality or taste of my chilli and bolognese. I've also used Quorn 'chicken' bits for my fajitas as when they are covered in seasoning you really can't tell the difference.
This 'conversion' of sorts (I will never call myself vegetarian and surrender the chorizo or bacon) has made me take particular interest in recipes that don't include meat but still pack plenty of flavour and taste. I'm not really a confident cook and have no idea where to start as meat has always been the main part of my meals growing up. I'm also pretty lazy, which is an issue. I prefer to dedicate an hour to batch cooking and then no more than half an hour when I get in chucking it all together. This is pretty hard to do when I'm trying to include more fresh vegetables into my diet.
Luckily, I happened to stumble across Amuse Your Bouche and she is a little bit of a genius and my recipe book is now full of recipes to try. She also seems to have a strong love for Mexican food, which makes me love her even more. All of the below recipes are taken from her fantastic site and I highly recommend you visiting her website if you are trying to include more veggie dishes in your diet.
Only cooking for one the majority of the time can make it really tricky to expand my cooking repertoire. Since I moved out I've mastered three or four dishes that I'm REALLY good at, y'know a great chilli, bolognese, risotto etc. These are my go-to recipes that I can make in massive batches and add multiple things to depending on what takes my fancy. However, only having me to make meals for means that I'm often reluctant to expand my range - it just never seems to be worth the effort and the potential disappointment of disastrous food and an unsatisfied belly.
Food is one of the great loves of my life. I am constantly watching food shows, especially ones that put a focus on doing delicious meals that are also healthy and cheap. At the moment, Jamie's Comfort Food is one of my favourites - though they don't always combine either of those two factors - but are delicious! So here are the recipes that I've been drooling over the past few weeks and am waiting to pluck up the courage to try.
Street Food is one of my favourite things ever. I'm not usually one for the latest trends, I like what I like, but Street Food seems to be the hottest thing in the foodie world and I love it.
The best thing about the Street Food takeover and living in a city means there are far more festivals and events celebrating humble and delicious delights. The German Christmas market in Leeds is just a few weeks away now, and it marks the official start of the festive period for me, while the June Food Festival is the highlight of my summer.
Something has been sweeping the food blogging world, and it's courgette pasta. I wasn't particularly thrilled to try it, I thought it was an interesting concept but I LOVE pasta and couldn't imagine anything coming close to its starchy goodness. I even prefer wholewheat pasta over white pasta as it is just so much tastier and better for you.
This afternoon I am heading to the British Street Food festival in Leeds and I am SO excited. I have been looking forward to it since last week and I hope it doesn't let me down. I hate disappointing food. Anyway, this has gotten me thinking about the brilliant places in Leeds to eat that I haven't yet tried. It's criminal. There are countless places, with new ones opening up all the time, that I still want to try and a lot of them do lunchtime deals so I really have no excuse not to get my bum along. If I could afford it (and I could do it healthily), I would eat out six nights a week (I don't want all my mum's hard work teaching me to cook to go to waste).
So here is my Leed eatery Bucket List that I WILL munch my way through.
Friends of Ham
One of my old work colleagues did nothing but rave on about this place and it sounds right up my street. There's cheese, wine and beer, deli boards full of meat - what more could you want? It's also ridiculously close to where I work so I really have no excuse. The only problem is that the SO isn't a big fan of cheese but he'd be happy as there's plenty of meat.
Mexican - Cielo Blanco
I love food. I can't help it, and to be honest it's a constant battle to not eat everything in sight, especially when in and around Mexican/Italian/Indian places.
I've already done a post about Cielo Blanco in Leeds Trinity so I won't go into too much detail as you can find out all about it here. I will just say that I eat a LOT of Mexican food, whether that's at home, in restaurants or at food festivals and this is the best I've ever had. If you're a lover of Mexican food and plenty of Tequila (and great service) then you NEED to head over to Leeds Trinity and sample the delights from Cielo Blanco. I especially recommend the stuffed jalepenos if you like a bit of a kick in your food.
Italian - Jamie's Italian