A Natural Journey – Food and Some

Healthy Options

My new focus is going natural and being healthy. I have cut out the caffeine, drastically minimised the in-take of processed foods, eat a lot more fruits, vegetables and drinking a lot more water.

FOOD

Any of my friends can tell you, I love my food and that’s exactly why I don’t believe in diets, and the other fact that diet has got the word ‘die’ in it. Anyway, in going on this new journey, I thought, ‘I like my food and want to continue to enjoy eating good food’.

So first of all, I decided to go for mini-meals, so rather than eating 3 main meals, I would have several mini-meals; this way, I eat less, have the calories constantly burning and am less hungry throughout the day.

Graze Box

A day in my eating diary looks like this: a healthy thick fruit smoothie on my way out to work, a granola bar and yoghurt when I get to work, some sliced cucumbers around noon, a grilled salmon salad for lunch, a Graze Box helping at tea time and chicken and broccoli for dinner. It might sound like a lot of food but actually this works out as less calories throughout the day.

DRINKS

I have stopped drinking caffeine, which means I only drink decaf coffee or decaf tea (black, no milk, no sugar). In fact, I prefer herbal teas; Rituals make a great selection of 100% natural teas. The Rose Wisdom tea by Rituals is my favourite, it’s a herbal infusion made with Rose flowers which warms the heart and Ginger which is full of powerful Yang energy which warms and uplifts the body.

Rose Wisdom

Water has also become my bestie, I drink a lot of tepid water, hot water or water with lemon; I sometimes squeeze the juice of the lemon in the water or have it in slices.

My guilty pleasure is hot chocolate, I have this once in a while but never add milk and keep it light. This brings me to Milk. I no longer drink cow’s milk and have opted for Almond Milk which actually contains more vitamins, minerals and nutritional value compared to cow’s milk.

AND SOME

Being healthy is not easy at first but you get into it. Another way to ensure you stay on this healthy lifestyle journey is involving your family and friends and also exercising. By letting those around you know about your new eating habits, you are more likely to see it through.

I am certainly feeling much healthier and enjoying my new eating regime.

All the best!!!

Walnut and Pear Salad

Walnut and Pear Salad

This is my home made Walnut and Pear Salad.

Ingredients:
- Walnuts
- Pears
- Butterhead Lettuce
- Cherry Tomatoes
- Cucumbers
- Honey and Mustard Dressing

Tear/cut the lettuce into medium slice pieces, to give a natural look; place the pieces into the bowl. Dice the cucumbers into small slices and add to the lettuce. Add the cherry tomatoes and walnuts into the mix. Drizzle the honey and mustard dressing over the salad and stir with a wooden mix.

This salad is surprisingly filling and takes less than 10 minutes to make; the longest preparation is cutting the pears into thin slices.

Place in fridge for 15 minutes and serve cold.

Enjoy!

The Ready Steady Eat Launch at Enzo’s Restaurant

The Hillsong Connect Group decided to have a night out from our usual fortnightly fellowship at Subway.  We decided to go to Enzo’s Restaurant in Enfield, where they were hosting a ‘Diva Viva Night’ with live music, this was also the night that the Ready Steady Eat blog was being launched.

Enzo's

Enzo’s has a quirky exterior, which I like being an admirer of good architecture.  On entering the restaurant, I was greeted by friendly faces and quickly spotted my dining party.  I joined the group in the waiting area, which was cosy and had an European look, perhaps this had been intentionally translated in the décor, you see Enzo’s is an Italian restaurant.

While we waited for our table and the remaining party to arrive, we all had a good catch up over drinks.  About an hour later and after some good stories shared, the whole party now assembled, were led by the friendly waiter to a long table for dinner.  The ‘Diva Viva’ menu comprised of a two course party menu (starter and main) with live music and entertainment, all for £20.

A Diva Viva Night At Enzo's

For starters, I ordered the ‘Crab & Avocado, Chevril Dill Herb with Sweet Pepper Sauce’ and for my main, the ‘Braised Beef, Cauliflower Purée &  Broccoli’.  My starter was a combination of sweet, sour and savoury tastes.  The crab provided a sweet element to the starter and the sweet pepper sauce and lemon introduced savoury and sour components, yet the avocado and chevril dill herb delivered a delicate blend of the flavours.  Our mains were served about twenty minutes later which gave the group time to mingle and more importantly,  allowed us to make room for the next course.  The ‘Diva Viva’ live music began just when the mains were served, I tucked into the well cooked braised beef, which had been cooked to ‘tender’ perfection.  I am not a fan of cauliflower but the Purée changed my mind, it was a good substitute for potato mash.  The broccoli was cooked as I like it, not over-done and not under-cooked, crunchy and still  packed with vitamins, colour and flavour.  The trio, the braised beef, cauliflower purée and broccoli provided a good food palate.

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Over dinner, we started belting out tunes as the live singer took to the mic.  At this point, just want to say well done to Funmi, quite a singer, might I add.  Within minutes after dinner, we proceeded to the dance floor with nothing stopping us.  The live entertainment was on point, with a mixture of Motown favourites, modern hits and Rn’B favourites.  It was truly a night to remember.  I sure did!  Enzo’s was delightful and the company was priceless.

Ready Steady Eat Supporters!

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Special thanks to Funmi and Nick for hosting such an unforgettable night and arranging the launch of my Ready Steady Eat blog at Enzo’s!

Havez – A Turkish Delight

Havez

As part of our monthly meet ups, William, Anisha and I enjoy trying new restaurants. This time, it was William’s turn to pick a place to eat, (I had picked Burger & Lobster the last time we went out) so he invited us to the delightful Turkish restaurant, Havez. I brought Nick, our friendly Vegetarian along for the ride and to surprise Anisha and William – we had all worked together.

I had read the reviews of this stylish and elegant restaurant, sitting in front of the waterfront and boasting of fine Anatolian cuisine. Luckily, the setting lived up to the expectation. I was impressed as we were led to our table by the hostess.

To begin with, we were treated to complimentary bread which I must admit, I scoffed – I was hungry, I couldn’t help myself, also the bread and dips were good. Although I had most of it, I can say the group also enjoyed it.

We ordered starters, I went for calamari as I love trying this as a starter around the country. Everyone seemed pleased with their orders, and this was the pattern that followed throughout the evening. The servings were generous and the food nicely cooked. For mains I had a mixed grill with cous cous – the meat, lamb and chicken were nicely cooked, succulent and tasty. The dessert was my favourite, I had the Tel Kadayif (pictured), it wasn’t too sweet and was quite crunky yet soft and sticky at the same time. I know I’ll be going back for this.

My only let down was the service of one particular waiter, I hadn’t noticed it until Anisha pointed it out to me but I paid no attention and tried to make the most of my experience there.

So to recommend or not to recommend – I’ll recommend it.

P.S This is a good place to take a loved one for an evening out and after dinner, a walk by waterfront adds that extra touch of romance.

Ping Pong – Food Medley

Ping Pong - Food Medley

I had never been to Ping Pong before, it was therefore ideal for my friend, Laitan and me, to make a quick stop for dinner before we went to watch the play, Feast.  I felt like Oriental food, and I had heard Ping Pong offered a good mix of food.

We sat outside, the terrace was filled with mahogany furniture and plants, giving that dark, tropical, rainforest look. The food came quick enough and I soon established I was not a fan of dumplings. I did however love the Fried and Griddled menu, from the crispy prawn balls to the crispy duck spring rolls and the wu xiang lamb spring roll (all three pictured, top to bottom respectively) – I was pleased.

My only let down was the fact that the Fried and Griddled menu selection came before the dumplings which I did not particularly enjoy. Laitan tried to convince me dumplings were an acquired taste – hmm, not so sure I believe, lol.

If you want a bit of this and that, then Ping Pong is the place to eat!  I’d say go for the Fried and Griddled menu with the honeyed chicken rice pot and the king prawns and scallop sticky rice. If you have already acquired the taste for Ping Pong dumplings, then why not add that to the mix too.

African Pepper Soup

African Pepper Soup

On cold evenings, especially in the winter, there is no better companion than a winter warmer soup. In this case African Pepper Soup, made with assorted meats (but not horse meat :-) sorry I couldn’t help it).  Some people make Pepper Soup with chicken or fish, so feel free to use any of these, I love going for assorted meat, my favourite mix being goat meat, cow foot and tripe.  This African delicacy is also a great treatment for the common cold, thanks to the ginger and pepper ingredients in this soup.

There are many pepper soup recipes out there.  I enjoy cooking and will always go for the easiest, quickest and most ‘pain free’ methods of making food.  So here is my easy, ‘ready, steady, eat’ recipe!

Average cooking time: 1hr 30mins

Assorted Meat – Goat Meat, Cow Foot and Tripe (Ask the butchers to cut the meat into small pieces)

Salt

Scotch Bonnet Peppers

Knorr Cubes

Ginger

Thyme

2 spoons of Pepper Soup powder

Yellow Onions

Put the assorted meat into a big pot, remember this is a one-pot cooking recipe therefore you need the pot to be big enough for the Pepper Soup.  Spice the assorted meat (or chicken or fish) in the pot with salt, Knorr cubes and thyme.  Finely chop the onions, ginger and scotch bonnet peppers and add this to the mix.  Pour enough water to cover the assorted meat before placing it on the cooker to boil.  To avoid the assorted meat losing its taste, avoid adding too much water at the start; it is better to add water as you go along.  At about 50mins into the cooking time or when the meat is getting softer, add two spoons of the Pepper Soup powder (you can buy this from most African stores) into the pot of assorted meat.  Now add extra water, enough for your soup.   Reduce the heat and continue to cook the assorted meat until it is soft enough to eat.

Other West African twists on this recipe:

With Plaintains: Cooking the plaintains in the assorted meat by adding this about 20mins towards the end of the cooking time.

With Potatoes:  As above.

In Honour of Pancake Tuesday

Pancakes with Ice Cream and Blue Berries

Firstly, I would like to thank the North London Hillsong Connect Group (run by Nick, Funmi and Joyce) for encouraging me to start this blog (even down to the name). I would also like to thank Nick’s son, Joe a.k.a the pancake boss, for making lovely and delicious pancakes for the Connect Group in advance of Pancake Tuesday. This is beginning to sound like an academy award winner’s speech, but truth be told, if they gave awards to food lovers, I would be one of the nominees :-). Before I digress, as you can tell from my plate, I had seconds – that’s because the Joe makes one of the best pancakes I have ever tasted. What can I say, I was pancake smitten and with the ice cream and blue berries, I couldn’t help myself *yum yum*

Trivia: Did you know that Shrove Tuesday (also known as Pancake Tuesday and Pancake Day) is the day preceding Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

I Couldn’t Help Myself – Pancake Excitement

Pancake

Ready

Yes, I know. Pancake Tuesday is tomorrow, but I honestly could not wait. I wanted to prep my mix for tomorrow morning, but I had to be honest with myself, I am not one to wake up early in the morning. So I thought, why not make the pancakes now and heat it up in the microwave in the morning. Just one problem, I couldn’t help myself – I have eaten almost all the pancakes I made…oh the shame.

 

Pancake Almost Done

Steady

Never mind, I have two left out of the eight pancakes I made. Hope they make it to Pancake Tuesday :-)

BBC has a simple yummy pancake recipe that I love, don’t tell anyone but I add two table spoons of sugar to the mix – that’s because I don’t like syrup or honey, I like my pancakes straight up, plain jane style although once in a while, I like to be adventurous with my sides.

For breakfast, feel free to add one or a combination of these, yoghurt, bananas, blueberries, strawberries, jam, lemon juice OR if you want something more savoury, try bacon or sausages on the side…that’s the thing about pancakes, you can mix it up!

You can also have your pancakes with ice cream and almond sprinkles for a dessert feel…yum

 

Time to Eat

Time to Eat

 

 

 

7 Golden Rules for Stir-Fries

Chicken and Vegetable Stir Fry

 

I love different types of stir-fries, meat, chicken, duck and seafood. Stir-fries are quick and easy to make and allow you to experiment with new and exciting recipes.

My 7 Golden Rules for Stir-Fries

Cooking times
Don’t over cook your meat, poultry, seafood or vegetables. Stir-fries usually get done quickly, so it is best to cut and prepare everything in advance before you start the cooking process. Add the food items that take the longest to cook first, for me, it’s usually meat, then items for flavouring that don’t burn like garlic, habanero chili pepper and yellow onions / shallots. Spring onions get soggy fast so this usually goes in towards the end. Remember, there are different types of onions and all add different tastes to cooking. I use yellow (or brown onions) and spring onions in asian stir-fries and red for mediterranean cooking and salads.

Oil
Add a little oil to the wok. I embrace healthy living so I use very little oil to begin with and if I need more, I add as I go along. Sunflower oil or vegetable oil are the best for stir-fries, sunflower oil being the healthier option. Olive oil although healthy, has an overpowering taste in stir-fries and is better for longer cooking meals and great for salads. If you prefer to use olive oil then use light olive oil. There is also sesame, fish and squid oil, although the type of oil you use really depends on what you are cooking.

Be Colourful
The more colourful the stir-fry, the better. I find this is a great way to eat vegetables too. Bell peppers (red, green and yellow), spring onions, runner beans, broccoli and baby corns are great in stir-fries. Vegetables usually go in last, to keep the colour and more importantly, the taste locked in. Some vegetables like baby corns and runner beans are harder than the others, so these can go in earlier or you can steam these separately and add in to the stir-fry later.

Hot Hot Hot
You need high heat for a stir-fry. The more you add in to the wok, the lower the heat becomes. Avoid lowering the heat, best to take the wok off the heat and then put it back on.  The trick to avoid burning your ingredients is getting everything ready in the order it goes in the wok.

Aromatic
A good stir-fry needs aromatic seasoning. Remember your onions, I prefer spring onions for stir-fries. Ginger has a sweet but savoury taste to your cooking, especially when used with chicken. Although garlic has a strong in taste, it is great for mellowing, fusing and bringing out flavours. Salt and black pepper and soy sauce should also be close to hand.

 

Beef in Black Bean Sauce

 

Rice
For stir fries, I recommend using basmatic rice. Remember to follow the guidelines for cooking rice which is usually a 1:2 ratio, that is one cup of rice to two cups of water. I love coconut and jasmine rice for chicken or meat based stir-fries and plain rice for seafood or duck based stir-fries.

Noodles
Noodles are best in stir-fries, I am not a fan of these served plain on the side. Rice noodles is light and goes nicely with seafood or chicken while chow mein is great for meat or duck stir-fries. Cook your noodles separately and then throw it into your stir-fry towards the end to avoid it get mashy.

Preparation
Yes, you are right, this is the 8th golden rule. Well it’s the 8th wonder of the 7 golden rules.  Since I mentioned, getting your cooking ingredients ready to avoid overcooking, losing colour, flavour or burning, I guess being ready is the underlying rule to making a good stir-fry.

So get ready steady cook :-)

Love Eat – Get Eat – Share Eat!

Ready Steady Eat – Eat is simple – Eat is about Eating – Get Eat – You got to love Eat – If you do, then share Eat!

Sorry about the ‘Eat’ over-kill, cheesy I know – but that’s the point, I live and breathe for food :-) I love food so much and if you know me, I am always eating – I just can’t help it. So I thought, why not start a food blog and map the journey of my food conquests. This is my passion, this is my food, and I would like to share this foodaholic’s diary.

Please remember to like the Ready Steady Eat facebook page and follow @readysteadyeat on twitter!