I was surprised recently to learn that ‘eating clean’ wasn’t just about green juice and limp leaves. After discovering this rather cool little website called The Kitchen Shed I’ve been educated that you can eat cleanly (if you so desire to) and still enjoy meals that seem to be rather at odds with such a notion. Such as Cheese Stuffed Meatballs – no really. Look!
As a big fan of both CHEESE and MEATBALLS (and of course TRYING TO BE HEALTHY) I had to give them a go. Look, this is basically turkey mince, bound with a little pesto and rolled into meatballs into which you press a little square of feta cheese. Easy, even for me.
I cooked these in the slow cooker with some homemade pasta sauce, I optimistically dusted with a little flour so they would hopefully keep their shape. I don’t know if flour is ‘eating clean’ I just wanted my little meatballs to stay that way.
I’m very happy to report that – whilst a little dry – they remained as meatballish as possible (with only a small amount of mushiness).
Don’t get hung up on the presentation I know it looks like dog food. But they tasted pretty good and the cheesy inside was a nice little surprise.
This is eating clean I can get on board with. No leaves in sight.
So Alice Can’t Cook is one year old.
It’s the first birthday of my blog and if I may be so bold?
I shall celebrate with a rhyme or three…
Remembering the best and worst of my cookery
So I’ve served raw eggs to an unborn baby
Made a risotto so solid it could have plastered a wall, maybe
My roasted vegetables just won’t roast
But now and again I can have a bit of a boast
My self-imposed Veg Box Challenge was really trying
The hideous shrunken-head celeriac had me crying
I created some fruit compote that ended up in the sink
And a toxic hummous that kicked up a stink
Jamie Oliver’s Fritters won the vote but still got burnt
I’ve been a student but still haven’t learnt
There has been SO much trouble with eggs and rice
But thankfully I have a failsafe dish that usually turns out quite nice
Toad in the Hole nearly burnt the kitchen down
And even an easy kids recipe made me frown
A slimy festive turkey had me skidding across the floor
But my Christmas kit cakes had them crying out for more
Just don’t talk to me about curry!
I either make it like soup or a nasty slurry
My pretend birthday cakes reveal me to be a bad mother
But this years castle creation has made me think not to bother!
I’ve made my dog sick and my son scream
But weirdly my really difficult salmon dish turned into a dream
In the past year I’ve laughed and I’ve cried
I’ve served crap food but still no one has died.
Thanks for reading this year, for all your helpful comments and the laughs!
Alice Can’t Cook (still)…
But She’s Getting Better x
This is my inaugural FoodiePenpals post. For the uninitiated this is a rather lovely initiative where food bloggers from all over the country (and the world) send each other monthly packages of foody items. Yes, just like that penpal from France you had when you were a kid, remember you used to send them postcards, stamps and coins from the UK until you grew up (where are they now huh?) well it is the same except you change ‘pals’ every month and you don’t send stickers and badly spelt letters but things to eat or help with baking. If you want your own FoodiePenpal full details can be found here – hosted by the UK representative This is Rock Salt.
I quite liked shopping for my own foodie penpal (Avril from ConkerTree), my first recipient was a current vegetarian, would-be vegan and not so keen on very spicy foods. As a hot-beef-curry kind of girl this made me think about replacements for items I would normally buy. I also sent her a couple of my banana bread cupcakes! I’ve been assured she liked them, unlike my own son.
Anyway, one Saturday morning my own parcel arrived – what on earth would be inside?
Well here it is, express delivery from the lovely Emma.
Something amazing has happened!
My slap dash method of cooking has kind of paid off.
We had some gooseberries in our fruit and veg delivery box. I wasn’t sure I liked them, but saw it as a little green furry challenge to make something out of them.
Taking to Twitter I asked some far better cooks than me what I could do with them. I wasn’t disappointed, fabulous food bloggers gave me some tips that involved cooking with castor sugar and folding into thick, whipped cream to make a fool. I was all set….
Here are the cleaned up little beauties in a pan with some sugar. I was concerned that the sugar wouldn’t ‘cook’ so added in a bit of water. Not sure if that was correct as ended up with this:
I let them simmer hoping it would turn into useable sludge while I got going on the double cream…
Wow that stuff is tough!
It stayed liquid for about half an hour of very thorough mixing with a little whisk. I took to Twitter again and was assured that I just needed to put my ‘back into it’ and apply some ‘elbow grease’.
Are these cooking terms?
Anyway, after I had lost the use of my arms, I managed to get it looking a bit more ‘whippy’. Ready for my gooseberries to be folded into it to make a Fool.
But then out of the corner of my eye I spied my husband’s new packet of gingernut biscuits on the shelf. A lightbulb appeared above my head.
I grabbed half of them (just in case it didn’t work out, I wanted to make sure I hadn’t wasted the whole packet) and bashed them with a rolling pin (yes, remembering to put them in a bag, I’m not stupid) to make gingery crumbs. I folded them into some melted better and did this:
Ok, can you see where I am going with this? Foolish? Lets see…
I still had my fruity slurry. but I strained the gooseberries out and spread the solid stuff over the base (rather like a green jam). Here it is with my very hard work cream:
And then in a lightning moment of inspiration added the remaining gooseberry juice to the cream before spreading over my biscuit and jam base.
And so dear readers I give you my GOOSEBERRY AND GINGER TART:
It tasted bloody lovely, it tasted proper.
There was a flavoursome mix of sweet and refreshing as the gooseberries cut through the cream.
The base held together.
My husband didn’t complain about the use of his favourite biscuits.
I have started imagining dinner parties where I serve this.
Basically if you know me you are eating this EVERY TIME you come round my house from now on. Ok?
I love reading food blogs.
Not like this one.
Blogs written by folk that can cook, folk that lovingly create dishes in their kitchens and then lovingly recreate them on the page for us to read and coo over.
They make me think that things could get better…
Sometimes I try out their recipes so that maybe once I could leave a salient comment on their blog to say – wow, that one worked for me.
It hasn’t happened yet but I am going to continue and regularly try out my fellow bloggers creations.
First up – what better place to start than with someone from my own BlogRoll? One of my favourites: Jenny Eatwell’s Rhubarb & Ginger!
Now Jenny does fine and fancy, but I like Jenny best when she does homely and easy. I noticed she posted something recently that was right up my street involving pork, paprika and beans. Cowboy food baby!
Smoky Pork & Bean Wraps. I bought all of the ingredients she listed – including the recommended BBQ sauce and expensive smoked paprika so I too could recreate that ‘camp fire feel’ at home.
It is a relatively simple recipe so I think it does all come down to the ingredients here? First you fry off the pork and then make a flavour mix of the onions, spices and sauce, before combining the two. Water
and passata is added and then it’s all simmered before spooning into corn wraps. Easy!
Saddle up chaps… Here I go:
My flavour mix (looking a bit dry) and my fried off pork (looking a bit grey).
Look I did buy the right sauce!
OK – that’s too much sauce.
I’m not going to wrap them because as you know, I can’t do that.
But they make good rolls
And they tasted great! I think they were a little bit dry, If you see the mixture on Jenny’s page it has a much more salsa like texture. I think I cooked a bit too long? And I’ll be honest the sauce was a bit lively but hey, cowboys like a kick right?
Thanks Jenny – that was rootin’, tootin’.