Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Cauliflower gets a pizza the crappy action!

5 Oct

You know I love jumping on a bandwagon, I feel left out if I’m not giving the latest thing a go. And so this week I was eager to trial the new cauliflower pizza that everyone is so keen to talk about. This is a gluten free, carb less, low calorie version of the classic pizza just using cauliflower as the base – no really it’s not a joke, if you haven’t heard of it then where have you been? (Probably enjoying real pizzas from Dominos?)

Anyway my friend at work Kate had made one with much success and I enjoyed a cold slice of it myself in the office. If mine could taste half as good as hers then I could be onto a winner. And maybe even save myself a few calories and some wheaty bloating whilst still getting to enjoy pizza goodness.

You use cauliflower rice (yes this is also a thing) which is just washed florets whizzed up into crumbs. OR you can buy ready made pots of it in Tesco…. don’t judge me I don’t own a food processor (and probably with good reason). You heat this ‘rice’ up, squeeze out the moisture (which takes forever and really burns your hand if you use kitchen roll) and bind it with eggs and some cheese and seasoning. This makes up some kind of dough mixture that you can spread out into your pizza base:

PIZZA

Simply put your ‘pizza dough’ onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven until crispy. Here is mine going in and I’m feeling reasonably confident at this point. And I still was when I pulled it out because it looked round and golden and edible. Could I have made my first pizza base? With cauliflower?

I eagerly went to lift it from the paper so I could cool and spread my toppings over it – I had even made my own tomato sauce (don’t be impressed – tinned toms with mixed herbs).
BUT I hadn’t counted on this happening:

Piz3

The base had stuck to the baking paper! I mean how does that even happen? Doesn’t this paper have one job to do? Apparently you are meant to grease the paper first? But how do you know how to do that? Where do they even teach you to do that? Did I miss that day at life school?

I was appalled but desperate not to waste all I had already worked so hard for. so I tried to scrape what I could from the traitorous paper and this was my base.

I didn’t have high hopes for my pizza after this. Look how anaemic it looked. I baked it for a bit longer and ended up with this:

Piz4

That is not a pizza base by anyone’s standards. CAULIFLOWER CAN GO TO HELL! Or at least back into some cheese sauce where it belongs.

Still… I’m nothing if not tenacious (and I hate waste) so I spread my homemade tomato sauce over it followed by some grated onion and carrot (as I said I hate waste) followed by a whack load of cheese because that could only help right?

Of course the pizza base was so depleted by this point the overflowing toppings (made for a far larger and more robust base) remained raw whilst the bottom turned into a vegetable crisp.

I GIVE YOU MY CAULIFLOWER PIZZA:
piz5

I could have cried. It actually tasted of very little indeed, cardboard maybe? With some raw onion. Not sure. Suffice to say I won’t be trying this again and would much rather get that number for Dominos off you. Cheers.

Liked that? Did you read about the time I made spaghetti with courgettes? Courgetti? I know right. That was crap too! Maybe these healthy alternatives are not for me. Sigh…

Screwing up with a Spiralizer

10 Jun

If you’ve even got a passing interest in food you’ll have heard of Spiralizing! I’ve been dancing around this new trend for a while now and even invested in my own contraption a few months ago. It has sat dusty and unused in the kitchen and became the cause of many rows over the use of space.

Anyway… I saw the Champions of Spiral Foodstuffs – the Hemsley sisters – on the telly this week and after their demo on how easy it was to replace spaghetti with courgettes (and how no one would even notice the difference) I decided to dust it off and give it a go myself…

Regular readers will know I’m a slave to the bloat and while I love the wheaty pasta stuff it doesn’t love me back so I was keen to see if I could indeed replace it with what is now called ‘Courgetti’ – so ubiquitous is this word now it even comes up on predictive text on your iPhone, try it.

And so taking care not to slice my fingers off with the blades – me and my mandolin fell out a long while back – I duly pressed my well endowed courgette into the vice like machine and off we went:

c1Look – it works. Actual spirals of food. I was rather amused and excited by the whole process! Like a much easier to work mangle and just as satisfying.

The sisters suggest you clip the stuff with scissors to make it easier to eat – remember the strands are much longer than the actual courgette itself (physics and maths note to self).

You also can’t help but smirk:
C6Apparently the rod that is left behind is called the ‘Chef’s Bonus’.

MADAM!

Enough of that. Now the recipes tell you to just stir it all through a hot sauce – which is enough to cook and soften it – but of course I had to do something else. And so just to make sure it was edible I put the strands into some boiling water for a minute or so. Look at the fresh, steaming loveliness:

c4I had a jar of pesto already (and while you should probably make your own I’m not quite cut out for that yet so don’t judge me) but thought I could at least add some toasted pine nuts. Maybe I could just about stretch to sorting that out?

But while I was taking the very photo above they managed to burn – wow those little sods don’t need long in a hot pan do they?Still, what’s a burnt pine kernel when you have COURGETTI?

Well they did manage to dye everything a rather nasty shade of brown and so my bright and lovely spirals turned into a seaweedy mush when added to the hot pan of black nuts and shop bought pesto:
c5Also the addition of a pan of boiling water to the process created this kind of slime lake in the bowl. I really never learn do I?

But this is not the Spiralizer’s fault at all, I claim all mistakes for my own. It’s rather a nifty little machine and I shall certainly be making more vegetable based pasta substitutes, and crispy curly sweet potato fries, and apple spirals for my son, and all the other stuff that will make me into a kitchen goddess.

Well hope springs and spirals eternal…

WHAT HAVE I LEARNT:

  • One courgette is enough for one person
  • Don’t take photos while you are toasting pine nuts
  • You don’t need to boil courgette spirals
  • Remember to follow the bloody recipe or recommendations (every time folks, every time, I’m hopeless)
  • Don’t be scared of the Spiralizer
  • Make some space in the kitchen
  • Rude vegetables are still funny

Eggs do not a Stir Fry make

25 Feb

I have a problem with boring food, I always try to jhush it up a bit (well how do YOU spell that word?) which often leads to my downfall.

Take this recent stir fry that went on in my kitchen. To be fair it was barely even that, being just some noodles and raw broccoli in a wok with some oil and soy sauce. I was trying to be good, eating bland, basic food after a weekend of indulgence.

All was going well (boring) until I just thought I had better crack an egg into it all. Why? What’s an egg going to do? It’s hardly going to elevate my boring noodles into a sumptuous Pad Thai is it?

Well I did it anyway and then worried I would end up with raw egg in the broccoli florets and so overcooked the whole lot until it was little more than dry noodles with some crispy scrambled eggs over the top. The broccoli however managed to stay raw – how does it do that?

I ended up eating a Grab Bag of crisps, so indulgence continued…

IMG_2830 (3)

Not a Pad Thai. Sadly.

A Little Pasta Philanthropy

5 Jun

There are some good people in the world, people who take note of the plight of others and act upon it.
People who read my blog and think they might be able to help me out – or even help my son out and save him from badly presented and probably unhealthy dinners!

Look, I wasn’t the one who nearly served my boy up raw turkey rasher sandwiches because I thought they were ham ok?
It was my husband (true story).

little2 But anyway… those kind folk at Little Dish felt that I could maybe do with some help and sent me this rather nice hamper so that we could try out their new fresh filled pasta and sauce range.

I couldn’t really go wrong as the pasta is added to boiling water and the sauce (which is full of hidden vegetables but actually tastes just like lovely tomatoes) is warmed up on the hob.
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A Right Bloody Meze

3 Dec

I really wish JML would stop emailing me and sending me catalogues. I’m always tempted by their strangely-named labour saving devices and odd beauty equipment (I have a portable Steam Shark lurking under the bed if anyone needs one?).

Anyway, I recently succumbed to yet another tempting offer to buy the Magic Bullet Blender (I know) because it promised it could complete pretty much any food processing job in under ten seconds while taking up less space than a coffee cup. Sold to the lady with no more room under her bed.

Regular readers will know I love a theme night – here is Caribbean Night – and with my tiny new blender promising it could create ‘Seven Second Salsa’ and ‘Before You Know It Bean Dip’ of course it was time for Greek Night. Husband argued that you could buy hummus so easily in the shops now and in loads of different flavours what was the point of making your own? And reminded me of the last time I made such a dip.

But I knew that this would be a super spread, I love a Meze and what could be better than learning to make your own.

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Surely I’d be stuffing my own vine leaves before long?

I settled on the Salsa (which did seem quite easy) and an authentic beetroot dip. The beetroot dip required me to finely grate a beetroot – using the side of the grater you never use, and for good reason! It grates your fingers too. Good job beetroot juice is red because it contained a LOT of my blood:
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Toddler Takeaway

5 Oct

As you know I love Chinese food. Love it. Especially the usual takeaway dishes.
Hard to make it home though right? Authentically. (Well it is for me!)

A recent attempt to make an oriental style dish of greens was a bit of a mare.
I find it difficult to tread that fine line between cooked quickly and raw. So I end up over-compensating and over-cooking.
I boiled

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the broccoli and pak choy first, before adding to a hot wok of

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oil and garlic:
Sadly of course it was too much and everything turned a bit mushy. To try and crisp it all back up I cooked it for even longer in the wok, adding more oil, more soy sauce and really turning the heat up.
All far far too much.

Still after a sprinkling of sesame seeds I almost got something worth eating…
BY A BABY.
One sniff of the fork and it all broke down into a greeny nothingness.
I know! – Takeaway Food For Weaning Toddlers, it could catch on right?
Don’t steal my idea ok, I’m working on the packaging right now.
Going into Dragon’s Den next month.

You Say Frittata, I Say FrittaNO

25 Sep

I’ve made a frittata.
Well, I think I have?
I might have just made a rubbish omelette.
I’m not sure.

There was some spinach in my veg box this week and ordinarily I would let it go yellow and crispy before throwing away. But no, not this week… I put ‘spinach recipes’ into the Internet and up came a frittata! I also had eggs and feta cheese in the fridge so I was all set.

I put the spinach in a frying pan to ‘wilt’ or ‘burn to a blackened crisp’ as I like to call it. Boy – that stuff cooks fast right? You just need to show it to a pan and it’s done.
OK, I put some more spinach into the frying pan to wilt this time AFTER whisking up the eggs and herbs and crumbling the cheese. (Lesson learnt)

I then added the eggy mix to the slimy leaves and sort of shook the pan about a bit before adding the cheese to the top.
So far so good.
It still looked like scrambled eggs with bits in and I was a bit nervous about putting the whole shebang into the oven but I followed the recipe and after a few minutes this is what came out:
What the hell has happened to my pan? I’m going to get into trouble for that.
And why has it shrunk so much? I swear it covered the whole bottom when it went in.

It has kind of risen and fluffed up a bit. And there is minimal scorching to the leaves (go me)but it is little more than a glorified omelette… with bits in.
Tasted like it too.

One Year On… A Poem!

21 Aug

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

Skive Breakfast? Bingo!

15 Aug

Ah, a day working from home.
You boot up the computer first thing, still in your pyjamas, and send your ‘early email’ just to let everyone know you are up and about and definitely working.
Everyone else leaves the house and you get on to the real business of the day… No, not what daytime TV to watch! What to have for breakfast.

A home alone weekday breakfast is different from the usual yogurt or piece of toast you throw down your throat before you wipe the surfaces and leave for work. You have time to think about it, squeeze some items you’ve got in the fridge, put the oven on, change your mind, make a mess, create…

My favourite working from home breakfasts include:

  • Potato Waffles – smothered in salt and vinegar
  • Mushroom omelette – here is a classic example of one of mine
  • Fried Egg Sandwich
  • Oven Chip Sandwich
  • Baked Beans on Toast with Cheese (natch)

Here are some of my fried eggs, just about to go into a lovely sandwich. Presentation just does not matter when you are on your own (and still in your dressing gown)
Recently I have found a brand new contender for this list. The potato frittata. Yes, the shrink wrapped tapas tortilla (I have heard you could make them yourself but who would do such a thing?) Simply squeeze out of its wrapper into a hot frying pan, add plenty of salt and pepper and then shove between two massive slices of granary bread. Seriously!
(Look, even a shop bought one came apart on me!)

Serve with a huge, steaming mug of tea in front of the telly, where you can watch all of those funny adverts you’d never normally see for things like Foxy Bingo. I’m often quite tempted to sign up, I used to love

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playing Bingo with my Nan when I was little!

But as soon as you’ve finished you remember that you’re meant to be at work and maybe why something lighter like a yogurt or a piece of toast would have been more appropriate…

Food Through The Post! FoodiePenpals #1

31 Jul

How exciting?
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.
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