Finally some time for cooking!

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So for my day off I’d planned to spend it doing a reasonable amount of cooking. However, by the time I’d watched a deliciously cheesy film with my housemate and fought the traffic to get to the supermarket and back, I’d run out of time. Especially as I’d chosen quite a labour-intensive meal to cook for dinner: coq au vin. Stupidly I didn’t read the recipe properly so didn’t note the “marinate for several hours; ideally overnight” line in advance. My chicken got a grand total of about half an hour i.e. the time it took me to peel a bag of shallots. If anyone knows of a speedy way to peel those little buggers then please tell me!! Despite the meagre amount of chicken marinating time the finished article actually turned out pretty tasty, AND as it’s another Hairy Dieters recipe, it was pretty trim on calories too – bonus!

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All ready to be simmered! Think I need a bigger pot…

All ready to munch

Ready to munch

It's a little on the saucy side! Perfect with some nice bread to mop it all up

It’s a little on the saucy side! Perfect with some nice bread to mop it all up

Packaged up to keep me going for the week!

Packaged up to keep me going for the week!

One of the other recipes I’d planned to make on Monday was an aubergine tagine with bulgur wheat pilaf to last me for a couple of lunches. As I ran out of time I made it on Tuesday instead, with some slight adjustment of the recipe as I’m not a fan of fruit in savoury meals…so I essentially made it not a tagine! I love having a yummy lunch to look forward to when I’m having a busy morning, or even if I’m not! I had been running out of lunch ideas recently so I invested in a cookbook I’d read about in my Good Food magazine: Liven Up Your Lunchbox by James Ramsden. This is another book I can definitely recommend – it’s got a great variety of recipes from novel sandwich ideas to ones using Sunday roast leftovers to noodles with flavour “shot pots” that just require pouring over boiling water and dinner ideas that can be turned into a delicious lunch for the next day. I’ve also cooked the sweet potato and lentil curry from the book so far and it was delicious!

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The third recipe I’d decided on for Monday was some ginger biscuits (also from the new Hairy Dieters book – are you seeing I’m a bit of a creature of habit yet?!) but they’re still waiting patiently to be made…

Tonight I made one of my favourite meals – pasta with anything and everything I have chucked in. Tonight I needed to use the half can of chopped tomatoes I had leftover from the tagine, so I simmered that down with some red wine I had for the coq au vin (the only reason there’s spare wine is because I’m a white wine drinker, otherwise it’d have been guzzled up long before today), added some frozen prawns and edamame beans from the freezer, chopped red pepper, fresh thyme (also from the coq) and a load of dried herbs too – and voila I had myself a yummy pasta dish! I topped it with some red leicester (yes I know cheese and seafood aren’t meant to go but this is why I could never be a chef!) and olive oil, and then had to pace myself so I didn’t hoover it up too quickly!

Mish mash worked out ok!

Mish mash worked out ok!

Only one more day at work until the weekend which I couldn’t be more glad about – this week feels like it’s gone on FOREVER despite me having Monday off. Maybe it’s because the boy is coming to visit and I’ll be able to just relax for 2 whole days. Tomorrow is going to be stressful though – Fridays are always busy plus we’re down two doctors on the ward so it will be manic but we’ll muddle through I’m sure! I hope everyone has a great weekend and happy halloween if that’s something you celebrate.

TFDx

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It’s the weekend!! Not for me :(

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It’s been a while!

Unsurprisingly I’ve been horrendously busy at work this week, getting home late and just grabbing the closest food in sight. My usual time to be a bit creative is at weekends. Last weekend I travelled home to my parents’ house to stay with my sisters while my parents went away. Unfortunately my sisters are the fussiest beings known to man, eating only bland boring foods and shirking away from anything with flavour in it – not particularly conducive to rustling up a storm in the kitchen!

Tonight was the closest I came to encountering anything marginally exciting food-wise. The other day in Tesco I came across vacuum-packed pouches of mussels. I’ve been meaning to try these for ages as I love mussels and these particular ones were flavoured with tomato and chorizo – I’m never one to turn down a bit of chorizo! 7 minutes boiled in the bag and they’re ready – so so simple. I paired them with some spaghetti (would have gone for linguine if I’d had any!), added a dash of wine and drizzled over olive oil and then started munching! However, unlike using a lovely bread such as ciabatta or baguette to mop up the juices, I’m slightly ashamed I had to make do with sliced white bread… It served the same purpose though!

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As I sit here writing this on a chilled Friday evening watching David Attenborough’s new TV programme (watch it!!) with a cup of peppermint tea, I wish I could tell you about all the exciting plans I have for this weekend. Alas, I’m going to be spending 13 hours both Saturday and Sunday in work run ragged. When I get home at around 10:30pm tomorrow it’ll take all my energy to get to bed, dinner probably won’t even happen. However I do have the day off on Monday – if I can resist the urge to sleep for the entire day I’ll be cooking something nice for dinner. So I’d better start scouring the blogs and cookbooks and decide what to make!

TFD x

A food-packed day

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A little grey but nonetheless iconic view of London as I got off the train

A little grey but nonetheless iconic view of London as I got off the train

After another sleepless night (thanks, body clock!) I headed into London as planned. We started off by going to Camden Market for a browse around the many many stalls. Being that it was a Sunday and a complete tourist trap it was absolutely rammed but it didn’t matter too much.

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Once we’d worked up an appetite we headed to the food stalls. After a few circuits trying to decide what to have I plumped for an Argentinian steak sandwich with potato cubes and the boy went for a duck confit brioche roll. They were both delicious – my steak was cooked lovely and rare like I requested and the potatoes were perfectly crisp and herby. My only complaint would be that there wasn’t enough garlic mayo in the roll but then anyone that knows me knows I’m a total garlic fiend and there wouldn’t be enough unless it was spilling out of the sides! Not only was the squidgy brioche roll stuffed full of duck confit and duck skin crackling and mustard AND onion chutney, there was also a grilled slice of Applewood smoked cheddar to top it all off – my favourite!! Basically it was food heaven in a roll and it was all I could do not to steal it and eat it all.

Argentinian steak sandwich with herby potatoes

Argentinian steak sandwich with herby potatoes

A master at work!

A master at work!

The boy with his duck confit roll

The boy with his duck confit roll

Lunch overlooking the canal

Lunch overlooking the canal

We then jumped on a tube and headed down to Covent Garden for a wander. We had a look around the market there (are you sensing a theme?!), passed the time watching some street performers and saw the floating building… A quick google search informs me the reason for this was that it’s a piece of art by Alex Chinneck. I think it’s pretty cool!

A building made to look like it's floating...

A building made to look like it’s floating…

By this point it was time to head back to start cooking dinner so we hopped on a bus to take us back East. I couldn’t resist getting off at Tower Bridge on the way though to have a look at the sea of poppies around the tower!

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For dinner we made Transylvanian meatballs, so-called for the sheer amount of garlic they contained! The recipe came from my new cookbook that arrived a couple of days ago after I preordered it as soon as it appeared on Amazon – the new Hairy Bikers diet book. I have both of their other two diet books and knew this third one wouldn’t disappoint, and so far it hasn’t! The recipes look great and I know from previous experience they taste great despite being so low in calories.

I thoroughly recommend this book!

I thoroughly recommend this book!

The meatballs were a perfect mix of beef, onion, pepper, breadcrumbs, paprika and natural yoghurt. We had them in flatbreads with some lettuce and, yep you’ve guessed it, a garlic sauce! They turned out really well and were super speedy to cook, requiring only 15 minutes in the oven.

The boy had also bought the ingredients for us to make salted caramel popcorn but sadly time ran out and before I knew it it was time to head home to get ready for work tomorrow. I’m back on my usual ward after 2 weeks away (due to a combination of life support training, annual leave and my night shifts) and if I’m honest, I’m dreading it. Recently some of the slightly more senior doctors changed around and the new ones, although being good doctors, just aren’t as fun to work with – they seem to be in work just to work. Mix that with me not knowing any of the patients having been off the ward for so long, plus the slowest consultant in the world doing a ward round, I’m in for a long, stressful day! At least I’ll have a great lunch of leftovers to look forward to all morning 🙂

Farewell for now and keep your fingers crossed I get some sleep tonight!

TFD x

The beginning…

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Hello and welcome to anyone reading this!

As the name suggests I’d class myself as a bit of a foodie but nowadays this is somewhat held back by my insanely long work hours. I work as a doctor in a busy hospital in the South East and the last thing I feel like doing when I get home is cooking anything elaborate, if anything at all. Throw into the mix having to work a couple of weekends a month and trying to see loved ones once in a while, it’s no surprise my diet has become a bit of a shambles. Part of me longs for my student days when I’d have hours to spend hunting through cookbooks for recipe ideas and browsing the supermarket for ingredients before cooking up a storm. Saying that, a large part of me appreciates finally having an income, albeit if I don’t have any time to spend it (except for some cheeky online shopping!).

So I’ve decided to start a blog to try to encourage myself to keep up with creating yummy food and maybe share some stories of my crazy medical life along the way. I’m lucky to have a reasonably-sized kitchen to cook in and I’ve built up a reasonable supply of kitchen gizmos, it’s just our temperamental dodgy gas oven to contend with!

At the moment I’ve just finished a week of night shifts and my body clock is well and truly switched into nocturnalism. So much so that I didn’t sleep a wink last night, resulting in a very zombie-like state today (and the creation of a wedding pinterest board – I finally gave in!). Quite justifiably, I feel, the day was spent in my onesie watching chick flicks, but I still managed to cook up a few bits and pieces.

I went into the kitchen to make breakfast this morning and came across a slightly over-ripe avocado that I purchased way back before my night shifts started. So to use it up I threw together a simple but tasty (if I do say so myself) brekkie of a wholemeal bagel with avocado and a fried egg. I think presentation and food photography are definitely things I need to work on as you can see below!

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For dinner I needed simplicity so it was a cheesy pasta bake that I could just bung in the oven whilst I made my malted chocolate chip cookies. Except they didn’t end up being malted since the powder was dried into one lump in the pot and was beyond salvage…so the malt powder was exchanged for cocoa powder and they became double chocolate cookies! The quantities were a bit out though as the recipe called for a brief knead of the dough and to roll it into balls – there was no way mine was kneadable or rollable, it ended up being dolloped onto the baking sheet. They turned out edible though (except the ones which were a bit burnt around the edges but shhh pretend you didn’t hear that!!), if a little uneven in shape. The recipe was adapted from the September issue of Good Food magazine and I can post it up if anyone wants it.

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So that’s my first post done, I’m off to go watch X factor (shameful, I know but it’s just such easy viewing!) with a glass of wine before having an early night. Tomorrow I’m off to London to see the boy, have a wander probably around a food market, and cook him something nice for dinner. I shall report back with photos!

Over and out,

TFD

x

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