I’ve Moved! A Fresh Start Blogging

23 Jul New Blog

Please pardon the terrible pun. I listened to the feedback I got on my previous post and as the work I wanted to do to TrampStudent was too extensive, I decided to begin another blog called The Fresh Fresher. It will have just as many recipes, delicious photos and ideas, but as people (including myself) are most concerned with eating well, I will be focusing more on that.

So far there are the orange and thyme Sardines fresh off the BBQ, Sloppy Joes with a healthy difference, gorgeous garlic-yoghurt soaked bread in a crisp green salad and much more to come.

For people who want a good conscious without the faff, The Fresh Fresher is right up your street. I have not forgotten students, but I am also creating recipes and ideas for young people, busy people, health-aware and fresh food people. Even if you just like looking at the pretty pictures, take a sneaky peak. You can now follow me @thefreshfresher too for simple, healthy and fresh food ideas.

Thank you so much to the people who have recently followed TrampStudent – it has been a learning and culinary experience! If you like what you see here you’ll like The Fresh Fresher – it is the same but a bit snazzy, with some of my most popular posts from this blog and some new ones. I will be reviewing the world-foods restaurant Za Za Bazaar, testing claims that the souffle is ‘simple’, and making some crazy flavour combinations.

For TrampStudent with less Tramp, it is worth a look. As always your follows, likes, comments and even page views are much appreciated!

 

Have Your Say Here (Please)

21 Jul

Hi guys – for a long time I have thought about having a bit of a re-design. Well, a complete re-design. Not only do some people misunderstand my meaning of ‘tramp’ (i.e. cheapskate) but I am just generally bored. So here’s your chance to infuence my next steps.

It would help me out to know a little bit more about you, the audience. Here are a couple of quick questions I would be very grateful for you to answer!

 

 

BBQ Thyme and Orange Sardines

20 Jul

Well as it is summer I have been busy combatting both hay fever and heat rash and getting various work experience arranged, but in the midst of that I have, for the first time EVER, cooked on the BBQ.

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Admittedly it isn’t typical BBQ fare. But then I like not being typical sometimes (although I have rather enjoyed eating hotdogs lately).

It all started when I was walking past the fishmongers in my otherwise very Pound-Shop high street and saw heaps of fresh fish, smelling like the sea. Maybe I was longing for Cornwall when I bought them, but these fresh sardines tasted good nevertheless. Rather than using lemon the sweetness of orange cuts through the (good) fats of these little critters, and the addition of a little fresh thyme goes a long way.

Don’t be afraid of the fish counter. Many people are squeamish about it. Personally, I find dealing with bacon rind and chicken skin just as disgusting, and fishmongers are more than happy to remove all evidence of unsavoury fishiness if you ask them. What you get in return is fresh, plump and flavourful fish with substance, rather than tiny fillets in tins.

Thyme and Orange Sardines (serves 4)

4 large sardines, cleaned and heads removed

2 oranges

Olive oil

Sea salt

Sprigs of fresh thyme

1. Juice one of the oranges and slice the other into segments. Salt the fish well and add the juice of the orange. Place some sprigs of time in each cavity of the fish and cover. Leave to marinade for a few hours.IMG_0288

2. Heat the BBQ or grill. Coat either foil (for the BBQ) or a baking tray (for the grill) lightly in olive oil, then place the sardines on it. Add the orange segments and drizzle with the marinade. Cook for around 8 minutes each side until the fish is no longer transparent in the middle.

3. If you want, you can cut the meat from the bone into fillets before serving – they can be a bit tricky to remove at the table. To do this, simply pull apart the two fillets to reveal the spine and pull out from one end to the other. A few leftover bones won’t hurt (probably good for you).

Goes well with cous cous, rice, herby new potatoes, and many salads and side dishes, including my Roast Pepper and Sundried Tomato Salad:

Slice three bell peppers into strips, crush two garlic cloves and season in a baking tray. Add a small sprig of rosemary, a dash of white wine vinegar and olive oil. Roast in the oven at 180 degrees for 30 mins. Add 4-5 sliced sundried tomatoes and leave to cool.

Serve with sunshine.

For recipes and rantings please follow this blog (via WordPress, Bloglovin, RSS etc.) or follow me on Twitter @trampstudent, or Facebook. Happy BBQing!

Top 10 Food Pet Peeves – What are Yours?

15 Jul gril_1250370i

Food is one of those areas where people get very opinionated. You may laugh, but just remember the rivalry between Devon and Cornwall about whether the jam or the cream goes first on a scone (it is cream first, btw. Sorry Cornwall). New Zealand and Australia argue about who invented the Pavlova. Israel and Lebanon have been claiming to have invented hummus for years. Sometimes food is a divisive and even political issue.

On a less international scale there are things about other people’s food that annoy us to no end. As a Brit I sometimes enjoy having a good whinge about them, so that’s what I’m going to do. These are my personal food pet peeves.

1. Diet ‘Experts’

The word ‘diet’ gets bandied around on the Internet all too much for my liking. Nowadays, especially online, it usually comes with some sketchy pseudo-science. Many people (who can make money from it) will claim their diets can do all sorts of things – some even call themselves ‘cancer fighting’ or anti-ageing. Obviously MacMillan’s problems would all be solved if they just started giving out tomatoes – why has nobody thought of this before?!

2. Food Waste

See here.

3. Cheese

Now I should clarify here – I don’t mean I hate cheese. On the contrary, I love cheese. What really gets me is bad cheese – processed, plastic-y, bright orange cheese. No cheese should ever be that shiny. Another category in this pet peeve are people who think Cheddar is cheese rather than one very small variety – a phenomenon specific to England. Put the Cathedral City down.

4. Religiously Following Sell-by Dates

Supermarkets and retailers have to cover their asses. That is what sell-by dates do. They cannot be accused of selling bad milk if they deliberately underestimate when it will go off. I have seen so many perfectly drinkable bottles of milk and even things like jam (also known as a preserve) thrown away just because of the date on the lid. Use your eyes, use your nose, but most of all use some common sense and you’ll save money.

5. Nutrition/Sports Drinks

Lucozade’s research is shaky and the claims surrounding the health benefits of isotonic drinks really only apply to athletes. Sports drinks certainly won’t do anything for you if you are, say, a bus driver taking a break, or a kid on their way home from school. It is just sugary water with some salt in it. Get some flavoured water instead. It will do the same thing without making you spotty and broke. Some goes for ‘Vitamin Water’.

6. Mini Muffins

Are never nice. Never. You know the ones – you get them in plastic cartons in supermarkets. We eat them because they look and they are cheap, but everyone knows they are dry, dull and disappointing. Don’t do it.

7. Ready-Made Omelettes

Why shouldn’t you buy these laughable things? I will tell you why: the only person I have ever seen buying one of these vacuum-packed whoopie cushions was also buying a crate of beer and a litre of value cider. That was it.

8. Chocolate Ignorance

These guys have got real chocolate making down to an art. I have nothing against low-priced chocolate, but people need to be aware of what really goes into it. ‘Dark chocolate’ is really just ‘chocolate’, milk chocolate is great when it isn’t bulked out with vegetable oil and white chocolate is not better for kids. Just saying.

P10204789. People Who Are Against Sweet/Savoury Mixing

I was sorely disappointed in Miranda Hart for announcing that she is against this on Room 101 (TV show in which guests put forward things they want to ban). Carrot cake, duck in plum sauce, feta and apricotcaramelised onion, cheddar and pineapple, roast chicken with cranberry sauce – think of all the wonderful flavours you are disregarding!

10. Red Velvet

I’m not suggesting that people stop eating velvet (although if you do, you probably should). I am referring to the Red Velvet Cake, or Cupcake. These are a huge trend simply because of the way they look – there is nothing different about them. It’s just food colouring. They are hugely disappointing. Some ghastly alternatives have been appearing on Pinterest, too – anyone for Smurf-coloured Blue Velvet cake?

 

Phew, sorry to get all ranty on you. I feel better now.

Don’t forget to follow this blog for more foodie frolicking, or find Trampstudent on Facebook or Twitter @trampstudent.

Foodie Finds in Malta

10 Jul IMG_0269

Stepping off of your cramped, stale-smelling, bumpy budget plane and onto the baking tarmac is possibly the most satisfying moment of any holiday. Going from that plane to the sapphire-lined coast of Malta and seeing the cafes, restaurants and beach-side kiosks selling local delicacies is when I know my money was well spent, though.

Not many people would come to Malta thinking about the food. Italy and France, obviously, perhaps Greece and Spain too although many people are just looking for somewhere sunny with a beach. I didn’t really think about it before I got there. But when I saw the local specialities – things like spaghetti with rabbit sauce (don’t knock it before you try it), flat breads, peppered goat’s cheese and all kinds of pies and pastries – I knew I was going to like the place.

Maltese cuisine is heavily influenced by the Sicilians and so Italian food is everywhere, but emphasis on local tradition is still there. There are also influences from North Africa and Turkish cuisine from the various empires that have ruled the island, most recently British influence, and travellers. Having recently become obsessed by Turkish food, I was eager to try some of Malta’s finest.

IMG_0267Ftira

Ftira is a flat bread stuffed with all kinds of goodies. This particular ftira is filled with tuna, anchovies, olives, capers and tomatoes, topped with mozzarella cheese (a throwback to the Italians). Yes, it looks very much like a pizza, but tastes much more interesting.

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Maltese Sausage

As with many places in Europe, sausage making in Malta has its own flavour and technique. These miniature pork sausages are spiced in a similar way to chipolatas and went deliciously with a salad of goat’s cheese, sundried tomato and olives.

Pies, Pies, Pies

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Tuna and Spinach

I could not believe the abundance of shortcrust pastry in Malta. Every little booth had an assortment of pies for sale. This one in Valletta, the island’s capital, is filled with tuna and spinach and had a lovely tang to it. I cannot convey how nice it was, not even in this picture. If anyone can find me a recipe I’d be very grateful! Other pies included the one my friend had in a restaurant and loved – chicken, pumpkin and spices that reflected Malta’s North African influence. I have to say, I was a bit jealous.

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Chicken, Pumpkin and Curry Spices

 

5 Uses for Stale Bread

30 May StaleBread_web

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There are always those end pieces, those last slices at the bottom of the pack that you missed, that usually get thrown away without a second thought. It’s only bread, right? Wrong. It may not seem like much, but stale bread can be the makings of a gorgeous meal.

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1. Puddings

Yes, pudding! Bread and butter pudding, summer fruit pudding, or make one of your own creation. This 5 Minute Bread Pudding for One looks ideal for some instant comfort food. Stale bread is less likely to fall apart than fresh, soaking up all the buttery sauciness instead.

2. Croutons

Chucking odd stale pieces of bread into the freezer is an excellent habit to get into. That way, whenever you’re having soup or salad, all you have to do is defrost them in the toaster, cut them into cubes and give them a quick fry. The quickest way to make a boring tin of tomato soup look good, and you can flavour them to your taste – garlic, herbs, chilli, pepper, salt, whatever.

3. Fried Bread Crumbs

Along the same lines as the above, really, but blitzing it instead creates a very versatile ingredient that is far, far superior to shop-bought stuff. I recently did this with Turkey Schnitzel, a light but lemony German dish, and it was better than any breaded escalopes from the freezer section. Chicken, fish, mushrooms, mozzarella sticks – there are so many possibilities, not to mention the crispy coating they produce when you stick them on top of pasta bakes, gratins etc. One of my favourite pasta dishes is simply garlic breadcrumbs, broccoli, lemon juice, pepper and parmesan. It’s so little effort for something that gives you such a satisfying crunch. You can even make fried ice cream this way (no, really. Google it).

IMG_0082script4. Salads

Try something a little more unusual with this Turkish-style salad – soaking stale bread in garlic yoghurt makes it so soft and oozing with flavour that it is hard not to love. Alternatively you could soak the bread in an olive oil and balsamic blend or viniagrette of choice. Serve with vegetables, olives, grilled chicken, lamb – whatever takes your fancy.

5. Toasted, Fried or Eggy Bread

Now more elegantly known as French toast, recipes for Pain Perdu (meaning ‘lost bread’) date back centuries because it is such a useful way for using up stale bread. Either fry the bread in oil a la standard fry-up, or beat together some eggs and soak the bread in the mixture before frying until done. To the eggs you can add all sorts – cinnamon, vanilla, sugar, cocoa – to flavour it, or serve as a fruit sandwich. Honey and banana, berry and cream cheese, pear/apple and walnut are just a few combinations you might try. As for toast, there is more to it than butter or jam – try this idea.

…And if you can’t be bothered with any of that, try giving the bread 10-20 seconds zapping in the microwave before giving up. It can make all the difference.

Don’t forget to follow this blog on WordPress or Bloglovin, or @trampstudent, or on Facebook.

Four Ingredients, One Pot: Aegean Garlic Bread Salad

26 May IMG_0082

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When the sun refuses to shine and the exams stretch before you, a good meal can break up a boring day’s revision. This salad was inspired by my recent trip to the Turkish restaurant Troy on City Road (which is, by the way, to die for. Everyone in Cardiff must go). Don’t be fooled by the name, though – this salad is by no means stingy or boring.

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Troy’s garlic yoghurt-marinated dishes in particular are gorgeous and so I wanted to recreate their flavour in a fast, fuss-free way. Literally throw these ingredients together or leave them overnight – either way it tastes delicious. It is the perfect summer lunch (or at least tastes like summer) and with the addition of grilled chicken, lamb or falafel can become a filling main meal too. Ideal for a post-exam celebration or barbeque side-dish!

Ingredients

Serves 1

Soft freshly baked bread roll or French stick (praise be to the Lidl bakery)

125ml plain, low fat or Greek yoghurt

1 little gem lettuce, washed

1 clove of garlic

A little fresh mint (optional)

  1. Peel and finely chop the garlic and add to the yoghurt. Tear the bread into chunks and mix together. Either leave overnight or for a few hours for the flavours to deepen.
  2. Spoon the bread mixture into a bowl and top with the shredded lettuce leaves, mint and some salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

You can… add olives, onion, tomatoes, cucumber, chicken, lamb, kofta (meatballs), falafel, chickpeas or grilled vegetables like aubergines, courgettes or peppers.

If you like this recipe, don’t forget to follow TrampStudent here, over at @trampstudent or on Facebook for more recipes, tips and student goings-on!

Turkey, Apricot and Feta Scramble

11 May P1020478

I did what I always do at the end of the week – chuck my leftover ingredients into a bowl and see what happens. This time, though, the results were delicious. I had no idea how feta cheese would work in an egg dish, but having had some left over from my Raspberry and Feta Toasts I had nothing to lose. Well, it turns out that it works. Well.

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Normally dried fruit isn’t my thing, but the combination of apricots and feta is, in my opinion, nothing short of magical. Around 5 dried apricots counts as one serving of fruit (although on the sugary side) and the rest of the ingredients in this dish provide a good helping of protein. Using a low-fat ‘salad cheese’ or feta-style cheese makes this healthier, too. You can get this from the Co-op and other supermarkets.

Turkey, Apricot and Feta Scramble (serves 1)

2 free-range eggs

A small knob of veg spread

1 turkey fillet

4-5 dried apricots, diced

Around 1/4 of a pack of feta or low-fat alternative

Sprinkle of dried thyme

Salt and pepper

1. In a non-stick pan, melt the veg spread or cooking oil over a medium heat. If you are in a rush, slice the turkey into strips before frying until just cooked, but for succulent meat cook whole and slice afterwards. Set aside.

2. Beat the eggs with the seasoning and thyme and then add to the pan. As the egg starts to cook, scramble with a fork and add the apricots, turkey and feta cheese. Stir until all ingredients are incorporated and then serve as you wish – on toast, in a bagel, English muffin or enjoy on its own.

Don’t forget to follow my blog or @trampstudent for student news, reviews, recipes and more. Rate this recipe below!

Raspberry, Honey and Feta Toasts

13 Apr P1020458

Feta for breakfast sounds odd. Raspberries on toast sounds odd. But then, what’s so special about jam and cheddar that they get all the breakfast glory? (Just me that used to eat cheese on toast for breakfast, then? I was an unhealthy child).

While saltier, the tangy creaminess of feta is not far off from greek yoghurt – the perfect accompaniment of honey and berries. The best thing about using feta, though, is that it goes all melty and warm on toast. Yoghurt does not. This is therefore a more filling and satisfying breakfast for those who like a little morning indulgence at the lowest price, or are looking for something romantic but inexpensive brunch. Get reduced fat ‘salad’ cheese (imitation feta) and it’s another guilt free snack.

P1020459

Don’t make the same mistake I did in thinking balsamic vinegar will taste good on this. It doesn’t.

Raspberry, Honey and Feta Toasts (serves 1)

1 good quality bread roll cut in half, such as ciabatta, or 2 slices of fresh bread (the plastic white stuff is simply wrong. WRONG.)

Roughly 2 tsps runny honey

Around 10 raspberries

As much crumbled feta cheese and you want

1. Preheat the grill to 150. Lightly toast the bread without browning it. Take it out of the oven.

2. Spread the honey on the bread evenly, then add the raspberries. Don’t be afraid of prodding them or even squishing them a bit – the juicier the better. Crumble the feta cheese on top and place back under the grill. They are ready when the corners are brown and the cheese is hot – around 5 minutes. Serve immediately.

If they aren’t sweet enough for you simply add more honey.

You can… use blueberries, cherries, strawberries or cranberries; change the cheese to white stilton, wensleydale or goat’s; change the flavour completely – sliced tomato and/or pancetta would make a great savoury version.

Peach Melba Oatmeal

7 Apr P1020472

I realised lately that, not only do I have a silly amount of porridge oats sitting around unused, but that I rarely do breakfast recipes. This is most likely because I have been an loyal Weetabix girl for around 2 years, with ocassional changes made – honey, berries, yoghurt, mini Weetabix with little chocolate chips. Sometimes I even have fruit juice or half a grapefruit on the side. I live on the edge.

P1020472 P1020475

Today, though, I decided to do something different. My first attempt at oatmeal went disatrously wrong due to my reluctance to measure anything, so this time I did things differently (but only just). And the result? A juicy, filling and cheap breakfast, perfect for sunny days and easy to prepare. The beauty of oatmeal is that it’s already there waiting for you when you wake up.

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Peach Melba Oatmeal (serves 1)

1 peach, peeled and sliced, or half a tin of canned peaches (I would recommend fresh, though. Tinned doesn’t taste as good)

Fruit juice of choice or milk (I used white grape juice)

Instant porridge oats

Half a punnet of raspberries

Handful of almonds, toasted if you’re feeling fancy

Sugar or honey (optional)

1. In your cereal bowl, mix the oats and fruit juice/milk. How much you want is up to you – the oats do expand so bear this in mind. 1 cup is your average serving (I told you I hated measuring things). Add enough liquid to cover the oats. Cover and leave overnight.

2. Add half of the raspberries to the oatmeal and give them a good smush, then mix in the peach slices and the rest of the raspberries. If you have used fruit juice, add a splash of milk to make it creamier. Top with almonds and sweeten to taste, if desired.

You can…do anything with this one. Add any fruits, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, cinnamon, yoghurt, grated chocolate, syrup, sauce, coulis; serve hot, cold or at room temperature. It is completely customisable.

Cucina Amore Adventures

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taste of colours

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Olia Hercules

Chef | Food Stylist | Food Writer

Food, Photography & France

Journal of a food photographer living in France

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