Wasting Time – Pitta Bread Pockets

Now uni has pretty much finished for summer apart from a couple of pieces of coursework I’m struggling to find things to do with my day that don’t involve spending money…seeing as I have none. I’m staying in glasgow until my birthday and then heading home, which means I have just over a month to find things to do to keep me occupied…and there’s only so many times you can clean your room in a week! Just can’t wait to move into the new flat so i can spend my time cooking and freeze everything…it’s impossible in a shared kitchen which is covered in crumbs/mould/spilt drink most of the time…

But tonight I made a dinner of leftovers (for once) which actually turned out pretty nice – so thought I’d share (didn’t get a photo though, sorry!)

Spicy chicken and salad pitta bread pockets

Serves: 1

Costs: Really depends what you use  – chicken breast is always going to be more expensive than thighs or wings, but you can really use anything you want – i just used chicken because it was taking up room in the freezer! pitta breads and salad are really cheap though.

Suitable for freezing?: Nope, but you can of course freeze the chicken and pitta breads before you make the dish

Perfect for: Summer lunches/dinners

You will need: 

  • 1 chicken breast or whatever meat you’re using
  • 1 pitta bread, a large one so you can cut it open easily and fill it
  • salad leaves, tomatos, onions, whatever you want
  • some kind of sauce – i just used a cheap tomato and herb one which  was slightly spicy too, use whatever
  • anything else – shove whatever in there – within reason

Cut the chicken into small chunks (if you’re using an onion – i did – slice it now, too) – fry both off in a pan with a little oil.
Cut open the pitta bread like a pocket, so it’s still held together at one end, use a sharp knife so you can cut it accurately, you don’t want to cut through the bottom so all your stuff falls out!
Stuff your salad into the pocket, just add whatever, but don’t overload it, you need space for the chicken
Once the chicken is cooked and the onions are brown add some sauce, you don’t need too much as the pocket isn’t that big, but just enough to cover the chicken plus a little bit extra…
Now carefully (it’s messy) stuff the chicken etc into the pocket – use your fingers if you can stand the heat to get it right to the bottom, giving you more space at the top…
I use a george foreman grill because Pete brought it with him, but you can use a normal grill or not at all if you don’t fancy it…but grill it  so the pitta bread heats up…george foreman grills squish it all together, too so everything will be stuck inside…but remember to butter both sides of the pitta if you’re using the GF, otherwise it’ll stick and your pitta will be ruined! 
Serve. my pitta stuck, so i had to peel it all off and then use knife and fork – kinda defeated the purpose!
Enjoy 🙂
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Hello Summer! BBQ Burger Recipe

Yay! The weather is amazing! Don’t think it’s set to last (it is Scotland, after all) but for three days we’ve had amazing hot weather. Sat inside with my window wide open trying to get a tan while typing this…and there’s always so much amazing food in summer…fresh fruit, salads, cocktails, BBQ’s…

So here’s a recipe for a really healthy burger that you can eat on it’s own or in a bun with salad…grill, BBQ or put it in the oven, It’ll taste great regardless!

serves: 4-6 

Costs: Fairly cheap, but as the ingredients are mainly bottles of stuff, you’d need to spend a bit to buy them all in – but then they won’t go off and you can use them for other recipes too! things like soy sauce can be bought cheaper at certain places – for example, my student halls are right next door to an authentic chinese market – everything is dirt cheap in there compared to tesco or asda.

Suitable for freezing?: Absolutely, I usually make two batches and freeze them all, then you can just defrost them as you need them!

Perfect for: Parties, BBQ’s, quick lunches/dinners

You will need:

  • 500g mince
  • 2 tablespoons of caremalised onion chutney (a little hard to find – asda is the best place and i only really like their ‘extra special’ range, but whatever is good – makes the burgers taste amazingly sweet but in a nice way…not a weird way
  • 3 teaspoons of natural yoghurt (to bind it, you won’t taste it)
  • 3 teaspoons of soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons of worcestershire sauce

Mix everything together (make sure you remove the thin paper underneath the mince first – I once forgot and mixed it all in…didn’t tell my friends who were eating them though!)

When my mum makes them she has a small burger press with wax rings – you make a ball of the mixture and squish it down into a perfect burger (and perfect thickness) between the wax circles…I don’t have one so I just roll the mixture into equal sized balls on a greaseproof paper covered baking tray and squish them down into roughly equal thicknesses…then I freeze them like that (on the tray). Once they’re frozen I put each one in an individual sandwich bag (just to save them freezing together) and keep them until I need to use them…

Obviously depending on thickness they’ll need more or less time, but just cook them until they aren’t pink on the inside…

Serve on it’s own with chips or potatos or in a bun with salad leaves and tomatos…perfect for a warm summers evening!

Ate this for dinner last night – meant to take a photo but forgot…boo 😦 next time!

Really Easy Macaroni Cheese

I don’t suppose you can call it a date but from the very first time Pete and I met (and found out we both cook apparently amazing macaroni cheese), a ‘macaroni cheese cook off night’ was added to the ‘to do’ list in our kitchen…

This didn’t actually happen until just before Christmas and I most definitely won… 😉 So here’s my really easy macaroni cheese recipe, which is really cheap (apart from the cheese – I didn’t realise how expensive cheese was until I moved to uni, jesus!) but it’s tasty and you can keep it in the fridge (don’t freeze, it’ll go funny) and reheat it whenever you want…

Also I don’t tend to weight stuff out…

1 Because I can’t be bothered to faff about with my cheapy scales and

2 Because it requires far too much effort…

Serves: However many you want to serve – measure the pasta per person and make lots of sauce, you can refrigerate it and use it later with more pasta

Costs: Not much – a bag of flour is about 80p, milk is about £1 and cheese is likely to be in your fridge anyway

Suitable for freezing?: No! the cheese sauce will go funny and split, keep it in the fridge until it goes green (students can’t be picky!)

You will need:

  • pasta shapes, I measure using one mug per serving, so work out how many you’re cooking for and cook that many mug-fulls
  • plain flour, really cheap, and you can use it for things like pancakes too!
  • milk, I end up using quite a lot to get the sauce to the right thickness/thinness
  • cheese, I usually have a large block in my fridge – pete uses really strong cheese, but I use milder – it really doesn’t matter – you can also use more than one type
You can also add:
  • butter, not really necessary though
  • mushrooms (pete’s idea)
  • chopped up bacon (also pete’s idea)
  • tomatoes
  • anything! throw in anything you’ve got that needs using (within reason)

So you need to gently heat the milk in a large pan, just put however much you want in, but a fair amount to start the sauce off, then you can keep adding until you have enough sauce.

Don’t let it boil, but once you know it’s warm start adding the flour – you should probably sieve it to get lumps out but I never bother, you just need to be willing to stand and whisk/stir ALL the time (i mean ALL the time – don’t leave it alone or it’ll ruin)…so add a little bit, stir/whisk it, add a little more, keep going etc etc etc…it probably will have lumps but I’ve always managed to get them out by whisking all the time…

It’ll probably be getting really thick and gooey by this stage so add some more milk to it (this will also thin it and help to remove lumps)…repeat the process of adding a little flour at a time…repeat continuously until you have the right amount of sauce that you want – remember you can always cook more pasta later if you’ve made too much sauce…

Once you have the right amount, you need to add the cheese. The first time I did this I made the mistake of not trying it before I served – I’d used so much flour it just tasted like that and nothing else…it doesn’t matter if you use too much, you just need to make sure you use enough cheese to mask the taste…

Grate your cheese and add it to the sauce, stir until melted and taste it…add more cheese if you want etc etc etc…if you’re adding bacon or mushrooms, fry them off first and add them now (no rush, it’s not going to ruin, just keep stirring so it doesn’t ruin/stick to the pan)…

While this is happening you can cook your pasta…boil the kettle first to save time though! As soon as it’s ready you can pour it into the pan with the cheese sauce and mix it all together…I normally serve from there but Pete likes to put it in ovenproof dishes, sprinkle more cheese on the top and bake until crispy…you can eat it on it’s own or with potatos and vegetables…

Yummy, cheap, but not so healthy (but so so so tasty, so it doesn’t really matter) – simple!

A note for reheating: Sometimes I find if the sauce was thick to start with it’ll go kinda congealed and weird after being in the fridge…instead of reheating in the microwave, put it all in a saucepan with some extra milk – heat until the milk’s mixed in so it thins the sauce a bit, will stop it from tasting so sticky!

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this is pete's work, not mine! he put bacon in this too.

Places We’ve Eaten

Thought my first entry should be on the places we’ve already eaten and whether they were actually worth a second visit…

Our very first date (after Pete’s friends told him he absolutely couldn’t take me to the cinema on a first date) was to Xscape – and indoor activity, skiing, golfing, bowling place with loads of restaurants inside…we went mini golfing (around a tenner for both of us) which was amazing fun after the first few minutes of first-date-awkwardness (even though we live together…) followed by a HUGE meal at Frankie&Bennys…I had a calzone and Pete had a steak bake thing…followed by a chocolate brownie sundae (tiny for the price though…) – great fun, great food, fairly decent price but still on the pricey side, especially if we were regulars…would probably go back to mini golfing but maybe try one of the other (many) places for eating…

I don’t think we really had a ‘second date’…it was more like loads of trips to the cinema in about two months which gets pretty pricey, but with studentbeans.com 2 for 1 at Cineworld vouchers it works out at £5.70 for both of us, plus however much for popcorn and drinks etc (usually eaten by Pete and i get the crumbs…)…studentbeans also do loads of food vouchers and codes for free stuff, I think you have to have some sort of valid student card code to register but it’s really worth it, I’ve managed to get free Graze boxes (little boxes of healthy food, get your first free and second half price – so tasty!), clothes shop vouchers etc etc…sign up to their news letter and get a top 20 of offers every week…full of news articles and funny stuff too…

Our third meal out was for valentines day – to a champagne bar near Merchant City in Glasgow called Mediterraneo…V fancy (went there with my mum once before but isn’t the same as going for a date – not that I didn’t enjoy it, mum!). It was a set valentines menu, think it was £25 per person not including drinks, but you got a glass of champagne at the start of the meal…such a nice place, really quite expensive so probably wouldn’t go back unless it was for a special occasion, but there was such a nice atmosphere to the place…for starter I had a trio of smoked salmon (yum!), swordfish and tuna, Pete had a grilled chicken salad. Really good sized portions too, and something different to the usual starters we’d go for…for the main meal I had sea bass and Pete had steak…I think…and for pudding we both had chocolate mousse…so so nice, very fancy, perfectly cooked and presented, great service…just too expensive to go back…we got a £10 voucher for our next visit though…just forgot to use it!

The next time we went out was to a new restaurant – a newly opened ASK Italian – I had vouchers from tesco clubcard (we went back recently too, with 02 priority moments codes (if you’re an o2 customer you need to sign up for this and get the app on your phone – millions of codes for discounts in restaurants, shops, online etc etc etc…even got a free coffee last week for being a ‘good customer’ – thanks very much o2!)). The first time we had £40 worth of vouchers – enough to cover a 3 course meal each, not including drinks – so the date was on me that time! We had a garlic bread to share (a huge pizza shaped garlic bread) and Pete had gnocci for starters. For the main meal I had an amazing pasta dish, with chicken (so so succulent) in a mushroom and white wine sauce and Pete had seafood ravioli…pudding was ice cream and chocolate cake…yum yum. Came to £38 plus drinks so that was a really cheap date seeing as we only paid for drinks! Great service, really modern and swanky inside and great food. Would (and did) go back – and would definitely recommend!

2nd visit was with the o2 vouchers. They have 3 voucher codes for ASK – free soft drink when you dine, 2 courses for £10 on the o2 menu, or 50% of pizza and pasta – and you can use them for up to six people! We used the 50% of pizza and pasta, as a dish is only about £9 anyway, so it was going to work out really cheap…we both had the chicken, mushroomy, white wine saucey dish again but went home for desert. Couldn’t fault anything, great service again – Pete even took the ‘ASK Italian’ cork that they use for holding the bill for me – can’t fault him either!

On sunday (last week), we packed a picnic up (sandwiches, crisps, biscuits and chocolate covered strawberries) and took a walk to Kelvingrove Park in the (very rare) hot weather for the afternoon. Was lovely, and pretty much free – did that again today with some friends – even better, our new flat is right beside the park – so many more opportunities for that!

Then this evening we went for a drink at a small Italian restaurant called Bruscetta – ended up getting dinner…Pete had a pizza and I had a mozzarella and basil salad (feeling guilty after all the picnic junk food!) – they had a 2 course dinner menu for about £9, but we didn’t notice until we’d ordered – very good value although my salad was a little small for the £8.95 price…was nice to be able to sit outside in the sun without 5 million layers of clothing though!

So far lots of lovely food in lots of lovely places (with lots of lovely money on Pete’s part!)…next time I’ll post something a bit more interesting – honest!

Table For Two –

Welcome to my blog!

This is very exciting – all fresh and shiny and new to start something completely new with…

This idea actually came from my boyfriend, Peter while sat outside a restaurant in Glasgow this evening having a dinner after one of the hottest March days on record (in Scotland, that is). We’ve been together for nearly six months, met at university (in the same flat…) and regularly go out for meals (as regularly as money allows, that is – of course, being the gentleman he is, he always pays – great for me!). He suggested I start a blog (my other blog is only for university purposes, I’m a media student and it was a requirement for a module – but if you’re actually interested you can have a look here) on the restaurants we’ve been to, the food we eat and general foodness…

Half joking (I think) but I decided it was actually a really good idea…plus the fact once my coursework is out the way I’m not going to have much to do!

So here it is: a blog on general foodness and eating out (on a budget – ish)…I’m also going to include recipes I come across and general comments on relationships and my life…a bit of everything, but thanks to Pete for the idea and also the name ‘table for two’ – 🙂