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February 2015

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While living in Singapore, Chinese New Year was always one of the best days of the year. Feasts with friends, devouring a mountain of tangerines, the Chingay Parade with Dragon Dancers on Orchard Road and exchanging (*cough* receiving) ang bao (red envelopes with money). Great childhood memories that will never go away. 

Of course, now that I’m living back in Glasgow and not submerged in Chinese culture to the same extent anymore, the celebrations have dramatically reduced. Now, I celebrate with having good quality Chinese food. 

To celebrate Chinese New Year hungryhouse has dived into the food and the traditions of the festival, to create an interactive guide to help you stage your own Chinese New Year takeaway feast in the comfort of your own living room. The guide includes information on New Year traditions, foods, a special Chinese do-it-yourself cocktail recipe, and it also features step-by-step instructions for people to make their own funky Chinese decorative lanterns to really get into the spirit of Chinese New Year!

To celebrate the launch of the guide, hungryhouse are asking people to make a lantern and then share a photo of it on twitter or instagram with the hashtag #hungrylantern. hungryhouse will then pick their 10 favourite pictures and award each winner a £25 hungryhouse voucher each. The competition is now open with winners being selected on the 19th!

Last week, I had an early Chinese New Year takeaway feast with Ross from Home Wok on Byres Road. After reading reviews and checking out their menu, I knew that we made the right choice. Along with the standard dishes you’d normally get in a local Chinese takeaway, I loved the fact that Home Wok also had  range of Traditional Chinese dishes, some I had never heard of and others I hadn’t had in years. Not sure the Fire Exploding Kidney Flowers are that appealing though! 

To start, we had meaty pork ribs roasted in maple syrup, vegetable spring rolls and crispy spicy pork dumplings. The ribs were really good and I adored the pork dumplings, so much that I’d definitely order some just for myself. Unfortunately, the vegetable spring rolls were too greasy and lacked any flavour.

 

For mains, we ordered beef in black bean sauce with green peppers, gong bao chicken with peanuts, dandan noodles, stir-fry pak choi with garlic sauce and Singapore fried rice. If I had to pick a favourite, it would have to be the dandan noodles, traditional spicy soup noodles with pork mince and peanuts. It was absolutely delicious. I wasn’t a fan of the Singapore fried rice. It tasted nothing like the proper Singapore fried rice you’d get in Singapore. This rice dish was overloaded with curry powder and overpowered it. Ross loved the traditional gong bao chicken (kung po over on this side of the world) and laid claim to most of the dish, leaving me with only a few spoonfuls.

Overall, it was a perfect night in complete with watching movies on TV. I even decorated the living room with the hungry house lantern, little ang bao envelopes and of course, chopsticks from Singapore. Want to create your own Chinese New Year feast in the comfort of your own home? Get your chopsticks out, dive into the interactive guide above, and get snapping for your chance to win some free Chinese food! 

Disclaimer: I was given a food voucher from hungry house in exchange for this blog post. I was under no obligation to write a positive review.

Tomorrow is one of the most stressful days of the year for those in relationships. To help combat the stress, Tennent’s Lager have come to the rescue and set up â€˜Emergency PresenT’ throughout Scotland to aid the forgetful, confused or undecided. Not in a relationship? Well why not try and win yourself an awesome treat?

According to research carried out, 74% of people are unhappy at the prospect of receiving only a card, 16% of single people are planning to lie about getting a gift and apparently 40% of men forget the date entirely. Do you fit into one of these categories?

Today, 100 ready-made presents will be available across bars throughout Scotland (mentioned below) as well as online. From gig tickets and flowers, to dinner out or a few drinks in the pub, ‘Emergency PresenTs’ will be given to those with the best reasons for needing one.

emergency present tennents

Stories can be shared with bartenders in each pub, or on Tennent’s Facebook and Twitter pages, using the hashtag #pleasebeermine

What do you have to lose? You may end up with an awesome gift and be the best partner ever! In fact, I may even try win a present myself… for my boyfriend of course!

 â€˜Emergency PresenTs’ Bars

Glasgow: The Howlin’ Wolf, 100 Bath Street Glasgow G2 2EN

Edinburgh: Wash Bar, 11-13 North Bank Street Edinburgh EH1 2LP

Stirling: Katie’s Bar, 3 Barnton Street Stirling FK8 1HF

Dundee: Clarks on Lindsay Street 80 North Lindsay Street Dundee DD1 1PS

Aberdeen: Korova, 18 bridge Street Aberdeen AB11 6JL

Mushrooms, definitely one of my favourite vegetables. I cannot get enough of them, no matter what way they are cooked. Okay, I know they are technically not a vegetable, they are a fungi but we don’t need to be overly pedantic, do we? 

They get even better when you stuff them with pâté. Everything tastes better with pâté in my opinion. My favourites? Smooth Brussels Pâté or Pâté de Campagne smothered on toast.

My mom has been making the little gems for years with good ol’ Ruskoline but I’ve revamped the recipe for 2015 using my trusty Panko Crumbs because they taste and look so much better. Combining the stuffed mushrooms with garlic mayonnaise turns an ugly-looking fungi into a beautiful looking appetizer.

Look how golden they are? LOOK! Yum. They are also ridiculously simple to make. Go try them out!

Do you love mushrooms as much as I do? Do you have a favourite pâté? Is there anything better than garlic mayo?

 

Pâté Stuffed Mushrooms with Panko Crumbs
Serves 4
Delicious golden crumbed mushrooms stuffed with pâté served with garlic mayonnaise.
Print
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
10 min
Cook Time
5 min
Total Time
15 min
Stuffed Mushrooms
  1. 4 large button mushrooms
  2. 100g good quality pâté
  3. 1 cup of panko crumbs
  4. 1 egg, beaten
  5. 1/2 cup of flour
  6. Oil for deep-frying
Garlic Mayonnaise
  1. 1 clove garlic
  2. 100g good quality mayonnaise
Stuffed Mushrooms
  1. Clean the mushrooms, removing any dirt and pull out the stalks
  2. Using a teaspoon, fill each mushroom with some pâté
  3. Place the flour, beaten egg and panko crumbs into separate bowls
  4. Dip each mushroom into the flour, then the beaten egg and lastly roll the mushrooms into the panko crumbs until completely coated
  5. Heat the oil in a deep fat fryer (or large saucepan) for 3-5 minutes until golden brown
  6. Drain excess oil off by placing the mushrooms on paper towels
  7. Plate mushrooms on a bed of balsamic glazed lettuce leaves (or any salad combination you like)
Garlic Mayonnaise
  1. Crush the garlic into the mayonnaise, stir to mix, and serve alongside the mushrooms
Tips
  1. If your mushrooms haven't been completely coated in the panko crumbs, double dip them into more egg and roll in the crumbs again. This will then give you a better coating.
Ananyah https://ananyah.com/

Being a food blogger, Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is probably one of the worst medical conditions you could ever have. Unfortunately, I have been suffering from IBS since 2010. When I was first diagnosed, part of me was grateful that the constant stabbing stomach cramps I was experiencing along with the extremely bad bouts of diarrhoea finally had a ‘name’.

I was in constant pain and the pain got so bad that it started having a debilitating affect on me. Debilitating in the way that I could no longer go to and from work without being violently ill. My main trigger at the time? Stress. The root of the stress was an old job. An old job that has left me with this life-long illness.

After quitting my old job in the city and getting a much better job closer to home, I noticed a considerable difference in my health. 5 years later, I still have flare ups but thankfully instead of daily, they are a few times a month, sometimes more frequent depending on what I eat.

I’ve always wanted to talk to a nutritionist to help me find the triggers that make me ill, but my GP has never referred me even after multiple requests and to see a private nutritionist could be rather costly. From my own research, I knew what certain foods can trigger your symptoms. Over time, I came to realise that too much dairy, rich and fried foods make me rather ill. However, I’ve never really done anything about swapping my triggers for a more healthier alternative for the good of my stomach. Why? Because the food items that seem to make me ill, seem to be my favourites.

That’s when Waitrose came to my rescue with the challenge to incorporate healthy food swaps into my diet and offer me tailored advice from their nutritionist Nathalie Winn. I had to keep a food diary over one week prior to talking to Nathalie to note down what I was eating. Afterwards, she gave me a list of suggested swaps which could not only help my IBS but add to my 5 a day portions, reduce my calorie intake and add extra fibre, vitamins, omega 3 fats and protein into my diet.

My tailored swaps were:

Breakfast: Swap the Rice Krispies with skimmed milk for porridge oats made with skimmed milk – if you think dairy is a trigger for your IBS, try making your porridge with alternatives to dairy like unsweetened soya milk or Alpro’s longlife coconut milk with rice, which are both fortified with calcium, vitamin B12 and vitamin D.

Dinner: Avoid too much pasta, noodles, pastry and fries and choose lean meat and chicken (with the fat and skin removed), oily and white fish with brown rice and mixed vegetables.

Snacks: Avoid the crisps and Special K biscuits and try snacking on a couple of LOVE life oatcakes with a thin spread of no added sugar peanut butter (or any nut butter), yogurt containing live bacteria with a tablespoon of seeds like pumpkin seeds and linseeds.

Drinks: Fruit juice and smoothies can sometimes be a trigger for IBS symptoms due to the concentrated fruit sugars. Limit this to no more than 1 glass a day and avoid fizzy drinks as much as possible. Up your intake of unsweetened, non-caffeinated fluid to around 8 glasses a day, which can help with IBS – water is the best choice and you could try adding cucumber, lemons or oranges to a jug and leaving it overnight in the fridge to add some flavour.

To help me on my mission, Waitrose also kindly gave me a £60 food voucher so I could purchase recommended products in my weekly shop. Along with the advice Nathalie gave me, I also used the Waitrose Healthy Food Swap Widget for extra inspiration along with looking at Healthy Eating recipes.

Waitrose Healthy Food Swaps Widget

With a list in mind, I headed over to my nearest Waitrose and bought up the entire shop (okay, maybe a slight exaggeration!). My trolley was full items such as lean meat, coconut milk, granola, sorbet instead of ice cream, plenty of vegetables and healthier snacks.

I created a week long meal plan incorporating my healthy food swaps and set upon my new adventure. It will be a hard task but one that I know I need to do for the good of my stomach (and health!). I’ll be updating you on my mission, showcasing my meal plans, how I’m doing and what healthier swaps I’ve decided to keep in my life.

Wish me luck!

Have you changed your diet lately? Do you have any tips to help motivate me? What are you favourite healthy snacks?