Veg out, restaurant review – The Frustrated chef, Beeston

Veg out, restaurant review – The frustrated chef, Beeston

outside

The name alone is enough to make you want to visit! So I took a trip out to the Frustrated Chef in Beeston one evening with a few friends.

21209079_1980680522201062_1511859067_nMy review is also in the Nottingham Post (online and in the paper)

http://www.nottinghampost.com/whats-on/food-drink/veggie-food-review-frustrated-chef-392819

 

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The restaurant is cosy, rustic and intimate; so far so good. I’d rung ahead to check that they had some options for a vegetarian/vegan and they reassured me they could adapt recipes. One of the group was also dairy and egg free so as a table I think we were quite a challenge.

And in true trooper style they rose to it by presenting us with a separate menu that could accommodate our dietary requirements. Although we did need to clarify a couple of menu options.

table of tapas

As it’s a tapas style restaurant it was suggested that we order two or three small dishes each or more if we were sharing. From our ‘special’ menu we ordered vegan versions of hummus with fried broad beans and crostini (£5) – for some reason we were missing the broad beans, Asian slaw (£6.75) and fine beans with baby corn and a lime and mint dressing (£6.25), spicy Mexican potatoes (£4.50) and mange tout with a chilli and sesame seed dressing (£5.50)

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The others ordered bread with olive oil and balsamic (£3), tandoori monkfish (£9.25), grilled beef sirloin (£10.75), meatballs (£7.25) and almond crusted sea bass (£9.25)

green beans

As with all tapas places the food comes out whenever its ready, which meant some of us had to sit there watching our friends eat. But that’s how it goes!

 

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On the whole I was really pleased with the food the Frustrated Chef offered me. The slaw in particular was incredibly tasty and I would order it again. However it could easily be for two so I would prefer a smaller portion and a smaller price. The hummus was creamy and garlicky and the Mexican potatoes were good and crispy. In general the price of the vegetarian/vegan food was comparatively expensive compared to say the meatballs

 

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Tapas style eating is not cheap, you get over excited by the choice and over order and then the bill comes! I especially felt the small portion of mange tout at £5.50 represented poor value. The fish eaters too were surprised that they only had 3 cubes of marinated monkfish for nearly a tenner!

 

mange tout

That said the ambiance is great, the choice even for vegans is good, the tastes are varied and the pace relaxed.

Pulled jackfruit wrap

PULLED JACKFRUIT WRAP (Its best if you can make this the day before ) serves 3 – 4 people

There are a lot of ingredients here, but the taste and texture is so worth it!  You can make large batches of the pulled jackfruit.  When it’s cooled,  portion it up in to freezer bags and freeze for when you need to eat in a hurry.

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I found the tinned jackfruit and liquid smoke at V Spot, a completely vegan shop in Sherwood, Nottingham  http://www.v-spot.co.uk

 

2 tbsp rapeseed or olive oil

1 small red onion, finely diced

2 cloves garlic, finely diced

½ tsp ground cumin, coriander and smoked paprika

1 pinch ground cinnamon

1 pinch ground cloves or star anise, optional

½ – 1 tsp chilli paste/flakes or powder – I used Gochujang

1 tbsp tomato puree

1 tin of jackfruit in water

1 ½ tbsp soy sauce or tamari

1 tbsp. maple syrup or 2 squares of dark chocolate

½ tsp black pepper

1 tsp liquid smoke**

1 tsp apple cider vinegar

4-5 wholemeal wraps

lots of crunchy salad

avocado salsa – optional 1 avocado, mashed, large pinch chili flakes or ½ fresh chilli, 1-2 tsp lime juice, 1 tomato chopped, 1 spring onion finely sliced, pick of rock/sea salt.

**If you don’t have liquid smoke, you could increase the amount of smoked paprika instead

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  • Heat the oil in a medium, heavy-bottomed, pan. Fry the diced red onion until soft and golden. Add chopped garlic and fry for a few minutes.
  • While that is cooking drain the jackfruit and set aside.

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  • Add the spices to the onions: cumin, smoked paprika, coriander, cinnamon and cloves. Fry for a minute or two, to release the flavours.
  • Mix in the tomato & chilli paste or fresh chilli and again fry for a minute, using a spoon/spatula to keep it from sticking.
  • Add in the jackfruit along with soy sauce, maple syrup, liquid smoke and apple cider vinegar. Mix everything really well. Squash the jackfruit pieces with your spoon or fork so that the individual fibres separate. Season with pepper. Simmer the mixture gently for another 10-15 minutes and then allow it to cool down. Place in the fridge overnight to intensify the flavour. If that’s not possible a couple of hours will do
  • Just before you are ready to assemble the wraps, set the oven to 200° C/ Gas 6 Spread the jackfruit pieces on a baking paper-lined baking tray, pull apart any large pieces and bake for about 20 minutes, until they are browned and crispy. Remove from the oven and let it cool
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baked jackfruit

 

  • Make the salsa if you are having it – Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl.  Check the seasoning. Done!

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  • Finally, fill your wrap with salad spread the pulled jackfruit on top and add a dollop of salsa (if using). Wrap up and enjoy.  2 wraps per person

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Top 5 food tips for students

Top 5 food tips for students

A-level results are out, so for many its now off to University.  You may be completely prepared for it or you might be terrified of what the next three years holds for you.  But either way you will have to be more independent than you probably have been.  And that goes for what you eat.

Follow my 5 simple tips and at least you will have the food side of things sorted!

Tip #1

Try and avoid fast food outlets, takeaways and ready meals.  If that’s not possible limit them to once or twice a week.  The reason being they are heavily processed, contain high amounts of salt, sugar, fat and calories and are often lacking in nutrients.  The result could be weight gain, tiredness, bad skin, irritability, poor sleep and concentration.  Instead focus on plenty of vegetables, fruits, wholegrains, water, nuts and pulses.

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Tip #2

Buy the basics; by that I mean a selection of tins, jars and packets that can quickly be turned in to a nutritious meal.  And don’t be afraid of frozen veg and fruit; they are nutritious, inexpensive, reduce food waste and easy to prepare.

store cupboard basic

 

Do your food shop at the end of the day, when you are more likely to bag bargains like reduced prices.  Also buy food the day before a shop is closed for a public holiday (and they have to get rid of stock).  Buy fresh fruit and veg when its in season – it is bursting with nutritional goodness and also cheaper (often greengrocers or local Asian supermarkets have very reasonably priced items).  But don’t buy food when you are hungry, it will encourage you to buy high fat, sugar processed items

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Tip #3

Buy in bulk.  Dried goods are often cheaper when bought in quantity.  If you haven’t got the space to store lots of food, club together with your friends; share the cost, share the quantity, share the discounts.  Don’t be afraid to shop around; Aldi, Lidl, Coop, Morrisons are often cheaper than the big named supermarkets.

Tip #4

Whilst you’re still at home get some quick and easy recipes under your belt.  Base your meals around vegetables, they are incredibly cheap, nutritious, versatile and easy to cook

  • spaghetti Bolognese – either with mince, Quorn or lentils, tinned tomatoes, lots of herbs, chopped veggies (carrots, peas, sweetcorn, onions, mushrooms courgettes, or wherever you have available) and some stock powder. Served with wholemeal spaghetti (to keep you fuller for longer)
  • Curry – cauliflower and chickpea is simple and cheap.  Fry frozen cauliflower in a pan with a chopped onion.  Add a jar of curry sauce or curry powder/paste.  Add a tin of chickpeas and its water (if using curry powder or paste).  finish with a splash of lemon juice and some fresh coriander (if you want it to look cheffy!

vegan

  • stir-fry – use can use a frozen stir-fry mix and a jar of Sharwoods black bean and pepper sauce (low in sugar).  Add chicken, beans, tofu, nuts or Quorn for protein

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  • cheats risotto – using microwave wholegrain rice, frozen veg and leftover cooked chicken, Quorn, tofu or beans.  You can make it fancy by adding fresh or dried herbs and spices

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Tip #5

If you really don’t know where to start come to my student cookery classes that take place in West Bridgford, Nottingham every Thursday at 2pm

student cooking

Vegan stir-fry

Vegan stir-fry – serves 2 or 3

This recipe makes a really quick and tasty light vegan lunch for three or a more substantial  stir-fry for two.  I think its worth the effort to bake and add in the tofu, but if you really are in a rush then stick with the peanuts/cashews and sesame seeds.  All three ingredients add protein and some useful minerals like iron, calcium and magnesium and all the veggies are bursting with vitamins, fibre and antioxidants.  The spiralised sweet potato is a lighter alternative than rice or noodles.

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1 sweet potato – spiralised into noodles (or ready bought if you haven’t got a gadget!)½  (100g) large onion – sliced2 (130g) carrots – cut into matchsticks1 x (130g) red pepper – sliced

80g spring greens, spinach or mange tout

20g fresh ginger, grated or 1 tsp ‘lazy’ ginger or 1 tsp ginger/garlic paste

¼ – ½ tsp dried chilli flakes

¼ jar of Sharwods black bean and pepper sauce – this has the lowest sugar content of all of the jarred sauces400g of sweetcorn (tinned or frozen)30g unsalted peanuts or cashews1 spring onion – sliced

½ tsp soy sauce or gluten free tamari

1 tsp toasted sesame seeds

For the baked tofu : ½ block extra-firm tofu (drained and pressed in a clean tea towel),, small drizzle of olive oil, 3 tsp light soy sauce, 1 – 1½ tsp gochugaru or sriracha spice

  • Preheat oven to 220C/ gas 7/425F.
  • Cut the tofu into into slices. Place it in a mixing bowl and add the olive oil, chilli sauce/paste and soy sauce. You may need to add a splash of water if it’s too thick. Gently mix to combine.
  • Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes.
  • After 10 minutes, remove your baking sheet from the oven and flip each piece of tofu. Drizzle the remaining marinade over the tofu and bake for another 10-12 minutes.
  • Once the tofu is crispy on the outside, remove from the oven. Let it cool before you cut it in to strips

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  • In the meantime spiralises the sweet potato in to ‘noodles’ and blanche in boiling water for two minutes. Remove from the water

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  • Heat the wok until it is really hot and add 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Quickly add the sliced onion and keep them moving in the pan (with a large spoon or chopsticks). After 2 minutes at the carrots. Again move them about to stop them burning. If it looks too dry add a splash of water
  • After another 2 minutes add the pepper, greens, ginger /garlic and chili flakes and ¼ of a jar of sauce. Cook for 5-8 minutes until the veg softens slightly. Again add some water if it sticks

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  • Add the softened sweet potato ‘noodles’ to the wok and mix in. Add the peanuts or tofu, soy sauce, sweetcorn and spring onion and again stir to mix. Cook for a final minute

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Divide into 2 bowls for a generous evening meal serving or into 3 bowls for a lighter lunch or 5:2 fast diet meal. And sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds

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How to be a healthy vegan

How to be a healthy vegan

What a vegan diet should include (macro and micro nutrients)

 

People have very different reasons for choosing a plant-based diet and for some the transition can be daunting and fraught with complexity.

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Hopefully I can help you navigate your way through and understand what food types, nutrients and minerals you should include in your diet and what if any supplements you should ask your GP about

 

Lets start with the biggie PROTEIN!

Protein, if you didn’t know is a “macronutrient,” meaning you need relatively large amounts of it to stay healthy. Different protein sources contains various amounts of amino acids that help build and repair muscles in our bodies

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The average UK adult should eat about 50g of protein a day. To be more precise, it’s about 0.75g per kilo of body weight. If you weigh 11 st (70kg) your daily protein intake should be 52.5g. For a vegan that’s about 2 palm-sized portions of tofu, nuts, vegan quorn etc or pulses and beans

Protein rich meal ideas

Carbohydrates

This is another macronutrient, and its fair to say we should and probably do obtain most of our carbs from eating wholegrains, fruits, veg and pulses. And as with any healthy diet the carbs from simple sugars (cakes, biscuits, pastries, processed food etc) should be limited, as they have little nutritional value.

pasta-portionIf you need to lose a kilo or two I would advise you to portion control your bread, rice, pasta and potatoes. A balanced portion of wholegrain pasta or rice is 75g uncooked or 125g cooked. A portion of potato is 80g, and a serving of wholemeal bread is one slice

 

 

Fats

This is the final macronutrient. Its role is to transport fat-soluble vitamins, as a secondary energy source, to keep us warm and to aid brain function. It is the most calorific food at 9 calories a gram compared with protein and carbs at 4 calories a gram. So moderation is the watchword!

Too much fat has been associated with heart disease, obesity and some forms of cancer. With that in mind I would suggest for general cooking, dressings etc you use olive oil or rapeseed oil. Coconut oil has a higher smoking temperature and can be used for deep fat frying and roasting. Be careful of processed, diet foods and ready meals as these can have high levels of fats

vegan-shoppingAs more and more supermarkets are stocking vegan versions of family favourites it is now easier than ever to find vegan cheese, milk, yoghurts and ice cream. But just take a look at the labels and check the fat content as you may be consuming more than the recommended daily amounts of saturated fat (20g for a woman and 30g for a man)

Other fats to incorporate are from avocados, nuts and seeds.  They contain good levels of omega 3 fatty acids

Now we get on to the micronutrients! The foods we need in smaller amounts

 

Vitamins

Many vegans will have been told that they will be lacking in vitamin B12 and D. This of course can be the case but it could also happen to a meat or fish eater. It really depends on the person’s ability to absorb nutrients and how varied and balanced their diet is. That said vegans do have to take more care as B12 especially, is only found naturally in a few foods and most of those are animal in origin

B12

 

Vitamin D is the sunshine vitamin; in order to keep your levels topped up spend about 10 minutes a day outdoors without sun protection. If that isn’t possible some vegan foods are fortified with this vitamin i.e. soya milk, orange juice, cereals and breads. Just make sure your D3 is from vegan sources. There is some evidence that if mushrooms are placed in the sunlight they will synthesise the rays in the same way we do and produce vitamin D enriched mushrooms

 

Calcium

Ryvita hummus

 

This mineral works with vitamin D to produce strong bones and helps maintain the function of our heart, muscles and nerves.

Good vegan sources are green leafy veg like chard, cabbage, spinach, kale, sesame seeds (hummus and tahini), oranges, soya (beans, milk, tofu)

 

 

Iron

Another mineral that vegans may have difficulty consuming because it is found in large quantities in meat and offal. But it is possible to have healthy iron levels if your diet contains some of the following: fortified breakfast cereals, kale, broccoli, watercress, soya based foods, dried prunes, dried apricots, nuts and seeds, beans, pulses and fortified wholemeal bread.

Vitamin C rich foods help with the absorption of iron but tea and coffee can hinder it.

Vitamin C

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint

Quinoa with broad beans, courgette and mint –  serves 2

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My simple summer dish has appeared in the latest addition of Aspect  Nottinghamshire, a local magazine showcasing “all of what’s good in Nottinghamshire”

 

 

 

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If you can’t get hold of a copy then the full recipe is below

 

At this time of year both broad beans and courgettes are at their best and this recipe makes great use of them.  Out of season you can use frozen broad beans, soya beans, peas or broccoli.  Now you seem to be able to get courgettes all year round but if you fancy a change why not use leeks when they are in season, which is November through to April.   And if you tire of quinoa (pronounced keen-wha) try using giant couscous or experiment with freekeh (green wheat)

But before you go off piste give this recipe a go and like me, I’m sure you’ll love it!

quinoa and broad bean

90g uncooked quinoa

300 ml of hot stock (made with ½ tsp vegetable bouillon powder like Marigold)

quinoa and broad bean100g of fresh podded broad beans or frozen –  its worth making the effort to remove the outer greyish skin; the result is a much more vibrant green bean

1½ large courgettes (250g) cut into thick slices

1 tsp oil

large pinch of dried chilli flakes or ½ a fresh chilli finely chopped

handful of chopped fresh mint and parsley

1 tsp lemon juice

large pinch black pepper small pinch sea salt

 

Put the quinoa in a pan and add the hot stock and cook for 15 minutes on a low heat. Then add the fresh or frozen broad beans and cook for a further 5 minutes until the beans and quinoa are soft

In the meantime brush the courgettes with oil and a few chilli flakes and fry in a pan or griddle for about 10 minutes

Place the cooked quinoa in a bowl and add the cooked courgettes, chopped mint, parsley and lemon juice.  Season with salt and pepper and divide in to two bowls

quinoa and broad bean

Enjoy!

Is fast food making us fat?

For more healthy eating advice please visit my website http://www.nutrition-coach.co.uk/

Is fast food making us fat?

Should we be concerned about the number of fast food meals our family eats?  

The average UK diet appears to be in dire need of an overhaul.  It contains more than the recommended levels of sugar, salt and fat and less fruit and veg than the 5-a-day guidelines –  only 26% of adults met the fruit and veg target. 15 year olds fare much better with 52% stating they get their recommended daily intake *

This situation is not helped by the increase in the number of fast food outlets appearing on the high streets and in our suburbs

*  Statistics on Obesity, Physical Activity and Diet England: 2017

The Guardian’s recent article about Takeaways has an interactive map showing the proliferation of fast food outlets.  Simply enter your location or post code.

Take-aways and ‘fast food’ tend to be high in fat, salt, calories and sugar; making them an unhealthy food choice when eaten regularly. It has also been shown that people who eat quickly and until full are more likely to be overweight.

 

fast food

Being overweight can lead to obesity, which if left unchecked can increases the risk of type 2 diabetes, raised blood pressure and some cancers. Currently ⅔ of adults and ⅓ of 10-11 year olds in England are obese or overweight.

Is there ‘good’ fast food?

Maybe, is the short answer. The longer answer is, choose your fast food wisely and make them an occasional treat rather than a daily necessity. Try and avoid the breadcrumbed versions, high calorie sauces, the thin cut fries, processed meat additions, calorie ladened ‘sides’ and the large bottles of fizzy drinks. Here are some examples of the good(ish), the bad and the downright ugly!

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The KFC Chicken flamin’ wrap has an acceptable 305 calories but nearly 3 teaspoons of fat and over ¼ teaspoon of salt and sugar.  And definitely keep away from their treats; the White Chocolate Krushems has 435 calories and a whopping 15 teaspoons of sugar.

To put that in to context, that’s double the government’s recommendation for the daily amount of added sugar 

The McDonald’s Filet-o-fish, which is probably one of the least fattening choices in their range still has 329 calories, 3 teaspoons of fat, ½  teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoons of salt. The other chains are similar; the lowest calorie Subway is roast chicken with 5 salad items at 306 calories, almost 1 teaspoon of fat, nearly 1½ teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt. It only remains that low if no dressings are added. However if you chose the Chicken and bacon ranch melt the calories etc increase – 503 calories, nearly 5 teaspoons of fat,  almost 2 teaspoons of sugar and over ½ teaspoon of salt.

And don’t be fooled by the salads; although the Subway Meatball Marinara salad only boasts a waist nipping 270 calories it contains over 3 teaspoons of sugar and nearly 4 teaspoons of fat.

You’d  also be wise not to assume that the vegetarian choice is the ‘healthier’ option.  In all cases a vegetarian burger, sub or wrap could contain more calories, salt, sugar and fat than the meat or fish basic version. For instance the McDonald’s vegetable deluxe has 400 cals, nearly 4 teaspoons of fat, 3 teaspoons of sugar and over ¼ teaspoon of salt

Probably the worst offenders of them all is Burger Kings Steakhouse king at 1100 calories and 24g of saturated fat, that’s over half a woman’s calorie consumption and all her saturated fat intake for the whole day!

And Dominos ‘scrummy’ small classic crust pizza – 1152 calories, almost 13 teaspoons of fat, 3 ½ teaspoons of sugar and almost 2 teaspoons of salt

On the good side if you are vegan, you will probably be an infrequent visitor to these places.  Thankfully (for some of you!) they haven’t yet incorporated many vegan options in to their menus.  All Dominos pizza bases include milk powder, you can enjoy Subways veggie delight (various salad items on a sub or salad), KFC, McDonalds and Burger King only have a few vegan sides like corn on the cob, fries, apple pie and green beans.

20623898_10154869962571903_22678629_nSo please don’t be in a rush to eat fast food