Tag Archives: cooking

5 Days – 5 Meals: Chilli Beef with Nachos

Chilli Beef with Nachos
Won’t be long before days get shorter and nights become colder. Chilli beefs with an extra kick is sure to keep you warm inside. Low carb and high in protein. The chilli make enough for 2 people. Condiments such as the ceese and sour cream be tailored to suit each person’s needs.

Difficulty: Novice Chef

Cooking time: 40 mins

Serves: 2

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)
Calories: 575
Carbs: 16
Fats:24
Protein: 67

Ingredients

500g Premium Beef Mince
100g tomato puree
1 tbsp of Chilli powder, paprika, turmeric, Cajun gymchef spice
4tbsp balsamic vinegar
½ punnet cherry tomatoes
½ bulb of garlic
1 chilli
1 onion
1 lime
3 peppers
125g mushrooms
2 mini wraps (32g each)
40g mozzarella cheese (each)
40g sour cream (each)
40 hot salsa
Jalapeños

Method

1. Preheat a large pot over a medium heat

2. Roughly chop the vegetables into bite sized chunks and season the meat with salt and pepper.

3. Turn up the heat of the pot and when it starts to smoke add in the mince and all of the vegetables and allow them to cook for 5 mins.

4. Turn the heat back down to medium, add in all of the spices and give it a good mix until well combined.

5. Add the tomato puree and mix well again.

6. Add 250ml of water and the balsamic vinegar. This should loosen the mixture up if it becomes to stodgy.

7. Turn the heat down low, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and let simmer for 30 mins until all of the vegetables have softened.

8. Season the wraps with the same spices again and bake on a tray in the oven for 5 minutes until they begin to brown. Then take them out and cut in half, then in half again and so on until they resemble Nachos.

9. At the very end take it off of the heat and squeeze in the lime juice.

10. Divide into two bowls and top it off with the sour cream, cheese, salsa and jalapeños.

5 Days – 5 Meals: Fans Choice Meatzza & Sweet Potatoes

Difficulty: easy

Cooking time: 20 – 30 mins

Serves: 2

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)

Calories: 505

Carbs:39

Fats: 11

Protein: 47

Ingredients

2 Fans Choice Meatzza’s

150g Strong Roots

1 Red or White onion

2 Peppers

125g mushrooms

2 tbsp Cajun gymchef spice

Method

  1. Pre heat the oven on the highest gas mark.
  2. Measure the sweet potatoes onto a tray and place them on the top shelf in the oven straight away.
  3. Slice up all of the veg into chunky bite sized pieces and place them onto another try with the gymchef seasoning.
  4. Move the sweet potatoes down and put the veg tray into the oven along with the meazta.
  5. Turn the oven down to 5 or 190 degrees Celsius and cook for 20 – 30 minutes

5 Days – 5 Meals: Spicy Eggs, Turkey Burger & Tortillas

5 brand new recipes each day for the next 5 days. The beauty with these recipes is that the nutritional value can be adjusted accordingly to suit your requirements.

Spicy Eggs (2)

Super simple to make and it cooks in no time too. The real beauty of this dish and many of the others is that the ingredients can be adjusted however you want them to suit your needs. There are days where more protein and less carbs is required so more egg whites are added and only 1 wrap. The same can be done with the fats. If more or less is required, it is simply a matter of adjusting the amount of oil or cheese.

Difficulty: easy

Cooking time: 10 mins

Serves: 1

Nutritional info (based on 1 person)

Calories: 649

Carbs: 41

Fats: 28

Protein: 56

Ingredients

1 BK Flamer

1 Egg

50g O’Egg Whites

5g extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil

40g grated mozzarella cheese

40g light sour cream

40g hot salsa

2 mini wraps

1 tbsp Cajun gymchef spice.

1 spring onion – chopped

Spicy Eggs (7) Spicy Eggs 20170908_113501.jpg

Method

  1. Preheat a small pan on a medium heat.
  2. In a bowl, crack in the egg and measure out the egg whites and whisk with a fork.
  3. In a dry pan cook the burger on each side for 2 – 3 minutes then roughly break it up in the pan.
  4. Add the oil, the spring onions and the beaten eggs. Sprinkle the Gymchef. Allow to cook over a low heat mixing it with a spoon/spatula until the eggs scramble.
  5. Toast the wraps. Then fill with the eggs and top with cheese, sour cream and salsa.

Finding food inspiration online and beyond

I made this the other night as a last stitch effort to break the boring chicken and veg dinners that I mostly eat during the week, that if I’m honest don’t make it onto the Instagram stories (after all who wants to see a repeat of the same shit over and over again). The dish itself is is nothing special but that’s the beauty of it – hear me out. Having decided I wanted to change things up and inject some excitement I had a quick look at what was available in the house and ended up having one of the nicest meals in a  long time. Throughout the week people have been asking me how I think of new dishes and make them look so appealing.

The answer…. frankly I don’t know because as I said there is nothing special about this dish. Look at it! It is literally a breast of chicken, a tortilla wrap and some veggies with a tablespoon of chipotle sauce from the bottle. That is why I think it is so great. Simple ingredients that are available in all stores and most likely already sitting in the fridge in your house right now. I had gotten the idea to make this from a random post on Instagram earlier that day which happened to catch my attention.

I get by with  a little help from my friends…. online

Find your tribe and do what they do. When it comes to creating new recipes I always try to take inspiration from whoever I can without completely ripping them off. Instagram a great platform for getting new ideas and is widely used by some of the best foodies out there to promote their own creations. Even better is there are plenty of “normal” people who are also great cooks that post pictures of food that actually look like it hasn’t been painted onto the screen. Further more, chances are that their ingredients and cooking methods are more applicable and easier to relate to because they cook as a side gig, on a budget, in a small kitchen with basic equipment. The added benefit of food finding food inspiration online is that you don’t always need an exact recipe to recreate it. In saying that sometimes a recipe is required especially when baking or cooking large quantities of food over long periods of time. But most of the time all you really need is a picture and Boooom there it is an idea for something different.

I’ll use the featured image as an example. So say you’re scrolling through Instagram and you come across the picture above. Straight away you can see what it involves: chicken, tortillas, peppers, red onions, tomatoes, spinach and jalapenos. Again all of which are very easy to source. Next is the caption “chipotle”chicken. Even if you have no idea what this is – Google it and in less then 5 seconds you’ll have an idea of what chipotle is, where it comes from, what its made from, where you can buy it and even how to make it if you really want to go that extra step. The point being is that not all recipes require the exact ingredients. Simply by looking at a picture is more than suffice as you can tweak it overtime to make it look or taste better.

Going beyond the shackles of the screens bright light

Unfortunately there is a downside to finding inspiration for food online because the inability to taste what you see. Yep, food that is appealing to look at will always generate an interest at first glance. However, taste is King and is far more powerful on the senses than sight. Besides being social and having fun, eating out is an amazing experience. Fortunately living in Dublin has allowed me to visit many of the restaurants, deli’s, cafes, coffee shops, smoke houses and burger joints around the city. I recommend wherever you live to try sample different places and draw inspiration from how they do things.

Roughly 5 years ago when I was still working in kitchens my life was completely taken over by food and how to improve. Back then I was on a whole different level compared to now. Eager to watch, taste, eat and understand why people where cooking the way they did was an obsession. I was eating all around me eager to know. At restaurants after having a 3 course meal I would order another dessert, not because I was hungry but merely intrigued by the menu that I had to know how it was made and how it tasted. I was a sucker for it. Luckily back then I was a lot younger and my metabolism burned like a house on fire. As the years went on, I moved on of kitchens, no longer a chef I became less active began to see the weight pilling on.

So I  cut back on the amount if food being consumed, eating more at home and to some extent everything in moderation. But still, to this day I am a sucker for seeing something on a menu and wanting to have it. That obsession still lurks in the background but I suppose I have become more aware of it and want to control it. I guess its jut the excitement of eating out that leads to eyes-bigger-than-bellyitus. When there’s something on the menu that’s a “must have” I just make sure to only order the one and not five.

On a final note, they way in which I cook is heavily influenced by many different factors ranging from budget, diet, time frames, work – life balance to name a few. Most nights I”ll eat the same food just because its economical and efficient and then when I have some free time I’ll usually try something new. It doesn’t always work out .Cooking is a skill, therefore anyone can learn how to do it. At times it can be really frustrating because of how consuming it becomes and the end result doesn’t always meet what we expected. But that’s okay because if that happens at least you know what NOT to do the next time. Just give it a little tweak and try again in a few days. Stick with it and practice the same recipes one or twice a week and overtime you will begin to notice ways of improving it. Keep a diary of any changes in the ingredients or methods and before you know it it becomes a staple of your weekly breakfast/lunch/dinner and then its time to find the next one. Remember, one dish at a time. Try it, improve it, master it and then move on.

 

Hope this post provides some insight when looking for some food inspo. The beauty of social media is that there is a surplus of supply out there. The same goes for eating out as any reputable food joint worth visiting is sure to have a  social media presence. Its just a matter of finding like minded folks and following in their footsteps.

 

Have a good weekend – happy eating

Shane

 

Tried & Tested: Shredded Chicken & Hot Sauce

I am REALLY diggin’ this combination lately. Not only is it delicious but also effortless to make from scratch. Any brand of hot sauce will do, although I highly suggest using the Franks Original or Buffalo flavors because you will only need 1 or 2 tablespoons, packs a punch, inexpensive and available in the majority of shops.

Ingredients

Chicken breast

Spring onions

Red onions

Peppers

Mushrooms

Chilli’s

Franks hot sauce

Grated cheese

Hot salsa

Sour creme or Creme fraiche

Spray Oil (coconut used in this recipe)

Tortilla (optional)

 

 

For maximum efficiency & speed I like to use the George Foreman (GF) while the veggies cook away on the pan.  A few sprays of the oil on each will be more than enough. Then, when the chicken is fully cooked put it into a bowl, take two forks and gently shred the chicken up and mix in two tablespoons of the hot sauce.

If you’re having a tortilla toast it on the GF until everything else is ready it will only take 3 or 4 minutes. Put everything into a bowl and top it off with the cheese, salsa and sour creme.

It’s as simple as that – nothing else involved in making this for lunch or dinner. Literally made in 15 minutes so it’s great to have on days when there’s not much time to prepare food or getting in late in the evening.

Shane

Bad Decisions Are Made On An Empty Stomach: Part 1

Dream big, Set goals, Take Action

A goal without a plan is only a dream – Recently I have been dwelling on the meaning of this statement and the impact it has when it enters the forefront of my mind.  At 27 I realise that although life is still in front of me, the decisions made now will determine the circumstances we will find ourselves in the future. Everybody has a goal, either conscientiously or subconsciously, individually or collectively there is something out there that is keeping you on your current trajectory in search of something better. Goals may be different but the behaviors such as sacrifice, willpower, discipline, determination and motivation remain constant.

From my own experience setting the goal involves visualizing the end result  and working back towards the current moment in time. See in your minds eye what the end result will look like, figure out how to get there and how long it will take. Achieving a goal is a tough assignment, each year I write down what it is I want to achieve in that given year (usually consists of eating, training, income) then break it down into medium and short term mini goals. Even then there is no guarantee that I will see them through to the end. Of course succeeding at your goals will give you the confidence to set more challenging targets.

One of my main long term goals is to finish college with at least a 2.1 grade. Break that down into smaller targets such as attending classes; even the most life draining, soul destroying lectures are important, submitting assignments on time and studying for exams. Go even further and make it a priority that when going to lectures you have the proper materials (pens, paper, calculators) study for exams by reading the right books and taking notes and get enough sleep so as not to pass out mid way through the day you get the picture right? Since January, I have been working towards completing an (unpaid) Internship as it is a mandatory requirement of the college. Again, showing up on time, making a good impression and buying into the organisational culture for the sake of 15 weeks just to get to where I want.

All of these little things make up the bigger picture. Again, the decisions we make now determines our future. Along the way remember failure is inevitable, it will more than likely happen but don’t worry because failing plays a huge part in understanding the approaches that do & do not work. It teaches us in the form of experience and creates lasting knowledge that will be beneficial on our future endeavors. Once you have established what simply isn’t working let common sense prevail and move on, try something a new approach.

Play to your strengths! but don’t forget your weaknesses, learn not to avoid them but rather learn how to deal with them and use it to your advantage until eventually it becomes no longer a weakness. Overcome the limitations that only you set!!

Food Goals

Food is the fuel of the body & mind so therefore it can be said that the better the quality the food then the more of a positive impact it will have on your physical and mental health – in long term at least. Highly processed, sugar laced, hydrogenated fat, chemical based lab creations have the same positive effect, but only in the short term and usually the endorphin’s released last longer than the time it takes for the body to digest this so called food. Nevertheless I will admit they can be delicious on the palate because they are loaded with all the winning combinations at once – fat, sugar, salt etc.

What you don’t know about food these days will hurt you. Many people are unaware of what the majority of the items in there press contain claiming to be ingredients. To quote Jamie Oliver “food should not contain ingredients, food is ingredients”.  I think the more we become detached with food the easier it is to make poor choices. This why I believe in cooking from a 36o degree perspective (knowing what is good for you, sourcing/buying fresh food and cooking it yourself) because it allows you to become more engaged and consciousness about what you’re actually eating. Fortunately cooking is a skill that can be learned by anyone. Unfortunately cooking can be very time consuming and costly which is the reason people make the wrong choices.

Also I should mention at this time that I am all in favor when it come to eating at Cafes and Restaurants and do not believe that “everything” we consume should be homemade. However, I will say that if you decide do eat out, do some research and find out if your favorite seafood & steakhouse are serving locally caught fish, is the beef imported or brought in from frozen halfway round the world.

image

avoiding temptation by preparing meals in advance for a busy week ahead

Have a Mantra & Shout it out

Getting back to the statement at the beginning ” a goal without a plan is only a dream” sounds good but doesn’t provide any real context on how to get there. To give substance to a goal, you need to actually develop a practical meaning around it. My own way of doing this is like many others. Think of the reasons of ‘why’ this goal is important to you in the first place ‘how’ it can be achieved.

“Bad decisions are made on an empty stomach” is a sort of mantra I live by. The underlying meaning behind it suggests that food is my weakness and I  am very likely to fall off the wagon at anytime. It reminds me of the benefits of training and preparing meals in advance and staying on track. In PART 2 of this post I want to go deeper into preparing meals in advance and what means to stay on the right course in search of that little bit better. It is this statement that time and time again I refer to that reminds of what I need to do to get to where I want to be. Knowing that bad decisions are likely to happen if I don’t prepare food for the week reminds me that by not doing so I am not achieving my goal.

One thing I have learned is to give yourself the best possible chance both physically and mentally to have any success in other parts of life. Physically I am prone to slipped discs in my lower back and mentally I tend to become very bogged down in finer details of certain circumstances which leads stress and failing to acknowledge the bigger picture of the event. Personally exercise is an excellent tool for eliminating negative self doubt and allows me to retain a clear head. As for food, well you are what you eat basically. As previously mentioned I am prone to falling off the wagon in many areas of my life. Eating proper food and training regularly really been extremely beneficial both  physically and mentally so therefore I try to keep it balanced.

Given my background as a chef with an interest in the gym, keeping active and all round performance improvement the purpose of this blog page is to show how easy it is to create mouth watering food at home and provide information on how to make better food choices and decisions in the kitchen.

The second part will discuss the basics such as planning meals in advance, the benefits of this and how to stay on course. Along with sourcing fresh ingredients including what to buy and where are the best places to shop especially on a budget.

Shane.

Basic essentials of vital importance for superstar student cooks.

Creating something from scratch takes some patience and dedication. Chefs, musicians, construction workers, artist’s all share something in common in terms of the equipment they use being of a certain quality or standard. 

This also applies to those of us who try to be creative at home. Having easy access to the necessary tools is of vital importance for anyone living off a budget, sticking to a healthy plan, preparing food in advance etc. I rely on a few basic peices of equipment that have a significant contribution in achieving efficiency in the kitchen. In other words, the items listed below allow me to prepare large quantities of food in the shortest amount of time because they help reduce the total amount time spent preparing & cooking food. This I believe a key factor when keeping track of a budget or a diet.

Before you say psycho…

I would like to confirm that the knife collection is due to a previous professional endeavor that is no longer the situation.

The majority of these knives are rarely used as the one I rely on the most is the long serrated confectioner’s knife (1st on right beside the sharpener). Costing around 30 euros (link below) it is by far the most versatile of the bunch because ilon one side of the blade there are little “teeth” and the other side is straight as a razor.
It gets used for everything – chopping all kinds of veg, slicing meat, carving chicken, cutting up desserts etc.

So – my recommendation is to forget about buying lots of different knives, just invest in one good knife and a steele or stone to maintain a sharp edge.

Mind your tips…

Unless you like the pain that comes with loosing a finger or two. I assure you the sensation triples when the skin is grazed from your knuckles while grating the zest from citrus fruits or hot chillies.
Besides that – using the madolin safely by taking your time pays dividends over time as you become faster. Before you know it, you’ll have developed ninja like speed just rattling off onions and peepers right down to the core stopping just before the tips of your fingers end up in the bin.

3 wise pans

Having in your possession some decent pans are essential components in the persuit of great cooking at home. A deep wok that allows you to make stirfrys, stew, spagball in fact anything in large batches. There’s nothing a wok cannot be used for as they are so versatile. 

A small pan for cooking omelettes / pancakes and reheating cooked rice in are perfect for quick and easy meals. Sometimes making  small quantities of food can get lost in a large pan so it is handy to have a small one on standby for meals that require less maintenance. 

And finally a griddle pan – IKEA sell these for €10 and are ideal for bugers, steaks, chicken, sweet potatoes, corn on the cobb. This is personally my favorite because of the smokey, charred, bbq flavor that can be achieved when cooking meat or veg. The only downside is the amount of smoke that builds up when left on a high heat, even if it’s not for long. My advice is open the windows on advance. 

When the pan begins to smoke and get hot, put the meat or veg. onto the pan and let it cook for a few minutes then turn the heat down to medium. This way it allows for the food to become charred and will then slowly continue to do so as the smoke clears away.

Again it is unlikely that I would cook from start to finish on the griddle pan with the exception of burgers perhaps. Usually I’d start the chicken on the pan and finish it in the oven, or start in the oven and finish on the pan.

Nothing is achieved without effort so therefore the plan is to maximize the the highest amount of output based on the level of input. Having a few of the basic essentials will no doubt in my mind helps make life at the stove that bit easier.

Peace out,

Shane.

(The link for a good set of knives can be found below. Just to clarify this is NOT a paid advetisment by any company who either make/sell/stock these products, this is just some friendly advice)

http://www.sweeneyorourke.com/ebstore/so/product.asp?p_part_code=~4501%2E26