Tag Archives: Foodie

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

 

Its your preference – Hot or Cold Oats?

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I am addicted to porridge oats, definitely because of how versatile they are (the variations are endless, (although I am yet to embrace my inner Heston Blumenthal and create Hot & Cold at the same time  – but who knows) and  mostly because of the influx of carbohydrates in the morning after a heavy workout. On weekends there is definitely more time to carefully cook oats on the hob with a watchful eye so as to guarantee them going really fluffy and steaming hot. Mon – Fri when when things are more hectic with college and work etc. having oats made from then night before is of great benefit to staying on track and getting to eat on time especially if there is no option of hot water readily available. Whatever your preference – Hot or Cold you can elevate a simple bowl of oats into winner with a few keep steps and ingredients.

Cookie Shots

Are the pieces of chocolate crumbled up over the top. Made by an Irish company called the foods of athenry they can be found in Tesco, and are frigin delish man. That’s the best way to describe them. Usually when I’m struggling to reach Carbs ‘ll have some of them in my yogurt too, so check them out.

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Making Oats Hot or Cold

Either way the ingredients are the same, the only difference is ho oats are made fresh and cold oats are left in the fridge overnight.

Quantities will vary from person to person but for the purpose of this recipe I’ll just use my quantities.

200ml – 250ml Unsweetened Almond Milk

85g Porridge Oats

30g Vanilla Whey

6g Peanutbutter powder

5g Cacoa Powder

5g Flaked Almonds

2 Cookie Shots

Berries

Overnight Oats (Cold)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, add the liquid then leave overnight in the fridge. Berries and Almonds on top.

Hob Oats (Hot)

Toast the Almonds in a dry pan over a very low heat as they brown in no time. Put the Oats and milk into a small pan and slowly bring to the boil. Allow to simmer, mixing it away until most of the liquid has been absorbed. Add in the Protein powder and the Cacoa and take off the heat. Continue to mix everything until the powder has dispersed evenly and the porridge is light and fluffy. Add some hot water from the kettle if it becomes too stodgy – this should loosen up there afterwards.

Mix the Peanut-butter powder with a small amount of water – instructions are usually on the packet. Pour this over the top, crumble up the cookies and add a handful of berries.

 

Hope you enjoy this one, by far one of my favorite variations of Oats although I did make Mocha flavored Oats this week which where very impressive. For those I used Beanies flavored instant coffee. Recipe will be posted next week, until then it can also be found on my Instagram (@feastfoodco) so feel free to head over and take a look.

 

 

Shane

 

The Ultimate Sub

Apologies for the poor picture quality – first world problems my phone broke and was using an ipod camera which is tiny.

This happened back in March when I was hungover. It was around Paddy’s day and it was my girlfriends birthday so we ended up (well at least I did) going well over my limit. Anyway, I had an idea for an ultimate sub for a while but couldn’t justify calories until I woke up and realized I needed a curer. Normally pizza is my go to if I had a couple of drinks but I decided against it that day mostly because I just wanted an epic sambo for a change. So instead, straight down to Supervalue because they make the best rolls and a few other essentials that are listed below. Not a lot of ingredients go into this, just the sheer size of it alone requires more attention than usual.

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Supplies

1 Sub roll. Supervalue is your best option for it

2 chicken breasts cooked in Gymchef Cajun spice

5 smoked streaky bacon

Slow roasted peppers, onions and cherry tomatoes.

Gherkins

Chives

Homemade garlic mayonnaise

Dijon mustard

Franks hot sauce or Piri Piri (optional)

Cooking

Being hungover I wasn’t bothered with the cooking aspect so I threw everything onto the George Foreman until lit was cooked. Use two forks to pull the chicken apart, this makes it easier to eat because the roll itself is a tough Mother to tackle, so do yourself a favor and shred the chicken. Mix in a tablespoon of Hot Sauce, Piri Piri, or BBQ if using.

The garlic Mayonnaise I had made previously but it’s simple – Crushed garlic, mayonnaise and a drop of water to thin it out.

Heat the roll – ” just a little”  in the oven  and then load that bad boy up. Doesn’t matter in hat order just get it all in and Mustard the top.

 

Next time you’ve had one to many and decide you don’t want pizza or takeaway give this one a go – it hits the spot 10 times over just try not to make it a habit 😉

 

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.

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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.

Protein Bowl -Perfect Sunday Brunch

What more can I say. Perfect for brunch on the weekend after a morning at the gym. Turkey Burger, Eggs & Pulled Pork are all from Kerrgians in Malahide. The pulled pork is by RibWorld and comes vacuum packed, roughly 300g in weight and is quite lean for pork which is usually quite fatty. The quantities/ portion size may vary depending on your needs.

Hope you enjoy.

 

Ingredients

Spinach & Mixed leaves

Cherry Tomatoes

Peppers

Spring Onions

Carrots

Lemon Juice

Turkey Burger

Pulled Pork

Eggs

Chilli Powder

Mini Tortillas (Optional)

Toasted  Flaked Almonds (Optional)

Salsa (Optional)

Cheese of any variety – (Optional) Parmesan, Cottage Cheese or Feta are always a good choice.

Cooking

First things first, the pork will take approx 30 minutes to cook so get that into the oven asap!

Prepare the vegetables – for the carrots, if you have a mandolin then slice them into strips. If this is too much hassle then I suggest buying the curly carrots in either Aldi or Tesco. Moving on, slice everything up either chunky or thin whatever your preference may be. Put the veg into a bowl with some (1/2 tspoon) of chilli powder, salt & pepper and the juice of one lemon. Give it a good mix, add in the leaves and put aside for now.

Boil water in small pan/pot.

Cook the Turkey Burger – under the grill, on a pan, George Foreman whichever suits.

If you’re having tortillas I sprinkle them with chilli powder and usually just toast them on a dry pan or on the George Foreman.

Check on the pork, when it is ready take it, drain the liquid, throw away the packet out and pull it apart gently with two forks. Pour over the sachet of BBQ sauce, mix and back into the over for 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile turn the boiling water down to a simmer. Crack the egg into a cup because it makes it easier to pour into the pan. (cracking the egg directly into the pan takes a bit of practice) Let this poach until the pork is ready to come back out.

By now if the Burger is ready you can slice it up and begin to put the salad into a bowl, followed by the Pulled Pork and the poached Egg along with any other options you choose.

Brunch on the weekend doesn’t come any easier than this and perfect if you have to cook for more than one or two as there is plenty of Pulled Pork to go around.

Happy Cooking

Shane.