It’s barbecue season in the UK and, in between the downpours, there’s nothing more satisfying than getting out in the sun and charring some meat or veg.
Unfortunately, like Christmas, this can mean your eating habits suffer. Whilst attending a barbecue chez @cubicgarden last weekend, I discovered an interesting Twitter based app called Food Feed, which bills itself as an easy and simple way to track your food habits.
Using Food Feed is very simple. You just need to go to the Food Feed website and sign-in with your Twitter account. Then all you have to do is follow @having and start tweeting.
By tweeting “@having” at the start of your tweets, Food Feed can aggregate all your food tweets in one place, which means you can find them at foodfeed.us/username (like mine). Adding a picture in to your food tweets can make it more memorable or sum up a large meal!
You can share this public feed with anyone you want – your doctor, nutritionist or even your mother. It’s a great way to link up with other people eating the same kinds of foods for inspiration or, in my case, to improve my eating habits and put all my food tweets into once place. If your friend on Twitter following @having too, they can see your food tweets without it interfering with your wider stream.
Unfortunately, Food Feed doesn’t offer much more than a simple search and aggregation tool. It would be great to see it integrated with an app like Meal Snap that estimates the calories in your meal through a photograph. However, the downside of using Meal Snap is that you have to photo every item of food and the data gets sent to Daily Burn, rather than being quite as simple and easy to share as Food Feed.
Check out Food Feed for free and see if it could be useful for you.
This simple recipe is one of my favourite comfort foods. It feeds one hungry person with a bit left over – feel free to experiment with portion sizes and so on. I know this is a dish that is fairly standard, but I do the mash in a particular way that keeps it smooth but textured, herby and a little spicy too. Plus I just ducking love it.
Veggie sausage and supermash with gravy
Sausages (yes, this is a worthy cheat)
- One pack Cauldron Lincolnshire style sausages. Comes in unhelpfully-sized packs of four. You can also use Quorn bangers (from the chilled section), but Cauldron are tastier. Avoid Linda McCartney!
- 2 good sized white potatoes.
- 1 red onion, or a few shallots.
- Some cloves of garlic (4), or garlic puree.
- Grated cheese – any hard cheese should do, but mature cheddar is best.
- Butter or spread.
- Yellow English mustard.
- Spices: rosemary, course ground black pepper, chilli flakes.
- Marigold Vegetable bouillon, if you have it.
- A little milk, or cream if feeling flush.
Extra – gravy, of which Bisto Best vegetable gravy granules are highly suggested.
You can also boil up some chopped carrots or microwave some frozen baby carrots to go in with the potatoes.
- Preheat the oven to 190°C, if you going to oven cook the sausages (recommended). I use an oil spray on a baking tray and over the sausages as well, before placing them inside.
- Wash and peel the potatoes. Chop them roughly into pieces approx 3 cm on one side. Perfection isn’t essential as long as they’re roughly the same size. Place these into a metal saucepan (not non-stick unless you want to wreck it) and fill with cold water from the tap until they are covered, plus 1-2 cm then put on a high heat to boil. Throw in no more than a spoon of salt. It’s important you do this with cold water, rather than cover with boiling water and reboil. Boil for approximately 20 minutes.
- Chop the red onion finely. Peel the cloves of garlic and get ready to crush them later. If you fancy extra spice, chop a small red chilli too, finely. Don’t rub your eyes!
- Check occasionally on the potatoes with a knife to see how tender they are. They’re ready when the knife goes through very easily. Drain completely using a colander, then return the potatoes to the pan and place back on a medium heat for a few moments – you’re trying to drive as much moisture out as you can. Don’t let them stick to the bottom however. Remove from heat.
- Check on the sausages. You may wish to switch the sausages from cooking to warming mode, if your oven has one, else they’ll be overdone.
Potatoes and garnish ready to mash!
To the now soft potatoes, add a good knob of butter or spread, grated cheese (to taste – I suggest 150g), the red onion; the garlic cloves (crushed); and the spices plus bouillon powder to taste. I find about two teaspoons of each works well. Add a 1.5 teaspoons of mustard.
- This is the difficult part: you’re now going to mash the mixture using only a fork. This is why the potatoes had to be soft and you have to use a metal saucepan! Using a decent size fork (or a masher, if you absolutely must), press down the mixture and move round the whole saucepan. There’s no set way to do this except you must mash up all the potato. After the first round, add the littlest drop of milk, perhaps a tablespoon, and continue. If you have a ceramic hob, you can keep it turned on at the lowest setting to assist with this process.
- Repeat this, including stirring it from time to time, until it takes on a smoothish consistency. In my opinion, it needn’t be completely smooth but it should be soft for the most part. The onion will, of course, remain crunchy.
- If you added the bouillon, the mash will be an appealing golden colour (I hope). Serve the mashed potato as a bed in the midde of the plate, onto which you will place your Cauldron tofu sausages. Three is a good number for one plate!
- Drizzle with the hot gravy… I like mine fairly thick, but moving and poured directly over each one of the sausages with a bit dripping down.
So a pretty simple recipe, but I really think using those particular herbs makes the mash an enjoyably spicy part of the meal, rather than just a bland accompaniment that requires lashings of gravy for any flavour. Mashing with a fork, while taking a bit longer, means you keep the crunchy red onion and give it a texture you won’t get from a processor.
Veggies should love this (it works on my little brother, without the chilli) and it’s great comfort food, as well as being gastropub-esque. You can probably do it with regular sausages too, but I have no idea of course :)
I’ll try and find a picture… regrettably I ate all mine! Sadly iPhone pics were all I could find at short notice, but I assure you it’s totally gorgeous.
Tried it? How did you find it? Comments welcome.