Featured

Hi, I’m Bea

ABOUT ME…

Hi!

I’m Bea, as well as being new to the world of blogging I have been a food teacher in secondary schools for seven years. I live just outside Manchester and all its foodie offerings. 

I’ll be posting all about food I enjoy, mostly something I’ve knocked up myself but i’ll also include some things i’ve enjoyed at a restaurant, a recipe I’ve trialed or a must visit food venue. I will also add a few drinks here and there because let’s face it, it’s got to be done! 

I am lucky enough to have grown up with a variety of influences, my mum is from Zimbabwe, my dad is from Ghana and I grew up in a village in the North West, so food has always been a blend and balance of cultures for me.

From being little, food has played a large part in our family, whether it be for celebrations, commiserations or comfort. I began helping out in the kitchen from a young age and was fortunate enough to be given the reins on occasion from about the age of 11.

I love being in the kitchen and having the opportunity to create something to make others smile. Whether it be an autumnal main or a gooey dessert ūüôā I have 3 bottomless pits I call brothers as well as a fiance and they are more than happy to try what I make and be extremely blunt so I welcome all comments : )

I am a total believer in happy eating. Food should put a smile on your face no matter if it is a weekday after work dinner or a special occasion. I love following recipes and do think it is sometimes a necessity but I also think that food should be personal and geared towards what you like and I hope this comes across in my blog. I hope you enjoy reading my posts, let me know if you stop by, it will definitely put a smile on my face!

Please don’t hesitate to get in touch, you can email me at beasbitesonline@hotmail.com or hit me up at the following:

Instagram: @beas_bites Twitter: @beas_bites Facebook: Bea’s Bites Online

If you have any posts you’d like to see then please feel free to Email me, DM me on Instagram, Facebook or Tweet me and I’ll do my best : )
I hope I get a chance to chat to you.

Bea x

FILL ‘ER UP

5 Ingredient Pancakes

Is it acceptable to have pancakes for breakfast 3 days running… Hell Yeah!

Guys, I am OBSESSED with this current recipe. I love pancakes anyway but these super fluffy American style ones have legitimately changed the breakfast food game in our house. 

I’ve been reading a lot about fibre and how we aren’t getting enough of it so made a concentrated effort to try and include it in every meal but I really struggled with breakfast.

If someone says fibre I immediately thought of weetabix, shreddies and other brown foods then get tired at the thought of working my way through a bowl of it and give up… or think of jaw ache from chewing through a tonne of tough veg or grains.

These bad boys are have around 5g of fibre, they’re super tasty and so easy to make! I’ve started using almond milk because Gigi can’t have dairy. You can top them with anything you like too, i’ve had them topped with passion fruit curd, jam, caramelised banana, yogurt and blueberries… the list is endlessly tasty!

INGREDIENTS – makes 6 should serve 2

1 banana

30g oats

30g self raising flour

1 egg

30ml milk (I used almond milk)


METHOD

1. In a bowl, mash the banana until smooth

2. Add the oats, flour, egg and milk to the banana and mix until properly combined

3. Heat a non stick pan ready to cook your pancakes, keep the heat on low to medium once your pan is hot

4. Spoon a tablespoon of your pancake mixture into the pan and wait until air bubbles appear around the edges before flipping and cooking on the other side for roughly 2 minutes

5. Serve with toppings of your choice and enjoy : ) x

If you’ve not already, check out my instagram for more¬†@Bea’s bites

Too pretty to eat

Beautiful food.

One of my favourite combinations of fresh flavours aside from citrus and chocolate, is tropical fruits with citrus, especially pineapple and lemon. I created a dessert that combined those with the freshness of yoghurt and this week I’ve been playing around with my plating.

One of my goals is to make foods that taste good and are almost too pretty to eat, ALMOST. I definitely think I’ve hit the nail on the head a few times and I’m going to share some of those with you guys today.

To make my citrus fest of a dessert I started out by making a citrus curd. Curd is so easy to make but it does require a close eye to make sure it is the right consistency. To give it another flavour dimension, I reduced the sugar content and added the juice of an orange before leaving it to cool and set.

I then move onto my caramelised pineapple. About a year ago I invested in a brulee torch and it has become such an integral part of my kitchen equipment. I use it to add colour to meringues, toast and crisp up the skin of some of my fish dishes as well as caramelising sugar and fruits.

Next I moved on to my sable biscuits. I love chewy caramels so I dice some up and throw them into my mixture as well as using larger quantities of butter with egg yolks to give the biscuits a lovely shortness and a butter taste with a crumbly texture.

I freeze some of the curd with some greek yoghurt in a silicon mould to get lovely bite sized mounds. To plate the dish I crumble the sables, place the pineapple batons on, dot the frozen curd and yoghurt then plate it up with some fresh berries for contrast before spooning on some of the chilled curd.

Carefully placed food is all well and good but it isn’t always realistic, it does take time! That being said, it doesn’t have to be carefully placed on a plate to look pretty.

Over the summer I started going to B.EAT STREET in the Great Northern warehouse and ate at so many great places. One place that I took a lot of inspiration from was Indian Canteen. I love the flavours of Asian foods and this was no exception. Packed full of flavour with a great balance so you could actually taste the spices rather than just the heat.

I LOOOOVE the contrast in colour that comes from the cabbage, chutney and raita but one thing I think is important to remember is the fact everything used has a purpose. Something that needs to be remembered when plating up for sure!

I have made a few dishes with colour contrast in mind but my all time favourite that is so simple to make is a breakfast dish. Being on half term has given me the opportunity to make a more leisurely breakfast every single day, so I have… WIN!

Now, I have mentioned a few times that I’m a visual eater so this is has perfect been the perfect opportunity to play around with my plating.

I’m all about a bit of spice and lately I’ve been crushing hard over chirasha, a thai chilli sauce. My favourite brand is Vitasia, it has so much flavour and a subtle heat rather than the kind that’ll smack you round the mouth and leave you sweating. The sweet, sour garlicky and vinegary flavour (complex I know) of the sauce makes it the perfect accompaniment to a huge range of dishes.

So, first things first, the pancakes. I love playing about with pancake recipes and I wanted a lower calorie alternative that was high in fibre. I used plain flour with wheat bran, an egg and skimmed milk. As I wanted them to be multipurpose there is no sugar in the batter. It also means they work well with both savoury and sweet combinations too.

Team the pancakes with grilled pancetta, some spring onions and a fried egg with a soft yolk. The richness of the yolk works so well with the saltiness of the pancetta. I then go all out and splatter the whole thing with chirasha sauce and a light caesar dressing. The whole thing only comes in at 303 calories too!

Plating doesn’t have to be so complicated though! Sometimes it can just be a 30 second job, like with sides. Hummus is one of my favourite sides to tart up because it is so simple. I save some of the whole chick peas to sprinkle over the top and top with smoked paprika and mixed herbs.

As I said earlier, the ingredients have to play a purpose so it’s not just about looking good. The paprika adds an underlying smokey flavour whilst the herbs lift the dish and the whole chickpeas add texture.

It also has the added benefit of allowing your diners to flavour their own hummus as if they want to they can stay away from either the herbs or the paprika… as long as they get in there first!¬†Served alongside some decent sized slices of toasted pitta and it just calls out for people to get stuck in!

Last but not least, colour. Colour livens up a dish and contrasting colour to me, makes it more appealing and mouthwatering. I follow @cheffrancisco on Instagram and the images he posts never fail to leave my mouth watering, seriously. All that food is beyond beautiful and he doesn’t just post his own he regrams others too.

I try and replicate some of the plating techniques he shows.¬†Now I’m not quite haute cuisine but I think I’m giving it a good go. Plating is mainly about practice for me, trying something until I find what works then running with it. I use ingredients for their flavour, colour and texture.

It’s amazing what a swipe of sauce and a drizzle of sesame oil can do right?

 

 

CITRUS CURD

INGREDIENTS – makes approx 300g
4 medium eggs
4 lemons
1 orange
100g sugar
100g butter

METHOD
1. Juice the lemons and orange and set to one side
2. In a bowl over a pan of boiling water put the butter, sugar and fruit juice and stir 
3. Whisk the eggs in a bowl to break them up
4. When butter has melted in the bowl above the pan, add the eggs and stir until it is thick and glossy and coats the back of a spoon
5. Pour into a sterilised jar and leave to cool and set
6. Transfer to the fridge and use as needed but it’ll last a good couple of weeks

Enjoy : ) x

LEMON & GARLIC HUMMUS

INGREDIENTS – serves 8
1 tin of cooked chickpeas 
2 cloves garlic
Zest and juice of 1/2 lemon
2 tbsp olive oil
Smoked paprika
Mixed herbs
Salt
Pepper

METHOD
1. Drain chickpeas but reserve the liquid
2. Put all but a tablespoon of the chickpeas into a blender or food processor
3. Mince the garlic until smooth and add to chickpeas
4. Add the zest and juice of the lemon and the olive oil
5. Blend until the desired texture adding the liquid from the chickpeas to loosen then season with salt and pepper
6. Serve with the whole chickpeas added on top then sprinkle with paprika and herbs

Enjoy : ) x

It’s all about balance

Train hard, eat harder!

I regularly get told by people in passing that I shouldn’t be eating or drinking certain things as it doesn’t fit with my training or exercise. I laugh it off but then I think wait… they just don’t get it. Yes, thanks to a New Year’s resolution I am now more active than I have ever been BUT, being this active means I can eat whatever I want when I want because I always work it off in the week. Bottom line? What good would it be if I wasn’t eating foods that made me happy?¬†

Don’t get me wrong, I still track my foods and am careful about quantities but I don’t point blank refuse something I want.¬†¬†I train hard so I can eat without guilt,¬†usually an indulgent sweet treat : )¬†So… when I train or exercise, I burn calories which mean I get to eat more if I’m looking to maintain my weight. For me, more calories to eat mean one thing and one thing only. DESSERTS!

One of my favourite sweet treats that are definitely moreish are profiteroles. I have played around with the flavour of these a lot but every now and then, all you need is the classics.¬†Over the summer JB and I spent a long weekend down south and as well as taking in the¬†wondrous¬†views I got to trial some desserts on my little mini me and partner in crime! The big hitters were the profiteroles and now that my cousins have come to our neck of the woods I’ve decided to knock up a batch along with something so sinful it’ll send everyone into a food coma afterwards as requested HAHA.

So here we go, with there being 14 of us rather than the usual numbers of between 8 and 10, I decided to make a trio of desserts that’d hopefully satisfy everyones cravings! I knocked up the standard batch of profiteroles and then decided to head towards some of my other favourites. I always think that if you’re having a chocolate based dessert you need a fruity one to counteract the richness or a comforting pastry number.¬†

The fruity counterbalance in this case comes from a cheesecake. Ok, ok cheesecake can be super rich BUT… the recipe I use is so light it doesn’t feel too sinful annnnd, it is topped with loads of berries so makes up 1 of your 5 a day. Win win right?

Cheesecake is my go to dessert for when I have more than 2 additional dinner guests. It’s easy to make and tastes amazing and will definitely keep everyone satisfied. I only use 4 ingredients… that’s it! Instead of the traditional digestive I usually use a chocolate or caramel variety because they are the ones I prefer to eat.

By using low fat varieties of cream cheese and double cream I can also tell myself that it’s a healthier alternative HAHA.

I was out running one day when I noticed an abundance of blackberries growing on one of my routes. Aside from making me really hungry, it also gave me a lot of ideas.I returned the day after with my brother, niece and nephew in tow and we grabbed them by the handful. With them being in season my blackberries were really sweet so all I needed to add was a table spoon of icing sugar to intensify the flavour. 

As well as making some blackberry jam I decided to create a batch mini tarts. I used a pastry cutter to create the base before adding another ring to support the blackberries and topped with more pastry. Bake for 20 mins and you’re good to go.¬†

If they hang around that long they usually last a couple of days. Serve them warm with a glug of custard of cream for that extra bit of indulgence.We are coming to the end of blackberry season at the moment so get them while you can.

Hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for desserts that feel more sinful than they are and fill your cravings for a sweet eat : )

Simple food for a simple girl

5 basic ingredients

You know how sometimes you’re starving and feel like you have nothing in to cobble together a decent meal? Yeah…well I do it too. So I got to thinking and scrolling back through my food pictures and realised that I have a lot of great recipes that consist of 5 ingredients or less and that is what I want to share with you guys.

I may or may not have mentioned a few times that I LOVE Italy (as you can tell by the shouty caps) and this first dish is completely inspired by my love of the country and it’s food.¬†

The thing I love about Italy is it’s fresh ingredients made the most of. I decided to take that philosophy and use¬†the idea and make potted chicken as a snack when I had friends round. Lovely chunky pieces of chicken, well seasoned and livened up with fresh herbs, what’s not to like?

As this is a terrine style dish, you have to wait for it to chill but in terms of cooking, it’s a 20 minute job max! I poach the chicken breast in stock then shred and add fresh parsley then season with salt and pepper.¬†

When layered up in ramekins with the excess stock reduced then poured over it sets wonderfully. I usually served it on doorstep slices of crusty bread as part of an antipasti starter board.

It works just as well straight out of the fridge but I prefer to pull it out 10 minutes or so before I serve it so it’s just at room temperature.


Every now and then I have carnivorous cravings… all I want is meat, meat and more meat. It was on one such night our picky tea was born. It literally consists of a variety of meaty offerings to be eaten by hand so obviously ribs featured in there.

I always poach my ribs in stock as I fully believe it makes them more tender and the flavour sinks in deep rather than just being in the sauce. I have a range of sauce recipes I like using but when we are talking keeping it simple, 3 ingredients is the winner. Ketchup, chilli & garlic sauce and spiced rum… that’s it!¬†

If you haven’t tried any of the Maggi brand of sauces you need to, if only for this recipe. I use equal quantities of ketchup and the chilli & garlic sauce then and a good splash of rum, the alcohol cooks out when baked but leaves a wonderful underlying flavour making these ribs absolutely immense! It works just as well on wings too.

Ok, so it’s not all savoury, got to throw a couple of sweet treats in there to satisfy my sweet tooth right?¬†

A few weeks ago I made loukoumades with my students and I’ve been dreaming about them ever since. All I’m saying is it’s a good thing we don’t have a deep fryer at home otherwise these delicious balls of goodness would form 80% of my diet.

The recipe itself is very simple, mix flour, baking powder and egg white and greek yoghurt together, allow to rest while your oil comes up to temperature then deep fry until golden brown. Once they have colour on one side these bad boys actually flip themselves over which is pretty cool. 

What makes them extra special though is what you serve on them. My go to choice always and forever will be roasted, salted pistachio nuts and honey. The contrast of salty and sweet works perfectly and adds texture to these greek style donuts. Just to geek it up a little I made a spun sugar basket for them to sit in : )


I’m sat on the bed, post shower listening to the wind as it rains sideways as I’m writing this and all I can think of is whether it’d be wrong of me to make cookies this early in the morning.¬†Who doesn’t love a warm cookie? The idea of being all cosy eating warm cookies with a glass of milk is what makes us always have the ingredients in the cupboard.

I make 2 variations of this cookie, simply because JB doesn’t do peanut butter (weird I know but I’ve forgiven him for it… just). The beauty of this recipe is that you can adapt this recipe in any way you like adding whatever ingredients you’re in the mood for. If it looks a bit dry just add a splash of milk to loosen the consistency.

The must have ingredients for these cookies are plain flour, butter and sugar, after that it’s up to you. Once you’ve weighed out your ingredients just add your chosen flavour.¬†If you do want to use a chocolate bar, use it from the fridge as chopping it into smaller pieces is easier and it melts into the cookie not your hand or board.

I’ve tried everything from lemon to snickers, to mars bar but I keep coming back to these peanut butter and choc chip ones. Perfect consistency and so gooey when they’re cooked.

Hopefully I’ve given you a few ideas about what you can throw together for an easy meal or snack when you only have a few ingredients : )



LOUKOUMADES

INGREDIENTS – makes around 20
185g plain flour
100g low fat greek yoghurt
1 egg white
1 level tsp baking powder

TO SERVE
Runny honey
Salted, roasted pistachio nuts

METHOD
1. In a metal or glass bowl, whisk egg whites until soft peaks form
2. Mix the flour, yoghurt and baking powder together in another bowl until it forms a smooth paste
3. Carefully fold in your egg white a third at a time taking care not to knock the air out
4. Heat your oil until it reaches 180oc
5. Peel and roughly chop your pistachio nuts
6. Carefully spoon your donut mix into the deep fryer or pan until golden brown and cooked throughout
7. Pile on a plate, spoon over the honey and nuts when warm and serve

Enjoy : ) x

Prep 101

A beginner’s guide to meal prep.

Tonnes of people have asked me to meal prep for them and I always laugh it¬†off¬†whilst feeling extremely flattered, but this got me to thinking… what is it about meal prep that scares people? I want to talk you through my process in the hope it can make weekday meals that little bit easier for you as it now is for me : )

First up, I think one of the most important things to decide is what you want to get out of your prep and why you’re doing it. I started prepping because I wanted to improve the way I eat and be fully prepared so I don’t reach for naughty snacks all the time.¬†

With that decided I then choose what I want to eat. This is a process I love as I get to check out what is in season and throw loads of ideas together in my trusty little notebook. Yes I am really the type of girl that makes notes about food (sorry… not sorry).

So… what to eat? For me, this is a really simple question to answer, because I try to track my calories and macros I know what portion of what food types my meals need to be made up of. I’ve upped my protein intake so every meal has a lot of lean protein where possible. Protein helps keep your immune system in great working order as well as helping with muscle growth and repair so it’s an extra added bonus now it’s flu season.

Once I’ve decided what to eat it’s all about the shopping lists, if I don’t write it down there is absolutely zero chance I’ll remember it. I group together my foods by where I’m getting them from so it is easier to read.¬†My first stop is always the butcher, I get locally sourced leaner cuts of meat in all the awkward quantities I ask for HAHA.¬†

One of my favourites is chicken mince or keema as it’s more commonly known at my local. It is such a versatile product, I’ve used it for lasagne, to make burgers and also as meatballs. It holds together really well without having to use anything else to bulk it out.


Lamb saag
Chicken & broccoli stir fry
Chicken wrap & salad
250g lamb pieces
¬Ĺ tin spinach
¬Ĺ tin tomatoes
200ml water
Clove garlic
Inch of ginger
2 tbsp curry powder
¬Ĺ tbsp. mixed herbs
4 bay leaves
Salt
Pepper
400g chicken breast diced
150g broccoli
¬Ĺ pepper
¬Ĺ red onion
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp balsamic
1 tbsp chilli sauce
Salt
Pepper
2 tortilla wraps
1 romaine lettuce heart
200g chicken breast
Cherry tomatoes
Button mushrooms
Cucumber
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp light mayo
1 tsp mixed herbs
Salt
Pepper

Chicken risotto
Meatballs & dhal
Snacks
100g arborio rice
500ml stock
400g chicken breast
1 clove garlic
1/2 onion
¬Ĺ pepper
4 squirts fry light
200g chicken mince
1tsp minced garlic
1 tsp chilli flakes
150g red split lentils
500ml water
1 green pepper
1 onion
1 clove garlic
1tbsp ground cumin
1tbsp madras powder
Salt
Pepper
Low fat Greek yoghurt
Pomegranate
Grapes
¬Ĺ honeydew melon
Mango
Pineapple


Usually I prep all my protein first by seasoning it then popping it in the oven but with it getting so cold on some days, I’ve gone for a selection of one pot style dishes, they are easier to throw together, produce less washing up and I think I’ve also managed to get bags of flavour into them.

One of my favourite Indian dishes is a saag, whether it is with lamb, chicken, beef or king prawn it always goes down a treat. For my one pot saag I start by throwing my aromatics and lamb into a dry pan and turning until there’s some really good colour on the lamb (I like to get some pieces on the bone as I think it adds more flavour). Throw in your remaining ingredients before leaving to simmer for an hour.¬†

If you get your saag on first it really allows all the flavours to combine. Try to resist eating it on day one and the flavours get better. Honestly!

My lentil¬†dhal¬†takes about half an hour if you use red split lentils. I throw all the ingredients into a pan and leave on a low heat. You just need to keep an eye out to make sure your lentils don’t dry out.

As JB can not even begin to comprehend that some meals can be eaten without meat, I pair the dhal with some form of meatball. This time round I used chicken breast mince as it’s lower in saturated fats.¬†

Seasoning it with chilli, herbs and garlic prevents it from being bland. I bake it for 20mins in the oven which makes sure it remains moist.¬†I know they look a tad anaemic but if you leave it in for longer it’ll be dry and taste pants. The spices in the dhal make this a warming dish without it being blow your head off spicy… you can obviously add more chilli if you like.

As per the standard uncertainty of living in The North-west of England, every now and then despite it being autumn we get the odd day of glorious sunshine. This chicken wrap is perfect for days like that. 

I marinate my chicken for 20mins with lemon, salt, pepper and mixed herbs before alternating on a skewer with mushroom and tomato. I bake these for 20mins at 180oc alongside the keema meatballs. Quick, easy on the go lunch… SORTED.

The whole purpose of meal prep is to make life easier for yourself. I have found 3 HUUUGE benefits to it: 

1: By prepping breakfasts and lunches for JB and I on a sunday, it now means there is less food waste as I calculate the exact amount of portions needed. 

2: We also no longer have that 20 minute panic in the morning trying to scramble around in the fridge for leftovers that I can then take to work for lunch. I now have exciting and tasty lunches that aren’t repetitive.

3: We have saved a whole heap of money! Prepping like this, using my shopping list from local producers and butchers costs around £20 a week for all the meat, veg, yoghurt AND fruit that we snack on.

If those weren’t 3 great reasons to give it a try I don’t know what is. Hopefully this makes your weekly food prep a lot easier to deal with.

Happy prepping  : ) x

PORK STIR FRY

INGREDIENTS – serves 2 with rice or noodles

300g pork loin
Fry light
1 inch fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic
1/2 red chilli
1 courgette
150g chestnut mushrooms
1 red pepper 
10 cherry tomatoes
100ml water
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp mirin
Pepper to taste

METHOD
1. Grate your garlic and ginger and coat your pork with it
2. Spray a pan with fry light or use olive oil and fry of your pork mix for 5mins
3. Chop all your veg except the tomatoes into bitesize pieces and throw in with the pork for 5 mins
4. Squeeze your cherry tomatoes until they pop then throw them in (this encourages them to cook down quicker)
5. Add your water, mirin and soy sauce and cook for a further 5 mins without a lid to reduce and thicken the sauce

Enjoy : ) x