Tried and tested online recipes using store cupboard essentials

One thing I have learnt during this pandemic is that I was a secret stockpiler before it was cool. I've been quite pleasantly surprised and a little shocked at how much I have squirrelled away in my cupboards. My store cupboard may look a little different to yours as I have a habit of always picking up random ingredients. But hopefully you might have some of the same ingredients and will be able to give these a go. One thing I have been enjoying recently is being a bit more creative in the kitchen as I usually only get the chance over the weekends. Here is a round up of some recipes I have sampled and ones I'm definitely adding to my regular rotation. I have made a note of things you can sub or what I have used instead.


Mushroom and lentil pearl barley risotto from Jack Monroe
If you're looking to cook on a budget or you have lots of random tins to be used up then you need to head to Jack's blog pronto. I love how inventive the recipes are and really think outside the box. I have no idea where the bag of pearl barley came from but I'm not complaining! Tinned lentils are a great lifesaver. They're already soaked and cooked so are really easy to chuck into vegetarian dishes. Add them to salads, use the instead of mince in a lasagne or pop them in a rice dish to bulk it out a bit. I used frozen spinach as my greenery option and it turned out great. Scattered with a generous helping of parmesan cheese, we really enjoyed this for lunches throughout the week. I can imagine myself making it again during this lockdown!


Seeded wholemeal soda bread from BBC Food
Soda bread is a great option if you're struggling to source yeast from the supermarket. It's best eaten on the day of baking with a generous slab of butter. I used all pumpkin seeds because that was what I had in the cupboard and it came out delicious! This is a great option if you need a quick bread as it's so simple to make. There is no need to wait for it to prove, you stick it straight into the oven once it has been tied. Try not to make the dough too flat as it doesn't rise much.


Brown butter rum banana bread by Milli Taylor
If you haven't seen Milli's BBBB doing the rounds on Instagram then you must be living under a rock. You can find the recipe in her highlights on her Instagram page. I didn't have any rum as it's not something I drink but I found a non-alcoholic version which I had been gifted in a Holland & Barrett goodie bag. Milli suggests using tea as a substitute to soak the fruit. Once again I had to make a few substitutions as times are strange. I used currants as my fruit and dark brown sugar. The substitutions worked perfectly and it is the best banana cake recipe I've tried. I absolutely loved it! I have plans to make it over the weekend again.


Pizza dough from BBC Good Food
Pizza is my all-time favourite food. I would eat it for breakfast, lunch and dinner if I had the choice. But for some reason I'd never attempted my own dough. I always felt a bit intimidated but decided lockdown was as good a reason as any to pop my cherry. This recipe asks you to grill it outside but I whacked my oven up to the highest temperature. I let it warm up for 30 minutes and then cooked each pizza for 15 minutes. I managed to get four pizzas from this recipe. I'd love to try lots of different toppings and not be restricted by my lockdown fridge. So many ideas!


Chocolate and oat cookies from Thida Bevington
Yet another recipe I had seen popping up all over my Instagram feed. I finally had some time to try it out! The recipe can be found in Thida's highlights on her grid. I dropped off a few care packages on friend's doorsteps and they said these were the best cookies I've made. I loved them and can't wait to experiment with different flavoured chocolate. I have some Reeces Pieces chocolate chips in the cupboard which I think will work perfectly.


Grilled potato salad from Bon Appetit magazine
I am obsessed with Bon Appetit's Test Kitchen on Youtube as well as the website. I tend to stick to their savoury recipes as working in cups whilst baking is not the one for me. It seems to be a reoccurrence in my kitchen where I keep finding random pieces of veg to use up before it goes completely bad. I came across this recipe when I was looking for an idea for potatoes to have with some pork kebabs I had found in the freezer left over from a BBQ last summer! It had a great Asian vibe going on thanks to the rice wine and fish sauce. It made a lovely change from the traditional potato salad I make with mayo and vinegar. I used a white onion instead of a red, scattered a standard red chilli over it and vetoed the fresh basil as I didn''t have any.
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Exploring Europe: Bunker Del Carmel, Barcelona


Last weekend I went to Barcelona for a girls trip and wanted to do something that was new for all of us. Enter the civil war anti-aircraft bunkers aka Bunker Del Carmel. Located at the very top of Gaudi's Parc Guell, the bunkers are now pretty derelict and covered in graffiti. But you aren't visiting to see the bunkers, the reason everyone makes the trek is for the stunning vantage point at the top. You can literally see the whole of the city! Be sure to do a loop as you won't want to miss any of the views.

Make sure you wear some sensible shoes because the trek is pretty full on. Our Fitbit registered we walked up 42 flights of stairs. Flip flops just won't do! You can get a bus most of the way which leaves you with only a ten minute walk to endure. We got the bus from Sagrada Familla to the entrance of Park Guell and did the walk from there. Although at times it seems back-breaking, I'm really glad we did it as it was lovely to walk through the park. I'd recommend downloading the FREE NOW taxi app as Uber doesn't work. You can wait for a bus to take you back to the city centre but we opted for a taxi because it was pretty dark and we couldn't be bothered to navigate the public transport. Taxis are in short supply in the area which is why the app comes in handy.




We raided the supermarket before to put together a picnic and treated ourselves to a couple of bottles of cava to enjoy when we got to the top. We arrived around 5pm for the sunset which was happening around 6.30pm. It was pretty busy with people who had the same idea as us - lots of people were tucking into snacks and beer! We found a spot to lay down a blanket and set about making ourselves comfortable. It is pretty dusty up there so I'd recommend brining something to sit on. Don't forget to bring a bag to keep your rubbish in one place. Don't leave anything behind!

Sadly it was a cloudy day so the sunset wasn't the best but it was 100% worth it. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be if the clouds had played ball! We ended up sitting around chatting for over three hours until it got completely dark. It was such a lovely way to finish our trip and talk about everything we had done. It was still pretty busy by the time we left but I'd keep your wits about you as soon as it gets dark because it isn't very well lit.

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Five of my favourite food documentaries on Netflix


I am obsessed with making food, watching food and thinking about food. In short, I am always thinking about my stomach. I'm really interested to hear the about different cultures and thought process about food. I love how it has the ability to evoke certain emotions and bring people together. My favourite type of documentaries are the ones which pair food and travel together. Two of my ultimate passions! Netflix has some great food documentaries if you're on my wavelength. Here are five of my favourites on Netflix.

1. Ugly Delicious
Consisting of eight different episodes, Ugly Delicious focuses on iconic dishes sties into American culture. Presented by restauranteur David Chang, the show dives into the history of each food which defines the United States. You have pizza, fried chicken, Shrimp, tacos, home cooking, BBQ, fried rice and anything stuffed. It takes a step back into time and analyses the different waves of immigration over the years, detailing how it shaped existing dishes and what extras they bought to Americas with them. It absolutely fascinates me how closely food is tied to politics and this delves straight into it! Make sure you watch his second documentary series called Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner too.

2.  Street Food
If this show doesn't make you want to jump on a plane straight out of the UK then I am afraid there just might be something wrong with you... Since coming back from Malaysia last Feb I have become obsessed with street food and feel extremely sad it's not really much of a thing in Europe. Trying the different types of street food was the highlight of our trip to Malaysia. This series visit nine different cities all over Asia and focuses on one particular stall who is unbelievable at the dish they make. It informs you of the origin of their story and all their trials and tribulations. I love how it offers you an insight into the culture and history of each city, explaining why food is so important.

3. Salt Fat Acid Heat
This cooking documentary series is hosted by chef and food writer Samin Nosrat. Samin learnt her trade at Californian restaurant Chez Panisse before branching out and working in Italy before writing her own cookbook Salt Fat Acid Heat. Consisting of four different episodes, each named after one of the most important principles of cooking which help make it taste delicious. She goes to Italy to see how they work with olive oil and create the most delicious looking focaccia. Mexico is also on her list of places to visit as she learns about how they work with acid in their dishes. One episode takes her back to her roots as she heads to Chez Panisse. My favourite episode was when she headed to Japan to see how they cooked with miso which is now one of my favourite ingredients.


4. Rotten
Now two series in, Rotten focuses on the problems on supplying food. It looks at popular and on-trend food and investigates on how the popularity is affecting the world around us in terms of corruption, fraud and consequences. Each episode focuses one on type of food and interviews people who work in the trade, manufacturers and distributors. It really does make you think about the food you're consuming and encourages you to make better choices.

5. Chef's Table
If eating out is one of your passions then you will love this programme. Each episode does a profile on some of the most renowned chefs in the world. There are six series so lots of get stuck into, making it perfect for a lazy weekend at home. I loved hearing about what inspired their culinary journey and where their influences came from. My list of restaurants to try has grown even longer since watching their programme!
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A Essex based lifestyle blogger who lives a champagne life on a lemonade purse!

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