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21 August 2014

Adventures in Sprouting.

I love lentil sprouts. They are seriously the best addition to any sandwiche. AND, sprouts are so good for you! When germination starts it triggers a change in the enzymes and when the sprouting starts all the vitamins and minerals within are released so your body can absorb them loads quicker. I always assumed it was difficult to sprout at home and had no idea what you could actually sprout... but last week I did a little reading and decided I should give it a go. And you should definitely do it too!

You will need:
    - The grains, seeds, nuts or beans which you want to sprout
    - A clean jar per grain type
    - Gauze for the top of your jar
    - String or an elastic band to secure your gauze

Firstly, get your jars ready. You can buy one, make one or piece one together (I used old jars, garden string and old clean tights for gauze). Rinse your grains using a sieve for a couple of minutes and take out any split/weird looking bits. Make sure your jars are freshly cleaned and sterilised then add your grains. Remember they are going to swell up whilst they soak and when they start to sprout they will fill up the space quickly. I'd say never fill your jar more than 1/5. (My lentil sprouts seriously took over the entire jar within a couple of days).

Then, fix your gauze in place using string or an elastic band and top up half way with room temperature water. You then need to leave them to soak for a while; I found this super helpful sprouting spectrum chart which tells you how long you need to soak and how long you'll have to wait for them to sprout. I soaked mine for a few hours longer then it suggested, just to make sure.

^^ After the overnight soaking! Pretty swollen ^^

Once they're soaked, empty out the water and rinse a couple of times. Then you'll need to find somewhere to prop them on a 45degree angle and out of direct sunlight. I found that a bread-loaf tin worked perfectly. Every morning and every night give them a full rinse, some people seem to vary on how often to rinse your sprouts; but I thought I'd rather be safe than sorry. Sprouting can harbour bad bacteria so be super careful. Repeat the rinsing until your sprouts are big and ready!


What I learnt: For my first attempt I used green lentil and mung beans. The lentils started within a day or two of soaking. I filled my jar about 1/8th with lentils and it still completely filled the jar by the time they sprouted. I ended up with a HUGE bowl of them! Way too many actually... I made a lot of sandwiches!! The mung beans didn't swell anywhere near as much compared to the lentils, they also took an extra day to sprout compared with the green lentils but took up no where near as much space. They're good cooked; in stir-fries, duh!


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19 August 2014

One-Pot Pasta

One-Pot anything is always a winner in my book. As much as we both love to cook fresh meals there are always those days when I come home from work and just do not want to cook anything. Those are the days when we'll end up with a take-away or something really dull, like beans on toast. I was pretty apprehensive on the whole 'one pot pasta' thing, boiled anything isn't really all that appealing to me... but through pure hope for a simple tasty meal I gave it a go. And I am SO glad I did. 


I used:
      - Spaghetti for two
      - 1 cup of halved plum tomatoes 
      - 1 thinly sliced medium onion
      - 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
      - 1 1/2 cups of passata
      - 2 teaspoons of dried oregano (or fresh!)
      - 1 teaspoon of seasalt, ground black pepper & 1 of red wine vinegar
      - Enough boiling water to cover everything
      - Splash of olive oil.

It is so simple! Throw everything into a big pot, no order needed. Make sure you ingredients are covered with liquid and bring it to the boil. If your spaghetti is too big for the pot add one cup of water first, bring to the boil and push it down as it softens, then you can add more water if needed to cover everything up. Give the whole thing a stir, lower the heat right down and put the pot lid on. Check every couple of minutes, keep an eye on the level of liquid (If you are running low on sauce and still have hard pasta add a little more water.) and stir. This is a good point to taste test your sauce, if you need more seasoning or more passata add it here; I added some chilli flakes at this point too! When there is a only a little liquid left and your pasta is almost cooked, take off the lid and stir more frequently until you have a much thicker sauce. Then its done! It should only take around 10minutes all in all, and you'll have a delicious pasta and super thick sauce ready for you you to serve up. Enjoy! 

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13 August 2014

Beacons.

Last weekend Dixon and me packed up and headed for the hills of Skipton, and Beacons festival. I've been to a couple of festivals before, but I've never actually camped at one! I was unbelievable excited to camp. Even if we were expected to get the tail end of Hurricane Bertha at some point during the weekend and I didn't really know how to pack for that. As far as festivals go, it was pretty chilled out for us! Being able to get a coffee on the morning from my favourite espresso bar, lunch from my favourite Indian street Kitchen and a beer from my favourite local brewery was unbelievable. Pretty much every band I wanted to see was on the Sunday, which kind of sucked because that was the day we needed to leave and the day the storm came... It got extremely wet and my wellies were definitely not water-tight. Thankfully, most of the stages were under-roof! Hopefully we'll be going back next year and the weather will be a little better. I can't wait to explore the hills around the festival site and spend more time in Skipton (that place is beautiful!).

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