If you don’t like the F word maybe don’t read on.

See, the Thug Kitchen book is like nothing I’ve read before. Vegan recipe with bite might be the best description.

Thug Kitchen recipe book

Blurb

Thug Kitchen started their wildly popular website to inspire people to eat some Goddamn vegetables and adopt a healthier lifestyle. Beloved by Gwyneth Paltrow (‘This might be my favorite thing ever’) and with half a million Facebook fans and counting, Thug Kitchen wants to show everyone how to take charge of their plates and cook up some real f*cking food.

Yeah, plenty of blogs and cookbooks preach about how to eat more kale, why ginger fights inflammation, and how to cook with microgreens and nettles. But they are dull or pretentious as hell -and most people can’t afford the hype.

Thug Kitchen lives in the real world. In their first cookbook, they’re throwing down more than 100 recipes for their best-loved meals, snacks and sides for beginning cooks to home chefs. (Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos? Pumpkin Chili? Grilled Peach Salsa? Believe that sh*t.) Plus they’re going to arm you with all the info and techniques you need to shop on a budget and go and kick a bunch of ass on your own.

This book is an invitation to everyone who wants to do better to elevate their kitchen game. No more ketchup and pizza counting as vegetables. No more avoiding the produce corner of the supermarket. Sh*t is about to get real.

My Review

This book really took me by surprise. The extreme profanity is woven throughout out the book. It’s a big concept  and it’s a lot of fun. It’s definitely found a niche in the market. Yes it might turn some people off, but I liked the contrast because this is a vegan cookbook. I think veganism has a bad rep for being a little, nice? But this takes it to another level. Love it.

The recipes are split into six sections, each with an equally rude name. But basically, we have breakfasts, lunches (salads and sandwiches,) stews, munchies (salsa, snacks) mains, and motherfucking desserts. Yes, it’s actually called that. The recipes are fantastic. Favourites include baked spanish rice, pozole rojo, and creamy ravioli with house marinara.

They are in American cup sizes which can be confusing but a quick google will help.

I love the bowl recipes. The idea is you pick a grain or starch, then add vegetables, a protein, and a sauce or dressing. The book then lists combos from the book, from different sections to help you out (with helpful page numbers and whether it’s a veggie, protein etc.) It’s a wonderful way of making the book more versatile. Yes you could make quick pickled vegetables and serve it with your own recipe, or helpfully you could mix it with sweet citrus baked tofu and make a bowl. The book becomes a lot more personal.

The book doesn’t just do recipes it also breaks down different ways of cooking an ingredient. Tofu is something T and I have struggled to cook at times. The book has two pages that give different marinades, and different ways of baking the tofu. It’s really helpful. There’s also a page on how to make a vegetable broth which is used in numerous recipes. Which again was V helpful .

Additionally any confusing ingredients have a *, (****) depending on how many confusing ingredients there are. It might link to another recipe or explain other ingredients you could use. It’s brilliant. So instead of teaspoon oil you could use coconut/grape seed/olive oil. Wonderful.

Final Thoughts

It’s a bloody brilliant book. If you’re vegan definitely buy it. If you want to try cut out a little meat definitely buy it. It’s a wonderful book for mixing up what you make in the kitchen!

Thug Kitchen recipe book

Thug Kitchen recipe book

 

 

 

I read somewhere that you should have one signature dish that you can always whip up.

Writing this I think Hannah Gale wrote in one of her very fab blog posts. The idea being that on a Saturday at midnight, when you’ve missed the last train home, you can still make this recipe. You can perfectly create it every damn time. You don’t need to weigh out 59603059220 different ingredients. You’ve made it so many times it’s inscribed on the cookery book you keep inside your noggin.

For me that did is homemade pizza. It started last year when I oddly had all the ingredients in the cupboard. I then lived off homemade pizza for six months. (Almost.) T and I recently celebrated two years together and I suggested making pizza. T pulled a face thinking it would take 98 hours. But, I whipped it up in half hour or so. So I’m sharing how you can do the same.

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

Put in your trolley (For the dough.)

200g strong white flour

50ml of lukewarm water (Give or take.)

1tbsp of olive oil

For Toppings

Tomato and basil passata

Sweetcorn

Deli Chicken (We used chicken tikka, T had quorn.)

An egg

Mozzerella

Anything else you fancy topping your masterpiece with.

You may have noticed there is not yeast in this recipe. I like very, very thin and crispy pizza bases so I don’t wait for the dough to rise. I’ve done it before and (with yeast and proving,) and found it unsuccessful. (If you were wondering.)

Step One

Measure out the flour into a bowl, spoon in the oil. Make a well in the middle and pour in the water bit by bit. I add very little amounts at a time – you don’t want it too sticky. Stir with a spoon until it comes together and then use your hands.

Step Two

Put the oven on to pre-heat at 200C.

Take the dough from the bowl and knead. Youtube helps if you’re struggling with the motion. Knead until it resembles mashed potato. Then roll out using a rolling pin. (Or a bottle of tomato sauce.) It will spring back, so keep rolling until it’s circular(ish) and the thickness of a pound coin. Liberally sprinkle a baking tray with flour and place the dough on-top.

Step Three

Top with the passata (quite a lot) and then add your toppings (minus the egg.) We added a mixture of the toppings featured but just use your favourites. Mushrooms, olives, artichoke – whatever you fancy. Pop in the oven and cook for 7 minutes.

Step Four

Once the base is cooked – give it a prod, crack the egg on top and then whip back in the oven. T likes his quite cooked so he put his on a couple of minutes earlier. Once egg is cooked take out, slice and devour.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

Depending on how many toppings you use this comes to between 450 – 500 calories which is higher than a lot of the recipes I’ve been posting. But compared to ordering a large dominos you’re onto a winner. It’s a brilliant way to treat yourself without ruining your healthy eating mission.

Recommended Reading

I’m not going to suggest reading for this one. Pop on Project Runway with a glass of diet coke and while the evening away. Perfection.

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

The Ultimate Homemade Pizza Recipe (from scratch.)

I’ve been reading a lot of books recently and a couple have really stood out. Like this one.

Want to give a quick shout-out to Pigeonhole. I tried to download the book after it had finished it’s serialisation.  But the app was letting me download it but it never appeared in my bookshelf. I shouldn’t have been able to get hold of it, but Pigeonhole let me because they are wonderful. This is what I thought of Lies by T.M Logan.

Blurb

 When Joe Lynch stumbles across his wife driving into a hotel car park while she’s supposed to be at work, he’s intrigued enough to follow her in.

And when he witnesses her in an angry altercation with family friend Ben, he knows he ought to intervene.

But just as the confrontation between the two men turns violent, and Ben is knocked unconscious, Joe’s young son has an asthma attack – and Joe must flee in order to help him.

When he returns, desperate to make sure Ben is OK, Joe is horrified to find that Ben has disappeared.

And that’s when Joe receives the first message . . .

My Review

Sometimes, secrets are best kept that way.

T M Logan’s debut novel ‘Lies revolves around the decisive moment where everything changes, when you find out something you didn’t want to know. The YES or NO choice that seems harmless but causes your life to dissolve into hell. Well maybe.

Joe Lynch is pretty normal. He has a lovely wife and an adorable son, and a normal job as a teacher. He spends his days pottering around doing all-together adult things. Until one day his son spots his mum’s car, somewhere where it shouldn’t really be. Following his wife Mel he finds her with their friend Ben at a hotel. From this moment everything begins to collapse. It looks like Joe is going to be arrested on suspicion of murder and he quickly realises he doesn’t know his wife, Mel, at all.

Character wise I loved Joe. Yes, he’s very naive, yes it takes him a long time to catch on but that’s why he’s so great. The trial by social media that he is forced to withstand is excruciating. Ben, (as described in the blurb,) dissapears but not for long. He taunts Joe, leading him deeper into the hell hole that’s been created. I wanted Joe to succeed, especially as he gets more and more desperate.

The writing is exceptional. It’s not gritty, but it is very engaging and clean writing with bite. The demise of Joe is wonderfully done. I felt like throwing the book on the floor a number of times. It’s not often that a book manages to make me desperate to read and piss me off at the same time. The writing is very cat and mouse, back and forth.

Final Thoughts

Overall, a super good read. I would say the ending was a brilliant twist but a little over the top. Saying that I didn’t guess it at all and was very, very shocked. If you love a thriller definitely get a copy. Thumbs up.

If you haven’t got a spiralizer you need to.

Maybe need is too strong.

I would recommend it.

They’ve been around a little while now so you can pick them up for pennies from Amazon and the like. I’ve been experimenting the past few weeks with different recipes and vegetables. I’m currently on a toning up mission and one of the big wobbles has been a reliance on carbs. Carbs are good for you, there’s no doubt about it. But, I was VERY reliant. Breakfast, lunch and all my snacks, and it was making losing weight tougher. Cutting pasta from evening meals and replacing with carrot spaghetti has been, eye opening. Here’s one of my favourites from the past month.

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

Put in your trolley

Serves two people

200g of carrot peeled and spiralised. (Use a potato peeler if you don’t have one.)

50g of red onion

140g of sweetcorn

200g of bacon (I used Campbell’s from my box that I’m still getting through.)

120g of chopped tomatoes

20g of feta cheese

1 heaped tbsp of jerk seasoning

You might have noticed that a lot of recipes contain the same types of ingredients. It’s because everything I make is something I eat regularly which means a lot of the recipes rely on the same types of things. Hope this is cool with you all.

Step One 

Chop up the bacon into small bits and fry with the onion until caramalised around the edges. If you wanted you could save a couple of bits to really crisp up and sprinkle on the top. I don’t actually like crispy bacon (sorry) but you could. Chuck in the sweetcorn and jerk seasoning and cook for a minute

 

Step Two

Spiralize the carrots and add to the pan. Cook for a good 5 minutes. Carrots are a lot tougher than courgette which takes about 2 seconds to cook. You don’t want the carrot to be tough. Slop the chopped tomatoes into the pan and let bubble for a good couple of minutes. You want this to thicken nicely and coat everything.

Step Three

Once everything has come together and it’s bubbling nicely put into a lovely looking bowl and sprinkle with the feta to add contrast. Add some cracked black pepper and you’re good to go. So, DEMOLISH.

Numbers (if you’re bothered.)

This is super low cal, but really filling because of the carrots and sweetcorn mix. It comes to around 370 cals depending how much feta you add. Really great for a lighter evening meal which I tend to prefer before bed. Breakfast like a king and all that.

Recommended Reading

I recommend reading The Graces by Laure Eve. The cover is sublime and the blurb sounds fabby.  

Everyone said the Graces were witches.

They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.

They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.

All I had to do was show them that person was me.

Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

Carrot Tomato Spaghetti

Medium has become a big part of my life. (Reading wise.)

It’s the website I check in most too each morning. There’s always something to get stuck into. Always something to read. I wrote a post when I had just started exploring the mammoth of writing there is on Medium. I’m a little more tuned into Medium now and I’ve been scouting about for the BEST reads. Here are 5 more I certainly recommend.

Vomit, bleeding nipples, and hallucinations on a 150-mile running race

I LOVE READING ABOUT RUNNING.

Over the last 12 months I’ve convinced myself there’s 3 extreme walks/runs I need to do. This may or not have been inspired by the film Wild. (Sorry not sorry.) This article is all about running the Spartathlon as part of the grand tradition and fascination with classical Greece. It’s a stunningly written article that I loved reading. It also makes me mad my knees fail to work (most of the time.)

A statistical analysis of the art on convicts’ bodies

Tattoo’s are another thing I’m fascinated by. I’ve wanted one since I was sixteen, but never had the conviction to pick one. I know I only want one, so I’ve got to make it the right decision. (ONE DAY.)

This article delves into the data of prisoners with/without tattoos and how that correlates to the crime committed. It’s a really analytical but interesting look into how tattoos affect and influence certain crimes. It also discusses tattoo removal, and whether criminals are likely to re-offend based on their tattoos, but with real figures. It is a long article, but make a cuppa and read all the way through.

What Running My First Triathlon Taught Me About Life

11 unexpectedly meaningful life lessons from an impulsive decision.

I was just going to say read anything by @tre but this one might have been my favourite. (Slowly followed by his essay on fasting.) Tre’s writing is beautifully detailed and exploratory of how his first Triathlon taught him a hella lot of things. The writing is fun and full of humour but it taught me a lot. Tre assigns each of the things he’s learnt into a way you can improve/learn from him:

4. Action informs theory.
Whenever we are in the process of starting something new, it’s dangerously easy to get caught up in the research, tools, techniques and methods,
“This meditation thing looks cool. Let me just download 23 apps and read these 5 books and 9 articles first.” 3 days later… “Fuck. It’s too much.” *Rage results to Netflix and Ben & Jerry’s (peanut butter cups btw)*
Tre looks into ways that you can put his understanding into practice:
Takeaway:
We need to cultivate a default bias towards action, because everything else in the process serves as a multiplier of the effect of taking action.
From trying out new things, you gain a whole new layer of contextual knowledge, which you can then combine with the theoretical knowledge to build an informed perspective and approach towards the activity at hand.

There are 11 lessons to learn, read them all.

“No-Spend November”: A Social Experiment

This essay follows Sophia as she attempts to maintain a social calendar without spending money on anything that she didn’t want. Struggling with consensus that you have to spend money to hang out with people Sophia puts her foot down. I hate spending unnecessary money too; during the Winter if you want to sit with a friend why do you need to buy a coffee? WHERE DO PEOPLE GO. Sophia details her experiment beautifully. All her writing is stunning to boot.

The Cost of Putting Down My Cat

Just read this. (Makes cry faces.)

There you have it 5 more articles I know you should read from Medium.

Have you read anything reaaaally good online recently?