Wild Beer Company

Wild Beer Company

Had a chance to pop back to Wild Beer at Wapping Wharf this week for Mr FFFs bday! With the sun shining and prime seats in the deckchairs the kids seemed pretty happy (win no. 1!) and we settled into a 'running with sceptres' larger from Bristols Lost and Grounded Brewers:Very nice too.

Whilst the kids happily tucked into their fish and chips, we anticipated the fish platter feast: Calamari, fish tempura and fish in panko crumbs, smoked salmon, samphire and prawns to name a few. We just about finished it all and it was thoroughly enjoyed! So if you find yourselves harbour side this summer and fancy an excellent variety of draft beers (and gin and wine too!) and some delicious food, I would recommend a stop off at Wild Beer! Let me know what you think! Lisa

Risotto style rice and peas with salmon

Risotto style rice with peas and salmon

If food made with love tastes better, then surely a world filled with love would be more palatable too. In times when there are such displays of hate, it feels even more important to hold love in our hearts on a daily basis so that this echoes out to the world and we all resonate with the vibration of love.

Last weekend saw the One Love concert for those taken in Manchester and artists talked of healing the world with love. This has been long spoken of by pop legends like Micheal Jackson and The Beatles back in the day saying 'Love is all you need'. This is by no means a new concept, but one we still seem to struggle with.

As with everything it starts with ourselves. Do we love ourselves? Do we take the time and care to give ourselves what we need. Do we even create a space to hear our hearts desires? It's so easy in modern day society to do what we feel we 'should' do, or to conform to the norm and do what everyone else is doing, even if deep down we may feel we are destined for something else.

Day after day we embroil ourselves in things outside of ourselves like social media, 24/7 news, our businesses and our children. But what if we listen to our own hearts? We've all been in that situation when we have said yes to something we didn't want to do, which is saying no to ourselves. It doesn't feel right. It's not hearing what we need. Our hearts can give us the answers. When we listen and love ourselves we are in a far better position to be able to love and support others. Just imagine a world where everyone did this.

Food in Italy is often talked about being a 'labour of love'. Italian Nonnas who rule their kitchens with a rolling pin and a will of steel, who would spend all day preparing the meal for the family. Now as much as this is in my DNA and I love spending time cooking in my kitchen, I appreciate that this is not the act of love that most people choose or are able to display. But this aside most people get huge amounts of joy and pleasure by eating delicious food.

Risotto for me is one of those dishes. BC (before children!) it was easy to stand and stir a risotto until the rice grain reached a perfect balance of al dente without being chalky! But today the likelihood of being needed to referee a boxing match or a tablet tug of war means I need to be less tied to the stove. So I was really pleased that this recipe fits the fuss-free criteria with the labour of love results!!

So as my Italian ancestors turn in their graves, I wanted to share with you this awesome weeknight dinner, that needs just an occasional stir. To make it more filling I added a piece of salmon and if you wanted to make it more filling for a vegetarian, you could add some grilled asparagus on the top and use a Parmesan alternative.**

Let me know in the comments below or on Facebook your tweaks....you could easily use this fuss-free base for your favourite risotto recipe. So please remember to give a little like, share or comment to keep the FFF in your feed and spread the fuss-free love!

Risotto style rice with peas and salmon

Serves 3-4

  • 75-100g onion, diced
  • 40g butter
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 200g risotto rice (arborio is less likely to overcook!)
  • 50g Parmesan, grated (or vegetarian alternative)
  • 400g frozen peas (or fresh if you prefer!!)
  • 1L vegetable, chicken  or ham stock, hot
  • Salt and pepper

Optional Extras: 100g of salmon or chicken breast, a bundle of asparagus, a handful of rocket

  1. On a medium heat, add 1/2 the butter and olive oil to a large saucepan. Once melted add the onion and saute gently for 5-8 minutes until it is translucent.
  2. Add the rice and coat in the oil and butter, then add 3/4 of the stock and peas and bring to the boil and simmer with the lid on, giving a stir every 5 minutes or so.
  3. After 20 minutes check the consistency.  The rice should be cooked.  If the rice is too dry add a little more stock, I like it a little runny so it falls off the spoon, rather than holding its shape like porridge.
  4. Take off the heat, add the remaining butter and Parmesan (or Parmesan alternative), season with black pepper and a little salt (the Parmesan can be salty!). Stir and serve.
  5. Ladle onto a plate, if you are adding rocket, place a pile on top of the rice, and add salmon or asparagus.

** Vegetarian Parmesan alternatives as recommended by the vegetarian society include Bookhams Vegi Pasta Cheese, Vegusto No Moo Piquant and Brazzales Gran Moravia.

Got a favourite recipe you're going to try with this new method.....share your thoughts on the blog or on the FB page or FFF community! Lisa

Haddock with Asparagus, Jersey Royals and Salmoriglio

Haddock with asparagus, Jersey royals and salmoriglio

This time of year feels like I'm riding the crest of a wave. Spring has sprung, daylight is plentiful and we are awash with bank holidays! The cherry blossom is in full bloom, the washing dries on the line and you can get the kids out the house! Apart from the odd hail storm life is good.

It makes me feel that summer is around the corner, as I wave off the comfort food and red wine in front of the fire and welcome in lighter seasonal delights and beer o' clock on the patio! But as the winter layers are peeled back, what is there for the world to see?

I did it myself last week. A day before we went on holiday I had a panic that a pair of trousers felt tight when they were fine a few weeks ago. Had my 5 months of blogging and being chilled about getting to the gym and eating what I pleased finally hit?!

This resonated last night as I watched a screening of Embrace, a docufilm by Taryn Brumfitt, mum of 3, about her journey after she posts a reverse before/after photo on Facebook and the response goes viral. It documents how women feel living in a world of 'perfect' model images and how judgments based on age, size and perceptions of what is 'normal', is a daily struggle for some. How healthy is it to feel the need to change ourselves, to obsess about what we allow ourselves to eat (or not eat) and what impact is it having on our mental health to fit this 'ideal'?

I still remember in my 20s, when I noticed my first eye wrinkle on holiday in Tenerife and the fear I felt in the pit of my stomach every time I checked the mirror, that it was still there. I remember the conflict inside of me when an ex-boyfriend used to say, if we ever had kids and I was 'fat' afterwards he'd leave me, knowing that this was unfair and unrealistic to expect this. As little as 6 months ago, if I hadn't flogged myself at the gym 3 times that week I would feel guilty. All these beliefs, whether owned or projected, alter our perceptions of what we can or can't do, eat, be and takes up valuable headspace.

When I dropped the intensity to control my body about the same time as I started this blog I started doing yoga again instead. And you know what? I'm not the size of a house today. Yes, my fitness dropped, but moreover, I felt happy and quite liberated from myself! I have more space in my head for creativity and by having that quiet time, I leave with many answers to questions I was unsure of an hour earlier! With acceptance comes peace and the chance for a new mindset to appear in its place.

As the summer does approach, I have realised that I do want to get back to the gym, but not because I feel I have to or have eaten a packet of biscuits! I'm exercising because I want to get strong and fit again and not as a trade-off. For me, this feels like a healthier attitude. As Jim Rohn says, "Take care of your body. It's the only place you have to live!"

Having just spent a week in Cornwall, our intake of fish and seafood has peaked, and being at the beginning of the asparagus season and tasting super fresh Cornish new potatoes has inspired this dish. The sauce is a new find for me, and I have adapted this traditional Sicilian sauce to be fuss-free and have a slight twist! Remember to pin, post or tweet this page with the buttons below the recipe so you can find it later! Enjoy!! Lisa x

Haddock with asparagus, Jersey royals and salmoriglio

Serves 2
Prep. 15 mins. Cook 15 mins.

Two 180g-220g portions of responsibly sourced haddock, pollock or firm white fish (My piece was the former and perfect)
250g asparagus, woody ends removed and trimmed
Jersey royals washed and cut in half if large
Butter
Olive oil
Salt and pepper

1. In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, add the Jersey Royals and cook for 10-15.
2. Halfway through the cooking process place a steam basket on top of the potatoes and steam the asparagus for 5-7 until it is tender and has a slight bite still. This will depend on how thick the asparagus is.
3. On a medium heat, add a knob of butter to a frying pan with a tsp of olive oil to stop the butter burning. When melted place the seasoned fish, skin side down into the pan. Cook for 6-7 minutes, then turn over (and the heat down) and cook for 1-2 minutes on the other side and remove from the pan.

Salmoriglio

6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp hot water
Juice 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
2 tbsp fresh oregano, roughly chopped or 1 tsp dried oregano
6 tbsp fresh parsley, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 small gherkins, finely diced
Salt and pepper

1. Place the herbs and garlic in a pestle and mortar and pound for a few minutes so that it starts to break down. Add a couple of pinches of salt and a squeeze of lemon and continue pounding until the mixture is smooth. Put into a bowl.
2. Add the rest of the lemon juice and hot water, then whilst whisking, add the olive oil to emulsify.
3. Add the gherkins, season with a small pinch salt and pepper. If the garlic is quite a strong taste add a bit more lemon.
4. If you do not have a pestle and mortar, chop the herbs and garlic as fine as you can on a chopping board.
5. This sauce will work really well with any firm white fish, swordfish or skate wings. Simple and fuss free!! The Jersey Royal and asparagus season is quite short, so make the most of it whilst it's here, but once the season is over you could continue to enjoy this dish with new potatoes and green beans, or wilted chard or spinach.

Remember to keep the fuss-free foodie in your feed give a little like, share or comment. If you want to see more of what I get up to in the week running up to the blog you can follow me on Instagram or on the Fuss Free Foodie page on Facebook or what I'm tweeting on Twitter. Lisa

 

Hake parcel with Tapenade

Hake parcel with tomatoes and tapanade

If life throws you lemons, ask for the tequila and salt. Wise words shared by a guest on our wedding day. And let's face it....none of us are going to go through life without avoiding tough times.

I feel this very strongly at the moment, through my younger cousin who's in her 20s. I imagine she would rather be in Mexico drinking tequila right now. Instead, she is awaiting a second round of chemotherapy having discovered she had cervical cancer 6 months ago.

There are 15 years between us and we grew up in separate parts of the Midlands, so apart from major family events, we've not ever really had a relationship. I can remember when she was born and her christening (how old do I feel!) but she has blossomed into the most stunning girl. Beautiful. A heart so full of love and a smile that is so pure, which her mother and grandmother would be proud of.

When events like this occur, or you are touched by such an event, it can't help but change the course of your life and how you approach day to day living. In adversity, whether big or small, sometimes it's hard to see what gifts the situation brings. But sometimes a new view on the world can bring about new opportunities, ones that may not have been contemplated or seen before.

Friends who suddenly lost a close friend at Christmas are now moving to Australia next week after a job arose and made them seize a relocation opportunity, which may have passed them by otherwise. Day to day something as small as a forgotten purse at the supermarket meaning an unscheduled journey home resulting in listening to a song on the radio that wouldn't have been heard may bring some insight or much needed joy. We are presented daily with these gifts and it is up to us whether we see it or how we respond.

I am thankful that my cousin and I have met at one of life's junctions as our lives have shifted for different reasons, at a similar time. I feel grateful to walk the journey alongside her, and for her allowing me to share in this part of her life. I am sure for us both it will abundant in gifts and insights to remember that life is to be lived. Big or small if we live in the present, life really is a gift.


Oven Roasted Hake parcel with Tomatoes and Tapenade

Serves 2

2 hake fillets (170g each)
8 semi dried tomatoes (mi cuit or sun blush)
2 tbsp of fresh herbs (basil or parsley)
Small pot of tapenade (or follow recipe below)
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees c.
1. Prepare 2 x 15cm square piece of tin foil and 2 x 15cm square of parchment paper.
2. Place the foil square on top of the parchment square. Place 4 tomatoes on the top half of the square, place the herbs on top and then the piece of hake. 3. Season both sides of the hake with salt and pepper.
4. Fold the side of the parchment/foil up to meet the other side to make a rectangle shape. Then starting at one of the width sides, start folding the paper over itself at one inch intervals, as though you were crimping a Cornish pasty to make a tight seal. Go all the way around till you get to the other side, and then bang it with a rolling pin, to ensure the seal.
5. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.

FUSS FREE ALTERNATIVE...
Feel free to try with Salmon or another white fish like Pollock or cod
Get the best quality fish you can afford. I use a fishmonger or Waitrose, but I noticed you can get 2 hake fillets at Aldi, for the price of 1 at Waitrose

Hasselback Potatoes

Serves 2

6-9 new potatoes
Olive oil
Sea salt flakes

  1. To prepare the potatoes, place 1 potato on a wooden spoon (like an egg and spoon race!) and cut through the potato at 2-3cm interval as much as the spoon will allow so that it makes a concertina. This will cut through the majority of the potato, but leave a hinge of uncut potato.
  2. Place all the potatoes in a bowl and drizzle over a slug of olive oil, and mix with your hands so that each potato is covered in oil.
  3. On a baking sheet, place the potatoes, concertina side down. Sprinkle with sea salt. Bake for 20 minutes, turn over, sprinkle with salt and then bake for another 20 minutes on the other side.

To serve

I served this with some wilted chard as it is British and in season at the moment. I pulled the chard off the stem and finely diced the stem and fried it in butter. I then added the chopped leaves to the pan, seasoned, stirred and added a tablespoon of water to steam the leaves. Cook for 5 minutes. It cooks more like spinach than thicker greens like kale and cavolo nero. Equally, it would be lovely with some steamed green beans too.

Place the greens on the plate and place the tomatoes and hake on top. Spoon over some of the cooking juices over the hake and dot some tapenade around the plate. I had wanted to buy some tapenade, but couldn’t get any locally, so it’s definitely a larger supermarket or deli item; In the end, I had to make my own, which was simple, and tasted delicious! So if you fancy giving that a go too, just try this recipe below. Chuck it in the blender and off you go!

Tapenade

25g capers drained and rinsed
75g pitted black olives, drained and rinsed
4 anchovy fillets
3 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
75ml olive oil
Pepper & tiny bit of salt
Put the olives, capers, garlic, anchovy fillet in a blender and pulse 3 or 4 times. With the blender turned on, pour in the oil slowly through the lid.
Season with pepper and salt and keep in a sterilised jam jar with some oil over the top.

Check out my Fuss Free Foodie tutorial for tapenade HERE! Don't forget to subscribe to The Fuss Free Foodie You Tube channel to catch all the tutorials!!

This fish recipe was adapted from Rick Steins Seafood book. For more Fuss Free Foodie recipes join The Fuss Free Foodie community on Facebook, or follow my life in photos on Instagram or what I am tweeting on Twitter! Take care of each other Lisa x

Faster Pasta: Seafood

Seafood pasta

Ever been shopping and yet you still don't know what you are going to cook for dinner?! Me too. Life can get in the way of a good meal especially if the focus is on getting the shopping done, but not having had the time to think the weeks meals through.

Remember the days when you said, sod it, let's just go out for dinner?! (Maybe you still do. Enjoy that!) Flexibility with family life can mean you are a bit more tied to eating at home or have to pay someone to be able to go out and pay for dinner! Or maybe you are still at the stage where more thought goes into what the kids are going to eat, and you grab what you can or get a takeaway. We have all been there.

Most people I talk to about food, love to eat but to find the time to think about it in any great depth is a sticking point; Or knowing where to find the ingredients or find new recipes that work, a bridge too far! So we end up getting on a 1 or 2 week rotation of meals that become a bit samey or variations on a theme. For those people, and this was me until both my boys were in school, this is why I started the Fuss Free Foodie.

Life is busy, it's the way we find ourselves living our lives these days. Life hacks are where it's at, and the Fuss Free Foodie is here to make eating amazing food accessible without the fuss! This is how I spend my time, and I love to share what I find, cook and eat. This is not an overhaul or need to make massive changes, but an opportunity to try and integrate a new recipe a week, or fortnight and rediscover that passion for food: the fuss-free way!

Life here in the Cadd household has changed a bit in the last 6 months, as our 7 year old has started Beavers. Fantastic. He loves it! But on a Friday night?! It was almost a deal breaker!! Traditionally, Friday nights were always about going to the pub after work and welcoming in the weekend. In fact, my husband and I used to work together so this was where we first started hanging out. 15 years later, and the scenario has changed slightly, but Friday is about catching up in front of the log burner with a glass of red wine, having eaten a lovely meal. So how does this happen when the evening goes off-piste with an activity?!

Pasta. Not just because I'm half Italian, but because it's fast. A bit of prep before and the rest can be pulled together whilst the pasta cooks. A lot can happen in 10 minutes!! We don't nearly eat enough fish, but seafood we love. Mussels (did you see the recipe for La Mouclade?) are such a fast food, but sometimes it's nice to have a change. Seafood risotto is lovely but SO labour intensive, as is Paella. But pasta checks a lot of boxes for us. Driven by what I can get fresh from my Fishmonger (Smiths Fish, Westbury Park) I will be flexible as to what I use, but a combination of prawns, mussels, squid and maybe some cockles work beautifully. Clams are lovely but very expensive and you get a lot more meat with mussels.

It's our reoccurring joke at the fishmongers that fish/seafood is the original fast food...and you know what....it's right. It's healthy and fast and we enjoyed this dish so much last Friday, we are having it again today! I hope you will give it a try. Let me know how you get on in the Fuss Free Foodie Facebook group and if you seek help in any particular culinary areas, I will do my best to help! Lisa.

Seafood Pasta
Serves 2

Up to 500g of prepared raw seafood (I used 2 handfuls of Mussels, 6 large prawns, heads off, peeled and deveined, 3 small calamari, cut into rings, check the tentacles for a small bone and chop out, a handful of prepared cockles if available)

200g spaghetti or linguine
50ml white wine
250g cherry tomatoes (vine and flavoursome as possible)
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 large tbsp of chopped parsley
Olive oil
Pinch of chilli flakes (optional)
Salt and pepper

  1. Prepare the mussels (*1) and place in a hot pan and throw in the wine and put the lid on. Cook on a high heat for 3-4 minutes, shaking regularly until the mussels are open. Discard any unopened mussels. Place a colander over a bowl, tip the mussels into the colander and keep the cooking juices in the bowl. Place a lid on top to keep the mussels warm.
  2. Cut the tomatoes in half and squeeze out the seeds and juice and then chop roughly. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, and add the spaghetti. Bring to a simmer and cook according to the instructions, keeping the pasta al dente.
    Put 2 tablespoons of olive oil into a frying pan, and turn the heat up high. Fry the calamari, quickly for 2 minutes to try and get some colour on it. If the pan is on high, this is long enough! Take it out and place it with the mussels.
  3. Turn down the heat and add 1-2 more tablespoons of olive oil to the frying pan, and add the garlic into the pan and let it sizzle for a couple of minutes gently without browning. Add the chilli, if using, and tomatoes and simmer for a few minutes. Add all but the last 2 tablespoons of the cooking liquor from the mussels to the frying pan, bring to the boil and then reduce until it has a sauce-like consistency (about 5 mins). Add a splash of water if it starts to dry out. Season with pepper, it should have enough salt from the mussels but check.
  4. Place the prawns in the sauce to cook. Once one side is pink, turn them over to cook on the other side. If the pasta is not quite ready, take them out to hang with the other seafood, try not to overcook them.
  5. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and retain a tablespoon or 2 of the cooking water in the bottom of the pan. Drizzle 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil into the pasta and coat it with oil. Set the pan aside until the sauce is ready.
  6. Before you serve up, place the seafood (mussels in or out of the shells, however, you prefer) back into the sauce, if using cockles add them at this point (they just need warming as they are cooked already). Stir around, and then toss the pasta into the sauce, (make sure pan big enough) stir, sprinkle in parsley, check the seasoning and serve. Enjoy!

*1 To prepare the mussels, rinse them in plenty of cold water. Discard any that are open, which do not close when you tap the side where the 'hinge' is or if gently squeezed. Remove the fibrous 'beards' that are on the side of the mussel between the tightly closed shell. Scrape/knock off any barnacles from the outside of the shell and rinse the mussels again to remove any bits of shell. Store in the bottom of the fridge with a piece of damp kitchen roll over the top until ready to cook. When eating the mussels if any remain closed, discard them.