Dead Chuffed: Shortlisted for a Brilliance in Blogging Award

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Spade Fork Spoon has been nominated in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards in the food category. This is amazing and I’m dead chuffed, especially as there are so many amazing food blogs out there. I started the blog as a way of documenting the change from being a full-time teacher, to becoming a stay-at-home Dad; spending time in the kitchen and at the allotment, as well as spending quality time with my family. Cooking and growing fruit and veg has really helped me to become a happier person and I really feel it can help me as I continue my journey and I blog about my recipes for a changed life. It’s so nice to think that what I write about is liked and appreciated by others; and even liked to the point of actually nominating me. Thank you whoever you are!

You can see  the other amazing blogs who made the shortlist on the BiBs2014 website; and if you can see your way to voting for Spade Fork Spoon, then you can do so by clicking on the badge below.

 

Turkey is not just for Christmas

Turkey is the mainstay of many a Christmas Day meal, but what about the turkey as a source of meat and protein throughout the year? I love turkey and always think it should appear on our dinner tables more, whether roasted (or even better post Christmas cold leftovers), or using minced turkey. So I’ve decided to post my five favourite turkey meals (the first of a monthly series of Favourite Five posts highlighting five microrecipes on a theme). This month’s list is not a definitive five, but I think turkey should (to paraphrase a famous advertising campaign) be for life, not just for Christmas.

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Turkey meatballs – I’m a big fan of meatballs, and turkey mince makes a really great, light, version. They’re also simple to make, combine turkey mince, a handful of breadcrumbs, a little grated parmesan, sweated onions and mixed herbs (I used a mix of dried herbs from the allotment). Once combined, form the mixture into small meatballs. Brown in a pan, then pour a tomato sauce over the meatballs and cook in the oven for ten minutes.Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Sliders – The kids are big fans of these. The basic mix is similar to the meatballs above, combining turkey mince, breadcrumbs and some mixed herbs. Make into small patties and cook on a griddle pan, so they get charred edges. We tend to serve them in a small bun with a bit of melted cheese on top, gherkins and a red onion relish.

Turkey Noodles – Another family favourite. Combine a tbsp. of honey, oyster sauce and soy, mix and then grate a little fresh ginger into the liquid. Cut some turkey breast into dice and add to the sauce. Slice peppers, onions and cabbage into thin strips and stir fry until cooked with a bit of bite, add the turkey from the marinade and continue to fry until meat is cooked through. Pour in the remaining marinade and then add straight to wok noodles and cook for a couple of minutes before serving.

Turkey Schnitzel – Use a large piece of turkey breast. Place it between two layers of cling film and then use a rolling pin to flatten the breast to 5-8mm thick. This makes it much easier and quicker to cook the meat. Dust the meat in flour, then a beaten egg, and finally cover in breadcrumbs. To cook the turkey, place a knob of butter in a large frying pan and heat until bubbling. Place the meat into the butter and cook for a few minutes on each side; turning when the breadcrumbs are golden.

Turkey and Ham Pie – This is a classic way to use up leftover turkey after Christmas, but a good recipe for anytime of year really. Slowly cook a chopped onion and some thyme in a little oil until soft and fragrant. Stir in a little flour and cook for a short while before adding half a cup of stock. Continue to stir as the liquid thickens, then season. Add cooked turkey and ham in bite size pieces and combine. This is the pie mix. To top you could use mash (as in a shepherds pie), but I tend to use a shop bought puff pastry. Pop in huge oven for 30 minutes and you have a delicious pie.

Every Little Helps

Since going on my sabbatical I have been thinking about something I can do that is worthy. Not that teaching isn’t, but I hanker after being helpful and being able to be proud of myself. Helping others is not only good for them and a good thing to do, I’m hoping it will make me a happier person too.

So today, I’ve been volunteering with FareShare outside my local branch of Tesco as part of their #everycanhelps scheme. The premise of this is that shoppers donate tins and packets of food as they come out of the supermarket. This food gets distributed to the local food bank and other community food organisations by FareShare. The #everycanhelps scheme lasts for the whole weekend (29th November-1stDecember) and is being held across the country; with donations of food going to local causes. I noticed the other day that our local Coop Food also had a trolley for FareShare donations – so there is opportunity beyond the weekend to do something for others and make yourself a little happier.

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During a break from giving out a list of foods that could be donated I grabbed a coffee from the local Caffè Bar Italia and noticed that I could help further by not only buying myself an espresso, but also purchasing a caffè sospeso (a suspended coffee). This is an idea based on Italian traditional goodwill, allowing someone who can’t afford it to pop into the café and enjoy a prepaid warm drink. like Tesco’s involvement with FareShare, perhaps the big coffee houses should embrace the suspended coffee and give our communities an opportunity to help the less fortunate.

You see, every little thing can help others, and hopefully yourself.