February is here, too quickly if you ask me. It’ll be December before we know it at this rate. January’s weekly blog was obviously #REDJanuary where I tried to ride my bike every day through January. As it’s now February and Valentines Day is approaching, why not fall in love with food? Don’t forget there is also Pancake Day to worry about, so that’s two events where food is involved coming in February.
Now, this is a Slimming Blog so there will be no posts regarding takeaways, as much as they may be loved (unless they’re of the Fakeaway version). I will be posting ideas and ways of making good healthy food taste like it’s naughty and bad for you. We all sometimes crave that nasty kebab or Chinese dish that we love so much, but there are healthy ways of making the same thing. This is what I’ll be exploring this month
My favourite things to eat when ordering a takeaway or eating out are Chinese, Pizza and a good sloppy Burger.
Chinese Food (not so Chinese)
Chinese food in the UK is rather like Indian food. What you order from a takeaway or restaurant may not be something that is enjoyed in China. Some dishes are, but some aren’t, such as;
Chicken or Pork Balls with Sauce
These fried balls usually contain chicken or pork inside and are then dipped in a variety of sauces including sweet and sour, plum or curry. Chicken balls are not seen in restaurants in Asian countries. The dish may have been adapted for British ‘fish and chips’ which was the only takeaway food back in the early 19th century.
Fortune Cookies are popular in western Chinese restaurants and contain a line of vague prophecy. Despite their popularity, restaurants in China and Hong Kong certainly don’t serve fortune cookies as sweets after finishing their meal.
Deep fried crackers are made from starch and prawn flavourings. Contrary to popular belief, the origin of prawn crackers is actually Indonesia. Prawn crackers are common snacks in Southeast Asian countries where people usually eat them on their own. However, it is also common to find prawn crackers served with other dishes in a Chinese restaurant or an appetiser in a Chinese takeaway.
Prawn toast consists of deep fried triangle toasts coated with shrimp paste and sesame on top. It is often seen on the menu as a Dim Sum dish but sesame toast has never been seen served as Dim Sum in Cantonese cuisine. It is thought that it could have been created to reduce food waste.
Pizza (Italian or American?)
I love Pizza, it’s my go-to food when I’m feeling a need to be naughty. If we’re ordering takeaway from a general takeaway place, Pizza had best be on the menu. I’m not a fan of Pineapple on mine (some people aren’t right ha), I just like some meat and some veg on it – or sometimes just meat.
Now there has always been the wonder of whether Pizza is from Italy or America. America is big on Pizza and although the ‘Deep-Pan’ may have originated from over the pond, the Pizza itself is very much from Italy.
Years before Pizza was born, Focaccia was basically what was made. A flatbread from the Romans which toppings was then added to. It wasn’t until Tomato Sauce was added in Naples in the late 18th Century that Pizza that we know of today was created.
These days Pizza comes in all sorts of sizes on all sorts of bases. Often measured in inches across the diameter you can have an Original Italian Base, Deep Pan Base, Stuffed Crust Base, or even a Double-Layer Base with some sort of sauce in between the two bases. The possibilities are endless, as long as it’s a doughy base that is used it will be known as a Pizza.
Now there are different ways of making a healthy version of a Pizza, so keep an eye out for this feature later in the month.
Meat Patty + Bun = Burger
The meaty goodness that is known as a burger reigns king in my book. But only when you visit a Burger Specialist restaurant. Don’t get me wrong, you can get some decent burgers at some pubs, but if you want the best burger experience you need to seek out real Burger restaurants.
I’m lucky enough to have a couple of places fairly local (within 20 miles). Burgers are a diverse food in which you can add almost anything to them. They don’t even have to be made from Beef, you can use Pork, Turkey or even Chicken. If you don’t eat meat there are alternatives like Bean and Chick Pea burgers. The variety is amazing!
For me, a good burger is something that has a good tasty patty, served in a toasted seeded bun with fresh salad and some other topping (such as cheese, bacon, macaroni or even chilli) over it.
If I want a really good burger full of flavour with a twist I will go to Annie’s Burger Shack. Originating from the USA, Annies specialise in Burgers. You can see some of their creations here. But if I want something downright greasy and nasty I will look to Five Guys. They are the king of the takeaway burger in my eyes.
But I rarely visit these establishments due to the number of calories I am likely to consume there. So I make alternative, home cooked burgers. Good healthy burgers that still taste like you’re not trying to lose weight.