Changes in 2017

Ho Ho Ho!  Merry Christmas, Happy New year, I hope you’re all having a fantastic holiday period.

This is just a quick post to let you know I haven’t evaporated, won the lottery or been sent to Coventry.  I’ve had a very, very busy few months both personally and in work, as some of you may know I’ve been chosen to stand as a Labour candidate in a nearby village in the 2017 elections.   As you can imagine it’s busy, busy, busy… I’m not complaining I’m here to do it.

My food tastes have changed in 2016, I’m sadly going to have to admit I’m a grown up (cries in to his wine).  2015 was a massive culture shock for me food wise I realised I liked Cauliflower, Broccoli, Olives and red wine to name just a few new discoveries.  2016 was a shock too, my biggest finds were Broad beans, horseradish, mushrooms and a massive new found love of red meat.  My teeth haven’t got any better but I’ve learned how I like my steaks cooked and my mother, and especially my father are amazing at cooking red meat… awesome!

New food tastes

New food tastes

So what have I got planned for Wheelie Good Meals for 2017, well I’m going to be ditching some key themes from the past, they are

  • Mystery Bag Meals,
  • Strictly Suppers
  • Six Nations of Food

I say ditch they’re not exactly going to the great big wheelie bin in the sky they,re just not going to feature regularly, we’re also going to focus more on budget living, so Time-Saving Tuesdays and Waste Not Want Not Wednesdays will be focusing on cost effective recipes which are healthy.  I’ve been doing a lot of reading on food banks and food poverty over the last few months and along with drawing support from friends, businesses and celebrity chef’s I tweet with I’ll be looking to make all my recipes affordable on a very low budget.

Reviews over the last couple of years

Reviews over the last couple of years

However, that being said I will continue the restaurant and food festival reviewing and hope to line one up every month starting with January, I will share with you my foodie travels both on here and instagram.

My family and I have had an horendous month of December with a family bereavement, I’ve learned two things this month, I’ve learned that you are never prepared for tragedy, and age is no criteria for how you deal with it.  I’ve seen people whom I think of as “kids” deal with personal tragedy in the most mature and adult way.  I’ve also learned that I have tremendous friends, two in particular, I always feel like it’s all “me, me, me” because my friends have to come in to my life, driving me, sorting my oxygen out etc and I don’t feel like I give anywhere near as much back.  But you will never know how grateful I am for my friends, one person who deserves a mention here familywise and that is a fellow (Wheelie Good Mealer) Alice  who has worked with me for a few months and is now leaving to work over the bridge.  Alice has been amazing working with Accessible Wales and has been a great asset to the team, she’s also been a good friend, companion and most of all… stealer of my drinks.

Alice and I

Alice and I

Have a good new year folks, enjoy your time with your friends and family, drink as much as you can, eat as much as you can and worry about it in the new year.

My five most popular recipes of the last couple of years:

Leftover Chicken Tikka Masala

Saira Hamilton’s Chicken Bhuna

Melanie’s Food Adventures – Hedgehog Traybake

Dean Edwards’ Lamb Kofta Curry

Toad in the Hole with Yorkshire Pudding and Onion Gravy

And my Review highlights have been:

Tesco Value Chicken Curry and Rice

Uncle Ben’s Chilli Con Carne and Rice and Dolmio Pasta Carbonara

Bisto Lasagne

Westlers Burgers in Onion Gravy

Restaurant Review – Caradogs at Ty Newydd

Greg and I with a fantastic background of the harbour

Greg and I with a fantastic background of the harbour

Thank you Dave for all your design work, and for your creativity and thank you as always to Greg for being with me for all my reviews, food festivals and for being Greg!

See you in 2017 folks…

… Happy Days!

Stuffing Ball Anyone?

Happy New Year friends!  We’re three days into 2015 (only 356 days away from Christmas…. ssshhhh don’t tell anyone, I’m not counting honest) >:D . This festive period was a strange one for me we had Christmas dinner in our own house this year (courtesy of my darling mother) for the first time in a few years. It was excellent, my mother, as you know, is a great cook so we get a top notch Sunday dinner every week… just ask Greg, Hayleigh, Alice, actually most of my friends love my mother’s cooking. Greg is especially partial to a Sunday Dinner while we watch the greatest team in English Football (not to offend Greg’s allegiance to Celtic) Manchester United. I’ll try my hand at anything in the kitchen as long as it’s physically possible but when my mother’s cooking a roast dinner…. I bow down to the expert :star: !

I’ve cooked a fair bit over Christmas, Adam and I did a lot of the food for our Boxing Day celebrations.  Each year we have a big Boxing Day, my sister, brother-in-law, Alice, Adam and my brother-in-law’s mother come to ours. We usually have a small buffet and then play games and um… well… get drunk >-I …. hence all these bottles of wine being lined up below!

Stuffing Ball Anyone: Boxing Day Booze

Stuffing Ball Anyone: Boxing Day Booze

Sadly (because I was in the kitchen for what felt like an eternity) I didn’t take any pictures of what I cooked but it was all fairly straight forward. I created two different dips (curried yoghurt & minted yoghurt), prawn cocktail volovants, made a mustard mayonnaise sauce to put some smoked ham in for another set of volovants. I also made stuffing balls…. now then this is where the fun begins!

We weren’t on our own in the kitchen we were joined by my wonderful sister who spent the whole time washing up… I know she felt like she was doing it for at least a week!

For those of you who know me you’ll know I don’t like loathe getting my hands dirty, if I’m making burgers, fish cakes etc I get someone else to mix it all up, or use a spoon. Yes I know that’s boring, lame and everything else your thinking but having sticky mucky hands and driving a wheelchair doesn’t mix (that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it). My mother asked me to make these stuffing balls, I’d never made them before but thought what the heck – how hard can they be! Gordon Ramsay once said on Kitchen Nightmares “What Chef can’t make a meat ball” and these were glorified meatballs.

I blitzed up some bread to make bread crumbs then the onion debate began, a discussion as to whether I should cook the onions before putting them in the mix… the result was yes, Graham chopped them up for me and we fried them for a few minutes just to soften them.  You could almost call this Oniongate 😉 I added them to the breadcrumbs, sprinkled in some dried sage then added a packet of sausage meat.

Oniongate

So began the horrific process of bringing all the mixture together… oh joy! I made them into balls and cooked them in the oven, right you’re now bored to death, stay with me for just a few more minutes. After they had been cooked and cooled down we sat down to eat.  Everybody raved about them…. including my father and you’ll never know how rare that is, it’s las rare as rocking horse poo! My mother was very impressed, she asked me how I’d made them so I told her I…. don’t panic I’m not going to go through it again. Once I told her she started laughing, she was going to use a packet stuffing mix…. and just add the sausage meat…

Stuffing Ball Anyone: Me sporting a rather fetching Pot Noodle Umbrella - my prize from snatch bingo!

Stuffing Ball Anyone: Me sporting a rather fetching Pot Noodle Umbrella – my prize from snatch bingo!

typical… well on the upside I’ve worked out how to a)make stuffing balls and b) impress my father 😀

I hope you all had a Wheelie Good New Year, stay tuned for a post about 2015 Wheelie Good Meals Style, we’ve got another update coming tomorrow and a recipe on Sunday.

There’s a new feature launching Monday called MicroMonday, which incorporates last year’s Ready Meal Monday feature and adds Microwave Cooking. Don’t forget to get in touch, let me know your thoughts, share the love tell me what you think I should do… and by the way, no one told me about the extra P in the Happy at the start of my Christmas Video Message…. the Queen never has that problem 😀