I’m Back! Oh yea, and it’s our 2 Year Anniversary!

Where do I start, it’s been a while since my last post, too long.  I bet you’re all thinking I’d lost interest, well that’s understandable, I’d had that thought on occasions myself over the last few months… but I haven’t and here I am again!

I haven’t posted since the end of March (actually not as long as I’d thought) but I’ve been oober busy in that time.  The last three months have been manic, don’t get me wrong I’m not complaining but that’s why I’ve been away not that I’d lost interest.

I joined the Labour Party some time ago and became friends with our local Assembly candidate Vikki Howells.  I had the pleasure of being part of Vikki’s team designing her website and meme’s and also overseeing her social media accounts during her campaign:

Some of my work for Vikki Howell's campaign

Some of my work for Vikki’s campaign

Vikki was elected on the 5th of May and has hit the ground running, together we’ve worked on two cases, both with positive outcomes although they’re not yet complete so ssshhh for now!  I’ll keep you posted on things as they go on, but that’s one of the reasons why I’ve been away.

W38 Media my social media and design company

W38 Media my social media and design company

As a result of my work for Vikki my profile has increased, now don’t panic I’m not getting ahead of myself, what I mean is more people have seen my web design/graphic design work and therefore my company W38 Media is busy too, we’re currently working on a number of projects including a website for D Hill & Son Builders.  For more information on W38 Media visit our website here.

My fun at karaoke the last two Friday's in May

My fun at karaoke the last two Friday’s in May

You’ll never believe it but I’ve also made a comeback from my karaoke retirement.  Now I know most of you won’t know this but at one point in my life I was a karaoke DJ, I don’t blow my trumpet often but I wasn’t too bad at it either!  I recently covered two nights at a local pub and I thoroughly enjoyed it, two busy nights and lots of great (ish) singers it was good to be back, will I do it again, who knows?

Our two year anniversary, it's flown!

Our two year anniversary, it’s flown!

Well the reason for this post is simple, Wheelie Good Meals is two years old!  It’s kind of flown under the radar this year but I’m going to celebrate it with not one, not two, not three but four posts by next Wednesday, I know, I know I’ve had trouble doing one the last few weeks but I’m back baby!!

Some examples of my no/low carb diet

Some examples of my no/low carb diet

I’ve been on a low carb diet for months, and while having a few weak moments have been pretty damn good at it   I gave up pasta, rice, bread and potatoes… yes I know potatoes for two weeks which resulted in me getting into a t-shirt the next size down from my normal size.  I’ve since reintroduced potatoes in my life, potatoes were something I ate with every meal, sometimes even for breakfast, three times a day seven days a week.  Now I may have them three or four times a week as opposed to the 15/18 times I would normally have had them.

My daily regime of weights backed with a bit of Johnny Cash

My daily regime of weights backed with a bit of Johnny Cash

I’m even doing my weights almost every day (twice somedays), why you ask yourself well I’m fat… duh!  And yes I know I’ve been fat for years but I didn’t think it would be this enjoyable to do something about it (oh and don’t judge my choice in music lol).  My family especially my brother have been nagging me for years to do it… well now I am.  As my businesses improve and my community involvement increases I need to be as healthy as possible… and to do that I need to lose weight.  Someone asked me how I was doing it the other day and it’s easy…. I’m not going without anything!

My family shelf in my office

My family shelf in my office

My lack of potatoes led to Vikki buying me Mr Potato Head, you can see here on my family shelf in work, along with (of course) Postman Pat, Hayleigh, and two of my beautiful Godchildren.  My attitude now is, if I want potatoes, I eat potatoes!  If I want Rice… yes you’ve guessed it I eat rice.  I have probably had pasta and bread no more than five times since I started this lifestyle change a few months ago.  I’ve learned that if you cut something out your body mind wants it more so the secret is don’t cut it out.  Deprivation is the key to failure in my mind!  I’ve reduced my alcohol consumption down, no I haven’t given it up, I’m not a monk and like a drink!

We’ve got a Time-Saving Tuesday post coming up later on in the day which will be a review of Weight Watchers Hunters Chicken.  We also have a recipe coming up on Friday which is Cajun Salmon with a Mediterranean Sauce.Wheelie Good Meals Social Networking

Later on in the week I’ll fill you in on my latest dinner parties, yep parties I’ve had two lol and also Greg, my mother and I are off to Caradog’s so maybe there’ll be a cheeky review coming up, can’t wait!  Come back soon for more tasty treats, you can visit us on Social Media, you can see the details above.  We’re going to be more active on these platforms now that the busy period is over.

Thanks for ready

Rich signature

One Year Birthday Round Up

I can’t believe we’ve been open a year already! It’s flown by, I really can’t believe how quick it’s gone. I’ve been very lucky to have connected with so many wonderful bloggers and have had the good fortune to become cyber friends with many people including Melanie from Melanie’s Food Adventures, Jo Pratt, Stephen Terry, Saira Hamilton and Theo Randall.

My Autographed Copy Of Theo Randall's Book "My Simple Italian"

My Autographed Copy Of Theo Randall’s Book “My Simple Italian”

I’ve had some excellent recipes of lots of people, including some of the friends above . I’ve also received a wonderful gift of a signed recipe book from Chef Theo Randall, we started talking through Twitter when the blog opened, and we’ve kept in touch ever since, Theo is now someone I’d call a friend even if it is through the cybershpere.  I’m a big fan of his style of cooking and he appears (I haven’t met him) to be a great person (even if he is a Liverpool fan lol) 😆

Chef Stephen Terry (The Hardwick, Abergavenny) and I at the the Aberaeron Fish Festival

Chef Stephen Terry (The Hardwick, Abergavenny) and I at the the Aberaeron Fish Festival

I’ve met Stephen Terry a couple of times and hopefully Greg and I are off back to Aberaeron for the Fish Festival again this year, and I’ll let you know how it goes! Here are some of my favourite posts including a review of Stephen’s restaurant The Hardwick! The posts below are not in any particular order but are my highest ranking posts (along with a couple of my personal favourites).

The Hardwick, Abergavenny - The Three Musketeers, My Mother, myself and Greg

The Hardwick, Abergavenny – The Three Musketeers, My Mother, myself and Greg

Greg my mother and I had an excellent time in The Hardwick and Stephen’s hospitality was exceptional, along with the quality of the food. We all really enjoyed ourselves and this has sparked other nights out with more reviews to follow.

Melanie's Food AdventuresMelanie and I have been friends for about a year now and we’ve been blogging the same amount of time. We’ve got (along with a couple of others) a hidden facebook group that we share blogging tips. It was common sense for me to ask Melanie to guest blog on Wheelie Good Meals as we have soooo many things in common, especially as Mel’s a Fellow Man Utd fan. Check her blog out her website here.

My Top Posts

These are some of my favourite posts, some of them are top ranking posts and others are my personal favourites but they are all little gems for one reason or another.Comfort Classics - Cheat’s Fish PieI started a feature called Comforting Classics and the most popular one was my Fish Pie! I love it, it’s such an easy recipe and so comforting and filling for all the family. I really think it’s worth a try, I cook it regularly.

Time-Saving Tuesdays - John West Tuna Infusions Steam Pot, Front of the PacketI changed the Ready Meal Monday feature to Time-Saving Tuesdays because I wanted to explore more options that could speed up our cooking and eating habits…. not! I couldn’t get the Ready Meal Mondays reviews done on time. One of my personal favourites was John West Tuna Infusion Steam Pots. I liked this little pot of loveliness so much I have had it a couple of times since, give it a try – it’s worth it!

Chicken, Pek, Leek and Sage Leftover PieMy Chicken Pek and Leek Pie was created in honour of Great Brittish Pie Week, its the recipe that made my mother realise she actually did like sage! It is also the first Pie I had made with pastry, it’s one of my personal favourite recipes and one I make regularly.Ready Meal Monday – Tesco Everyday Value Chicken Curry and RiceBack in January this year I had a meltdown I went from Ready Meal Monday to Micro Monday before I finally fixed on Time-SavingTuesdays. As one of the last posts in the Ready Meal Monday range I reviewed Tesco Everyday Value Chicken Curry and Rice, it wasn’t brilliant it only scored five out of ten but I’d order it again.

Ainsley Harriott’s Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Cous Cous Being PreparedFollowing on from the last post came the start of Time-Saving Tuesdays and the first foray for Gemma into the World of Wheelie Good Meals. Ainsley Harriott’s Sun Dried Tomato & Garlic Cous Cous was great. We had it on its own but it would be great with salmon or a steak.

Stunning Spiced Sausage StewStunning Spiced Sausage Stew was a recipe I came up with the use some sausages I’d defrosted, it was amazing. Really warming and comforting and something I’ve cooked in different variations many times. I promise you’d enjoy it, Alice can’t wait to cook this with me when she comes home from France.

Time-Saving Tuesday – Westlers Burgers in Onion Gravy - The Front of The TinThis is popular post because it is the first post where I actually got to criticise something. They were horrific and I really wouldn’t recommend them, but if you’d read the post you’d know that 😆 Saira Hamilton's Chicken BhunaSaira Hamilton runner up on Masterchef 2013 gave me a stunning recipe which I cooked in October. Saira has been a massive help to me, with lots of things food related. I am very lucky really all my life I’ve believed that everything happens for a reason and tweeting Saira was a stroke of genius because it sparked a new friendship.

Pig Sty Pie LogoLastly another one of my cyber friends and someone who has also been a brilliant help to me, and someone who has listened to me moan via email and social networking. I was always intrigued why there was Shepherd’s Pie for Lamb and Cottage Pie for Beef but nothing for Pork Mince. So with lots of help from Jo Pratt I created Pig Sty Pie, a recipe using Pork Mice and Cider. Jo was a great help creating this recipe and I am very greatful to her and Saira for all their help and their friendship. It’s also a personal favourite because it features the glorious art work of one of my long suffering best friends Rhian Lloyd (Rant)!

Ingredients for Alice's Mid Week Piri Piri BBQ Chicken and Patatas BravasAlice’s Mid Week Piri Piri BBQ Chicken and Patatas Bravas was the first recipe that Alice and I had cooked together for Wheelie Good Meals. Alice and I have cooked together for mulgies of years but this was our first official recipe for the blog. Remember when cooking chicken – always take care!PhotoGrid_1433186344465

Lastly I looove soups and my Mediterranean Roasted Red Pepper and Tomato Soup is a bowl of loveliness, only topped by my Leek and Potato Soup. These are ideal starters for dinner parties or warming bowls of comfort.


Thanks to everyone who has helped me this year, Saira, Theo, Stephen and Jo for their help and cyber friendship and for spreading the word about the blog. Thanks also to Ginge, Stacey, Gemma, Rhian, Ronnie and Ben “The Hair” Way who have been tasters, helped me cook or took photos/videos for me!

Thanks to Heather and Graham for Graham’s taste testing and Heather’s proofreading and sourcing of equipment, speciality foods and ready meal/meal deals for reviews.

Thanks to Chris for his photography work and for help with hosting the blog and technical support. Thanks to Melanie for her friendship and support developing the blog, her Hedgehog Tray bake is my most popular post.

Big thanks to Hayleigh and Dave, Dave for his fabulous art work including the logo and other images. Thanks to Hayleigh for her proofreading skills and for her ideas!

Massive thanks to Greg for his photography endevours, driving skills, tasting my recipes, being both sounding board for ideas and sous chef and lastly for his company on my outings!

Lastly special thanks to three special people Alice for all her research, her tasting and for cooking with me…. roll on the summer when she’s back from France! The other two special people are Mags and Geoff my parents for all their help and support and always being there!


I didn’t expect this to turn in to an Oscar style speech 😳 but its often the case that people do a lot for me but I can’t always do things in return, so this is just a little thank you, and I’m so sorry if I’ve left anyone out!

What for next year…. lots more food, lots more reviews and lots more eating out!!! Bring it on!!!

Happy Days!!! 😎
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Post Mother’s Day Catch Up

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - My Olympian, my mother!

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – My Olympian, my mother!

First of all I’d like to wish everyone a belated happy mother’s day, I hope you all had a fab one and were spoiled rotten. I’m cooking for my mother (the wonderful Mags) tonight, I’m writing this at 03:46 and the planned menu looks like

 * Pan Fried Scallops with Smoked Bacon Crisps and a Cauliflower Pureé

* Duck breast, Sautéed Potatoes and a Balsamic Berry Jus

* Nutella and Oreo Cheesecake (my take on Nigella’s Nutella Cheesecake) 😆

 

The main course, I’ve got to say is work in progress but it’ll be fine I have faith, it’s the bacon I’m looking forward to as both my mother and I are developing a liking for smoked foods – if you follow me on facebook, instagram or twitter you’ll noticed that I shared a picture of a smoked cheese I’m into at the moment…. don’t worry if you don’t follow me on any of those social networking sites here it is.

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - Seriously Good Smoked Cheese

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – Seriously Good Smoked Cheese

I’m going to try and cook it between two baking trays to keep it flat and hopefully make it more crispy… stay tuned folks!

Don’t be fooled I’m not just cooking her a meal, I bought her flowers too, and a card (moonpig has it’s uses) 😀

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - Mags' Mother's Day Flowers

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – Mags’ Mother’s Day Flowers

I’m running low on ideas for Time-Saving Tuesdays, in fact I’m writing this post thinking what on earth am I going to do tomorrow…. any ideas? I could do with some suggestions. I did buy a tin of Chicken in a White Wine Sauce, that was quick and would have been ideal for #TimeSavingTuesdays but do you think I know where the pictures are of it…. do I heck! I have one image of it but that’s it and I know I took more I always take more 👿

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - Chicken In A White Wine Sauce

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – Chicken In A White Wine Sauce

I’ve been cleaning out my phone and my laptop recently and backing everything up on an external hard drive so should have all the photographs collated soon…. I did find a worrying pattern though, when going through my camera uploads on dropbox there was a large number of photos of one particular thing….

 

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - I Like Wine Photography

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – I Like Wine Photography

I have a problem with wine…. I take too many pictures of it. I know some of these are pants but that’s more my phone than my sobriety lol. What’s your favourite bottle, share it with me …… not literally of course! Well its 04:01 now and I think I should make some effort to get to sleep 😯 .

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up - Two Resteraunt Reviews To Come

Post Mother’s Day Catch Up – Two Restaurant Reviews To Come

There’s a lot going on over the forthcoming weeks with two long awaited reviews from my visit to The Hardwick and Caradog’s in the Ty Newydd along with more recipes and Time-Saving Reviews, not to mention another Guest Blog from Melanie.

Hope you are all well, remember to let me know your ideas and thoughts – are you receiving the updates because along with Melanies Food Adventures we’ve moved over to Cynon Valley Hosting now, as far as I can see everything is fine but only you know for sure.

Lastly congratulations to Wales for a fantastic performance against a strong Irish side and congratulations to Manchester United for a fantastic performance against Spurs… good sporting weekend for me all in all.

Take care and see you tomorrow for Time Saving Tuesday.

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Time-Saving Tuesdays

Time-Saving Tuesdays…. the way forward!

Time-Saving Tuesdays

Time-Saving Tuesdays

Well I’ve been playing it over in my head for the last few weeks, and I’ve decided to axe Ready Meal Mondays (“yes, yes, we know this already” I hear you cry)! But like Sir Bob, Lord of the Rats of Boomtown “I Don’t Like Mondays”.

To make it easier for myself, and after all we all wan easy life, I’ve decided to start Time-Saving Tuesdays or #TimeSavingTuesdays as it’ll affectionately be known 😀 , this could take many forms, some examples that I’ve been thinking of are

  • Equipment reviews to make cooking and food preparation easier for people with varying disabilities.
  • Micro Meal Reviews (don’t panic they’re not going anywhere)
  • Reviews of snack and other quick types of food such as microwaveable rice
  • Quick ideas suitable for lunch in work or packed lunches for children in schools.

The quick and easy time-saving idea is also very important for me because, as you probably know I play pool on a Tuesday so when I eat either at home or in work I’m usually in a hurry.

I really do promise that this feature will take over from Ready Meal Monday introduce a whole new range of reviews, tips, recipes and much more.

I’d like to think that my recipes are fairly easy to follow and my reviews are for microwaveable meals which are quite easy to make for people with varying disabilities. I do know that I don’t really cover the disability concept as much as I should and that is going to change. We have a youtube channel launching in March and I hope to not only cover Time-Saving ideas, easy recipes but also cooking techniques which are friendly toward people with disabilities. I’ll also be reviewing products and recipe books.

I’ve made some changes to the blog, you may have noticed… but hopefully you haven’t because that means it’s been pretty seamless.  We are now a self hosted blog and thanks to my good friend Chris at Cynon Valley Hosting for his patience and for helpful advice from Andrew and Ryan at at Tantrwm we’re finally getting somewhere…. Wheelie Good Meals has grown up!

Sign up for updates as I am hoping to be working with fellow bloggers as 2015 progresses and serving you up some more recipes from chef’s I admire and enjoy watching.

Remember you can always get involved if you are a foodie and have ideas, or you’ve cooked one of our recipes then let me know. Or if you are a fellow blogger and would like to work with me then drop be a line.

Take care, see you all tomorrow!

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 😀