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Monday, 14 April 2014

Hungry-Jenny-Faux-Pas: How McDonalds Took My Dignity

It all started when my good friend Samji text me this photo:
Instantly, I turned into an excited young teenager:

"OMG! Lol. Maccy Ds? G2G get 1! BRB."

And so I did, quite literally, the next day - venture into McDonalds and order a Big Mac meal, with a side of two Happy Meal toys:
No shame was felt as I gleefully took the photo and Whatspped it over to Samji:

"Snap! Haha."
"Cool. U collecting them all as well?"
"Yeh! I've GOT to!"

And that's where it started to go downhill.

I don't even like McDonalds but suddenly I felt compelled to collect ALL the toys.

It's the Super Mario thing - whenever I see something Super Mario related, I get ridiculously excited. (I don't have Super Mario bed sheets or live in a big mushroom house or anything like that though, I'm not completely obsessed.)

In this case though, since I had been exposed to this in its first week, I thought I might as well just get the remaining 6 toys as well…

(Ok, the mushroom above makes a really cool 'Power Up' noise and I wanted to see if the other toys made Super Mario noises too*).

Samji got me up to speed on how to go about collecting the toys in a dignified manner:

1. You don't have to buy a Happy Meal to get the toy, you can just purchase it separately.
2. There's usually a choice of 2 toys to choose from each week, so you can get 2 in one go if you want.
3. Just buy a drink if you don't want to fill yourself with the grease of McDonalds.

Ok, ok, I thought. So actually, I only need to go into McDonalds 3 more times to get the next 6 toys.

That's not so bad. I'll just go in and grab a cup of tea and 2 toys to go. No need to consume any of that crap, and aside from the slight embarrassment of asking for a Happy Meal toy with no child by your side, you can leave the establishment with your dignity intact.

FAIL.

I ended up going in 5 times and buying a fat loada food each time (I didn't take photos of all the food I ate cos I forgot - um, not cos I was slightly ashamed also).
In part of my (very weak) defence, there were a couple of instances where I was only able to buy one toy rather than two (so had no choice but to go in again, right?).

I'm now the (proud?) owner of these 8 cool toys, but at what cost? About £25 worth of foodal crap bought and what worked out as around 4,000 calories later? Ouch.

The silly thing is that I did keep thinking, hey, if you really wanted a collection of Super Mario figurines, you could just find a set online which is probably cheaper and without putting a load of crap in your body too. But I was too far gone. I wanted these Happy Meal ones. I had to get them. And I secretly indulged in the fatty goodness.

Damn you McDonalds.

*FYI No, the other toys don't make sounds.

Fancy a laugh at my other Hungry-Jenny-Faux-Pas?
Continue reading this post..

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Cinnamon Granola Muffins

I found myself in a bit of a granola pickle last week.
Not literally of course - pickled granola sounds gross.

Recently I've got myself hooked on a variety of strawberry granola from Sainsburys, to the point where I don't really like to buy or try any other version. Yes, I know I could easily make my own granola and blah-blah-blah. But hey, we all get lazy right?

Anyway, back to the point - I went to the supermarket to stock up on my beloved strawberry granola and oh shock-of-horrors, they were out of stock.

*gasp*

Being melodramatic here, as there were plenty of other varieties to choose from. I stood there for a good five minutes mulling over which one to buy, all the while suppressing the urge to let out a tantrum childish scream of "But I wanna strawberry oneeee!" Eventually I picked up a red apple, raisin and apricot variety. Sounds nice, it'll do, I thought.

Sadly I was wrong. It tasted nice sure, but it was way too tough and chewy for my delicate teeth. Cor, I'm not going to have time to eat this in the mornings! I certainly had no intention of chucking it away, so I figured I should try and turn it into a more edible breakfast.

And thus, these Cinnamon Granola Muffins were born. As well as the granola, I used some additional dried fruit in the muffin mix also, but you could throw in extra granola in there instead, if you so please.

They are quite dense muffins, as they use wholewheat flour, but perfect for breakfast or a mid-morning snack. I didn't get a chance to test whether these freeze well (as if so, they would be perfect for a grab-and-go jobby), but I forgot to leave one by for this purpose and they all got gobbled up before I realised!

So you shall simply have to bake a batch and see for yourself...
Cinnamon Granola Muffins Makes 12 muffins

150g + 50g granola of your choice
200ml orange juice concentrate
150ml olive oil
2 medium eggs
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
100g brown sugar
200g wholewheat flour
3 tbsp baking powder
3 tsp cinnamon
50g dried mixed fruit

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Put the 150g granola in a bowl, pour over the orange juice and set aside.
2. In a small jug, beat together the oil, eggs, vanilla and sugar. Add in the orange juiced granola.
3. In a mixing bowl, sift in the wholewheat flour. Mix in the baking powder, cinnamon and dried fruit.
4. Pour in the granola juiced mix into the mixing bowl and gently fold in, until just mixed.
5. Spoon the mixture into a lined 12-hole muffin tray. Sprinkle over the remaining 50g granola atop each muffin.
6. Bake for 20-25 mins until risen and golden brown.

More Hungry Jenny cakes here.

Other healthy baking recipes you might enjoy.
Continue reading this post..

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Hungry-Jenny-Faux-Pas: Attack of the Almond Cookie Ghosts

I certainly didn't want my first post of 2014 to be a Hungry-Jenny-Faux-Pas. But this was something I just couldn't keep from you.

What with it being Chinese New Year yesterday, I had this grand notion that I'd get myself back in the blogging game and kick off the year by sharing with you some Chinese New Year almond cookies.

What I didn't anticipate however was that they would morph into these creepy-looking Almond Cookie Ghosts in the oven…
Aaaaargh!

The funny thing is, I made a batch of almond cookies just before Christmas, as a present for my brother-in-law which he seemed to enjoy. I mean, they did threaten to bubble dangerously out of control when I baked them, but somehow restrained themselves. They at least came out the oven as individual cookies.

I wanted to work on the texture and sweetness of the cookies though, and so decided to play around with the recipe a bit. I should really have known that something wasn't quite right when I ended up with a slightly stickier dough than expected.

Ah well, I thought, I'll leave it to chill in the fridge and it'll sort itself out. And of course, it didn't. As I rolled out the individual cookies, they still felt suspiciously sticky.

But no matter, I thought to myself again, I'll just bake them anyway. I mean, how bad could they be?

Ten minutes later, this happened...
Nooooo…! I probably shouldn't have left them unattended. But from the living room, they smelt so good, I figured they were doing ok...

After a period of chuckling to myself, followed by a short period of despair, I decided to taste it. And here's the surprise - they actually tasted really good! Nicely sweet, with a kind of fairy cake type texture.

So with that, I confronted the ghosts and sliced 'em up to take them into work. And they went down a treat!
"Oooop!"

Ha, take that, you silly Almond Cookie Ghost!

Fancy a laugh at my other Hungry-Jenny-Faux-Pas?
Continue reading this post..

Saturday, 2 November 2013

The Lost Appetite of Hungry Jenny

Hello?

Are you getting this?

Oh, my sweet Hungry cakes, I don't know what's happened.

Look, I don't have alot of time, so listen up ok...

So it's been 6 months now since my last post. In the blogging world, that's like a century, right? You've probably moved onto other things. Don't worry, I understand.

But - I seem to have lost my appetite. No, not literally, I'm still Hungry, now don't you worry about that. But this past year, I just haven't been...feeling it. It's not you, it's me.

I still bake, but usually now just stuff I've already posted before, or, shock horror, from other recipe books. I can't seem to find the energy or headspace to come up with new stuff these days.

A major factor of this actually is work - as much as I love it, demands are getting bigger and I'm pretty much brain-fried by the time I get home. And the last thing I want to do when I get in, I'm sad to say, is switch back on my laptop. Not just for blogging, for anything. I barely even go on Twitter anymore.

It used to be a therapeutic thing. Both the creative side of baking/cooking and the writing. Actually, I lie. It still is a therapeutic thing. Even as I write now, I'm feeling such a nice sense of calm and I wonder why I don't still do this more regularly.

But using my laptop is a faff - this is the first time I've been able to use it within the last couple of months. It's old and tempermental. Sometimes it decides to work, sometimes it doesn't.

I'm sat here right now with the laptop plugged into my TV because the screen doesn't work. If I take the laptop mains out, it will all go. And sometimes my wireless connection doesn't work, and my internet cable thing isn't long enough to reach. Hence why I don't have alot of time.

I couldn't leave you folks without a little recipe to end the post on though. It was originally meant to be kind of like rocky road - but I'm not a fan of marshmallows or raisins in chocolate. So they're just Glorified Chocolate Digestives really!

Glorified Chocolate Digestives
Makes 12

150g digestive biscuits
200g dark chocolate, broken into chunks
100g unsalted butter
2 tbsp golden syrup

1. Put the digestive biscuits into a large plastic bowl (or a bag) and use the end of a rolling pin to bash them into crumbs.
2. Put a pan on a low heat, and melt the chocolate, butter and syrup. Turn off the heat.
3. Gently mix in the biscuit crumbs.
4. Spoon the mixture into a 12-hole cupcake tray and allow to cool for half an hour, before then sticking in the fridge for at least 4 hours to set.

Hope to see you guys again soon..!

Other chocolatey recipes you might enjoy.
Continue reading this post..

Tuesday, 14 May 2013

Fluffy Chocolate Orange Cake

It feels like such a long time since I've made a cake with butter, that I'd forgotten what a difference it makes to the texture. So light and fluffy!

(That makes all my butter-free cakes sound a bit rubbish doesn't it?)

I'm not saying that all butter-free cakes taste heavier - infact, there are some where you can't even tell the difference. There's great satisfaction in serving a cake, hearing the yummy noises, and then seeing the surprise on their face when they hear that it has no butter and/or little sugar.

Obviously then there's also those moments where I serve with a pre-cursor of, 'er, this was a bit more experimental so the texture is a little...different.'

But anyyway. Before I dig myself into a bigger hole, let's get back to the main business of oohing and aahing at this deliciously fluffy chocolate orange cake here...

Fluffy Chocolate Orange Cake For an 8” square tin (25 squares):

250g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
175g unsalted butter, softened
125g sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
50ml olive oil
Juice and zest of 1 small orange
75g dark chocolate, broken into small chunks

1.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Sift the flour and baking powder into a large mixing bowl.
2.In another bowl, beat together the butter and sugar. Mix in the beaten eggs, oil and orange juice.
3.Melt the chocolate gently in a pan, mixing in the orange zest. Take off the heat.
4.Pour the butter mixture into the flour mixture and fold in. Carefully stir in the melted zesty chocolate, using a skewer to swirl it around.
5.Transfer the batter to a lined square tin, using a knife to level it out. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until you can pull a skewer out clean.

More Hungry Jenny cakes here.
Other chocolatey recipes you might enjoy.
Continue reading this post..

Thursday, 9 May 2013

An Ode to Peanut Butter - Kitchen Hero!

One fine day Sainsbury's said to me,
Gee, what do you think a Signature Dish would be?
Hm, I mused, how am I supposed to know?
Ask, they replied, who's your Kitchen Hero?

Look to your cupboard...and rummage around
Your Kitchen Hero is something that can be found...
As a staple product that you can't live without
One that you can never, ever have run out

Why, that's easy, I squealed with glee
Peanut butter is a foodal essential for me
I always have at least two jars in store
If I've only got one left, I run out to buy more

Peanut butter is something I used to hate
But now, every day, I turn to it like a mate
Straight from the jar, or with a trusty bit of toast
I get a daily fix, some days more than most

So back to the important issue at hand
One dish in particular I make that is most grand
My go-to dinner when nothing else will do
A dish to impress friends, it makes them say 'Ooh...'

It's speedy to make, and easy-peasy too
Just get that peanut butter and let me show you
Mix it with Greek yogurt and a little bit of stock
And boom! You got a satay sauce that no-one will dare knock

Read on for the full recipe, I hope you'll try it out
Whether you like it or not, let me know, give me a shout
If not, then this ode I hope you still enjoy
About this Peanut Butter Dinner Dish of Joy!


The Peanut Butter Dinner Dish of Joy! Serves 2:

75g By Sainsbury's smooth peanut butter
75ml hot veggie stock
100g Greek yogurt
300g diced chicken breast
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
1 + 1/2 tbsp vegetable oil
75g celery stalks, chopped
50g mushrooms, sliced
2 spring onions, chopped
Handful of roasted peanuts (or cashew nuts)
Some fresh coriander, roughly chopped

150g white rice, uncooked
250ml boiling water

1. First, a bit of prep. In a jug, pour in the veggie stock, then gently stir in the peanut butter and yogurt.
2. Marinate the chicken in the soy sauce, honey and half a tbsp oil. Leave for about 10 minutes.
3. Put the rice in a pan with the boiling water. Bring to the boil, then turn down, cover and leave to simmer for 20 minutes. Take off the heat, leaving the lid on.
4. Add the remaining tbsp oil to a hot pan, and gently brown the chicken.
5. Add the celery and mushrooms, cooking for another few minutes of minutes.
6. Gently pour in the peanut butter mixture and stir through. Turn down to a simmer, cover and leave to cook a few more minutes.
7. Finally, stir in the nuts and toss in some fresh coriander. Serve with the steamed rice.

Other peanut butter recipes you might enjoy.
Continue reading this post..

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Pop Up Mushrooms (and Other Beings) in Chichester

Ooh, whazat yellow dot in the distance?

Is that a...mushroom?


*Bling!*

*Boing! Blick-up! Bling!*

Ok, before you back away from slowly, let's start at the beginning, shall we?

My parents were visiting me in Chichester this weekend, and we were strolling back home in the evening after a nice Thai dinner when...
Eh?

There were a couple of men scurrying away from the scene, packing their stuff into a van. Turns out that this particular work in the making is by a Brazilian street artist called Nunca.

The random mushrooms were made by a South Africian artist Christiaan Nagel. He was a surfer and one day came across some polyurethane material, and thus the colourful mushrooms were born - popping up around the world ever since.

But what are these global artists doing in the sleepy city of Chichester?

Well, a quick search on Twitterland and I quickly realised that this is part of the #ChichesterStreetArtFestival 2013, where a group of international street artists have been brought in to colour up some of the city's walls! There happened to be a tour of the murals yesterday so decided to go and find out more.

The tour was done by Richard from Street Art London, who explained how they work with street and graffiti artists to help bring their work out more, through festivals like this, talks, tours and exhibitions. It was interesting to hear that you only need permission from the building owner (ie not planning permission as well via the council) to do something like this (for unlisted buildings at least).

The murals have been created are going to be permanent (unless it angers a load of people to take them down, which I hope won't happen). Here are just a few of them...

Blue tits by ROA

ROA, as you can see, does alot of big animals. This wall was actually quite a small canvas for him apparently! He always chooses wildlife that matches the environment - hence the blue tits for the countryside of Chichester. (You wouldn't find any armadillos splashed across a wall here!).

Thierry Noir, who painted 18km of the Berlin Wall, muses over the crowned king at the end here

These bright dudes can be found around the perimeter of the Chichester Festival Theatre, which is currently undergoing work. When the theatre reopens, I believe the panels are all going to auctioned off.

Owls by Dscreet

Still in the making at the point this photo was taken. Dscreet shuffled away as we came up - alot of these artists are shy or don't like to talk to people about their work. I guess seeing a bunch of people gawking at their work is not really what they need when they're trying to get on with it!


These minimalist guys are my favourite! They're on a wall that is right in the centre of town, so probably the most visible one - this spot was given to Stik as his work was considered the 'safest' - no risk of offending anyone here. Stik confines himself to 6 lines with these guys. I love how they have so much expression!

I took photos of them all, but just posted my favourite ones here, otherwise this post will be super long! And this is really something you should go and see with your own eyes. Main sites are at Chichester College, Metro House, Pallant House Gallery...and another couple of spots you'll have to find!

Hopefully it will help to generate more interest to the city, and bring more visitors to Chichester :-)
Continue reading this post..
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