Saturday, August 17, 2019

Trying Dry Frying Had Me Crying!

Bit of an exaggeration for a snappy title but either way I wasn't that impressed with it!

In February I bought this dry fryer for £48 on Amazon and I was excited to see what it could do. After 6 months of using it I can tell you...not that much! I mean, it's great for the usual suspects of roast potatoes, chips, roast vegetables etc but it's nowhere near as versatile as they'd have you believe.

It makes lovely crispy roast potatoes and it saves space in the oven if you're making a Sunday dinner, which is really useful. For the first few weeks we had roast potatoes often along with roast parsnips, chips and sweet potato wedges. It's great that you can use a tiny amount of oil to cook them but you can also get the same effect by using spray oil in a regular oven.

Roast Parsnips.

Potato Wedges.
You can leave things roasting in the oven for a good 15 minutes, flip them and leave them another 15 minutes. With a dry fryer you have to attend to them more often, roast potatoes need jostling every 5 minutes to make sure they cook evenly. When you've got several other components of a meal to manage it's a bit of a hassle.

So, I'd tried all the basics but I wanted to get more from my dry fryer so I googled some recipes for alternative dry fryer ideas. I started off with Dry Fryer Churros.

They don't look too bad, if a little weird. But they were full of air instead of a solid thing. more like the texture of an eclair. Don't get me wrong, we ate them (we had chocolate sauce to dip them in afterall) but they weren't churros. This recipe had a thumbs down from me!

JD had some success making naan breads in the dry fryer. We usually make them in the oven but JD made some lovely, fluffy naans to go with our curry. They were nicer than our usual ones but because of the small size of the dry fryer basket they took a lot longer to make. We also had some dry fryer grilled corn on the cob which was lovely with an almost chargrilled flavour. It was easy to prepare and didn't have to be attended to much during the cooking process.

Overall I'm disappointed with the dry fryer. I don't think I'll be keeping it. It makes lovely roast potatoes but it doesn't do enough to earn counter space in my kitchen. I like appliances that make cooking easier and more varied rather than more difficult. I wish I'd tested more recipes with it but based on the outcome of a few I did try I just wasn't into it. It's sat on my counter gathering dust and so it has to go!

Saturday, August 10, 2019

Harrogate Cheap Eats - Harrogate Grill & Pizza

Harrogate Grill & Pizza is situated on Skipton Road so it's just a 10 minute walk from our house. We decided to have our tea on the Stray since it was a sunny evening so walked up to Harrogate Grill & Pizza to order some food.

The menu is quite varied with everything you'd expect in Pizzas, Burgers, Kebabs and Chicken. They also sell Pasta dishes and Salad Bowls. There's something for £7.50 in every food type so there's plenty to choose from. We ordered our food (which came with a free garlic bread) and made our way to The Stray to set up the blankets.

We picked up the food 15 minutes later. I'd order the Harrogate Blue Burger which had Harrogate blue cheese on top and caramelised onion chutney underneath. It was delicious! And only £5.40 with chips and salad. A proper meaty burger too not one of those thin patties that some takeaways use.

JD had the Gourmet Burger which he also enjoyed. Leigh and Erin both had Pizzas and chips. We all enjoyed our food. I've got my eye on their Skewered Spicy Meatballs for next time! I can see us going there often for lunch or our evening meal. The menu looks great and it's all a good price. The staff are really friendly and the food was well cooked quickly. Lovely!

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Burger It! 30: French Onion Burger

I'm hoping this French Onion burger is as tasty as the French Onion Soup I've previously made for my other blog.


500g minced beef
salt and pepper
caramelised onion chutney
brioche buns
comte cheese slices

Mix the minced beef with the salt and pepper then form into burger buns. Cook them in a frying pan as you usually would.

Make up your burger with a spread of mustard and lettuce on the brioche roll. Top with the burger and cheese then heap some onion chutney on top.

Ooh la la! These are delicious! The caramelised onion chutney does a great job of moistening up the whole thing making for a great burger. The cheese was nice too which is good because some French cheeses are way too strong. Brioche makes for a nice soft burger bun. Pretty nice all round.

Ratings: JD - 4, Emma - 4

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Watch The Birdie! - Update

We've been bird watching for just about six weeks now so it's time for an update! We've learned many things about birds in this last six weeks. There have been many ups and downs!

It's really hard to identify birds when you only see them briefly. And you will only see them briefly as they flit about chirping loudly. We've heard so many birds on walks but haven't seen them enough to identify even half of them. My first visitor to the garden was a classic LBJ (Little Brown Job). I've no idea what it is. Sally got a visitor to her feeder too but only saw it's brown arse sticking out. Haha :D


Sally's LBJ

You'd think that if you put up bird feeders that birds would come. Not always true. The only bird I've seen on my fancy bird feeder is a stupid big pigeon that comes and is probably scaring away the tiny cute birds.

Binoculars are your best friend. I've got a lot of use out my binocs so far. Staring at seagulls at Redcar. I saw a Herring Gull and sadly an uncountable European Herring Gull too (it's not in the book).

I had a good trip to Staveley Nature reserve and saw some great birds. A Little Egret, Grey Heron, Cormorant and Avocet. All good point scores. Their hides are great for spotting birds in comfort.

Sal's been making use of her commute to work spotting birds along the way. She even managed to spot a female Moorhen and it's chicks close to where she works. A difficult spot because the female looks nothing like the distictive male moorhen.

Sally is quite determined to spot a family of Peregrines that nest on York Minster. They've been spotted a lot by other people and she found out they even have their own Twitter page with sighting updates. We hung out for a while in the gardens nearby hoping for a spot but they've been elusive so far.

I do generally feel more knowledgable about birds now. I was out walking with Leigh last week and I was able to point out a Pied Wagtail strutting about on the grass nearby wagging it's tail. I felt like a proper parent right then.

We've had a lot of walks near rivers and lakes recently. I find myself sructinising the ducks for any different kinds of ducks but no luck yet. Just your regular Mallards everywhere!

How magestic!  

Some expectant ducks at Swinsty reservoir.

So far we've enjoyed bird watching. It's difficult but satisfying when you spot something and realise you know what it is. It takes a lot of detective work to identify a bird, plenty of page-turning in your bird book and sometimes a bit of googling too. Then still you're not certain half the time.

Sal and I have realised that this is going to be a longer project than we realised. But we've made a start!

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Harrogate Cheap Eats: Nutrition Joe's

Nutrition Joe's is a cafe adjoining the Gambaru gym on Station Parade in Harrogate. Their focus is on good food cooked healthily and their menu shows this. Erin and I went for a late breakfast/brunch. I really like the decor inside as it's all wooden chairs and tables. It looks rustic but is really comfy.

After checking out the menu I opted for the Super Protein Pancakes with Yoghurt & Blueberries (£6.50) and Erin had a Bacon Breakfast Roll (£4.50) with Potato Wedges (£2.50). Coming in under our £15 budget at £13.50. We both had lemon water to drink.

My pancakes were yummy, really crisp and tasty with the yoghurt & blueberries (which were the tiniest blueberries I've ever seen). Erin enjoyed her bacon roll which was in a lovely looking brioche bun. She wasn't so keen on the wedges, complaining they tasted 'too much like potatoes'. Haha, I finished them off for her and I thought they were great.

There's plenty on the menu in the Cheap Eats range. Wraps, soup, eggs benedict (someone on the table next to me had this and it looked delicious!), omelettes and salads. There are also lots of delicious looking low fat cakes on offer too. They seem very accommodating with the menu which is great if you're trying to eat healthily or can't eat gluten etc.

Give Nutrition Joe's a try, your body deserves it.

Saturday, July 13, 2019

Photo Challenge Week 4

It's the Final We-ek, doo doo doo dooo, doo doo doo doo doo etc. Yes, that's right I've finished the challenge. Hurrah :D

INSECT - A tiny little bee busy at work keeping us humans alive.

 METAL - A chained gate I passed by on a walk.

 OLD - This is part of Ripley Castle. A Grade I listed 14th-century country house in North Yorkshire.

 SHAPE - I love the shape of trees. All the branches reaching out from a central trunk.

 TIME - This sun dial was in a graveyard I visited. It was positioned under a tree though so there was no sun to help me tell the time.

TRAVEL - One of my favourite thing about the UK is all the Public Footpaths. You see signs everywhere in the countryside showing you where there are paths for walks in the countryside. I really like seeing them.

WEATHER - These wind turbines are lined up on the east coast in Redcar. I like to see windmills anyplace but along the coast seems such a great idea. We should have them on every coast since we're an island.

BOOKS - A section of my to-read bookshelf. A book my sister got me, a book a freind recommended, a book I won, a book a colleague lent me, a book JD passed on to me. Books are great and they connect people together too.

FOOD - I take food pictures all the time for my food blog but never really just some food I'm eating right then. This is my breakfast from this morning. Greek yoghurt, granola, blueberries and honey. Delicious and a good start to the day.

I've enjoyed taking pictures for this challenge. It makes me think more about places I visit when I'm looking around for pictures that fulfil a photo prompt.

I hope you've enjoyed seeing the pictures I've taken. :)

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Cheeky Burger 29: Tuna Burger

Making a burger from canned tuna is a really handy recipe to have since you can easily make it from non-fresh ingredients you can keep in the cupboard. I've tried making various tuna burgers before but they never hold together very well. Let's see how this one works out!


3 cans tuna
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon oil
1 tablespoon parsley
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 egg
Salt & pepper

Mix ingredients together and form into patties. Cook in a frying pan with a little more oil.

As you can see in the picture a couple of the burgers did break up but also a couple managed to stay quite solid. When the burgers are done transfer them to bread buns adding in some salad and mayo.

The burgers were really tasty. Quite solid to the bite with a lovely taste from the seasonings. The best thing was the crispy bits around the edge from frying. Yum! We all enjoyed them (when I say all, I mean everyone except Erin who only eats chicken burgers) so I'll probably make them again.

Ratings: Emma - 4, JD - 3, Leigh - 5

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