May Recommendations

May Recommendations

If you clicked on this because of the punny picture … Hi! Everyone else – there are some actual recommendations in here I promise.

I started writing this post about May recommendations and thought I was being a bit ridiculous and over enthusiastic – but as I looked to the bottom right hand corner of my screen and saw the date I was shocked. I swear my birthday (mid-march) was only a few weeks ago, and I was only skiing in the snow less than a week ago, so it cannot almost be May? Right?

Nonetheless, here we are, it is May, and I have a few wicked things I cannot wait to tell you about.

Skillet

So you may have noticed from its frequent appearances on my instagram page, but I recently bought a  cast-iron skillet and I am OBSESSED. I bought this Buckingham 20 x 32 cm Cast Iron Pre-Seasoned Skillet from Amazon and it is the ideal size for single portions and works on my induction hob.

What do I love about it? Firstly, the convenience – you can cook on the hob and in the oven with it, so it is easy to quickly cook ingredients on the hob and then pop it in the oven to brown or broil.

Secondly, the flavours are so richly enhanced by the skillet: vegetables become golden, crunchy and roasted; meats are tender with crispy outsides; and sauces are rich and flavoursome.

It also heats up really fast and retains heat better than any other pan, so no waiting around for the pan to heat up or the process or worries of your food not cooking when more is added to the pan. Foods cooker quicker in it, but you do have to be wary not to burn them, and it can take a little getting used to – I have learnt to put my hob on a lower heat for example. Additionally, the high density of the metal means it heats evenly and meats brown better and vegetables good and crisp without having to be constantly rotated. This is also why it is ideal for baking things in the oven.

The heavy base on it means it is very versatile to cook with. It wouldn’t be a good choice for cooking delicate fishes but it works great with meats, vegetables, sauces and stir frys.

The one draw back is that a cast iron skillet is quite high maintenance. I have heard many dos and don’ts regarding cleaning it and have found it hard to deduce exactly what theis recommended. I clean it immediately with water and sponge, whilst it is still hot, and most of the food residue removes doing this. Occasionally, I use a little soap for particularly stubborn stains. I always thoroughly dry it before storing it, as due to it being iron, it will rust if left wet. Lastly, I have heard recommendations for adding a layer of oil and heating it off before storing, and do not do this regularly.  The best advice is just not to worry too much about over cleaning it, as regular use actually improves the skillet with seasoning and non-stick.

So if you want the perfect crispy chicken, an evenly cooked frittata or a gooey skillet cookie, then a cast-iron skillet is for you.

Cashew Milk

I am not sure if I am late to the game on this one, but I have recently come across Cashew Milk, following a friend’s recommendation, and I am obsessed. Almond and Coconut milks get a lot of social media air time, whereas their pal Cashew milk seems relatively camera shy, aside from the dedicated home-made nut milkers.

It has only recently been available in my local supermarket, and I subsequently decided to give it a try.

It is really creamy, much more so than almond milk, and I love the flavour which is far more noticeable. I have recently been using Alpro’s unroasted almond milk, which has a more classic almond flavour, and is my new favourite for frothing and adding to my coffee. The cashew milk did not fair so well in my milk frother, and was not as frothy as almond milk. However, it does make my coffees noticeably creamier.  I have also tried it in protein shakes, which I usually have almond milk in, and did not notice a big difference, both are overpowered by the shake flavour and the consistency was similar.

However, this cashew milk is nicer than all the other non-dairy milks I drink, when on its own. This makes it a definite preference for me on cereal or granola or to top oats. The flavour and creaminess is a definite win and I am a big fan.

Protein Works Protein Brownie

I tend not to buy protein companies’ brownies, cookies or desserts, they are often very high in calories, more than I would want for a snack, and are often not gluten free. However, I was midst a 24 hour journey home from France and whilst killing time browsing Holland and Barrett (as any foodie would) I stumbled across the Protein Works Brownie.

I am generally a fan of the Protein Works products I have tried (I featured their Vegan Protein in my April post) and it was a good sized portion, has great macros, and is gluten free!

Although I would not rate it above a homemade brownie, I would recommend it to anyone looking for a healthy cake fix, with extra protein, and who does not want all the calories of some of the other brands.

You can buy them in Holland and Barrett, or online as a single brownie, or a whole pack!! >> Protein Works Brownie

Garbonzo Chickpeas

I recently came across these Garbonzo Chickpea snacks in Holland and Barrett. I have yet to see them anywhere else, so let me know if you know anywhere else I can buy them! They come in a few different flavours, including Thai Sweet Chilli and Firenze. I opted for the Thai Sweet Chilli on this occasion, and they were spicy and very flavoursome, if a little too hot at points.

I was mostly enticed by the fact they were only 88 calories for a bag and have a good amount of protein. Despite their relatively low calories, comparable to a small bag of popcorn, or popchips – they seemed to go FOREVER. I felt like I was still eating them about half an hour later, and I am not a slow eater.

These are a great snack for anyone wanting to feel satiated, because I was genuinely full afterwards. Presumably this is due to their protein content, and it definitely worked.

I am hoping to see these more frequently in shops, and I would definitely be keen to try them again.

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