Salad wrapped in salad..my idea of a perfect sub..

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You all know how much I like my great big bowls of salad well I’ve also been tucking into some great big salad wraps wrapped in lettuce leaves.

I’ve used romain lettuce as the bigger outside leaves are perfect to create a sub and hold lots of lovely filling..

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Pack out your salad wrap with whatever you fancy and enjoy your wonderful fresh crisp salad sub. I’ve added more salad leaves, cherry tomatoes, grated carrot, sliced peppers, cheese slices, tahini sauce, flaked almonds, whatever I’ve had to hand and created a handful of fresh loveliness. Alternatively, yesterday is used iceberg lettuce leaves and filled them with grated carrot and grated goats cheese…yum!!!
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This is how I like to eat :)

I’ve got a new toy…

I use a lot of lemon juice, nearly everything I make seems to have lemon juice in it, so I am forever squeezing lemons and forever getting squirted with lemon juice!!!

Last summer I watched a friend of ours get this gadget out of her cupboard and with one hand efficiently squeeze a lemon in a second! I’ve coveted that gadget ever since, I have no idea why it’s taken me so long to buy one..!

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Ben modelled actually using it and had great fun seeing such fast results :)

It’s really cool, very quick and simple to use and squeezes every last bit of juice out of the fruit, to such an extent I will have to keep an eye on how much goes into future recipes.

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Highly recommend it :)

This time last year…

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…it was my beautiful sister in law, Mercedes’ 40th birthday and I made her this cake. Let me tell you why it was so special to me, quite aside from the fact that I was making it for someone I dearly love:

I had never made a layer cake.

I had never made ganache.

I had never made flowers from icing.

Basically, the whole thing was a complete first, and I loved making it hence sharing it with you a year later (and I didn’t have my blog then after all!!) I smiled continuously as I made it, then held my breath as I drove the 60 miles to take it to the birthday girl!!!! Sports cars with low profile tyres driving on uneven London roads do not make good delivery cars!! But it remained completely intact – phew!!

I loved loved loved presenting it to Mercedes and seeing the joy in her face and my niece’s huge beautiful eyes taking it in made my heart burst..

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I could have cried when she cut into it though!!! My work of art, massacred, I could barely watch!!!

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And that is a snippet of my niece in her princess dress that you can see there πŸ’œ it’s always a good day to dress up like a princess!!

They all loved the cake, they said it tasted great (I didn’t eat any of course!) and they loved how it looked. I was so proud I could barely put it into words then, or now; isn’t it wonderful when we can present the people we love and care about with something we have made for them? This is the joy of cooking for me, feeding and nurturing and treating other people and making them happy through something I have made and filled with love 😍

Cauliflower and green bean madras with spiced butternut squash quinoa..

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Apologies for the steam in the photo, at least you know it was piping hot!!

So, for this weekend, I followed my previously used chicken madras recipe and made up a big pan of it for my boys and used the same recipe with cauliflower and green beans for me. I made them on Friday ready to eat on Saturday to allow the flavours to brew. I usually make curries fresh to eat immediately but have found that the leftovers often taste better a couple of days later so decided to do it this way for a change. This also meant that I wasn’t juggling endless pans and creating huge amounts of mess and washing up all at once!!
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As I was also busy cooking quinoa on Saturday, I decided to make a quinoa dish to go with my vegetable curry.

I fried onions and garlic then added the quinoa and water, exactly as I usually do, then once it was cooked I added cumin and paprika and roasted butternut squash and it was very tasty…
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All I can say is, there wasn’t much left…
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Why we blog.. Oh Lidia

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Today’s blog marks the last in the current series of Why we blog.. I hope you have enjoyed meeting all of the bloggers who have featured in the series and that you have discovered some new blogs to follow and enjoy. I’ve loved sharing all of these blogs and reading all of your wonderful comments and thoughts (do check back every so often in case there’s any comments waiting for you on your post). The strength of our wonderful community just shines through every day and for which I am extremely grateful, starting this blog was one of the best things I’ve ever done ☺️

Remember you can read all of the series again on my Why we blog.. page.

I will be doing another series at some point as there are many other blogs and bloggers I would like to feature, but for now, enjoy the fabulous blog from the fabulous Lidia, that is Oh Lidia..

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How long have you had your blog?

I started my blog in September 2012.

What was your reason for starting it?

I received an e-mail from my dear friend Sue and it went something like this:
“I’ve been thinking Lidia that you should start a blog. Actually, you must start a blog. You simply must!”
You see, every time I baked or cooked something crazy amazing, I would e-mail her with a detailed description of what I’d made and tell her that she just HAD to try it. And she would try it and always use some expletives to describe it.

What is your constant inspiration?

Love. Love of good food. Love how food brings people together.
Love for my family and trying to feed them yummy and healthy (most times!) food.
Love for my Italian roots and keeping them alive for my girls by cooking the foods my mom and dad cooked for me.
And making everything I do with love.

How would you describe your blog?

My blog is a journal of sorts. Behind every recipe is a story, or memory.

Where does your blog name come from?

I thought and thought about a name for quite some time. Finally, it hit me.
Whenever my friends, especially my best friend Loren, would try something that I had made, they would say, “Oh Lidia! This is so good!”. Or my daughters, Charlotte and Emma, would always say, “Oh mama…this is amazing!”. And my hubby of course, who would always say, “Oh Lidia!”.
Except he said it when I drove him crazy!

What are your longer term aims for your blog?

Not sure… I know I’d like to focus some posts more locally, such as great places to eat in and around Montreal, great food shops; things I’m loving at the moment, which might not necessarily involve a recipe; definitely more
cooking and baking with kids.

Any final words for my readers?

Be passionate about everything you do.
Do it for yourself and no one else.
Do it all with love… it’ll be so much more rewarding! And fun too!

Don’t cook quinoa as it says on the pack!!!

I know, controversial, but I never ever cook quinoa as the packs says. When I have, either there isn’t enough water and the pans runs dry and the quinoa gets burnt if you don’t catch it; or, and this one is the most typical, there’s too much water and it’s cooked for far too long and your quinoa ends up mushy and tasteless.

You may completely disagree with me, and that’s fine, but I like my quinoa so that the grains separate and have texture and is something to actually eat and chew properly. This way you’ll make the most of it’s lovely nutty flavour too.

So, this is what I do…

I take just under a mug full of uncooked white quinoa…

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Then I fill the same mug with water to the top…

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I put the quinoa and water into a pan, over a high heat and bring the water to the boil…

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Once it’s boiling, I turn down the heat so that the water is simmering, put the lid on, and leave it to simmer for 6 minutes, yes, just SIX minutes…

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After 6 minutes, turn the heat off, leave the lid on and leave the pan for 20 minutes. I’m sure you’ll be tempted to test it and you’ll find the grains not quite cooked, have no fear! The steam will continue to cook the quinoa.

After 20 minutes, remove the lid and fork up the quinoa and you should have a perfectly cooked pan full of lovely, textured grains….

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Of course, if you like it how you already cook it, feel free to ignore me, but it’s not just me saying this… read this post for more info

Enjoy!!!