7 Recipes That Will Challenge You In the Kitchen This Week!

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This is going to be a week of trying new things in the kitchen and challenging yourself to become a better cook. This post is inspired by another similar one over at Food52, looking for the recipes for the overachiever in all of us :)

Now we’re all about simplifying food and making it as easy as possible to get yourselves into the kitchen. That means that anyone can jump straight in to 99% of our recipes, but every so often we go all out and try to demystify something a little tougher! Here’s a list of sorted recipes that you should definitely be attempting this week if you fancy a bit of a challenge.


Croissants
We just posted a whole bunch of tips for croissants, but they do need a lot of love and attention! They’re totally worth it though. Make this your weekend project and you won’t regret it.

Pork Pies
These are not the easiest things to make! It’s all about the hot pastry. You need to shape them around the bottom of a glass (or grab yourself a dolly) whilst they’re still warm, then firm them up in the fridge before sliding them back off and filling up! The skill is getting the pastry an even thickness. Make these on Sunday and enjoy them for Monday’s lunch! 



Ultimate BLT
Sandwiches are art. Fact. A lot of people don’t understand why you would go to so much trouble to make a sandwich, but we know you understand. Fresh sun dried tomato bread, made specially for the BLT, basil mayo to compliment everything perfectly and to protect your all important bread, and of course the best bacon, lettuce and tomato arranged with precision. Sandwiches are art.


Floating Islands

We actually simplified this process to make it a lot easier for everyone, but it’s still a bit of a challenge to get the perfect shape and texture. Plus, that sugar cage is the thing that will really make it impress your guests, and it can take a bit of practice to get perfect! Next time you have your mates round… This is your project.


Brioche
We’ve done a couple of brioche recipes. Bread can be so simple, yet infuriatingly tough to perfect. Brioche is a little more difficult than a simple white loaf, but not something that you should be afraid to try. In fact, we’ve had loads of photos of our Chocolate Orange Twist through Instagram and they look awesome. Challenge yourself to make this one! 


Sushi
We’ve done a lot of sushi too. We love it, you guys love it, but mastering it takes some doing! Sushi is one of those things that you may never quite master, but if you give it a go then you’ll definitely get better every time. The trick is not to be afraid of trying. While it might not be perfect, or authentic, you’ll definitely get something that tastes good, and after a few goes it’ll look good too. 


Chocolate Truffle Cake
And finally! For our ultimate series we certainly went all out on the recipes, but this one was probably the best of the bunch! Getting the layers of sponge, praline and truffle takes time, but like all these recipes it’s worth the effort.


Those are some of our more complicated recipes, but they’re not too scary right? So… What are you going to have a go at this week? Make sure you upload your efforts to Sorted Food and share them with us! 

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Can I Freeze My Croissant Dough?!

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We made croissants a few weeks ago and wow, you guys loved ‘em! We’ve been seeing load of photos coming in of your croissants, along with lots of questions. We thought it would be good to answer them all in one place! :) 

What type of butter is best?
There was a whole conversation on butter under the YouTube video… That’s what we love to see! We’d recommend using standard, high fat butter rather than an alternative like margarine, although we’ve been told that it would work either way! Whether you use salted or unsalted butter really doesn’t matter too much. Unsalted is usually used in baking so that you can add your own salt rather than risk it being too salty! 

Croissants vs puff pastry
They’re pretty similar! The big difference is the yeast in croissant dough. It means you get a more bready rather than crispy result.  Usually you can cheat puff pastry in the freezer when laminating, but it’s harder with croissants, as the time in the fridge is also proving the dough. 

It takes so long! 
But it’s so worth it! The time in the fridge is proving the dough really slowly, which gives the best results. It’s a long wait, but most of the time you can be doing other things, and you can make a big batch a keep them for another time! 

Can you freeze them and when is best? 
This was the most asked question, and the answer is… YES! A few people tried it a got great results. The best point to freeze them is after rolling and shaping, but before the final prove. Just cover and freeze them, then stick them in plastic bags together. When you want to bake them it still takes a bit of time. Take them out to let them thaw evenly, then allow them to prove for that final hour! 

Laminating 6 times - one block of butter folded 6 times, or 6 blocks of butter?! 
Wow! This is one you don’t want to get wrong :) One block of butter is enough. We roll it out, then fold it into the dough, and fold again and again. 

My dough is a big sticky buttery mess!! What’s wrong?
Chances are you’re working in a warm place. Try to keep it as cool as possible and work quickly when it’s out of the fridge. The butter needs to stay fairly solid to create all those layers! 

What is flour in French? 
Lots of people helped us out here! It’s ‘farine’! 

Bonus points: In German it’s ‘Mehl’, in Swedish it’s ‘mjöl’ and in Malaysia it’s ‘tepung’! 

Hope that helps you out! Any other burning foodie questions that we should be answering? Let us know! 

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sortedgotmesorted:

Sorted Food - 7 Outdoor Food Life Hacks.

If you haven’t, go check out their two other Life Hacks videos:

Simple Food Life Hacks.

Simple Food Life Hacks 2.

In fact… Double GIFs today! 

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thefaultin221b:

SortedFood - 7 Outdoor Food Life Hacks [x]

Haha… There had to be GIFs of this video :D 

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Foodie Spotlight: Chockywoky

Since we launched the app there are so many people that we’re discovering and finding that they have the most amazing blogs for us to highlight as even more inspiration for the Sorted community. Charlie is one of those. She runs a blog called chockywoky, which she runs alongside an Instagram and now a Sorted Food account


Charlie cooks everything, but I can see a not-so-secret love for breakfast and sweet stuff! In fact the first recipe that drew my attention was a simple mixed seed granola :) 

Let’s check out some recipes! How about we start with breakfast and some rather delicious granola along with about 194367 (may not be completely accurate) recipes using oatmeal. How she makes granola look SO good I’ll never know, but it works. Click the photos to grab each recipe! 

Next up, some savoury dishes… I recommend the 20 Minute Carrot orange soup + Crispy Ravioli and the simple but delicious looking Tacos with Wasabi Prawn Salad. Prawn + mango = winner! 

And finally. Dessert! Who can resist PB Banana Doughnuts? They’re baked, so like most things on Charlies blog, they’ve got a healthy twist too. Another one that looks great is the latest recipe up on Sorted Food, Baked Bananas 2 ways

Oh and finally, throughout all of these recipes… you should definitely be having a read of the stories and narration that accompany the food. It’s all beautifully written and all sorts of great photos, not just of the food.

Our favourite recipe: Sea Salt cake is an interesting one, but with caramel sauce I bet it’s amazing! Walnut candles too! 
Top reason to follow Charlie: One of our favourite foodies on the app so far, plus loads more recipes on her blog. 
Other stuff to check out: Check out Charlie’s profiles on Sorted Food and Instagram.

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5 Interesting Side Effects of Conscious Healthy Eating

“Ugh… I wish I could eat that, but I’m on a diet”.

Ever heard that one? I’m always hearing that and many more complaints about people trying to stay healthy by eating plain and uninspiring food, cutting themselves off from food they love, or even worse… Eating ready meals and snacks specifically made for diets. 

But here’s the thing: The truth is that healthy stuff can taste good… like, really good! And you can take small steps towards eating healthier. Just being actively conscious about what you eat is the key, and there are a few interesting side effects that come from being conscious about eating:

1. You’ll start enjoying new foods.
Eating healthy requires some training of your tastebuds, which means thinking about what you eat! You can still enjoy every bite though. Start slow… The beginning is looking for tiny substitutes and reductions. I could NEVER give up chocolate, so I replaced milk chocolate (I used to eat whole large bars of the stuff in one go) with darker and darker chocolate. Then I started eating a little less every week. It’ll open up a whole new world of ingredients that you didn’t know you loved! 

2. You’ll gain knowledge.
You’ll actually want to learn if you’re really eating consciously. Wondering if something is good for you? Look it up. How do you cook it? Look it up again. Eventually you won’t have to! Want to cook kale? Try treating it a bit like red cabbage - Red wine or cider… a bit of brown sugar and simmer. It’ll help if there are familiar flavours, then just start reducing sugar, cooking it for a bit less time and you’re getting healthier and healthier! 

3. You’ll appreciate your food.
You’ve spent a bit of time preparing your meal (don’t worry, not too long!) so sit down and enjoy it. Appreciate where it came from, the flavours and what it’s doing for you. Think about how you could make it even better or healthier. (bonus side effect: You’ll feel fuller if you’re concentrating on eating).

4. You can share the experience with friends or family.
Cook and eat together with no distractions. Enjoy the food and associate it with the time you spend with your family. We’re always going on about how cooking is better with friends. Be proud of what you’re cooking… You could even share the recipe with your mates or cook it for them! 

5. You won’t feel guilty.
Conscious eating is not just about the healthy food, it’s about the unhealthy food too. The fact is, ‘unhealthy’ can taste GREAT! If treating yourself is a conscious decision, where you know that your next meal is going to be super healthy AND delicious, then you can go out for a meal with your mates or do some baking on the weekend with zero guilt. 


Do you think about what you’re eating? Is there an ingredient that you wish you loved? 

Happy eating! 

James

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5 Trendy Health Foods that you should try.

We tried Chia Pudding for the first time a few weeks ago. We were inspired by a recipe posted on Sorted Food and thought we’d give it a go. Overall I think we liked it, although there ere a few mixed feelings! It got me thinking about some more trendy health foods that we’ve been hearing about recently.

We’ve picked out 5 healthy foods that we love or are interested in trying, not just for health benefits, but because they actually taste GOOD! 

Chia Seeds
We’ve never used these on Sorted, but when a recipe went up on the app we had to give it a go! The pudding is definitely an interesting use for these little seeds. No heat necessary, just add everything into a dish and leave it in the fridge. The seeds will absorb liquid and become like little jellies! 

Coconut Flour
This one comes from the gluten-free trend and it’s great for using alongside almond flour as an alternative to regular flours. It’s also a great source of fibre! It’s also got a bit more protein than regular flour, and contains the healthy fats that coconuts are known for. 

The bad news? It can’t be substituted directly for flour, so it requires a different recipe or a lot of experimentation to get just right! It’s unlikely that gluten-free baked stuff will ever have quite the same texture as regular versions, but there are some really good recipes out there that taste just as good! For a start, try our gluten and dairy-free choco nut muffins! 


Kefir and Kombucha
We came across Kefir on our trip to Ireland and around the same time, Eva, from Adventures in Cooking did a great post on it! It’s basically a blend of bacteria that is great for stomach health and digestion. More recently, Russ from The Domestic Man posted about Kombucha, a fermented tea with a number of health benefits that you can also flavour with all sorts of fruits.

These drinks are a bit of a project, similar to sourdough starter. If you like that kind of thing I reckon you’ll love this! We haven’t tried kombucha, but the Kefir we had tasted great, which should be the first thing you look for when trying something new right?! 

Rooibos Tea
Never tried it and never even heard of until a couple of weeks ago! We were talking tea on Twitter and lots of people were suggesting Rooibos tea and their favourite! It’s full of antioxidants and has a low caffeine level, and judging from the rising popularity amongst health conscious people (and you guys!) it must taste good too :) 

Kale
Kale is still right up there as one of the most popular ‘super foods’ and luckily it can taste great too. We’ve posted about the many benefits of kale before, but still haven’t used it that much in recipes! Mike’s Roast Chicken, Lentils and Kale Made Personal recipe  was pretty good though! Take a look - 

What healthy foods do you like most? Give us some fun facts! 

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lgorkarkaroff:

Candy Apples - Sorted Food

If you follow us on Twitter and Facebook then you’ll have seen that we’ve been filming some brand new eyeCandy this week. Coming soon! 

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Tough love from Jamie!

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One of the best things about doing what we do at Sorted is getting to meet people who watch the videos, send us tweets and Facebook messages and generally chat to us online about the one thing EVERYONE IN THE WORLD has in common… food!
A couple of weekends ago at Summer in the City we met a tonne of people who enjoy the little corner of the internet occupied by  SORTEDfood, which was incredible! But there was a running theme… “I watch all the videos but I hardly ever cook any of the recipes because…”
Now the last part of that sentence was made up from a few options, including:
1) I don’t have any time - do you know how incredibly busy I am?!
2) I can’t cook - honestly, I’d burn a salad 
3) I don’t have any money - I spent it all on takeaways :-S
4) All the recipes are for 4 people and I’m cooking for one! :’(
5) Pfft, that’s what my mum/dad/aunt/grandparents/dog/imaginary friend are for.
If I’m being completely honest, these excuses are limper than a wet piece of lettuce (or Mike’s handshake).
So, being my ever helpful self, I’ve come up with a few comebacks…
1) No time - Screw that… A stir fry takes 5 minutes, just buy a pack of fresh veg, shove it in a wok and stir it on a high heat for 5 minutes… Seriously, it’s that quick!!
2) Can’t cook - Absolute testicles… That is purely a mindset thing, anyone can cook… See above example… OR boil some pasta for 10 minutes and then stir in an egg, some chopped garlic and some ham - BOOM, you cooked a carbonara!
3) No money - Male cow excrement… Actual ingredients cost very little and can be used more than once, rather than a £2.50 microwave meal that you use once spend that money on some potatoes/pasta/rice and just buy some protein (meat/fish etc) when you need it!
4) Portions - For the love of… Why not cook up a large amount and then refrigerate or freeze whatever you don’t eat and then you have another meal waiting for you in days/weeks to come!
5) Other people to cook for me - What happens when they leave? What if they’re not there? Part of being an actual human is the ability to be independent and look after yourself… Or, just return the favour once in a while!
Ok, ok, so that might be slightly tough love… But here’s some actual tips for how to change your mindset when it comes to food:
1) Instead of treating yourself to a takeaway/fast food meal etc, try treating yourself to a proper home cooked meal - I guarantee you’ll feel fuller for longer, be more satisfied and get this lovely little warm fuzzy feeling of pride deep inside your private parts.
2) When you get home after a long day of working/schooling/procrastinating decide to do something productive with your time. Cook for yourself, your flatmate, your family, your partner, your neighbour… What else would you be doing with that time? Watching tv? Surfing the internet? Some of the best dishes I know (e.g. a chilli/curry etc) need 5-10 minutes of actual work before leaving them to cook… Then go back to doing nothing and get yourself ready to eat something delicious that YOU actually made.
3) What could you value higher in life than your health, wellbeing and happiness? Life is about priorities and surely those things come pretty high up that list? Don’t choose a ‘healthy ready meal’, that’s counter productive - just cook something from scratch and see how cheap it works out in the long run!
4) Challenge yourself to try something new each day/week/month, whatever you think is achievable. That could be a new type of food, a new ingredient, or a brand new way of cooking you’ve never tried before… Self improvement is one of the most attractive qualities in a person, so give it a go!
Now the chances are, this blog might not apply to you, so if it doesn’t please share it and pass it on to someone you think needs to read it!
Ok, so SORTEDfood might not change the world, but together we can help to make it a little bit better… It’ll certainly taste better once we’re finished with it!!
Love
Jamie xxx
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Brownies at Brunch… Really?! OK then!

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Apparently it’s national ‘brownies at brunch’ month. Seriously… I have no idea what this even means or why it’s a thing, aside from the fact that brownies are good ALL THE TIME.

Did you know that the world’s largest brownie was 11feet long and served 1200 people! Before that one, the largest weighed in at 3,000 lbs. and was made with 750 lbs. of chocolate chips, 500 lbs. of butter, 850 lbs of sugar, 500 lbs. of flour and 3,500 eggs! Just gonna put it out there… If each of those 1200 people loved brownies as much as we do, then it probably wouldn’t have served them all :D 

Brownies were developed in the United States at the end of the 19th century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the 20th century. These ones didn’t even have all that much chocolate in them, with most of the flavour coming from cocoa powder. This was waaaay before the debate over cakey and crumbly vs dense and fudgy… Talking of which, what’s your favourite? (There is a right answer to that).

In the world of sweet treat brownies are a staple now, but they’re going way beyond the original recipe! We’ve cooked quite a few brownie recipes, but not many are traditional! 



There’s chocolate and beetroot brownies, which are somewhere between fudgy and spongy, with a brilliant earthy flavour coming from the beetroot. We’ve also tried adding cheesecake mix into brownies. You should too. Like… right now. That’s all there is to say on that topic. 


Then there’s my personal favourite, the Townie. A cross between a tart and a brownie, this one is definitely not for the feint hearted, and I reckon it needs the freshness of the orange that we added.

Finally, we know that everybody loves mug cooking. This might just be the ultimate in mug cooking… Chocolate and Pecan Brownie in a mug. Well done Ben. Well Done.


Whether it’s brunch or not. You should DEFINITELY be celebrating the brownie in some shape or form this month. It’s the perfect excuse to ‘test’ a few recipes! :) 

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