7 July 2017

In The Kitchen: Slow Cooked Meaty Ribs

recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe

I love getting messy with food - it's a personal and enjoyable experience, who says you shouldn't have fun with your food? And that's why meaty ribs make it straight to the top of my list of delicious and fun foods to eat. Plus, they're so cheap to buy! Get them from a local butcher, or from a supermarket butcher - the ones I have used here are from Tesco Butchers, and for 6 ribs it cost me less than £4.

This slow cooked meaty ribs recipe is easy to do, and tastes incredible once it's out of the oven. All of the spices are easy to find, except one which you'll have to make yourself: adjika. Adjika is a pesto type mix of chilli, garlic, coriander, fenugreek and seasoning. This paste comes from Abkhazia, where I was born, and has been a favourite of mine since I can remember. Whenever my mum visits our family back in Abkhazia, she always brings a pot back from the market - but she is also a pro at making it at home! All you need to do is blend the ingredients together in a blender et voila, you're done! I might try and make my own version at home and write up a recipe for you guys because it's truly amazing.

recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe

What you'll need:

  • 6 x meaty ribs
  • 2 x garlic cloves (whole but peeled)
  • 1 Scotch Bonnet chilli
  • 4 teaspoons of clear honey
  • 3 teaspoons adjika
  • 3 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 3 table spoons olive oil
  • 1 small dry bay leaf
  • salt & pepper

recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe

Pour all of the ingredients into a large oven proof dish with the ribs. Get your hands dirty and smother the ribs in ingredients, rub the spices all over the meat and massage your ribs until tender. Leave to rest for 10 minutes to let the meat absorb the oil and spices.
In the meantime, heat your over to 170c.

recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe

Pour about one cup of boiling water into the dish, cover with tin foil or a lid, and place in the oven. Leave the ribs to cook on a slow speed for about 1hr/1.30hrs, checking occasionally that they don't burn! Your aim is to have ribs where meat simply slides off the bone, and the bone comes off clean. This meat will be tender, juicy, and full of flavour!
When you're happy you ribs have reached the 'fall off the bone' stage (and don't be afraid to have a cheeky taste!) remove them from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes.

recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe
recipe for meaty ribs, food blog, food bloggers, ribs recipe

Serve your ribs with spicy mayo (I usually mix adjika/sriracha with mayonnaise) and chips or sweet potato fries. This dish is messy, delicious, packed with a flavoursome punch yet a tangy sweetness from the honey - basically anything you could ever want from ribs!

Cooking meals like this for friends and family is so much fun, I really love having everyone sat around the table eating, talking, laughing. It's so cosy to watch! You can make these ribs in bigger batches if you have more people, but 6 ribs are perfect for 3/4 people when there's more food on the table, but not as a whole meal.

Will you be trying this recipe?

5 July 2017

Hashtag Basics

what are hashtags, how do I hashtag, lifestyle blog, hampshire blog

plural noun: hashtags
a word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify messages on a specific topic.

Hashtags are the key to finding topics on platforms like Twitter and Instagram - they are also the key to putting your business ‘out there’ and making sure your reach is widened through the use of online tags. Most of us know what hashtags are and what they do, but what a few of us still haven’t sussed is how to use hashtags to benefit our accounts.

If a treat falls in the middle of the forest, but there was no one there to see or hear it - did it ever really fall? The same goes for your content. If you put out the most amazing content, but don’t tell anyone about it - how will the people interested know you have content, products, services out there? And whilst many platforms allow searches to come back with simple text, some platforms like Instagram work on hashtags, locations, and account names. So unless you hashtag your photos, your potential audience who can turn into customers or readers, just won’t see it. Simples really.

OK, so hashtags are important. We get it. But how do you use hashtags to their best ability?

Search For Topics: Use the hashtags to search for topics which you are interested in, and may be beneficial for your own accounts. I often see people on Instagram trying to be clever and coming up with really long hashtags, for example something like ‘creativityisamazingandilovemyjob’ - great, but that is 1 hashtag on the platform and no one is ever going to find you through that. Instead, why not try #creatives (690,372 tags); #mycreativebiz (642,367 tags); #lovemyjob (12,352,692 tags). And smaller community tags like #creativetime which has 32,400 tags. It’s beneficial to add some big tags, and smaller hashtags to join different social communities.

Promote Your Business: Once you’ve researched your hashtags, you can start applying them to your own posts. Hashtags on Instagram are very important, and one way I keep track of what I’m doing is to save 30 hashtags on a specific topic in my notes, then copy and paste them in the comment underneath. Actually let’s take a second here - I am still seeing so many accounts who ‘spam’ their own captions by adding 30 hashtags in them. Just copy your tags into the comment box below! It makes you feed nice and tidy, and hides the hashtags. It’s a pet peeve. Almost as bad as accounts who think it’s OK to type out a link in your Instagram caption. Guys, Instagram doesn't support links unless they’re in your bio, and you can’t even copy and paste those links so please stop. It’s frustrating because you want to go to the webpage/blog post, but you physically can’t! But that’s a whole other topic.

Advertise Events: Most events will have their own hashtag - this is a brilliant way to collect photos from all different accounts, find out who’s at the event, follow it, and make more social media connections. And it's not just corporate event but weddings, birthday parties, engagements - it can literally be any event!

Create Your Own Hashtag: Whether it's a new product launch, an event, or a movement you can create your own hashtags and watch the community grow. Make sure to talk about it and encourage others to jump on that hashtag, again it's all about clear communication and ensuring your audience have a call to action to follow!

And how many hashtags should you use on your platforms? Well, there’s a quick guide for that.

Instagram: 11-30 hashtags
Facebook: 1-2 hashtags
Twitter: 1-2 hashtags

Hashtag Fails: Before I let you go, let's take a second to think about all the hashtag fails which have happened in the history of social media. Although hashtags are brilliant, research and common sense is very important when it comes to talking about a topic on social media. Remember #susanalbumparty? Yep, that didn't go quite as planned but obviously got people talking. It was supposed to read as Susan (Boyle) Album Party, but instead... well you can see for yourself. Or #Cairo - a brand trying to jump on the bandwagon of a trending hashtag with their newly launches fashion line when it fact #Cairo was trending in the midst of the Egyptian Revolution. Viewers were horrified. So please, use a little common sense and do your research to avoid hashtags going horribly wrong!

Do you have a hilarious hashtag fail story? I'd love to laugh along with you - comment with your stories below!
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