Thursday, 11 December 2014
I've joined a few slimming world groups on Facebook and saw the 777 challenge on there.
7 glasses of water
7 superspeed foods
7 syns a day
You do this over 7 days and are meant to see great results.
I started today full of positivity - then I read my book - super speed not super free! Oops, i'd not understood why it was such a challenge when I first looked at it.
Super free foods are most fruit and veg, super speed form a tiny amount of those - I didn't have a single superspeed fruit in the house, so had to send phil to Tesco for berries and melon on the way home from work.
Today I've had:
Breakfast - two weetabix, kiwifruit and grapes. 1 pint of water.
Lunch - beans on 1 slice of best of both bread (4.5 syns). 1 pint of water.
Snack - banana. Half pint of water.
Tea - 2 quorn sausages (2 syns) jacket potato with cottage cheese, peas. 1 pint water.
Then I went and ruined things and had two low fat sausages (4 syns).
I'm taking my pints of water as counting as two normal glasses, so had the 7. Plus 2 decaf teas and 2 coffees - so that's one achieved.
Superspeed foods, I've managed 2. I should have had melon and berries to bring me up to 7, but I'm just not hungry.
Syns - 10.5, because I'm greedy and ate the low fat sausages just because they were there.
Not a great start! I'll be over with syns tomorrow because I'm going out for tea. Same with Saturday, having a Christmas dinner and drinks, but that leaves sunday-weds to try and do this challenge!
Monday, 8 December 2014
5 red onions
1 red chili (or 2 if you have a mild variety)
150ml balsamic vinegar
250ml red wine
100ml boiling water
120g light muscovado sugar
Steralise 3 or 4 jars, depending on their size. I get jars donated through the year to use so I always have a good stock to choose from.
I used one red chilli, from our homegrown batch - they are very spicy. I used it straight from the freezer, which makes it easier to chop.
Peel and slice the onions, my slices weren't especially thin, I like my chutney/marmalade to be quite chunky.
Chop the chilli, seeds included, then add to a large pan with olive oil, and a generous amount of garlic. Add the sliced onions and the boiling water. Put the lid on the pan and leave to cook for 20 mins, stirring every 5 mins.
Add the sugar, wine and vinegar to the pan then bring to the boil. Turn down the heat to summer and then summer the marmalade until it reaches a sticky consistency, with the liquid evaporated.
You'll know its done if you run your spoon through the mixture and a trail of liquid isn't left.
Spoon into your sterilised jars and pop the lids on.
Sunday, 7 December 2014
I had to pop out to the post office to send a Christmas card abroad, so called into our local supermarket for baking supplies. I came home with cocoa powder, vanilla essence, chocolate chips and chocolate orange segments. I decided to whip up some buns for us, and Phil iced them for me.
2 large eggs
Self raising flour
Juice of a satsuma
Chocolate orange segments
Place bun cases in your bun tin, ready for the mixture. Set the oven to 180.
Weigh your eggs - whatever they weigh (in my case 150g) then use the same amount of stork and caster sugar. Use 2/3 of the weight self raising flour and 1/3 cocoa powder
(So 100g self raising and 50g cocoa powder).
Cream the sugar and stork then add the eggs one at a time, with a little flour with each egg addition. Combine the remaining flour, add the cocoa and the juice of one satsuma. Stir to bring it all together, but not too much.
Spoon dollops of the mixture into your bun cases until all are filled. Bake for 22 mins until the buns are firm and springy to touch. Cool on a wire wrack.
To decorate make up some buttercream, phil usually just does this by adding icing sugar and cocoa powder to stork until it reaches the right consistency, ensuring it isn't too stiff. Place the mixture in a piping bag with a star nozzle and pipe onto your buns. Finish with a chocolate orange segment.
Friday, 28 November 2014
I don't often do reviews nowadays, I've turned down that many over the last two years that I've stopped getting invitations. But when an invite popped into my inbox from Pinche Pinche I had to come out of hibernation. If anyone asks me for recommendations of where to eat in Chapel Allerton Pinche Pinche is always where I point them.
My friend Fi and I went along on Wednesday this week to try their new menu. They've moved away from the safety of fajitas and are introducing the diners of Leeds to Antojitos - Mexican tapas.
We opted to put our trust in the chef be sent out a selection of what he wanted to showcase to us.
Please excuse my terrible photos, my phone is great taking pics outside, but useless indoors - and there's no way I'm taking a camera to a restaurant.
We had the guacamole:
Esquites (stripped corn on the cob):
Prawn and cod ceviche:
Slow cooked lamb Sope:
Tacos - we got sent a selection of cod, pork, spicy beef and surf & turf
We were stuffed after eating all those - sadly no room for Churros. I enjoyed trying each of the dishes, the only one I wasn't so keen on was the esquites, it got a bit samey after a while, we both decided if we were making it at home that we'd add a little lime to freshen it up.
My favourite dish was the slow cooked lamb Sope. The stew was delicious, and I loved the sweet potato basket. I might have to try and replicate them at home. The tacos were great too, my photo doesn't do their size justice. I enjoyed the beef one the most.
I really enjoyed the pomegranate salad too, I would never have ordered it myself so it was a great one to try.
I love the new concept, but I'm a massive tapas fan so I would. I'll definitely be going back to try the spicy cheese balls and cactus. If you aren't a tapas fan then there's still Enchiladas and Burritos to be had, we were nosying at other tables that had ordered these and they looked fantastic too - and very big!
I was pleased to see how busy the restaurant was too, it being a Wednesday I was expecting it to be quiet - it was when we arrived at 7, but when we left at 8:30 it was absolutely packed, with a mix of clientele - families with young children, older families, couples and a few tables of friends catching up. A lively, happy atmosphere.
I hope the new menu is a great success, it certainly deserves to be. Thank you for inviting me.
Sunday, 23 November 2014
3 chicken breasts
Half a head of broccoli
100g light soft cheese
I chopped the chicken into chunks then started to fry on a low heat, in a fry lite'd pan.
While the chicken was cooking I chopped some florets from a head of broccoli, using about half the broccoli.
I popped the broccoli in boiling water and cooked until tender, drained then set aside.
Once that was done I popped on a pan of pasta.
When the chicken was almost cooked I added some torn fresh thyme then the soft cheese into the pan to melt. I managed to smash my pyrex measuring jug the other day (glass everywhere, hours to clean) so I just guessed with the amount of milk - adding enough to create a small amount of sauce, enough to coat the pasta.
I added the cooked broccoli to the pan, then drained the pasta and added that, giving a good stir to coat the pasta in the sauce.
I served mine with roasted veg to get my super free.
I think this would be 2.5 syns for the soft cheese, with this serving 4, if the milk was from your healthy extra milk allowance.
I'm loving using this sauce, cheese sauces are one of my downfalls, I really missed them last time I did slimming world. Thankfully this seems to be a work around that the family will all eat - phew!
Thursday, 20 November 2014
Couple of potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
Half pint milk
Cheese, I used mature cheddar
Turn the oven onto 200 to heat up. You'll need a medium pan, small pan, an oven dish and handheld blender out.
Chop the broccoli into small florets then boil in the medium pan until tender. (Or steam if you prefer). Drain then add a few of the small florets to your oven dish. Set aside the remaining broccoli for blending.
Make the cheese sauce as you would any normal cheese sauce; tablespoon of butter melted in the small pan with a tablespoon of flour added, stirred to absorb all the butter and then cooked for one minute, milk then added in small quantities with vigorous stirring to avoid lumps, then adding the cheese at the end to melt.
Arrange the sliced potato in the dish with the broccoli florets. Add the reserved broccoli to the cheese sauce and blend until smooth, turning the sauce a delicious green. Pour the sauce over the potato slices and broccoli then bake in the oven for an hour, extra cheese could be added to the top for more of a treat.
Wednesday, 20 August 2014
My style of cooking has changed a lot since becoming a Mum. I don't often have the luxury of time, the same money to spend on ingredients, and I have a lot more mouths to feed! I struggle to come up with new recipes that we'll all eat. On my own I would have a mostly vegetarian diet, but sadly meat is king in this house, and vegetables the sworn enemy...
Daisy has only just started eating pasta again. I have nursery to thank for that, seeing her friends eat it has made Daisy give pasta another go.
This weekend we dog sat for my parents, I raided their fridge and cupboards and threw together an easy, tasty pasta dish.
1 large chicken breast, diced into small pieces
1 small (home grown) onion, chopped into tiny pieces
1 red pepper, chopped into tiny pieces
1 tin of tomatoes
1 tbsp low fat soft cheese
Small bunch of fresh basil leaves
In order to get Daisy to eat the vegetables I chopped them very, very small.
I browned the small pieces of chicken in garlic flavoured fry lite,then added the veg. I let that cook for a few mins to soften then added the tinned tomatoes. After that all cooked for about 5 mins I stirred in the soft cheese and lastly chopped up and threw in the basil leaves.
While all that was cooking I had the pasta on to cook, I drained that then added plated up. We finished with some grated cheese on top.
I left Daisy's pasta plain, but she actually preferred it with the sauce on, and ate my pasta but her own chicken...
Do you have any quick, toddler friendly meals to share?
Sunday, 13 July 2014
Understandably I haven't done much cooking this week. On Tuesday I made a bolognese, which we had that night and then I had leftovers from it on the Thursday night. Other than that I've eaten a lot of cereal.
I was sent some Jordans Country Crisp to review, along with three recipes created by Edd Kimber (GBBO winner) I knew it was unlikely I'd get round to doing the recipes, but said I was happy to do a review just of the cereal. The strawberry crisp is my favourite one, so I was pleased when it arrived. We don't often have much 'grown up' cereal in the house, or branded for that matter - we shop mostly at Lidl/Aldi, so it was a treat to have some Jordans in.
I think most people will have tried this one over the years, it's a lovely cereal with plenty of strawberry pieces in.
Do you have a favourite Jordans cereal?
Friday, 27 June 2014
I really liked the topping, but I wasn't keen on the base. I'd like to get a proper tin and have another go at doing one, but this time using dark chocolate chip cookies as the base.
Are you a Key Lime Pie fan?
Sunday, 22 June 2014
This week Phil popped into Betty's on his lunch and got me a treat, I've been desperate to try the cycling Tour de France fondant fancies. They're as good as they look!
I've been trying to do better with my eating this week, I'm still not really that interested in food - I just want to eat sweet things all the time. We've eaten pasta a few times this week, and on Friday night the only thing I wanted was beans on toast for tea! I decided that I had to have a "proper" meal on Saturday, so defrosted a joint of pork, rubbed in some garlic and herbs and roasted that. I made some lower fat dauphinoise - but the sauce split again, not sure where i'm going wrong with this, it's happened the last two times I've made it - possibly me having the oven too hot? Then I threw on some green beans for some vegetable goodness.
I was sent a Thermoworks Chef Alarm out of the blue a while back. I use my Thermopen quite a bit so was interested to see what difference this would make. The alarm is useful, but I don't think I'll use the max/min temperature alarm at all, and the probe is the same as my Thermopen. I'd say this is more use in a commercial kitchen. I found that the instructions were missing the temperature guide of the Thermopen, I find that really useful as a guide. An interesting product, but not one for my home kitchen I think.
If you spotted yesterday's post, you'll know I made some Tiffin this week. I was also meant to make a Key Lime Pie on Saturday but just ran out of time. (Watched trashy telly on catch up when I should have been in the kitchen...). I'll be attempting that on Monday, and making some scones at some point in the week too.
Are you baking anything next week?
Saturday, 21 June 2014
I didn't smash the malteasers too much, but did do a couple with the biscuit mixture, I opted to leave them whole for the biscuity texture.
After leaving Tesco this morning (what possessed me to go to Tesco on a Saturday!) I realised I'd forgotten the grease proof paper I needed to line my dish. A quick check on twitter told me I could use cling film instead - I think it actually worked better using the cling film.
The finished article is so very, very, very sweet. A slab the size that I cut is a ridiculous portion for something as sweet at this - I did manage to finish eating it though.....
Next up on my sweet treat making schedule is Key Lime Pie, which I'll be making while Daisy naps on Monday.
Tuesday, 17 June 2014
Sunday, 25 May 2014
Sunday, 20 April 2014
I was lucky enough to get a press pass and plus one for the Cake and Bake show in Manchester a few weeks ago. I took my sister in law with me again, who is a much better baker than I am - and a significantly better cake decorator!
We took in some of the demos, had a wander through the cake competition, and then spent a long time looking at the stalls. The entries on the cake competition were of a really high standard - the children's ones were much better than I could have done. I thought this Jungle Book from the adult competition one was the best. I can't imagine having the patience to produce anything so detailed!
I have to admit that we were conned by one of the stallholders, we were taken in with the promise of a
tarot and palm reading, then once we'd paid found out it was a computerised thing, which did a scan of our hand, then the tarot cards we picked out were entered into a computer and then some numerology - we then got a massive print out - not quite what we were expecting, and definitely a waste of money! Serves us right for being gullible though.
Our best deal of the day was by far the Billingtons sugar one, where we got 2 bags of sugar and a lovely tin for a fiver.
I also got a gorgeous garlic chutney - which will be the first one on my list to try and emulate for this year's christmas hampers, and some cheeses from the Cheshire Cheese Company - I got the vintage gold and caramelised onion and rioja, they were absolutely fantastic. I wasn't sure if I'd got a good deal, they did them 4 for £15 for me, but when I had some more when I got home I knew I'd made the right choice. The vintage gold went very quickly, both me and Phil loving it, but luckily I've had the other one all to myself.
We found there to be more food stalls, and less cake making implement stalls this time, which was disappointing but certainly didn't ruin the experience. I'd be interested in seeing how the London show compares to Manchester, sadly I won't be going this year - I'll either be very overdue and be banned from travelling, or will have a baby that's less than a few weeks old. There's always next year though!
Thank you again to Nudge PR for the tickets, the refreshments and the use of the press area - it was very much appreciated by us both.
I gave up slimming world at week 6, I was struggling so much with food, it just seemed silly to be stressing myself out trying to stay on plan. I'm half tempted to go back now I can cope with food again - but I'm waiting to see if the swelling will start up, it was around this time last time that I started to balloon up. I'll definitely be returning when I've had this baby - I may even go back just before baby is due just so I can have a super duper enormous weight loss.... although it is cheating.
I've eaten out quite a bit recently, but mostly just to family friendly places - I've found that I'm loathed to go anywhere small or trendy with Daisy, because I don't feel like those kind of places are welcoming to kids - and that we'd upset the other diners. We've had some great experiences out with her recently; in TGI Fridays they were brilliant with her, even bringing out some sticks of chopped vegetables because she was hungry before the food came. I took Daisy and Phil's niece and nephew out for Pizza Hut buffet the other week, and because Daisy hardly ate anything they didn't charge us for her - which I thought was really good. I'm almost afraid to go places with her that are independent/trendy or don't have room for the pushchair.
I did meet my friend Mrs P for tea quite a few weeks ago, and we went to the Hotel Chocolat restaurant Roast and Conch. we ordered off the set menu, 2 courses for £18. I had the Confit of Leek and Potato Nib Cake - it was absolutely gorgeous. Mrs P had the beef dish, and we both opted for the mousse to finish. I'd definitely go back again, and I'm really interested in the breakfast menu. Even though we'd stuffed ourselves and had a pudding, we still picked up some chocolate downstairs - I tried some 50% chocolate and loved it.
I've made a couple of nice dishes that I've thought I should have blogged about, but hadn't thought to photograph, and I've picked up a few new cookbooks recently so I need to get back into cooking properly and back to blogging regularly.
Thursday, 30 January 2014
I only made a small quantity of this, but it still did my evening meal, and then leftovers for lunch the next day.
150g arborio rice
1 pint vegetable stock
You'll notice the usual risotto ingredient of onion missing. Phil hates onions so I've stopped buying them, and use onion powder instead. In a dish like risotto they do make the difference though, so I'd definitely use one if I'd had one in...
Same as a normal risotto, but... use fry light, then fry off the mushrooms (and onion if you're using) then when they've cooked a bit, add the rice. Give that a minute in the pan and then add a small amount of vegetable stock. Stir it in then let it soak in to the rice. Repeat until you all the stock is added - on the last addition add the peas and prawns. They only take a few minutes to cook through. Once the liquid is all absorbed, and your rice is tender then the risotto is ready.
Tuesday, 28 January 2014
In the past few weeks I've been to Trinity Kitchen a couple of times, for the famous Manjit's Kitchen Chilli Paneer Wrap, I have to admit that I did think that £6 was pretty steep for a wrap...then I saw the SIZE of it. Enormous. I could share this and still be full. I didn't even manage to finish my wrap yesterday. (Managed to eat all the paneer out of it though...).
I popped out for lunch with a work colleague the other week, to get to know her a bit better. With it being so close to work we went to LS6. I opted for the roasted med veg and cream cheese sandwich, with a side of chips. I'd assumed the med stood for Mediterranean but the only veg in it was carrot and mushroom - so perhaps it means medium?
All last week I'd driven home hearing the Toby Carvery advert, by the powers of persuasive advertising I was insistent that I had to have a carvery last weekend, so we popped along to our local one. I declined the yorkshire pud, but did have some roast and mashed potatoes, and a bit of gravy, so it was quite synful. I like that they give a free plate for little ones that you can put veg and potatoes on, and get a yorkshire pud - although Daisy only ate her yorkshire pudding and the turkey off my plate, barely touched the veg I'd got her.
I found the gluten free pasta to be easier on my stomach than normal pasta, so I didn't feel quite so bloated and sluggish after a pasta meal.
We did, however, find that if you left the pasta to cook and didn't stir it then it formed a congealed lump in the pan - not good. It might have said to keep stirring in the instructions, but as they were in italian then I don't know! I made sure that we kept stirring when we used it after our messy pasta situation, and it worked beautifully. If I'm cooking then I tend to stir everything quite a lot anyway - Obsessive Compulsiveness.
If I saw this pasta on offer, then I'd definitely buy it, but I unless I had a health need to move to gluten free pasta I can't see me choosing it over normal pasta.
Monday, 13 January 2014
How are we back to Monday again!
On our meal planner this week:
- M - ham and vegetable pasta, in tomato sauce, using the gluten free pasta I've been sent to review
- T - jacket potatoes and beans
- W - slow cooker beef stew, mash and vegetables
- Th - meat (whatever looks appetising at Aldi this week) and savoury rice - rice cooked in vegetable stock with peas, sweetcorn, mushrooms and peppers (peppers for me only)
- F - fish fingers, beans, wedges for everyone else, mushroom risotto for me
- Sa - tuna pasta bake, garlic bread for everyone else, salad for me
- Su - mince, veg and mash
Monday, 6 January 2014
We stayed over and had the traditional boxing day party and buffet the next day. On Christmas Eve I'd made a bacon and egg pie (from the new Paul Hollywood Pies and Puds book) and a Tiramisu for the buffet. I rewarded my hard work with an excessively large esspresso brandtini... I paid the price of that with a headache christmas morning...
For New Years the duck went to Grandma and Grandad's and Phil and I shared an M&S meal (pie, cauliflower cheese and peas and carrots) and had a couple of glasses of our favourite prosecco. (You can just about see my VW Camper van wine rack!).
This weekend I was treated to a grown up afternoon and headed out to the shops with Mrs P while Phil entertained Daisy. I picked up a great bargain in the sale with a new coat, and we headed to Trinity Kitchen for lunch.
I was torn between Fish& and Donostia Social Club, being in the mood for a spanish beer Donostia won, we both had the chorizo stew - it was delicious.