Category Archives: Recipes

Returning to healthy eating.


While on holiday we pigged out. It is part of being on holiday isn’t it?

Getting in and out of the swimming pool every day made me realise I have let my good deeds of last year slide so much they were out of sight. Hubby agreed when I said we needed to get back to healthy eating. I also need to get back to exercising – Hubby cycles 15 miles a day so that’s not a problem for him.

Coming home to the Easter weekend, meant there was a lot of chocolate in the house – even though I didn’t get an egg, when I gave Hubby his, he asked if I had bought one for him to give to me!!!! It wouldn’t be fair for the boys to have these delights in front of them and tell them they were unable to eat them, so instead, we have told them they can have a little each day. My theory being once they are gone they are gone, and I wont be buying sweets for in the house, so if they aren’t there they can’t have them!!!

Yesterday I got on the wii-fit for the first time in months and to say it was hard work would be an understatement! At the same time though it felt good too, and I must try to find half an hour a day to do it. I have checked the times of open sessions at the local swimming pool and they have morning sessions most days, so I intend to try to get there at least once a week. I used to swim every morning before work and found it a really invigorating way to start the day.

I have knocked the dust off the app, as I found it really helpful to track what I was eating last year. It is a great app where you can see exactly what food you are taking and the calories from it. It really makes you think about if you need the snack in the evening!!!

Today Hubby is working from home, and so I have gone for a healthy lunch for us. I have made Pea and Herb soup with oat cakes. Now, anyone that knows me, is well aware I don’t do soup, unless in is comes in a tin and is bright orange. I was therefore making the soup for Hubby and Old person, but when I tasted it to check the seasoning I was amazed how lovely it is, and have decided to give it a go – I must be getting brave in my old age!

Pea and Vegetable Soup
1 tbsp. Olive Oil
1 clove garlic – crushed
480g Frozen peas
1 tbsp. cornflour
500ml vegetable stock
30 g fresh coriander
15 g fresh mint – I didn’t have fresh so used a teaspoon of dried
salt and pepper

Heat the oil and add the garlic and peas. Stir until the peas have defrosted.
Mix the cornflour with 1 tbsp. of cold water and add to the pan.
Slowly add the stock, stirring well.
Bring to a simmer for 15 minutes.
Put into a liquidiser with the herbs and seasoning.
Warm through.

115g oatmeal
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of bicarbonate of soda.
1 tbsp. oil
3 tbsp. hot water

Mix dry ingredients.
Add the oil, and half the water. Mix well.
Add more water to form a soft but crumble dough.
Kneed until smooth.
Cut dough into 2 pieces and roll each into a round.
Cut each circle into quarters.
Put into a dry frying pan over a medium low heat. cook for a couple of minutes on each side.

You piece of education for the day is that the quarters are called FARLS. You probably knew this but I didn’t and so thought it was interesting!!!

I will update you in a few weeks about if I keep I the healthy eating, and defiantly if I get back into he exercise but I feel I need to!

Now to go and eat this soup!!!

Lemon Drizzle Cake saves the day.


About a week ago, a friend of mine shared a recipe from a site she follows on Facebook.    It was for Lemon Brownies, and they looked delicious.      I had never come across a Brownie recipe that wasn’t chocolate before – let’s be honest when you get as far as chocolate you don’t go out of your way to look much beyond it!         The recipe was from an American site, but the measurements look easy enough, and so I decided to give it a go.

What can I say?    They were awful!     I followed the recipe exactly, with the only translation I needed to do being the oven temperature was in fahrenheit and I needed it in celsius, but other than that, I did what they told me.    I used my faithful measuring cups – but I  do think weighing things is far more accurate when baking, and mixed it as they told me.    It was a beautiful looking batter that I put in my brownie tin – everyone should own a brownie tin, as its such a great size when you don’t need a huge baking sheet in the oven – mind was perfect from the day I got it, but that was because it was a freebie with some butter I bought!        I baked it for exactly the time stated at the temperature they said.    The recipe said don’t over cook or they will be dry, so after they had cooked for the specified time I removed them from the oven – I should have switched on common sense at this point and realised they could do with longer, but a new recipe needs following before tweaking.     I poured over the glaze once the cake had cooled and set aside.       When I went to cut them to serve, it was like going through treacle they were so sticky, but brownies are meant to be gooey.     Then I bit into it to try it, and spat it back out as quickly.    It was like eating a soggy bath sponge and what was worse was they weren’t really lemony enough!      I asked everyone to try them and they opinion was the same, they were terrible!        I threw them out for the birds this morning, and they are still sat in the garden, not even the seagulls have cleared them!!!

I wont be trying that recipe again!      It is however a lesson learned – a mistake is only a failure if you don’t learn from it has long been a motto of mine, in that following a recipe exactly is all well and good but it can’t deter from years of experience!

I had promised the kids lemon cakes and they weren’t happy not to get it.    I therefore had to look out my faithful recipe for Lemon Drizzle cake.   This recipe has never failed me.   It is great for a quick cake, as its great served warm or cold, its great as a pudding as works really well with custard, and it also holds up well enough to be a base of a birthday cake as its so moist.    It’s also great for a change to make it with oranges or limes, or a combination of fruit!

175g butter

175g caster sugar – or the alternative in sweetener

2 eggs

3 lemons – juice and zest

175 g self-raising flour

260g icing sugar – well sifted

Prepare your tin by lining it with greaseproof paper – this helps with the soaking after its baked.    I use a 2lb loaf tin, but make it any shape you like!

Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.

Beat in the eggs and 2/3 of the lemon zest – I do mine really fine as the kids don’t like the pieces but if you like texture use a larger grating.

Fold in the flour.

Pour into the tin and bake at 180c for 35 minutes, until the cake is springy.

While the cake is cooking heat 2/3 of the lemon juice with 100g of icing sugar in a pan, and simmer for a couple of minutes to make a syrup.   Allow to cool.

When the cake is cooked remove from pan and place on a cooling rack with a tray under it.     Using a skewer or fork make lots of little holes all over the cake – but not too many you damage it,  and carefully spoon the syrup over the cake allowing it to soak in – work carefully to make sure all of the cake gets some of the liquid.       Allow to cool.

Remove the lining paper, and place cake on a serving plate.

Put the remaining icing sugar and lemon juice in a bowl.   Add water a tiny drop at a time until you get a runny – but not too runny, icing.     Pour over the cake, allowing it to dribble down the side a little – no reason other than it looks really nice!

Decorate with leftover lemon zest.



While you can substitute the sugar in the cake for sweetener, you really need the sugar for the syrup and the icing, so this isn’t one for the diabetics or those watching their weight.

This is the recipe I will stick to in future as it always works, and it stopped my boys being grumpy creatures after my previous disaster.

Fat-free Fruit Loaf


I’m told my post yesterday was a bit yucky, and so today I thought I would go for something a little bit nicer!

One of my New Years resolutions was to sort out my huge file of recipes I keep cutting out of magazines, and either make the food, or bin the piece of paper.     I haven’t got very far with this with everything that has gone on in the last couple of months.   I did however manage to pull the file down off the shelf, and knock some of the inch of dust off it!       I got myself some plastic pocket files, and labelled them with different categories of food, and made a start.     I think so far I have thrown out more than I have kept, wondering why I would have thought the recipe was something we would enjoy!

One recipe I did find that I decided to make straight away was for a Fat-Free Fruit Loaf.

I don’t like D to miss out on a treat, but we are having to watch what he does eat.   It is therefore important that the snacks and treats he has are as healthy as possible.   I think if I just banned sweets and cakes from the house he would just end up craving them and when he had a chance he would binge.   My way, means he doesn’t feel deprived and is eating a healthier alternative.

This cake is really easy to make, and I have now tried it in a few different ways.    The first time I followed the recipe as it was written, and then I started tweaking it!     I replaced the sugar with sweetener – I have been using the green canderel – , which is made with stevia, a plant-based sweetener, so have gone a step further to removing chemicals from the mix – many artificial sweeteners were making D have a very upset stomach, but this seems to not have that effect.      I also started making it as a loaf, then made it as a square cake, so it could be cut into bars, and then ended up doing it in muffin cases which are perfect for the lunch bags!

You will need –

1 teabag – I used bog standard but I guess a different variety would give a different flavour.

200g sultanas

100g dried apricots – chopped – my boys “don’t like” dried apricots, but once they are chopped they look just like golden sultanas and they are happy to eat them!

175g soft brown sugar – I used 17.5g of sweetener but check the comparative amount needed of the one you use.

2 eggs beaten

225g wholemeal plain flour –  I can’t always get the wholemeal, so I use white and add a handful of wheat germ

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed spice – use more if you prefer a stronger flavour.

Soak the teabag in 300ml of boiling water for 5 minutes.     I differ from the original recipe at this point, by adding the sweetener and the spice to the tea, I think it gives the fruit a better flavour!        Add the fruit and give it all a good stir – just be careful not to burst the teabag!      Leave this at least a couple of hours so the fruit soaks up the flavours.   I do this the night before I’m going to make the recipe.

Remove the teabag, and add the eggs to the mixture.

In another bowl, mix the baking powder and flour.   Stir in the wet mixture.    It should be a sticky goop!

Poor the mixture into a prepared 2lb loaf tin, or divide equally between 12 muffin cases.

Bake at 180c for 45 minutes if a full loaf, or 25 minutes if making muffins.

Now, anyone that has seen my recipes before, know I don’t do dried fruit, but the boys and the Old person yum these up.      D thinks he is getting a treat, and M doesn’t realise it’s a healthy option.    It’s a win win for me!

I will continue to sort through my box of recipe clippings, and if I find anything else exciting, I will be sure to pass it on.   Because most of the recipes have been cut out, I am not sure of their origins, but if I know them I will let you know.