Tag Archives: food

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 myfitnesspal.com 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!!!


Almost Easter.


Now Mothers Day has passed, it is a rapid downhill to Easter.     With the kids breaking up on Friday – for some reason they go back to school on Easter Monday but don’t get me started on that one, I am busily making preparations for the holidays.

We will be away the second week of the break, but home for the first so I have been preparing things to keep the occupied during that time.

I have also turned my thoughts to Easter proper, being away for the immediate run up, means I need to have sorted it sooner rather than later.

If you are anything like me, you will have been moaning for the last three months that the shops have had Easter eggs on display since boxing day, but now it’s almost Easter and time to get organised for it, there is increasingly less choice in the shops.

I was lucky enough to be asked to take a look at the Easter range on offer from Hotel Chocolat.     Now, anyone who has read anything I have written before knows how much I love chocolate, proper chocolate, and not the stuff that comes in the purple wrapper – although that has its place if you like it overly sweet, I don’t!         I was lucky enough to try a product from their Christmas range – http://wp.me/p3tFtX-et, and I loved it.   So, when the chance came to review an item from their Easter range, I was more than happy to do so.

For those of you that haven’t been blessed with trying the chocolate, it is a touch of luxury.     It is rich and creamy, not too sweet and yet not bitter either.    Trying to describe the magic feeling you get when eating chocolate is impossible, so you’ll just have to try it for yourself, and I strongly recommend that you do!

The Easter range from Hotel Chocolat has something for everyone, and if you aren’t lucky enough to have a shop near you, their website could have you spending hours just deciding what you want as the choice is amazing!    I know I could easily spend a small fortune on there!

I must admit to being a bit of a traditionalist where Easter gifts are concerned as I like the symbolism of what the egg represents, but when I was asked to choose something from the range to try, I decided to move out of my comfort zone a little.       I asked the boys to look at the products on the site with me, and choose what they thought looked the most interesting.      There was a lot of “I wanting” as every product we looked at had something going for it, but every one agreed with me on my final choice, of Egg and chips – http://www.hotelchocolat.com/uk/shop/easter-eggs/egg-and-chips

Egg & Chips

It just looked brilliant, and who doesn’t love egg and chips?!!!

The box arrived, the packaging is beautiful making it into a special gift,  and there was total excitement in the house as we sat down to share the chocolate.     The fried egg is white chocolate – proper white chocolate with vanilla bean, and not set condensed milk, with a soft caramel yolk, under a crispy shell.      The chips are pure indulgence with smooth milk chocolate filled with amazing runny caramel and decorated with yellow coloured white chocolate – I think it would have looked better decorated in red to look like ketchup but then I am a ketchup fiend!        It was really rich, but that was a good thing, because it meant the flavour was savoured and not just rammed in.    It also meant that although there were 4 of us trying in, we only devoured half of it and saved the rest for the next day!

D was so enamoured by it, he said I was to get his Easter egg from them as the chocolate was so much nicer than “normal” Easter eggs.    That is praise from a hard to please wee man, but I believe I must be raising my children properly if they prefer real chocolate!

I would say something like this is for that special someone as are all the products from Hotel Chocolat as they aren’t your cheapy chocolate you buy in every other shop.      This is a high quality product and you are therefore paying for such.   The Egg and chips is £14, so not cheap, but definitely value for money, because it is chocolate that adds the touch of luxury to your day.     There are products in their range that are specifically for the kids – I love the egg on toast on a stick which is just £2, but there are also eggs of all sizes and designs that would make a lovely gift for anyone.     I know I would never complain about receiving something from their range – yes that is a major hint if Hubby is reading this!!!!

I think in future I make sure I hide my Hotel Chocolat stash from everyone else as they say its good to share, I say, that’s a lovely thought but chocolate is MINE!

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.