Sunday, 20 April 2014

Wishing you a Happy Easter (& news of the Giveaway)

Hello dear Friends! It is good to be back. We had a lovely time away in the UK, but now we are home again I am happy to be wishing you a Blessed Easter Time.

Needless to say, we ate very well while we were in the UK, and brought all manner of delicacies back home with us - baked beans, leaf tea, hot cross buns, Eccles cakes, naan breads, mango chutney (oh, bother! I forgot the curry sauces!!), chocolate, boiled sweets, stilton cheese, bacon, sausages... the list goes on!!

We ate in some lovely restaurants. The Ambrette in Margate was superb!

Modern British food with an Indian twist. And very good value. I had: 

Mushroom samosa, and chargrilled portobello mushroom, with Sweetened yogurt, chutneys and red onion salad, followed by  
Loin of Kentish pork with Spiced apple, tossed chickori, sauce of malt vinegar and garlic wine
 I can't remember my dessert  (I know it was a tad disappointing) but MiL's Lemon Posset was delicious 

We went to Vinea wine bar on the Albert Dock in Liverpool before the Elbow concert

 and enjoyed a lovely glass of wine, and a couple of platters of meze and bread-and-cheese.

We met up with my family in a charming pub in the Derbyshire Peak District, where I had delicious duck with jerusalem artichokes and oven roasted potatoes. Mr FD enjoyed a pint of lovely English beer while I shared a bottle of wine with my mum & my sister

 And we managed to squeeze in a trip to Wagamamas too, in Canterbury

 I may have been squeezing into my "aspirational jeans" before I went away, but I fear it will take a few fast days before I can fit into them again!!!

The Elbow concert was great - we had good seats: right in the centre opposite the stage. Admittedly there was an entire arena floor between us and lovely Mr Guy Garvey and the crew, but the stage and projections were well set up. Here is a review of the concert, should you wish to read it 

Now we are back home  and back to work (though tomorrow is a bank holiday). Mr FD is settling into his job, after a difficult start; although he's not certain yet I think he will probably stay there, at least while looking for another job, but I think that it will be okay. I've got more work at ILS, my language school in Clermont, and generally things are going well.

Because of the extra work, we're going to be eating out of the freezer a bit more; Mr FD will be charged with heating stuff up, as I'll be getting home between 7.00 and 7.30 most evenings. That means my weekends might include more batch cooking - which, of course, is no more than many other people do! 

Menu plans for this week are as follows (You can click on the links to find the recipes):

SUNDAY (Today)

Cider-and-honey roast lamb, roast potatoes, parsnips, purple sprouting broccoli.

(semi fasting)

Spicy bean & vegetable stew (in the freezer)

(My not-working late day)

Manchego & chorizo quesadillas, salad and tabbouleh (except we'll be having cheddar-cheese-and-chorizo quesadillas!) Mr FD will - I hope - be preparing these.

Hairy Dieter's Beef Goulash (which I'm planning on preparing on Tuesday) with rice & green vegetables.

(semi fasting)
Vegetarian balls (made from spicy bean burger mix which is lurking somewhere in the freezer - I think!!), with pasta and tomato sauce.

Hairy Dieter's Meatloaf (can't find a recipe online) with baked potato & baked beans. I'm hoping to get 6 portions out of the meatloaf, so I can freeze it for use later on.

As usual, I want to say Thank You for your comments: I love getting comments and reading them. It is one of the great pleasures of blogging.

POMPOM: I've not heard of the TERRA essential oils - I will explore those. I'm glad you liked Peter Rabbit - I thought he was your cup of tea!

KEZZIE: That song is one of my favourite Elbow songs - played at the end of the concert, it was fab. 

And, finally, for Chris at "Retired & Loving It"who is my newest follower we have a big, Fat Dormouse Welcome

 CHRIS: Thank you for your kind comments.I'm glad you like my blog, and I am following you now.

A few weeks ago the lovely Emma from Woman magazine gave me the opportunity to give away 5 free apps to the Woman Fasting Diet book. I was surprised and rather disappointed by the lack of response - maybe it was the fact it was an app, rather than a real, proper book - and I only managed to get 4 people who expressed an interest, despite mentioning it on the 5:2 Fasting website.

The winners are:
Kezzie, PomPom, Chrissie & jeanga6.

I hope you find the app useful - I think the recipe book is really good and have used it loads since I got it. I will send you an email telling you what to do to get your free app.

That's all for now. Happy Easter to you all

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Insert witty title here:

Hello Dear Peeps!

This week has been a bit up-and-down, especially food/diet-wise. I was happy to have lost another 1kg, which makes it 5 kg since Christmas, but I have found fasting difficult. I'm working away from home more at the moment, and I feel slightly concerned about getting very hungry, as I go slightly woozy. If I'm at home all day that doesn't matter, but if I'm driving when woozy I think that's less good! So I'm "semi-fasting" on three days a week: that is, I'm eating less than on the other days. Egg-on-toast, soup & fruit for lunch, then a 300 calorie dinner. On other days I allow myself a biscuit with lunch and some chocolate after my evening meal (OR a glass of wine!) Still, if I keep losing weight then that's all good. 

I wore my "aspirational jeans" all day yesterday - these are jeans which I haven't been able to wear since we moved here in 2005, but which I kept because they were in such good condition! They were a little bit tight, and by the end of the day my belly had red "jeans marks" but they weren't what one would term uncomfortably tight. Other jeans that I bought last year are now falling down without a belt, and I have needed to buy a new belt as well!

It's not quite this bad...but getting there!

Last week's menus got swopped about a bit, so we're having the Spanish omelette tonight (which is good as a friend gave us 10 very fresh eggs from their chickens yesterday) and last night I made a quick chicken-and-mushroom pie with one small chicken breast, some wrinkly mushrooms and some chopped chorizo, with a topping of filo pastry from the freezer, which had crumbled into flakes! Still tasty though!

We're going to the UK next week - to see our Mums, but also to go to an Elbow concert in Liverpool on Saturday evening. Very excited, happy dance. We last saw them in Paris in November 2011 in a small club . This time: the Echo Arena in Liverpool - slightly different size! My brother & sister will come and meet us on Sunday in a pub that is sort-of equi-distant between Leicester, Stokesley and Liverpool. Mike booked it & it looks good:

Mr FD has already perused the menu online and is looking forward to Lambs liver, black pudding & smoked bacon mash, with onion gravy. He adores liver, but the very thought makes me shudder!!

So my menu plans this week are just up to Tuesday:

Pesto cod, mini roasties, more veg 

This is from the Woman recipe book - you could win the app for this. Please enter the Giveaway competition - otherwise I will look a numpty!

(semi fasting)
Mediterranean Vegetable Chilli - again from the recipe book.(see, it's full of yummy recipes!!)  I'm going to prep this on Sunday though, as I don't get home on Monday evening till late and nor does Mr FD. (Though that may change - his new job is not working out at all well for various reasons, so he might be giving it up. If you're of the praying nature, please pray that he makes the right decision...)

which we'll have with rice & salad.

Then it's off early on Wednesday to drive to Calais...

 As usual, thank you so much for your comments...

MONIQUE: Sorry you can't (don't want to..) enter the giveaway - I do understand why app's no good without anything to put it on to!! If you want to try the recipes, I do recommend buying the book...I think it's good value and I would be tempted (if I hadn't been given a free one. Big smile!)...and truly, I'm not just saying that!!

KEZZIE: I hope you do enter - I'm like you with apps though. On my tablet I rarely use them (I forget I have them, to be honest!) except to catch up with The Guardian online.  The flatbreads were delicious (and so easy!) and I will definitely be making them again!!

POMPOM: Are you going to enter the Giveaway? I'm extending the deadline... I love the way you always try to identify the breed of cat in my pictures! What about this one?!

JEAN So sorry to hear about losing your kitties. That is not good. I hope you enjoy the random cat pictures I throw into my this one:

 Anyway - I must get to the bank before it closes...cheques to put in!

See you in a couple of weeks!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Yummy Food Again!

I do hope some of you will enter my Giveaway - otherwise I'm going to look very daft!! Go on...there's some great recipes on there, even if you're NOT following the 5:2 eating plan!


Yesterday our friend Richard came for a curry-and-film night. Richard is vegetarian, so we had home made onion bhajis, which were okay...but I didn't cook them for long enough,so the inside was still stodgey and undercooked. I made dhal, and a vegetable madras (just using a sauce from Noz!) with home made flat breads. They were good - and easy! Again Mr FD thought they might have needed a little longer cooking, but I'm not sure about that.

 We finished with a baked cheesecake and raspberry coulis. I wasn't convinced by this dessert - it seemed a bit too stodgey: I think I prefer a no-bake cheesecake. 

We watched the Coen brothers film "Inside Llewyn Davis" which I quite enjoyed. It wasn't quite my cup of tea, but it was watchable. Mr FD is a Coen brothers fan.
The cat was my favourite character!

In an attempt to be organised, I now have my month's menu plans on the computer...all very organised...I wonder how long it will last! 
SUNDAY Wild boar from the freezer, garlic mash and cabbage.

MONDAY: (semi fasting): Vegetarian shepherd's pie, with a bit of the mash from yesterday. It's not really fasting food, but it's an attempt to reduce calories!!

TUESDAY: Veggie bean burgers, SW chips, salad, coleslaw. This is the Hairy Dieter's recipe, and I'll be making the full amount and freezing half for later in the month.

WEDNESDAY: Vegetable bolognaise. This is from the WOMAN recipe book that you could win the app for!  It looks tasty and good-for-you! We may have it with a bit extra pasta, as it's only 250 calories per portion - half the mix is destined for the freezer again!
THURSDAY:(semi fasting)  Hairy Dieter's Chicken Proven├žale - This is a similar recipe, but it uses a bit more oil, and the Hairy Dieter's use more veggies (a yellow pepper as well as the red, more courgettes) to bulk it out. I cooked this last Sunday, so Mr FD will only have to pull it out and stick it in the oven.

FRIDAY: More like proper fasting Simple Spanish omelette (from the WOMAN book) with some salad

SATURDAY: Meat lasagne from the 5:2 Recipe book... a white sauce made from ricotta cheese and eggs, with a 5%mince + lots of veggies sauce.  I'll probably make two and again put one in the freezer...with three evenings when I don't get home till 7 pm and another when I'm working at home until 6.30 I don't think I have the time to start cooking from scratch. Sunday afternoons are looking like they're going to be my batch-cooking time.

So today I have to prepare extra mashed potatoes, and the vegetable bolognaise sauce, together with a soup to keep us going through the week. That's not too bad...I may bake some biscuits too from the Super Simple Recipe on the 40Acts site:

275g plain flour
175g grease
75g sugar
Vanilla/cinnamon/fruit/nuts/chocolate (to taste)
METHOD: Mix everything together. Bake in a moderate oven for 10-15 minutes until golden.

Thank you again for your comments. I love reading them, & do try to answer.

SANDRA: You should try to eat better! But I think you know that! Look after yourself, dear friend!

JANE&CHRIS: I won't deny that your lovely looking pizza put the thought in my head! And while the one we had was nice, I bet yours was even more delicious!

POMPOM: Here's another Lolcat for you. Can you identify this breed of cat?! 

 And here is a table that I can't seem to delete!!