Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Fleur de sel brownies!

I grew up with saxa table salt as a diet staple. Mashed potatoes were not acceptable without a generous sprinkle of it and a boiled egg wasn't complete without it! Nowadays my taste has evolved and I am a salt snob. There is no saxa in my presses just sea salt and the delicious fleur de sel. I know I am a pain but I have come to terms with it. These brownies are the easiest and most delicious things to eat with a cup of coffee or even served with ice cream as a luscious dessert. 

You will need:

175g sugar
175g soft butter150g self raising flour125g drinking chocolate4 eggs100g dark chocolate, in pieces 
150g dulce de leche
sprinkle of fleur de sel

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and line/grease a brownie tin.
Mix together the sugar, butter, flour, drinking chocolate and the eggs until you have a runny mixture.
Fold in the chocolate pieces.
Pour into the brownie tin and level the top with a palette knife.
Bake for 45 mins or until there is a slight wobble in the middle.
Cool in the tin for 30 minutes before turning upside down onto a wire rack and peeling off the parchment paper. 
Turn onto a bread board once cooled and cut into 16 squares.
I used a dulce de leche to pipe a swirl on top of each mini square and sprinkled the top with fleur de del. Absolutely delicious. Best of luck just trying to eat one.........

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Isaac's 5th Birthday!

This time five years ago I was anxiously awaiting my much longed for second child. Months of preparation had gone into his/her arrival and the moses basket was ready beside my bed with freshly laundered sheets for our bundle of joy. I hope in years to come I will be able to convey to the children in words how special those moments were for us. The anticipation, preparation, fear, excitement and surge of love that comes is comparable to absolutely nothing. Nothing matters in those hours, pain and discomfort is soon forgotten when you have a helpless little newborn lying in the warmth of your arms. Such special moments to be treasured forever. So five years have passed and my bundle of joy has transformed into a lively, funny, cheeky, affectionate and cute five year old. Possibly the messiest and laziest member of our household but we have grown to love that aspect of him as well because he is our Isaac! The meaning of Isaac's name is 'he who laughs' and I think it suits him to a tee. So happy birthday dear Isaac, I hope you have a wonderful day and would you mind picking up your dirty socks off the floor? ;-) xx

Isaac; he who laughs
The birthday celebrant in our house always gets to choose their birthday cake and luckily for me it is invariably a very easy chocolate biscuit cake. This one was amended from a previous recipe of mine which you can find here:

Always a big hit with kids and adults alike and very simple to throw together. I replaced the mint chocolate with alpine milk chocolate and it tasted fabulous. Enough to feed 16 small children and then some! 

The birthday cake request comprised of the words 'chocolatey, smarties and sonic'. All boxes ticked here!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Intermittent fasting!

Looks good for 80 calories!

So it is week three and my sixth day of intermittent fasting and so far so good. Intermittent fasting is basically restricting your calorie intake to 500 calories for women & 600 calories for men on two non consecutive days out of seven. My weight has dropped by 7 lbs which I am thrilled about and I am feeling great. I am by no means an expert but thought these few little tips I have picked up in the last few weeks might aid people who are considering trying out this eating plan.
  • Drink plenty of fluids, I find it easier to drink warm liquids so I constantly have a pot of green tea on the hob. 
  • Save the majority of your calories for late afternoon/early evening. This is when my hunger pangs strike and it is great to have a meal to look forward to.
  • Tins of chopped tomatoes will become your best friend. Soups, stews, chillies and lots more low calorie dinners start with a tin of tomatoes.
  • I prefer not to exercise on my fast days, normally when I am running the thought of a nice meal when I get home keeps me going!
  • Don't waste your 500/600 calorie allowance with high calorie foods, much more filling to take the time to assemble a salad or a home made soup instead of convenience meals.
I would love to hear your tips and success stories with intermittent fasting. It has amazed me that the day after a fast day I am not overly hungry and I think this is the key to success. I watched Dr Michael Mosley's Horizon programme and it was so interesting, fascinating the research behind this lifestyle change. Here is a link if you wish to watch.

Today for lunch I made a very tasty salad comprising of;

50g baby spinach leaves
50g pickled onions
10 cherry tomatoes
5 radishes
1 fresh beetroot

It was very tasty and will keep me going until later on this evening when I will use up the remaining 420 calories on my dinner. If anything these two fast days a week have succeeded in doing is making me become more aware of what 500 calories look like, frightens me to think how many actual calories I am capable of consuming on any given day.

So there is my tuppence worth on this method of dieting, thanks for reading!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Warm fig & raspberry salad

It's a miserable, grey, rainy day here in Clara but my mood is light and full of cheer! I weighed myself for the first time in 11 days and am pleased to announce that after only four non consecutive fast days I am 6lbs lighter! I find this method of weight loss fascinating and have heard the BBC are going to replay the Horizon special on it in the next few weeks which will be a very interesting watch. Yesterday was fast day so today I was really looking forward to making a tasty lunch. Figs are one of my favourite things and this is such an easy throw together meal, think it would make a fabulous starter for a dinner party.

You will need for each serving

  • 2 ripe figs
  • 50g goats cheese
  • 50g serrano ham
  • selection of lettuce leaves
  • Mr Pettersen's raspberry extra dressing / dressing of your choice
Preheat your oven to 200 degrees.
Line two cups of a muffin tin with your serrano ham.
Cut the top of your figs into a cross shape and stuff with goats cheese.
Place figs into the serrano ham cups and bake in oven until cheese has melted and ham is crispy.
Remove from tin, place on a bed of lettuce and drizzle with raspberry dressing.
So delicious!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Seedy Cake!

So I have hopped happily onto the latest diet bandwagon which is the hopefully not too good to be true intermittent fasting/5:2 diet! Basically it consists of two days with a 500 calorie limit and five days of normal eating. Now this diet suits me down to the ground as I have a love of food and a love of eating. It allows me to make a cake, have a slice and not feel guilty. Not that I ever really have felt guilty but the jeans have been getting tighter and I needed to bite the bullet. This lovely cake is a taste of childhood, caraway seeds add a gorgeous aniseed like flavour, it's the sort of spice you either love or hate and I love it!


225g softened butter
225g caster sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
1tsp caraway seeds

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease/line a loaf tin.
Mix the butter and caster sugar until fluffy. Add one egg at a time and mix well.
Sieve in the self raising flour and mix fully.
Add in the caraway seeds and give one final mix.
Pour into the loaf tin and bake in the preheated oven for 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Allow to cool slightly before turning out onto a wire rack.

For the lime icing:

250g mascarpone cheese
175g icing sugar
Juice of 2 limes

Mix all the ingredients together before spreading on top of cake.
Sprinkle some lime zest on top.

No fancy ingredients, minutes spent mixing and in less than an hour you have a delicious cake cooling in your kitchen. What's not to love?

Thanks for reading! xx

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Selection Box Cake!

What January detox?

So today my house is being dechristmasfied! It is a word isn't it? Decorations are being stored carefully back in the attic, the last of the fizzy drinks are being consumed and the fudge bars lingering in the bottom of the selection boxes are being baked with. This is the last of the Christmas indulgences to be enjoyed with a cuppa to help ease the boredom of stripping the Christmas tree!

Just a small slice will do!

 What you will need;

175g sugar
175g soft butter
150g self raising flour
125g drinking chocolate
4 eggs
5 fudge bars, chopped
Tin of condensed milk

Preheat oven to 180 degrees and grease and line a springform tin.
Mix the sugar, butter, self raising flour, drinking chocolate and eggs together to form a thick batter.
Pour into the lined tin.
Top the batter mixture with the chopped fudge bars and pour over the tin of condensed milk.
Bake in the oven for 40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Cool on a wire rack before slicing up and devouring. You may need a dentist handy.....