Having lunch…oh yes…

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So I invited my friend to lunch and decided to cook something simple, tasty but satisfying. As we had such a much needed, uplifting day, thought I’d blog about it..

Somebody very important in my life suggested fresh spaghetti with a cherry tomato sauce. Fantastic, I thought. Means I can add a few side dishes like mushrooms with chorizo and fried, fresh prawns followed by a fruit crumble pudding.

Started with the fruit crumble by throwing some berries in a dish and making the crumble. Just lard and butter rubbed into the flour plus sugar. Simple and quick and the ice cream that was languishing in the freezer, just waiting to be thrown down my throat, accompanied the pud.

Next I chopped tomatoes up with garlic, herbs and chilli. Measured out the wine. Oh yes. Fried the garlic in 3 tablespoons of olive oil then added herbs and chilli. Added toms (2 mins) then splashed in the wine and enjoyed the exquisite smell that permeated the kitchen. Oh, and I put some cool, jazzy, funky tunes on.

Fried my chestnut mushrooms in butter with chorizo and left ready. Same with the grey prawns that rapidly turned pink. Sooo magical. Put some chips, manchego cheese and serano ham on the starter plate and was ready to roll. Well lay the table anyway.

Sorted the table, tidied and cleaned up, lit candles and waited a few minutes for my friend.

Great to catch up. We discussed recent Christmas times, trips (Rome), buying/selling clothes online, health, fitness laughed and moaned but mostly laughed. Of course, new year resolutions were discussed too. She wants me to start a ladies supper group…

Yes, the lunch wasn’t particularly healthy, but it felt decadent and I’m working up to my new year’s healthy regime. She enjoyed the food and said it is the sort of food you get in Strada. Taken that as a compliment (I think)…

Ha! Since received a thank you message saying the food was spot on. :-))

Details..

Cherry Tomato Spaghetti- Fresh spaghetti, 1 lb top quality cherry toms, garlic, chilli, herbs and wine.

Add: Chorizo, mushrooms and/or prawns, as I did.

Pud – Mixed fruit and crumble (1oz butter, 1oz lard, 4oz plain flour) mixed berries and sugar on top.

Prep time 40 mins.

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Cooking with love….


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Today we invited family over. Family we haven’t seen for a while. This is a great excuse to do some cooking and so I decided to cook a lamb roast with apple pie for pudding. Also, some carrot cakes for tea.

So, we could have eaten out, but I like cooking and spent an hour the day before making my fairy cakes and apple pie.  Once you get going, it is fun. This is a great excuse to do some cooking and it won’t take long.  Put some fun tunes on, get all the ingredients out, pour a glass of something and off you go.

For the apple pie… Pastry – 1oz lard / 1oz butter and 40z plain flour plus a little milk – Filling – Cooking apples and sugar (and splash of milk to put on pastry and a little more sugar)

Lard, butter and plain flour, rub it until it’s like breadcrumbs, then add a little milk and roll until a ball, then throw some flour down and roll into a circle. Meanwhile, peel apples, slice into a bowl, sugar in top and shove into the microwave for about 6 mins.  Well, this isn’t healthy, but you are entertaining. When the apples are soft take out and cool.  Later put the pastry on, smooth a dab of milk and oh dear, more sugar.  Well, it is calorific but oh well.  I cooked the apple pie the next day, before popping the roast in.

The cakes are just a fairy cake/cup cake mix, but with brown sugar plus a carrot, grated, chopped walnuts and a dash of cinnamon.

The roast went in at 11am with a mixture of cream cheese, butter and fresh rosemary on the leg of lamb. Some wine was poured into the tin and covered with foil. The lamb cooked in the wine steam and produced some glorious gravy.

Peel some small potatoes and parsnips and put the potatoes in at midday.  They were dabbed with a little butter and rosemary. Parsnips were added about 12.30. The broccoli and carrots were boiled at 1pm and our guests arrived.

The gravy was decanted from the meat. Everything was put in dishes for and taken to the table. The meal was enjoyed with some wine. Really liked cooking, eating and catching up on the family news.

Don’t forget to lay the table so it looks super. Plates, vegetable bowls and when you have the evening tea, use teapots, cups and saucers.  Cook and present the food and drink, with love.  It is fun and your guests will appreciate the effort.

The afternoon was spent wandering around our local, beautiful park.  A great way to get some fresh air and exercise and work off some of the large dinner.  Followed by more cups of tea, salad and quiche and more family arriving. They seem to devour the cakes too! When our visitors left, we had a small glass of wine, but soon flopped into bed. Phew.

A great day and I have forgotten how much I love entertaining.  Oh and I didn’t put any weight on.  Fabulous.  Hope you are inspired to cook with love…

Tip alert..

– Use fresh ingredients

– Cook from scratch and with love

– Prepare a pudding and cakes the day before

– Prepare ingredients before you start

– Put on some jazzy, lively tunes

– Use your best crockery and accessories  (veg bowls, tea pots, table cloths)

– Enjoy the day and delegate (have a tea/coffee making monitor)

 

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Mini Quiches

What shall I have for lunch that will fill me up? Eggs are always filling and I have a new small cake tin tray. So I made some mini quiches and they are delicious, cheap and filling.

Beat some eggs in a bowl.  Chop a pepper, onion, mushrooms and add ground pepper and herbs.  Of course, you could add some chopped veg too.  Plop in the individual cake tins and fill with the egg mixture.  Pop in the oven and wait for about 10 mins.  Sprinkle some grated cheese on and pop back in.  Delicious, healthy, filling and super easy.  Enjoy with some salad.

Stuff you need:

About 4 eggs

Half a pepper

Onion

Mushrooms

Seasoning

2 oz mature cheese

and anything else you fancy adding.

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Cambridge (Part 1)

A weekend, a break away.  Yes, another one. Hubby decided he needed his ancient hifi amp fixed so we ventured forth to Cambridge.  This apparently, is the only place where the experts can fix it…

Being the efficient person I am (ha ha), I booked a studio apartment. We arrived after many hours of moaning about the traffic and phoned the man to let us in said apartment. After much shouting over balconies, we were finally ushered in by a young polish chap who picked hubby’s bag up and left me to trail behind lugging my bag.

The studio apartment was stunning.  Thank goodness. It had everything. Beautiful bed, fully equipped kitchen, a comfortable seating area with the obligatory flat screen which I knew would not be used and green exotic plants so we could pretend we were not in Cambridge, but in some exotic land.

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After unpacking I suggested we go out and get some food because I like cooking and we have a fully equipped kitchen.  Oh yes!

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Off we toddled towards a shopping mall when husband realised he’d forgotten The Map. Back he scampered and then everything was fine.  We had the map and could locate Waitrose, the posh supermarket, and bought steaks for our heart attacks.

Returned home and set about cooking the steaks.  Made homemade chips, chopped tomatoes and mushrooms and grilled the steaks.  My husband asked if I had put on the fan.  I hadn’t bothered because I was trying to cope with the unfamiliar cooker and the fact that it wasn’t, em.. fully equipped.  There was one huge sharp knife and no potato peeler or small knives.  I just chopped up the potatoes, slung some butter and ground pepper on and shoved them in the oven.

The the smoke alarm went off.  Really piercing noise!!  As I opened the front door to let clean air in, a frantic man, with long grey hair, asked me if everything was ok and was I burning the dinner?  Me?  Burn food?  I don’t think so.  I told him through the noise, that I was just cooking my dinner and everything WILL BE FINE.  Eventually, I stopped the alarm by waving the bathroom towel under it.

The dinner was lovely and now you have a top tip on how to stop over zealous smoke alarms!  Needless to say, we frequented the local pub that evening, supped some beer, and laughed about the experience.  My husband cooked the breakfast in the morning and guess what?  Yes, it happened again!

Cheers!  Thank you for reading my blog.

Mean, Bean Chilli

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Sometimes you fancy something different to eat.  I thought it would be a good idea to cook a hot, mean bean chilli.

This is roughly how you prepare the chilli.  It is sooo easy…

Chop a red onion, yellow pepper, cherry tomatoes, mushrooms and drain some chick peas, mixed beans and kidney beans.  Throw in two tins of tomatoes, a little water, spinach, herbs, hot, hot, hot chillies and ground pepper.  Sling it all into a big casserole pot and dump in the oven for a couple of hours.

It is delicious with some rice and filled me up.  I have some left over for lunches.  Hope you are inspired to try a hot, mean chilli.  Enjoy and thank you for reading my blog.

Stuff you need:

  • Onion
  • Pepper
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tins of toms
  • Mushrooms
  • Beans
  • Chickpeas
  • Chillies
  • Spinach
  • Herbs and seasoning

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Everyday inspiration – Parkrun, reading and cooking…

Saturday – was an inspiring day so I’m going to share with you.  It started with a bowl of yogurt, oats and frozen berries.  This is a impressive breakfast, because it is sooo gratifying and looks rather resplendent too.

Parkrun

This was followed by a drive to the local park for this week’s Parkrun.  I’ve been running for a while off and on and recently decided to train more seriously.  To reduce the risk of injury, been doing a tough workout at the gym with weights and leg strength exercises. Consequently, my legs feel marginally stronger and I managed to keep shuffling along for the whole 5k.  Jolly tough for me, I can tell you.

Parkrun helps because it is challenging and timed.  It is held in many parks nationally on Saturday morning and starts at 9pm.  If you try it, arrive early because there is a short talk before the running starts.  Don’t forget to log on and obtain your bar code so your time can be recorded and emailed to you.  To find your local Parkrun, here is the website: http://www.parkrun.org.uk
Cooking and catching up with stuff

Returned home feeling invigorated and got stuck into a few housework chores, showered then had some lunch.  The afternoon was spent food shopping, reading and making this Moussaka for dinner.  It has been a long time since I made one and I really enjoyed it. Moussaka is simple to make and a favourite meal.

Fry slices of aubergines with a red onion. Cook some lamb mince and season then make a simple white sauce.  Layer in a deep dish, the aubergines, onion, mince and sliced potatoes. Add the white sauce and sprinkle some cheese if you are piggy like me then shove in a hot oven.  Job done. Here is a recipe to guide you: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/moussaka_71985

Evening road trip and craft beer

During the evening I checked out the pub King and Queen in Edenbridge.  A pleasant, evening trip and driven by somebody else.  This was just as well because they had craft beer.

So what is special about today?  Nothing much but it was inspiring.  A new PB at the exhausting but satisfying Parkrun, interesting reading, catching up, cooking a different meal and drinking some super craft beer. A day doing fab stuff, when I wanted.  Always a good thing, isn’t it?

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Last minute roasted veg..

So I’ve returned from my lovely break in Weymouth, rushed around the supermarket for a few bits, and realised I didn’t buy any potatoes.

With lunches in mind as well as dinner, decided to do a massive tray of roasted veg and throw the few little potatoes in that I found looking miserable in the cupboard.  Usually, cook beans and mash with sausages but it will be good to make something different.

Nothing like a last minute change of plan but at least I’ve got some roasted veg lunches for the remainder of the week.

Roasted veg: potatoes, courgettes, pepper, carrot, red onion, mushrooms, herbs, seasoning and splash of oil.

Enjoy!  Have you any last minute recipes?

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Proposed Healthy Month Plan – August

After a family wedding and subsequent holiday, everything is now back to the old routine.

This means a serious plan to get back to a healthy diet and exercise plan.  The plan is to do a series of healthy months and call the idea Healthy Month (probably one in four months). Therefore, the first one will be Healthy Month – August.  Or #HealthyAugust.

The plan is:

Eat healthy meals with a focus on fresh vegetables and fruit.

Low alcohol consumption.

Exercise almost daily.

Blog, Facebook or tweet about progress.

My goal is to lose 2 lb a week which is quite a challenge for me.  It seems a good month to do the above, but I am aware there may be the odd outing when I will succumb to some booze or naughty food.  However, I plan to be strict.  Anybody want to comment on the idea? Feel free to comment below and/or join me!

Don’t forget to follow my blog.  Thanks.

Andyx

 

 

 

The next blog (part 2) tips for gaining a good relationship with food…

Food ideas and running…

Started thinking about food plans and made a delicious mushroom risotto. Super easy to cook. Just chop up a variety of mushrooms with red onions, fresh basil, stock, ground pepper, risotto rice and, of course, a splash of white wine. Yummy, quick to cook and quite filling too.

Also, an effort was made to join the park runners on Saturday and a new pb was secured. The first lap was easier but the second, well, that was tough. It was nice to run with other runners instead of struggling at the back with the walkers.

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