Tomorrow, is the first day of the rest of your life…

Tomorrow is the first day of my campaign to get me eating healthily – I would like to get the rest of my family eating healthily but that might be slightly more than I can manage (Spider has potential he eats the more colourful members of the vegetable world).

Yesterday I tackled the building site of the back garden – its going to be a long job but at least I’ve strimmed the grass and made a start at stacking all the dead wood in one place

back garden pre tidy

back garden pre tidy

I have also organised the shed, camping and toys on one side and my gardening equipment on the other. Am contemplating drawing a chalk line down the centre…have threatened dire penalties towards anyone messing up my “sanctuary” if a dark dingy cobwebbed infested place can be called a sanctuary.

All my tools are finally in one place, soon to be joined by all the various seed packets that inhabit every spare drawer in the house.

Unfortunately all the plants I grew in February and March have died off as I had nowhere to put them after the allotment fell through so I am looking for free or cheap plants of whatever sort I can get my hands on.

Later today I shall make the last cake (other than my Mum’s birthday cake) that I intend to eat until I have got my waist measurement down to 28 inches – still cooking for other people though..

I am also part way through 2 soups. There was a report on the BBC website last week that scientists thought that soup might be the key to dieting as it makes your brain think you are not hungry for longer – sorry can’t find the link. I am part way through as one of the recipes involves soaking beans overnight and then cooking them. I don’t have a lot of luck with dried beans so I doubled both the soaking time and the cooking time and I think they are now “cooked, with a little bite left”.

The recipes in question are Nigel Slater’s “White Bean and Tarragon Soup” replacing the borlotti beans with haricot and the tarragon with possibly thyme (I actually grew some borlotti beans last year and they were very easy and so beautiful to look at). The second recipe is from a blog I read Glittyknittykitty (Potage Crecy with Peppers – January 16th) and is purely because I have been given a jaw of Peppardew peppers and have a large bag of carrots in for Spider.

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More tea vic ?

I didn’t in the end make the Marmalade cake as yesterday we celebrated the fine weather by having a barbeque with our next door neighbours, the wonderful queen of make and do and flapjacks (who ran out of golden syrup mid week and came round for some emergency supplies), and her family.

At 7pm I took Spider back home for milk and a story, with the intention of using the phone as a baby monitor but instead collapsed on our bed after reading his bedtime story where Husband found us both some 3 hours later snoring our heads off.

The side benefit of the barbeque is that I have managed to sneak some salad into the house, lettuce, cherry toms and some spring onions – although the boys don’t mind vegetables they are deeply suspicious of “green stuff”.

Today we have visitors, Husband’s brother and fiancee and  I was about to start beating some eggs when Husband decided that he would finally cut his birthday cake… now I know my limitations, and much as though I would have enjoyed making his cake, a 50th birthday called for something special, so I asked the Fairy Gothmother to weave her magic in the kitchen (she made our wedding cake) and she came up with this…may 2009 040

Stealth Cooking…

Making  porridge for myself and Spider insists that he should share it so I search the fridge for something to stir into it to make it less hot and foolishly I say “I’m putting marmalade in it, is that ok” at which point he informs me that he doesn’t like marmalade.

Strange. He likes jam. He likes orange and orange juice. What is marmalade but orange jam ? Anyway I think nothing more about it and instead stir condensed milk into the porridge. Yes I know, bad mummy ! Think of the effect on his teeth, yed but think of the effect on his cholesterol levels all that lovely oatey goodness…am sure my addiction to porridge is why I don’t have to worry about my cholesterol level (apparently).

Anyway, later I get to thinking about Spider not liking marmalade, and well it seems like a challenge. Am  fed up of my family announcing arbitrarily that they don’t like this and they don’t like that and I’m sure that most of them are very specific for example my husband doesn’t like anchovies but does like worcester sauce which is made out of anchovies.

It seems a bit strange to be trying to sneak marmalade into someone’s diet, most parents are trying to sneak vegetables into their children’s food whereas my son has been none to shoplift carrots… it is however a perfect excuse to make Nigel Slater’s  Frosted Marmalade cake, but tonight not now, tonight when my little monster has gone to bed and he can’t spot the marmalade being added to the batter !

Waste of a waist

As I meandered into work yesterday my mind was toying around with converting 81cm into inches and was so shocked with the results that I had to double check with a calculator when I finally got to work.

Now it was always a consolation and of great comfort to me to know that despite for most of my life having a backside the size of East Anglia, I had a very small waist. When I was 21 I had a 24 inch waist.

Discovering therefore that I now have a 32 inch waist has been the kick up the backside that I have needed to look seriously at the amount of exercise I get and the quality of my diet.

So as of today I am cutting down on my alcohol intake and improving the quantity of vegetables in my cooking. On the veg side I made a start last night with a chow mein that was heavy on the frozen vegetables – which are apparently just as good for you as fresh ones – and since I like a well stocked freezer I have no excuse for not eating large quantities of vegetables…

I do not exercise. I don’t get any enjoyment from exercise for exercise sake and there is no way I’m wasting my time down a gym. However I have until recently always been reasonably fit because I have never minded walking and I don’t consider anything under 2 miles to be an unreasonable distance. Unfortunately since having Spider I have been a little more reliant on the car for logistical reasons and lack of time. I am therefore trying to work more exercise into daily life.

I know I am fooling myself to think that without a lot more effort on the exercise front I will ever get my 24 inch waist back and if I’m honest I think trying to get rid of 8 inches of blubber is probably not achievable. I am therefore aiming for 27inches and if the first 2 inches come off easily then I might increase the exercise regime to something more intensive.

Having scanned through my recipe books for inspiration I have come to the conclusion that Leon: Allegra McEvedy might be a good book to use for menu planning as it appears to have less reliance on butter and cream and does seem to have a high content of vegetables in the recipes.

I was interested to note that Allegra has a new recipe book coming out in August co written with Paul Merret (whose Losing the Plot: Tales of an Allotment Chef I received for my birthday last week) called Economy Gastronomy which is concentrating on eating well, eating healthily but eating cheaply…sounds very timely.

These are not the biscuits…part II

My Mum made me a cake today and afternoon tea with all the things I like – prawns, egg mayonnaise,cold roast chicken, orange jelly…I feel well and truly stuffed to bursting, mostly because I had 4 of her home made biscuits.  These biscuits are amazing and in fact one of my most recent post details my attempt to recreate that biscuit.

Well I now know the truth. These biscuits that I have called Anzac biscuits all my life are not Anzac biscuits and Mum didn’t get the recipe from that Australian WI book I mentioned but its actually a variation on my Nana’s ginger biscuits, only Mum leaves the ginger out – so this is it then, this is the handed down recipe from Mother to Daughter that I have been looking for since I started these pages some 9 or 10 months ago…I think I my cooking Mojo maybe about to come back. I didn’t cock the Anzac recipe up, it was simply the wrong recipe !!!!

You have no idea how much happier I feel now…