Monday, 29 October 2012

Millie's Style Cookies with Kinder Chocolate

Greetings!
Here's another sweet treat for you! Ever had a Millie's cookie? Well, in the UK, or Glasgow at least, they're quite famous, and you can get them up to the size of a small pizza *jawdrop*.
Anywho! I decided to try out a recipe for them (which by the way was fairly easy to find on the internet, should you use the magic tool that is Google and type in "Millie's Cookies Recipe"). I will have a go at making my mother's chocolate chip cookies in the future, but I sort of associate them with christmas, so I will wait at least a few weeks before I make them. Oh! I even added 100 g Norwegian milk chocolate instead of the Kinder chocolate - this is entirely up to you though, and since Freia Melkesjokolade is a little tricky to obtain should you not happen to live in/visit Norway a few times a year, theeeeen why just not use all Kinder Chocolate?
Personally, I prefer oaty cookies with nuts and fruit, but I must admit, these are quite nice!

Millie's Style Cookies with Kinder Chocolate
(Makes 30 small ones, around 100 calories each)




125 g butter (I used Flora Light)
100 g light brown sugar
125 g caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
225 g flour (or self-raising flour, drop the next ingredient in that case...)
A pinch of salt
1 tsp baking powder/bicarbonate of soda
200 g Kinder chocolate = 1 x 16 pack of mini Kinder chocolates

- Pre-heat the oven to 180°C

- In a baking bowl, cream the butter and sugars, until it goes all lovely and creamy, then stir in the vanilla extract and egg.

- Sift flour, rising agent and salt into the mix, combine, and then stir in the chopped chocolate.

- Use a tablespoon, or two teaspoons, to dollop a walnut sized ball of the batter onto a tray clad with baking paper. They don't spread out so much in the oven, but they do a little bit, so keep about 2 centimetres between them so they don't stick to each other.

- Then pop in the oven for 8-10 minutes. It said that if you wanted them doughy, you should take them out after 7 minutes, but I found them just to come out a mess then, and took them all out after 10 minutes just to be sure.

- Leave for a minute to cool, before transferring onto a cooling rack - if you can keep your paws away from them for that long that is!

Now, where's that glass of milk?!

Original source (one of many):
http://laureneasmith.blogspot.co.uk/2008/05/millies-cookie-recipe.html

- Jules

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Sir Lancelot's Pumpkin Soup

Why hello! Nice of you to peek in - do I have news for you! Yesterday, I went into the shop to buy some milk, I saw the pile of pumpkin's in the shop, and had one of those Lightbulb! moments, and yes....I came back out with a pumpkin in hand. Orange is my favourite colour, and pumpkins look amazing!

Not long after, I found myself carving away, putting the seeds away for drying them in the oven, I ended up with a small jarful, probably worth £3 in the shop itself.

Then, when Sir Lancelot was complete, I tried to search for recipes that I could use his flesh for. That might sound a little grotesque, but it is Halloween after all!


I decided to make two things, for surely one of them would end up tasting nice at the very least? I settled for a pumpkin and ginger tea bread recipe that I ended up tweaking a little too much, and it sort of fell apart. It tastes nice, don't get me wrong, but it's just a "tasty failure" projects. Life experience points to me anyway!

Then, I decided to try and make my own soup. I had so many bits and pieces of leftover vegetables, that I decided what the hey! And here it is, Sir Lancelot's Pumpkin Soup. I was going to call it Guinevere after his lover, but that would be cheesy! I don't know why I settled for Sir Lancelot, I've just always liked the name Lancelot...a lot! My puns are horrible...apologies!

Sir. Lancelot's Pumpkin Soup
(Serves 3-4, 213-160 calories each)


1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 leek, chopped
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
1/3 bulb garlic, or 2-3 cloves
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
250-300 g pumpkin
A squeeze of lemon
Enough vegetable stock to almost cover the vegetables
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tbsp salt
1 tbsp dried chives
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp celery salt
1/2 tsp thyme
Pumpkin seeds to top with
Bread to serve

- Heat oil in a large saucepan, soften the leeks and garlic before adding the rest of the chopped vegetables as you chop them, adding the pumpkin last. Stir well and make sure everything is coated.

- Now, pour over the stock and mix in the spices. Cover the saucepan with a lid and leave it to simmer for about half an hour until the pumpkin is tender.

- With a stick blender, whizz the soup until it's got a smooth texture, season to taste should there be anything missing.

- Serve topped with toasted pumpkin seeds and a side of warm crusty bread on a cold evening, look at your newly carved pumpkin - Cool, isn't it? *smiles* Made me forget how cold it was outside, at least for a little while!


Original source:
Me!

Thursday, 18 October 2012

Spicy Carrot & Cumin Soup

Wherever I turn, there are people sniffling here and coughing there, and I thought I'd post up a really simple and very tasty soup recipe! Thought carrots were boring? Think again! Especially if you have extra spicy chilli flakes, like the ones I used - hawt!

Spicy Carrot & Cumin Soup
(Serves 2, 180 calories each - it can serve four as a starter in small bowls)


5 large carrots, peeled and sliced
1 medium onion, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
A small pinch of chilli flakes or chilli powder
2 tsp soft brown sugar
500 ml - 1 litre of chicken or vegetable stock (depending on how thick you like the soup, start off with 500 ml)
1 bunch coriander chopped (optional)
(Low fat crème fraîche to serve)

- Heat a medium sized saucepan, and chuck in the cumin, sizzle for a couple of minutes so it releases some extra flavour.

- Pour in the oil along with the chopped onion, and soften for a few minutes before adding chilli.

- Now, add the sugar, carrots and stock and let it boil until the carrots are tender, 10-15 minutes.

- Take the pan off the hob and whizz it smooth with a stick blender, add more water for a thinner soup, I think I almost ended up using a full litre of stock.

- Return pan to the hob, and season with salt and pepper to taste. add a dollop of crème fraîche if you want, and serve with some lovely crusty bread.

Let the Winter commence!


Original source:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/3882/carrot-and-cumin-soup-with-fresh-coriander

- Jules

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Mocha Milkshake

Mocha Milkshake
(Serves 4 - about 210 calories each)

I didn't have any fancy glasses, so I settled for a wine glass instead, it tastes way better than it looks by the way! The little photography skills I have failed me...

85 g dark chocolate (70- or 80%)
1 tbsp coffee granules
700 ml milk
4 scoops of vanilla icecream (+ extra 4 scoops to serve optional)

- Roughly chop 75 g of the chocolate and tip into a large bowl along with the coffee.

- Bring 300 ml of the milk juuuust to the boil, and pour it over the chocolate-coffee mixture. Stir until the chocolate is all melted, and then leave it to cool.

- Tip the cooled mocha milk into a blender with the remining milk and four scooped of icecream. Once it's all nice and smooth, divide the milkshake between four tall glasses, add an extra scoop of icecream if you wish

- Finally, grate the last piece of chocolate on top!

Original source:
http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/408616/mocha-milkshake

- Jules

Friday, 12 October 2012

Cauliflower Curry Fritters with Minty Yogurt Dip

A friend of mine who I used to work with, but whom sadly had to quit recently due to moving to San Francisco soon (poor soul....OK, slightly jealous here!) sent me this recipe for me to try out. I've never cooked cauliflower before, but my this was tasty!

Cauliflower Curry Fritters with Minty Yogurt Dip
(Makes 8, 86 calories per fritter. Serves 4, 245 calories including yogurt dip)


1 cauliflower, cut into small florets
2 eggs
4 tbsp plain flour
1 bunch coriander
1 bunch parsley
1 tbsp mild curry powder (I miiight have used a little more *angeleyes*)
Pinch of chilli
Salt to taste
Sunflower oil for frying

Yogurt dip:
500 ml natural yogurt
1 bunch mint, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
Salt to taste

- Boil the cauliflower in salted water until softens, for about 10-15 minutes.

- In the meantime, prepare the herbs, and mix together the dip. Set in the fridge to cool until serving.

- Drain off the water of the cauliflower and mash as best you can, just so it is a little less chunky. Add the flour, eggs, spices and herbs and mix well to a batter.

- Heat a tbsp of sunflower oil in a frying pan, and dollop two tablespoons' worth of the mixture in, you can probably make two or three at a time. They spread out a little bit during frying though, so make sure they've got enough space. Fry for a few minutes on each side until golden.

- Once cooked, place on paper towel to let it soak up the excess oil.

- Serve with the dip and garnish with a few mint leaves, they taste good without the dip as well, mmm!

Original source:
Dear, sweet Ela!

- Jules

Louvia (Black-Eyed Bean Stew)

Having a bag of dried black-eyed beans in the cupboard, I thought I'd make use of some of them, and ended up making this dish. I would say it is more of a side dish or something to have in addition to something else, perhaps add some in your tortilla?
It's almost like baked beans except the tomato-y-ness is changed for garlic and onions. Apparently it was posted in an Egyptian magazine, pretty neat!

Louvia (Black-Eyed Bean Stew)
(Serves 5, 475 calories each - as a main)

PS. I didn't add enough water! Ooops

About 300 g dry black-eyes beans, soak overnight in salted water
Water
2 onions, chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely sliced
1 cup fresh dill, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
2 tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp tomato purée
4 tbsp olive oil
Salt to taste

- The following day after the beans have soaked overnight, boil up some water and cook them for about 45 minutes.

- In another pot, slightly brown the onion for 2-3 minutes, then add garlic, tomatoes, purée and herbs. Simmer on medium heat for about 30 minutes, adding a tiny bit of water.

- Stir the beans in with the onion mix, add more water and simmer for about 15 minutes - and you're done!

Original source:
http://www.food.com/recipe/louvia-black-eyed-peas-stew-229524

- Jules

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Why doth Thou Feareth Bread if Thou Runneth?

For some time now, I have been wanting to write about exercising, fitness and a healthy diet. What stopped me? Well, around ten months ago, I discovered that I had eaten a little "too healthy" and thus not gotten enough nutrition, which resulted in amenorrhea. So who was I to speak about fitness and nutrition, when it turned out I had been doing it wrong all along? I went from being chubby, to not eating enough of the right things. This came as a surprise, as I had thought I had been living a very healthy life-style, feeling fresh as a daisy and full of energy.


Around 2 years ago, I weighed 69 kilos, that was when I realised something had to be done. I wasn't comfortable in my own skin, because I hadn't always been as chubby. I was working full-time, and dinner usually consisted of something that came out of the freezer, made by some random factory somewhere... I thought I didn't have time to fit in exercising and cooking, but what did I know? It turns out you can fit in both, and quite easily as well, it's all just a matter of convincing yourself and getting started! The progress was slow, I did it the way we are told - to lose weight slowly and healthily, by eating well and exercising regularly so as to not gain the weight back on as soon as you stop being as active. Now, I am around 50 kilos - and my goal before I started to change my life-style, was to go down to 55.

5-a-day might sound like a challenge to some, but whenever you're avoiding this food and that, all of a sudden you have had 7 out of your 5-a-day! That was were I was at, and after a long session at the gym, I would normally go home and make something to eat, usually very low in calories which ended in my body not getting enough protein, calcium and carbohydrates, as well as iron.
Since then, I have and still am suffering from amenorrhea - which some girls might already have heard of. Because this is a blog for everyone to see, I feel a bit queasy about posting up the description of it, as it basically just messes up girls' hormones. I am sure Google or Wikipedia can make you a little wiser, should you wish to look it up (or just go to http://sportsmedicine.about.com/od/women/a/Amenorrhea.htm)

Mainly, I am writing this in case any girls or women who come across this blog, is going through the same, and are looking for advice. When I first discovered it, it was easily enough to find information about it online, but to actually read other people's experience was a little more difficult to come by. I thought I'd add a quote from the movie "Patch Adams" on how we each learn from one another:

-Mr. Adams... have you or have you not been treating patients at your ranch?
-Everyone who comes to the ranch is a patient, yes. And every person who comes to the ranch is also a doctor.
-I'm sorry?
-Every person who comes to the ranch is in need... of some form of physical or mental help. They're patients. But also every person who comes to the ranch is in charge of taking care of someone else-- whether it's cooking for them, cleaning them... or even as simple a task as listening. That makes them doctors. I use that term broadly, but is not a doctor someone who helps someone else?

http://www.script-o-rama.com/movie_scripts/p/patch-adams-script-transcript-robin.html

We all learn from each others' life experiences as well as our own, be it bad or good!
In itself, as long as you ackowledge amenorrhea and start eating more, making sure you get a little bit of everything, it will go away and you will go back to normal. If you choose to ignore it though, it will as far as I've understood, lead to lower bone density which can be a big problem should you get osteoporosis at an onlder age. It will also take longer for your bones to heal should you get a fracture. The stress factor increases, and your body, nutrition-wise, is not healthy. There are medical ways of "fixing" the problems, but in my opinion the best way is the natural way - decrease the amount of exercise you do for a short period of time, and also eat more. Within a few weeks or months, the body usually gets back to normal.

Calorie counting: I had been feeling stronger and more energised than ever, going to the gym twice a week, steadily increasing the amount of time I spent there each session. As soon as I realised my body wasn't catching up with me though, I figured I would have to be careful, making sure I would get enough calories. Now, I thought I could get enough nutrition once I started counting my calories - it made sense to me! I kept trying to avoid bread, rice, pasta, fats and sugary products still, and all the obvious "unhealthy" foods, and just ate more of what I already was eating, counting between 1800-2000 calories each day, but aaalways rounding the calories up. Say, if I had a snack that was 66 calories, I would count that as 70 and so on, which meant I was getting less than I needed.


I saw my Doctor once I had sussed out what was wrong with me, I had my blood tests taken, and because I had already started eating more of what I had been avoiding before, the blood levels came out "normal", but my body didn't recover... Again, a few weeks ago - over half a year since I last had seen the Doctor, I went back there - because I had been told that if the issue didn't resolve itself naturally, I should come back and talk to him to see if there was anything I needed to do. It turns out I had lost more weight since my previous visit, and I was told that it was not a problem, I would just have to gain a few kilos. I already knew this, but because I have been avoiding certain foods for so long, it almost became like an OCD way of thinking around it. So I tried to figure out what products to swap for what I was eating now that had more calories in it. This means I would eat the same types of foods still, except they were only slightly higher in calories, and the difference in the fat- and sugar content was miniscule. So even if I was counting calories and getting my GDA, this was still not enough, I still tried to stay away from certain foods that my body required.

After also having spoken with a PT and nutritional expert in my local gym, only about a week and a half ago, I have been set straight - hopefully... I was told that if you want to lose weight, you shouldn't both go on a diet AND exercise. Exercise, sure, and make sure you eat healthily, but healthy means that you need fats and carbohydrates, protein and sugar. Instead of getting it directly through chocolate, cheese, or other things that you only need a little bit of though, you can always eat fruits and nuts, add a big dab of delicious red pepper hummous on a slice of bread, and have wholemeal bread and brown rice. When you exercise on a regular basis, your body usually needs quite a bit of all the things you should "avoid" when on a diet and not doing much exercise.
Oh! And when I said I had been avoiding carbohydrates, the PT just looked at me surprised (and not the good kind of surprised...), with an expression saying "carbohydrates is one of THE most important part of an athletes diet!" When talking about eating healthily in general, he said I had been on the right track when I told him that I'd rather have a bit of chocolate or a piece of fruit to get my sugar kicks, eating a lot of vegetables, but also that I had to make sure I treated myself every now and again, and that I should perhaps consider having one or tro protein shakes a week to top up on my protein leves (I've still not gotten around to that yet, as I previously said - I prefer getting the right nutrition the natural way!)
I was assured that my problem was not uncommon, by the sound of it, athletic amenorrhea is something almost all female body builders suffer from and a lot of female athletes in general, and here is little me going on the treadmill and running a bit here and there having the same problem. The PT informed me that it wasn't my work-out session as much as my diet, but that I should definitely make sure to eat normally, fresh, using my common sense, and add a bit of resistance training into my weekly work-outs so as not make my body used to running and pushing itself, because it also needs exercises that help building muscles, so the body can support me when doing all the cardiovascular exercises.

I am still "recovering", and I will probably post an update on it as soon as everything is back to normal. I just felt that I should write about it, seeing as cooking and exercising is a big part of my life now. I didn't know anyone personally who had been through the same situation as me a month ago, but then I met someone who gave me a kick in the side telling me to make sure I'd eat enough, as she had had amenorrea herself and recovered by making sure she put on a couple of kilos. Most guys love a girl with a bit of curves anyway, right?
...It just goes to show that you can feel as fresh as ever, but not realise there is something wrong.
So, if you're an athlete, or exercise on a regular basis, you don't have to be afraid of certain foods, eat healthy, a little bit of everything but in moderation - your body needs it! And should you have a craving for something, that is probably your body telling you that it's short of it, have a bit of chocolate, a Babybel or a small bag of crisps. Make sure you get a lot of protein and carbohydrates, a bit of sugar and fat and also a lot of iron and calcium. It seems to be a fine balance between it all, but I had no clue exactly how big a deal your diet is in context to exercising until I learnt the hard way myself


You live and learn, try and fail, try again - and hopefully you get it right at least the second time around! We all have our moments where we feel like a clumsy puppy.
I just remembered I'm a libra, ha! So much for being indecisive and rambling on about scales eh?

Take care

- Jules

PS. All three photos in this post is from Google images, whereas usually I take them myself.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Foul Mudammes

Not long ago, I decided to try and make some different foods, and I came across lots of different dishes. One that caught my eye, was an Egyptian dish that was named Fooll Mudammes. Now, I know there are loads of ways of spelling it, but I decided to use the spelling that they use in an Egyptian restaurant I'll mention below...

I tweaked the recipe a little bit, adding garlic and some butter. The reason? I visited an Egyptian restaurant for my second time only last week, and I had this as a side with my main meal, and it was heavenly! It said in the menu description that "foul" (like I said, there are many ways of spelling the name of it!) were slow-cooked fava beans (broad beans) with butter and garlic.

Foul Mudammes
(Serves 2, about 300 calories each)


2 tbsp olive oil
40 g (light) butter
4 tbsp tomato purée
1 onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic (or more!) finely chopped
50-100 ml water
1 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
Handful fresh coriander
1 can fava beans (about 200g drained)

- Heat up most of the oil and butter in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and garlic and soften for about 5 minutes before stirring in the tomato purée, water, and spices.

- Once it is all nicely blended and the flavours are coming together, tip in the broad beans, and turn down the temperature on medium low heat, and add the rest of the butter and oil, or even add a little more of each to taste if you want.

- After 5-7 minutes, when it is all softened and is cooking away, mash half of the beans with a masher. Stir in the coriander, stir a little, and it's ready!

Serve with flatbread, on top of a baked potato, with potato scones, farls, with rice, or do as I did - and try and make your own flatbread! Mine turned out like a cross between a potato scone and a pancake, hah!

PS. This dish can easily be made vegan if you just use a little extra oil instead of the butter, happy days!


PPS. Should you find yourself in Glasgow, and want something to eat, here is the restaurant I mentioned earlier on - Nur - lovely owners, delicious Egyptian cuisine!

www.nur-restaurant.co.uk

Original source:
http://www.food.com/recipe/fooll-mudammes-fava-bean-egyptian-breakfast-1601-1608-1604-1605-1583-1605-1587-18236

- Jules