Archive of ‘Food and drink’ category

Afternoon tea with Twinings

Being an eternal tea lover (the clue’s in the title) the super lovely and friendly guys at Twinings recently asked me if I would guest blog for them about creating the perfect afternoon tea at home. Anything that involves tea and cake is good with me, so writing about how I like to enjoy my afternoon tea was nothing short of a pleasure.

If, like me, you’re a big fan of endless tea in all kinds of varieties, and love a bit of homemade cake to go with it, then make sure you head on over to Twinings, arm yourself with a good brew, and find out more. There’s a couple of recipes on there too, which will hopefully inspire you to get baking and invite friends and family to simply savour the moment and enjoy some indulgent time with the people you love – because sometimes it really is the simplest of pleasures that mean the most.

 

 

 

Sugar free (and butter free) tea loaf | Recipe

Every week since the start of the year, I’ve been telling myself that ‘this’ is the week I make better choices… the week I put those trainers on and go for a run, the week I eat less of the all the bad stuff and pay more attention to the good stuff. Only by about Tuesday I’ve failed on every level and am already reaching for the wine. But this week, well this week is IT!

And, whilst I know I can’t survive without a yummy treat (or several) I do want to reduce the amount of refined sugar in my diet. Which means that certain sugar-free recipes are the perfect way to curb that sugar craving but without the crash that usually comes with it.

One of my favourite sugar-free recipes comes c/o Davina McCall from her ‘5 weeks to sugar-free’ book. This tea loaf is so simple to make and has no sugar or butter in the actual recipe (although I do add butter to my slices slice when I’m actually eating it!). Anything that accompanies a proper cup of tea, and doesn’t involve you reaching for the biscuit tin, is good in my book!


Ingredients 

350g dried fruit (I make sure there’s a mixture of raisins, dates, sultanas and cranberries)

200ml freshly brewed tea

50ml maple syrup (honey is also good)

250g wholemeal spelt flour (can’t beat Doves Farm)!

2tsp baking powder

1 tsp mixed space

2 free-range eggs


Method 

Boil the kettle and brew 200ml of tea. Pour over the dried fruit and maple syrup (or honey) let it sit for a few few hours (or overnight if you have the patience).

 

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Sieve the flour into a bowl and stir in the baking powder and mixed spice. Add the fruit and any of the liquid, along with the eggs. Mix it all up.

 

Bake in the oven for around an hour. Take out and leave to cool for around ten minutes.

Serve with butter and a cuppa!

(tea loaf is best when it’s still warm from the oven)!

Enjoy

Feeling green | Juice recipe

Now that we’re well and truly into February I thought that better habits and new-year-type routines would somehow find me. However, after sitting here and waiting I’ve come to the realisation that I might need to take a little more action to perk up these energy levels. So an SOS message was sent to my best friend last night, to tell her that I’ve not just fallen off the health bandwagon but that it has left me for dust at the side of the road, and I needed some of her inspiration, ideas and willpower (her willpower always amazes me).

Being my best friend she was really reassuring and made me feel better by saying that sometimes it’s OK to eat all the carbs, drink all the wine, and sit on your arse. And as kind as her words were, she knows me too well and knows when enough is enough and offered her support in helping me motivate myself. As I’ve mentioned in other posts, I’m an all or nothing kinda gal, but I certainly feel much better when I’m giving my all, rather than my nothing … especially where health and wellbeing is concerned (guilt soon sets in when you’re scrolling through Instagram, eating a packet of biscuits whilst watching gym bunnies lift their own body weight). So, I made myself a little green juice and decided that it’s *finally* time for some accountability.

Working for yourself and being at home most of the day can leave you VERY sedentary. And whilst most would see it as an opportunity to eat well and exercise more, if I’m not in ‘that’ headspace routines can easily slip – please tell me I’m not alone here 🙋🏻!

So, if you’ve been feeling a little ‘meh’, thanks to what seems like a long and grey winter and a severe lack of vitamin D, then might I suggest you try this delicious green juice also?  It certainly isn’t a miracle cure but it’s made me realise how much I’ve been missing freshness in my life and how much happier I feel when I make better choices in my diet*

* I’d like to point out that what makes this worse is I have ZERO excuses for never having fresh ingredients to hand. My husband is a fruit and veg supplier so we always have a constant supply of lovely healthy produce in our house. Oh, the irony. 


Apple, spinach and mint – green juice 

  • 4 apples – chopped
  • Large handful of baby spinach
  • 1/2 cup of mint leaves
  • 1 lime – peeled

Put it through a juicer and serve in a glass. You can make it in a blender but would need to pass it through a sieve first – and just look at the beautiful colour 🍃. 


And why is this juice great?

I’ve found some recipe notes over on the The Juicing Collection  to highlight how this juice can help keep you happy and well!

Vitamin C ✓ Vitamin A ✓ Vitamin K ✓ Folate ✓ Magnesium ✓


Vitamin C

Required for: Immunity, heart and cardiovascular health, development of sex hormones, stress management, health and repair of skin and effective wound healing

Deficiency Symptoms: Frequent infections, poor wound healing, skin complaints, fatigue and listlessness, depression, easy bruising, bleeding gums and varicose veins. 


Vitamin K 

Required for: Bone building and repair, blood clotting and preventing heavy menstrual bleeding. 

Deficiency symptoms: Easy bruising, osteoporosis and heaving menstrual bleeding


Vitamin A 

Required for: Immune system, growth and repair of bones, skin, teeth and eye health.

Deficiency Symptoms: Dry skin, dull and dry hair, hard skin, reduced saliva production, ridged nails, loss of appetite, bumps on back of arms and other parts of the body, acne, mouth ulcers, sinus problems, poor wound healing and poor night vision.


Magnesium

Required for: Cardiovascular health, nervous system function, stress management, carbohydrate digestion, and metabolism into energy, thyroid function and mental clarity and function, as well as the absorbing of calcium into bones.

Deficiency Symptoms: Muscle cramps and twitches, nervous fidgeting, restless legs, hyperactivity and restlessness, insomnia, poor concentration, irritability, palpitations, and arrhythmias.


And if you have any recipes, ideas or advice to help this former well-be-er get back aboard the waggon then send them my way.

Healthy baking made easy

I was recently asked by the lovely people at Sweetpea Pantry if I’d review some of their healthy baking mixes. And, as someone who is always on the look out for something sweet, tasty, but oh-so much better for you (not to mention a lover of anything biscuit-based), I soon got to baking.

Well, when I say baking what I really mean is a few easy steps before being able to sit down, with a cuppa, and a plate full of biscuits.

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Sweetpea Pantry create really healthy and delicious mixes, everything from pizza dough and pancakes to flapjacks and biscuits, with no refined sugars and 100% natural ingredients. If you have kids then I imagine that these are the ideal treat – no crazy sugar high and you don’t feel bad for feeding them biscuits when you want five minutes peace.

I tried the Ginger Giggles biscuit mix which is packed full of good stuff like flaxseed, wholegrain rye, and barely.

It was really simple to do, all you need to add to the mix is:

  • An egg white (local and free-range, of course)
  • Butter (or you can use a non-dairy alternative)
  • Honey

To make the biscuits you need to follow these steps:

  1. Prepare

Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees. At this point, whenever I’m baking, I line my tray with greaseproof baking paper so I don’t end up covering half my kitchen in flour as I fight with the a roll of brown paper.

Then you need to melt the butter and honey together. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg white until it’s frothy.

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2. Mix

Mix all the ingredients together, along with the Sweetpea Ginger Giggles mix, and stir it until it combines. You should be left with a dough to knead that’s a lovely rich brown colour. Simply roll this into a ball and leave it to cool. I wrapped mine in cling film and popped it in the fridge for a while (I’m pretty pants at rolling pastry).

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3. Bake

Finally, grab some flour, dust your worktop and roll out the dough to around 3-5mm thick and cut it into biscuits. I used a round cutter to make proper-looking biscuits. If I had kids I’m sure they’d be made into actual gingerbread men but the husband prefers a manly biscuit rather than a novelty looking one.

Then bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes – my oven is not the greatest as it gets very hot, very quickly, so my biscuits only took around 6 minutes to bake.

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And there you have it, yummy and healthy ginger bread biscuits. It’s nice to sit down with a cup of tea and a biscuit (or two) and know that it’s not packed full of rubbish and sugar. A lovely, little healthy treat.

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P.S. The husband is an absolute biscuit fiend so they didn’t last very long.