Weetabix & banana cake (Slimming World-friendly)

IMG_3508I’m going to utter the ‘D’ word. Here it comes: DIET. Ugh. Must do better next Christmas and remember, as I fall face down into Batch 28 of the homemade mince pies, that they will, without question, make my bottom big. Along with other bits of me. Their consumption will apparently make my rain jacket so tight that when I bend over to pick something up from the floor, it will unzip itself – unprompted by human hand – from the bottom upwards. Ooops.

I am now into Week 3 of Slimming World-friendly food, and there are three and a half kilos less of me, and there have been no further public declarations of distress by the wilful rain jacket. Just another five kilos to go and we are done – if you say it quickly, it sounds easy. Continue reading “Weetabix & banana cake (Slimming World-friendly)”

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High-fibre beef & lentil chilli

img_3479Happy new year to everyone. Rather late in the day, being half way through January, but the year already seems to be racing past at speed.

We are back in Cornwall after spending Christmas and the New Year looking after the most beautiful black labrador in the Cotswolds village of Bretforton, while her owners went off on holidays for a couple of weeks.

Thrown in with the deal was a velvety black rabbit called Bumbles – a comical, cantankerous, unpredictable, dish-hurling, naughty, affectionate little diva. After two weeks, we came to an understanding – she could nibble my jumper sleeves as long as she didn’t nibble my wrists, and I would provide her with an endless supply of brussels sprout tops, kale, cabbage and the occasional stick of celery.  That seemed to work. To be fair, the dish-hurling only happened twice – unfortunately this then involved me crawling into the pen on my hands and knees, Christmas-enhanced backside in the air, trying not to kneel on rabbit poo, in order to retrieve it. We’ve had more dignified assignments. Oddly enough, Robin left rabbit care to me, though I admit he more than made up for this by taking on responsibility for the early-morning dog walks.
Continue reading “High-fibre beef & lentil chilli”

Hot and sout Thai noodle soup

IMG_3417Despite the mostly inclement weather, we’re enjoying being back in Cornwall, and it is especially novel not sharing our house with the plumbers, carpenters and electricians. We quite miss them though – they are a happy and helpful bunch – though we don’t miss the early morning start time. They were here last week finishing off a few bits and pieces, but I think that is everything now until the summer. Robin is muttering about ‘getting up the floor of the conservatory’ to install underfloor heating, as that is our only dining space and it can be parky at this time of year. Personally, I favour a large rug. The thought of having the floor up fills me with horror. I am hoping he will have forgotten about it by the summer. Continue reading “Hot and sout Thai noodle soup”

Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)

IMG_3401Raining. Again. And I’ve been in the country less than a week and I’ve got a cold. How did that happen?

My life at the moment is a whirlwind of ibuprofen (throat/headache), pholcodine (irritating cough), Strepsils (anything not covered by the above) and gallons of water and tea. The upside is that I don’t have to go out for anything, there are no urgent jobs to do, there’s plenty of firewood, we’ve got English telly and I’ve got about a squillion second-hand cookbooks to work my way through. Continue reading “Oven-bottom bread (and my life as a water spaniel)”

Roasted sweet potato & butternut squash soup (vegan)

IMG_2645.jpg‘Greetings from snowy Cornwall’ is not a phrase that is uttered very often – we don’t get a great deal of snow around these parts, what with our southerly latitude and the Gulf Stream being just slightly to the west of our garden. Unfortunately the warming influences of the North Atlantic Drift are being ever so slightly outdone by Storm Emma at the moment, and we are stranded at the top of a lethal sheet-ice hill, surrounded by several inches of snow.

Last week, we were cheerfully going about our daily walks without coats or gloves, admiring the primroses and camelias, and smugly congratulating ourselves on living in the part of the country where Spring arrives in February. No doubt the current Siberian conditions being experienced by pretty much all of Britain are our due punishment – sorry everyone. Continue reading “Roasted sweet potato & butternut squash soup (vegan)”

Chicken and sausage cassoulet

IMG_2608.jpgI just noticed that my last blog post was back in January for December’s Cookery Calendar Challenge, more than a month ago. Several things have got in the way of blog posting – we were away for ten days in January, looking after a family of Greek rescue cats in the Midlands while visiting various branches of the Tassell/Pearson family and now (I can hardly bring myself to say this) I AM ON A DIET. Yes, the dreaded ‘D Word’.

While we were in Warwickshire, I met up with my old school friend Carole, who was about to embark on the Slimming World programme. Last summer’s pasty frenzy left about 50% of my summer wardrobe rather too snug for comfort – painfully aware that I will be needing to wear it in a few weeks time when we get back to Turkey, I decided I would keep Carole company. Continue reading “Chicken and sausage cassoulet”

Rye and oatmeal quick bread

IMG_2282.jpgOur friends Jean and Ian are arriving from the UK this evening, and will be staying with us for a couple of nights until the apartment they have rented is ready for them on Monday. In fact they have just called en route from the airport to say that they were slightly delayed by the police having to board the plane when they got to Dalaman, to arrest someone who had apparently sampled a little too much duty-free – unfortunately he didn’t just go for the usual old-fashioned drunk and disorderly behaviour, but decided to throw in a bit of indecent exposure to boot. I’m really not sure if I am ready for the gory details – I might have to get the brandy out for Jean’s arrival. I guess that’s what happens when you travel with Easyjet… Continue reading “Rye and oatmeal quick bread”

‘Creamy’ tomato & roasted red pepper soup (vegan)

IMG_2206.jpgWe are back home in Turkey and I have an entire kitchen at my disposal: working oven, tick; working hob, tick; fridge on the same floor – indeed in the same room – as the rest of the cooking facilities, tick. Food in the fridge? Errrrr, scratch that.

It has been unseasonably hot since we got back and I’ve failed yet to make a raid on the greengrocer – shopping has been limited to a quick skirmish in the supermarket on our way through town at the beginning of the week, with meals mainly scratched together from the various things our house guests left in the fridge. Continue reading “‘Creamy’ tomato & roasted red pepper soup (vegan)”

Italian-style tuna and bean stew

IMG_2192 croppedStill  no kitchen, but things are moving along. Today, the carpenters magically constructed our built-in seating area, which is exactly as I had pictured it in my head. I showed them a photo of the kind of thing I wanted and they built it to fit the space – the seats even lift up so that we can store our outside cushions beneath them. When it comes to anything that involves a drill or a screwdriver, shall we just say that it’s better if I just stick to making the coffee, and it always amazes me that people can just knock up something like this from some apparently random pieces of wood in the space of a few hours. Continue reading “Italian-style tuna and bean stew”

A view from my cupboard (and spicy tomato, kale and bean soup)

IMG_2117After weeks of raking around the UK, house-sitting for various moggies and doggies, and catching up with friends and families, we have finally moved in to our new house in Cornwall. I use the term ‘moved in’ very loosely. Our stuff has been delivered from storage and we are camping on the ground floor while the upper floor is gutted and made beautiful again. We hope so, anyway. Continue reading “A view from my cupboard (and spicy tomato, kale and bean soup)”