Friday, 14 December 2012

Masterchef The Professionals ( The Winner )

And so it came to pass that, last night sitting in front of my TV eating egg and chips ( cooked I may say in a particular way by the lovely Mr Debs ), the finale was reached. Now I don't like to gloat - much - but I was kind of rooting for Anton all along. All chubby cheeked and freshly scrubbed he looked like a naughty schoolboy about to flick you with an ink splat. I loved his attitude and was always drawn into his cooking, bloody marvellous! Yes I know that he had to share the title with Keri but she was pretty good too so - for me - I really wasn't bothered about the whole shock sharing thing, I just don't know how I'll spend my evenings until the mourning period is over. Actually I'm going to try and cheer myself up by having a go at making whisky gums A La Fat Duck.

Not Hestons I know but this video makes me laugh and makes it all look terribly easy. I'll post my results good or bad.


Sunday, 25 November 2012

No cooking this weekend.

Mr Debs laying a new floor in the kitchen this weekend so no noodling around for me!

Looking better than this already. Gonna buy me one of these next

Doesn't take much to make me happy.


Saturday, 24 November 2012

Life's a journey

Bit of a cliche but apt to those who know Sam and I. We are both blessed ( or cursed ) with a wake up and decide to do something else personality which I always thought of as a negative trait until I read a great piece in the Daily Mail a few months ago ( not that those two statements often go together! ).

In a nutshell it said that, those people who constantly try new things but don't always stick to them are not necessarily failures but that we should be glad that we try new stuff all the time at all. At least we have a go, it may not lead anywhere but we're constantly turning over our lives and renewing ourselves. What a revelation - I just thought I wasn't a ' sticker'.

It has made me feel much more positive about both mine and Sam's curious personality and even if we fail at something - which happens ( for me ) frequently, there's always something else waiting to be tried just around the corner. In this vain, I have decided to try cooking properly. I've always loved cooking and consider myself a good home cook but I'd quite like to take it to another level so I'm going to teach myself some cooking skills a la Francais. I love the idea of French cooking but it does look flippin complicated and quite beyond my meagre skills - however - you've got to have a go haven't you?

I'll blog my successes ( and failures) and lets see how we get on.

Where to start though, I don't know.


Friday, 23 November 2012

Critics - Oh no not again!

I appreciate that this is the format of Masterchef Professionals but it still make me squirm watching this lot so earnestly filling their little faces and ' critiquing ' the efforts of the chefs. I find it sad that these people seem to hold so much power. The honest opinion of a time served or successful chef would be welcome and it was still the case last night that Michel Roux Jnr found little fault compared to the critics - long miserable faces and not so much as a smile between them.

Maybe I should just stop watching this part of the show, as a chef what do you think Sam?


Thursday, 22 November 2012

Lemon Syrup Cake

I was watching Masterchef Australia on Tuesday evening when one of the contestants made a lovely looking lemon cake.  I tried in vain to find a recipe for this and eventually happened across this one. It's dead easy and with the exception of leaving in the oven just a little too long, it came out really well.

For the cake;
4oz Softened butter
5oz caster sugar
1 Tablespoon finely grated lemon zest
1 Tablespoon finely grated orange zest
2 Large eggs beaten
4oz Self raising flour
2 Tablespoons warm water

For the syrup
2 Tablespoons lemon juice
2 Tablespoons orange juice
100g caster sugar

Preheat oven to 180c / 350f / gas 4
Grease a 1lb loaf tin
Beat together butter,sugar, lemon and orange zest until all light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs a little at a time, and fold in flour.Fold in water and pour into loaf tin.
Bake for 45 minutes or until skewer comes out clean.

Put lemon and orange juice and sugar into a small pan and heat until all the sugar is dissolved.

Remove cake from oven and poke little holes in the top, brush half the syrup over the cake and leave for 5 minutes.

Turn cake out upside down and make little holes in the bottom . Brush with remaining syrup and leave to soak in.

Serve when cool.

I had to try this when it was warm as it smelled so good. It's flippin lovely! Just needs a dollop of thick cream. Oh my days......soft and gorgeous and lemmony ( if a little brown).


Friday, 16 November 2012

Masterchef Professionals

I don't usually watch this set of programmes as I think that chefs get quite enough tv coverage as it is but I became quite engaged this series and am now completely hooked......Go Anton!!.....however this is the thing, on last nights episode one of the tests was to cook for critics. CRITICS, I don't get them, ok I don't work in any kind of catering capacity but there you had Michel Roux Jnr giving - what I thought was - sound constructive criticism without any hint of malice and then you had the critics babbling away with some kind of awful muddled pretentious nonsense and nary a one of them with a Michelin star to their names.

I'm afraid that food ( critics ) really can be a case of the emperors new clothes, it simply is not done to question their authority. What a blight they must be to a prospective dining service, how my heart would sink as one of this dreary bunch walked in to my establishment. Get a grip chefs.....these people eat food for a living and offer nothing other than a subjective narrative rich with flowery food related twaddle.

Stepping down from my soap box - feeling a little better for a rant.


Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Having a lovely baking Sunday in dreary south Wales so after making a batch of gingernuts I decided to bake these as well. I'm going to take them to work tomorrow to sell for Children in Need ( if there are any left! ).

Preheat oven to 190c / 375f / Gas 5

350g Plain flour
1 Tspn Bicarbonate of soda
1 Tspn Salt
225g Softened butter
175g Caster sugar
175g Brown sugar
1 Tspn Vanilla extract
2 Eggs beaten
350g Chocolate ( I used Galaxy ) broken into small pieces

In a large bowl, mix sifted flour, bicarb and salt.
In another large bowl, cream together sugar and butter until fluffy. Whisk eggs and vanilla together in a little bowl and add little by little to butter mixture until all creamy.
Fold flour and chocolate into butter mixture until all combined.
Pop large teaspoonfuls on your baking tray giving each one enough room to spread and bake for between 10 and 15 minutes.

All packed up ready to sell.


Tarragon Coleslaw

I love this recipe but forget all about it and then re-discover it. It just won't stick in my mind for some reason.
Anyway it's lovely with a good steak or any barbecue food and very simple.

Half a small red cabbage sliced finely
1 Grated carrot
1 red onion - halved and finely sliced
Good handful chopped fresh tarragon
Salt and pepper

Mix all together and eat - see I told you it was easy.


Long awaited Dragon Pie recipe

This is a fabulous recipe that Mr Debs has been making for a good few years now. There is no room for wimps here, it has to be really hot and flavoursome or forget it.

Makes 6 good portions:

1kg nice lean casserole steak - cubed
2 onions cut in half and sliced
10-15 green chillies - remove tops and slice down the middle lengthways ( leave the seed and pith in )
250mls red wine
1 pint beef stock
A little cornflour to thicken
Salt and Pepper to season
Ready rolled ( pre bought!) short crust pastry
1 egg beaten for glazing

Gently fry onions and chillies in a little oil in a large stockpot size pan. When onions are softish add steak and stir until all browned.

 Add wine and stock and cook on the hob over a low heat for 3 hours stirring occasionally. Drain off most of the cooking liquid into another saucepan ( for the gravy later ) and season remaining mixture to taste. Thicken with a little cornflour and set aside to cool.

Line a buttered pie dish with pastry, add mixture and cover with remaining pastry. Brush with beaten egg and bake in a pre-heated oven ( 170c fan...190c conventional ) and cook for 25-30 minutes until golden. Thicken and season gravy to accompany.

We ate ours accompanied with chips ( slimmimg world ) peas etc. It's a wonderful pie but not for the faint hearted!..

Thanks again Mr Debs.


Thursday, 8 November 2012

Cheesy chipotle bread recipe?

Sam, could you please blog this recipe as I would like to make it today to accompany an Italian stew dish for  dinner this evening.

Thanks honey
Mum x

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Heston's New Show

I have no TV in Devon so I rely on catch up internet TV for all of my viewing. I stumbled across this last night and loved the ideas, although it's typically Heston and he has very little in the way of new ideas to offer his audience.

Has he pushed the 'taking something and making it something else' (turning a tomato into a sausage) idea too far?

Sam x

Review: The Lazy Toad, Bampford Speke

As it was my birthday last week, and the girlfriend and I hadn't spent a proper evening together since our move to Devon, we decided to go for a meal. We went to the Lazy Toad on my head chef's recommendation on the Southern Fried Rabbit. Unfortunately they didn't have SFR on the menu that evening. Fortunately they didn't have it on the menu because the menu is changed daily, allowing the chef's to take advantage of the local, seasonal produce. 

For starters I had potted Cornish Crab with garden salad leaves and melba toast and the girlfriend had confit of duck, black pudding and pistachio terrine with rowan berry and quince jelly. For mains I had local wild rabbit with Anna potato and bashed swede and carrot and the girlfriend had slow roasted Westcountry belly pork, turnip and potato gratin, apple sauce and trotter sauce.

The food was devine, the service great and the landlord friendly. I got chatting to the landlord after our meal and he explained that behind the pub is a pollytunnel with all the beg they use, plus they have lambs to keep the grass down which make their way onto the autumn menu. They also grow all they're own herbs. 

The bar had local ales and ciders and a great range of wines including a comprehensive desert wine menu.

The whole meal, including two drinks cost us £53, and I felt that it was worth every penny and hope that we can return soon to see what else the menu has to offer.

Sam x 

New Job, New County, New Inspiration

So I know I haven't posted in a long, long time, but to be honest, I had lost my way a little.. I suppose we all lose our enthusiasm from time to time, but I have found mine once more.

I have moved from Monmouthshire down to Devon and from the Chepstow Castle Inn to the Stag Inn at Rackenford under the tutorage of head chef Jim Janes.

I have also started eating meat as from yesterday so tonight we had 'Pulled Pork Burgers with Barbecue Sauce' and here's the recipe for you:


1 x 2kg pork shoulder
2 tbsp paprika
2 tbsp chilli flakes
2 tbsp chipotle salt (I get mine from
2 tbsp black pepper
6 cloves garlic, roughly crushed
2 medium onions, finley diced
200ml white wine vinegar
250ml cider
1 x 200g tin tomato paste/puree (I used tinned chopped tomatoes and blended them down with a stick blender)
4 tbsp brown sugar


Preheat the oven to 170c and oil a deep roasting tin and place the pork in the middle. Mix the paprika, chilli flakes, chipotle salt and black pepper and rub into the pork sin, making sure you get it into the cuts in the skin, if the pork skin hasn't been cut by the butcher then you'll need to do this first.

Pour the cider and vinegar into the tin and scatter the onion and garlic around randomly. Place a sheet of baking paper over the pork and wrap tin foil over the top of the roasting tray. Place the tray in the oven and roast for 3 hours. Take off the paper and foil after the 3 hours and place back in the oven for a further hour.

Take the pork from the oven and place on a chopping board, discard the string, skin and fat. Now you'll need to tear the meat apart with two forks, shredding it as finely as possible.

With the juices from the roasting pan, add a splash of water to loosen all the bits and add all the juice, onion and garlic to a saucepan along with your tomato paste and brown sugar and over a medium heat bring a to slight boil. Now you can add your pulled pork meat to the sauce and serve in a crusty white bread roll.

Sam x

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Hello and Goodbye

Well, it's been almost three weeks since my lovely son Christian came back from Australia ( as a complete surprise!!! ) and he's off back to sunny Perth tomorrow. I'm sad beyond belief. I haven't seen him in    eighteen months and the last few weeks have just flown by. I don't know when I'll see him again but I can guarantee it'll be too long by half. Bye Chris, I love you so much, it's been great sharing chicken wings with you and catching up.

Mum xxxxxxxxxxx

Friday, 2 November 2012

Happy Birthday Sam!

Awwww honey, it just seems like yesterday,  you were the most lovely child.

I miss your company and noodling around in the kitchen together. Happy Birthday Sam.

Love Mum xxxxxxxxx

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Help...I'm stuck on You Tube!!;

Love this stuff


I'm working very hard!!

Whilst creating my marketing masterplan I'm just doing a bit of this;



Over the top

Well, the £14 spent on snacks at the Sweetmart was a revelation indeed. I bought various samosa's, pakora's and bhaji's and I have to say that they were mostly pretty tasteless. The best of the lot were the prawn pakora's as they had a hit of lime but I was really disappointed with everything else. If I can't make tastier snacks than these then it's a poor cooking day in Chepstow.

Clearly there is no issue with the product here but I have to decide how to market my items. Difficult as it's so easy to go to work, do your stuff, take the money and never change anything. The trouble is, I have a need to do this in some way. Got to get off my backside and look into marketing ( where to start?? ) as I can't just keep cooking stuff.


Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Sweetmart Bristol

It's so hard to get hold of really authentic ingredients in a small town so we hopped over to Bristol today to this wonderful shop.

I spent a fortune on snacks ( just to see what I'm up against taste wise ) , and got hold of my semolina flour and ground fenugreek. It's like an aladin's cave in there with so much to chose from....quite exhilarating . Parking was a flippin nightmare though!


Saturday, 20 October 2012

And another one

I have another great site ( spending far too much time on here today )

Just struggling to get hold of the semolina flour.


Great reviews

Mr Debs and I took all our bhaji's and samosa's into work yesterday and the overall feedback was fantastic. Plenty of requests to make them bigger - easy peasy -  and workmate Araf bought in some ' Gol Gappa', I have never even heard of these but they were really tasty. Here's a link to a great site that I found this morning searching for a recipe.

I love all the photo's. it makes it so much easier when I come to make them to see where I am. The first time with anything this unfamiliar it's really handy to follow exact instructions.  I'm going to have to try this recipe and soon!!


Thursday, 18 October 2012

Fuggly Samosa Co??

Had a whole day cooking samosa's and onion bhaji's to take in to work tomorrow for reviews. Love it, beats working for bosses!!!

Photo of bhaji's somewhere........where are you Josh??


Cooking up a storm

And listening to this aaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhh sooooooo good


Holiday pics

Just a couple of holiday piccy's to show that we really did go away.

Just a few steps in front of our beachfront room to the ..... er....beach


View back to the hotel from up the hill

In a good mood on our way up the hill for ribs and beer

OOOOh little friend spotted on our first day there

Mr Debs looking all chilled

One of the many mongooses ( mongeese?? ) up at the ribs shack

Lovely view of the English harbour area from Shirley Heights.


Back from Antigua

Well blog, I'm back from my hols and almost ready to start blogging with only one real problem, My camera broke - co-incidentally on almost the same day that the guarantee expired - and so it could be a bare blog for a while. If I cook stuff by well known cheffy types I'll steal their piccy's!!

While laying on the beach, I decided to maybe start up a little business making Samosa's and suchlike. At the moment it's just a little idea but when I make these they get great reviews. I'm looking at Farmers markets etc but every day Samosa's are on my mind! Anyway here's the recipe again in the meantime.


Sunday, 9 September 2012

Feeling sorry for myself

Tucking into another cup of bovril ( dreaming of random calories ), it'll all be worth it when we go here soon.

May have to swim a few lengths each day to combat holiday cocktails though!


Sams Burger

Just a little piccy of the Chepstow Castle Inn's house burger, Off the menu to us I'm afraid as way too many calories but I just like looking at it ( sighs heavily ).


Hairy Bikers Meat and Potato Pie

I've watched a couple of episodes of the new programme now and this little recipe looked interesting and - given that we are all trying to lose weight and pies are OUT -  so had to give it a try. I leapt out and bought the book ( as you do ) and today was pie day. This was pretty easy as recipes go and here it is:

Serves 6 ( 335 kcals per portion )

1 Medium onion finely diced
2 Small carrots peeled and diced
2 Celery sticks trimmed and finely diced
250g/9oz lean minced beef steak
1 Tbspn Tomato ketchup
1 Tbspn Worcestershire sauce
1 Tbspn Brown sauce
1 Tbspn Plain flour
1/2 Tspn dried chiili powder
1/2 Tspn dried chiili flakes ( optional )
1/2 Tspn Freshly ground black pepper
200/7oz Floury potatoes peeled and chopped into oxo cube size chunks
300mls/ 1/2 a pint beef stock
75g/3oz frozen peas
Little spray oil for pie dish

For the Pastry

2 x 145g packs of pizza base
200mls/7fl oz lukewarm water
Plain flour for kneading
Little milk for brushing

Put the onion, carrot, celery and beef into a large pan and dry fry for a few minutes until the beef is no longer pink - keep stirring so that beef does not clump together.
Reduce the heat to a simmer and add tomato ketchup, brown sauce, Worcestershire sauce, chiili flakes and powder and pepper, cook for a minute, add stock and potatoes and simmer for about 25 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
Remove lid for about 5 minutes to allow mixture to thicken up.
Remove from the heat, stir in the peas and cool.

To make the pastry, empty packets into a large bowl and follow instructions on the packet.
Divide into two portions and line a pre oil sprayed pie dish with one portion of the rolled out pastry.

Pour beef mixture into pie dish and cover with remaining pastry. Brush with milk. Snip a couple of holes into the top of the pastry to allow steam to escape.
Bake in oven 180/350/gas mark for about 15minutes, take out of oven , cover with foil and bake again for a further 15 minutes until nice and hot.

This recipe actually called for six little pies but I couldn't get my hands on the pie dishes hence the one large pie.

What was it like? well. it's ok, not terribly flavoursome and kind of felt like a pie for the sake of having a pie.
It wasn't bad but I would have to noodle with the seasoning next time to maximize the flavours.


Sunday, 2 September 2012

Raspberry coulis

Made rather a lot of chocolate mousse again for a family dinner so decided to post a very quick recipe for the accompanying raspberry sauce:

1 Pack 300gms ripe raspberries
1 Tbspn icing sugar

So easy, place berries in a small pan and just warm gently to release their flavour. Pop into a liquidizer and blitz to a puree. Pass through a fine sieve to remove pesky pips. Add enough sugar to sweeten - but not enough to make it horribly sweet. Pour into a bottle for squeezing.

This will keep in the fridge for about a week.


Saturday, 25 August 2012

Low fat chicken curry

Using the lovely curry sauce posted last week we made a flippin gorgeous chicken curry for supper last night and it went like this

Serves 4

4 Chicken breasts chopped
Quantity of fresh green chillies ( however many you like - we like lots )
Garam Masala to finish
Fresh chopped coriander

Simply fry halved chillies and chicken in Spray oil until coated, enough curry sauce to cover and simmer gently until chicken is cooked through. Add a good shake of garam masala and serve with - well - whatever. we had ours with salad and blob of yogurt.

Lovely....and healthy!


Saturday, 18 August 2012

An insight into our calorie ocd

This is the daily routine...

CALORIES !!!! ( me on the left )


The best curry sauce.

After a very long search Mr Debs found this great curry sauce recipe and with a few modifications here it is.

Spray olive oil
7.5cm ( 3 inches )  fresh ginger chopped
6 onions peeled and chopped
4 fat cloves garlic crushed or chopped
10mgs ( 2 teaspoons ) ground cumin
20mgs ( 4 teaspoons ) ground coriander
5mgs ( 1 teaspoon ) chilli powder
5mgs  ( 1 teaspoon ) turmeric
10mgs ( 2 teaspoons garam masala )
10 cardamom pods lightly crushed
3 bay leaves
10mgs  ( 2 teaspoons ) ground fenugreek
3  x 400g tins tomatoes
Half a tube tomato puree

Heat spray oil in a large pan and fry onions, garlic and ginger until onion is just beginning to go brown.
Add all the spices and cook gently for a few minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato puree - mix well and add 1 pint of water.
Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 - 40 minutes.
Remove bay and cardamom pods and cool.
Blitz with a blender or liquidizer to required consistency.

This will store in the fridge, covered, for up to a week.

When used we add lots of fresh chillis, more garam masala, salt and pepper and coriander to finish.

As a basic sauce this is very good, it just needs the addition of the above at cooking time.


Friday, 17 August 2012

Sorry parallel family.

Well, Sam has lost 1st 2lbs, I've lost 11lbs and Mr Debs thinks it's about half  a stone so the weight is out there somewhere guys............. are you feeling a little heavier?


Chicken Caesar

We had a very good day yesterday kcal wise so decided that maybe a chicken Caesar would be a good healthy supper. It kind of is and it kind of isn't and this is why....Parmesan cheese, Caesar dressing, croutons!

So, could we make a healthy Caesar? It took some doing and we did end up with a great result but it was still quite hefty on the calories. Now I always have a different version of this anyway as I'm not too keen on lots of sticky sauce and I like my chicken with a blob of piri piri so mine went something like this.

Serves 1
1 100g chicken breast baked in foil ( 30 minutes at 180 )                              180 kcals
1 rasher lean back bacon grilled                                                                     72  kcals
Handful of romaine lettuce                                                                                0 kcals
1 Tablespoon low fat Caesar sauce ( I used Waitrose )                                    49 kcals
1  Tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese                                                           60 kcals
2 Tablespoons baked not fried croutons                                                          50 kcals
Blob piri piri                                                                                                    20 kcals 
2  Heaped tablespoons thinly sliced red onion                                                     0 kcals
                                                                                                                       431 Kcals

Ok so not really low but really tasty and this is the thing - I couldn't finish it as it was way too much food! Also it just didn't need the croutons or maybe even the bacon so next time it'll be 309 kcals. Unfortunately we ate this before I thought to photograph it - such is the problem on a diet so next time I'll pop a photo in.


Ok so not my pic but one liberated from the web!  Thanks to this site.

Thursday, 16 August 2012

Bloody brilliant!

Just came across this web page...what can I say....inspired.

For all those people going off to college etc this is great.


Summer veg and goats cheese frittata.

What with the calorie restriction and Sams new vegetarian lifestyle, it seemed like a good idea to embrace some veggie food ( intermittently ) and the perfect place to start was with a book that I bought Sam a while back. We had a plumbing meltdown in the kitchen and Sam came to my rescue so he was rewarded with a copy of HFW's Veg . Lovely book with a couple of recipes that I keep meaning to try. The only fly in the ointment is that Mr Debs is a committed carnivore and every suggestion of a lovely veggie meal is met with    ' Sounds great, can I have a pork chop with it? .

Anyway, as we are all dieting, there is a little more flexibilty in the camp so I made this lovely dish for myself and Sam and the big guy had roasted chicken thighs with extra hot piri piri sauce - a not insubstantial 1000 kcals.

Serves 4-6

400g Waxy new potatoes sliced into 5mmish slices
About 300g mixed summer veg - I used asparagus tips, fresh peas and broccoli
Few squirts of spray olive oil
2 Bunches spring onions chopped
Bunch chives
7 Large Eggs
75g  Goats cheese - soft or crumbly
Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan of salted boiling water, boil potatoes for a couple of minutes, add all the summer veg      ( not spring onions) and boil for a few minutes until just cooked - drain well.

In a large frying pan add onions to spray oil and gently fry until soft, add all the veg and turn over gently just for a couple of minutes.
Whisk eggs well and add salt and pepper - add to frying pan.
Gently move veg about so that it has an even distribution of veggies for each slice and leave to cook for a few minutes until still slightly eggy on the top.
Crumble goats cheese and chopped chives onto the top of your fritatta and pop under a hot grill until sizzling.

Mmmmmm veggies

This was really nice with a huge salad. I worked out ( yawn ) that cut into four pieces, each slice is about 280 kcals...not a lot really as it made a substantial supper. I think that the next time I make it I would ommit the goats cheese and use some strong cheddar instead as I found the goats cheese gave it a kind of sour taste without really enhancing the whole dish.


Wednesday, 15 August 2012

ha ha funnybone tickled

With the exception of youngest son, I've not found anyone ( in my small world! ) that know of this.

Why?'s magic



Mr Debs watched Horizon's fascinating programme on fasting last week and so embarked on it yesterday. Two days of - for men - 600 kcals. Really not a lot for a big fella so after a couple of boiled eggs for his breakfast/lunch we ate fresh grilled sardines for tea with a huge salad. Now, I like fresh grilled sardines but every now and again I hit a woolly one. Why is this? Why the woolly texture? Yuk


What do you want from life?

I'm trying to teach myself Malaguena a la Tubes by listening to it ( and downloaded the lyrics ) on a cd in my car. Twenty minutes to work and back and I've still only learnt 9 lines......I find it so hard to learn this song in Spanish as my understanding of the language up to this point has pretty much been along the lines of - more red wine please -.

Anyway, right after Malaguena comes this so here is my driving medley for those that are not touched by Tubesitus!

Happy days and a good way to start the day.


Sunday, 5 August 2012

7 weeks to Antigua!!

With just seven weeks to go I found myself working extra hard on the crosstrainer this morning - 22 minutes today. I just want to be fit to snorkle like a mad woman this year. I found the current at Embudu last year positively frightening and never want to feel so scared again. The only way is too make sure that I'm strong so work out and diet it is.


Saturday, 4 August 2012

Today's food is.......

I am eating between 1300 and 1400 kcals per day and so this is how it is made up today:

Breakfast - Tinned tomatoes on Marmitey toast 

1 slice lovely Burgens bread   124 kcals
1 Tin Tomatoes    80 kcals
1 teaspoon Marmite

Lunch - well no lunch really as I was so full up from breakfast but ate a banana and a couple of cups of Bovril at about 4ish - 80 kcals

Well dinner, I'm sorry to say that I was pretty hungry at 7 O'clock when Mr Debs served up a fillet steak, grilled mushrooms, grilled tomatoes and 4 ( slimming world ) sin free chips - 350 kcals ( forgot to photo as I was actually very hungry).

Now I know that it's not enough calories but I'm enjoying a couple of whisky's with diet lemonade - 150 kcals and I'll put any spare calories towards tomorrow ( 566) as I don't want to go too low at this point. If I have to lower my calorie intake down to 1000 for a couple of weeks then I can later on.


Not much food going on - sorry

I'm also listening to this courtesy of my lovely son Josh

bit different for me


Crosstrainer and this!

Great for working out to.

and this

20 minutes today...legs wobbly


Mr Debs theory

It has long been Mr Debs theory that there is only so much mass in the world and if someone is losing weight it must be the case that someone putting it on. I can only say that I am truly sorry for our parallel family as it would seem that we are indeed all losing weight. Sam has finally found a fat pic for me so here goes.

It was a fancy dress occasion with Sam as - yes Johnny Cash.


Friday, 3 August 2012

Need a fat pic Sam.

Struggling to find a fat pic of Sam....there must be one of the cuddly one but will have to track it down later as work is calling ( sound of me sighing heavily and dragging my feet Bristol bound ).


Looking porkular

Actually not a bad photo ( happy in the Maldives ) but clearly overdoing the pina colada's.

Ha ha....7lbs already


Mr Debs ( Well he started it )

Looking all...yeah I know what I'm doing!

Bit of a middle but vanishing fast x


Strange new direction.

It all started about 6 weeks ago when Mr Debs decided to get a bit fitter. Looking back it was clearly a slight understatement as he then joined the gym at work and works out 3-4 times a week in his lunchbreak and now he's bought a bike and intends to cycle to and from mean feat at about 20 miles each way. He's looking leaner already and his enthusiasm is catching. Sam then started with becoming vegetarian, giving up alcohol, cigarettes and working out on my cross trainer like a thing possessed and He is looking better and better and so to me........yes I caught the bug and I'm now working out each day and have lost 7lbs so far - yey.

I guess that this spells the end of the food blog for a while as all we are eating is ridiculously healthy food all the flippin time. Maybe I'll hijack the blog and make it a tracker kind of blog for us all...thinking and typing here......going to upload fat pics.


Friday, 27 July 2012

Chepstow Smoked Garlic

Sam and I will be selling lovely smoked garlic this weekend at both Undy and Chepstow farmers markets. It tastes fab and I'll be making some garlic bread as tasters so come along and try some.


Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Because I Can!

So many to chose from    I love them all........


The Tubes aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhh

I've waited such a long time to see to be 5 years ? and this weekend we went up the M4 to London to see them at last. Not a short journey from South Wales but just so great. I've been a fan since the very early ( 1981?)  1980's and  just couldn't wait to see them again. I was so lucky to get seats so close to the front and they didn't disappoint good. Great band, great fans, I feel blessed to love them so much.


Precious little cooking.

What with a last minute holiday to the Norfolk broads I'm afraid that there has not been a been a lot going on here for a while. Having said that, there's not a lot going to go on either as I've decided to take up the piano. I played for a few years as a child but have had a yearning to go back to it for a while now and now is indeed the time. In my mind I want to achieve this:

I love playing classical piano but I really want to play jazz......I think that it's a long way off but if you don't try stuff - at any age - then whats the point?  It's not running a marathon but it's taking practice.... and patience . I think that I've got the first 4 bars but as I can't find any music for this arrangement, I'm learning it by ear. It could be some time!


Sam's blogging elsewhere!!!

Not that he blogged extensively on here he's now blogging alone here:

Kids eh? Looks like I'm blogging alone......I think I always was tho'


Monday, 2 July 2012

Garlicky Prawns

I took this recipe from the Good Food website as it promised to be tasty. It was ok but not great, prawns looked a little pale and uninteresting and the whole dish was slightly disappointing with not enough depth of flavour.

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 garlic cloves thinly sliced
400g large prawns - uncooked and de-veined
2 tablespoons dry sherry
handful of finely chopped parsley

Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry garlic for a few seconds. Stir in the prawns and cook until just pink.
Pour over the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes.
Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

Garlicky prawns with sherry

Not my piccy ( taken from Good Food Page ) but.....well it's just prawns isn't it??

I'm sure that this recipe could be a LOT better, just needs an injection of flavour.


Tiramisu again

As posts get a little lost, here is a link to the easiest Tiramisu recipe. Not necessarily the most authentic but scarily easy and everyone seems to like it.

Patatas Bravas with chorizo

As part of our Tapas and Tiramisu evening, we couldn't imagine not making patatas bravas. I find the smell of chorizo, paprika, garlic and onions quite seductive and this was no exception. Mr Debs knocked this one up while I did the ironing.

A little olive oil for frying
1 medium onion chopped
3 fat garlic cloves chopped or crushed how you like
1 can ( 400g ) chopped tomatoes
1 large red chilli - chopped
1/2 a teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 a teaspoon paprika
1 kg waxy new potatoes chunked ( not too small )
250g nice cooking chorizo

Heat the oil and fry the onion, garlic and chilli until the onion is softened. Add the cayenne and paprika and stir.
Add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer, then cook for about 20 minutes until it resembles a thick paste.
Season well and if you want a smooth sauce - blitz in a blender. Season to the heat you like.
Meanwhile steam the potatoes for 10 minutes until just cooked and fry the chorizo in a frying pan so that some of the oil is released.
Tip off the excess oil and add 1 tablespoon olive oil, add the potatoes and fry together until all coated, tip into a bowl and cover with sauce.

This is SO yummy, as I said, the combinations of flavours is an absolute hit in my opinion ( see GFS post!)



I've wanted to make this for the longest time but have never got round to it. I don't know why as every single time I see it cooked on the T.V. I get a yearning for it. Anyway, Saturday morning ( as usual ) I was noodling about watching James Martin and there they were - Two Fat Ladies - making kedgeree and huevos rancheros. Although I love the idea of huevos rancheros, I didn't actually like the recipe that was featured but the kedgeree looked really good. We were having smoked haddock for breakfast on Saturday anyway so one more fillet to be poached was dead easy. Anyway, this is how it went:

1 lb smoked haddock
1 medium onion finely chopped
4oz butter
1 teaspoon garam masala
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
12oz basmati rice
4 hard boiled eggs ( I used 2 ) roughly chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Handful of fresh parsley finely chopped

Simmer the haddock in salty water to cover for about 10-15 minutes, leave to cool, de-skin and flake.
Fry the onion in the butter and spices until soft and golden.
Cook the rice until just cooked and drain - allow to cool a little a dry out.
Combine all ingredients. Done.

The photo is a little on the pale side as the finished dish was more yellow. It's delicious and, as we didn't eat it for dinner, it nuked up beautifully today for lunch at work. I reckon that this will serve 3  maybe 4 servings depending how hungry you are. I have changed the recipe from the original as I didn't really want all the cream and I probably put in a little more spice, but that's the beauty of finding these recipes, you can just kind of mess with them to suit your taste.


Sunday, 1 July 2012

Bit late now

We decided to make a supper suitable for a Euro cup final this evening and decided on Tapas and Tiramisu  ( recipes to follow ) and very nice it was too. As we sat down to eat it occurred to us that we had missed a trick here - we could have had some fun all along matching our meals to our footy. I'm  quite sad as I do like a bit of a challenge and it may have made us look outside our comfortable eating habits. Hey ho, there's always the world cup in a couple of years.


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Home grown

Bought these little plants yesterday at the farmers market ( whilst selling Sam's garlic and chilli's ) and, having no pots left, was reduced to planting thus.

Actually, dare I say it, they look a bit shabby chic. Yeah, I know, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder and all that.


Another Herman

Ok, so I baked yet another Herman cake last week but I think I lost the plot a little. I'm afraid that my measurements were so haphazard that - although it looks great - it was really heavy and soggy.Yuk.

Just goes to show as this is a pretty good picture for me. We recycled it to the bird population.


How long will these last?

I planted one quite large windowbox ( outside teen bedroom ) with tumbler tomatoes and although they will be a while yet, living on a busyish road, I wonder how many I will actually get to eat myself!


Sunday, 17 June 2012

Mumrez Khan's Lamb ( chicken ) and spinach curry.

I caught the tail end of this curry on TV a couple of weeks ago in a programme with Rick Stein but unfortunately I don't know which programme etc. It looked like a tasty curry so googled the life out of it and found a recipe on a fan blog...thanks guys. I have made it with chicken as Mr Debs won't eat lamb but otherwise the recipe is true to the original.

250g/9 oz Ghee/clarified butter
65g/ 2 1/2 oz chopped garlic
1 Tbspn Red chilli powder
1 Tbspn Paprika
1 Tbspn Ground cumin
1 Tbspn Ground coriander
1 Tbspn Turmeric
550g   ( 1 1/4lbs ) chopped onions
50g / 2oz piece fresh chopped ginger
900g / 2lbs Boneless leg or shoulder of lamb ( I used chicken breast )
120mls 4oz Water
3 Tbspn Chopped fresh coriander
350g / 12oz Fresh spinach washed with large stalks removed
4 Medium sized chilli's topped and tailed
1/2 a tablespoon Garam Masala
1 x 400g ( 14oz ) tin chopped tomatoes
Salt and pepper to taste.

Heat the ghee in a large frying pan add onions and cook until turning golden brown - about 20 minutes.

Put the tomatoes, water, ginger and garlic into a liquidizer and blitz until smooth.

Add the fried onions to the liquidizer using a slotted spoon and blend briefly until all smooth.
Return the puree to the ghee left in the frying pan, add the lamb, season and continue to cook for 30 minutes.

Stir in the turmeric, chilli powder, turmeric, cumin, paprika and ground coriander and continue to cook for 30-45 minutes for shoulder and 45 minutes to 1 hour for leg adding a little water if needed if the sauce becomes too thick or starts to stick.

Put half the spinach into a saucepan and cook until wilted - about one minute.
Transfer to the rinsed out liquidizer and blitz to a puree ( not too fine ).

Set aside and rinse liquidizer again. Add to the liquidizer, chillies and a couple of tablespoons of water. Blitz to a puree.

Stir in the spinach puree and the remaining spinach leaves and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Taste your curry and add chilli puree according to you taste, add salt and pepper and simmer for 2 more minutes.
When ready to serve, sprinkle in fresh coriander and garam masala.

Mumrez Khan's Lamb + Spinach Karahi

I'm sorry to say that I completely forgot to photograph the end product but this is a photo from the        Karachi Restaurant from which the original recipe comes. It really does go a kind of browny greeny colour as soon as the spinach is added but the taste of this curry is so good that all is forgiven. I served mine with a lovely mushroom pullao and some peshwari naan. Everyone loved this including the kids so I'll be making it again. It sounds a little time consuming but it's dead easy. Fab.