Well, so far so good. I havn’t measured the exact amount of calories yesterday and today, but they are around 500. Felt very hungry this morning but knowing you are only being very strict for 2 days makes it easier.
Back onto my usual diet tomorrow but it does make you feel like you don’t want to eat as much on the usual eating days, but time will tell, will weigh myself at the end of the first week, as if I weigh myself tomorrow it wont really be a true reading due to such low calories
Wish me luck!
In the past year I have been shocked by the amount of friends that have been ill, when I say ill one has had a heart attack, one has been diagnosed with diabetes after being hospitalised and one has had viral meningitis. That in itself is nothing shocking but we are all just 40!
My friend that had the heart attack is very slim, exercises and eats an average diet, although she is quite a stressed person. My friend with diabetes is under 9 stone and my friend with viral meningitis is a fitness instructor. After watching a programme on TV last night highlighting the benefits of the ADF Diet (Alternate-Day Fasting) I was keen to know more. The presenter of the programme embarked on the slightly easier version of 5 days eating regular food and 2 days fasting (eating just 400-50 calories) he managed to half the dangerous amounts of fat in his blood and was able to lose over a stone in 5 weeks. After testing his body and blood they were amazed by the results, he had certainly prolonged his life!
Although I am not massively over weight (around 2 stone to lose) but I am keen to lose weight and be healthier for the benefit of my son. I am not medically trained and I suggest before you try anything similar you see a doctor as fasting can be bad for some.
One thing I am a massive fan of is positive thinking, I think the health studies speak for themselves, I am the most positive and stress free person I know, so after shifting the weight I should live to be 140!
I have decided to write this blog to keep a record of my efforts, and if i’m honest I think it will keep me on track! This is how I plan to make this plan work:
Monday Regular Diet Tuesday Regular Diet Wednesday Fasting Diet of 400-500 Calories. Mostly Fruit & Soup Thursday Fasting Diet of 400-500 Calories, Mostly Fruit & Soup Friday Regular Diet Saturday Regular Diet Sunday Regular Diet
The TV programme showed the presenter enjoying burgers on his regular diet days, but I intend on eating as healthy as I can and consume a the average amount of calories for my height and weight
Why these days? The weekend is always a difficult one to be too strict, my son is off from nursery and I might have a social engagement. Tuesday is quite often a girls night with friends (food always involved) So quite simply, I think this gives me the best chance
Every day I will post a blog, starting from tomorrow, your encouragement is much appreciated, feel free to leave any comments. I will let you know what i’m eating and how hard or easy I find the plan
Wish me luck!!!!
Well, we might as well start with the obvious one because, frankly, if you haven’t got one of these then what have you got? Voted, fairly constantly, as the best ever kitchen gadget, it’s the only grater worth having. Once you’ve used one of these you can’t go back. Microplanes make light work of cheese, lemon zest, chocolate, you name it. And you can get a nifty little attachment for ginger and garlic so you don’t take your fingers off while you’re grating. Apparently, it was invented to smooth wood, until a Canadian woman discovered it was great for grating, as it were.
Average Cost: £16.95
Amboine Nutmeg Grinder
Regulars in the kitchen will know that Peugeot doesn’t just make cars, it also makes, for some reason, the best grinders and mills. And for anyone who’s scraped their fingers and knuckles and spent 10 minutes lying on the floor trying to relocate the nutmeg that just bounced off the mini grater, this is for you. A beautifully designed grinder that comes filled with seven nutmegs and will grind as much or as little as you require with a simple turn of the handle. It’s also worth mentioning that it has a similar gadget for dried chillies.
Usual Cost £37
Kycocera Ceramic Knife
A few months ago, I went for a cooking lesson, during the course of which I learnt how to make a lot of fancy things that I will never attempt to reproduce. However, I did pick up one piece of useful knowledge and that is the brilliance of the ceramic knife. It’s incredibly sharp, never blunts, never needs sharpening and makes light work of meat and vegetables. It’s lightweight, harder than any cutting tools except diamonds and stays sharp for ever. The only danger is that you might drop it. Once you’ve tried cutting with this you won’t go back to steel.
Average Cost £44
Remosaka Electric Cooker
A friend of mine was given one of these recently and it’s a brilliant bit of kit. It makes your oven practically redundant and uses hardly any electricity so it’s cheap to run. Invented before the Second World War, it sank into obscurity before two Czechs scraped together all the money they could find to buy the machinery in 1990. Roast chicken, toad-in-the-hole, toasted sandwiches, casseroles and frozen pizza. It will even make cakes and scones. And as it just plugs in, it’s totally portable.
Average Cost £88
Stainless Steel Rotary Grater
My grandmother had one of these and using it is my earliest cooking memory. I have no idea what we were making but just that it was immensely satisfying turning the handle and watching the cheese fall out into the bowl. One of these makes light work of recipes that call for large amounts of grated cheese and I seem to recall she used hers for parsley and some herbs as well. Good for getting small children interested, as it’s a safe gadget with quick results.
Average Cost £5.99
Kitchen Aid Artisan Food Mixer
It was designed 75 years ago and is still one of the best sellers on the market. In addition to that, it’s almost never on sale, which means it doesn’t need to be because people will always pay for it. If you need a mixer, save up and get this one; Good Housekeeping says it’s the best and it does know about that sort of thing. The pleasingly retro design now comes in 15 colours, too, including apple green, black, bronze and plum.
Average Cost £331
I am currently preparing ideas for a friends party. She wanted a garden party with a twist so we put some ideas together and have decided on a Moroccan themed party. All the guests will wear Moroccan style dress and the garden will be decorated in brightly coloured lanterns and tables and the food will too be inspired to compliment the night. If your planning a party this year I can recommend many of these tips and ideas to get you inspired
Think of a menu that most people will like, give it a theme but don’t stick too rigid to the theme or you may put people off attending. Say that the dress code is desired but no essential, some people really feel uncomfortable dressing up and will avoid attending the party
Don’t spend too much money on decoration, the local pound shop will have plenty of items to create that special atmosphere, if you do buy expensive items make sure they can be used again, and not left in the garage for the odd party
Get creative. If you like a cocktail or shot why not make it into a cake or cheesecake. I recently made a boozy Tequila and lime Cheesecake for a party, it went down a storm! But do warm people it contains alcohol before they dive in
Parties can be stressful to organise, maybe, like me you thrive off the challenge and enjoy putting together new ideas to try. If you hate the thought of organising ask everyone to bring something, we all have an item of food we like to prepare. Get everyone to tell you what they are making and form a menu around everyone else, you will still look like a great party organiser without actually doing too much
Enjoy your party! Don’t spend all night in the kitchen warming food, get organised so you can mingle and enjoy the evening.
How are you going to cool drinks? Do you need additional ice? I know a friend that always invites a couple of neighbours, that way she can use their fridge to store extra drinks and make additional ice. Very clever if you ask me
Remember the mess. once all the guest have left you will be left with glasses, plates and probably a very untidy house or garden, enlist people that are prepared to help clean up. The feeling of the big ‘clean up’ is enough t take the shine off the good memories of the night before
Music. Prepare the music ahead of the night and if possible have at least 6 hours of music that will suit most people. I have admittedly got very unusual taste in music and most people would not call it party music, i usually give someone the job of putting together the music for me..No red face when people cringe!
Why not try the Tequila & Lime Cheesecake for your next party?
Lazy Vanilla Cheesecake
This is a cake perfect for Sunday lunch, it takes no time to prepare and there is no cooking. You can decorate the cheesecake with any fresh fruit you fancy but strawberries drizzled with melted dark chocolate always give the wow factor!
You will need a 9” spring form tin, lined
- 4 x 200gram Full Fat Cream Cheese, at room temperature
- 300 gram of icing sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ vanilla pod, seeds only
- 10 x Digestive Biscuits – Crushed into small crumbs
- 125 grams melted butter
- 1 Punnet of Fresh Strawberries, halved
- A few squares of melted dark chocolate
- 4 Shots of Tequila (taste before adding to base, you may wish to add more)
- 2 Limes, zest and juice (again try once added as you may like more)
Melt the butter and pour over the crushed digestives in a large bowl. Mix together until the crumbs are damp and will push into a shape with the back of the spoon. If required add a little more melted butter. Spoon the mixture into the tin and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
Place the cream cheese and all the remaining ingredients into a large clean bowl and gently work together, don’t over work or the cream cheese will become too runny. Spoon the cream cheese over the cheesecake base and place in the fridge for a couple of hours to set. Just before you are ready to serve run a knife round the edge of the cheesecake and release from the tin. Place on a cake stand and decorate with the zest of lime, finely grated
This cocktail is always popular at a BBQ, it looks impressive in the glass too. Beware though, this is strong stuff
- 1 whole ripe watermelon
- 1 x 700ml/1 pt 5¼fl oz bottle black cherry vodka (or similar flavoured vodka)
- champagne, to serve (optional)
- Lay the watermelon on a work surface on its flattest, most stable side. Use a knife to cut a small hole in the top of the watermelon, then insert a small steel funnel into the hole.
- Gradually pour the black cherry vodka into the funnel, allowing each addition of vodka to permeate the flesh of the watermelon before adding the next addition (this will take about two hours and you may not need to use all of the vodka).
- Once the watermelon is full, plug the hole with a cork and cover the watermelon with cling film. Chill in the fridge overnight.
- To serve, transfer the watermelon to a large shallow dish. Using a sharp knife, slice the watermelon into chunks or wedges. (The excess alcohol that the watermelon did not soak up can be added to cocktails or champagne.)
This simplest of sponge cake recipes has a fresh berry and whipped cream filling. This is always a popular choice and make a perfect alternative to a tradiotional birthday cake
- 225g/8oz butter or margarine, softened at room temperature
- 225g/8oz caster sugar
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 225g/8oz self raising flour
- milk, to loosen
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
- Grease and line 2 x 18cm/7in cake tins with baking paper.
- Cream the butter and the sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
- Beat in the eggs, a little at a time, and stir in the vanilla extract.
- Fold in the flour using a large metal spoon, adding a little extra milk if necessary, to create a batter with a soft dropping consistency.
- Divide the mixture between the cake tins and gently spread out with a spatula.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden-brown on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and set aside for 5 minutes, then remove from the tin and peel off the paper. Place onto a wire rack.
- Sandwich the cakes together with jam, lemon curd or whipped cream and berries or just enjoy on its own.
My god-mother makes this pie on a regular basis and it reminds me of cold winter nights sat by a roaring fire with a simple plate of this delicious pie
- For the pastry
- 60g/2oz butter, cut into small pieces
- 60g/2oz lard, cut into small pieces
- 200g/7oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
- pinch salt
- For the filling
- 25g/1oz butter
- 3 onions, roughly sliced
- salt and freshly ground white pepper
- 250g/9oz Lancashire cheese, coarsely grated
- milk, for sealing and glazing
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4 and place a baking tray in the oven to heat through.
- For the pastry, place the butter and lard into a large bowl with the flour and salt. Gently rub the fat into the flour using finger tips until the texture resembles very coarse breadcrumbs. Alternatively use a food processor to bind the fat and flour.
- Add 2-3 tbsp ice cold water to bind the mixture. Lightly knead the dough until well amalgamated, dust with flour and place into a sealable plastic bag. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before using. If you are in a rush, you can use the dough straightaway.
- For the filling, heat the butter in a saucepan and fry the onions for 10 minutes, without colouring. Stir in 150ml/5fl oz water, salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook until almost all the liquid has evaporated. Remove the onions, spread out onto a plate and set aside to cool.
- Roll out two-thirds of the pastry until it is about 0.5cm/¼in thick and line a greased 20cm/8in loose-bottomed tart tin, leaving any excess pastry overhanging the edge.
- Now roll out the remaining pastry to a similar thickness which will also be generously wide enough to use as a lid to the pie. Cover the base of the pie with half of the onions and then cover with half the grated cheese.
- Repeat the layering process in step 6 until all the mixture is used up.
- Roll out the remaining pastry to make a lid for the pie. Brush the edges of the pastry case with milk to seal the pastry lid upon it, while also pressing the edges together lightly before trimming off any excess overhang. Brush the surface of the pie with milk. Make three small incisions into the centre of the pie using the point of a sharp knife and, if you wish, further decorate to make a lattice effect.
- Place the pie into the oven and bake for 40-50 minutes, or until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and leave for a good 20-30 minutes before un-moulding and cutting into generous wedges.
- Serve the pie warm or at room temperature (not piping hot).
This is an easy recipe to follow and produce, serve with chunky homemade chips or mashed potato
- 900g/2lb stewing steak, cut into cubes
- plain flour, seasoned with salt and freshly ground black pepper, for dusting
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 onions, sliced
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 570ml/1 pint hot beef stock
- 225g/8oz ready-rolled shortcrust pastry
- 1 free-range egg, beaten
- Dust the cubed steak with the seasoned flour
- Heat the oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan and fry the meat, stirring frequently, until browned on all sides.
- Add the sliced onions, herbs, salt and freshly ground black pepper and the stock and bring to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer gently for an hour and a half.
- Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
- Transfer the filling mixture to an ovenproof dish. Line the rim of the dish with a thin strip of pastry. Dampen the pastry rim by brushing with beaten egg. Cut a piece of pastry to fit across the top of the dish and place on top of the dish, pressing the edges together to seal. Decorate with pastry trimmings, make a steam hole in the centre of the pie by slashing with a sharp knife, then brush with more beaten egg.
- Transfer to the oven and cook for 1-1½ hours. If the pastry gets too brown, cover it with foil. Serve hot.
This is a classic recipe for Chicken & Mushroom Pie, delicious on a cold winters night, served with creamy mashed potato
1 medium green pepper, sliced
- 50g/20z button mushrooms
- 10g/ ½oz butter
- 400g/14oz cooked chicken, shredded
- 225g/8oz puff or flaky pastry (ready-made is fine)
- 1 egg, beaten
For the sauce
- 25g/1oz butter
- 25g/1oz flour
- 150-200ml/6-7fl oz chicken stock
- 2-3 tbsp double cream
- squeeze of lemon juice
- sprig of fresh tarragon
- Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.
- Blanch the pepper for 2-3 minutes in a saucepan of boiling salted water, then drain, refresh in cold water and drain again.
- Wipe the mushrooms and cut into quarters. Sauté in the 10g/1/2oz butter for 2-3 minutes, then set aside.
- For the sauce, melt the 25g/1oz butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan, add the flour and cook slowly over a low heat until the mixture is straw-coloured. Pour in the chicken stock, turn up the heat and stir constantly until simmering. Add the cream and reduce until the sauce has a syrupy consistency. Add the lemon juice and tarragon.
- Turn off the heat, add the chicken, peppers and mushrooms to the pan.
- Butter an ovenproof dish large enough to hold the chicken pie mixture with room to spare. Add the chicken mixture to the dish.
- Roll out the pastry on a floured work surface, to a thickness of about 0.25in/1cm. Place the pastry over the filling and carefully trim the edges. Use the trimmings to make cut-out shapes to decorate the surface of the pie. Cut a couple of air holes with a knife to allow the steam to escape. Brush the pastry with the beaten egg.
- Bake the pie in the preheated oven for about 25-35 minutes. The top should be nicely browned and the filling piping hot. Remove, allow to cool slightly and serve.