Archive | February, 2013

Will the 5:2 work for me?

23 Feb

DSC_1816  Whilst probably not sticking perfectly to 500cals for the fast day of  the 5:2 diet,  the idea of eating low calorie meals for 2 days in the week while eating more or less normally for the other 5 days sounds like a diet worth trying.

Yesterday I got inspiration from reading Karen Burns Booth’s blog ‘Lavender and Lovage which had some great meals and it was an education to me seeing the calorie content of the 5:2 dishes shown. I didn’t follow the recipes to the letter as I lacked crucial ingredients for lots of the dishes but adapted them to include things I had in the house.

All the meals of the day were very tasty and I enjoyed them.


was a one egg omelette with a couple of mushrooms sliced and a handful of cherry tomatoes.


I separated the egg, first beating the white until it was 4 times the volume and thenbeat in the yolk and a tablespoon of cold water with a shake of salt and pepper

I sprayed the non stick frying pan with a light spray of olive oil and browned the mushroom before adding the tomatoes and a lid to the pan to retain the moisture. When these were cooked sufficiently, I removed them from the pan and set aside.

I again lightly sprayed the frying pan and added the fluffy egg mixture. I added the lid to the frying pan which in effect made it like a little oven. When the omelette was almost cooked I added the mushrooms and folded over the omelette, adding the tomatoes back to the pan to reheat.


was home made celery soup.


I chopped an onion and 5 sticks of celery finely, sprayed the frying pan and added all of them for 10 mins, until softened a bit. I then put the softened veg in my pressure cooker with a litre of water and a couple of pinches of salt and a shake of white pepper, brought the pan to pressure for 10 mins and then after reducing the pressure, used a stick blender to pulverise until smooth.

I served this soup with a tablespoon of semi skimmed milk, dripped onto the soup and using the spoon handle, swirled to make an attractive pattern.

Teatime meal

I roasted a tray of veg in the oven for 45 mins. These were just the regular vegetables which I had in my fridge, carrots, parsnip, celery, red and green peppers, mushrooms and  cherry tomatoes. On these I sprinkled half to one level teaspoon of chilli flakes.

I then poured half a tin of plum tomatoes into a pan, chopped slightly and brought to boiling and then added 7  jumbo prawns and warmed through.

I stuffed the red pepper with the tomato/prawn mixture and served with some of the roasted vegetables.

DSC_1821Whilst feeling a bit hungry and fancying snacks during the evening, I resisted the temptation and was looking forward to eating normally for a few days before the 2nd fast day.

Hope I’m not disappointed with the results!

It’s strange that on the morning after the first day’s dieting I feel slimmer already, although I realise that  not having any bread or potatoes (carbohydrates) to process, my body will be retaining less water today.

When I usually start a diet it seems endless. Doing this one day at a time I’m thinking should be easier. Worth a try.

Only time will tell!


BBC 1’s ‘Look North’ visits the Clandestine Cake Club.

21 Feb


I had an exciting afternoon on Friday 15th February, when I joined other members of the Clandestine Cake Club with our cakes in the Arch cafe 

This is a lovely light airy cafe near the St John Centre in Leeds serving great food and Yorkshire Tea too!

The day before,  on the 14th February, Valentines day, the first Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook was published and BBC1’s Look North programme were coming to film a cakey gathering to see what it was all about.


The cakes started arriving. Lots of them were highly decorated and some were plain but tasty loaves of cake. It doesn’t matter at the CCC what your cake is like, as long as it is cooked all the way through. Even a cake disaster is fine as long as its not been dropped on the floor!

We dont judge and its not a competition

I knew lots of the bakers of the cakes as they arrived but it was lovely to make new friends too.


Lovely Amanda Harper, who arrived and surprised me by saying she recognised me as a ‘twitter friend’ (I must look like my twitter avatar!) was the interviewer and as the afternoon progressed and the interviews took place, we chatted away in the background and ate cake. We were told to chat naturally during the interviewing but at one point we were told to chat quieter by the cameraman  (I believe his name was Daniel Jo Jo) as we must have been getting louder and louder!



DSC_1737                                        Helen’s Featherlight cake, looked wonderful on the tv




After filming the cakes prior to cutting, we cut and tucked in the all the cakes until we were all ‘caked out’.

Eventually the filming was over and Amanda and Daniel could at last sample some of the baking and Amanda took away a few pieces of cake to the studio. Harry Gration ate a piece of cake on air in the studio and appeared to enjoyed it too



DSC_1739                                               Caught eating cake on camera!

My daughter Helen who is @BakingAitch on twitter and whose blog and review of the CCC book you can see here, has two recipes in the book and made her Featherlight cake which is on page 15 of the book, for me to take to this event and it was delicious.


Helen also has her recipe for ‘Tia Maria and marscapone’ cake on Page 122 which she baked for the book launch in Waterstones bookshop Leeds on the 19th February.


I found the afternoon both interesting (the filming) and enjoyable (chatting and cake eating) and I’m looking forward to many more cake related gatherings.

I am the Organiser for the Spen Valley Clandestine Cake Club and we have had meetings in many of the Spenborough towns, Heckmondwike, Batley, Cleckheaton and hopefully soon in Dewsbury, Mirfield and Liversedge too.

We attract a range of people of all ages and walks of life. Should you fancy attending a meeting, you will find the up and coming events here.

Its likely that there will be one in a town near you.

Meet as strangers and leave as friends!