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Monthly Archives: March 2012

I was a vegetarian, and then I went to Paris.

When I was 16, I went to Paris to work as a nanny for my aunt’s children. Prior to going there, I didn’t eat meat. I hated the site of blood on my plate but I found well done steak too chewy. I confess, I had never actually tried rare steak because I couldn’t get past the blood. What did I know? I was 16!

Taken from images.fanpop.com

I loved Paris. It’s a beautiful city and there’s always something going on. If you’re a bloke in a serious relationship and you’re thinking about proposing, take your better half to Paris. Take her to Le Sacré-Cœur on Montmartre in the evening so you can see the whole of Paris. Go to one of the amazing little restaurants and pop the question. Oh… buy a ring as well. Better half, if you are reading yes, it is a hint but no, I do not want you to propose today.

So I got my first taste of rare steak. I also developed a love for wine, which I hated before I went to Paris. Basically, my trip significantly raised my risk of heart disease.

The inspiration for this post comes from my better half Curtis. He is 21 and until last weekend had NEVER tried rare steak. This needs repeating. He’s NEVER tried rare steak! I finally managed to convince him to try it, and low and behold, he loved it. I will never let him forget it. He liked it so much, that the next day after our Sunday dinner, he wanted to go to the supermarket to buy more steak. Winner.

Can you think of anything nicer than a night in with your better half, dining on a beautiful rare rump steak with a nice red bouquet to wash it down? (Recommend muscles in garlic white wine sauce for starter and warm chocolate brownie to finish) Top it all off with a nice DVD. Bliss.

It’s possible I would never have come to like steak if I had not gone to France. I may never have liked wine (literally sending shudders down my spine at the thought of not liking wine.) So really, I should thank Paris. Not for the heart failure, but for opportunity of discovery, and for the chance to share the love. Paris, je t’aime.

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2012 in food

 

Fat Tax and the Fruitful Benefits

Image

Taken from hollandspies.co.uk

So the 20% pie tax debate has struck up old chords with the nation. Last October David Cameron was talking about adopting Denmark’s attitude and putting a ‘fat tax’ on food with more than 2.3% saturated fat. Some people did not like this idea at all. My only question is why are people under the impression that this is a bad thing?

When I started cooking in my house last year, our food bill went up about 100%. This is because I use at least 3 portions of fresh vegetables in every meal. If there was a higher tax on foods we really shouldn’t be eating, maybe foods that are good for us could be made more affordable to the modern day family. I know so many people that would rather have more available fruit and veg than crisps and pastries. Junk food is everywhere and it’s the same as shoving a cigarette in a quitter’s face – not easy to resist.

The pie tax isn’t even really a pie tax, it’s a tax on takeaway hot food which is designed to even out taxes between fast food restaurants like McDonald’s and bakeries like Greggs, who sell hot food, but did not have the same tax. I am sorry to the companies that this kind of tax will hit, and yes, it may knock £30 million off Gregg’s value, but it may lead to fewer people eating fatty food and ultimately, fewer people being overweight.

It irritates me when people complain about both sides. Like when people complain that the NHS is overworked, but then also complain when the tax on cigarettes goes up. If fewer people smoked and were overweight then there would be less need for the NHS – you cannot have it both ways people!

Let me be clear just so I am not hunted and shot – it is not about overweight people, it is about the readiness of food which leads to people becoming overweight. A tax increase on cigarettes is not discrimination against smokers just as increasing tax on fatty foods is NOT discrimination against people who are overweight. It is not about hindering, it is about helping. We should stop complaining about the price of crisps going up and start campaigning for cheaper greens. If we want a healthier nation, make it easier for us to eat healthier, and harder to eat junk.

 
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Posted by on March 28, 2012 in food

 
Video

American Soul

I have discovered a hidden treasure in the centre of Sheffield, a confectionary Narnia if you will. This place is amazing. Unfortunately, it’s going to make me penniless and fat.

It’s called American Soul. It’s a sweet shop with sells pretty much anything American, from bacon lollipops to Willy Wonka chocolate, so it’s great for getting your daily sugar fix. I regrettably have never been to the states, but I always get the same response from people who have been there. They always say “I wish they sold such and such here in the UK!” (Such and such is not an American product that I know of, it’s just a phrase I use to represent multiple examples. Due to the fact that it’s fictional, it is not sold at American Soul) Anyway, those of you who have said that they wished lucky charms were sold here, get yourself to American Soul. Now. Seriously, go

I had my first (but not my last) taste of Reece’s Peanut Butter Cups at American Soul. In the video with this feed the manager Damien said that anything with peanut butter in, people love – he is totally right. It’s like having the chance to eat peanut butter without having to eat bread – that technically means I’m saving calories so thanks Damien! I also discovered triple chocolate fudge pop tarts, (oh my god, pop tarts!) and I had to restrict myself to a half a day or I would probably have overdosed on sugar and passed out.

Taken from American Soul's facebook page

I love walking into a shop and feeling like I want to look at everything, try anything – buy everything. There’s a trinket shop in the city centre and I spend a lot of time in there just looking around going “ohhh, ahh, that’s cute, that looks interesting…” I can’t help but do this whenever I walk into American Soul, they kind of just escape out of my mouth. You really do feel like a kid in a candy store. I can already hear my credit card and jean buttons screaming.

 
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Posted by on March 26, 2012 in food

 

Cream Teas Please

My first cream teas

Any real sweet fan will tell you that they could happily walk into a restaurant and order three courses all from the desert menu. I am one of these people.

My ideal meal out would be an ice cream starter (preferably chocolate and vanilla with honeycomb crunchy bits), then for the main it would have to be a warm chocolate brownie (must be made correctly or will be sent back – see cookie monster post) with vanilla bean custard, and for dessert… well, you never really know what kind of a dessert you want, you kind of have to go with your gut, so to speak. Today I am rather in the mood for sticky toffee pudding, or possibly cheesecake.

I myself could take this further and turn it into a day of desserts. I could quite easily eat nothing but puddings from sun up to sun down, or until I am sick, whichever comes first. And it would give me the perfect opportunity to indulge in the best of all British past times – Cream Teas.

Can you think of anything better than a warm scone, fresh from the oven smothered in butter, jam and the amazing yet deadly clotted cream? I really can’t. I see it as one of life’s little pleasures and quite enjoy the montage I have in my head of me sat at a nice little table with a lace tablecloth in a summery British garden somewhere with the sun on my face, indulging in a nice cup of earl grey and a delightful scone. And just now, as I look back over what I have written to check for typos (found two and made a mental note to learn to type better), I realise that the royalist craze that has overtaken our nation (a very good thing by the way) has started to mess with my head and my diet. After all, that montage I just described did sound a bit like Kate Middleton’s day standard day with the in-laws did it not?

Is double cream healthier than clotted cream?

My previous posting will inform you that I will not be satisfied until this cream scone craving had been squashed, so I decided to make some of my own. I am happy with them. I even made them healthier by replacing clotted cream with normal double cream – that has to have saved some calories surely? Even though the sun did not come out, and the Queen sadly was unable to attend due to a doctor’s appointment, I really enjoyed sitting with my cream tea and my new Karen Rose book. It was the nicest afternoon I’ve had in a long time. It’s just one more reason for me to love our British-ness. Thanks Britannia.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2012 in food

 

The Udder in Huddersfield

Taken from deliveryprince.com

There must be something in the water – or the grass. That is the only explanation for the way that Dixon’s ice cream tastes. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, get in your car and drive to Huddersfield.

When you get there, ask around for directions to Dixon’s Ice Cream shop on Swan Lane. Anyone who is anyone in Huddersfield will know where it is. It’s a shop that people have been visiting for years – they literally come from all over. When my step dad was at university in Cambridge, he used to go back to Huddersfield laden with freezer boxes. He would fill them all with Dixon’s and then drive back to his flat. This type of dedication is  not uncommon when it comes to Dixon’s. Once you’ve sampled their ice cream, you may be able to fully appreciate what I’m saying.

Dixon’s generates in me something of a Marmite conundrum. I love Dixon’s and my non-elastic jeans hate Dixon’s. Dixon’s satisfies me and frustrates me. You know the feeling I’m trying to describe – when you taste something and you can’t quite tell what’s in it. Well Dixon’s invokes this emotion in me every time I eat the stuff (which isn’t often for fear of heart disease). We managed to plough our way through 2 litres of the stuff with the pretence of trying to discern the ingredients. It is unbelievably dangerous.

I cannot understand how they make milk taste so good. It is basically milk and sugar (and some other stuff I can’t quite make out), but they must have magic cows in Huddersfield that make extra nice milk or something. Either that or the farmers are out in the fields spraying the grass with some crazy concoction developed in the secret laboratories under the barns of Huddersfield (This is pure conjecture – please don’t go round digging under barns in order to locate said fictional rooms). Whatever they are doing, they have it down to an art, and they are keeping the secret strictly under wraps (we did try to break them, but to no avail). This might be why it is so fantastic though. The recipe has been guarded by the owners and its all made from local produce. Maybe this is why it’s so special – local goodness. Ben and Jerry’s is wonderful, but you know it’s mass produced and preserved. Dixon’s must be made fresh every day, and it does taste fresh. Maybe that’s the secret ingredient.

To save motoring bills, we attempted to make our own version of Dixon’s at home to satisfy our cravings. We used milk, condensed milk and sugar and we felt pretty confident that we had cracked it. Needless to say it was a let down. It was nice, don’t get me wrong, but it’s like when you eat co-op’s own chocolate spread – it isn’t Nutella…

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2012 in food

 

Product placement and my waistline’s demise…

If there was ever a need for a spokesperson for the profitability of product placement, I would be it. I have no resistance whatsoever. If I see Joey eating a pizza, I pick up the takeout menu.

I even do it to myself. Just the other day, I had a nightmare that I was being hunted down by a mob gang. I was eventually caught and bundled into a little room with no windows and one of those swinging lights you see in suspense scenes in movies. The point of this recap is that the mob leader came and sat opposite me in this little room – and he was eating a burrito. I woke up, fearful for my life. I did eventually calm down, but all I could think all day was, “ooh, I could kill for a burrito.”

Perhaps the nightmare was my consciousness, calling out to me from deep within my brain, telling me to go and get some Mexican? It’s likely. Freud would have a field day with my subconscious…The point is that once I have an image of a specific food in my head, my senses seem unsatisfied until I get it. This of course makes watching TV very difficult. Thank God for Sky plus, or I would be huge by now. I find the worse culprits to be Pizza Hut and Domino’s, anything described by the woman who is the voice for the Marks and Spencer adverts, and of course any type of chocolate bar that doesn’t contain fruit (this is an atrocity and should be illegal).

Is it just me? Am I the only person who is affected this badly by the images of food? To find out, I’m going to conduct an experiment… Ready?

Kit Kat Kit Kat Kit Kat Kit Kat Kit Kat Kit Kat Kit Kat

If anyone now goes out and decides they’re going to take a break the only way it should be done, (I know I want one) let me know please, our research could make headlines.

If I could pay to remove all food adverts from my TV, life would be so much simpler. And that would have been the end of it, until they legalised product placement. Now it’s everywhere, and my taste buds (and hips) have no escape. So really, I probably shouldn’t be the spokesperson, because I would curse them with the force of a thousand spells and publically sue them for gym membership.

 
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Posted by on March 13, 2012 in food

 

A blog I love… (Required Review for Uni)

Anyone who is dieting will tell you that there are many days when you feel alone and more importantly, that you are the only person in the world who is on a diet. It makes getting through the day without ripping through your emergency stash of chocolate biscuits that much harder. You walk down the street and you smell McDonald’s. You head into work and you smell doughnuts. It’s unbelievably hard. And my will is made of more rubber than iron.

Reading Diane’s blog at http://1fatgirlshrinking.wordpress.com gives me motivation and comfort. She isn’t afraid to admit to everything every dieter does and never owns up to. It is refreshing because this isn’t a sugar coated blog. It doesn’t make losing weight out to be a piece of cake and it’s not a depressing ‘I’m-never-going-to-do-this-so-why-bother-with-life’ blog either. Each post is a short, but real insight into the world of weight watching, and she makes that world look a little less scary. I love her determination and honesty – it really hits home and makes me feel like I know her and her struggles, because I have shared them. Losing weight is a day at a time thing, and Diane captures this brilliantly. The posts are about everyday life, just as dieting is about living every day. She talks about the choices in her day and how they affect her. This is basically all dieting is. The choices we make can be good or bad, healthy or unhealthy. Those choices will either give a good result or a bad result. The link Diane makes in her blog is simple, yet so true.

The blog also paints a picture of a very modest woman. She talks about people she meets in various situations and how amazing they are for doing so well. I find it ironic, because here I sit thinking how amazing this woman is for never giving up and saying to myself that I wish I could be as determined as she is. I recommend giving her a read if you find yourself in any difficult situation – she always puts a smile on my face and she makes me feel inspired.

There are good days and bad days. Days where you dive in and swim, and days when you sink. So hearing someone else is in the exact same boat as you and that every so often they lose their oars as well is kind of like an arm band, or a rubber dinghy. Reading Diane’s stories of success and struggle can give new motivation and determination. It has helped me to understand that it’s ok if you have a bad day and it’s likely that there will be more. But the thing we must all focus on is the fact that there is a slimmer light at the end of the sometimes long tunnel, and you are not riding alone. Thanks Diane 🙂

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2012 in Uncategorized