This week’s lesson comes courtesy of a bottle of Hendrick’s Gin from one lovely friend, and the suggestion to serve that particular gin with cucumber from the equally lovely friend who got me in to gin in the first place.
Delicious, smooth and refreshing, I poured the gin over the ice and cucumber before topping with Fever Tree Indian Tonic and muddling gently for 3sp per serving for a single, or 5sp for a double.
Mr FFF and my mum have also confirmed that this is indeed delicious.
As I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve recently been getting into gin.
My first ever home-poured G&T, I decided to go with a classic flavour that I love and chose Fever Tree Tonic with Elderflower as my mixer and lime as my garnish.
It was delicious – refreshing and zingy with a hint of sweetness from the elderflower – and works out at just 3sp per serving for a single, or 5sp for a double.
Not only do I like food, I also like a nice drink.
You know how some people have a particular drink that they always order? I’m not one of those people. For me, what I choose to drink depends very much on the mood I’m in, and if it’s to accompany or begin a meal, what I’m going to be eating.
As with food, I love to try different drinks and experiment with different flavour combinations – unless I’m in the mood for something in particular, you can pretty much guarantee that I’m going to pick something off a cocktail menu or wine list that I haven’t tried before to see what it’s like.
As drink is so often consumed before, with or after food, I thought it might be interesting to share some of the things I try with you.
We’ll be starting with gin
A dear friend of mine has been introducing me to gin over the past few years. She’s a big fan and I wasn’t. But when we first went to the BBC Good Food Show together a few years ago, I joined her in tasting all of the samples on offer. I must admit, I wasn’t keen at first (although I drank them anyway) but a few years on, I’d started to get quite a taste for it. So I asked for her advice on which to buy. She suggested several, and in the end, I went for Sipsmiths as they had a 35cl bottle available at Asda for £14.50 and I thought this would be a good place to start. I’ve since acquired a bottle of Hendricks from another kind friend and I’ve been trying different mixers and garnishes out over the past couple of weeks.
I look forward to sharing my drinks with you in the coming weeks. If you’ve got any favourites you think I should try, please let me know.
A flavoursome dish that works for any time of the day.
Smart Points: 8
No Count (substitute the flatbread for Weight Watchers pitta bread)
Cooking time: 2 mins prep
10 mins cooking
- 1tsp rapeseed oil
- 1 medium onion, roughly chopped
- 1/4tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 pinch chilli flakes
- 1tbsp tomato puree
- 400g tinned, chopped tomatoes
- 4 handfuls of spinach
- 4 medium eggs
- 2 individual seeded flatbread
- Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for 2-3mins until softened and beginning to brown.
- Add the cumin, smoked paprika, chilli flakes and tomato purree. Stir and cook for another 1 minute.
- Add the tinned tomatoes and spinach and stir well until the spinach has wilted.
- Make 4 holes in the mixture and tip an egg into each one.
- Cover and cook for approximately 3 minutes until the whites of the eggs are cooked but the yolks are still runny.
- Serve with the toasted flatbread.
And in the words of Coldplay, “I’m going back to the start”.
Wow! Where did 2016 go? Looking back at my blog now, it has been almost a full year since I last published a post.
There are many reasons for this that I won’t bore you with now but, in a nutshell, 2016 has been a bit of roller-coaster year for me: I took the plunge of leaving a job with working conditions that were making me miserable. After a brief career change, I’m back working in the same career but in a different place and I’m much happier for it.
The upshot of my turbulent 2016 is that my weight loss efforts took a nose-dive and my weight has crept up pretty much to where it was when I first walked through the door of Weight Watchers over 13 years ago. I spent some of 2016 giving myself a hard time about this before realising how pointless that was. I’ve been doing a lot of work around personal development and being more accepting of myself and I came to realise that I simply wasn’t in the right frame of mind to focus on losing weight for the majority of 2016.
Thankfully, I’m in a much better place now and I feel ready to take the bull by the horns and get my body to where I want it to be. Whilst the numbers on the scales and my reflection in the mirror may suggest that I’ve gone right back to the start of my weight loss journey, I realise that this isn’t actually the case. I’ve got a lot more of the tools and skills that I need to lose weight than I did when I first started out on my journey – I’ve just wandered off course slightly.
As I’ve been glancing through my previous ’new year’ posts (here & here), I’ve asked myself “What is different this time around?” I’m not sure I know the answer exactly, but I do know that I’m really looking forward to getting back on course this time round, which is a bit of a strange feeling. I feel as though I’m really ready to make sustainable changes this time. This has got me thinking about seeing the whole ‘back to my start weight’ as a positive: I’ve been thinking back to how successful I was when I first stepped on to the Weight Watchers scales and how I acheived that success. This has given me the reassurance that I can do it.
With this in mind, as strange as it may sound, I’m quite looking forward to stepping on to the scales at my weigh in tomorrow. I know I’ll have put on weight over the Christmas period, but there’s no point in berating myself for. What’s done is done. The thing I’m really looking forward to though, is marking my successes over the coming weeks and months as I work to make my body fitter, healthier and stronger. I can remember how fantastic that feels, and I’m keen to feel that way again.
I’ll let you know how I get on tomorrow and what my plan of attack for the week is.
Thanks for reading,
How are you feeling about your weight loss journey as we head in to the new year?
Wow! I can’t believe it’s been nearly 6 months since my last blog post!! There are many reasons why but I won’t bore you with them. Suffice to say that while I’ve been away from the blog, I’ve
been on a fabulous holiday and landed myself an exciting promotion. And my weight and body issues have remained about the same.
My weight has been up and down over the past 6 months and is currently up. I’ll post my stats after the dreaded post-holiday WI on Monday but as I was 12st 7.5lb before Christmas, I’ll just be happy if I haven’t tipped into the 13st bracket.
As with most people at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on my progress (or lack thereof) towards the goals I set for myself last year. I’ve read some interesting articles on some of the reasons why people tend to fail at their New Year’s Resolutions and so I’m using these ideas to come up with a plan to help me to achieve my goals in 2015. More on that in the next couple of days – I promise it won’t take me 6 months to come up with them 😉
Happy New Year
Pro Points: 7
Simple Start: Yes
Filling & Healthy: 0
Cooking time: 1 hour 35 minutes
- 1tsp healthy oil
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 medium (165g each) chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
- 1/4tsp chilli powder
- 1tsp ground turmeric
- 1tsp ground cinnamon
- 150g tomato puree
- 1.5l vegetable stock made with 2 stock cubes
- 410g can chickpeas, rinsed
- 40g whole wheat pasta, broken into small pieces
- 3tsp dried mint
- Juice of 1/2 lemon
- 2tbsp 0% fat natural yogurt
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion then cover and cook gently until soft, without browning.
- Add the meat and brown well.
- Add the spices and tomato puree. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
- Gradually add the stock over a period of 15 minutes in order to maintain a thick consistency. When all the stock is added, cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Add the chickpeas then simmer for a further 5 minutes.
- Stir in the pasta and simmer for 7 minutes.
- Add the mint and simmer for 1 minute more.
- Stir in the lemon juice and season to taste.
- Serve garnished with 1/2tbsp yogurt per person.
One of the habits I’ve been trying to break is that of having a hot chocolate last thing at night. Although I always have a lighter option, such as Options, Cadbury Highlights of Galaxy Bubbles which come in at between 1-2 pro points, it’s a habit I’ve been trying to break as that still equates to between 7-14 pro points over the course of the week.
However, I do enjoy having a hot drink as I unwind with my latest book. So I started to look for zero pro pointed alternatives. I’ve always enjoyed fruit teas but they strike me as being energizing with their zingy flavours. A friend of mine recommended that I try chamomile tea.
I wasn’t sure about trying plain chamomile but I found Twinings Chamomile & Maple Sensation (£2.49 for 20). As I love maple syrup, I thought it was worth a try. I’m really glad I did as it’s delicious. It has a sweet, creamy flavour with a hint of vanilla and is perfect for calming the mind in the evening.
Having enjoyed these, I next decided to try Pukka Vanilla Chai (£2.49 for 20). I love Chai Lattes and as these are caffeine free, I thought they’d be a good option. The flavour is amazing: sweet and spicy. However, I found that the spices in them acted as a stimulant (on checking the ingredients it does contain liquorice and ginger) and woke me up rather than relaxing me. I still enjoy them but I tend to heave them in the afternoon when I need a bit of an energy boost (in fact I’ve just had one before writing this post).
Finally, I tried Twinings Chamomile & Spiced Apple (£1.49 for 20). I was looking for another chamomile-based tea, but didn’t really fancy any of the other flavours. I was a bit reluctant due to the spices and my previous late night following the Pukka Vanilla Chai. But the box said it was soothing and designed to help you relax, so I thought I’d give them a go. Although you could definitely taste the cinnamon, it was only subtle – in fact it was a bit like drinking apple pie! And I’m pleased to say that the effect was a soothing one.
I’ve been working my way through these over the past couple of weeks and, although I’ve been tempted to try other flavours, I lack space in my tea cupboard for any more at the moment but when I try some more, I’ll let you know my verdict.
This is an independent review. Please click here to read my disclaimer.
A tasty twist on an otherwise plain side dish.
Pro Points: 7pp
/Filling & Healthy: 0pp
Preparation time: 5mins
Cooking time: 20mins
- 60g brown rice
- 2 onions, 1 chopped roughly, the other sliced thinly
- 1 vegetable stock cube
- Spray oil
- Put the rice into a small saucepan and crumble in the stock cube. Cover with boiling water so that the water level sits above the rice to a depth of about 1inch. Add the chopped onion, stir once and bring back to the boil.
- Reduce the heat and simmer until the water has been absorbed (approx.. 10mins). Turn off the heat, cover the saucepan and leave to stand for 10mins.
- Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over a low and spray with oil. Add the sliced onions and fry stirring frequently until golden brown (add a splash of water to prevent the onions from sticking if required).
- Serve the cooked rice topped with the fried onions as an accompaniment to your choice of meat and vegetables.
Top tip: Stir in frozen peas and sweetcorn at step one and add cooked pieces of chicken, pork, beef or fish before serving for a tasty main meal.