Saturday, March 30

Pear Back

I cook to relax
Currently I am away from home 4 days a week working in Dublin
and when I come home at the weekends I bake
Baking, for me, is a form of meditation
I can concentrate on what I am doing and not worry about anything else 
It is also a great activity to do with my 4 yr old son, who is very happy to help
The problem with this is 
All this baking leads to a lot of baked goods
and a lot of baked goods in the house leads to a lot of snacking on baked goods 
This, in turn leads to me no longer fitting in to my jeans .........

So, I am at a turning point
The last week I have been on a Staycation
There has been a lot of baking......
So, if you follow me on Pinterest you may have noticed my pins in the last 24 hours
 have changed from this 

To this 

I have decided it's time for a change 
This is my plan 

1 Start Running 
2 Go back to Bikram Yoga
3 Cut out refined sugar
4 Eat a healthy breakfast
5 Cut down (way down) on Carbs
6 Add more fresh fruit, vegetables and seeds to my diet

It's not rocket science......

This is what I have achieved so far

1 Start running
Bought new sneakers, I actually went to a sports shop and did a fitting where they video you running and recommend the correct shoes for you. 
I have heard too many injury stories from cheap sneakers.
I downloaded the  "couch-5k" running APP
Yesterday did my first run EVER!
I did enjoy it
although it was tough at times and I wouldn't say I LOVED it

2 Go back to Bikram Yoga
I used to practice Bikram and I did love it but I haven't done it in 6 years
I did a little research online and found out 
there is a bikram studio literally 3 mins from my office
signing up when i return from Far East trip next week 
Bought a Yoga Mat 

3 Cut out refined Sugar
I had a little chocolate yesterday 
Hey it's progress
Bought Agave syrup 

4 Eat a Healthy breakfast 
This morning had a delicious smoothie
frozen raspberries, frozen banana, clementine juice (didn't have any oranges), natural yoghurt, oats and chia seeds (both were soaked for 30 mins) 1 tsp agave syrup
yum! and a good by product is everyone else in the family had some too
(i didn't tell them bout the oats or chia seeds)

I also made Granola 
I followed this recipe
but substituted flaked almonds for the nuts (only because this was what I had)
I added the flaked almonds 10 mins before end of cooking time 
I substituted Agave syrup for Maple
I also added apricots and raisins to final cooled granola
This is delicious 
I love ginger though 
If ginger isn't your thing simply leave it out 
This is a very simple and very delicious granola 

5 Cut down on carbs 
I am not cutting out carbs completely
but none after lunch 
I will eat bread but only brown and seeded
I will also eat Short grain brown rice

6 Add more fruit, vegetables and seeds
Doing well so far
(see 4) 
I also find that simply cutting out carbohydrates makes me make better choices 
that is, not a croissant for breakfast 
not a white bread sandwich for lunch 
not a cake for a snack
It takes a little more thought and planning though. 
Yesterday i bought Chia seeds and lots of fruit and veg
This is an easy one for me really as I actually love fruit and veg and all kinds of salads 
I just forget sometimesor I fall in to the trap of waiting
until I am absolutely RAVENOUS 
before I eat 
this almost always leads to a bad decision  

So, that is it 
Stay tuned for my progress


Friday, March 22

Bakewell Tart

Bakewell Tart has always been a favourite of mine
Shortcrust pastry, jam and Frangipane 
what's not to like !
but until recently I had never really thought to make it 
This recipe may seem long but it really is incredibly simple 
and the result is large and so will last you for a few days (depending on how greedy you are)
It is a great recipe for a school sale or coffee morning as it slices into neat squares 

This is made with a Pate Sablee
which is a shortcrust pastry made with ground almonds
but you can use regular shortcrust if you like 

200g flour (plus 2 tablespoons)
50g ground almonds
75g sugar
160g butter
1 egg yolk 

Put flour, almonds, sugar into a bowl add butter and rub together until you get fine breadcrumbs
add egg yolk and bring together to form a dough 
(you can also do this in a magimix which make it very simple)

roll into a ball cover with clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 mins at least 

150g raspberry jam
130g butter
160g sugar
4 eggs
260g ground almonds 40g slivered almonds 

butter a 34cm x 20 x 3cm tin and line with parchment paper
Remove Pate Sablee from the fridge and let it stand for 15 mins
Preheat oven to 170c (325 f)
roll out pate sablee to 5mm thick and line the baking pan
It is fragile and may break 
just fill any gaps with leftover pastry

prick the base with a fork and place a sheet of parchment on top 
cover with baking beans and bake for 15-20 mins 
remove from the oven and set aside to cool

for the frangipane 
cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy
add eggs one at a time beating after each addition
add ground almonds and combine 

spread raspberry jam over the cooled base 
Then add frangipane on top spread evenly
sprinkle the top with slivered almonds
(i didn't have enough slivered almonds for mine they are optional but if you have them they definitely add to the texture) 
bake in oven for 30-35 mins 
until golden brown 

makes 12 -16 slices and will keep in an airtight container for 5-7 days 

Friday, March 8

Stella Jean

 I have posted about Stella Jean before but only just came across her S/S 13 
I love her use of pattern and colour
Drawing on her Italian and Haitian heritage
I don't think her line is available in Ireland 
but it is great inspiration for summer dressing 
yellow eyeshadow anyone?

I also love her A/W  collection below 
like J Crew on acid

Friday, March 1

Pantone App

I apologise ahead of time for the hours of your life you are about to loose to this App

Have you heard about the Pantone App????
I am slightly obsessed
discovered it last night through Pinterest 
you can upload pictures and create palettes
or simply create palettes without an image
Yes the colours are NOT true to pantone
and they differ slightly from screen to screen
what an amazing tool
a great starting point 
or way to "jot" down a palette when you see 
an interesting one on the street  
Colour is transformative
and this is a great way to keep a record and play with it too
you can then keep them in the App or email them to yourself

I have a feeling this is going to have a BIG role in my life from now on


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