Saturday, 25 June 2011


I've never really been a fan of stone fruit - I think it's the combination of the tough skin and the squishy fruit underneath. It's why I also don't like raw tomatoes. And the taste of peaches and nectarines and plums always underwhelms me, too - I'm expecting gorgeous, sweet, juicy fruit and half the time it's just dry and tasteless. But I'd heard that doughnut peaches (or Saturn peaches) were particularly sweet and delicious, so when I saw punnets of them on one of the fruit and veg stalls near work, I decided to give them a go.

And I'm happy to report that they are indeed lovely! They taste just like a peach should taste, and they're juicy and sweet. I have a feeling a doughnut peach Bellini would be incredible!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Lazy Giraffe Jewellery...

I have a bit of a thing about pretty jewellery, and Lazy Giraffe Jewellery is one of my favourite places to browse when I want to find new things to lust over! It's run by the lovely Deepa, who really does make the most beautiful things. I'd been sighing over her Petite Rose Ring for months - I've got quite small hands, so I like very delicate rings, and it's just perfect. So imagine my surprise when a very lovely friend (who is obviously very good at picking up on hints...!) bought it for me!

Doesn't it look lovely? And the best news is that Lazy Giraffe has free shipping this weekend!

And yes, I am wearing it on my ring finger. I often wear rings on the third fingers of my right and left hands, just because I like to. I once caused a Facebook furore when I modelled a fingerless glove someone had knitted - I happened to be wearing a not-very-interesting plain ring from Accessorize on my left ring finger, and people went mental assuming I'd secretly got myself engaged! For a start, if I did get engaged I'd tell my friends in person rather than letting them find out via Facebook, and more to the point, if I did get engaged I'd want a significantly more sparkly ring than the one I wore for that photo!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Overnight Oats...

In the winter, porridge is my breakfast of choice. It's healthy, it's cheap, you can have all sorts of things with it, and it's the only thing that actually keeps me feeling full for a good few hours. Much better than supposedly 'healthy' cereals - I'm always starving half an hour after eating those!

But when the weather warms up, I don't want porridge. And I still want something healthy and interesting. So imagine how pleased I was when I discovered Overnight Oats! I'm way behind on the trend - it swept the food blogging world MONTHS ago - but it's great.

The above photo was a mix of ordinary porridge oats, chopped mixed nuts and dates, with skimmed milk, but my usual weekday ONO is made with three heaped tablespoons of oats and wheatbran, a tablespoon of millet flakes, a tablespoon of flaked almonds, and Kara coconut milk, with a splash of water if necessary. You just mix it all up and stick it in the fridge overnight, and in the morning it's creamy and soft and lovely. For a while I added grated apple and cinnamon, but at the moment I'm on a dates-and-mixed-spice kick. And my special pre-run weekend bowl has chopped banana and a sneaky half-teaspoon of cocoa powder! You can really add anything you want - a blob of cherry jam is gorgeous for a Bakewell-inspired affair, or the other week I turned some slightly manky apples into apple compote and that was amazing on top of my ONO. It's my new favourite breakfast!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Post-run feast...

I haven't posted much about running lately, and that's because it's been a bit rubbish lately! After our amazing half-marathon triumph, we've done a couple of 9.5-milers, but our times have been really quite embarrassingly disappointing. I think it's a combination of the weather being warm(ish) and the fact that I've been a little wrung-out and exhausted just recently.

But this evening we ran 7.5 miles (for the first time in ages) and despite it being a really warm and sunny evening (and you all know how much I hate running in anything approaching warm weather...) we managed 1:08, which is perfectly respectable. So I'm feeling a little bit better about the whole running thing. And after this evening's run, I made a fantastic (and enormous) salad with mixed leaves, some 'Sweetfire' marinated beetroot (39p in the reduced section in Tesco, what a bargain!) roasted broccoli, sweet potato and a yummy fried egg. Perfect!

Monday, 13 June 2011

Sauce on the South Bank...

I went to the Tracey Emin exhibition at the Hayward Gallery (I love having friends who manage to get free tickets for these things!) and really liked it - I'd never seen any of Emin's work in 'real life' before but there were some really fascinating, powerful and intriguing things. I particularly liked her neon signs - they're fabulous.

There's also a collection of beach huts on the South Bank at the moment. I took a photo of this one because I liked the stripes...

...and here's what's inside!

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Gardens and Royals...

This weekend is London's Open Garden Squares weekend, where private and public gardens and garden squares are open for people to look around. You can see some amazing things!

It also happens to be the Queen's Official Birthday today, so Trooping the Colour was going on at Horseguards Parade this morning. We were lucky enough to arrive at Buckingham Palace just in time for the Red Arrows' fly-past - and I managed to snap a few Royal pics!

Then we went on a bit of a wander around Knightsbridge, Sloane Square and South Kensington, starting off at Rococo Chocolates...

...and taking in a couple of gardens in Cadogan Square and Cadogan Place, Lexham Gardens...

...and the garden at the K+K Hotel in Earl's Court.

(I couldn't resist picking up a few gorgeously packaged mini chocolate bars from Rococo!)

Friday, 10 June 2011

Soda bread with a difference...

Yep, it's another 'see a recipe, make it as soon as possible' one! My sister's coming to stay again in a few weeks' time, so when I spotted a recipe for gluten-free soda bread on one of my favourite blogs, Apple and Spice, I knew I had to give it a trial run. The photos looked incredible!

I decided to halve the quantities and make a little test loaf - and I didn't have a small enough tin, so I just plopped the dough onto a baking tray. Very rustic! I also couldn't find teff flour, so I just used buckwheat flour, brown rice flour and chickpea flour (again!). My halved quantities ended up being 75g of buckwheat, 75g of brown rice, and 50g of chickpea flour. I also used Kara coconut milk, because that's the only milk I have these days, so it's dairy-free as well! My loaf didn't rise as much as the one on Apple and Spice, and the texture seems to be a bit more dense, but it's really nice. Often, gluten-free breads can end up being chalky, with a funny aftertaste, but this one isn't like that at all. It has the faintest hint of the gluten-free about it, thanks to the slightly beany taste of the buckwheat and chickpea flours, but it's seriously yummy nonetheless.

It went perfectly with a (steaming) bowl of spicy tomatoey chickpea and vegetable stew!

I have a feeling this bread tastes best just after it's made (I had a little taster straight from the oven with butter and it was gorgeous) but I've got half of my little loaf left and tomorrow I'm going to see how it toasts so I can have it with scrambled eggs as a post-run treat.

Wednesday, 8 June 2011


On Monday night, I went over to my friend Lan's house for a fabulously girly evening of healthy nibbles and toenail painting. Lan had told me about this incredible stuff called Shellac, which is a special nail varnish that won't chip. It's guaranteed to last two weeks on fingernails, but on toenails it can last much longer than that. It sounded perfect - I hate my toenails and always feel ridiculously self-conscious about wearing sandals. Usually I just slap on a few layers of badly-applied nail varnish and avoid showing my toes unless it's absolutely necessary, so the idea of a nail varnish that would a) last a decent amount of time and b) possibly make my feet look halfway normal was very appealing!

The lovely Rowena spent three hours painting our nails, and this is what we ended up with!

I love it! I went for hot pink, and it's really summery and incredibly shiny. And that's how it's going to stay for the next however many weeks! My feet look normal in sandals!

And there was an added bonus, too - going to see Lan means going to see Mabel, dog extraordinaire!

Sunday, 5 June 2011

More weekend cooking!

And another recipe involving chickpea flour! I'd been meaning to make these baked sweet potato falafel for ages, but hadn't got round to it. They're from the Leon cookbook - I really like Leon, especially their sweet potato falafel wraps! Making yesterday's socca reminded me that I wanted to try them, so today I got the chickpea flour out again and made a batch. You can find the recipe here, on the amazing 101 Cookbooks blog.

As you can see, my food photography isn't quite as good!

I halved the recipe and got a baker's dozen - 13 two-bite-sized falafel! I also made a lovely batch of coleslaw (it's impossible to make a small amount of coleslaw - I used a quarter of a smallish white cabbage, a really small red onion and one carrot, and I've got enough to last a week!) and the whole thing was truly delicious. Very like the actual Leon ones, even though I used fresh mint (which I have in my windowbox) instead of fresh coriander (which I didn't have).

Saturday, 4 June 2011


Nope, I'm not talking about the American word for football - socca is a type of pancake from the South of France, made from chickpea flour. Chickpea flour is also known as gram flour, and if you fancy getting some, you can find great big bags in Asian supermarkets or in the world foods aisle of most supermarkets, or Tesco actually sell smaller bags in their wholefoods section. I first read about socca on Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish and was intrigued, so I bought some flour and gave it a go. You can use socca for all sorts of things - so far I've made thinnish ones and used them as wraps, filled with salady bits, and then tonight I made this amazing socca 'pizza'!

For this one I used 50g of chickpea flour and enough water to make it the consistency of double cream. The chickpea flour has quite a distinctive beany sort of taste, which I like, but it's even better if you add herbs and/or spices to the batter. As I was making a pizza-type affair, I went with a sprinkle of oregano, but I've used garam masala before too and that was delicious. I made quite a thick pancake, flipping it once, and then I piled on tomato sauce (just made from a little tin of chopped tomatoes and some onion) and topped it with roasted courgette, red pepper, broccoli, artichoke hearts and a little bit of mozzarella, and popped it under the grill until the edges of the socca were slightly toasty and the cheese was melted and bubbling.

It was absolutely gorgeous and really filling, and of course it was packed full of protein and veg and approximately ten million times healthier than real pizza! It's gluten-free, too, in case that's important to you!

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Bits and pieces...

Just a couple of miscellaneous things from the last few days! Firstly the most amazing cup of apple, cinnamon and honey tea from my local organic café. I was expecting an ordinary fruit teabag affair, but no - it was fresh (i.e. made that very minute in a juicer) apple juice heated up with a stick of cinnamon and a dollop of honey. Absolutely divine!

And then something I spotted that restored my faith in humanity - I like to think this bag still has its original contents and is just waiting for its owner to come and claim it...

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