Chocolate, cherry and coconut banana loaf

When I started writing this blog, I made it my intention to only post recipes that I truly loved, the keepers, the ones which are 100% worth making again.  For those who read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’ve not been cooking or baking much lately, and the few things I have managed to squeeze in really haven’t been worth reporting back about. I could tell you about the cake I made today, though, which was so full of sugar all I wanted to do after my average-sized-slice-that-I-couldn’t-even-finish was lie down down in a dark room clenching my stomach and moaning and desperately wishing that sugar-rush induced dizziness would soon be over. Also, this cake is HUGE! I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with the rest of this ginormous cake, which, to eat, almost verges on a mild form of self torture…it’s thoroughly depressing.

The banana cake I made this week, however, was far from depressing. IMG_0952

I’ve tried countless banana cakes, the last few of which have been nothing more than mediocre, causing me to forget how much I really do love banana cake. Continue reading

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London Photography Workshop

This time last year, suffocating under a pile of essays, I couldn’t wait for this time this year. I imagined I would have a job, work reasonable hours and have time to do what I wanted in the evenings and at the weekend. Such imaginings almost seem laughable now.WS

I may not be writing essays all weekend and in the evenings, but I’m definitely not having heaps of fun either. I’ve just finished interning in London which has been brilliant but meant lots of time lost to commuting, with my evenings and weekends completely taken up with filling in applications, interview prep, writing various bits and pieces and going to bed early because my brain has been grinding to a halt around 10pm and words lose all meaning. And so I have only just, just, been able to find enough snippets of time to post-process (badly!) the photos from the photography workshop I attended in London a  month ago (how did time go so fast?!) and write up this post about it.

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The course was run by Meeta from What’s for Lunch Honey and Jeanne from Cooksister with Sumayya, aka Pukka Paki, providing us with a gorgeous Pakistani brunch on the first day and an enormous feast of Pakistani street food on the second. Not having eaten Pakistani food before, I was in my element tasting all these new dishes and flavours, some fragrant spicy, some hot spicy, some cool and creamy, some comforting – all delicious. Sumayya has definitely inspired me to try experimenting with Pakistani food at home – as soon as I finally get back to cooking again – whenever that might be! Continue reading

Liebster Award Thank Yous

I’m a little slow coming with this one…but I need to say a massive thank you to Pretty Happy Baking, Nuts Over Oats and Art of Nutrition for nominating me for the the Liebster Blog Award…an award given to up and coming bloggers.

Chocolate orange torte

Chocolate orange torte

As a nominee, the guidelines of the award are to give eleven random facts about yourself, answer the eleven questions from the blogger nominating you for the award and nominate another eleven bloggers, asking them eleven questions…As I’ve been nominated three times, I’m going to break the rules a bit and answer a mixture of questions from all of those asked by the bloggers nominating me. And as most of the bloggers I would nominate for the award have already been nominated before….I’m going to give you a list of my eleven favourite WordPress blogs…so here goes…. Continue reading

I ate toast!…and so begins the FODMAP reintroduction

Yesterday I ate half a slice of toast for breakfast. This morning I ate a whole slice. Tomorrow (provided I don’t get any horrible symptom flare-ups), I will eat two slices of
toast.

I am almost beside myself with excitement! (and that wasn’t sarcasm).

Quite simply, happiness on a plate.

Over the last eight weeks, I had pretty much managed to forget the wonders of toast…crispy outside, fluffy inside, spread with butter and jam. Eating toast this morning brought back memories of the weekend breakfast ritual I developed during my final year at uni. It was simple. It involved two slices of toast, one spread with jam, one with marmalade, a cup of tea, and a magazine.  As part of the ritual, I had to cut each slice in half and then eat the pieces in an alternating fashion…marmalade, jam, marmalade, jam. Some may consider this slightly OCDish, to me it was just comforting.
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FODMAP friendly vegetable stock

Not being able to use stock cubes right now due to the onion they contain, I haven’t had much choice but to start making my own stock. The plan was to make a massive batch of veg stock (so much quicker than meat ones), reduce it down and freeze it in ice cube trays.

So… I pulled out the two largest pans I had, filled them up with FODMAP friendly veg and litres of water, simmered for 30 minutes, removed from the heat, let the vegetables steep in the stock for the rest of the day, strained the stock, returned it to a pan, put it on the boil to reduce it, cooked and ate dinner, checked on the stock – about halfway there – went upstairs, worked on a blog post, got distracted by blog post, lost track of time…can you guess where all this is going? Continue reading

FODMAP friendly spicy carrot soup

Soup ticks so many of the right boxes for me.

It’s warm, comforting, satisfying and more often than not it’s pretty good for you.

It also pretty much always contains onions, which is now a massive tick in the wrong box…

No more lunch-time staple of cartoned soup from the chiller cabinet for me.

But now, if I want soup, it’s going to have to be home-made, without sweating off any onions first, or using a stock cube.


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Figuring out FODMAPs

(Please note this post discusses digestive issues and so may not be found as appetising as my usual posts! Skip it if you’re not keen on reading about these things. There’s some pretty interesting stuff here though…)

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Over the last few months, my digestive system and I really haven’t been on great terms. I felt bloated after most meals, my appetite was pathetic and my… um… bowel movements could be pretty variable to say the least, swinging from one extreme to the other without ever seeming to find the middle ground.

For weeks and weeks I drove myself crazy trying to figure out what I should eat to help ease the symptoms. I read up on things like the alkaline diet, the raw diet, the not too much raw diet, the ayurvedic diet, high fibre, low fibre…And after hours of brain frazzling research, all I discovered was that the internet is filled with heaps of conflicting advice!

Lamb, tomato and aubergine tagine with quinoa

I complained about my symptoms to my GP on several occasions to little effect. I’ve been informed that GPs don’t much like IBS, which I think is partly to do with the fact it’s so difficult to treat and every case so individual. Continue reading