A Wannabe “Slim” Foodie !!

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Yeah yeah yeah we’ve all heard it all before … right ?? Every January … February .. March and so on .. I promise myself that this is the month I tackle the issue that makes me the most miserable ! My weight !! You see as a lapsed foodie … yes I admit it I’ve been rather rubbish at “food” of late  … this wannabe foodie has relied an awful lot on the processed easy food that I can just bung in the oven … and been rather too indulgent in the odd takeaway … actually not all that odd  as the takeaway delivery man now stands and has conversations with the husband  ” How’s the kids ? ” … ” We’ve got you a little Christmas present ..!”  I kid you not !!   Anyway I digress …

I’ve recently been presented with an amazing opportunity to sort out my issues with over eating .. under moving .. and over stressing ! For the next 12 weeks I will be using a marvellous little download from www.thinkingslimmer.com – I will be logging my ups and downs and thoughts and feelings in my own personal log but I hope to be able to share some of those logs with you . I have quite a substantial amount of weight to lose so small steps … slowly slowly catchee monkey so they say !!!

I’ve listened to the pods for the last 4 days and I have to say not only are they forcing me to take a break – take some time out of my day – 8 little minutes of solitude (BLISS)  but they are really helping me to start to take the control back for myself ! So as I sailed past the camembert in Aldi this morning without giving the cheeky wee chap a backward glance I couldn’t help but smile to myself – especially as the crisps , despite calling my name , were given short thrift and I escaped from the shop with just exactly what I had gone in to buy !! Small steps … small victories !!

But never fear my faithful friends I am hoping to be able to bring you some wonderful recipes this year – going back to basics and bringing A Wannabe Foodie back to our roots . Food , life , love and laughter …

Happy New Year Lovelies x

 

Bella Italia , Burton Upon Trent

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A new Bella Italia has landed on our doorstep !!! Hurrah !  One Saturday afternoon we bumbled along to Burton to check out this new place … ! I have never eaten in a Bella Italia before so was very excited to find out just what was in store !!

We were greeted by a friendly waitress and shown to our table very promptly . We were introduced to our waitress for the afternoon and given our menu’s , including the children’s menu and crayons for the husband kids . Whilst browsing the extensive and tantalising menu , Maria ( our waitress) bought bread sticks for the twins and olives for the “grown ups”  along with our drinks order ( soft drinks all round – except Mummy who felt it only right to sample a fine Italian wine … Right ? !!)

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Being an indecisive bunch it took us forever to choose what to order and so Maria took the boys to look at the ice cream counter telling them all about the Gelato and what they had to look forward to !! Brilliant !

The food I have to say was absolutely fantastic … it was served quickly and piping hot and tasted divine ! I had the Funghi Arrosto  followed by a Mista Carne Pizza . Both were fantastic – the meat on the pizza was thick cut and full of flavour . I didn’t think I’d manage it all but with a helping hand from the teen miraculously the plate was clean !!!  The twins opted for ribs and chips  , the teen had polpette followed by pollo formaggio al forno  and the husband opted for the whitebait to start followed with filetto di spigola ( sea bass)  . The table fell silent as we all got stuck in … the silence quickly replaced by murmurs and sighs  that good food only can induce ! So safe to say the food quality was excellent .

Desserts followed and well … you can imagine !!! The twins loved being taken over to the Gelato counter and choosing their own dessert … Maria again took charge of this and was just a joy to the boys !

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We had a fantastic experience at Bella Italia. The décor was fresh and fun , the ambience was comfortable and relaxing,the food was delicious and of a high standard and the staff were brilliant .. Maria gets a 10/10 from all of us  !! Nothing was too much trouble and she was so friendly and good fun ! Bravo Maria !

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Teddy , Frankie and our fab waitress Maria !

 

We will definitely be heading back to this restaurant- there so much else on the menu we want to try !!

Bella Italia can be found nationwide  at www.bellaitalia.co.uk

The restaurant we enjoyed was :

Middleway Retail & Leisure Park

Burton Upon Trent

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Bella Italia … the perfect family friendly restaurant ! It get a thumbs up from The Englands

Many thanks to Bella Italia for having us x

 

 

Review: Paul Hollywood’s Rolls

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A short while ago I was asked to review a selection of Paul Hollywood’s new part baked range . I love a part baked roll … it takes all the stress and time out of baking your own ( although I do still bake from scratch .. believe it or not ! )

I was slightly apprehensive about Paul’s baps … more so as I didn’t want to be disappointed in a product endorsed by the silver fox himself ! So with trepidation I baked some camembert and then baked them baps !!!  Well Mercy Me !! The aroma of fresh baked bread engulfed the kitchen … that itself was most pleasing !  I then cut into the roll after the amazing short baking time of 8 minutes  and it was delightful ! A lovely crisp exterior with a mouth wateringly soft centre ! Perfect for smothering in baked camembert and devouring instantly !!

Now I’m not going to lie … I was amazed ! It was a revelation in the intrepid world of part baked bread !! I am of a mind that perhaps this is why …

The range is made with a slow fermented starter (a blend of flour, water and yeast), which has been fermented for several hours before adding to the main dough to deliver a richer flavour. 

Well done Mr Hollywood , Sir ! Most delectable ! and a product I shall be hunting down in the future for absolute certain !!!

You too can try this wonderful bread … at a price of just £1.49 for 6 rolls  from Waitrose , Ocado , Tesco and Budgens !

 

 

Malted Custard Creams #GreatBloggersBakeOff Week 2

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Biscuit week !!! I am someone who will make the simplest of biscuits in the sure knowledge that none will get wasted … the boys love biscuits !! The sweeter the better … so this week I decided to make biscuits that I knew would be a hit with my boys ( and with the niece and nephew visiting they were perfect for them too !! )

The Great British Bake Off gave us 3 categories of biscuit to bake along with :
1) Signature bake – biscotti
2) Showstopper – Arlettes ( !!!)
3) Showstopper – An edible biscuit box and 36 biscuits of a different flavour

I in my wisdom decided to forego any of these bakes and made the decision to wow the crowds with my Malted Custard Puzzle Pieces !! So after a trip to Tesco to grab my ingredients I set about the bake …
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Ingredients :
For the biscuits :
200g plain flour
50g custard powder
50g malted drink powder
25g icing sugar
175g unsalted butter, chopped into cubes

For the filling:

50g unsalted butter
150g icing sugar
1 tbsp custard powder
1 tbsp malted drink powder
1 tbsp full fat milk

I used a jigsaw piece shaped cutter but you can choose any shape you like !

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees . Line 2 large baking trays with baking parchment.

put the flour , malted drink powder , custard powder and icing sugar in a bowl and mix together . Ad the butter and use your hands to rub the butter into the dry mixture . the mixture should start to come together to form a dough but if not add a splash of milk to help bind it . Make the dough into a ball then flatten into a disc . Cover in cling film and pop it in the fridge for 15-20 minutes .

Now make the custardy filling . Put all the ingredients into a bowl and mix well with a hand mixer until you have a smooth creamy filling . This should be slightly stiff.

Take your dough from the fridge and roll on a lightly floured surface util your dough is the thickness of a £1 coin. Using your cookie cutter cut out your shapes and place them on the lined trays. ( Make sure you cut out even numbers as they are going to be sandwiched together! ) bake for 8-10 minutes in your preheated oven .

Cool completely on a wire rack before sandwiching your biscuits together with your custardy filling !!!

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Mine didn’t even last the afternoon so be quick ! However if you don’t have a crazy gang of gannets then these will keep in an airtight container for 5 days !!

If you want to join in with the Great Bloggers Bake Off then head on over to http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk and join the linky …

Mummy Mishaps

Why not pop over to Tesco’s Baking Recipes and see what other good stuff you can bake to keep those tummies full all summer !!!

Many thanks to Tesco for providing the ingredients for this weeks bake .

More Madeira M’dear ? #GreatBloggersBakeOff

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It’s Baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaack !!! The most eagerly awaited show of the year !!!! First week back on our screens heralded Cake Week !! Which was greeted with a Hurrah and indeed a huzzah !!! We all like a bit of cake !! I was gratified to see that the 3 challenges weren’t stupidly stupid and irrelevant ( … since when has cake ever been irrelevant ?? In fact it’s the most relevant thing in every aspect of our daily lives …surely ????)
I decided to hop skip and jump over the Walnut cake and the Black forest gateaux and for my entry into this years Week One of the Great Bloggers bake Off I opted to bring you a simple Classic Madeira …. so here you go …
  • 175g butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
  • 175g golden caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • grated zest 1 lemon
  • few drops vanilla extract
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • For the icing
  • 2tbsp Icing sugar
  • juice of 1/2 lemon
  1. Heat oven to 170C/150C fan/gas 3.
  2. Butter and line the base of a 900g loaf tin with greaseproof paper.
  3. Using an electric whisk, beat together the butter and sugar until light and creamy then beat in the eggs one at a time. Add the lemon zest and vanilla. Now beat in the flour and almonds until you have a thick batter. The batter should be loose enough that it falls off a wooden spoon, if it’s too thick mix in a splash of milk.
  4. Pour the batter into the tin and smooth over the top. Bake for 55 mins – 1hr .Remove from the oven then leave to cool for 15 mins then remove from the tin, peel away the paper and leave on a wire rack to cool completely before icing.
  5. Make the icing by mixing the icing sugar and lemon juice together. you want the icing to be quite thick so it can be drizzled over the top. Decorate with candied peel if you wish
  6. The loaf will keep in an airtight container for three days.- however mine lasted less than 24 hours !! But I do live with a horde of gannets !!!!

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If you would like to join in with The Great Bloggers Bake Off … head on over to see Jenny at http://www.mummymishaps.co.uk  …

Mummy Mishaps

Clotted Cream Cake

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Last week was our summer Clandestine cake club event where I had given members the theme of Hidden Summer to interpret as they wished … I chose to do a clotted cream cake to encompass the theme of summer and the hidden aspect being the clotted cream within the cake … This cake made me think of Cornish cream teas as I served it with fresh strawberries and a jug of vanilla infused double cream … Even if I do say so myself .. it was a pretty fabulous cake ! Light and airy and just perfect for a summers afternoon treat ….

Clotted Cream Cake 

2 medium eggs , room temp

225g caster sugar

1/2 vanilla pod

225g clotted cream

a good pinch of salt

200g Self raising flour

Double Cream to serve

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees . Grease and line an 8″ (20cm ) deep tin.

Place eggs , sugar and the seeds of the vanilla pod into a bowl and whisk until they are thick and mousse like. The whisk should leave a trail when lifted out of the mixture.

Next , stir the cream until it is smooth and then gently stir it into the egg mixture with the salt . Sift the flour into the bowl and fold it in with a large metal spoon. When combined thoroughly transfer the mixture to the prepared tin.

bake for 50-60 minutes until the cake is golden brown and firm . Leave for 5 minutes to cool then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Serve with the cream and a few fresh sweet strawberries !

Deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeelicious xx

The Treat Kitchen , Nottingham

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As a child I loved going up to the shops with my big sister … we would stand and stare in awe at the rows of jars of sweets whilst choosing which treat to savour that day – rhubarb and custard , kola kubes , kali , sweet peanuts , sherbert pips ….  so much choice … but then it seemed as we grew up … the magic was lost! The jars disappeared and the sweets became smaller and pre packaged :( The age of the sweet shop had died along with our childhood dreams … so just imagine my absolute joy when I was told about The Treat Kitchen only a stones throw away from my front door in Nottingham !!!

With 13 varieties of sugar free confectionery , 36 flavours of gourmet jelly beans ( try the cranberry and apple …. delicious burst of fruity goodness) , 38 varieties of boiled sweets  and 45 gourmet chocolates to choose from you are transported back to those heady days of indecision !!!

I was very fortunate to sample some of these delicious morsels … the jelly beans were delicious … being a sucker for jelly beans I simply have to try each and every flavour so I think a trip to the shop in the near future is in order … The twins thought the radioactive strawberry sours were amazing – met with first the horrific sourness that made their tabs flap followed by the sweetness of the strawberry – many a giggle did the reaction to those bring !!! The traditional rock transported us back to the seaside …. and the foam bananas … well I simply was not prepared to share !

All of the sweets were delicious and evoked many happy memories ! Amazing how the combination of sugar and childhood memories can make you smile so widely !!

The Treat Kitchen has just won Nottingham’s Independent Business of the Year 2015 !! So very well done to all involved … a much deserved accolade!! They are having a celebration in store TOMORROW ( 25th July 2015) with all sweets being 3 for 2 !! Pop along and fill  your basket whilst revisiting the happy dream filled worry free days of perfect confection ……

The Treat Kitchen can be found at 21-23 Wheeler gate , Nottingham  NG1 2NA

You won’t regret it …