Friday, 26 April 2013

5:2 Fast Diet - Tomato & Lentil Soup

This soup is my lunch time staple on fast days. Mostly because I made a big batch and froze it, and it is easy to defrost and reheat it for lunch.

The recipe is here.  I have been adding half an ounce of couscous to thicken it up (not shown in the photo).


Wednesday, 24 April 2013

More Crochet.

At the moment I have the crochet bug, or in this case butterfly.

This is something I made last week using this lovely pattern here.

It is made by first making a flower and then folding it i half.  similar to this flower. Exactly the same, so I thought until my sister pointed out that she could not fold it and I realised I had made 7 petals bits instead of the required 8 (read your pattern people!)

Still it is a nice flower.

The next photo is the same flower but made out of hemp which is a pain to work with but I think it will look lovely when done.

Next I am planning to make some crocheted bag charms for my sister, and for a plain brown bag of mine. I will keep you posted.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

5:2 Diet Fast Day One & Some Crochet

Friday 12th April 2013 was my first fast day of the 5:2 Fast Diet.   Out of 7 days you fast (in reality eat only 500 calories for women and 600 for men) for 2 days and eat normally for the other 5.  You do not have to have the 2 days in succession and you can change when they occur as long as you have two fast days out of 7.

I thought this sounded something I could do.  People do it in different ways, saving all their 500 calories for a big dinner, or just eating breakfast and lunch.  It is too early to see which will suit me best but I do know that if I don't eat regularly I feel unwell so I decided to have something for breakfast, lunch and dinner and maybe snacks in between.  As it happens my snack was an apple in the afternoon.  I had also planned having 5 cups of Yorkshire tea with milk but I only had 3 as I drank white tea with no milk for the rest of the time, and plenty of water.  So it meant I could add those calories from the tea I didn't drink, into my dinner.

My first fast day occurred on the last day of the Easter holidays and I was by myself.  When I return to work next week it will be totally different and might be a lot easier and might be a lot harder.

I do know that I have the support of lots of lovely people and I hope that I shall be forced to be more creative with my food.  I have never ever calorie counted before so it is all a bit new to me but it is certainly eye-opening.  Some people pig out on their non-fast day (called a feast day) but I am sure you are just supposed to eat normally, but some people find they eat healthily these days as well.

For my breakfast I had a yoghurt.  For lunch I had Sweetcorn Soup. This is something I make anyway but I usually add noodles and whatever I have in the kitchen.  And this recipe did use what I already had.  You can get low calorie noodles and I will try and buy some next week.

It looks disgusting, doesn't it?  But it was lovely.

 Sweetcorn Soup                      147 Calories

 1/3 tin of sweetcorn 
4 mushrooms sliced
one egg
stock (made up to 600 ml but used 100 ml of this for couscous in the evening)

I made up the stock and put aside about 100ml of it to use later.  I put the rest in a saucepan and added the mushrooms and let it cook for about 6 minutes.  I added the sweetcorn and let it cook for only a minute or so.  The I added the egg and as soon as it went in I used a fork and beat it in the soup so it trailed in the soup (I am a lazy cook).

Then I ate it.  It was lovely.  Of course you can add whatever else you have and just adjust the calories accordingly. 

I put the rest of the sweetcorn away for another meal (maybe a sweetcorn omelette on the next day).    This is enough for one person as I am just cooking for myself but you could always make more and share.  I don't know if it will freeze well (it will not with the egg) but maybe you could let me know.

For my dinner I planned on having couscous with peas.  But as the afternoon went on and I got hungrier and hungrier I worried that it would be very boring.  So I went to the shops and bought some vegetable and a salad bag. 

I had trouble with working out how many calories would be in couscous. Many sites gave it to you cooked but that is no good unless you know how much dry couscous makes up when cooked.  So please feel free to correct me if I have it wrong.

CousCous Salad   144 Calories

26 g of dry couscous (but do check the calorie content)
one tomato
100g of cucumber
100g celery (about 3 small stalks)
75g of salad from a bag

I made up the couscous with the stock I had put aside from lunch.  Basically I heated up the stock and poured it on the couscous and let it rest.  Then came back later and fluffed it up with a fork.  I wasn't quite sure if the stock would be enough and was prepared to add a bit of water but it was fine.   When I looked at the couscous I thought ' that is never going to fill me up!'. 
I chopped up the tomato, celery and cucumber into fairly small bits as I wanted this to take a while to eat.  Then I added this to the couscous and mixed it all up so the couscous stuck to the veg.  I put this in a bowl and then on one side put the salad.

It was delicious!! I think having the stock helped but the veg was all room temperature as I find if you take it straight from the fridge it impairs the flavour.  Mixing it all up made the couscous go much further and it was a lovely texture.

Because I had calories  left from drinking less milky tea, and I had not eaten as many snacks (I had planned to eat the celery as snacks but added it to my dinner instead), it meant I could eat something later so I had another tomato, some cucumber and the rest of the salad bag.

I did obsess a bit about food all day and this was because I didn't really get on with anything else.  So late afternoon I decided to start some crochet and continued this until bed time.  I  hope the crochet will grow as  my girth decreases but I cannot promise I will only do it on fast days.

But here is Fast Day One's crochet

I will not bore you with so much detail next time,, but if I find or make any interesting recipes then I will let you know.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Les Miserables' Costumes and 'I Recognise those buttons!'.

 Les Miserables is one of my favourite musicals and I was so excited when I heard that part of it was being filmed in Portsmouth. Unfortunately I did not fit the type of extra they required - I was not a man.

They required lots of men for the convict scene near the beginning of the film, and this was filmed in the dry dock at the dockyard in Portsmouth.

Because of this connection, Portsmouth Historic Dockyard was given the wonderful opportunity to show some of the costumes from the film, and my sister, daughter and I went along (on one of the coldest days this year).

The entrance to Portsmouth Historic Dockyard

 It was good to be able to see the costumes close up, only a few were behind glass.  I do admire the work of costume designers and makers. And on that subject I have to tell you that I was very lucky to be asked to make some of my dorset buttons for a costume.  This was over a year ago, and I was very excited and did scream a bit. However, I put on my professional hat and got on with the job as skilfully, and quickly as I could.  You will see which costume later.

Here are some of the costumes:

I think this is Gavroche's costume.  The waistcoat looks shiny but it was not. It was more of a hand blocked cotton print.




As for the buttons I made...they were used on one of Anne Hathaway's  (as Fantine ) dresses. This is the one,  it is lilac. My buttons were used on the back.

 I really must apologise for the poorness of the photographs that I took of my buttons. It was a very poorly lit area (no flash allowed) and I was using someone else's camera and I am obviously rubbish at this type of photography.

Here are my buttons.
This is another dress using my buttons on the back.  It is the same dress but distressed a bit more.

It was lovely to see all the costumes and the work that went into them.  The exhibition closes next week so hurry if you want to catch it.