Friday, 20 February 2015

I am undone!

Just a very brief post. I saw this the other day in the supermarket and bought it on impulse.

Yes, you are reading correctly. It is a Marmite flavoured chocolate Easter egg and O my goodness it is the best flavour combination. Forget your fancy pants organic seasalted chocolate- this is the business!
My resolution to give up late night snacking has fallen apart but never mind. Tomorrow is another day...

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Hungry Runner part 1

I love baking. And I love eating cake. I try to make cakes using different kinds of flour and with fruit or vegetables in them. The fruit/veg bit usually comes about because I have something that's not really fresh enough to be nice just on its own and so rather than throw it away I try to find a way of incorporating it into a cake. It's a good way of getting vegetation into my youngest child who is a very picky eater and of course it makes a sweet treat just that bit more nutritious.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

I tweaked a new banana bread recipe last night and the result was delicious:

Banana Rye Teabread

 90g rye flour and 85g plain flour
50g porridge oats
50g butter plus 25g yoghurt
100g dark brown muscovado sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1-2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp allspice
2 eggs, beaten
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 eating apple, grated
100g mixed dried cranberries, raisins & sultanas

  1. Preheat oven to 180C / 160C fan
  2. Grease and line a 1kg loaf tin.
  3. Put the flours, oats, butter, yoghurt, spices, baking powder and eggs into a large bowl and mix well. The stir in the fruits and mix again.
  4. Spoon the mixture into the tin and bake for about 60- 75 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  5. Allow the loaf to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out.
Delicious buttered as a post run snack!

Very Berry Breakfast Muffins (makes about 12-15, depending on size of tins)

This recipe is good for using up yoghurt that's a couple of days out of date

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
2 cups wheat bran
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 tsp bicarb of soda
1 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups berry flavoured yoghurt (preferably Yeo Valley 0% fat Strawberry Greek yoghurt)
  • Measure the dry ingredients into a bowl and make sure the sugar isn't in lumps.
  • Beat together the oil, eggs and yoghurt
  • Mix the wet ingredients into the dry but don't over mix.
  • Divide the mixture into muffin tins and bake for about 12-14 minutes at 200C.
You do need to leave these to cool before eating!

I have a few variations on the breakfast muffin, so watch this space!

Chocolate Courgette Cake

175g dark chocolate
225g grated courgettes
100g plain flour and 100g rye or spelt flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1tsp ground cinnamon
110g caster sugar
175ml sunflower oil
2 eggs

 1.      Grease and line a 1kg/2lb loaf tin. Preheat oven to 180C/ Gas mark 4
2.      Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl suspended over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir the chocolate until smooth.
3.      In a large bowl mix together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Then add the courgettes and stir again.
4.      In another bowl beat together the eggs and oil. Stir this into the dry ingredients then stir in the melted chocolate.
5.      Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 50-60 minutes or until well risen and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

LEAVE TO COOL IN THE TIN FOR AT LEAST 15 MINUTES because the loaf is very fragile when freshly baked. Then turn out onto a rack to finish cooling. The cake does freeze well though.
Happy baking!


Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Pen versus interweb

This year I thought I'd keep a training diary- the old fashioned sort where you have a book and a pen and write stuff. I had been using an online thing to record runs but it's too easy to get hung up on all the stats those things generate. I love my running and I want to get better and faster, but I'm not a professional athlete so really it's a waste of time analysing all those numbers. It can also be dangerous- seeing my average pace drop can make me do an easy run much too fast, or run further than is sensible for a given day. I do have goals- this year I want to get as close as I can to a 90 minute half marathon- but I mustn't let them take over. Sure I try to keep my S&C work focussed on helping me to run better; I don't mind doing it because it's for a specific purpose rather than just a general 'need to work muscles', and I've really enjoyed the improvements it's made to my running. But if running stops being enjoyable then what's the point?

The diary is also helpful for karate. When I remember to, I make a note of things that seemed particularly important in a karate lesson. I also try to record what I've practised and what the focus was. So today I did kata concentrating on making the movements strong and fast. Pausing between each one if needed but completing each one quickly. My balance was still a bit iffy after the lurgy but it should get back to normal very soon, I hope!

The act of writing makes me think hard about what I've done, more so than typing stuff into an interweb thing. It's a purely personal thing, but it forces me to be honest and direct whereas typing always feels as though I need to present something that appears sleek and neat and acceptable. Having said that, I am being honest in this blog. It's a sort of thinking out loud for anyone who's interested.