Thursday, 25 February 2010

For the love of Beets

When vegetables are this good looking - who needs supermodels!
I was quite surprised yesterday that quite a few of my American counterpart bloggers had never tried beetroot, which drew to my attention that Beets (like Rhubarb) are not quite so much a staple as they are here. So I thought maybe I should educate you all on such a wonderful vegetable and share with you a few other ways to use it.
Beetroots make their biggest appearance for my family on Boxing Day (26th of December) where the traditional meal of pickle and mash is had. I love picked beetroot and I love it even more when it stains my fluffy mash potato a beautiful violet hue. Generally pickled beets are the most bought type of beets, I warn you though, they're a bit like Marmite (If you're American you might very well not have a clue what I'm talking about here...I'll do another post regarding marmite soon.) You ever love them or hate them.
I personally, love them. I love that they are so versatile and a real great way to make a drab looking dish, colorful and beautiful. Grated over a plain old chicken salad? Perfect!
Here's a few other great facts about Beets that just make them that more appealing:
  • Beetroot contains betaine, a substance that relaxes the mind and is used to treat depression. It also contains trytophan (also found in chocolate!) which contributes to a sense of well being.
  • The Romans considered beetroot an aphrodisiac (it’s rich in the mineral boron which is important in the production of human sex hormones). The belief persists to this day that if a man and a woman eat from the same beetroot, they will fall in love (with each other, presumably.)
  • It’s an excellent source of folic acid and is therefore recommended to women who are pregnant or planning to become pregnant.
  • Cooked beetroot is a great source of folate that can protect you against high blood pressure, Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also crucial to the development of a baby’s spinal cord during the first three months of pregnancy, so a good intake of folate is important to prevent spinal cord defects such as spina bifida.
  • Beetroot is a naturally environmentally-friendly crop, rarely needing treatment with pesticides.

If you're still unsure about trying beets (why?!) then why don't you have a look over these recipes to get your taste buds tingling?

Borscht Soup - A classic beetroot soup originating from Poland.

Beetroot, Avocado and Goats Cheese Salad served with Parma Ham - The combination is. peeeerfect.

Beetroot and Onion Chutney - I heart this so much.

Beetroot & Wild Mushrooms Tartlet in Filo Pastry - Why wouldn't you?

But my favourite easy way to curb my Beetroot craving? Couple of slices of whole meal bread, several slices of beetroot dipped in malt vinegar arranged on top, salt, pepper and a generous sprinkling of cheddar cheese... Toasted of course.

All information comes from www.lovebeetroot.co.uk .... Yeah, thats right people, they've even got their own website. Booyah.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Healthy Cake... yeah, right.

I've been baking a lot lately, swooning my colleagues at work with my baking confectionaries and taking orders for family and friend birthday parties. Last week it was cupcakes galore (thank you hummingbird bakery cookbook) and Angel Food cake (They don't have that in England...so wrong). This week is Pioneer Women's Tres Leche Cake and next week The most beautiful cake I have ever tasted, Beetroot and Seed Cake. Yes that's right kids, a healthy cake. Well, as healthy as a tasty cake is ever going to get. Just ingnore the gallons of oil. Hrm?


My collegue bought this in yesterday to work and I have no quarls with saying this is better than anything I have ever made. Beautifully moist and so very flavourful. I must insist you try it.

Beetroot and Seed Cake

225g self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 scant tsp baking powder
½ tsp ground cinnamon
180ml sunflower oil
225g light muscovado sugar
3 eggs
150g raw beetroot
juice of half a lemon
75g sultanas or raisins
75g mixed seeds (sunflower, pumpkin, linseed)
for the icing:
8 tbsp icing sugar
lemon juice or orange blossom water
poppy seeds


Set the oven at 180C/gas mark 4. Lightly butter a rectangular loaf tin (20cm x 9cm x 7cm deep, measured across the bottom) then line the bottom with baking parchment.

Sift together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Beat the oil and sugar in a food mixer until well creamed then introduce the beaten egg yolks one by one, reserving the whites for later.

Grate the beetroot coarsely and fold into the mixture, then add the lemon juice, raisins or sultanas and the assorted seeds. Fold the flour and raising agents into the mixture while the machine is turning slowly.

Beat the egg whites till light and almost stiff. Fold gently but thoroughly into the mixture with a large metal spoon (a wooden one will knock the air out). Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 50-55 minutes, covering the top with a piece of foil after 30 minutes. Test with a skewer to see if done. The cake should be moist inside but not sticky. Leave the cake to settle for a good 20 minutes before turning out of its tin on to a wire cooling rack.

To make the icing, sieve the icing sugar and stir in enough lemon juice or orange blossom water to achieve a consistency where the icing will run over the top of the cake and dribble slowly down the sides (about three teaspoonfuls), stirring to remove any lumps. Drizzle over the cake and scatter with poppy seeds. Leave to set before eating.

Thursday, 11 February 2010

Theta Mom Thursday


Ah sweet Thursday. Here we are again. Quite nice, no? Thursday's is my Friday (sucka's) and I love Fridays. A day for just me and my boy.
But this isn't about me and my boy, this is about me and how I managed to make some time for myself. This week it was much more low key, but equally as satisfying. I've been having about a hour to myself in the evenings 3 nights a week where I do my Davina DVD and work those calories off! After I've clenched, crunched, flexed and stretched I throw on my bathrobe, claim my corner of the sofa and pull out my latest "project".
I haven't told you yet, have I? Oh it's something I'm very excited about. Husband bought me a beautiful hand made leather journal for Christmas, with a beautiful bronze latch. It's only small, but very thick and it's perfect. I'm slowly turning it into the family recipe book. filling the thing up with my favourite recipes (pictures, notes and reviews to go with as well) and one day I plan to hand it down to the next generation. I've always wanted to do something like this and now I can. It's great. It's more scrap booky than recipe book but it's just how I like it and I've really been enjoying taking an hour in the evening to do my cutting and pasting and writing. I'm sure it'll be slowly filled through the years and I hope my children will add to it as well... and their children.
I suppose this could be constituted as family time since I'm doing it for the family, but it's nice to have a project. You know?

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

It's the GHOST LIGHT!

It was a long night last night.

Last week out neighbors fitted a sensor light in their back garden as they were having problems with foxes. This obviously pissed off the people behind us as last night I watched as they fitted a spot light themselves and aimed it at our neighbors window. Hm. Very Neighborly.

I didn't think much of it to be honest, that was of course until I awoke with a start to the sound of my Son screaming like bloody mary. Now, let me first say, generally once Son goes to bed we don't hear a peep from him again until 7am the next morning. He's a good sleeper. So when he cries at night it generally means something is wrong (he's sick for example). Husband had only just gotten into bed when Son started crying (around midnight) so he went to check on him. He settled quite quickly and Husband climbed back into bed. And the cycle began, every 30 minutes until 3am he woke up and Husband went to settle him. Around 3.30am He began to cry again, I figured Husband must be missing something when he was going into Son's room so it was time for a mothers touch (just so you know... I'm not lazy, Husband and I have an arrangement that whoever has to get up the earliest for work gets to stay in bed if Son wakes. And yes, I was working early the next morning). So bleary eyes and feeling my way through the dark I head for Son's bedroom. It's about now I notice a strange orange glow coming from under his door. I have to say it made me nervous so I picked up the pace and burst into the bedroom.


I have to say there was a moment when I worried my Son might be being abducted or that something paranormal was amiss. The room had an eerie orange glow about it and I walked in to find Son plastered to the opposite wall of the window, eyes wide with fear. Oh my poor baby! I picked him up to comfort him and sang a quick verse of his favourite song to make him smile and then together we investigated this light. Yup, sure enough it was the stupid people behind us who had aimed a little to far to the left and were shinning the 1MILLION watt light bulb into my sons room every time a cat sneezed. There wasn't much I could do to prevent it at 3.30am and even my Son's heavy black out curtains weren't keeping it out, so I explained to Son what the light was and that it was nothing to be afraid of and hoped for the best.

Much to my pleasure Son got it and slept the rest of the night peacefully and I gleefully rubbed my glory into Husband's face who despite 3 hours at attempting to get Son to settle he had no luck. Rock on Mama.
I'll be making a trip to the light house tonight to ask them to point their stadium light else where.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Random Tuesday Thoughts


Lets random it up once again with Un Mom. This is a good day to do random for me because I can't focus on a single freaking thing. Work is all over the place and so am I. I have minimal attention span today and all I can say is thank god Husband is picking up Son today because I'd probably end up walking out with the wrong kid.

There is nothing like cursing the country you live in.

Which I of course did when on Friday I took Son out to the park in a T-shirt and zip up and stated to him that I had a feeling we'd be having an early spring this year. So of course its snowing again now, and shit cold. My luck... so yeah, sorry Britain.

I recently bought the Hummingbird Bakery Recipe book and I honestly don't think it gets much better than this. Do you know the Hummingbird? It's quite famous/well known/elite here in the UK, though I'm not sure about the USA.
It's pretty much the most perfect place for American Baked goods in the UK and you should check it out even if it's just to look at the pretty pictures.

I'm left with a dilemma now though. I'm making my own Birthday cake next week and I can't decide between making a Salted Caramel Chocolate Cake, Tres Leches Cake or Red Velvet.... What would you like? I of course could make all three.... maybe... but then which one do I take to work? I'm leaning towards the Salted Caramel because it sound posh and complicated and more likely to impress.

Moving on to further random it's week 3 of daily crunches and backside exercises for yours truly.. I think, think I can feel muscles. Now just to get rid of this layer or chub and I might finally be able to see this supermodel body I've been waiting for. hah. yeah. right. This is of course after I eat the three birthday cakes I'm going to make myself.

Did I mention Potty training starts soon... Stage 1 is in progress in which I attempt to get Son to have a sit on the pot while I get him changed in the morning and at night. So far not so good. He doesn't want to do it. No questions asked. So we'll be taking it slow, no pressure, and when he feels ready we'll go for it full on.

Ah... I do love me some random.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Theta Mom Thursday


No, YOUR Mom! ... It's here again, the day when we all rack our brains to remember if he had an hour of "me time". Well I did. In fact I had nearly a whole weekend. GASP. It rocked.

Saturday night Husband and I were booked to be attending Wife's 30th Birthday Bash. Since it was in London and we haven't been "properly" out for a long time we decided to hand Son off to the in-laws and book a hotel in the city. The hotel was only about 20 minutes from the venue, a bar called Sway in Holborn. We checked in around 4pm and thanks to who my Husband is got access to all the executive areas and took full advantage of the lounge, canapes and wine. The party itself wasn't bad though neither Husband or I's scene. We're not 'clubbing' people. Both of us like to dance and we both like to be out and social but I (despite my age) feel very old when I go to clubs. Also, WAY too many people for me. When I go out I like to go out to spend time and catch up with my friends, not too fight off unwanted advances from men, and I'd like to say that being there with my Husband would prevent this but if he's not laughing at me then he's fighting the ladies off too.

It was a good night though, we all got rather merry, Wife didn't stress and flap about too much, Husband was offered a 'quick one' in the bathroom by one of Wife's friends who
despite the fact that I was dancing with Husband at the time thought she might have a chance. Yeah, right girl. And we still made it back to the hotel in time for midnight.

The best part of the whole weekend of course was the hotel breakfast. You can't beat a hotel breakfast.

I find it very strange though how because I don't do a big night out often I really really crave them but then as soon as I have them I realize there are things I would rather be doing. i.e. nice meal out, dinner party, movies, west end show. I guess marriage and motherhood have made me old ;)

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

I wanted to go out and change the world but I couldn't find a babysitter.

Since I'm so heart broken this week about missing Random Tuesday Thoughts and also I have no brain power at the moment to write anything intelligent, witty or slightly interesting on my blog concerning my life (unless of course you want to hear more about my love for Vampires and also my frustration at having too big an ego to indulge myself and become the fat women I really am deep down)
I thought I'd share with you a few of my favourite quotes revolving around being a wife and mother.

Enjoy.

To be today's real women, you need to have the physique of Venus, the cunning of Cleopatra, the courage of Joan of Arc, the wardrobe of Marie Antoinette and the cleaning ability of Ammonia D.
- Joyce Jillson

Can you imagine a world without men? No crime and lots of happy fat women.
- Marion Smith

Among all forms of absurd courage, the courage of girls is outstanding. Otherwise there would be fewer marriages.
- Colette (Sidonie Gabrielle)

When men cook, cooking is viewed as an important activity; when women cook, it is just a household chore.
-Margaret Mead (1901-1978)

I found this quote last week and ironically the day after I had a "discussion" with my Husband about how he seemed to treat the bathroom like a wet room. Seems like men have been doing this for years... So I guess I have no hope.

Men never drip before getting out of the shower. They saturate themselves and then plunge headlong into a towel - leaving the bathroom as though it's been through a hard time in the North Sea.
- Pam Brown B. 1928

Argh!

I have been trying to blog for 3 days and every time I head for the computer or open up the browser some fool wants my attention. It's not cool people, not cool.

I missed Random Tuesday too! I had a little post-it note on my monitor with random things I was going to include in my post... It's slightly heartbroken, don't you think?


Ok...Granted, I could have blogged last night but it was the first episode and double bill of "The Vampire Diary's"... I sat down thinking I'd just watch the first 30 minutes figuring I wouldn't like such a silly programme. 2 hours later and Husband and I are sat squealing together. Him over the awesome biting/ninja moves and me over the oh so hawt and mysterious and Vampires...Also the passionate completely devoted love? ... Ah Sigh.

So yeah, now you know. You didn't get a post because I was busy fantasising about Vampires, and I'm not ashamed! ... I do love me a bit of broody bad boy. As you all know.

You should all be happy to know though that now, since it has been a few days I've got all kinds of different things I wanted to say, so I might just grace you with a few posts over the next few days... I know, I know, you can thank me later.