Eat, don’t eat, eat….

You know, I have always struggled with my weight. And no, I am not going to write about my transformation and how I got super healthy- crossfit lover- 6am jogger kind of thing. mainly because I am neither. I am big. Too big to be considered healthy. I am overweight. Always have been.

But you see, I love food. Just like most of all of us do. How many people are in constant diets? Yo-yo dieters. Calorie counting obsessive?

Too many. I go about saying: I have to diet just to keep my weight from going up! Because believe me, if I allowed y self to eat whatever I want whenever I wanted, I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed. The NHS would consider me morbidly obese and give me some kind of benefit – now that I think about it, doesn’t even sound that bad, ah!

I had successful diets. But truly, that is not what they are. It is proportional eating. Healthy controlled way of life. Too boring for me. Why can’t I be allowed to have a burger when I want without feeling bad? People would see me and be like: that’s why you’re fat. How would they know that is actually my first burger in months? The same with chocolate. Or fizzy drinks. Or just a huge plate of food.

One thing I have going for me is that I am not that big of a fan of fast food. Or snacking. Or even desserts (cheesecake not withstanding!!!). No, what I like is plenty of starters and a plate of food that, judged by nutritionists and health enthusiasts, would be enough for 3 people.

So I know where my problem is. Why don’t I do anything about it? It is will power. It’s lack of regulation.

Similarly I hate the gym, so I get excuses not to go. And yes, some people get addicted. I never looked good enough to like what is in the mirror. Mind you, I still go. Dutifully twice to three times a week. Always feel like dying at the end. There will be the day that I feel happy when I leave the gym with my first thought being: so, what’s for lunch?

The thing is: I don’t want to die of an heart attack. So that is why I go running and cycling. To keep my heart strong enough to handle my eating.

Anyway I lost my way a bit; point is I loose weight enough to notice it and guess how I celebrate? That is right. Big party dinner full of red meat and carbs! I can take it. I know I can loose it.

Don’t get me wrong. I am fat. And even though I convince myself I ain’t that bad because I stay away from fast food, I know that even though the food I cook can is healthy, I eat way too much in one go.

And that is how I go about my life. Half healthy, half completely savage. It is wrong. But someday I want to eat fruit and salads and other days I want to eat that steak. And I want it with fries!

You only live once is a two edge stick, isn’t it?

Claudia x

How to grow miniature pumpkins

Aren’t mini pumpkins the cutest? I think so, and I hope you agree with me.

For those of you like me that kinda like gardening and DYI projects, I decided to make some little plots of miniature pumpkins. But please, do not take all my literal words from it, I haven’t really got a plot I should be proud of, just started with the seeds now, but hopefully they’ll turn out ok.

But here’s the method I am following:

First choose a place where they can get as much sun as possible; they might not be big but they are big feeders.

Then, unless you’re using a self-watering container, make sure your pot has drainage holes. Irrigation water should be able to flow freely from the container to avoid creating soggy soil. If your container lacks drainage holes, add them. Several smaller holes work better than one large hole.

Now, this isn’t the time to actually plant the seeds, they are frost sensitive so you should aim for mid-Spring to make sure they are happy buggers.

Get some seeds of JBL – Jack B. Little – pumpkin, and on your pot put 3 or four seeds as the ramifications get quite big and use up some space. Miniature pumpkins are vining plants. If you are limited in your garden space, plant miniature pumpkins where they can grow on a trellis or fence. If you are growing them in a container select a very large one.

The soil should be rich and you should remember to fertilize every week or so – ensure that you keep an eye in so they look pretty and healthy.

Water your miniature pumpkins thoroughly until water runs freely through the bottom of the container whenever the soil feels dry 1 inch below the surface. Plants grown in containers need more frequent watering than those grown in the soil do. Your miniature pumpkins may require daily watering, especially during hot, dry periods.

Each plant produces up to 8-10 cute, little miniature pumpkin fruits. Harvest when they turn completely orange, and the stem has dried and turned brown in color. Cut the stem near the vine with a sharp knife. Be careful not to break the stem.

You can find more information here or here or even here!

Have fun gardening!!!

Claudia

Finger licking cinnamon rolls!

Hello my sweets!

Today, in order to be a bit different I will share with you a wonderful recipe that is just too good let it go unnoticed.

The question is not wether you like cinnamon rolls or not. The real question is: HOW much do you love them? – Or, in my case, how many can you have before passing out from sugar overdose?

So here is a beautiful recipe; enjoy!

First things first: this recipe is for about 12 fat rolls.

On to the dough! You will need:

  • 4 1/2 cups of bread flour
  • 1/2 cup of sugar 
  • 10grams instant dry yeast (1 tablespoon)
  • 15grams kosher salt (1 tablespoon)
  • 4 eggs plus one yolk (cold from the fridge they say is the best)
  • an almost full cup of milk (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons)
  • around 18 tablespoons of soft unsalted butter, plus more for the pan (18 tablespoons)

For the yummy filling:

  • unsalted butter, melted (12 tablespoons) – I can already feel the diabetes coming!!!!
  • 1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon of brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup of granulated sugar 
  • 1 1/2tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • pinchfreshly grated nutmeg
  • Egg wash, for finishing

For the delicious icing:

  • 3cups powdered sugar
  • 1/3cup heavy cream, plus more as needed
  • 1teaspoon vanilla extract

All set? Go!!!!

Make the dough the day before you want to make the cinnamon rolls. To make the dough, combine the bread flour, sugar, yeast, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the dough hook.

  1. Add the eggs and milk and mix on low speed until the mixture forms a ball around the hook, 4 minutes. Increase the speed to medium and mix until the dough is very smooth, 5 more minutes. (Note: If you are planning to make the cinnamon rolls on the same day, use room temperature eggs and warm milk.)
  2. Continue mixing the dough on medium speed and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing well to incorporate after each addition. All of the butter should be added over 3 minutes of mixing.
  3. Transfer the dough to a large, oiled bowl and let rise, covered, for 1 to 1 1/2 hours. The dough is very enriched, so it may not expand much.
  4. While the dough rises, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Let the mixture firm up to a spreadable consistency at room temperature. Reserve at room temperature.
  5. Transfer the dough to a parchment-lined baking sheet and pat out into a rectangle with about 1-inch thickness. Cover directly with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. (Note: If you want to make the cinnamon rolls the same day, refrigerate the dough for 1 hour or freeze for 15 to 20 minutes at this point, then continue.)
  6. Preheat the oven to 190º C (375ºF). Grease a large casserole or 9- x 13-inch baking dish generously with softened butter.
  7. Lightly flour your work surface, then turn the dough out onto it. Remove the parchment from the dough, and flour the top surface of the dough. Roll the dough out into a rectangle about 1/2-inch thick.
  8. Dollop the prepared filling all over the dough, then use an offset spatula to spread the filling into an even layer. Try to spread the filling all the way to the edges of the dough so it is fully covered.
  9. Starting with the long side closest to you, begin to roll the dough into a tight spiral. Use your thumbs to prop the dough off the work surface and use your fingers to keep the roll tight while you work.
  10. Slice the finished roll into pieces 1 1/2-inch wide using a serrated knife. Arrange the rolls inside the prepared baking dish, leaving about 1/4 inch between each one. Cover the rolls loosely with plastic wrap or a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
  11. Brush the top of the rolls with egg wash and bake until they are golden on the surface and the filling is bubbly, 25 to 30 minutes. While the rolls bake, combine the ingredients for the frosting in a medium bowl. Cover and reserve at room temperature.
  12. When the rolls are baked, let them cool for 10 to 15 minutes, then spread or drizzle the icing on top. Serve warm.

tumblr_nolzwyruPX1r1d04qo1_1280 (1)

How scrumptious is that?

I will be honest, I did cheat on some things like the sugar and salt, but it was still heavenly! It did not look as good as the picture from the recipe but I am guessing that’s because I am clumsy and, again, a do a lot by eye – ups!

For this recipe and many more, please visit Food52.

Good luck! And enjoy!

Claudia x

Growing Blueberries at Home

Living in the city sometimes makes you want to see more green and take care of something that can be both pretty and fives back to you. Blueberries are a perfect fruit to grow at home. Wether it’s in your garden (if you lucky to have one) or pots or containers for a pretty balcony or big window.

There are some things you will need to ensure though. This will be a quick guide for container home grown blueberries.

To start off make sure you choose the sunniest place in your house. Blueberries thrive in sunny places and they should be sheltered from frost and shade. Let’s just say: they are happy in the sun!

Make sure you get a container that it is 60cm. This will be required because you will need at least 2 varieties of blueberries and they will grow quite a lot in the first two years. This is to ensure crosspollination occurs and more chances of a healthy and fertile plant. There are a lot of types blueberries that you can get. The more common are: Bluecrop, Chandler, Duke and Nelson.

You will need some ericaceous compost. Blueberries are very picky with the soil they are in and will require something acidic. The required PH is 5. Always try to get something around this level which is the ones the plant prefers. If you have any questions about this, please see the packaging of the soil, they always have neat recommendations and tips.

Once you have your blueberry plant you have to prepare it before planting. Please let it soak for about 20 minutes before transferring it to the soil.You will need to put some crocks at the end of the pot to ensure good drainage.

Once you have plant it, make sure you keep the soil moist but not soggy – this would just kill it.

The best time to plant it it’s from November to February and harvest time would be July and August. During the first two years pruning won’t be something that you’ll need to do, but you can always trim it, but be careful not to cut the healthy branches – always try to just cut the dead part. Pruning is always better when the plant is more dormant – around December or January. It’s highly recommended that you should concentrate on getting the plant growing in the first year in order to maximise the wood on the plant to bear fruit the year after. Obviously always cut off any dead or broken branches and also any that look like they are going to touch the ground and also any very spindly growth should be removed at ground level.

When watering the plants always try to use the rain water as the tap one is too agressive for it. But in time of need, don’t be scared. Make sure during growing season you keep the roots moist. Then, in late spring when the leaves bloom and open, you will need to feed it a bit of fertilizer. Do not use the same you would buy for tomatoes as they do not have the required nutrients.

If you have to re-pot because of growth, try to do it in Autumn and this should be needed every two years or so.

Be careful of birds, they love blueberries as much as the next person so make sure you have some sort of protection – otherwise all of the crops will be theirs, ah!

container-growing-blueberries

Good luck with your berries and happy gardening!

Claudia x

Best thing since sliced bread?

MUG CAKES!!!

And I swear, I’m not even joking. For those who don’t know me I bake. I bake when I’m bored. I bake when I need a break or distance from some situation. I bake because I am watching some show and they decide to melt chocolate for something. I simply cannot resist seeing chocolate melting. I bake because I like and the flatmates don’t mind. I guess I’ll never be skinny, ah!

Anyway, I found this recipe on Tumblr and decided to share as it is DELICIOUS!

So, for a flourless Chocolate mug cake you will need:

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp heavy cream
  • 1/2 tbsp dutch processed cocoa powder
  • 1 large egg

1. In a large microwave safe mug (at least 12 oz), add chocolate chips and heavy cream. Heat for about 40 seconds in the microwave and then whisk until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. Add in remaining ingredients and whisk vigorously so that you do break down the egg. Whisk until batter is smooth and no egg streaks remain.

2. Microwave cake for about 1 minute. Cake will rise extremely high while in the microwave, probably passing the top of the mug, and will the sink back down once the cooking has stopped. Cake should be solid and completely cooked but slightly wet around the edges.  Let cake rest for about 20 minutes so that the flavors fully develop. You can remove cake and place into a smaller cup or bowl as cake will continue to shrink and condense as it cools. Top with powdered sugar and fresh fruit before serving.

Now, to be completely honest this recipe and more (along with the picture) can be found at this yummy Website

So head over there and start baking!

Happy cooking,

Claudia x