Busy Bees

My oh my it has been a while since I blogged. The Boyo and I have been busy bees. The end of term (we both work in FE/HE education) always arrives far quicker than you anticipate. I’m always filled with this idea that once the students have gone I’ll so much more time to get on with my huge to do list. The reality is my to-do list gets even bigger and meetings, training etc. is always hurriedly squeezed in before everyone goes into summer mode at the end of June. The annual CILIPS conference was on as well and I was luckily able to attend the Monday, so it really has been a busy couple of weeks work-wise. Many of our staff are term time only so I have to try and get as much information from them before they disperse and my aim is always to try and get everything magically done before they return in August. This never happens but it is good to have good intentions, yes?

We’ve also had Boyo’s family visiting, including their gorgeous dog who was actually staying with us for a week. I miss our walkies and her lovely velvety soft ears. I am definitely still broody for a dog of my own but I also know that with our work schedules it just wouldn’t be fair. Luckily the Boyo was able to take some time off whilst they were here and he got lots of walks with the dog – including 2 Munros, and I was able to join them at evenings and the weekend. So we’ve enjoyed some really lovely walks around our village, Dunkeld where the Boyo’s family were staying and Loch Leven. Unfortunately the weather was pretty mixed and the poor dog got drenched everyday of her stay.

Walks

We also have had some nice opportunities for tasty treats – cake and tea at Spill the Beans in Dunkeld, scones at Scone Palace – excellent, very good indeed, almost as good as my Granny made them, lunch at House of Bruar one day and a tasty takeaway from our local Chinese takeaway. I did some cooking at home as well, I made enchiladas one night – I’ll post my recipe/method in my next post. It is a bit of a cheat but a huge hit whenever I make them, especially with my sister who visits me regularly just to get fed these. I also made chocolate and vanilla loaf cake and one night we had 3 course with everything made by scratch by me. Vegetable and Coriander soup with homemade bread, Roasted Chicken breast with garlic mushrooms, roast peppers, steamed potatoes and a peppercorn sauce and then strawberries with cream and a homemade chocolate sauce to finish. So we have been well walked and well fed! The foodie post will be up soon – most likely Monday as I’m away this weekend.

 

What else? I attended my first hypnotherapy session last night. I’ve spoken before about how I really want to be Merry and healthy. A big barrier in this is my food aversions. I haven’t eaten fruit and vegetables as far back as I can remember. Mum claims I used to eat brussel sprouts when I was 3 but I cannot remember. It is something that I really want to change but I just find myself unable to swallow when I try to eat these foods. So I’ve decided to get some extra help. Whether it will actually work or not is still unclear but I really think it is worth a try. I’m worried this post is already a long post so I’ll finish up for now and save the details of my hypnotherapy experience for later.

 

I hope everyone has a jolly weekend, I’m off to visit family on a flying visit which will be nice. Cheerio for now!

 

Merry

 

 

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Foodie Friday

Foodie Friday

Another fishy Friday – sorry to those who aren’t fans of fish! I am trying as I have mentioned before to become a healthier person and one of the things I am trying to do is to eat more fish. As a child the only fish I ever ate was haddock in breadcrumbs or ‘yellow fish’ made by my Granny. Yellow fish is smoked haddock baked in milk and butter – hence the name yellow – and the fillet was served with the wonderful buttery sauce and a slice of bread and butter. Delicious! So I really feel that I need to expand my menu where fish is concerned. So today’s meal is Smoked River Cobbler with roasted herby potatoes and courgettes with a herby white sauce.

On another note regarding my food eating I am embarking on a whole new daunting challenge. I am what is known as a ‘picky eater’. Over the past few years I have become much more adventurous (I only tried curry when studying for my postgrad. Thank you to my friend from Bristol for introducing me to this wonder, I will forever be thankful). Living in China and Hong Kong forced me to try some new and exotic foods and developing a serious cooking hobby over the past two years (and having a boyo who is willing to try EVERYTHING) has meant that slowly but surely I am eating a much wider variety of food.

But I have a major stumbling block-

I don’t eat vegetables or fruit.

(I am Scottish so I do love potatoes, does that count as a vegetable?… I’m joking)

I’ve had a major problem with fruit & veg for as long as I can remember. I am happy to eat a wide variety of vegetables in soup format as long as they are blended. I will cook with vegetables and enjoy the flavour they give to my meals – but I pick all the actual vegetables out. I literally gag and can’t swallow when I feel the texture of vegetables in my mouth. As for fruit, I don’t even go near it. The closest I will get is a puff pastry apple puff thing where the apple inside is basically pureed and the whole thing is covered in custard. This my friends (if anyone reads my ramblings) is ridiculous.

I enjoy cooking, I love looking at all the wonderful variety of food, I want to be able to cook and eat away to my hearts content. I want to give up my sugar crazy tendencies. In the past I didn’t mind so much but now that I enjoy cooking so much I am seeing so many tasty things that I am missing out on. Another big factor is my Boyo. I’m not just responsible for myself now – don’t worry he can look after himself- Boyo and I decided to live together, one day we hope to start a family together and we intend to spend our lives together (we aren’t married but the same objectives really!). I worry about him and want to look after him and he does the same for me. Although I am trying to improve my health I can’t really claim to be healthy unless I eat a balanced diet. I am 30 later this year. The question of us starting a family gets closer and bigger all the time, how can I grow a little person if I am not properly nourished and how can I raise a child if I do not try to be healthy and show good behaviours to them? It is important to me and it is important to the Boyo.

So I hear you ask what am I doing about it? Well I am trying to improve what I eat all the time – sneaking spinach into curry, using more wholesome ingredients, varying our carbs – cous cous, rice, pasta, potatoes and limiting our portion size of carbs and instead of having massive meals I am trying to just use sensible portions. I am also trying to reduce my dairy intake by eating less cheese, just the equivalent of 1 glass of milk a day and a yoghurt, I try to eat no more than 2 slices of bread a day and I make my own bread (I try to make nearly everything from scratch) and I only drink fizzy drinks if we are out for a meal or at the weekend and still not a crazy amount. I’m trying to up my peppermint tea consumption, experiment with green tea and drink more water.

But this isn’t enough – so time for the major step. Next week I will attend my first hypnotherapy session. I am actually quite nervous about it. I have a lot of questions but the two main questions are:

What if it doesn’t work?

And

What if it does?

I’ll update you on my healthy eating quest soon.

So back to Foodie Friday

Smoked River Cobbler with herby roasted potatoes & courgettes with a herby white sauce

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Ingredients

    Fish

2 x skinless and boneless smoked River Cobbler fillets
Dash of Olive Oil
Seasoning – I used a lemon pepper seasoning mix

    Potatoes & Courgettes

Glug of Olive oil
White everyday potatoes peeled & cut into small chunks (A great way to use up old potatoes that need cooked quickly)
Half a Courgette sliced.
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Seasoning – again I used the lemon Pepper mixture

    White Sauce

About 150ml-200ml of Milk (I used semi-skimmed)
Knob of Butter
300ml of Crème Fraiche (I would usually use half fat)
Knorr mixed herb flavour pot
Black pepper
Garlic (I used a pinch of garlic granules instead of fresh this time)
Tablespoon of Philadelphia
2 teaspoons of grated Parmesan

    Method

1. Put your oven on to warm up, I had mine at 200c. Put a good glug of the olive oil into a large roasting dish. I used a large oval le creuset one but I also have a big glass one that is ideal for roasting the potatoes. Place the dish with the olive oil into the oven to warm up whilst you peel & chop the potatoes and slice up the courgettes.

2. On the chopping board mix up your courgettes and potatoes using your hands then cover in the seasoning and a good sprinkle of sea salt and a little black pepper. Mix up again so all the potatoes and veg are covered in the herbs and spices.

3. Lift the now hot dish out the oven and put your potato and veg mix in. Give a good mix then put in the oven. Depending on the size of your potatoes and how well spread out they are in the dish it could take between 30 – 40 minutes for them to cook. Every so often you want to lift them out and give them a good mix so all the sides turn golden and a little crispy.

4. Now to prepare the fish. Place them in another roasting dish. Sprinkle your seasoning over them and gently rub it in. Sprinkle a little dash of olive oil over the fillets and cover in tin foil. The fillets will cook in the oven in 20 minutes so time putting them in on how your potatoes are looking.

5. The sauce isn’t necessary but adds a little more flavour to the dish. Put the milk and butter in a pot and place over a medium heat on the hob. When the butter has melted add the flavour pot and mix thoroughly. Add the crème fraiche and Philadelphia. Keep mixing until it starts to resemble a nice consistency, add the garlic, parmesan and a little black pepper. If you have the sauce ready before the rest of the meal just leave it off the heat to warm up again when you are ready to serve. If it is a little thick then just add splashes of milk whilst stirring until the desired consistency is reached.

6. Check to see if your potatoes are cooked through by cutting one in half and eating it! If they are cooked then you are all ready to go and serve it up. Enjoy!

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