Peach and Amaretti cake

This cake is a variation of a birthday cake featured by one of my favourite bloggers, Frugal Feeding and she got it from the BBC’s Good Food website. The original cake was raspberry and amaretti but since I’m not a huge lover of raspberries I thought I would see how it worked with peaches. I was pleasantly pleased with the result.

It is a deceptively simple recipe but one that I’m sure would impress even the most particular of dinner party guests. You could always serve it with a homemade raspberry coule to work the whole Peach Melba thing.

Ingredients:

175g butter

175g caster sugar

3 eggs

140g SR Flour

85g ground almonds

140g amaretti biscuits, crushed

250g peaches (this is the amount of fruit left when a tin of peaches is drained)put

Method:

  • Beat together the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and ground almonds until you have a smooth batter.
  • Put half of the mixture into a greased and lined 8 inch loose bottomed cake tin.
  • Place the peaches over the mixture and add half the crushed amaretti.
  • Dollop the remaining batter over the surface and spread out as best you can.
  • Add the remaining amaretti and place in a preheated oven (140 C Fan / 160 C) for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake.
  • Leave in the tin to cool a little then carefully remove from the tin.
  • Serve hot or cold.

Enjoy!

Love from

Ali xxx

Oven roasted tomato soup

 

I have, unfortunately, had to have one of wisdom teeth surgically removed this week. So now, I look like I have gone eight rounds with Rocky and I am finding it very difficult to eat . Obviously this will help with the weight loss plan but you need nutrients to help the healing process. Consequently I have made several batches of homemade soup.

When I was little soup always came in a can, usually with Heinz or Campbell’s written on it. Obviously there is nothing wrong with that but homemade is so much better and much more cost-effective. I started making my own soups when I went to university in Liverpool. I shared a flat on Scotland Road with 2 other girls, neither of which could cook so we pooled our resources and I cooked for all of us. That way we all got a decent meal and it kept the cost down too.

This recipe is really one of those sling-it-all-in affairs, the type that either results in absolute brilliance or something even the dogs won’t touch!  In this case, you get a mouthful of summer. It is sunshine on a spoon! Simply gorgeous.

Please forgive my lack of specifics in terms of quantities but it really is a whatever is to hand type of recipe.

Ingredients:

2 supermarket punnets of baby plum tomatoes

1 courgette (zucchini) sliced

1 diced pepper – red, yellow or green, the choice is yours

1 diced red onion

Crème fraiche

1 pint vegetable stock

Olive oil

Salt and pepper.

Sugar

Method:

  • Put a good splash of oil into a roasting dish, add the vegetables and mix. Use your hands to make sure all the vegetables have a coating of oil.
  • Add black pepper then roast in a 200°C /180°Cfan for 25-30 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
  • Transfer the vegetables into a food processor and blitz until all the vegetables have been mixed. Add enough stock to allow the vegetables to be blended. I used 1 pint but you may prefer a runnier soup so add a little more.
  • Mix in a couple of table spoons of crème fraiche
  • Taste test the soup and season accordingly. I add a bit of sugar to counteract the natural acidity of both the tomatoes and the crème fraiche but you may just prefer salt and pepper.
  • Serve it hot with crusty bread or hot buttered toast! Mmmmm

Enjoy!

Love from

Ali xx

Guilt free chocolate brownies

I guess like a lot of people my age, over the years my weight has creeped up. To be honest with you my weight has been the least of my worries in recent years what with my son’s medical condition and the loss of my Grandad, my father, my ex-husband and my beloved dog all within the space of 18 months! I have said all along that I would get the weight off when I’m ready to and not before. Now is that time!

I did join Weight Watchers online a few years ago ( well, I had no intention in going to “fat club” to be told I’m fat!) and found that I really did lose the weight. In total I lost just over 3 and a half stone which was the equivalent of 5 dress sizes! Unfortunately the tail-end of this weight loss coincided with the onset of clinical depression.

I have since read that high levels of artificial sweeteners such as those found in “diet food” are linked to clinical depression. Now I’m not saying for one minute that losing weight caused my breakdown but it may well have been a contributing factor. You can understand my apprehension, therefore, on embarking on a weight loss programme.

Fitness wise, I feel I’m doing OK. I walk my whippets everyday for at least an hour and let’s face it they don’t walk slowly! I would love to go to the gym but unless I can be in two places at once it is simply not going to happen! Physically I am very strong and any medical issues are due to injury rather than sickness. I have a shoulder that dislocates at will which was courtesy of my son falling on me and a dodgy knee following a car crash. I’m not doing too bad though!

One of my biggest issues with dieting is that I do have a sweet tooth. We always have something sweet after our evening meal but I refuse to buy “diet” cakes and puddings. These guilt free brownies, however, don’t contain artificial sweetener. They use fructose (fruit sugar) which is completely natural and cannot be metabolised by our body in the same way as glucose and sucrose. It is also incredibly sweet so you don’t need to use very much of it. It is readily available in most supermarkets these days too.

This recipe is also fat-free and has the added bonus of having lots of fibre in it. What is the secret ingredient? Prunes! Yes, you read that right! It uses pureed prunes as its base which keeps the brownies lovely and moist without the addition of lots of fat.

These are not the gorgeous, gooey Heavenly Brownies that I usually make. let’s face it, you put on a stone just reading the recipe for those! No, these are much denser and more filling than those heavenly delight but equally as good and at least I can have a piece of brownie after my tea and not feel guilty about it!

Ingredients:

100 g prunes

50 ml hot water

75 g fructose (fruit sugar)

100 g good quality dark chocolate, melted

3 eggs

100 g plain flour

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to  160 C fan/ 180 C / 350 F.
  2. Line an 8 inch square tin.
  3. Place the prunes in a bowl and pour over the hot water. Leave for at least 10 mins then puree with a blender.
  4. Seperate 2 of the eggs then place the extra whole egg and the yolks into a mixing bowl.
  5. Add the sugar and beat until pale and thick.
  6. Stir in the melted chocolate and prunes. Then mix in the flour.
  7. Whisk the remaining egg whites until the soft peak stage then fold into the chocolate mixture with a metal spoon.
  8. Pour into the prepared tin and bake for 12-15 minutes.
  9. Allow to cool on a cooling rack and cut into pieces. (16 satisfying or 12 naughty!)

Enjoy!

Love from

Ali xx