Ginger, carrot and apple cake


I have been experimenting with kamut (or khorasan) flour in baking. It has a higher protein content than standard white self raising flour ( 15% against 9%) and is also rich in selenium and manganese. I have used wholemeal kamut from Doves which is very fine.

I am aiming for a healthier cake which is a pleasure to eat, a treat with a cup of tea, not a sawdusty ‘health’ cake. It needs to be a cake that all the family will enjoy. This one has been well received by husband and one teenage son (the other one hates everything!) I hope you enjoy it!


50g butter softened
50g sunflower oil
100g sugar (soft brown would work well, but I used caster this time)
1teaspoon ginger powder

Stir in

2 beaten eggs

Stir in

75g Self Raising flour
75g kamut flour

Stir in

1 medium carrot grated (about 100g)
1 medium apple grated (about 100g)
50g sultanas
Dessert spoon of grated fresh ginger root (or two finely chopped stem ginger)
Spoon into lined loaf tin
Bake at 170C for 45 mins and test with a skewer


Make a plan!


I was inspired today by a teenage girl who I teach. She was so full of energy and enthusiasm as she told me that she has a list of all the places she wants to see and all the things she wants to do in the next few years. How she plans to save any money she can earn now, so that by the time she is ready to go to university she will have at least some of the money required. She has researched online to come up with a list of places she wants to visit. ‘Do you have all this written down? ‘ I asked ‘No, it is in my head, but I’m going to do it all. There is so much I want to do, so I need to make sure I have time to fit it all in’. I am totally in awe. If you could bottle this enthusiasm and determination, you could make a fortune. For years I have been talking about, and reading about, setting goals, but I’ve never really achieved a definitive list and stuck to it. We must never write-off young people, or make blanket negative statements about teenagers- we can learn so much from them. I feel quite sure she will achieve all she wants to. To keep motivated, I may allow myself to read a few more posts and books about life goals, but most importantly I must act and start ticking things off. Time waits for no man. Anyone got a really simple formula for deciding on goals and making them happen?

The rise of herbal tea

Herbal tea has had an image makeover during the last 10 years. It used to be the preserve of revolutionaries and earth mothers, which is why I have been very late to this particular party. I am here now and really enjoying the range of high quality teas available. This one was a gift from my boss. Should I read into the fact that she selected detox tea? I am choosing not to and am sure it was chosen with love and appreciation. It is delicious with aniseed, fennel and cardamom. Don’t worry, the aniseed is very subtle. Each bag is in its own little pouch, which is luxurious and practical for the handbag. I love the packaging design for Pukka teas- it reminds me of fairies at the end of the garden. Magical.


Courgette, coconut & lime cake

I am doing my best to cut back the calories, but I do love a slice of cake. I am looking for something that feels like an indulgent treat, but doesn’t pile on the pounds. It needs to be quick and easy to make- not a fussy cake.  Also, it has to pass the husband and teenagers test. Do hungry non-dieters like it too? This seems to fit the bill in our household. It is moist and tasty. More of a homely cake than an elegant one.

Beat together:(give the coconut fat 30 seconds in the microwave first to soften it)

100g creamed coconut block
120g caster sugar
1tbs sunflower oil
Zest of a lime

Mix in:

2 tbs almond milk

Stir in:

200g grated courgette (about 1 medium courgette, washed, but leave peel on)
200g SR flour
1teaspoon baking powder

Bake in lined circular tin (7inch) at 170c for 55 mins. Test with skewer

Remove from oven and pour over lime juice and icing sugar mix, whilst warm

80g icing sugar
Juice of 1 lime

Allow cake to cool before removing from tin

Small Pleasures

I am quite convinced that it is the small things in life that bring us most pleasure. When I think about what makes me happy, it is the familiar things like sitting with the family, in our sunny room in the afternoon with a nice cup of tea. The fact that I use just the right size china cup for my tea and proper tea leaves, is an important part of the occasion. It struck me when my friend said she always buys President butter, even if she is having to watch the spending, on the basis that she really enjoys it and it only costs 20p more than the own brand butter. It makes total sense. Why deprive yourself for such a small saving? Over a lifetime I am sure these small things give us more pleasure than the big ticket items. I work in a private school where many of the children enjoy numerous exotic holidays, but they often take them for granted because they have had so many. Recently one of the boys told me he was going on a safari trip and I said how exciting that must be. He said yes, he was looking forward to it, but what he longed for was time to sit down with his mother and watch a movie, as he only sees her in the school holidays. Sadly, she never has time to sit through a whole movie. So I am going to make the most of the special people and small pleasures in my life. My little luxuries are:
Good tea in a china cup, good coffee (ideally from Caracoli or Edgecumbes), a bunch of flowers on the table, a nice pen to write with(Pilot V pink fountain pen), good quality paper to write on, time for a countryside walk, Amelia Rope chocolate, good music and a glass of quality wine. That should do it.x





Curiously sweet

I love Teapigs tea because they use high quality tea leaves that you can see. Expensive, but worth it. These liquorice and peppermint ones are curiously sweet and are a welcome treat if you are trying to cut down on the sugary snacks. Ingredients are just liquorice root and peppermint leaves, but you’ll be convinced that there is some kind of sweetener in there. There isn’t.

100 Calorie Snacks


In my new diet plan of 1400 calories per day (weekday) and 1600 calories per day (weekends), I am allowed two 100 calorie snacks a day. So I have been scouring the supermarket shelves for new ideas. These are the ones I am trying at the moment.

Nairns Super Seeded Organic oatcakes with flaxseed, sunflower and chia seeds
These are very tasty with a generous serving of seeds. I love Nairns products- always tasty and nutritious. One oatcake is 44 calories with 1.3g of protein ( 13.4%). Delicious with a little hummus: easy, low calorie hummus coming soon. Available in Waitrose £1.39.

Kettle Bites mozzarella and pesto Lentil Curls. Very tasty and only 97 calories- more like a treat than a diet snack. The good thing about these is that they are made with 41% lentil flour, so have a better protein content than normal crisps. The protein is 12.9% which is 2.8g per 22g pack. Normal potato crisps, such as Walkers, are 6.1% protein (1.5g per 25g pack). Tesco £1.89

Marks and Spencer have a great range of healthy snacks. I haven’t tried them all yet, but their sour cream & chilli lentil curls are good. Again made with lentil flour (43%) giving 3g protein per 22g packet (13.6%). I have just bought a packet of their Pea Snaps (green chilli, lime and coriander), another crisp alternative, but I am not allowed to try these until my snack time tomorrow! They have a good protein content 3.8g per pack (18.1%). About 60p per bag.

Chocolate. I am not prepared to live without chocolate and it was something that had to be built into my programme. The problem is that most chocolate bars are way over the calorie limit. A small Cadbury’s Dairy Milk is 191 calories. So my solution is to buy a big bar of chocolate and break it into portions. This usually works out at 6 portions from 100g bar (about 4 small squares.) I break the bar up and wrap each in some silver foil, so I am not tempted to eat the whole bar. Lindt 70% 100g, £1.89 Waitrose

Aldi has a range of healthier snacks called ‘ The Foodie Market’ nicely packaged in kraft-style cardboard boxes. The “Properly Plump Pumpkin and Cinnamon” fruit and veg bars are good for a sweet snack. I know fruit bars can be a bit joyless-they will never be a chocolate bar- but I am quite enjoying them now when I fancy something sweet. Obviously you need to be a fan of cinnamon to enjoy these, and. Happily I am. Each bar is just 89 calories and they contain apple, pumpkin, oat flakes and hemp seed. However, a bar does not count as one of your 5 per day, unlike Naked Bars (which are sadly over my 100 calorie limit). 2.6g of protein per bar (8.5%) Pack of 5 £1.99 Aldi

I have also bought a box of ‘Gloriously Fruity Flapjacks’ which are 106 calories. They are small and chewy. Not the best flapjack I have tasted, but sweet and comforting. I think children would eat these and they would work well for lunch boxes. Mainly sweetened with honey, they also contain oats, sultanas, apricots, papaya and seeds (sunflower and linseeds). The percentage of fruit is very low. There are no obvious fruit pieces and they are soft and chewy. 2.6g protein per bar (8.5%). The protein content is apparently identical in the two different types of bar. Curious.
Available in Aldi.

So I’ve got the snacks sorted, next thing to work on is the 250 calorie breakfast. Until next time x