Thursday, 12 April 2012

Have you tried Zumba®?

A few months ago one of my best friends (Lou,) encouraged me to try the new dance fitness craze, Zumba®.

Now... being the martial artist I am, (I have to confess,) I have more fight in me than dance. However, it seemed like a fun idea so I thought I would give it a try.

I would have to say it was like being a white belt once again, every thing is new, including the surroundings and people (you know the people that in your own mind you think will laugh at you if you get a move wrong.)

It is always scary to be a beginner and honestly, I guess I had forgotten how it felt. Once I got past the nerves after picking up a few of the steps I walked away to my surprise with a lot of sweat. Any one who knows me will know that if this happens I am one happy girl!

I could not believe the full body workout I had just received. Who would have thought working out could be such fun.

It was good to have a few of my friends their too, as we interacted with each other in the class as we all enjoyed the dance routines to our favourite songs. 

I have to say though, if it were not for my fabulous Zumba® instructor Kinga, who is a 'Hungarian bundle of joy', I would not have felt so comfortable.

The other side to Zumba is that I have now made some new friends, and Kinga has now become one of my closest friends too. I love her!

So anyway, if you live near Bury St Edmunds and fancy giving Zumba a go her website is and her flyer is below! Do it! You will never look back.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

A healthy pie... Surely not!!!

Ok, so I am sure that you cannot make a completely healthy pie, but here is my recipe makeover to make the traditional pastry filler somewhat lighter.

You will need: 
2 layers of puff pastry
10g butter

For the filling: 

1/2 onion (white)
1/2 pack mushrooms
2 sliced tomatoes
175ml Milk
1 egg

To make: 

1. To start with get yourself some puff pastry, less pastry needed = less calories woo hoo! Fill a pie dish with one layer of the pastry.

2. Butter very lightly using some melted butter (microwave job will be sufficient here!)

3. In a pan fry gently with a dash of oil the onion and mushrooms. Once soft add to the base along with your sliced tomatoes.

4. Beat together the egg and milk mixture, add the broccoli and pour into the case.

5. Pop the other piece of puff pastry on top, butter as required and cook in the oven for around 20 minutes.

6. The result one delicious and almost guilt free pie.

In fact this tasty treat ended up being a quiche in a pie which was really yummy.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Homemade Pizzas...

Although they can come in unhealthy forms (depending where you get your pizzas from) I believe you can try and make a pizza a little more healthy so I decided to try it out.

The only part of my recipe that was a little bit on the naughty side would have been the pre-made base from Marks and Spencer.

You will need: 
1 pizza base

For the tomato sauce: 

1 can of tinned tomatoes
Tomato puree
1/2 Onion
2 Garlic Cloves


Mushroom, Sweetcorn, Olives, Grated Cheese, Onion.

To make the sauce:

1. Fry the onion and garlic in a little bit of olive oil (2minutes)

2. Then add in the tinned tomatoes and simmer for around 10-15 minutes

3. Add in a generous amount of tomato puree

 (The consistency should look like this below)

4. Finally blend the mixture and season with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice I used Oregano which is great on pizzas.

To prepare: 

1. Put your pizza base on a plate

2. Coat it with a generous topping of the tomato sauce

3. Sprinkle on a cheese of your choice (I used reduced fat cheddar)

4. The add your toppings

5. Put in a pre-heated over for around 15 minutes.

It should come out a little something like this... 

Not only did these pizzas taste fresh - I also go a satisfaction out of making them myself and felt reassured that I knew exactly what ingredients had got in.

Give it a go yourself.

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Have you tried King Strawberries?

Yesterday, my partner James offered to get in a few bits for dinner. To my surprise he was very excited to show me these wonderful 'King Strawberries.' (Almost as big as my hand!)

They were purchased from Marks & Spencer, who are currently selling air freighted king strawberries from the USA for a special offer price of £4 for 600g (normal price £7). 

Apparently M&S is one of the few places you can get hold of these at present. 

These are the best strawberries I have ever tasted in my whole life and they look too good to be true and are presented beautifully and last very well indeed.

In actual fact I would compare it to eating an apple. 

I would highly recommend a try! 

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Why exercise on holiday?

When it comes to my holidays I am rather back to front with the whole thing.

Personally on my "time out time" I prefer to actually act more healthy than I am at home. I see it as time to focus on getting my health back in check.

I wonder when people see me head to the gym on a sunny beach location, what they are thinking "is she mad to exercise in this heat?" "why isn't she sunbathing instead?" numerous questions!

In fact, on my last holiday the gym was horrendous and I still made the most of a bad situation. Here's a photo to prove it!

Generally my holiday routine is this: 

* wake up and have breakfast
* head back to the room to get changed
* visit the gym (20 minutes on the cross trainer, 10 minutes of arm weights, 10 minutes of Pilates and 10 minutes of sit ups.)
* dive into the pool for a few lengths
* sun bath until my heart is content with numerous dip ins to cool down and swim
* head up to the room to shower and change for dinner
* have a healthy dinner
* my only sin hit the bar!

I probably go to the gym more and exercise on holiday than I do at home!

Anyway whether I have an obsession or not, it is something that I enjoy, and also something that makes me feel happy, and isn't that what a holiday is all about! I wondered if I was the only one who liked to exercise on holiday? Do let me know your thoughts.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

Cinnamon Swirls...

The other day I was a little bored and found a recipe to make some Cinnamon Swirls, whilst they looked ok and tasted ok - they did I have to admit turn out ok and not fantastic so this is something I will have to work on.

My oven at my home is now gas which creates a huge problem for me when baking. The heat does not seem to consistently cook my food. I am hoping it is the oven anyway! With a fan oven I am sure they would be great!

If you would like to give the recipe a try to see how you get on here it is:

You will need: 

280g self raising flour
1tbsp caster sugar
100g butter chilled and cubed
160ml milk
120g chopped walnuts
60g brown sugar
3tsp cinnamon

To make: 

1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees or gas mark 6

2. Mix together the milk and egg whilst whisking then set aside

3. Combine the flour and sugar then use your fingertips to rub in the butter

4. Gradually add the wet mixture to the dry until you have a sticky dough

5. Roll the dough out into a large rectangle (don't forget to sprinkle some flour on your surface before hand!)

6. Sprinkle the chopped walnuts, raisins, sugar and cinnamon with a few cubes of the remaining butter

7. Roll up in to a roulade type shape

8. Then cut into thin slices and place on a pre-greased baking tray

9. Put in the oven for around 20-25 minutes.

The recipe says that these are best served warm however they still tasted pretty good cold!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Royal Wedding Street Party

A few weeks ago I was asked to prepare some food to take along to our streets Royal Wedding Street Party.

I decided a good classic dish to make would be a Caprese Salad along with my Duckeys Carrot Cake to top it off.

The New Duckeys Carrot Cake recipe can be found here ... (I have made a few tweaks!)

The Caprese Salad was very easy to prepare:

You will need: 

3-4 Beef tomatoes
2-3 ball of Mozerella Chesse
1 pack of fresh basil
1tbsp Olive Oil
Black Pepper

To make: 

1. Cut up thin slices of the tomato and Mozzarella

2. Arrange alternatively on top of each other on a plat (the display is completely up to you some people layer in a circle some just straight but I prefer to display diagonally.)

3. Top salad with fresh basil and a drop of Olive Oil, finished with some black pepper.

There you go one quick and easy salad.

Our day was wonderful and the amount of great food from our street was fabulous. On an occasion that brought our country together it also took me back to the kitchen!

Sadly, my puppy Archie was not allowed to attend the Street Party, though he certainly attempted to get to the food!