I was sat on the sofa on Monday night, having had a really unproductive day. I’d had a migraine the night before and was feeling generally yukky and like I’d just not achieved anything. When I feel like this I often find myself wanting to do weird jobs around the house that are kind of not very important but also somehow wholesome feeling.

I had a flash of inspiration – my FREEZER. I would to write a three part blog series about my freezer. I mean come on, you’re excited already aren’t you? Not even just a single post – a three part series!

The freezer thoughts all started because of the fact that I’d had a rather difficult time during the day with milk, as you can see from these tweets:

The second one is the worst and will probably result in me, come summer, having to burn my car in a field somewhere. View Post

Post in association with the Queen of Quark

I had an email a couple of weeks ago asking me if I wanted to ‘Quark up my life.’

Well. Who doesn’t?

I immediately burst into song. ‘People of the world!’ etc etc

It turns out the project wasn’t music related, but was actually a call to action from the Queen of Quark – Bavarian royalty on a mission, with World Quark Day on January 19th, to inspire the people of the UK to love Quark as much as she does for its low-calorie, high-protein, all round versatility.

All hail the Queen of Quark. *makes fanfare noise*

I decided to run with the musical theme anyway, and set myself a challenge – just how many Spice Girls can you crowbar into a Quark based recipe title? (Two apparently.)

Quark is a fat-free soft cheese, that’s similar in texture to sour cream. It can be used in all sorts of recipes, sweet and savoury, as a healthy substitute for yogurt or soft cheese. Think protein-rich fruit smoothies, avocado dips, quiche… or in my case, think ‘posh ginger spice Quark cheesecake.’

The ginger element comes from the use of ginger biscuits in the base and ground ginger in the topping, and the posh bit is the chocolate swirl on top. Have a look. Admire my swirl:

Quark cheesecake

Impressive yes?

If my Quark cheesecake gets you thinking about what other things you could make with Quark, then do check out the FREE E-BOOK of Quark recipes from the Queen of Quark, which you can download here. View Post

Feeling hungry? I’m back today with more inspiration as part of my partnership with the ‘Lamb. Try It, Love It‘ campaign, so if you need a bit of meaty inspiration read on…

One of the things I desperately wanted to do this year was find myself some new office space. When I moved back to Taunton, (five years ago this June, can you believe??), I started sharing a lovely room with a couple of guys in the centre of town. Last spring I moved with one of them to share with new people, but then there was a change of circumstances, and as the summer holidays rolled around I found myself back at my kitchen table, between the fridge freezer and the cat litter tray.

I was not really living the aspirational freelance life.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy working at home, it’s just that when it’s just you and a teenager and three cats in the house, you really do need to leave it from time to time, for everyone’s sake. Also when I’m at home I get easily distracted watching old episodes of First Dates and roasting random vegetables I find in the bottom of the fridge*, so it’s good to have somewhere to go where you can’t do this.

This week then I started a bit of casual office sharing somewhere new, away from the lure of the limp cauliflower. Starting a new office, a bit like the first day back at school, is an excellent excuse to buy a new lunchbox, so I bought this cat bento box:

cat bento box office lunch ideas

Honestly, I am LIVING for it. View Post

As you may remember from my recent post about lamb kebabs, I am on something of a lamb based journey over the next few months – a meaty pilgrimage if you will – to showcase the ‘Lamb. Try it. Love it.‘ campaign. I’m exploring different cuts of lamb and creating tasty recipes that show that cooking with lamb doesn’t have to be difficult OR expensive.

Today’s recipe ticks both of these boxes – it’s a very simple ‘all in one pan’ dish, that I reckon you can have on the table in 40 minutes. It uses lamb neck fillets, which I have to say is something I would NEVER have thought to buy before, and is easily scalable depending on how many people you’re cooking for. It would work well as a special dinner for two, or scale up the ingredients, add loads of vegetables on the side, and turn it into a feast for family and friends.

The lamb is cooked with sweet potatoes, pine nuts, lemon and honey, and the lemon slices make it look super pretty when it comes out of the oven. This lamb dish would be lovely as a simple supper over Christmas – loads of flavour and style but with minimum effort.

roast lamb neck fillet recipe

How to cook with lamb neck fillets

First things first, you need to buy your neck fillets. I’m sure this is something you could get from the butchers, but I went for these from Tesco. Going by the nutritional information per serving, I would say this would be two generous portions, so that’s what the rest of my measurements are based on. You can be flexible though, depending on how much meat you like, your budget and what side dishes you add in, so take my recipe as a loose guide. View Post

If you’re anything like me then you’re salivating just reading that title. It’s the ultimate comfort combination surely? Roasted seasonal vegetables, a hot and creamy risotto and juicy lamb kebabs – that’s a winter feast right there. What’s even better is that it’s dead easy to make, as I will show you now.

First up though, in case you’re thinking ‘hmmm… lamb, not sure really, it’s a bit pricey isn’t it?’ then FEAR NOT. I was in exactly that boat before I made this recipe. I hardly ever bought lamb because I thought it was too expensive and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. As much as I love the flavour of lamb, (soooo good), I thought I needed super meat cooking skills (which I do not have) to cook lamb well.

Turns out I was wrong. Lamb koftas are super easy to make, and so versatile too as you can add lots of different seasonings, herbs and spices depending on what flavours you like. Fun fact for you: lamb is a lot more sustainable than most other animal agriculture farming. It’s also one of the healthiest meats you can eat – it’s rich in niacin and vitamin B12 and a great source of things like protein, zinc, potassium and phosphorus.

Lamb doesn’t have to be expensive either – the 500g of lean lamb mince that I used in this recipe was just four pounds, and that made enough lamb koftas for four people. One pound a head isn’t bad is it? Most of the rest of the ingredients are either things you have in your cupboards already, or fresh, seasonal vegetables that can be picked up cheaply from a local greengrocer – this feast for four people definitely comes in at under a tenner.

Basically you’ve got no excuse not to buy some lamb RIGHT NOW and whip up some lamb koftas for tea.

easy lamb kofta kebab recipe

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In association with Aqua Optima

Okay, I know, it’s not Wednesday. Well not when I’m writing this anyway. Maybe you’re reading it on a Wednesday though, that’s a possibility. In which case well done – great timing.

The alliteration isn’t key though, it’s just one way to remind yourself of the importance of HYDRATION. Now I don’t want to get all ‘lecturey parent’ on you, but come on, when was the last time you properly drank enough? I mean like not tea and coffee or fizzy drinks, just actual water, all through the day?

I see you there, looking sheepish.

I’m just as guilty. I do drink a lot, but I drink my fair share of caffeine filled tea and coffee too, and squashes, smoothies and fizzy drinks all full or sugar or artificial sweeteners. Now I’m not saying these things don’t contribute towards hydration, but it would be much better for me if at least some of the time I cut out all the additives and just drank water.

(Wine though! *sad face*)

how to drink more water

Photo by Joanna Kosinska on Unsplash

So. What to do about it?

Like most things it’s really just a matter of forming new habits. Once you do anything often enough it can become routine, it’s just finding the things that will help you to form the habits in the first place.

Here are some ideas: View Post