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Tag Archives: breakfast

Recipe – Sugar-Free Banana Pancakes

After a week or so on my sugar-free attempt, I was really craving something sweet and pudding-like. I was browsing through some recipes and found these two ingredient pancakes which are so simple and easy to make that they may just be my new favourite weekend breakfast. Just bananas and eggs…it really is that simple!

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I jazzed mine up with some blueberries for a little extra sweetness and colour but the basic ratio to remember is one banana to two eggs.

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Ingredients (for two people)

2 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

4 eggs

A small bowl of blueberries

A drizzle of oil

Honey (optional – I know it isn’t sugar free but this block of proper honey was delicious!)

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How to make it

  • In a bowl, mix together your mashed up bananas and the four eggs to make a batter

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  • Heat a frying pan on a low to medium heat and add a drizzle of oil
  • Using a ladle, pour the batter into the pan and pop a few blueberries on top

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  • Fry until golden then flip them and do the same on the other side
  • Serve warm and add a helping of runny honey plus some more berries

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Recipe – Overnight Oats

So I have become one of those non-dairy, Kilner jar-using, superfood-eating people who prepares breakfast the night before and spends a small fortune on trendy seeds….£8 bag of chia seeds, I’m looking at you!

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In all seriousness, it isn’t as bad as it sounds. Weirdly, spending 5 minutes each evening sorting out my breakfast means my mornings are less stressful and I know I’m starting the day with something really healthy and filling. Overnight Oats are basically just porridge which soaks up the milk or liquid overnight and is served chilled with a shedload of fruit, nuts and seeds.

Ingredients

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My daily breakfast has an ever changing list of ingredients but the basics stay the same and I use a small cup to measure my oats out with double the amount of milk.

1 cup of oats (use chunky or steel-cut oats)

2 cups of milk (I love using almond milk for this)

A teaspoon of chia seeds

Frozen berries (blueberries and cherries are my favourites!)

Seeds (I’m currently using a mix of linseed, goji berries, sunflower and pumpkin seeds)

Nuts (I had a bag of mixed nuts in my baking drawer)

Flaked almonds

How to make it

  • In a bowl, jar or lunchbox, add the oats, milk and chia seeds

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  • Give them a stir and tip over a handful of frozen berries

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  • Pop this in the fridge overnight

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  • The next morning, give it another stir, add the seeds, nuts and top with flaked almonds

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Variations

The flavour combinations are endless here! I have been experimenting for the last few weeks and here are some winners:

  • A teaspoon of vanilla extract

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  • A drizzle of syrup, honey or dulce de leche on top

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  • Fresh mango

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  • Choc chips
  • Bananas

Any other recommendations for how to jazz up my oats? x

Restaurant Review – The Diner, Dalston

Just as everyone is turning to a diet of kale and quinoa , I am going to tempt you back to the dark side with a very tempting restaurant review!

Ian and I visited The Diner in Dalston for a late breakfast when we were there for a weekend recently. As a lover of all things American, I found this place online and when I saw it was right next to Dalston tube station, I knew we had to go.

It was mid-week so pretty quiet but absolutely up my street in terms of the menu and décor. It has a typical American diner look and feel to it from the red leather booths to the neon signs and the menu was actually quite authentic with a good selection of Mexican influences too.

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We started with milkshakes (they also do alcoholic ‘hard shakes’ but it was only 11am when we went!) which were served in traditional milkshake glasses with the leftover shake brought out in the tall metal cups…a nice touch. Ian opted for pistachio and I had peanut butter – both were delicious and really filling!

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For our breakfast/ brunch option, we were really torn about what to order. I went for eggs and bacon on corn bread with smashed avocados whilst Ian had the Mexican Breakfast Pan with some hash browns on the side.

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Mine was delicious and what I would call ‘proper food porn’…just look at that yolk! Mmmmmmmm

For me, it was a perfect brunch dish with a lovely balance of flavours and textures. We don’t often get corn bread over here but I for one am a fan of this sweet bread.

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Ian’s dish had a little bit of everything: spicy chorizo, crispy potatoes, eggs, onions, black beans, guacamole, salsa, jalapenos, cheese and some tortillas on the side.

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We both kind of knew we didn’t really need the hash browns but they were so crispy and tasty that I’m glad we did order a portion!

I absolutely loved our meal here and would definitely recommend it if you are in the area. It does have a certain amount of kitsch-factor but the food was good enough to merit a return visit.

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An Easy-Peasy Breakfast Treat

After tomorrow, I have one more week of work left before we break up for the Christmas holidays. Given how chilly it is first thing in the morning and how hard it is to get out of a warm and cosy bed, I foresee lots of lazy mornings and breakfast in beds coming up.

I wanted to share a little breakfast secret of mine that makes you look like an amazing pastry chef for absolute minimal effort. These cheat-croissants will impress any houseguests, fill your kitchen with the smell of freshly baked pastry goodness and taste pretty wonderful too.

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Available from most supermarkets in the chilled aisle, this nifty little box contains everything you need for oven-fresh pain au chocolat. I made a batch of these last weekend when we had a friend to stay and I have another in the fridge ready to go for this weekend too!

All you need to do is pop open the tube and unroll the dough. You will see the perforated line to pull apart then simply add the chocolate strips and roll them up.

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After 20 minutes in the oven, you will have golden pain au chocs which are most definitely best enjoyed straight away whilst still warm. I think these would be a lovely treat to serve on Christmas morning…although any Sunday morning is always made better with the addition of French pastries.

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There is also a plain croissant variety too which is good if you don’t have such a sweet tooth; I have mine with butter and jam whilst Ian goes all continental and has his stuffed with cheese and ham.

Our London Break (Warning: lots of food photos!)

Ian and I have just got home after a wonderful few days away in the big smoke. He has gone off for a run whereas I have chosen a cuppa, a catch-up of this week’s Apprentice and sorting through my photos instead! I decided to take my ‘proper’ camera up to London with me in order to practise using it for a variety of shots rather than just reaching for my iPhone. I did look like a complete tourist with it around my neck but hopefully I managed to take some better photos and I definitely feel like I have gotten to ‘know’ this camera better after shooting a variety of inside, outside and (of course!) foodie pictures!

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As you have probably guessed by now, I am one of those weirdos who wants to drag out a mini-break for as long as possible and thinks a holiday starts at the airport (or even at the hotel the night before a flight!). This trip was no different and before we even got on the train we had treated ourselves to a Bertinet Bakery (the best in Bath!) brunch and I had a new book ready to get stuck into on my Kindle.

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Upon arrival, we headed straight to our hotel in trendy Dalston, Avo Hotel. We have a good variety of friends we usually stay with in London, but for this trip we decided to treat ourselves to a hotel and I found this little boutique hotel which turned out to be cheaper than your bog-standard Travelodge and it always feels good to help the independents. We stayed in the King Top-floor Suite which we loved. It had a huge and comfortable king bed, a double sofa with good tea and coffee facilities and a fabulous bathroom with sparkly black tiles, a rainfall shower and nice Elemis products. Oh, and a view of the Gherkin! It is a family-run business and really friendly. There was always someone behind the front desk and they offered a simple but tasty breakfast too.

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After we had settled in, we hopped back on the tube and went to see the poppies at the Tower of London. I thought this was stunning and a very moving installation although be prepared for the crowds!

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Seeing as it was such a gorgeous autumnal afternoon, we decided to have a wander along the river via Borough Market and a drink with a view as the sun set.

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We also noticed several decorated buses dotted about. I hadn’t heard of this project but I do love these city-wide art installations and it was great to see the different varieties.

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That evening we were meeting our friends, Cat and Lucie, to try out a new restaurant; DF Mexico in Shoreditch. I will be writing a separate restaurant review of this soon but it was a great night with good friends and margaritas…need I say more?!

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The next morning, after a quick bite to eat at our hotel, we paid a visit to the Saatchi Gallery. There were a couple of installations I wanted to see (the ants and the oil room) which we both loved and then we wandered around the remaining rooms. I really like this gallery – there are bold and daring installations which can invoke a love/ hate reaction and you don’t feel like you need to be an ‘art expert’ to enjoy yourself. I think this may be my new favourite art gallery in London.

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Next, it was time for lunch and I had heard amazing things about Comptoir Libanais which was just around the corner from the Saatchi. Again, I will do a restaurant review soon but I really enjoyed our lunch here, from the décor to the sharing platter to the wonderful rose-mint tea and baklava.

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Unfortunately, it was a bit of a grey and drizzly afternoon so we decided to head over to the Tate Modern to shelter and soak up a bit more culture. I’m not sure if it was due to the half-term crowds but I wasn’t really feeling this visit compared to how much I loved the Saatchi Gallery. We didn’t stay too long here and instead popped back to the hotel for a warming hot chocolate and to get glammed up for our evening out.

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For an early dinner, we had booked an afternoon tea with a twist…burgers! We ate at BRGR where we had a delicious selection of mini sliders, drinks and puddings – my review is coming soon!

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Then, we walked over to the Noel Coward theatre to watch Shakespeare in Love (via Leicester Square where we tried to grab a glimpse of Matthew McConaughey at his latest premiere!). For our first wedding anniversary, where it is traditional to give a ‘paper’ gift, Ian bought me these tickets and being fans of the film, both had high hopes for the play. It did not disappoint and was actually better than I thought it would be. It had some really funny moments followed by some very poignant ones and there was a dog which easily makes it deserve its five star reviews!

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I also discovered Crème Brûlée flavour Häagen-Dazs during the interval which was a highlight for me!

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On our way home, we both had the munchies and noticed a Jamie Oliver pop-up diner selling burgers and hotdogs – perfect midnight snacks!

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Today we were pretty knackered so just enjoyed a late-morning brunch at an amazing American-style diner near our hotel, aptly named The Diner, a quick photo opportunity in front of Big Ben and my first pumpkin-spiced latte of the season before catching the train back to Bath.

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Suffice to say, after such an indulgent foodie few days, my shopping basket was full of fruit and veg this afternoon to restore some much needed balance!

Recipe – Chocolate, Cherry and Banana Bread

Rainy weather like we are experiencing today calls for comfy clothes (preferably pyjamas!), good TV and lots of tea and cake.

I was facing that age-old problem of what to do with some rather sorry-looking bananas when I decided to make some banana bread with a twist. I love this cake – it always turns out really moist and you can kind of kid yourself that it is somewhat healthy because it has some fruit in it!

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Banana bread also works well with lots of different flavours and the twist I went for this time came in the form of dark chocolate chips and some glace cherries. This is delicious eaten whilst still slightly warm with the choc chips still melted but equally delicious for breakfast the next day like Ian and I did this morning!

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Ingredients

125g of butter or margarine at room temperature

250g of golden caster sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

250g of plain flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

4 ripe bananas, mashed with a fork

100g of dark chocolate chips

100g of glace cherries (I bought halved ones but you can buy whole ones and roughly chop them)

A generous pinch of granulated sugar

How to make it

  • Begin by preheating your oven to 180°C, Gas Mark 4 and greasing your loaf tin
  • Cream together the butter and sugar until smoothbb4
  • Add the eggs one at a time and combine
  • Next, add the vanilla extract
  • Now add the flour and baking powder and mix well
  • Stir in the mashed bananasbb5
  • Finally, stir in the chocolate chips and cherry pieces (I like to do this final step by hand rather than using my Kitchen Aid)bb6
  • Pour the mixture into your loaf tin and give it a few bangs on your kitchen counter to knock any excess air out of itbb7
  • Next, sprinkle on a good pinch of granulated sugar to give your loaf a lovely crunchy top
  • Bake for around 50 minutes until golden brown then leave to coolbb8
  • Enjoy it warm or cooled and if you’re feeling really indulgent, top with some chocolate spread

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Our Birthday/ Anniversary Camping Trip!

We got home last night from the most amazing and relaxing mini-break camping along the Dorset coastline. Ian surprised me with the trip for my 29th birthday (last year in my twenties….aargh!)then it was our first wedding anniversary the next day so it seemed right to spend a few days together away from the daily grind of home, laundry and work!

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I started the day with my favourite almond croissants from Bertinet Bakery in Bath. If you ever get the chance then just buy one and thank me later! Ian had paid for me the day before to get my hair cut and coloured but he also surprised me with a little black box…

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…the boy did good this year! (FYI Nars Orgasm blusher is the most beautiful item of make-up I own…review coming soon!)

Anyway, we packed up the car and set off to Osmington, a little village just outside Weymouth. We have stayed here before and love the views on the campsite and the great pubs nearby. When we arrived, we put up the tent, slapped on the sunscreen and enjoyed a picnic in the sunshine.

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As it was my birthday, we brought a few cocktails too!

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That evening, I was treated to minty lamb burgers, cooked on our little gas stove before heading out to our favourite pub, The Smugglers, to watch the sunset and have a few birthday beers.

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The next day was our first wedding anniversary. As you know, we headed off to Vegas to say our ‘I Dos’ and this year has flown by! (You can read about our special day here!) Traditionally, you give paper gifts on your first wedding anniversary so I bought Ian a cool print of Bath Pubs (I think he sees this more as a ‘to do’ list!) and he got me some lovely things from Paperchase.

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We enjoyed a fry up by the tent in the morning before heading to the beach. We stopped off at Chesil Beach, an 18 mile long lagoon for a spot of sunbathing and a picnic before driving on to Lulworth Cove for ice-creams (my Turkish Delight flavour was amazing!) and a dip in the sea.

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That evening we got our glad rags on and went back to The Smugglers for cocktails in the sun followed by a great meal (I’m going to write a separate restaurant review about this)

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We woke up the next morning to the pitter patter of rain on the tent at about 5am. For some, this may be your nightmare camping scenario but I love that feeling of being snuggled up inside while you can hear the rain outside! It wasn’t really that heavy and within a few hours we were back to glorious sunshine again.

That night, we had booked a table for Mat Follas’ (from Masterchef) new restaurant in Dorchester and enjoyed the most amazing 6 course taster menu. Mat came out to chat to the guests too and it was lovely to hear about the food and how locally everything was sourced.

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On our last full day, we headed to Weymouth beach for a few hours of sunshine. It has a traditional seaside promenade although we sat slightly away from all the fairground rides and arcades. My highlight of this day was definitely our lunch on the beach…scampi for me, battered cod for Ian and a huge portion of vinegar-soaked chips to share!

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We spent our last night at the campsite enjoying the sunset and my rather tasty one pot chicken curry and rice…slightly different from the decadence the night before but just as tasty nonetheless!

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We went old-school and played a few card games then had hot chocolates and marshmallows in our sleeping bags – an absolutely perfect end to a great mini-break!

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