The winter warmer series- Steak and Ale

This is my new recipe for the week.

Steak and Ale stew
Braising steak
olive oil
dried thyme
bay leaves
tbsp sugar ( if needed)

Chop onions and soften in a pan with some olive oil. Add braising steak, and sprinkle with thyme, until sealed and transfer to the slow cooker. Add chopped veg to the slow cooker with 3 bay leaves. In the dry pan add 2 tbsp flour and mix in with oil and flavours. Slowly add the ale ( I actually used Guinness) and mix until smooth. Poor this over the slow cooker food and leave to cook all dat. I then put it on high with the lid off at the end of the day to thicken a little. Also taste and as guiness is a bit bitter I added a tbsp brown sugar at this point.

Serve in a bowl with grated cheese and home made bread.

For a second meal you will need a few of these


Line a greased pan with pastry. Add the soup using a spoon with holes in it to drain out some of the liquid. Cover with a pastry lid and brush with egg and milk.


Cook at 200 degrees for around 30-40 minutes until it looks slightly less golden than this…




Gold Star Challenge- an update

Last week I blogged about starting the gold star challenge. This week I have come out of my pit and actually started getting some starts.

Stars I have earned:

Monday- ate within points ( 1star), exercised ( 1 star)
Tuesday- none! Meal plan and shop ( 5 stars)
Wednesday- exercised ( 1 star), ate within points ( 1 star), cleaned out (5 stars!)

Plus 2 new recipes ( 1 star each)

I think that I am going really well. Next week I want to focus on completely diet coke free plus no FODMAPs as I have noticed my tummy appears a lot bigger when I have even the smallest amount and It bothers me!

How is your GSC going?

Winter Warmer Series- Curry

This is not technically a new recipe. This is one of my fail safe recipes I use when I don`t know what to cook. Another slow cooker recipe if needed I whipped this up in under and hour on the hob.

3 carrots
2 brown onions
2-3 stalks chopped celery
4tbsp curry powder
chicken/ vegetable stock
1/4 pumpkin
2 potatoes
bag of spinach
red lentils
tin of chopped tomatoes
fresh tomatoes
tin of coconut milk
500g chicken breast or diced chicken
coconut oil

This is such as easy recipe. First of all put some coconut oil into a frying pan and add chopped onions to brown. Add diced chicken until it is sealed. I then add all the chopped veg, except for the spinach and lentils, mix these all around in the pan. Add the curry powder and coat all the veg and chicken. Add tinned tomatoes, fresh chopped tomatoes and coconut milk. You can add a little water at this point as well to preference. I then transfer to a big old sauce pan at this point and add a sprinkle of lentils. I find the lentils dissolve down to nothing and help thicken the sauce a bit.


I let this simmer away for the best part of an hour until everything is nice and soft. Pop your rice on to cook and stir through the fresh spinach in the curry.

Enjoy! I serve mine in a bowl with a spoon of rice, spoon of curry , dollop of greek yogurt and some sliced banana on top.


YUM! What are your fail safe recipes??

Winter Warmers- Leek and Potato soup

I am going to do a little series on some meals which I have been making. As part of the Gold Star Challenge I decided to try to meal plan, make lists of items needed and also try new recipes. I have been pleasantly surprised at the food bills from doing this and found the meals easily stretch further. In our house I tend to freeze them so the other half can munch his way through them whilst I am at work. At least I know he is getting some good food as well as whatever else he eats when fending for himself.

First up is Leek and Potato soup. An old classic made with no dairy.

6 potatoes peeled and chopped
1 leek cleaned and slices
vegetable stock
Olive oil
optional: cauliflower chopped

I used a sauce pan and in it melted a little butter and olive oil and then put the leeks in to soften.


Sprinkle with the required amount of stock powder and stir so that it coats the leeks. I have found this step is quite important to good flavour. Scrape the leeks into the slowcooker and place chopped potatoes on top.


I then swill out the frying pan with water and add this to the required amount. I think that this makes sure you get all the flavour out of the pan and into the soup. I then leave my slow cooker on low and come home to a lovely soup ready for blending. Top tip: place the slow cooker in a baking tray so any overspill is caught up and doesn’t mess the kitchen.


Once cooked I blend and season as needed and serve.


I had this with some grated cheese and home made spelt bread. I used this River Cottage Recipe as I didn’t have the book. I do now.



What are your favourite Winter Warmers? I find soup a cheap, easy and healthy filling food

Catch up on life

Well hello there. It feels like it has been an age since I last sat down and blogged properly. With my week on week off lifestyle and plenty of activities at the moment it probably has been about a week. Anyhow, what has been occurring??

First up I have been doing the Gold Star Challenge like a champ this week. I had felt quite disheartened with myself lately and been wondering what the hell was up with me. Where had all my motivation gone? Was it so awful that I was eating these these things? Well I seem to have come through the other side and my thoughts are this. It is HARD to eat well and exercise when you are stressed and exhausted. It is more important than ever when stressed and exhausted to eat well. Catch 22. Anyway I am back, pretty much, to it feeling better and if I gained any weight it was 1kg ( but I weighed when I had my TOTM so probably nothing). Life has not gotten less busy but through forcing myself to eat well and exercise I feel better equipped to meet life head on and tackle it.

Things I have been loving this week have included some outrageous work sunsets.



I have also found this watch by a company called La Mer and am severely tempted. I actually get tax back on a watch as I need one for work as I work underground so it could work out a lovely investment.


This week I am getting my hair done and have purchased and trialled a few beauty products for my wedding face which I will probably review after the wedding. There are also some great deals about at the moment which I will do a review of.

Finally clearing out the house and focusing on meal planning and home cooked meals as per the gold star challenge has filled this week nicely. At the weekend I am off to a wedding maybe I will even do an outfit post.

Sad times this week because a witchery bag I have owner for under a year and cost $300 has broken. The strap just plain failed. I think it must be a fault and have emailed to ask them if they can fix it. I may drop in a store with it tomorrow and see.


The quality of witchery is normally brilliant so hopefully they can help me out.

I spent my birthday voucher on a great River Cottage Cookbook. The online service from Dymocks is fantastic.

What have you been up to this week? busy busy or nice and quiet?


Gold star challenge

I read about this on Facebook where the lovely jade announced she was doing this challenge and I thought what a great motivator.

So here is my list of things I should do but am rubbish at. Each has a gold star value and over the next 10 weeks I will collect them. For each star I will give myself one pound to spend in the shops when I go home…


how do you motivate yourself? Care to join us?