A ripe lemon
Blog, Food

Oranges and Lemons…

I use home-grown lemons in cooking all the time

This has been a great year for fruit. One Mothering Sunday, my daughter presented me with a little Meyer lemon tree. That was the start of an ever-growing collection of citrus trees, all grown in pots.

My collection isn’t keen on English weather, so I keep them in the greenhouse between September and May. Each summer, I wheel them outside in their tubs and line them up in the fresh air and sunshine.

We had some good crops from my first lemon tree until a cold, soggy winter finished it off. The atmosphere inside the greenhouse made it rot. Its successor had almost sixty fruits on it this year. Lemon curd made with eggs from our hens is a lovely deep yellow colour, and much better than the so-called lemon curd sold in shops.

As well as a lemon tree, I have a Tahiti lime, and a Seville orange. I bought a small yuzu bush earlier this year, but that’s still got some growing to do before it produces fruit.
There’s only one ripe orange on my tree, so I’ll have to buy some more Sevilles this year if I want to make marmalade!

Our Tahiti lime is fruiting for the first time. Like all the other citrus family it’s worth growing for its fragrant flowers but we’re getting plenty of fruit, too. I used some to make  Key Lime Pie from Tesco’s recipe, although as our plant isn’t a Key Lime, I called ours Tahiti Lime Pie. It was very easy to make, absolutely delicious but it did my post-Christmas diet no good at all. 

Here’s a Pixabay shot of Key Lime Pie. My effort looked the same, but the presentation here is so pretty I used this photo instead. 

Have you ever grown anything exotic?


chocolate, Dieting, Food, Keira Knightley, weight

Three Top Tips For Losing Weight

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Photo: Matthias Kabel
My body is a work of art – rather like the Woman of Willendorf. As I work from home at a sedentary job, jogging for twenty minutes a day isn’t enough to stop my weight creeping up. Six weeks ago I decided to take radical action, so I started dieting. The process is hell, but I’m losing weight. More importantly, I’ve learned some invaluable things along the way.
1. There’s Only One Keira Knightley
People come in different shapes and sizes. Don’t let the media influence the way you see yourself.  It’s your body that matters.  All my female ancestors have been er…substantial, so no one is ever going to mistake me for the Wraith of the Black Pearl. On the other hand, looking like a badly-filled sandbag is not a good idea.  
Visit your doctor to get an official decision on how much weight you should lose to stay healthy, to find out if there are any special precautions you should take before dieting, and if your clinic can offer you any help. To put it crudely, eating less and exercising more is the best and most sustainable way to lose weight, but it’s not easy. You don’t want to make it harder than it needs to be.
2. Take Control
Once you know your suggested target weight, draw up an achievable timetable for doing it. Avoid starting a diet before any of the traditional feast days – Christmas, Easter, birthdays, etc. Resisting food is always difficult, but starting to count calories when there’s lots of delicious temptation everywhere is asking too much. Wait until you’ve had some experience of restricting your intake before putting yourself to the test like that.  Have set mealtimes, and take time to enjoy your food rather than grabbing something on the run. Drink plenty of water – in particular, have a large glass of water about half an hour before you eat. Make sure you eat a balanced diet. You want to lose weight, not become malnourished. Fibre fills you up, so eat whole fruit rather than just juice. I find celery is a great for those times when I feel the need to nibble. It takes a lot of eating, tastes nice, and unlike my other great standby, chewing gum, it doesn’t contain a long list of ingredients in a tiny typeface.
3.Don’t Beat Yourself Up
Let’s face it, the type of person who can stick to a diet and lose exactly the amount of weight they specify within an allotted timespan is not the sort of person who is likely to get heavy in the first place. Accept that there will be times when you can’t resist that chocolate bar. If you eat it, forget it once it’s gone but learn from the experience. DON’T give up! Instead, keep temptation out of your way in future. Don’t go shopping when you’re hungry. If you can’t resist biscuits or chocolate, don’t have them in the house. That’s easy if you live alone. If you have children, or a husband who can eat what he likes and never put on a pound (looking at you, OH), it’ll be hard – but not impossible. My family and I all love chocolate, so our house is permanently packed with the stuff. Luckily OH and co. like it chilled but I don’t, so it’s all stored in the fridge. The theory is that by the time the bar I’ve pinched from the chiller has come up to room temperature, I’ll have conquered my impulse to eat it. 
In other news, research for my current WIP involves suspending a Bounty bar over a recently boiled kettle. Allegedly…

What’s your favourite tip for losing weight?
Dieting, Food, healthy living, weight loss

Food, Men and The Weekend…

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By David Shankbone
I love food. In fact, I eat nothing else–and that’s my problem. When I was growing up, there was a strict hierarchy in our family which meant the men ate first and children were at the bottom of the food chain. Then I got married. That was when the trouble started.  I was in charge of my own kitchen – stocking it with food, then preparing and cooking it. I went from being hungry all the time to eating what I liked, when I liked. 
That was fine while I was galloping about after livestock and children, but as time went on, things changed. An underactive thyroid coupled with a period of illness (and the fact I’m not twenty-one any more) meant the weight started going on faster than I could run it off. I had to lose it – but how? I’m living proof that yo-yo dieting doesn’t work, so for the past six weeks I’ve been trying something new. I’m not dieting as such, but modifying my usual intake of food rather than alternately starving and bingeing. Luckily, the greenhouse is full of vegetables in all shapes, sizes and colours, so I can still enjoy a chicken sandwich now and again by halving the amount of meat, replacing butter with a smear of low-fat mayo and filling the gaps with salad. I take smaller portions, drink more water and try not to eat anything at all between our last meal of the day and bedtime. That last one’s the real killer for me. I love to nibble while I’m watching TV. It’s made me the substantial woman I am today, so be warned… 
I am losing weight, although it’s a slow process. That makes it dangerous. With over a stone still to go, will I get fed up with feeling under-fed before I reach my target weight? I’ll let you know.
This week’s man is an amazing guy who deserves every bit of his success… go, Alwyn!
I’ll be spending my weekend putting some distance between me and the microwave. What’s your favourite healthy meal?