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Banana Berry Smoothie

Forgive my ignorance here, but what’s the deal with all these absurdly calorific recipe videos flying around at the moment? They appear to have taken over my newsfeed and it sparks a reaction in me I can’t quite comprehend. I’m not sure if it’s anger or disbelief. With conditions such a diabetes and obesity at an all time high I’m not convinced this is in anyone’s interest. Above all, most of them actually look disgusting. Who wants to eat Pizzagne? That I assume needs no further explanation.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for a bit of indulgence here and there, everything in moderation, but come on guys… let’s actually apply some common sense. Surely fueling your body with all that sugar and saturated fat isn’t a good thing. It’s gluttony in its purest form, is it not?

I’ve seen all sorts of ridiculously bazaar recipes floating about on social media being shared to high heaven. Has anyone ever attempted to make any of these gruesome looking dishes I wonder? Okay, I’ve seen some video recipes that look nice and dare I say healthy, but they are few and far between. I’ve seen meatballs stuffed with whole blocks of cheese, covered in sauce with added sugar and topped with more cheese. Fajita pasta, cooked in five cups of milk no less, and, you guessed it, smothered with cheese. To top things off, today I witnessed Pizzagne – made using three whole pizzas, and yes more cheese!

Peanut butter “protein” balls – pah, this one makes me laugh… butter, peanut butter, rice crispies and three cups of icing sugar. Oh and then, just because that’s not quite enough sugar and fat, they were then dipped in chocolate. Is it any wonder people have a problem keeping their weight down these days? What on earth happened to clean eating and treating your body to the raw, natural foods that it so desperately needs?

I’m cross with the idiocy of the creators of these gluttonous recipes… yes there is a time and a place for it, but i fear social media isn’t the place. Let’s get sharing some healthy recipes people!

I’ve been eating clean for the past couple of weeks and I’m feeling great for it. When I say clean, I mean cutting out all processed foods, fats and sugars. I’ve allowed myself some essential fats such as nuts and omega 3 rich salmon, but refined sugar is off the menu. For now at least.

I’ve been making smoothies for breakfast every morning. Now I appreciate that fruit has sugar in it, but it’s no comparison to refined sugars given that it’s packed with vitamins, antioxidants and is generally very high in fiber. I’m even sneaking in chia seeds and spinach for antioxidants, protein and more fiber. Don’t be put off by the spinach or the alarming look of a green smoothie, they can be surprising delicious. One of my Facebook friends commented “spinach and bananas, yuck!” – there was a time when I would have agreed that this sounds odd, but don’t knock it until you’ve tried it Helen. ? I’ve found these smoothies very filling, so I’m less inclined to  snack before lunchtime.

I’ve lost 10lbs in 2 weeks and I’m feeling great. There seems to be a whole lot of truth in the fact that if you cut sugar from your diet the less you crave it. I’m actually realising that if I plan correctly, eat less carbs and sugar and have smoothies for breakfast I don’t need that packet of crisps or digestive biscuit at 11am. I can sail straight through to lunchtime without giving sugary snacks a thought. Honest!

I’ve also been drinking lots of water, which has inevitably meant more trips to the loo. But, that’s a small price to pay for the obvious benefits it has. My skin is looking great!

So next time you’re tempted to share that creamy, cheesy, indulgent recipe video. Stop. Hit up your Pinterest app and type in ‘clean eats’, ‘healthy snacks’ or ‘energy rich foods’ – you might surprise yourself at how “Tasty” some of these recipes look.

Here’s one of the delicious smoothies I’ve been having – banana, berries and spinach… yummy!

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Fillet Steak with Whisky Peppercorn Sauce, Creamy Mustard Mash & Wilted Spinach

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One thing I really missed when I was pregnant was steak, since I won’t eat it unless it’s very rare (practically blue), I didn’t really eat it at all. So last week when Richard asked for fillet steak, I was more than happy to oblige.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t choose fillet; I find the fatter cuts have much more flavour, but I must confess this particular steak was utterly delicious and really melted in the mouth. It was also reduced to about £2.50 per steak, a real bargain not to be missed. I have a slight obsession with the reduced section of the supermarket.

I’ve been making the same whisky and peppercorn sauce for some years and it never fails me. Rich even said that he had never really liked peppercorn sauce until he tasted mine – high praise indeed. I’ll take that.

So I figured, if we were pushing the boat out and having fillet steak, we should serve it with the whisky peppercorn sauce and not worry about calories, hence the accompaniment of creamy mustard mash. The spinach adds a much needed touch of colour to the dish as well as offsetting the sweetness of the mash.

For the peppercorn sauce:

In a small saucepan, heat 300ml of beef stock and 1 tbsp of freshly cracked black peppercorns over a medium heat, allow to simmer (stirring frequently) until it has reduced by a third. Add 60ml of whisky and 100ml of double cream continue to simmer until it has reduced by a third again. Do not boil.

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For the mustard mash:

Place the cooked mashed potatoes into a bowl; add 1 tsp of Dijon mustard and 1 tsp of wholegrain mustard, a pinch of white pepper and 60ml of double cream. Stir well to combine and ensure the mashed potato is a very smooth texture.

Serve with wilted spinach and steak cooked to your liking.

This recipe would make a lovely dinner party dish over the festive season, perhaps for that New Year’s eve dinner?

Now, you may have noticed an improvement in the quality of my photographs, well I certainly hope you have. I finally got round to buying an SLR camera (I’ve only wanted one forever), I just need to learn how to use it properly now. I’ve often thought that a photo doesn’t do a dish justice, so hopefully now I have more chance of truly capturing the deliciousness of my recipes and enticing you to cook them yourself. That, after all is the purpose of this blog, to get others cooking and sharing recipes.