• Well, in honour of the Queen’s jubilee I decided to write a series of posts about what being British means to me. Of course being British is different for everyone, depending on background, culture and whereabouts in the British Isles you live or come from but for me there are some things which go towards ‘Britishness’ and without which I feel our nation wouldn’t be quite the same.

    The first of these, without which I don’t think I could survive a day, is tea. Now don’t get me wrong I quite like coffee but it just isn’t the same is it? Even in the hot days of summer, few and far between as they are, a cup of tea is the perfect drink. It refreshes and hydrates you much more than coffee, it contains only half as much caffeine and it tastes so much better! Of course, in winter it warms you up and much comfort is to be found with your hands wrapped round a steaming mug of tea.

    I am not a great connoisseur of tea, I enjoy just a plain old tea with a drop of milk but I do think it’s quite healthy, with its antioxidants, flavanols, flavonoids, and polyphenols which will apparently help to protect me from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers. The benefits being even greater if you drink green tea! It even contains fluoride, so it’s good for your teeth!

    This isn’t the reason why tea is so popular though, and it has been drunk on an everyday basis in Britain since the 19th Century, it is associated with many rituals and most of us have grown up drinking tea. A cup of sweet tea is a traditional remedy for shock and putting the kettle on when you get up in the morning, get in from work or a visitor calls is still as normal a part of everyday life as it has been for many years.

    I love the tradition of afternoon tea and have a collection of well-loved china cups, saucers, plates and cake plates, some of which belonged to my grandmothers. Whether you prefer dainty sandwiches, cupcakes or scones with jam and cream they are all so much better accompanied by a cup of tea.

    I seriously think the great British cuppa is one tradition we really couldn’t do without.

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  • Cooking, Diet 26.04.2012 No Comments

    I decided I wanted a little variety in my diet after 56 days of Diet Chef food, good as that is. I have made lots of soups before but I was trying to find something low in calories, healthy and satisfying. I used my trusty Vitamix blender and a mixture of raw and lightly cooked ingredients to conjure up this vibrant green soup at only 150 calories a bowl.

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    I used raw spring onions, celery, courgette and spinach with lightly cooked potato and broccoli and blended it with water, an organic vegetable stock cube, some lemon juice, salt, pepper and basil. When it was steaming hot I added a drained can of chick peas and blended it again briefly. It was delicious and filling and I have some in the fridge for tomorrow too!

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  • Cooking, Diet 07.04.2012 2 Comments

    Just over a month into my diet and I have lost 15lbs. I’m really pleased. It hasn’t really been all that difficult as the food has been pretty good. The porridge or muesli keeps me full till lunch and soup with a mini wholemeal roll set me up for the afternoon. A mid-afternoon snack from the Diet Chef selection is a nice treat and then it’s time for dinner. That has become a little boring as I’m vegetarian and there aren’t so many choices for me. I’ve found that adding some cauliflower and grated low fat cheese to the macaroni cheese certainly adds something and a wide variety of vegetables and salads help. I’ve enjoyed the curries too, spicing them up a little as I like a bit of heat! I’ve been able to add basmati rice, a low fat yogurt, some ryvita and cottage cheese or some extra fruit and kept easily to my calorie limit. Seeing the weight loss at the end of week is enough to keep me motivated for the moment so I’m carrying on.

    The problem this week is that it’s Easter and the house will be full of chocolate! Wish me luck!

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