Sunday, January 31, 2016


Arabella decided she wanted to go and see Cleopatras Needle today - pretty random but considering I love sight seeing, I wasnt going to say no. Obviously I had to combine it with a meal and so decided to book for Arabella and I to go for a Mathilda themed afternoon tea at Scoff and Banter. I am currently obsessed with afternoon tea (my sweet tooth is out of control)!

We sat down and I ordered an earl grey and Arabella a strawberry milkshake. Then her favourite part of the tea - she was presented with a copy of Mathilda….I know what we will be reading tonight!

Then it was time for the food!!

We started with the savouries - the sandwiches - cheese, ham and mayonnaise, egg mayonnaise and cucumber and cream cheese.

Arabellas favourite were the cream cheese and cucumber whereas I loved the ham and mayonnaise. The cheese and egg mayonnaise were nice, but a bit plain.

Then we moved onto the scones.

I really enjoyed the scones. Unfortunately I dont think they had been freshly baked there and then, but they were still delicious (so good I had two)!

Finally we moved onto the final tier - the cakes!

I adored the trifle - it was more like a cheesecake than a trifle. Arabella loved the lemon cake - she even had mine. She loved the chocolate fountain with the marshmallows and fruit whereas I loved the raspberry slice. We both enjoyed the brownies. The biggest disappointment were the cupcakes though - they were revolting - I went to Hummingbird yesterday and these were no way as good as theirs - in fact they were so rubbish we didnt even eat them….not sure what went wrong there.

The tea was so filling - being the piglet that I am, I was wondering whether they refilled the sandwiches or scones - however there was no need!! We were fit to burst.

It was a good ish tea (£29.50 for adults and £13.75 for kids) but not the best I have ever had (not a patch on Browns or the Berkeley) but we enjoyed it as an alternative for lunch. However Arabella has informed me next time we are in the area we will definitely be going to her favourite Shake Shack - she cant resist their cheesy chips and in fairness, nor can I.

Stupendous Afternoon Tea at Scoff & Banter

20 Mercer Street
Tel: 020 7845 8607

Square Meal
Scoff & Banter Covent Garden on Urbanspoon
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Hi guys, I am selling my Metamorphosis Omnicentric discs. Need to move on, and I think I am ready to sell the discs now.

They are ALL working - every single one of them. The dick with Introduction and Cardio has a little scratch, but works fine, so just saying - there is one scratch. I ordered them directly from TAM website, so it is in original packaging (as it was sent to Europe, it is NOT in huge box, but in a small envelope).

I am located in Germany, so anywhere around Europe would be faster and easier to send to, but I can also send worldwide. For Europe I will pay for delivery, you just pay for the disks. Outside of Europe, you will have to pay extra for shipment.

  • 4 discs: Intro/Cardio, Transform 1 (levels 1-3), Transform 2 (levels 4-6), Transform 3 (levels 7-9)
  • Lets get started guide
  • Dynamic Eating Plan
  • I want to hear from you pamphlet and a welcome note from Tracy
  • Workout Tracker (completely unused - I used the print-outs from the website)
  • Tracys measuring tape
Note: There is NO community log in, hence I reduce the price a little bit.

Price: 70 Euro (I bought the set initially with shipment for 110 Euro) or send your offers to me in a message! Payment via PayPal or bank transfer.

(Pictures below)

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The 3 Week Diet How To Lose Weight Quickly

If you have ever watched any of those health related TV shows like ‘Dr. Oz’ or ‘The Doctors’, you would get the impression that it’s extremely difficult to lose weight fast. They’ll tell you that it can take month after month to shed the pounds, and sometimes even years. But I’m here today to tell you that that is simple not true.

My name is Brian and I am the creator of The 3 Week Diet. I have spent years researching and working with nutritionists and dieticians to develop a diet system that is so advanced and effective that it is able to help you lose 1 lb of pure body fat every single day. Over the course of 3 weeks on the diet, you can lose more than 20 pounds of fat off your belly, butt, hips, and thighs and achieve the body of your dreams with little to no exercise involved. But how is this possible?

As you would know, the human body is highly adaptable. If you cut your finger, the body would heal itself in a matter of days – regenerating new cells as soon as the change is noticed. Well, if you make a big enough change to your diet, the body can adapt right away too by burning fat in your body at a rapid speed. But what you need to do to kick start this change? Is it exercise? Cutting certain foods out of your diet? Drinking a special tea? Eating certain berries? No, it is none of those things. In fact, it is much more simple than you’d think.

You see, the human metabolism is like a furnace for your body. It burns up every source of fuel inside your body – from food you have eaten, to fat that has been stored. But, one thing you have to know about the metabolism is that it will burn what was last eaten first, before it starts burning the fat on your body. As a result, by the end of the day, no matter what you have eaten, your body won’t have had time to start burning the fat from around your body. But what if you could change this? What if you could make it so your metabolism actually prefers to burn the fat in your body first, and then burns the food you have eaten?

Think about a campfire. What would happen if you poured a gallon of gasoline onto the fire? It would go up in flames and burn a thousand times more! Well, fat is a fuel source just like gasoline. If your metabolism gets that fat from your body and starts burning it, it makes the metabolism even stronger and more powerful, so it continues to burn even more fat in the process. You see, it is like a cyclic effect. The more fat your metabolism burns, the more fuel it will have to burn, and in turn it will burn even more fat! So what do you do to get this started?

To make the switch so that your metabolism starts burning body fat first, you need to include some very specific foods into your diet. This doesn’t mean you have to restrict yourself to eating certain types of foods like ‘low carb’ or ‘high protein’, but it just means you need to add some secret foods to your current diet. These foods are quite unknown, but they contain metabolism-shifting properties that initiate the fat burning process. You can get all these foods at your local supermarket and they won’t cost you any more than a candy bar. Plus, they don’t taste bad either!

I have made a list and plan of all these foods on my website at The 3 Week Diet. I explain how each of them works, and how much fat they are able to melt. Keep in mind, this is all based off years of scientific research and there is medical data to back this up. So, if you are looking to lose weight fast, The 3 Week Diet is the best way to do so. No other diet allows you to lose this much fat as quickly, and lets you keep it off for good.

Check out The 3 Week Diet today and start losing weight!
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My Fitness Pal

I really dont want to make an advertisement. Really. But I simply have to mention this app and web-site. Previously I have been using My Calorie Counter (MCC)  from Everyday Health, and I still use the website, it has a lot of interesting info and offers a lot of options. But yesterday I ran into My Fitness Pal (MFP). I do not know how I didnt know about it earlier. Jeez! It is great! Moreover, you can install the app on your iPhone (iPod, iPad, Android, etc.) and it works offline, and whenever you have Internet it synchronises everything. Basically, it stores all your info on line. MFP offers much more than MCC especially in terms of individualisation. For example, calculating calories for your favourite menus, individualising recipes, and creating your own list of most often used foods. It also has personalisation with exercise in a similar way, so I hope to create the TA Meta workouts there at some point... It offers gadgets (I added a tracker to my blog now), and a community as well. All of you- especially those who are not using one of TAM menus, can definitely keep track of your weight and exercise there - it is very useful!!!

This is how it all looks on iPhone:   


Good luck!
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Saturday, January 30, 2016

Spicy Indian Dal

****Check out the new "Pin it" feature on each of my pictures!  If you hover over the picture, the "Pin It" logo will appear, allowing you to pin any image from this post.  I will continue to do this with all of my future posts.  Thanks to my readers for the suggestion!****

Over the last few months since I have been on a blogging hiatus, I have fallen in love with Indian food.  Locally, we have one of the best Indian restaurants, and we enjoy going there once or twice a month, usually with my parents.  Although they have quite a few vegetarian options, I know that there is a ton of oil/ghee in all of the recipes.  Since I was craving Indian food this Sunday, I decided to make a big batch of Indian spiced lentils. 

2 cups dried mixed lentils (I used 1/3 cup of each pictured)

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can lite coconut milk
2 medium sized tomatoes (or an extra can of diced tomatoes)
1 red bell pepper, stem and seeds removed (yellow or orange bell peppers work too)
1/2 yellow onion
1 dried red chile, stem and seeds removed
  • 1-1/2 Tbsp ground corriander
  • 2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp paprika 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (more or less as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp turmeric 

  1. In a large pot, bring the mixed lentils and around 8 cups of water to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer and allow the lentils to cook for 20-30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until "al dente".  Pour into a strainer and allow to drain while you prepare the sauce.
  2. In a high speed blender, combine the canned and fresh tomatoes, bell pepper, coconut milk, onion, and chile.  Blend until the creamy and the dried chile has been broken into very small flecks.
  3. Return the empty pot to the stovetop and pour in the tomato sauce mixture you just blended.  Heat over medium heat until simmering and add the spices and cooked lentils back into the pot.  
  4. Simmer until the lentils are thoroughly cooked and the sauce has reduced to become creamy.  Adjust spices to your liking.  (I generally add extra cayenne pepper for some extra heat at the end.)
  5. Serve hot over your preferred grain.  I served mine with mixed quinoa and steamed kale.

Amys Notes:
I was so excited yesterday (and today) that Kevin was willing to try this dish and actually asked for a bowl or two for himself.  I guess I will have to keep this recipe in my regulars.  ;)

I absolutely LOVE lentils!  They are great to add to soups, salads, you name it.  It is a big plus for me that they cook up relatively quickly without needing any soaking.  I am lucky enough to have a few grocery stores to choose from where I can get all of the varieties below in the bulk section at a relatively decent price. 

What is your favorite way to enjoy lentils?

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Every time I see a recipe for mac and cheese in a magazine, I rip it out, so consequently I have several! Thankfully we all love mac and cheese and it was the perfect comfort food to cook last Friday when it was pouring with rain. This is a recipe I found in Olive magazine from Mishkins in Covent Garden, a New York deli style restaurant. I have never tried to recreate a recipe from a restaurant before as I always think it would be too complicated but apparently this was "easy" so I thought I would give it a go.

It took around an hour to cook and prepare.

Ingredients for 4 people:

800ml semi skimmed milk
1 bunch of spring onions, white and green part both sliced and separated
300g macaroni
50g butter (and an extra knob for the pasta)
60g plain flour
100g Parmesan, finely grated
300g cheddar or Gruyere, grated
1 tbsp English mustard
120g pastrami, cut into strips
6 heaped tbsp of breadcrumbs

Put the milk and the spring onion whites in a pan together. Bring the milk to just below boiling point (this took a few minutes), then turn off and leave to infuse while you cook the pasta.

Cook the macaroni until al dente (according to the packets instructions) in a saucepan of boiling salted water - ours took 6 minutes. 

When ready drain and mix with a knob of butter to prevent the pasta sticking. 

At this point preheat the oven to 200C / 180C fan / gas mark 6.

Melt the 50g butter in a large saucepan.

Stir in the flour to make a smooth pasta and cook for a couple of minutes.

Strain out and discard the onion from the milk and then very gradually stir the milk into the flour and butter until you get a smooth sauce. I used a whisk for this and originally felt that the sauce would never form but it did in the end! Dont give up!

Bring to a gentle simmer and cook for 3-4 minutes until nicely thickened and then take off the heat and stir in half the Parmesan, two-thirds of the grated cheddar/Gruyere, a heaped tablespoon of mustard and season generously.

Stir in the macaroni, pastrami and spring onion greens and mix all together.

Tip everything into an ovenproof dish.

Scatter with the 6 heaped tablespoons of breadcrumbs.

Cover with the remaining Parmesan and grated cheese plus a little more salt.

Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes (we did 30) until golden, crunchy and piping hot.

Cut into portions and serve.

Even though I probably say this about every mac and cheese I make, this was really really good. I absolutely loved the combination of the pastrami, spring onions and mustard plus the crispy topping was delicious. Pascal doesnt like a white sauce and I could see him turning his nose up when we were cooking this but he was very pleasantly surprised as he loved it too. As for Arabella, she wasnt too impressed when she saw some green on her plate as I had promised her no spinach or leeks like in Fays Mac and Cheese however she absolutely adored it and now pronounced it as her favourite (her previous number one was chorizo mac and cheese). 

Another great recipe, I cant wait to tuck into our leftovers as I reckon it will be great reheated - plus it has also reminded me that I must pay a trip to Mishkins again soon!
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As I have mentioned in my blog previously, my daughter Arabellas favourite dish is carbonara - she would eat it every week if she could. I really like it but its not my favourite. However I saw this recipe of carbonara with blue cheese in the Sunday Times magazine and I thought it had my name all over it!! It is a Jamie Oliver recipe and he does suggest adding pears to it which I left out as I hate sweet and savoury but if you like that kind of thing just add a couple of thinly sliced pears to the frying pan with the garlic and rosemary.

Here is the recipe for 3 people and it took about 15 minutes.

Ingredients for 3 people:

3 large free-range egg yolks
2 tbsp creme fraiche
100g Stilton
350g dried spaghetti (or similar pasta)
A small knob of butter
Olive oil
8 rashes of smoked streaky bacon, sliced into 5mm pieces (or thereabouts)
A few sprigs of rosemary, leaves picked and chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon 
Rocket leaves to serve

Crack the egg yolks into a bowl, add the creme fraiche, season and whisk with a fork.

Crumble in the Stilton as finely as you can and stir in (mine was pretty lumpy but it melted when you add it to the pasta)!

Cook the pasta according to the packets instructions in a pan of salted boiling water - mine took 8 minutes.

At the same time in a frying pan, melt the butter with a drizzle of olive oil over a medium heat.

Add the bacon and fry until golden, stirring all the time.

Then add the rosemary and garlic and fry for another couple of minutes.

Drain the pasta but reserve a couple of cups of cooking water for later.

Add the egg, creme fraiche and cheese mixture as well as the bacon, garlic and rosemary to the pasta.

Add a squeeze of lemon and some of the cooking water (add a splash at a time) and mix all together as quickly as possible.

Serve immediately with a few rocket leaves scattered on top.

This was absolutely amazing!! Pascal rated it as his favourite ever pasta dish and it could be mine too - it worked wonderfully and we also used gluten free pasta as then we dont feel so stuffed afterwards. Arabella prefers Pascals Pasta Carbonara as she isnt a huge fan of blue cheese but she still ate the lot. The best thing about this dish is even though it was cheesy, it still tasted incredibly light. I would highly recommend it!
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