Banana Art!

A quick silly one for you this week as I’m concentrating on the fact that I will be running 5k tomorrow!!!  Donate Here!

Did you know you can decorate your bananas?

Banana Art!

It’s so simple!  Just take a banana and a blunt writing implement and trace your design on the skin of the banana.  Don’t press too hard and break the skin.  Leave for a few hours and the design develops into a brown ‘bruise’ on the skin as it oxidises.  Simple!

Excellent for labeling food or leaving notes or drawings in lunchboxes to bring a smile!

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Filed under Basic, Teatime Treats, Easy, Low Fat, Gluten Free

Run, Anna, Run!

This time next week I will be setting off to run my very first 5K race… and I’ve chosen to do a Pretty Muddy Obstacle 5K Race For Life to boot!

Run!

Now I had been training with the objective to run the whole thing… and I do still intend to try but my physiotherapist banned me from running a few weeks ago while we work to treat a knee injury I sustained from, you guessed it, RUNNING!

I was actually really enjoying my training.  I have been using a Couch 2 5K app program to get me from being unable to run for 30 seconds and I made it as far as running for 5 minutes without stopping! (Sadistic app that it is it gives you two minutes of walking to recover and then off you go running for 5 minutes again!)  The objective is to get you to be able to run for 35 minutes non stop by the end of the program but I’ve only made it halfway through so far.  Once I get this knee problem fixed I fully intend to pick up again and learn to run properly!

Run!

Now, there is one very simple reason I am doing this:
To raise funds for Cancer Research UK.

To that end I would be endlessly grateful to anyone who could spare even as much a £1 to help me reach my fundraising target.

You probably don’t know me but I bet you know someone who has been affected by cancer.  Cancer took my Gran from us and it tried to take my baby sister when she was just 19 but she fought back and won!  It’s only down to the endless research done by groups like Cancer Research UK that we have the treatments available that have meant my sister is still with us today… and that is worth any amount of pain I know I’m going to be in come next Saturday!

So please, dig deep, it couldn’t be simpler to help me reach my fundraising goal simply click the link below:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

Anna’s Just Giving Page

Or you can even donate by text:

Anna Pawlow Just Giving

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Filed under Not Food

Tortilla Pizza/Flammekueche

Sometimes you need pizza… sometimes you need pizza 5 minutes ago!  Sometimes you’re just craving a little something, a light meal, a pick me up.  These Tortilla Pizzas can be thrown together in next to no time with whatever ingredients you have lying around.  I would say the only things you definitely need are going to be tortillas and cheese, the rest is pretty variable!

Tortilla Pizza

I tend to go for a flammekueche rather than a pizza.  I like the creme fraiche base rather than the tomato but as I say, this is a very versatile recipe!  And quick too, which is it’s real selling point for me!  15 minutes and you can have a freshly cooked pizza!

Tortilla Pizza

A pizza stone does help here as you can get the underside crispier but if you don’t have one it’s no biggie, the edges will still get nice and cripsy!

Tortilla Pizza

Serves 1:

1 tortilla
2 tbsp creme fraiche or passatta
Toppings: Whatever you like!
I went for 2 mushrooms, sliced, 2 slices parma ham, shredded, 1/4 onion, sliced

Grated cheese to finish

– Turn on the grill.
– Take a tortilla, spread it with creme fraiche or passatta.
– Add your chosen toppings.
– Scatter with grated cheese.
– Grill for 5-10 minutes until all of your toppings are cooked and the cheese is golden and bubbly!
– Enjoy!

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Filed under Easy, Mains

Ombré Birthday Cake

For my Birthday BBQ I made a 3 Layer Pink Ombre Cake and a dozen cupcakes as favours too!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I’m really happy with how it turned out!  I’ve never tried anything like it before but I was pleased to see how my technique worked out!  I wanted to minimise waste and washing up so I came up with my own way of creating this cake effect.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Everyone seemed to enjoy it anyway, there was barely any left by the end of the evening!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I made a huge batch of cake mixture…

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

…And about 2kg of buttercream!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

The colours worked wonderfully!  Nice and vibrant!

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

I tried to keep things nice and tidy, having assembled the layers I then piped round to fill in the gaps.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

Which meant that I had a smooth surface to spread the rest of the icing over.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

So here’s how I did it:

Makes 1 x 3 layer 7″ Layer Cake and 12 Cupcakes

500g unsalted butter, softened
500g golden caster sugar
8 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
500g self raising flour
3 tbsp milk
pink gel good colouring*  (I have that awful salmon pink one so you need to add violet to make it a nicer colour!)
grape violet gel food colouring*

500g unsalted butter, softened
1 kg icing sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

1 jar seedless raspberry jam

– Heat the oven to gas mark 4.  Prepare 3 7″ sandwich tins (I use silicone as they come out flatter and are easier to turn out.) Line 12 muffin holes with paper cases.
– Cream together the butter and sugar in a LARGE mixing bowl until light and fluffy.
– Add one egg at a time, mixing well between additions.
– Add the vanilla extract and mix well.
– Fold in the flour until all combined with the wet ingredients.
– Add the 3 tbsp milk and mix well.
– Fill each cupcake case to halfway with cake batter.
– Put 1/3 of the remaining white batter in the first greased cake tin.
– Add a bit of the pink colouring about the size of a sweetcorn kernel along with a slightly smaller amount of the grape violet and mix thoroughly into the batter to achieve a light pink colour.  * If using nicer food colouring then use your judgement on the blend you want.
– Put 1/2 this mixture in the second cake tin.
– Add more pink colouring and more violet colouring and mix well to get a really deep colour.
– Put this remaining cake batter in the final tin.
– Put everything in the oven and bake for 25 minutes until golden brown on top and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.
– Turn out your cakes upside down onto cooling racks and take the cupcakes out of the tin to cool.

– Put the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and milk in a LARGE mixing bowl and beat until thoroughly combined, light and airy.

To assemble the cakes:

– Trim any domes from your cake layers to give you flat cakes.
– Put a smear of buttercream on the base of the cake stand or plate.
– Place the darkest layer flat bottom up on the cake stand or plate.
– Spread with an even layer of buttercream.
– Spread raspberry jam on the top of the lighter layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Spread another layer of buttercream over the flat bottom of the lighter layer.
– Spread raspberry jam over the top of the white layer.
– Place the jam side on top of the buttercream.
– Fill a piping bag with white buttercream and make a 1/2″ hole to pipe from.
– Pipe around the cake between the layers to fill in any dips or gaps between the cakes layers.
– Smooth round this with a palette knife to make a smooth sided cake.
– Spread a good amount of white buttercream over the top of the cake and down over the edges using a palette knife to spread a smooth even layer of white buttercream over the whole cake.
– Now take about a cup of buttercream from the main mixture and put it in a separate bowl.
– Add pink and grape violet food colouring to acheive a nice deep raspberry pink colour.
– Put it in a piping bag with a 1/2″ hole.
– Pipe a ring of pink buttercream around the base of the cake.
– Now take a pallette knife and spread the pink buttercream up the side of the cake in small swirling circles so the dark pink melds with the white to give that faded ombre effect.  Don’t swirl all the way to the top, only go about 2/3 up and leave a nice band of clean white buttercream at the top.

– Take some raspberry jam and put it in a squeezy bottle with a cone tip.
– Inject jam into the centre of each cupcake.
– Take the remaining buttercream and put it in a piping bag with a large star tip.
– Ice each cupcake with a swirl of buttercream covering the jam hole in the centre.
– Add sprinkles white the buttercream is wet.

3 Layer Pink Ombre Birthday Cake

 

 

 

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Filed under Cakes, Cupcakes and Muffins, Moderately easy

My 30th Birthday BBQ

30th Birthday BBQ - Me on the patio!

To celebrate my 30th Birthday over the weekend I threw a small BBQ party in my garden.  The weather had been glorious all week but come the weekend rain was predicted.  Never fear!  I had a plan!

30th Birthday BBQ - Awning to protect guests from the rain!

I have an extendable awning for over the patio and I stretched a shade sail over the lawn to provide an even bigger canopy propped up with a pole in the middle and anchored to the fence posts on the corners.  This way most of my garden was sheltered and I could happily set up everything under cover in case of rain! A few shower curtains filled the gaps over the food and drink stations.

30th Birthday BBQ - DIY Bar

I set up a little bar so people could help themselves to drinks throughout the evening.  I am so in love with the drinks dispensers!  I set them on cake tins to give them a bit of elevation.  I also went the plastic and paper cup route.  No point in crying over smashed glass!

30th Birthday BBQ  - Pallet side table and flowers

I went to town on the flowers and decorations!  A few sawn pallets stacked up made a nice little coffee table on the lawn (and helped to stablise the pole!) My flower arrangements were made up of peonies, roses, rhododendrons, chrysanthemums and sweet william with rosemary for greenery and fragrance.

30th Birthday BBQ - Roses and Rosemary in Diet Coke Bottles

30th Birthday BBQ - Candles and Flowers throughout the garden

I had plenty of seating set up so people could suit themselves and lots of cushions and blankets to keep everyone comfortable.

30th Birthday BBQ  - Guests mingling under the canop

30th Birthday BBQ- the Lawn seating

Darcy got a little bit overwhelmed by all of the people but he soon bounced back and mingled with the guests stealing bits of BBQ!

30th Birthday BBQ - Me and Darcy!

30th Birthday BBQ

I got all crafty for this shindig too!  A polystyrene wreath covered in cocktail umbrellas decorated the front door to greet my guests.

30th Birthday BBQ - DIY gold glitter letter sign

I cut out letters from black posterboard and then covered it in gold glitter paint for the ANNA 30! and DRINKS signs.

30th Birthday BBQ - Food and Drink Stations

I kept things nice and simple and self service through the night.  I had got Tesco Bumper Party Bags of BBQ food, which were excellent value and had everything you could need! Everything got cooked in the oven and then served buffet style.  Paper plates and pink plastic cutlery meant that at the end of the night cleanup was simple!

30th Birthday BBQ- Ombre Birthday Cake

The cake went down very well!  I went for a 3 layer ombre victoria sponge.  Darcy helped to clean up!

30th Birthday BBQ - Darcy cleaning up cake plates!

 

All in all a wonderful evening filled with fun,friends and food, what more could a girl ask for?

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Filed under Gardening, Not Food, Roundup

Upon Reaching My 30th Birthday

  

Things I have learnt and wish I had known sooner:

You’re brushing your teeth wrong. 

No, really.  Electric toothbrushes shouldn’t be used to ‘scrub’.  You glide it over your teeth.  And you’re probably pressing too hard.  Stop that.  Also, floss.  It’s important.  Mouthwash should be used at a different time to tooth brushing.  Pop a bottle in your desk at work and have a swish after lunch.  Your enamel thanks you.

You really need to exercise more and sooner. 

I was very late to wake up to the fact that I hadn’t inherited my mum (and sister’s) metabolism.  So I got fat.  It is much harder to lose weight than it is to stay healthy.  Exercise often and from a young age… even if you’re not fat… yet.

Meditate.

A lot of shit will happen in your life.  That’s just a fact.  So when you’re stressed, burnt out, frazzled and insecure having a tool to help you rein in that mental spin cycle is worth its weight in gold!

Eat well. 

I don’t mean a diet of lean protein and vegetables with organic kale smoothies every morning… I mean, if you like it, sure, go for it.  But don’t be afraid of food.  Food is nourishment.  You nourish your body and your senses.  Relish that piece of cheese, or square of perfect chocolate.  Heck, enjoy that emergency bar of Dairy Milk or glass of wine!  Just make good choices and don’t demonise food.

Spend more on your clothes.

Yes, Primark is full of pretty things that you just have to have.  They will fall apart.  Or be see-through. Or be made of the tears of children.  Instead of a wardrobe full of crap buy good quality classic clothes that will last.  Experiment with your own style for sure but don’t buy rubbish!

Declutter.

Stop hoarding.  Yes, you have really good memories of that skirt from high school… are you seriously ever going to wear it again?  Should you have worn it in the first place? Probably not.

Be selective with your time. 

You don’t have to say yes to everything.  You don’t have to be friends with everyone.  Your time is valuable.  If your job is making you miserable, change it.  If you yearn to travel to Brazil, make a plan to allow you to!  Nothing is impossible.  Life is short.  Enjoy it!

Money isn’t everything. 

Don’t get me wrong.  It’s important and it’s so easy for things to go awry with it.  But try not to let it stress you out too much.  Don’t live beyond your means and don’t spend so much time working that you have no time to use the money you work so hard for!

Don’t let other people make your choices for you. 

It’s your life.  You choose how you live it.  Don’t let other people’s issues drag you down.  Try to be the best version of you that you can be.  Don’t let other people dictate to you what your happiness is.

… so that’s that.  That’s what I’ve got!  May be in another 30 years I’ll have got a handle on all this myself!

Anna xxx

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Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa

A long name for a simple dish but this recipe for Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa is a lovely, refreshing take on a basic favourite.  Pepping up a simple chicken breast and salad with some zingy flavours brings a whole new dimension to it and I could eat this healthy meal every week at the moment!

Lime, coriander and chilli chicken with tomato, red onion and sweetcorn salsa

 

Serves 4

 

200g cherry or baby plum tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
1 small tin sweet corn, drained
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 tsp ground coriander
1 small red chilli, chopped
1 tbsp lime juice

4 chicken breasts
1 tsp coriander leaf (fresh or dried)
1 small red chilli, finely chopped
1 tbsp lime juice
1/2 tbsp olive oil

Salad, avocado and creme fraiche to serve

– Slice the tomatoes into quarters and put into a bowl.
– Add the onion, sweetcorn, corianders, chilli and lime juice and give a good stir.
– Set aside and leave until you’re ready to eat.  If you can make this a couple of hours in advance, great, otherwise the half hour while the chicken cooks in the oven will do nicely.

– Heat the oven to gas mark 5 (Or turn on a health grill!)
– Take your chicken breasts and score lines into the top being careful not to cut through the whole breast.
– Place the chicken in an oven proof dish sprinkle over the coriander, chilli, lime juice and oil.
– Rub this mixture all over your chicken.
– Bake for 30 minutes or simply use a health grill to cook for a more charred look.

– Serve with salad, avocado and creme fraiche.

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Filed under Easy, Fast Day Food, Gluten Free, Low Fat, Mains