Friday, 21 November 2014

The other day I sat down to watch Chef for the first time.  There are so few films about a love of food (unless you love documentaries about how gross and unhealthy certain foods are, then you're in luck, there are hundreds of those) that when one comes out, it feels like an event.  A big tasty event.

Whilst it's a rarity for films to come out solely about food, there are hundreds of moments or scenes that pertain to food that just make that scene perfect.  They make us hungry, they make us scared, nervous or we can just relate so much that it's perfect.

After all, everyone eats, right?

So I put the question out to you guys.  What is your favourite moment  from TV or film where food takes the spotlight?

I was a little overwhelmed by the response.  I came back to a bursting inbox, comments on Instagram, twitter, Facebook, texts and direct messages galore!  Friends I had asked came back with multiple answers and I started to realise that I'm not the only one who holds this subject dear to my heart.

In fact I started to get a lot of people commenting on the same scenes.  I also noticed a theme.

There were a lot of food fights.  A lot of giant foods.  Songs about food.  Shots of cooking.  Scenes where friends politely complimented the chef on something that had gone wrong in the cooking process.

And a lot of scary hair.

Wait what?

 So buckle in... Here we go...

Oliver (the musical)
Food Glorious Food!

Anon:  Has anyone said Oliver yet?  Those cute little orphans sing about all the food they would rather be eating other than sloppy gruel.  Who doesn't love that scene!


SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  The contrast between the gruel soaked dullness of the dining area and the massive colourful roast dinner in the office.

When I was 10, my school put on the musical version of Oliver.  I don't mean to brag, but you're looking at homeless girl no.2, and background Orphan no. 4.  I owned those parts.  I auditioned because I loved this song, it was one of the most memorable scenes in the film for me as it made me hungry every time I heard it.  Food is well and truly in the spotlight.  Fantasising and singing about food I want to eat is something I pretty much still do every day.

Bridget Jones Diary
Bridgets Birthday Feast

Katie:  BLUE SOUP!  Colin Firth actually makes me swoon in that scene.

Hannah:  It has to be blue soup from Bridget Jones, Makes me feel better that I couldn't cook the first time I tried.

Gemma:  It's perfect.  We've all made a mistake like that and had to serve it to our friends.  Makes me laugh EVERY.  SINGLE.  TIME.


You know what's going to happen the second she wraps her leeks in blue string, yet you love it anyway.  Covered head to toe in food, it's a truly accurate portrait of how most of us cook.  A favourite moment of mine is as each friend delicately complimenting Bridget on her cooking through gritted teeth.  Been there.

When Harry Met Sally
The ordering scene in the diner

Gemma:  I love this film, and it turns out I'm a little like Sally when ordering my dinner

Hannah: It's the first time we're introduced to her 'quirks' and I love it.  She's so confident in what she wants.

ManFoodMike: Probably because the way she orders this pie always makes me hungry.  Also, I'm not ashamed to admit it turns me on a bit. 

Emma - Bake then Eat: And the classic When Harry Met Sally diner scene, always worth a giggle!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Not even the pie? -Waitress stink eye-

Sally, leans back and relays the most specific pie order I've ever heard.  Obviously, there are a few diner scenes in WHMS, and this probably isn't the one you thought of first, but I like it.  Also, her hair looks a bit like ice cream and that makes me hungry too.

Harry Potter and The Philosopher's Stone 
The magically appearing banquet

Laura: I love this mainly because I love the films, but this one is so indulgent.  It just looks like you can have anything and everything you want.  It's like the realisation of my ultimate fantasy!

Jack:  It's the first time we see magic on a big scale, for something that we'd love.  I'd go to school to learn how to magic up a buffet.

Jen: That first scene in the great hall, with the food?   

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Ron, stuffing his face whilst everyone else looks on amazed.  So began my biggest childhood crush.

From the second Dumbledore magically makes food appear, I think this is a man I could be besties with.  Even the slytherins are amazed like "What?  Let's stop being dickheads because yay food!"  I'm pretty sure the whole wizard war could've been avoided if Dumbledore had just magicked up a few doughnuts at the right moment.

Pulp Fiction
A whole lotta talk about burgers

Michelle: I think it is funny because they are so serious in the discussion, like its the most important aspect of travelling abroad.

G4ce: Pulp Fiction, talking about burgers on the way to a hit and then what a surprise, he gets his burger.  The tension is built perfectly with it's star in the spotlight:  The burger.

Phil: My vote was for the scene in pulp fiction with the Tasty burger. 

Christine: The hamburger scene, It plays on your mind, it's so innocuous, talking about everyday things like food in the middle of this tension.

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Taking a slow bite on the breakfast burger.

Such a down to earth, mundane conversation, all during such a tense scene.  The food adds to the craziness of it all.  Also John Travolta's hair gives me nightmares.  Is it meant to be long?  Is it meant to a be a mullet?  Is it supposed to be a quiff?!  Is it wrong to be scared so much by someone eating a burger?  So many questions.

Uncle Buck
Birthday Pancakes

Gemma:  Hes like a great character - heart of gold but right clumsy, reminds me of my childhood.

Chris:  GIANT PANCAKES.  No other explanation needed.

Anon:  When I was little that scene with the pancakes made me want an uncle buck.  Screw everything else.

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Is that a whole block of butter on those pancakes?

It feels like there is a literal spotlight on these pancakes.  They are huge.  I also love the kids faces when they walk in.   Also to the face at the end,  YES.

Shrek 2
Dinner Fight

Laura:  I think I like that one cause it's like food isn't just food is it?  They're annoyed at each other and they're using food to show it,  just like you'd bake a cake for someone you love, y'know?  It's another way to express yourself?

Katie:  You know that scene in Shrek 2?  And they are having an argument and Donkey is like "I've got some stuff to attend too"  but then the food comes and he's all like "I can wait!"  or something.  That always got me, cause that is SO what I would do.

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Obviously the flying pig.

This scene is almost like a dance off with food.   They slice, rip, chew and fondue (?) their argument back and forth, and the music just makes this.  What an indulgent meal too, lobster, a whole pig and a whole chicken on the same table... for 2 people, 2 ogres  and a donkey?! Also, Donkey = amazing.  Also, my spell check keeps automatically changing ogres to orgies, so if there's an accidental one in there, I'm sorry.

The Party Preparations

Hannah Jade: Chocolat party preps. Oozy chocolate! Women working together! A bloke losing the plot!

Linda: Any scene from Chocolat.  Preferably one with close up shots of chocolate being made.

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT: Falling face first into the chocolate display.  We've all been there.

The jolly music.  The melted chocolate.  The crushed chocolate.  The meltdown in a chocolate shop.  Plus, it's a welcome distraction from thinking about Johnny Depp's plait in this film.  Like... does he plait it himself?  It's very neat.  Why am I noticing hair so much in these clips?

The imaginary feast 

Hannah: The "imaginary" feast in Hook! Always loved that one because everything looked so amazing and bright in colour.

Sabrina: The imaginary meal that turns into a food fight in Hook

Sophia @ NY Foodgasm: Omg the hook scene was awesome- though I have nooooo idea wtf that colored cream was!!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  The camera pans across to reveal a whole lot of chicken drumsticks (Why do these always appear in these magical buffets?  What about a nice scotch egg once in a while)

 I've never seen Hook, but I've heard about this scene from people that loved it.  So I just watched it, and apart from getting some seriously good insults to throw at people, what I realised is that it's very similar to the Harry Potter one.  I mean, where are all these men learning to magic food out of no-where?  This is an amazing talent and I want in.

Beauty and the beast
Be our guest

Sophia @ NY Foodgasm:  I will never forget it from my childhood- firstly I never knew what French food was til I saw this and ummmm a dancing candelabra! A feast for the eyes!

Emily_Etc: Also the Be Our Guest song in Beauty and the Beast!

Beth:  Life wouldn't be complete with the beauty and the beast song about french dining, would it?!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  The actual spotlight, perhaps?  Onto the food?

All you need to do is hum one line of this song and people will sing it.  In fact, I tested this theory and sang it in the office and all joined in.  I blame this film for making me believe that kitchen utensils could sing and dance. #LifeDisappointments

The whole film

Lucy @ Lucy Food Snaps: Grilled cheese scene. Mentioned on insta but here's the clip. I could've chosen any part of the film tho!

Holly: Literally anything from Chef.

Em762:  It has to be the whole film of chef.  The melted cheese!  SO MUCH MELTED CHEESE!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  I think if I don't say The cheese, then I'm going to get lynched.

It wouldn't let me embed the grilled cheese scene, but I've uploaded my another awesome scene instead.  He's frantically creating his new menu to impress, and I love it.  The music, the tempo - he's like a painter splashing on his canvas and it makes me so happy to watch.  This video of collated food scenes (also unable to embed) makes me very happy indeed.

Bruce and the chocolate cake

Natalie: What about the chocolate cake from Matilda

Emily_etc: Bruce Bogtrotter chocolate cake? "See ya at lunch!"

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Licking the plate clean "Take that yah bitch!"

I used to feel a strange mix of sickened and hungry when I watched this.  I'm still not a massive fan of chocolate cake to this day, and I blame this film.  It stuck with me, way past the credits.

I literally got sent about 20 examples from this show.

The cheesecake

Food or Sex?

Rachel's English Shepherds trifle

Erica - Tea with Erica: The one that first came to my mind was that when Monica (Friends) made several lasagnas and lost a nail in one of them. Seeing her and Phoebe digging in was hilarious!  And the search for Phoebe's grandmother's cookie recipe...They've got great episodes involving food! 

Pippindor: When rachel crosses the trifle with shepherds pie!

Del:  Friends portrayed my love of food perfectly!  The trifle gone wrong!  The cookie recipe!  The food vs. sex argument!  MY SANDWHICH?!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  Unable to choose.  Too many.  ARGH.

Whilst searching for these clips on youtube I found myself watching many of these over and over.  So many of these phrases made it into me and my friends daily lives that I'd forgotten they started on friends.  Perfection.

Food Memories

Jenny: Ratatouille :) when the old guy tries it and if has that flash back to his childhood :) epic!

FabFood4all: In the kitchen of "Ratatouille":-)

Hannah: When Anton is transported back to his childhood when he tries the food.  Gets me every time!

SPOTLIGHT MOMENT:  As his face changes, he drops his pen and becomes totally involved in the food.

This gets me choked up every time, because it's just so perfect.  The nostalgia of a meal really can do this - I get the same feeling whenever I have yorkshire puddings or apple crumble.

There really were so many suggestions, that I had to run with the suggestions that I got more than one of.  But here's some of the other fantastic suggestions I received:

This is a terrible example... but it's the first movie scene I thought of involving food, and makes me laugh every time. Poor Baxter! I'll strive to come up with something more appropriate later: - Becky

That scene in the hobbit! You know the one. After they all turn up at his house - Steph

Lady and the tramp, famous spaghetti scene, it's sweet and shows the innocence of a "first kiss" - Rachel

Food fight from Cheers! I so wanted to be in that makes me howl  - Del

Last holiday with queen latifah the dinners at the hotel - Seaweedandsass 

Not technically eating food, but the food fight scene in Whip It comes to mind. Actually quite hard to think of food scenes in films! - The Baking Explorer

The apple Pie in American Pie, which I know is a bit odd given the subsequent pie shagging but I can't help it and the Chocolate fountain from that Vicar of Dibley scene. - Fiona - Ilovechoc

Vicar of dibley Christmas special with the sprouts, or when she turns to the bible for comfort, but opens it to find the pages cut out to fit a chocolate bar, AND the chocolate fountain... yeah just.....every vicar of dibley episode - Ayse

I couldn't find the Vicar of Dibley chocolate fountain scene, but it did get ALOT of mentions so just for you guys....

So ... What is your favourite moment  from TV or film where food takes the spotlight?  Did we miss anything?

Friday, 7 November 2014

I've written a behind the scenes of being a food blogger, I've told you my favourite foodie videos, shared my confusion over foodie trends and I've shared with you my food photography blunders [1] [2] [3].  And now, on a cold manky Friday, I give you 15 things that kinda irritate me as a food blogger.

Because nothing cheers me up more than laughing at gifs.  Is that bad?

I dunno.  Blame Buzzfeed.

When little bits of garlic get stuck in my garlic press.
"Get out you slimy little gits!"

I like to use fresh garlic, sometimes I don't purely because my number one pet hate about my garlic crusher is that the garlic rarely comes all the way out and I have to spend a good 5 minutes poking all the bits out with a skewer.  Not cool.

Feeling like an idiot when cooking around accomplished / trained chefs.
"Why won't my hands work?!  I swear, I know how to use a spoon usually!"

I've been to a few blogging events where an accomplished chef / food magician watches you make one of their recipes and every time my body just forgets basic motor skills.  For instance: Moving or speaking coherently.  Whether I nearly choke on my own tongue whilst trying to talk, or fall arse over tit, it happens every time.  I once forgot how to ask for "more milk" and ending up mooing whilst pointing at the jug.  I ACTUALLY MOOED.  That one still comes back to haunt me as I try to sleep.

When I decide to read other blog posts when I'm nowhere near any kind of food.
"I'm no where near food and you all are talking about your doughnut orgies"

A nice form of torture, looking at other people's amazing food blogs whilst you're stuck at work / on the train / have an empty fridge and no money.

When I touch an obscenely hot saucepan handle.

Seriously manufacturers.  Sort it out.  You might think maybe I should buy saucepans without metal handles.  But I'm an idiot, so who really is to blame here?

Knowing I can't afford to buy an expensive kitchen appliance I really want.
"However if I don't buy anything else ever for 6 years, I might be able to afford this."

Two magical words.  Kitchen Showroom. You beautiful bastard, why do you make me want things so bad!?

 Adding the final flourishes to a dish after hours of cooking....
"Screw it.  I'm tired.  It's done."

The moment where you've been cooking so long that you're weary and tired.  You're pretty sure you might be dead, and you definitely aren't hungry.  You throw on some flourishes, mic drop and walk away.  You are done.  Enjoy the fruits of my labour loved ones.

When I try making bread and the damn dough won't rise.
 "Equal pain for non-rising yorkshire puddings."

Worst thing in the world after hours of prepping and kneading?  No rise.  Let's all face facts and admit that it's either luck or wizards that get bread to come out perfect everytime.

When I decide to try out some gluten free, vegan cookies but don't understand any of the ingredients...
 "Extra points for asking befuddled tesco employees for arrowroot powder"

I like to experiment, I'm sure most people reading this do, some gluten free vegan cookies are amazing, some are brilliant, some have ingredients so confusing in them that I actually wonder if I'm reading a page out of Harry Potter.

When I make something for a bake sale and have a cheeky taste - and it's the best I've ever made.
"Why are the ones I have to give away, always the best ones?!"

I'm not saying we should all make our worst cakes for charity, and obviously the better the cake, the more they will sell.  But man, the best brownies I ever made were shipped out of the door before I could even say goodbye.  no photos. Just the bittersweet memory of a cheeky taste before they were ripped out of my arms forever.

When I serve my friends / family a meal with that strange new ingredient I heard about online, and they act like it's poison.
Cue three hours of explaining what you just gave them.

For instance:  Quinoa.  Terrine.  Matcha cupcakes.  Flourless cake.  Courgette pasta.  All amazing.  All chewed on like they were sampling poison.

That all powerful feeling the first time I used a blowtorch

From the moment bursts of flame spewed from my wand of destruction there was no stopping me.  I melted cheese, glazed sugar and melted gummy bears (extra points as I put on an evil mastermind accent during the rampage).  There was no stopping me!  At least until my husband took it off me and put it out of my reach.

When I first started out and I whisked/mixed everything by hand.
"I could give popeye a run for his money baby"

Pfft, who needs an expensive mixer?  I could do this all day.  With minimal burn.  Let me put this bowl over your head.  They won't fall 'cause of my stiff peaks.  I made these peaks baby.  LOOK AT MY PEAKS.

...and trying to whisk/mix by hand after I got used to my beloved mixer.
"I'm so weak. This hurts so much."

You're mixer is broken, but this whisking stuff used to be easy, remember?  The only reason you got a mixer was to save time.  I mean now you can mix cake batter AND eat cake batter at the same time.  Pffft, You can whisk NO PROBLEM.

.....aaaaaaaaaaaaaand your arms fell off.  Oops.

How I feel after national -random food- week
"Cake for breakfast.  Just doing my part for National cake week"

I don't pretend to understand why we do this, but if someone on the internet tells me it's national sandwich week, I'm going to make a sandwich.  For the people, dammit.

...and my reaction when I hear of people who have no idea it's National -random food- week.
"but the internet said!  IT SAID!"

What about the people!?  WHAT ABOUT THEM?!

(All gifs sourced from giphy.)

What grinds your gears?  Comment below!

Friday, 24 October 2014

When I left college, I decided that the thing I had just dedicated three years of my life towards was something I had no interest in pursuing as a career.  So there I was: I could identify several types of microphone, tune a guitar by ear and knew how to deal with live sound and moody bands, but I had absolutely no interest in working in music tech.

Years of gigging and hours in the studio meant that I had pretty much lived off vending machine food and takeaways, and I had no intention of changing that.

So whilst all my friends tottered off to uni, I sat at home on my arse and became zombese.

For those who don't know what that word I just made up means, it means I literally just shuffled from my day-to-day activities, whilst moaning, with no motivation, until food showed up.  I was a zombie, but I definitely wasn't wasting away.

After a few years on this path, I was not in a good place.  I decided that losing weight was the only solution to all the problems in my life.

From then till now I lost just over 60 pounds, but learnt so much more than how to lose weight.  In fact, that just became a side effect.

1. My problems weren't caused by my weight
I dreamed of the day I hit goal.  The day where I would be thin, beautiful and have a glamourous life.  I dreamed that my lithe tanned frame would travel around the world, lying on various beaches.  I'm not entirely sure how I thought getting weighed in a church hall every week would lead to this magically funded lifestyle (who is paying for all these beach trips?) but all I knew for certain was my hefty frame was all that was stopping my dreams from becoming true.

I had it all planned out:  First I would lose the weight.  Then I would have the life that all those adverts told me I could be good enough for if I looked like a supermodel.  Yachts, beaches, big jiggly boobies, fashion sense and perfect social skills were coming my way.  Apparently.  God, what a vapid dream.

Let me tell you something.  It's all complete and utter (excuse my french) bullshit.

After I dropped the first 30 pounds, I had all the same problems as before, I just felt healthier, in fact, losing weight provided me with a whole set of new problems.  And they stayed there until I realised that my looks meant nothing and I needed to sort out my problems without bringing my appearance into it at all.

With this revelation came another one:  There is no uniform for life.  We do not have to conform to an ideal to be here.

So I hate to break it to you, but your life will not magically turn into a perfume advert the second you hit goal.  I mean, why would you want it too?  Which leads me too...

2. Ignore Advertising Ideals
A long while ago, whilst watching a bit of TV with some friends, a stupid advert came on where a beautiful woman was eating yoghurt.  All well and good I suppose, except she was really going to town on that spoon.  Like it's the sexiest object in the world.  A spoon.  It was really bloody distracting.  Finally, she and the spoon come to a raging climax as she...

... stopped eating the yogurt.  I mean COME ON!

Spoons are not sexy.  Spoons are magical vessels that transport food into our mouths.  I don't ever see a picture of a spoon and think sexy thoughts.  I see a spoon and think "I need some pie" or if it's in the washing up bowl, I am reminded to do housework.  Booo.

I mean maybe this woman really is attracted to spoon's, I am not one to judge, but then surely it would be an advert for like-minded spoon fantasists to buy spoons.  Not yoghurt.  This debate in my head over spoons went on for some time until three things happened:

1) I really wanted some pie
2) The word spoon sounded stupid
3) I had a sudden strange thought that I wished I looked that good eating yoghurt.

Like, I'm sorry, but hold up.  Who wants to look good eating yoghurt?  You are nourishing your body with curdled produce from a cow.  Who is watching?  And like, why would I care if I looked good doing it.

You are not something there to just be looked at, you are a person damn it!


Damn it, it just makes me mad.  I mean look at this.

I can't speak for the entire world here, but I've never been so overcome with arousal at the scent of daisies that I spontaneously combusted into a supermodel.  Nor have I ever wanted to sensually nibble on giant perfume bottles whilst I'm naked.  I mean each to their own and whatnot, but this sort of behaviour in public would get you some bloody weird looks.  These women are merely objects in this advert.  A selling point.

If the perfume were pancakes, these women would be the hot delicious syrup being poured on top.  They are there to make it look more desirable.

Maybe I'm in the 1% here, and the rest of you gather at Sainsburys every thursday to molest some cutlery, but I'm going to take a wild guess that you're just awesome human beings, who don't cream their pants over everyday objects.  Well, maybe excusing one minor thing...

We have all stroked a pot of nutella.

My point here is adverts tend to be stupid.  They are there to make you feel like you lack something, so you'll go out and spend your hard earned pennies on their product.  To make you feel good, when actually you felt alright before, thanks.  It's not just relegated to the perfume industry and certainly not just restricted to women.

It took me a long time (longer than I will ever really admit too) to realise that watching certain adverts and reading certain women's beauty magazines was seriously effecting my view on myself.  Life will be better, they say, if you only buy this crap (that you wouldn't need if we hadn't made you feel lacking in the first place.)

I am not adverse to wanting random food prep stuff because I saw a cool advert that promised to change my life.  But when it comes to our self image, our happiness and everything that comes with this (eating disorders, high levels of depression, young people feeling the need to sexualise themselves to be worth anything) then I think we have a problem.

I can not do this subject as much justice as some amazing people can - For instance this article on cosmo....

Just take a second before you let something you see make you feel bad about yourself...

3. NEVER let your body image hold you back
A few years before all of this,  I entered a writing competition.  It was a big national one with thousands and thousands of entries. (Winners have gone on to write best selling novels, screenplays and all sorts) So I nearly fell off my chair when I got through to the final 30 in my category.  No matter if we won or not, we were given 2 VIP tickets to a big event at the 02 arena in London.  There would be an awards dinner, publishers to chat with, chances to mingle with famous writers, workshops and a free dinner.  I turned it down.  Why?

Because I didn't feel like I could attend at the size I was and so I backed out.

Such an amazing opportunity and I turned it down because of how I looked.  I bet you can slightly relate to that too, right?

The thing is, even though we are judged on our weight in this world, it is us that lets it affect us.  We can take on those messages and decide our self worth is made up entirely of how we look, or you can do what I did and say:  You know what?  My body image does not chain me down anymore.  I refuse to let me use it as an excuse.

Even if I feel like this.

So now if I'm ever having a bad day, or I feel gross, I repeat the the Beauty redefined mantra.

I am capable of so much more than being looked at.

And then I get my ass out of that rut and own whatever I'm doing, I owe it to myself to at least try.

4. I learnt to cook
The big one here I suppose, because you wouldn't be reading this otherwise.  I could not cook.   I didn't know what half the vegetables at the supermarket were.  I didn't know how to cut up an onion.  I thought making your own soup was for wizards, I didn't understand how to use herbs and most of the equipment in cooking shops looked like sex toys to me.

The first five weeks of weight watchers I survived on their brand food.  It was disgusting.  There wasn't much in them to fill me up and they looked like goop (we eat with our eyes first, amiright?).  So I started experimenting... I would chop up and boil some carrots and add them to the ready meals, it progressed to a bag of frozen veg and steaming some spinach.  Before long I had bought myself a big cookbook and was learning to make things myself.  After that I pushed myself to learn a new technique every few weeks and before long, I was so in love with creating and cooking that I started trying to make my own recipes.

One of the first recipes I created.
Sitting proudly with one of the first recipes I made

Four years later, here we are.  If you ever find a recipe on this blog that you really like, take a second to thank ready meals and how utterly shit most of them are.

5. I started to care more about my health
I didn't join a weight loss club to be healthy.  I joined it to get thin.  We've talked about how I had these visions of me in a bikini on the beach with a lovely flat stomach.  I tried a lot of things to get that way before I settled on healthy eating and exercise.  Pills, fad diets.... shakes...

Lose weight .. and feel the need crap yourself daily!

Thing is, once the weight started to come off the healthier way I noticed things like my backache disappearing and being able to get up easier in the morning.  Then when I switched to making my own food I noticed my energy levels go through the roof, my outlook on life changed and I became a wholly more positive person, much more in control of my emotions.

Suddenly, the number on the scales became less and less important and my health became my number one priority.  Come to my house, my scales are dusty and covered in cobwebs, and that's not just because I'm a lazy duster.

These days I don't eat to make myself thin to then feel good.  I skip out the middle man.

I eat to make myself feel good.  End of.  Period.

Sometimes this involves a cheeky pudding, or meal out somewhere, a chocolate bar or something else that apparently makes me an awful human being.  I balance it out with home made meals, lots of veg and an upbeat attitude (no guilt allowed in my diet thanks very much).  Pretty happy over here.

6. I learnt not to judge people (or feel jealous)
This isn't even weight related but is by far my favourite and most valuable lesson. I learnt not to be a judgemental asshole.  Which we are all completely capable of doing.  Snap judgements on people's appearances or snap judgements on people's lifestyles.  It's exhausting.

From my personal experience, I was judging people for one of three reasons:

1) I thought my way of doing things was completely and utterly the right way (basically I thought I knew everything)
2) I was jealous.
3) To make myself feel better about my own choices.

I only realised this after I reading the blogs of hundreds of people going through many different situations.  Blogs from the people I was losing weight with, blogs I found full of the lives of real people...

Stories of how people who seemingly have it all, yet couldn't have mirrors in their house because they hated their reflection so much, young mothers being tutted at on the street, people losing weight being mocked at the gym, people with illnesses being told to suck it up because they were young.  I could go into this subject at length but it just makes me rant and no one came here to read that.

Sorry, it's an orangutan in a hat.  It's going on the blog.

Every time I would read a story like this it would make me think of a time where I would have done or said something similar and I realised how much being judgemental makes you blind.  Usually blind to what you have in your own life.  Listening and trying to understand made me more comfortable in myself and much more open to trying to see things from different perspectives.  The grass isn't greener on the other side, but it can be awesome on yours if you stop caring about what other people have.

Which in a long line of consequence led me to new foods, new methods, new friends and a pretty awesome little life.

7. I love food, it is certainly not my enemy.
I didn't restrict anything, or really cut anything out, I just love food.  I didn't before, and now I do.  Even vegetables, which I used to think were the poops of satan.

Food is awesome.  I realised how bad my relationship was with food before all this happened.  It was about what I couldn't eat.  Now I'm in awe of what I can.  It's fun.

There's so much to try, so much to experiment with.  There's more vegetables and flavours than I ever thought possible.  There's such a negative mindset put on eating.  That it's naughty, orgasmic or boringly healthy - it's stupid.  Enjoy your food.  It keeps you alive and does loads of amazing stuff whilst it's in the old meatbag.

Good food just makes me want to dance.

You know what?  There should be more adverts of people dancing with food than practically shagging it.  The other day a friend and I did a little dance over how good some mango was.

So why does it have to be one extreme or the other.  Why does it have to be health OR good food?!  Good food can be healthy.

I said all I had to say on this matter in my post - Food is not the enemy.  So I won't repeat myself.

 -everyone breathes a collective sigh of relief-

So that's about it.  I am by no means saying I am a perfect human being with all the answers to everything, but that's my story.

Have you ever been through a major lifestyle change that ended for the better?  Do you love food? Comment below!

Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Let's get this out of the way.  It's getting colder, and we're all preparing for the onslaught of pumpkin spice, stews and soups, knitting projects and the countdown to Christmas.  You might think this blog would be different, but you'd be wrong.  I am going to wax lyrical about my love of the colder weather too.


I like crunchy leaves and big scarves.  Roaring fires are cool too.  Yay for weather as long as it's not raining.

Nailed it.

Us food bloggers like to look on the bright side when the seasons change.  Sure it's cold outside, and it's getting dark earlier, and everyone is sick, tired and grumpy...

But look at all the cool food we can make now.

We're dusting off our slow cookers, hauling big pumpkins out of the market (even if we don't quite get the hype about them) and using the rainy freezing days as an excuse to make big pies and mugs of hot chocolate.

Just don't mention that we're getting a little pudgy and we'll all be cool.

The only downside that none of us can avoid, is the damn winter cold.  I'm surrounded by snotty zombies everywhere I go, and we all know there is only two ways to avoid becoming one yourself.

Option one: Lock yourself in your house until summer.  Or go outside in a hazard suit.  Or sell your soul to be one of those annoying people that never get colds and brag about it as others lie dying in a pool of their own snot.

Option two: Eat up a buttload of veggies.  Like this fantastical easy-to-make stew that's full of vitamins and good stuff like that.


I call it THE COLD WARRIOR, because it does a banging job of fighting the bugs off, and because that sounds way cooler to offer to people than "A nice pot of healthy stew".

If you're into this kinda thing - It's also filling and healthy.  Perfect to counteract all those hot chocolates, slices of pie and, let's be honest here, stupidly early discount boxes of christmas biscuits.


Packed full of flavours and really easy to make, armour up your immune system with this badass.  The fresh herbs are well worth the effort when it comes to flavour.

Depending on your portion size - this can make between 4-6 servings :)

1 can of chopped tomato
2 tablespoons concentrated tomato puree
3 cloves garlic - crushed
1 small can of kidney beans
150g green lentils
150g red lentils
1 red onion
1 white onion
3 tablespoons garden peas
2 tablespoons broad beans
4 tablespoons sweetcorn
Handful of kale, chopped small
80g quinoa
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 pint of vegetable stock
few springs of fresh parsley
5-6  leaves of fresh basil (sub for 1/2 teaspoon dried if need be)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/2 teaspoon chilli powder
few sprigs of fresh thyme (leaves removed from the stalk)
about 1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh chives
Splash of olive oil

Grab yourself a stock pot, splash in your olive oil and chopped garlic and onions.  Lightly fry them until browned.

Now here's the hard bit.  In the stock pot add the kidney beans, garden peas, broad beans, sweet corn, kale, herbs and spices.  Add the vinegar and give it a mix around.  Finally Add the can of chopped tomatoes, lentils, quinoa and stock.

Give it a good stir, things should be bobbling around in there, if it isn't add a little bit of boiling water, as the lentils and quinoa will soak up quite a bit of the stock.  Keep some water by the side in case of emergency during cooking.  You will have to use your judgement, you don't want it to be too runny, but you don't want a hash!

Keep your stew stewing on a medium heat for about an hour.  Keep checking on it, giving it stir making sure it's not drying up, and if by chance it's looking a little dry, just add some more water and let it stew.

After all the lentils are cooked up, and your stew is looking nice and thick and bubbly, it's time to serve.  Beware, as it will be really bloody hot.  Top off your stew with a bit of chopped parsley, mostly to be fancy but also because that stuff is good for you.

Armoured up.

Can't beat a good stew.

Here's to winter!

What are your thoughts on winter?  Love it?  Hate it?  Wish you could wrap yourself in a scarf from head to toe?  Comment below! :)

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