The Soup With Recipe

Today was so busy I hardly had time to eat which is good in one way but can mean I end up grabbing sugary high carb snacks but thanks to taking to work my own breakfast and having ready made soup for supper I did OK today.

I began with an apple cider and honey in hot water which I am really liking nowadays and a bowl of watermelon.  I have enjoyed that watermelon but that was the end of it.watermelon 22-10-14 For lunch I had a mackerel and rice salad from Pure.Big Mack I haven’t had smoked mackerel for ages and I really enjoyed it.mackerel salad 22-10-14 I was feeling very hungry by the time I got to eat this (mid afternoon) so I added some cooked chicken to make sure I didn’t give in to temptation and pop out for latte and cake.chicken and rice salad Back at home I had another bowl of that soup.bean soup and spoon It was really good.bean soup close up Especially with parmesan on top.  I do need to share this recipe with you.bean soup and ParmesanIt took me ages to find the recipe but I got there in the end.  It was in the ‘easy slow cooker’ book.  I struggled to find it because it was not in the soup section as it was a recipe for a hot pot!easy slow cooker

Smoky Bean Hotpot

Ingredients – serves 4

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tbsp capers, finely chopped
  • 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 tsp smoked sweet paprika
  • 1 celery stick, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 medium waxy potatoes, cut in to 2 cm dice
  • 1 red pepper, deseeded and chopped,
  • 350ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1 x tin of beans ( I used black beans and red kidney beans)
  • salt and pepper


  1. Heat the oil in a frying pan, heat and add the onion and cook for 4 – 5 minutes
  2. Add the garlic, capers, parsley and paprika and fry for 2 minutes
  3. Add the celery, carrot, potatoes and red pepper and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly to coat the vegetables in the flavoured oil
  4. Transfer to the slow cooker and add the stock
  5. Cover with the lid and cook on HIGH for 3 hours until all the vegetables are cooked
  6. Stir in the beans 1 hour before the end of cooking time.

I have not been eating this all week because I have eaten small portions but because I doubled the portion.  We have all really enjoyed this and I will definitely make it again.


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A Life In Pots

I seem to be eating a lot of my food from pots these days!  This is actually quite good as it means I am often taking food to work from home which saves money and puts me in charge of quality control.

grapes and ham

Breakfast was perfect for munching while I worked; ham, watermelon and red grapes.  Watermelon is my current craving.

grapes, ham and watermelon Another ridiculously busy day so I raced down to Pure to grab a bite to eat for I enjoyed this the other day so bought it again.  I really like those little ‘chilli berries’.salmon noodle 1 I didn’t resolve how many syns this has but it really can’t be many as it is not greasy/oily and neither is it very large.salmon noodle I bought a fruit pot too.fruit pot 22-10-14 Supper was ultra easy as all I had to do was reheat some of the bean soup I made the other day.  I added some Parmesan tonight but couldn’t weigh it because the scales seem to have broken.  I washed them the other day after I noticed they looked dirty in a photo and they haven’t worked since!Bean and potato soup

I am too tired to copy out the recipe for this delicious soup but I will share it with you one day as it really is very good indeed.  I certainly plan to make it again.

That is everything I had today except for some more grapes I nibbled while I was pottering about in the kitchen.  A good day, I hope.

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A Reasonable Start

I made a reasonable start to my Slimming World campaign – I lost 4 pounds this week.  I was pleased with that, especially after the pizza and wine last Thursday and the almond cake I ate last night and white chocolate I had today!!  I had been really good the rest of the time though.

I went tropical for breakfast.tropical fruit I brought in from home a pot of chopped mango, papaya and passionfruit topped with coconut yogurt.tropical fruit salad 2 It was delicious.tropical fruit salad 21-10 I also took a salad in from home.salad 21-10-14 2 Quinoa, chickpeas, celery, red and yellow tomatoes, cucumber, sugar snap peas, watermelon and a variety of leaves.  I am getting used to salad without a dressing to save calories but it was a bit boring.salad 21-10-14 So I bought some flavourful chicken to add.M&S chicken tikka This was very good actually, well flavoured.chicken tikka As a little treat to myself for losing weigh, I loved every mouthful of a raspberry and banana ice-cream.raspberry nana ice-cream Made with 1/4 of an avocado, 2 frozen bananas, frozen raspberries, 2 passion fruits, 1 heaped tbsp cashew nut butter and some almond milk to loosen it.  It was divine.raspberry nana ice cream

What a treat.

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Free Food Or Syns?

In general I find Slimming World very easy to follow but there are some things I am finding confusing.  It would help if I had stayed to my first class and I will be asking some questions tomorrow when I go back to be weighed after week 1 – wish me luck!

I copied yesterday’s breakfast and brought a potful in to work of pink grapefruit, ham and watermelon.  The sweet and salty and juicy went really well breakfast 20-10-14 I literally had 12 minutes to grab lunch as I was in non stop meetings from 12 – 4pm but one meeting finished early leaving me just time to buy something.  I went to Pure and bought a small salad and fruit pot.

This small salad was called ‘Singapore Salmon’ and although I had to bolt it down to get to my next meeting, it was delicious.  Salmon, noodles, some greenery and mild spices.  It was really good and I want to have it again.Singapore Salmon 1 This is what I am confused about though.  Pure meals are not on the Slimming World website but you can estimate Syns by typing in the nutritional details.  Pure’s website gives you the nutritional value of foods.  Apparently this little pot, which only had 578.5 calories per portion was 17 syns.   When I look at the ingredients, most of them are free foods i.e. I can eat as many as I want;

Singapore Salmon


Hot-smoked salmon,

sesame ginger noodles,

chilli berries, pickled

ginger, black sesame

seeds and spring onion

with Devil’s dressing

It didn’t seem greasy at all and although I don’t know what was in the dressing, I can’t believe there was more than 1 tbsp oil in there.  So I am puzzled how this had so many syns.  I suspect the answer is that it doesn’t and I have done something wrong in working it out.Singapore Salmon This little fruit pot of mango, pineapple and blackberries was yummy too.fruit pot 20-10-14 2 fruit pot 20-10-14 1 For dinner I stir fried onions with carrots, red kale, sugar snap peas, quinoa, chick peas, parsley and coriander with some turmeric and soy sauce.  A fairly bland and boring supper but it was healthy at least.supper 20-10-14

I had a very busy evening.  Annoyingly I ate a little almond cake I was given by Ocado (home delivered groceries).  Apart from that, it was a really good day for healthy eating.

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Salad and Soup

I was so well behaved today.

IMG_8061 I began with a very pink breakfast!IMG_8062 It was not intentionally pink but I noticed its pinkness when I took the photo.IMG_8063 Watermelon, half a pink grapefruit and and some ham.IMG_8064 With a green tea and a glass of pink grapefruit juice made from one grapefruit.IMG_8065 I was surprised at lunch time when Harvey asked me to make him a chicken caesar salad with croutons.  The croutons were essential, apparently.

I popped to Hartley Dyke to get some provisions, including these lovely tomatoes which I bought to add to our salad. IMG_8067They did not have any raw chicken breasts for me to cook so I bought a ready cooked and smoked breast and some cooked turkey breast too.
IMG_8068 I made a salad with a lovely variety of leaves such as lamb’s lettuce and pea shoots, tomatoes, cucumber and spring onions from the garden.IMG_8070 I had half the chicken breast and one slice of the turkey and drizzled it with a caesar dressing (mayonnaise, Dijon, garlic and lemon juice).IMG_8071 Harvey had his croutons.IMG_8072 I dusted off the slow cooker (quite literally) and put it to good use to make this bean soup.IMG_8075Full of vegetables (onions, potatoes, red pepper, carrots and celery) and beans (black and red kidney) and flavoured with sweet paprika, garlic, capers, parsley and vegetable stock it was delicious.    I did have 2 bowlfuls as apart from a little olive oil, it was all free food i.e. eat as much as you like.

As well as eating so healthily today, I also went on a really good walk for over an hour in the forest.

Today was a very good day.

Today’s diary 19th October 2014

Free Foods

tomatoes (inc tomato purée)
salad, without dressing
potatoes ham
red kidney beans carrots
celery cucumber
lettuce onions
peppers spring onions
garlic grapefruit
melon, all varieties black beans
Healthy Extras

a 250ml semi-skimmed milk
b 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

Basic, Grapefruit, canned in juice 2
Total Syns 2



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Wine or Cheese?

What a delightfully sunny and warm day it was today.  Well, it was in Ramsgate and I hope you enjoyed some sunshine too.

I started with hot water with honey and apple cider vinegar.  It is growing on me.cider vinegar and honey water I was going to Ramsgate for the day to get the house ready for the next visitors which meant a very busy and intense 5 house for the turnover.  Luckily I had Lara and Jo Jo to help me today and they were fabulous.

I took food with me so I wasn’t tempted to snack or over eat.  I had 35g oats35 g oats which I mixed with 1 tbsp chia seeds and 150 ml milk.  When it came time to eat it, I had an apple with it.  I also munched my way through 2 other apples during the day.oats and chia in round pot This is one of my favourite rooms in any of the houses that I get to visit.  I like the wide dark wood floorboards , the size and scale of the room but the main attraction is the view.  I do enjoy sitting in that window seat.sitting room 18-10-14 I prefer this aspect when I am looking at the seats full of friends or family.sitting room at Ramsgate This view is lovely and I can sit and watch the boats coming and going or just bobbing about in the water for hours.  Unfortunately we were too busy to sit and relax today but at least I spent a few minutes in here.Ramsgate harbour 18-10-14 Last night, while I was cooking dinner, I prepared our lunch for today.  It was roasted vegetables (carrots, butternut squash, leeks, red onion and red kale) with chickpeas and quinoa.  Not particularly exciting but it tasted good enough, was light and definitely healthy.quinoa and roasted veg While cooking tonight’s dinner, which was pasta and veggies, I deliberated about whether to have wine or cheese with my dinner.  Wine won – a very large 250ml glass full of it :-)red wine 18-10-14 This was a very simple supper but it tasted good.  Wholewheat spaghetti with tomatoes, onions, red kale and spinach with lots of garlic and a little chilli.  It tasted even better with some cheese on.  I wasn’t going to but I couldn’t resist, especially when I saw I had enough syns/calories to have some.spaghetti and veg

Having completed my food diary, I am only over my syns by a half so I am happy with today’s eating.

Today’s  Food Diary 18th October 2014

Free Foods

dried pasta, all types including low carb
tomatoes (inc tomato purée)
quinoa chickpeas
carrots leeks
onions spinach
butternut squash curly kale
chillies garlic
apples apples
Healthy Extras

a 250ml semi-skimmed milk
a 30g Cheddar
b 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
b 35g porridge oats (unflavoured)

Basic, Honey 1
Basic, Honey 1
Raw Health, Organic Chia Seeds 5
Basic, Red wine
Total Syns 15½


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Slimming World and Socialising

There is no denying that Slimming World has very easy to follow diet plans.  There is also no denying that I like going out and eating which makes sticking to the former very challenging!


Two pots of fruit for breakfast2 fruit salad pots A trip to M&S yielded a large ready made and undressed salad and a packet of spicy chicken pieces.M&S salad and chicken The salad was a bit boring without dressing but the chicken was tasty.chicken salad I snacked on grapes all afternoon.grapes 16-10-14 I was out in the evening with Jeremy and Laura and failed to take any photos or stick to my diet.  But I ate a huge pizza (about 40 syns !!!!!) and 3 glasses of wine which have 9 syns each.  It was wonderful to see my friends and I wish I could see them more often but not a good night’s eating!


I had an apple for breakfast, worked hard and then popped out to the local pub, The Milkhouse, for lunch with Simone.

This was beautiful and delicious.Milkhouse starter 17-10-14 It was a butternut carpaccio topped with roasted root vegetables and the purple salad which tasted like cress.  It was really good.butternut capraccio As a main I had breaded plaice with mashed potato.  I left the creamy sauce to save some calories, much as I wanted to eat it.  The plaice and potato tasted very good and were well cooked. The only thing I would have changed was to add some more vegetables.  The company was tip top.Plaice and potato In the evening I made a huge bowl of stir fried vegetables from onion, butternut squash, purple kale, sprouting broccoli and spinach.veggies 17-10-14 Lots and lots of spinach !spinach in sink Plus a slice of ham and half a tin of chick peas.  Gently spiced with a variety of different spices made a very light and tasty supper.Stir fried veggies and ham

I am out all day tomorrow but I have prepared food to take with me so no excuses for not being good tomorrow.

Have a happy evening.

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Back To Slimming World

Last night I went back to Slimming World – thank you Vicky for the encouragement.  I have lost a lot of weight with Slimming World before and as I am struggling at the moment I thought I would go back. Consequently I have been weighing and measuring some of my food today and reacquainting myself with the simple but important rules.

banana on scale blackberries on scalesblackberry smoothie 14-10-14potatoes saladegg and potato saladbanana and applestir fried veg noodles and prok

food diary

15th October 2014

Free Foods

Apple Mushrooms
Banana Onion
Boiled egg Potato
Carrot Rocket
Cauliflower Rocket
Kale Sugar Snap Peas
Lambs lettuce Tomatoes
Leek Tomatoes
Lettuce Wholewheat noodles
Healthy Extras

a  250ml semi-skimmed milk
b  1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
b  65g pork (cooked weight)

Banana pureed 100g 5 Syns Salad Cream  2½ Syns
Blackberries pureed 100g 1 Syn Salad Cream  2½ Syns
Co Yo coconut yogurt 50g 3½ Syns

Total: 14½ Syns

Job done !


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Everything I Ate And Drank Today

I photographed EVERYTHING I ate AND drank today.

I breakfasted on a sandwich from M&S filled with Turkey, Pastrami and Emmental with a cup of tea

M&S sandwich and tea

A little bit later I had a cafe au lait and an almond croissant.  EEK !!!!!!!!!

Monmouth almond croissant and coffee

2 glasses of water

2 cups of water

I took myself out at lunch time to Wild Food Cafe and had their salad special of the day which was called ‘The Philosopher’s Salad’ and I had it with their shot of the day.

lunch 13-10-14

The lemon and ginger shot was powerful stuff.  I knocked it back and it was really strong.  Initially I wondered what was going to happen and then I enjoyed the after glow.  It was unusual and something I would try again.

lemon and ginger shot

The salad was awesome.

Philosopher's salad 2

One of the best salads I have had for a long time.  I have never had raw parsnip and it was tasty.  The parsnip and carrot was sliced ultra thin in to wide but very thin ribbons and both were excellent. The salad also had a variety of green leaves, green beans, asparagus, mini sweet corns, radishes, figs, seeds and a very light green dressing which I am guessing had avocado in it.  Fabulous.

Philosopher's Salad 1

Another cup of water

Cup of water on water cooler

Another cup of tea

cup of tea 13-10-14

Back at home I had a mug of Rooibos green tea.

green Rooibos tea

I made a very simple supper of green leaves (spinach, pea shoots and rocket) with tomatoes from the garden and half a Burrata.  The tomatoes were fantastic, especially the red ones.  They were firm but not too firm and so sweet and juicy.  I may not have grown many but the ones which did grow were well worth it.

Burrata salad

The Burrata was gorgeous.  Very creamy and mild tasting.  I really like the consistency because it is super soft in places but also has firm bits and ribbons of Mozzarella.  the olive oil was top quality too and the only other accompaniment was some freshly ground black pepper.

Burata tub

If only I hadn’t had that croissant and cafe au lait, today would have been a good one for a woman on a diet!



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A Long and Leisurely Sunday

It was lovely to wake up this morning knowing I had nothing in the diary so nothing to rush about for which made a very pleasant change.

I started the day with a hot water with apple cider vinegar and honey.  Aunty Hilary and Miranda had said on Wednesday that they have this at the beginning of every day.honey, vinegar and water There are many reported health benefits of drinking vinegar and even the bottle claims it makes an ‘invigorating  tonic’.  It didn’t taste bad but I think it is an acquired cider tonic We were planning a late lunch so I made us all a more substantial breakfast than usual with home grown potatoes, ham and a poached egg.ham egg and potato For our main meal, everything except the meat was from the garden.potatoes and apples We had roast belly of pork.roast pork belly With trombetti and veggies The potatoes did not make great roasting potatoes which is a shame because they are lovely boiled.roast pork dinner 11-10-14 The pork was not as tender as I was hoping for either so that was disappointing.  The apple sauce and vegetables were good.roast pork 11-10-14 The chocolate pudding with a little of Harvey’s crumble and cream was delicious but not very diet friendly.  Neither was the fudge or piece of cake I had after our walk!choc pudding and crumbleOn the plus side I did go on a decent walk today.  We walked from Sissinghurst Village through fields and woods to the castle and lakes and back again.

L and H at apple orchard apples in Sissinghurst orchard Sissinghurst village sign algae at Sissinghurst Milton quite enjoys a swim and enjoyed swimming in the lake.Milton at lake 4 Milton at lake 3 He always likes to chase a stick, even out far in to the middle of the lake,  which makes us laugh, since there are sticks lying all around!Milton at lake 2 Milton at lake 1 It was good to be outside and walking around.Sissinghurst lake

Not the healthiest day’s eating, definitely not enough fruits and vegetables and too much sugar.  It was a lovely relaxing day though.


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