My Week #63 – Out and About

my week #63 - chilling

*Slimming World Fun *Reeves Event

*Manchester Colour Walk *Unicorn Juice

*My beautiful new Disneyland mug *Fur babies 

*Fluffy! *Hoisin Duck Pizza

 

It feels like I’ve been back for ages! So much has happened.

As well as struggling with extreme jet lag and a cold, I’ve been out, about and been trying to sort out stuff at home too. Being a grown up is silly.

As I mentioned last week, I put on 6 pounds at Slimming World but this week I have lost 5 of them so yay for vegetables. I also joined a gym and promptly pulled a muscle in my back during my induction. I’ve been once since and plan on going again on Monday (letting my back recover this weekend!).

On Friday I went to the Reeves – Show Your Colours event which was really fun.

Got to chat to some lovely bloggers and I’ll be doing a post on it as soon as I’m done with all my honeymoon ones. And on Saturday I went on the Manchester Colour Walk which was hosted by the Facebook group In Colourful Company and it was awesome. Again I’ll be doing a write up eventually, but for now here’s a great one by Bethany Rose. And you might spot me in one of the group walking pics. I have a red coat now!

And speaking of red coats…

I did a mini winter shop as I had barely anything suitable for the upcoming cold season when I returned. So as I said, I got a red coat which was a bargainous £34.99 from New Look as well as a pair of boots since my old ones died last winter. As well as a bunch of gym clothes because as I said, I joined a gym. Now I’m completely sorted and should be fine for the rest of the year.

I saw Gabriel Iglesias otherwise known as Fluffy at the O2 Apollo last night

He was awesome! Topher and I went with my parents and we had awesome seats. My parents were on the 4th or 5th row and Topher and I were on the balcony on the left which stuck out so there was no one in front of us. The show was so funny (I love his sound effects and accents) and I’m so glad he finally came to Manchester. One of his shows are on Netflix so if you haven’t heard of him, I definitely recommend you check him out.

This weekend is definitely going to be a quite one and I can’t wait to just chill out!

How was your week?

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New York Food – What We Ate on Our Honeymoon

So in true Diane style, my New York Food post has more photos than the actual New York Travel Diary post.  

And words for that matter. This is a bit of an epically long post sooo maybe grab a brew and a biscuit packet and get stuck in.

Having done a load of research before we set off for the big apple (as well as the rest of the holiday), I knew exactly where we were eating everyday. OTT sure but Topher agreed when he found that we didn’t have a bad meal for the whole trip. Boom. Job done and I’ll pat myself on the back. I hate wasting money on crap food and I love trying new things so I was super excited to get stuck in.

A bit of context for those who don’t know Topher and I. My eyes are bigger than my stomach and it has a horrible habit of being starving and as soon as I start eating gets full very quickly. Especially with junk food. Topher on the other hand can eat everything and anything and will always finish my leftovers. So when you see him struggle with something, you know the portion size is too big!

I’m just going to post these in the order we ate them so here we go:

Grimaldi’s Pizza

Topher did wonder why I dragged him 15 blocks for pizza on our first night but as soon as he tasted the pizza, he understood. Grimaldi’s is famous for it’s Brooklyn location but we went to their Manhattan store as I think 15 blocks was more than enough for that night.

I did get a look when I suggested one of the smaller sized pizza’s but as you can see below it’s freaking huge so I’d be afraid to see the big ones. We got half one topping and half another so we could share. The pizza itself was delicious and I’d definitely recommend it! A great introduction to New York and starting our trip in style.

New York Food - Grimaldi's Pizza

Luke’s Lobster

A chain you can find in locations all around the USA (as well as 5 stores in Japan!), Luke’s Lobster definitely had to be on my list. I’m a huge seafood fan and have been searching for a lobster roll that isn’t just tiny pieces of lobster overwhelmed by sauce and salad. We went to the Financial District branch.

New York Food - Luke's Lobster Interior

As you can see, there was plenty of lobster (and what is it with this country and pickles? They’re everywhere!) and it was so incredibly delicious. I could have eaten another one quite easily but obviously being lobster, its not the cheapest.

New York Food - luke's lobster roll

I also had an own brand blueberry lemonade which was really interesting. I could really taste the honey and it was a nice spin on lemonade.

New York Food - Luke's Lobster Drink

I have to thank my friend Claire for spotting this one online for me. Cookie dough that is safe to eat? I’m in! Due to their heat treated flour and their pasteurised egg product used in the mix, it’s totally safe. I was really looking forward to trying this. There were only a few people in front of us so it appears we got lucky.

New York Food - Do exterior

New York Food - Do signage

The original plan was to share a scoop between us but we kinda got excited and got one each. Little bit of a mistake as neither of us could finish ours! There was even a guy sitting near us regretting his two scoop option. Don’t get me wrong, this stuff is so incredibly delicious but it’s really rich so it’s difficult to have a lot in one sitting. And this is with Topher who can really pack it away.

Luckily they had plastic lids to put on top of your cups so you could take them away. We dropped ours off in the fridge at the hotel and they made great midnight snacks later! I had the classic chocolate chip and Topher had the brookie dough. I would really love to try all the flavours though as they sound amazing. It would be cool if they did cookie dough flights where you got a sample of each flavour and they’re all bite size. I’d pay for that!

New York Food - Do scoops

The Meatball Shop

I saw a recommendation for this place on Carrie’s blog and it’s been on my wish list for a while now. We went to the Chelsea location and got seated right away. Sorry for the awful photos, it was super dark in there!

New York Food - The Meatball Shop menu

Unfortunately for me, it turns out the classic meatballs are a mix of beef and pork so I told the waitress I guess I would have the chicken. Luckily for me, she recommended the veggie meatballs and I’m so glad I did. They were absolutely amazing and went great with the mashed potato and tomato sauce. Topher had the spicy pork.

New York Food - The Meatball Shop interior

Portion size was good, I almost finished mine but had to hand the remains over to Topher who polished them off happily.

New York Food - The Meatball Shop meals

Doughnut Plant

After The Meatball Shop, we went to the Chelsea location of the Doughnut Plant to get a single doughnut each. I loved this display on the wall. They’re all cushions!

New York Food - doughnut plant wall

It was difficult to choose but I went with the mini creme brûlée filled doughnut which was the perfect flavour and size for me.

New York Food - Doughnut Plant Creme Brulee doughnut

Topher chose the Coffee Cake doughnut obviously being the coffee fiend he is and he liked it.

New York Food - Doughnut plant coffee doughnut

Katz’s Deli

Some say this has turned into a bit of a tourist trap but I still wanted to get my hands on one of their pastrami sandwiches.

New York Food - Katz Deli exterior

Much to Topher’s dismay, I suggested that we share a sandwich after seeing their size on a Youtube video. Looking from the top, it’s not a particularly big sandwich but the height is what makes you realise it’s a good idea to share. And after we polished it off, Topher agreed. I definitely agree with him that I’m ruined for pastrami now. We’ve just been spoiled by this tastiness.

New York Food - Katz Deli sandwich

Ice and Vice

Ice and Vice is an experimental ice cream shop and I certainly agree with that description. I had the “Yellow” flavour which is Buckwheat Honey, Tumeric, Sunflower and Butterscotch with a blue cone. I didn’t realise that the cones themselves were flavoured too and as they don’t say what they are on the website, I can’t remember what this tasted of. The server recommended the pairing so that’s all I can say.

Topher had the “9AM” which is Vietnamese Coffee and Donut Truffle in a black cone. We both enjoyed our ice creams and I’d definitely recommend this place for something a little bit different.

New York Food - Ice and Vice Ice cream

5 Napkin Burger

In search of a decent burger, we found it at 5 Napkin Burger. A sit down restaurant, we chose their Hell’s Kitchen location as it was a stones throw away from The Majestic Theatre where we saw The Phantom of the Opera. Forgoing fries turned our to be an excellent idea as I couldn’t finish my burger. Thanks again Topher! I had the Original 5Napkin burger which had caramelised onions and rosemary garlic aioli and I think Topher had the Bacon Cheddar. We were both left happily full and definitely recommend.

New York Food - 5 napkin burger

Sarabeth’s

Pretty much every blog I read recommended a visit to Sarabeth’s so we visited the Tribeca location. A bit on the expensive side but we really enjoyed it.

New York Food - Sarabeths menu

For one thing, the portion sizes were absolutely perfect. After getting destroyed by a pancake breakfast in LA, these pancakes were so welcomed! Topher had the Tribeca Breakfast which he really enjoyed.

New York Food - sarabeths breakfast

And I had the lemon and ricotta pancakes which were something that was recommended time and time again. Though they aren’t something I’d normally gravitate to, I’m so glad I trusted strangers on the internet because they were absolutely gorgeous. I finished them all off and would happily go back and have them again.

New York Food - sarabeths pancakes

Shelter

Now this place was a happy accident that wasn’t on my list. Unfortunately somehow I misunderstood when Smorgasburg was on. I though it was Sunday’s in Williamsburg but apparently not. Oops! And this was found out after we’d done our nightmarish walk through Brooklyn. Double oops! Starving and finding a different food event that was on instead we quickly took to the internet to find a replacement. I would have happily gone to this alternative event but it was online ticketed only and if you wanted to get in then you would have to wait until 4pm! This was 12.30pmish so we decided to find somewhere else.

Walking into Shelter which is just up the street from Smorgasburg, we found a hipsters paradise.

New York Food - shelter interior

The menu was pretty limited but what we did end up with we really enjoyed and it was the perfect antidote to our long walk. Topher had a burger and I had pizza.

New York Food - shelter burger

New York Food - shelter pizza

Oddfellows

This was on my original list but I had bumped it for dessert at Smorgasburg. So when that plan failed, it hopped back on. The flavours that were on offer at the time weren’t particularly out of this world apart from the chorizo caramel swirl but I enjoyed what I had. Topher had a sample of the chorizo flavour and was slightly disappointed to find the chorizo element overwhelming over the others. It seems that flavours like this work a bit better when the weird element is just an obvious hint. So thanks to the server for recommending that he try a sample first. He went with the Lemon Meringue pie which he enjoyed and I picked Sprinkles which was tasty.

New York Food - oddfellows ice cream

Panna II 

Last year I read Sophie’s post about this place and I mentally stored it away for our trip. Panna II is an Indian restaurant in the East Village which is mental. The place is tiny and is full of fairy lights. And I mean full!

New York Food - panna II interior

It was crazy, there was loud Indian music played and we loved every minute of it. We picked the chicken tikka masala and their chicken makhani which is one of their best sellers and both were delicious. No photos I’m sorry but with the lighting it looked terrible and it looked like your standard Indian meal to be honest. I always find Indian food tastes better than it looks anyway.

New York Food - panna II lights

Eggloo

I originally picked this because I hadn’t seen anything like this in the UK but over the last few months they’ve been cropping up everywhere. Bad as it’s not unique, good as it’s not unique! I’d really want to get this again so I’m glad I can find it in the UK somewhere.

If I remember correctly, when I found this place on Instagram, there wasn’t a website for it at that point. It does have one now though. So the first time we saw the menu, it was in the store. We were pretty tired so found the whole thing a little bit overwhelming. Luckily they had two photos next to the register with a pre-chosen option on each so we just went with those. If I ever got the chance to go back, I would definitely have a more “me” option and pick and choose. So I’m pretty sure the names for what we had were “Jessica” and “Mike”. There’s no mention of these on their website so I might just have been making them up in my tired state!

Jessica

New York Food - eggloo jessica

Mike

New York Food - eggloo mike

Both were delicious and easier to eat than you would think. The plastic spoons definitely helped!

Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Co

We couldn’t go to New York and not have a bagel (well, I couldn’t!) so we had breakfast here the first morning we came back from the West Coast.

New York Food - brooklyn bagel & coffee co interior

I had a poppyseed bagel with smoked salmon and cream cheese. Classic and delicious! Topher had a breakfast burrito. Not so classic but equally delicious!

New York Food - brooklyn bagel smoked salmon bagel

Mokbar

When we entered Chelsea Market in search of lunch, I remembered a post by The Cat, You and Us that recommended a little Korean Ramen bar and I’m so glad we went. I was a bit put off with the lack on non pork ramen options but I’m glad we persevered and I got the chicken ramen see below. It was delicious and surprisingly buttery.

New York Food - mokbar chicken ramen

Topher had the classic pork ramen and I will always remember this meal now. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so happy! He ate all of his and finished mine off for me too and would not shut up about it for the rest of the day. He was in love with that ramen. So we definitely recommend it!

New York Food - mokbar pork ramen

S’mac

Looking for some comfort food and plenty of carbs, we headed to S’mac in the East Village for some mac and cheese.

New York Food - s'mac exterior

You can’t really tell by the below photos but our meals are two different sizes. S’mac actually do four different sizes of skillet which was awesome! Nosh, Major Munch, Mongo and Partay! I had Nosh and Topher had Major Munch and they were the perfect individual sizes for us.

So I had the mediterranean which had goat cheese, sauteed spinach, kalamata olives, and roasted garlic. I can’t remember but I think I may have been unable to finish all of this so I gave it to Topher. It was absolutely amazing though. I may have to try and recreate this at home.

New York Food - s'mac mediterranean

Topher had the Cheeseburger which was unsurprising beef and cheese! He really enjoyed his too and polished off the whole thing.

New York Food - s'mac cheeseburger mac&cheese

Milk Bar

It’s safe to say that I wanted everything on the menu here so choosing was so difficult. We went to the East Village location and it was tiny! Definitely a place to pick up your stuff and go.

New York Food - milkbar exterior

After taking ages to decide, I got the Cereal Milk soft serve and Topher got the Crack Pie Milk Quake. We also got a slice of crack pie and a compost cookie to take back to the hotel with us. I enjoyed my soft serve but Topher didn’t like it at all. It seems to be a bit of a Marmite item as I hear people raving about it but then I also saw a girl throw a lot of hers away. It does taste like cereal milk after you’ve eaten all the cornflakes though. Topher found it a bit sour so don’t expect it to be overly sweet. The flakes around it are super sweet though. He enjoyed his milk quake though so that’s good.

New York Food - cereal milk ice cream

The compost cookie was delicious and my only regret is only getting one slice of the crack pie to share as that stuff without a better word to describe it is like crack. It was sweet buttery goodness and I’m still dreaming about it . Lucky for me, they have the recipe on their website. Score!

And that’s everything we ate in a 5 day period. Yowza.

No regrets.

Have you ever tried any of these places?

Check out what we did in New York apart from just eating!

See Part 2 of our trip where we visited San Francisco 

And what we ate there!

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New York City Honeymoon Travel Diary

Time for the barrage of honeymoon posts. Totally not sorry. First stop, New York

New York City baby! As mentioned before, I’ll be doing separate posts just for the food because there was a lot of it and it was hard enough choosing photos for this post. Sorry for the subsequent photo bomb.

So New York was at both the beginning and end of our trip. We did 2 days and an evening at the beginning, followed by 2 and a half days at the end.

Day 1 (kinda)

Our flight arrived in JFK around 4.30pm local time so after immigration we hopped on the subway to Manhattan to our first hotel. Why not a taxi? It’s $50 which compared to around $16.50 for two of us to use the Airtrain and the subway seemed like a no brainer. We weren’t in a massive rush and had hand luggage only so it wasn’t a problem. I’d watched a Youtube video on how to use the subway so it was pretty easy.

After checking into our hotel in Midtown on 6th avenue and freshening up we headed over to the Empire State Building to tick off our first landmark.

New York - empire state

The views were absolutely incredible. It was my third time heading up in my life (Topher’s first) but it was my very first time going at night and I loved it.

New York - empire state building view

Then we were off to a late dinner, passing the Flatiron building along the way.

New York - Flatiron building

Bellies full we headed back to the hotel and collapsed.

Day 1 (the real day 1)

Up bright and early (I love east to west jet lag) we hopped on the subway downtown to see the Statue of Liberty. A first for the both of us. If you’re not interested in actually going to the island I fully recommend getting the Staten Island Ferry as it goes right past and it’s free. We wanted to go inside so we purchased tickets online about a month and a half earlier.

Unfortunately we didn’t get them in advance enough to get access to the crown but I just wanted to go inside so we got Pedestal tickets which also gives you access to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum. If you’re desperate to get as far up as you can, book as soon as you can as they only let a few hundred people up there a day.

New York - state of liberty

We wandered all around the island and the mini museum inside the pedestal before getting the ferry over Ellis Island. This was something I was really looking forward to as it’s awesome to think of the amount of immigrants who went through this building so they could get a new life.

New York - ellis island

Back in Manhattan we had lunch then walked to see Wall Street before getting the subway to our next destination.

DSC_3953

Washington Square Arch! It’s so cool being able to see landmarks that you’ve only seen in the films before.

New York - washington square arch

New York - east village

Later in the afternoon we arrived on 6th avenue to go to Rockefeller Center and go to the Top of the Rock.

New York - Radio City

It’s tall!

New York - rockerfeller centre

I found the Jordanian flag!

DSC_3980

Though I loved the view from the Empire State Building, it did fall slightly short of the view from the Top of the Rock. Mainly because the Empire State itself could be part of the view. I’m glad we chose to see one during the day and one at night. It was pretty gloomy that day and the ticket office tried to advise us not to go as it was raining but we just said “Don’t worry, we’re British.” Sure, if you wanted to see for miles it was too gloomy for that, but we saw everything we wanted to see, including the Statue of Liberty.

New York - top of the rock

New York - central park from above

After dinner we decided to head to the iconic Times Square. It was busy and chucking it down with rain. We got our selfies then ducked into the Disney Store for shelter.

New York - times square

Magical points to who can say which film this character is from!

New York - disney store

Day 1 over, time for bed.

Day 2

We started the day at the Museum of American Natural History where we spent the morning taking selfies with dinosaur bones before heading to the East Village for lunch. Topher spotted some awesome street art (good Instagram husband, good) which I had to get a pic of.

New York - mickey street art

Then in the afternoon it was time for our helicopter tour! I was really excited about this and Topher was super nervous about it. Funny considering he was the one who suggested it.

New York - helicopter

New York - topher and diane

It was a bit scary when we first left the helipad but the views were amazing and even Topher had a great time. We shared our helicopter with another British family.

New York - helicopter tour

New York - helicopter view

Then the evening we went to see The Phantom of the Opera on Broadway which was really great. Since we’ve seen it in London too it was really interesting to see the difference. This version had a lot more jokes and the acting was a tad over the top at times but I had a blast. Topher and I were singing Masquerade to each other for days after! Shame, shame, shame.

Then we were off to San Francisco the following morning. When we returned to New York late on day 12 of our trip, we checked into our hotel in Chelsea.

Day 3 (technically day 13 of the trip)

We started the day with breakfast out, followed by a stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge – another dream achieved!

New York - diane on brooklyn bridge

New York - brooklyn bridge

DUMBO

New York - dumbo

Unfortunately due to the slight gloom, you could only make out the Empire State Building with your naked eye. Even in editing I couldn’t get the thing to appear. Oh well, we saw it and that’s all that matters.

So this is the part of the trip where I dropped the ball a little. I planned so much but I didn’t really plan on how to get to Williamsburg where we were wanting to have lunch from DUMBO. All I knew was that it was about an hour and 15 minute walk from where we were and there was no direct subway there.

So off we went. We’d already walked across Manhattan and Brooklyn Bridge and according to the map, this looked about the same distance. Well, it wasn’t! It was two roads and they went on forever! We toyed with renting the city bikes but they cost a lot so we decided to soldier on. This is when it got really hot and there was nothing but residential apartment blocks around. Nothing pretty to look at and no where for a bathroom break. Torture. This is my dissatisfied face.

New York - annoyed in brooklyn

We laughed about it though and when we eventually reached Williamsburg it was great. I think I’ll eventually have to do a separate post about all the street art we found. Plus the view of Manhattan was really pretty.

New York - manhattan from brooklyn

Afterwards we headed back to our hotel to freshen up (seriously needed!) before going out for dinner.

Day 4/14

We started the day walking the High Line in Chelsea which was really cool.

New York - the high line

New York - view from the high line

I loved that you can still see the original train tracks.

New York - original railway tracks

We then had a wander around Chelsea Market (I bought a new bullet journal!) before having lunch.

New York - chelsea market

It was then a trek up 5th ave to see Grand Central Terminal and eventually Central Park. We actually got diverted on the way to Central Park as it turned out Trump was in town for the UN meeting and all the streets around his tower were cordoned off. I think Topher said it best, “And I thought he couldn’t annoy me any more!”

New York - grand central terminal

New York - central park

For dinner we hopped on the subway back to the East Village before retiring early for some much needed rest.

Day 5/15

This was the last day and also the day we gave up. Topher’s feet in particular gave up so I had to adapt our plans. This was a challenge as we had to check out of our hotel that morning and couldn’t simply sleep in. We needed somewhere we could hang out for a considerable amount of time. So I racked my brains and came up with the New York Public Library.

New York - public library

The reading room was gorgeous and perfect for what we needed. Topher sat and watched videos on his phone while I set up my bullet journal. Happy as a clam!

New York - reading room

New York - bullet journal

After that we grabbed some food before picking up our stored bags at the hotel and getting the subway back to JFK for our flight at 9.30pm.

We had an amazing time and no doubt we’ll go back one day. I heart New York!

I’ll be posting my food adventures on Wednesday.

Have you ever been to New York? How did you find it?

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Check out what we ate in New York!

See the next instalment of our trip where we visited San Francisco 

And what we ate there. 

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Back from Honeymoon

I’m back and I’m jet lagged! Topher and I had the most amazing time on our honeymoon and I can’t believe how much we managed to squeeze into a two week period. So much so that Topher says I killed him. I might have killed myself as well. I’m so tired but it was totally worth it.

I managed to vlog almost the entire time so I now have what it probably a couple of hours of film to edit through. And I don’t even know how many photos I took. It’s going to be a busy couple of weeks! I’ve decided to split down the next few blog posts into location and food separately as it would be way too much for the individual posts otherwise. So I’ll be starting with next week and talking about what I did in New York, followed by what I ate in New York (it was a lot!).

In other news, we got back on Wednesday morning and since then I’ve been trying to sort things out and get back into a routine. Topher went straight back to school and I started doing client work again too. I’ve also been trying to tidy up the house and get some new routines set up for myself. One of the “souvenirs” I got in New York was a new bullet journal so I’ve almost got that all set up and I love it.

In health news, I had an amazing time trying all the different foods but I’m looking forward to eating some more healthier things in future. I went to Slimming World yesterday and found I had put on 6lbs in the two weeks I was away. I’m impressed it wasn’t more and I think it would have been if I had not been walking and if I had been drinking alcohol as well as all the food. So it could have been a whole lot worse. I’m also planning on joining a gym soon so if anyone has any tips, hit me up – I’m a complete newbie.

How was your week?

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Guest Post: A Change of Appetite

Our next guest post while I’m away on honeymoon is from Katya of Katyascakehole.com.

Katya-Profile-Pic-360x360

Katya is a food adventurer through and through; happiest when she’s surrounded by plates of the stuff. You can find her on her blog and you can also hire her for social media training and photography. Don’t read her blog on an empty stomach! She lives in Stockport with her boyfriend Jamie who understands that her priorities in life are food first, himself second. 

A Change of Appetite

Like most women, I’ve always had a complicated relationship with food.  Food first became an issue when I was about 12 and I got a bit chubby.  And from that age dieting and eating weird things to lose weight became the norm. Over the years food normality was mainlining diet coke, buying strange tasting fake chocolate bars from Boots, low fat yoghurts, low fat everything, and my go to lunch was cup a soup (yuck) – any magic trick to lose the pounds.

As an adult in my early twenties it became apparent that I actually had a very narrow diet because I was afraid that non diet foods would make me put on weight.  Ironically, that was when I was the heaviest I’d ever been. And hilariously I was allowing myself to eat Mars bars and drink booze alongside my low fat diet, it was just everything else I refused to eat.  A very patient friend convinced me I needed to start broadening my diet because I was literally missing out on delicious food and not living my life to the full.  Fortunately I embraced this challenge and slowly started enjoying experimenting with food and have never looked back.

Now at 41 years old I can’t say I’ve completely undone all the damage that started when I was 12.  Some habits remain.  For example a classic Katya trick last year was to eat a no carb evening meal (perhaps with courgetti), then be really hungry afterwards and have two portions of ice-cream. I’ve never quite lost the desire to trick my body so I can have more of the naughty stuff!

However a year ago I stumbled across a cookbook by Diana Henry called ‘A Change of Appetite’.  Diana is a food writer, and a very overweight one at that. The premise of Diana’s book is finding really amazing cuisines that are incidentally delicious. Her recipes blew my mind – they were exotic, intriguing and obviously, incredibly tasty.

What really struck me though, was that Diana was not going to comprimise on taste.  This is a woman who loves beautiful Danish pastries and gourmet food, and she expressed very stridently at the beginning of the book that she would not be sacrificing flavour or enjoyment.  Instead she would gather all the facts on what healthy eating really means – which is a very different thing to dieting, and she would find cuisines and recipes that were nailing it in the most inspiring ways.

I think Diana’s self belief that she deserved to eat beautiful food and continue to enjoy her food was a fantastic example to me.  Women in so many areas of their lives are expected to make sacrifices, and suffering for the sake of a slim waist is yet another one.

And what about the food? Well her section on grains really caught my eye.  Ingredients such as barley, buckwheat and farro are cheap as chips, packed with an astonishing amount of nutrition and prepared the right way, despite their rather dull reputation, are versatile and bloody gorgeous. Unfortunately in a Western diet we tend to eat a lot of processed grains (white rice, white bread, pasta) that have had most of their nutrients stripped away.

I was further convinced by Diana’s argument to get more grains in my life by the cracking recipes in her book. One of my favourites (pictured below) was kisir (an autumnal tabbouleh with pomegranite seeds) served with griddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad.

appetite - Griddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad and kisirGriddled aubergine, date, walnut and yoghurt salad and kisir

And a seed was planted, and I started to question how many processed grains I was eating, whether that was white flour, pasta or white rice. I realised I wanted to get more unrefined ingredients in my life.  So in the past year I’ve started to cook increasingly with wholegrains like quinoa, freekah and bulgar wheat, and I now make cakes using healthier non-refined flours like coconut flour, spelt flour and ground almonds.  And what I’ve discovered is I prefer the food I’m eating now.  It’s more a faff to source the ingredients and find the recipes but omg, the rewards are huge – gorgeous satisfying food that satiates you in a way that processed grains just can’t.

appetite - Spice-scented carrot cake with a crumble toppingSpice-scented carrot cake with a crumble topping by Amber Rose

I’m certainly no food angel now, by any stretch of the imagination (especially when it comes to ice-cream and alcohol!), but I’m delighted to be experimenting with and including more wholegrains in my diet, especially because it’s actually fun!

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