Sunday, July 15, 2018

Playing Silly Burgers 15: Blue Cheese Burger

Ooh, I can't wait to try this one. I love blue cheese burgers. This recipe has blue cheese inside the burger as well as on top. Yum!


1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1lb minced beef
1 pear
1 tablespoon mustard
7oz blue cheese
Salt and pepper

Make up the burger using these ingredients chopped up small and mixed with the minced beef. Save a couple of ounces of blue cheese for the top of the burger. Cook the burgers in a pan as usual to your preferred done-ness.

Serve on some salad leaves of your choice in a burger bun and top with the rest of the blue cheese.

Of course, I loved these burgers. The combination of meaty burger with sharp blue cheese melting on top is heaven for me. The best blue cheese burger I ever had was in Scotland using Aberdeen Angus beef, it was delicious! JD on the other hand wasn't so keen, he enjoyed the burger but it was too much having the cheese inside the burger and the generous wedge I'd put on top.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 5

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Aquafit

Swimming is one of my favourite exercises, I love being in the water. I've tried Aquafit before too. Years ago, my friend Jane and I would throw ourselves into vigorous aqua aerobics and then go for pizza. Good times!

No pizza this time but I'm still looking forward to it. I signed up for 4 weeks of Aquafit at my local pool. £6.40 for 45 minutes.

We did the Aquafit in the diving pool. They raise the floor so the water is only shoulder height. The pool noodles and foam weights were at the ready and Louise, our instructor, was busy sorting out the music. It's a popular exercise with about 20 participants each session.

The exercise was perfect for someone with delicate knees such as myself. Non weight bearing but still quite hard work. After a short warm up Louise led us through various exercises under the water. Some focusing on legs, some on twisting and some on arms. She always gave harder alternatives for those wanting to push themselves more. It was great to be moving in the water to music (synchronised swimming next maybe?!) and it felt really good to be exercising properly again after my knee injury.

My favourite part was always the foam weights. It's really difficult to move fast holding them and you can feel how hard you have to work your arms. Louise instructed us in lots of moves each using different arm muscles. I could hardly move my arms after the sessions. It was great!

Each session went really quickly. Warm up followed by general exercises. Then foam weight exercises and pool noodle work. A few stretches at the end to finish off and it was time to hit the showers. The 4 times I went varied some in what exercises we did but were similar enough that there weren't too many new moves to learn. I liked how the music (faster dance versions of old disco hits mostly) made you want to speed up as you moved and kept you going. Trying to do aquafit whilst also trying to sing along to a pumped up version of I Will Survive was one of the best exercise moments I've had. I loved it.

Aquafit is a great exercise to do if you want to improve your mobility, get fit and exercise in hot weather without getting sweaty! I really enjoyed it.

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:






Tai Chi 

Pokemon Go 

Friday, July 6, 2018

Breadmaker Breadmaker Make Us Some Bread

I've fancied having a go with a bread maker for a while now, so when we saw one in our local charity shop for £10 we snapped it up.

It's a Kenwood BM260 Breadmaker. Me being me I had to check how much they sell for on Amazon when I got home. £90, what a bargain!

Our first attempt at bread turned out great. Just a plain white loaf. You put all the ingredients in the bread pan, liquids first then dry next and set it going.

2 hours later we had fresh bread. The kids loved it and it was soon consumed.

Next I made a gingerbread loaf. Also delicious and rapidly eaten.

We made pizza dough too.

Chocolate bread with chunks of chocolate inside.

Wholemeal cheddar loaf which was disappointingly not that cheesy but still great with baked beans.

Marmalade bread which we ate with a cream cheese icing.

My favourite has to be the regular white bread sliced thickly with butter and jam. Perfect!

There are more recipes I want to try. Apparently you can even make jam in the breadmaker. I got all the recipes from the Kenwood website. Definitely worth a tenner!

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Pokemon Go

I'm several years late with this but I finally downloaded the app to give it a go. I'm all about apps that get you outside walking/running, you've probably heard me lauding Zombies Run before. I wanted to include this in my exercise experiments because I think it's a great idea to make exercising fun.

I knew a bit about the app, Leigh played Pokemon Go for a while when it first came out before it ate up all her phone credit.

Just like the original games you have to catch Pokemon but this time you have to physically go out and find them. A map shows you Pokemon close to you and as you walk more appear on your map. Different areas have different Pokemon, rainy days produce different Pokemon and going somewhere like a forest or near a river produces different Pokemon. There's 360+ to catch. I've been playing for a couple of weeks and I've got about 80 so far.

A few days after I started I tore the cartilage in my knee and couldn't walk at all. I managed to catch a few Pokemon that appeared within range of our sofa. This is the second time I've hurt a knee and I knew this time I wanted to be back walking as soon as I could. The day after I hurt it I got on the crutches moving around the house and the day after that I made a short trip out to a local graveyard.

What a weird place to choose for a first walk out, you might think...but it has 4 Pokestops in it. Pokestops are where you collect items like Pokeballs and berries. Both essential in catching Pokemon. I took my phone and hobbled to the end of our street where the graveyard entrance is. Collected items from all 4 Pokestops and hobbled back. Now I had a reason to walk daily and I did. Not just daily but as my knee got better I walked to the graveyard 2, 3 and 4 times a day. JD often came with me, Leigh came a few times and even Erin came with me once.

It's a nice peaceful place to walk, away from the road and quite picturesque.

I feel like I know it really well now I've walked around it so many times. I like looking at the gravestones, reading the names, ages and dates.

Pokemon Go has given me a way of being active when I had little motivation to keep walking because of knee pain. It's speeded up my recovery by making me exercise my knee little and often.

I'm looking forward to my knee getting better so I can walk further to collect more Pokemon.

As well as catching Pokemon you can battle them in Gyms (there's one at the end of my street). You also get objectives to complete. Evolving Pokemon, collecting a certain type of Pokemon, hatching Pokemon eggs by walking and much more.

It's a fun game and it encourages you to be active whatever your fitness level. Hobbling, walking or running all work in hatching eggs and hunting down Pokemon.

As an exercise it's pretty good, it's free and you can play it anytime or anywhere. You just stand up and leave your house and off you go.

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:






Tai Chi

Saturday, June 23, 2018

Burger Off 14: Sicilian Burger

I've avoided this one a bit because of the inclusion of black olives in it. They're such a strong flavour. It does have one of my all-time favourite ingredients in it though, sun dried tomatoes so I've decided it's time to brave it out.


1 lb steak mince
2 tablespoons chopped basil
1/3 cup parmesan
3oz sun dried tomatoes
1/2 cup black olives
foccacia rolls
basil mayo

Combine the mince, parmesan and basil in a bowl.

Chop up the olives and tomatoes then add them to the mix.

Fry the burger patties in some oil until almost cooked through. Top with sliced mozzarella and cook more until it's melted on top. Spread some basil mayo on a cut foccacia roll, add lettuce and top with a burger.

These burgers were incredibly tasty. The ingredients combined to make a really strong flavour. JD thought it was too strong but I loved it. Even black olives couldn't detract from my enjoyment of this burger. The steak mince makes for a much better quality, meaty burger. I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 5

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

I See Faces...Again!

You might remember a previous post where I lamented seeing faces everywhere I look. This one.

I have more faces to share with you. They won't leave me alone.

This happy little socket.
This pouting bannister support.

These boxes are clearly bored at work.

This traumatised post strayed off the path.

This toilet roll holder saw me peeing!

It's looking right at me O_O

Faces in things bring me joy 8-)

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Daft Burger 13: Falafel Burger

I've only had falafel once so I'm keen to try this burger. We used a falafel mix packet but you could easily make it from scratch with chick peas if you want to.

1 packet falafel mix
4 pitta breads
spinach leaves
plain yoghurt

Make the falafel according to the packet instructions.

Make patty shapes from the falafel mix then fry them in oil until golden brown and crisp. This part was a nightmare, the mix was a bit moist so I added some flour. The patties ended up a bit mis-shapen but luckily we're not fussy when it comes to food.

Toast the pitta breads lightly to make it easier to slice them open. Spread some hummus inside each one. Put a falafel blob in each pitta along with some cucumber, spinach and a spoonful or two of yoghurt.

These were tasty but something was a bit unsatisfying about them. The flavours were all good together but everything was on the soft side. It was a bit dry too. Not one of our favourites so far!

Ratings: JD - 2, Emma - 2