Thursday, May 17, 2018

Back in Time for Dinner - 1910s

Last year we watched a TV show called Back in Time for Dinner. A family had their kitchen changed as they ate food from each decade from the 50s onwards. It was really interesting to see how food had changed through the years.

Watching it, I thought to myself "Ooh, I'd like to try doing that" (as I often do) and so I am. Starting from 1910 (roughly 100 years back) I'm going to make us a meal from each decade to try.

Today we're eating Red Flannel Hash.


1 cup cubed corned beef
1 cup cubed cooked beetroot
1 cup cubed cooked potatoes
1-2 chopped onions
 1/4 cup lard

Melt the lard in a hot pan and cook the onion. Add the other ingredients and stir as it cooks.

 We had ours with some freshly made granary bread.

This meal was great. It cooked in just one pan and it was very simple. It was weird making food using no seasonings but it was really tasty as it was. Using lard was different too as we usually use vegetable oil for cooking. This meal was useful for using up leftover cooked potato and other vegetables so it often had carrots or swede in as well. Really any cooked veg you wanted to use up. I've never had corned beef hash with beetroots before but they're a really nice addition giving flavour as well as colour. JD and I have decided we could easily eat this way, now we just have to convince the kids!

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Pilates

I didn't know what to expect from Pilates, I had to google what it was before the first session! Joseph Pilates invented this system of exercise that works to strengthen your core muscles and improve balance. He called it Contrology but now it's known by his surname.

We went along on a Wednesday night to a local school hall and took our place on mats with about 10 other people. It was easy to arrange as you just turn up and pay on the door. £7 a class run by Heaven & Hell Fitness.

The instructor, Claire, led us through a full body workout with stretches, squats, push ups, planks and much more. Some of the positioning was hard to get and it was tricky trying to follow Claire at the front of the class while on your back with your legs in the air.

After the first session I was pleased I'd been able to do most of the stretches. Claire asked how we'd got on and told us Pilates only has 36 movements so the next time we'd know what to expect more.

Squats while circling arms.

A lot of the movements felt similar to Yoga but were a bit more fast paced. Instead of holding a position, Pilates has you repeating the stretch about 10 times until you can feel the burn in your muscles.

The next week felt a bit easier as we knew what moves were coming up. Also we did some leg stretching using straps to help which felt great for my knees.

We did 4 weeks in total and I could feel some stretches getting easier the more we did them. After a long day at work I was often reluctant to go but after the class my legs always felt better, less tired and well stretched.

JD's favourite stretch was the Child's Pose.

It's a great way to tone muscles, you don't really get sweaty doing it but it's very effective. We could feel a difference after just a few weeks. Our class had men and women of all ages which was nice to see.

I enjoyed the classes, they were led well and adaptations were given for people at different levels. Claire was very welcoming and friendly. Overall though I felt Pilates wasn't for me, but it's a great exercise and it was lovely to see lots of people enjoying it.

If you want to give it a try visit the Heaven & Hell Fitness website

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments:





Thursday, May 3, 2018

Vegetable Update Part 2

I'm back again with more vegetable adventures! Even more ways to try get your 5 a day.

Mushrooms in Tomato Sauce

I couldn't find a recipe for what I wanted but this is just sliced mushrooms cooked in passata. I'm not going to lie, I hate mushrooms. I gave this a try but just felt mildly upset it was touching my other food.

Cumin Roasted Carrots

These look burnt but actually they're just fashionably blackened. Very nice dipped in a bit of mayo.

Baked Eggplant Parmesan

This was really good. Crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. JD and I were surprised how much we enjoyed it.

Chunky Blender Salsa

Ridiculously easy to make (so I'm told, JD made it) and really tasty. We polished off this entire bowl using tortilla chips and smothering it on chicken wraps.

Slow Roasted Onions

We used balsamic vinegar instead of the suggested red wine vinegar but even so this is a simple but delicious recipe for onion lovers. Soft onions soaked with flavour, yum!

There you go, 5 more vegetable dishes to try at your leisure. :)

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Smoothies: Banana & Ginger


1 banana
6oz yoghurt
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger

This was a lovely thick smoothie, really creamy with a nice zingy ginger flavour to it. I was surprised by how nice it was.

Ginger is great for anyone suffering from sickness. Travel sickness or morning sickness too. It soothes stomach upsets of all kinds. So it's a handy ingredient to keep in your cupboard.

More benefits of ginger here -->

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Burger It 12: Turkey and Chestnut Burger

I feel unsure about this one, I don't think I like chestnuts that much. I almost got away with not having this burger as I found chestnuts hard to find, I did eventually though so I'll have to give it a try.


1lb turkey mince
1 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup chopped chestnuts
1 onion
2 cloves garlic
1 egg
1 tablespoon cranberry sauce.

Combine everything to make burger patties and then fry in a little oil until cooked.

Top with some brie and grill to melt the cheese then add a spoon of cranberry sauce to the top. Put the burgers in bread buns along with some salad leaves and consume.

These were pretty tasty burgers. I particularly enjoyed the combo of meat, cheese and sauce on this one. JD doesn't really like fruit sauces so he was less keen. The chestnuts added an earthy flavour, almost like mushrooms (yuck) I thought. They were really meaty for turkey burgers. So there were good points and bad points here.

Ratings: JD - 3, Emma - 4

Sunday, April 22, 2018

Smoothies: Pineapple Passion

I'm excited about this one, I love pineapple!


1 cup of pineapple chunks
1 cup of yoghurt
6 ice cubes
1 teaspoon vanilla essence

Blend until well combined.

This is my favourite so far, I can see me making this often. It's delicious!! It's light and tastes like summer in a glass.

Pineapple is another food that's great for you. Especially if like me you have arthritis. Pineapple contains an enzyme called Bromelain which is a strong anti-inflammatory. Pineapple boosts your immunity, it speeds up wound healing, prevents cancer, aids digestion and soothes symptoms of the common cold. The list goes on.

Read more here.

Perfect for after some exercise to aid any inflammation.

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Emma's Exercise Experiments - Boxing

I've always been a fan of boxing. I used to watch boxing with my Dad when I was a kid. I've loved boxing films like Rocky, Raging Bull, Million Dollar Baby etc.

So I was really excited to move onto Boxing for my next exercise.

The H Hour Boxing Gym is just a 10 minute walk from our house, we've passed it dozens of times and thought about giving it a go. Finally, we did.

After a short email exchange with Rob, the owner, we were all set for our first session on a Thursday night. The first session is free to everyone and then just £5 pay as you go. Bargain!

As we walked to the gym I was nervous about what it'd be like. As usual not knowing what to expect had me worrying I wouldn't be able to keep up. When we opened the door that first night I was hit by the atmosphere in there. It was sweaty, hot and packed full of people. It was a bit intimidating! The juniors session was in progress so the entry area was full of mums ready to pick up kids and also people getting ready for the seniors session. Putting on boxing boots and wrapping their hands ready to box. We felt like such newbs!

We battled our way through to the office. It was a cheerful bedlam in there with Rob holding court. He cleared everyone out and gave us the lowdown on his gym. He has boxing credentials as long as your arm (if you have really long arms) and obviously knows his stuff.

It's really impressive that the gym is non-profit. Rob's clearly passionate about the place and all dues go back to improving the gym.

As the senior session started, JD and I were shown 'hands and feet'. Adam, one of the coaches, showed us how to stand and move forward and backwards, then how to hold our hands up in defense. There's a lot more to it than you'd think. After about 40 minutes we joined in with the group who were racing from one side of the gym to the other, doing squats, situps and pairing up to punch each other in the stomach. It was great.

I came out of the session absolutely soaked in sweat, the cold night air never felt so good.

The next week we got to spar with each other in the boxing ring. It was the best thing ever!!! I've always wanted to have a go in one. Just climbing in between the ropes was great, haha. When no-one was looking we tried rebounding off the ropes too. We hit each other so much that second week that our arms and shoulders were sore for days.

The gym has a round timer going as you box so you feel aware of how long a boxing round is. Rob uses the break between rounds to explain what we're doing next then shouts 'BOX' as the next round starts. A round feels like a long time when you're working hard.

Look how pleased I look.

There was lots to love about the boxing but here's my top 3:

1 - Awesome rock music playing while you box.

2 - Rob's banter with everyone, he's pretty funny.

3 - Getting to punch JD. (Except, he also punches me!)

There was a lot of variation in each session so we felt like we were learning a lot. The only drawback was that in working in a group some of the time we didn't know if we were doing it right. I think we'd have benefited from more coaching. But we left each session exhausted and feeling like we'd been worked hard.

I'd love to learn more about boxing so I'll be adding it to my (already long) shortlist of things to do more of.

JD and I with Rob.
I didn't know what to expect being a fat woman walking into a boxing gym but it couldn't be more inclusive. Turns out boxing is for anyone and I'd recommend it if you want to learn a new sport, get fit and feel like a badass. :D

H Hour Boxing Gym, Harrogate

Previously on Emma's Exercise Experiments: