Mileage Freakout

I am one of those runners that gets worked up about managing to fit enough mileage into each week. I don’t set myself a particularly high bar – trying to total up 40km/week, but when you have hours like mine, it can make fitting them in quuuuite tricky.

Not being the most motivated of individuals after a hard day’s graft, I prefer getting my runs done and dusted first thing in the morning. However, when you’re getting up at 6am anyway, a 5am start seems a little too sadistic for my liking. So with the shortening evenings, I’m finding myself trying to fit the runs in the dark hours.

😦

Anyway, it’s terribly ironic that I took up running to deal with my stress, and now I’m getting stressed out by my running! I am obsessed by mileage, speed and my competitive nature getting the better of me. That unfortunately means getting into a tizzy when I see other people running longer, faster and further.

Anyway, it’s around 6 months until my marathon, and I’m having a mini freakout. That’s because the longest distance I’ve ever managed to run is 13.1 miles, i.e. half that distance. And I can’t even imagine the possibility of covering 20 miles, let alone the killer 26.2.

Eeeeeek!

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Chocolate Mug Cake

I noticed, whilst food shopping, that Waitrose now stock Lindt baking chocolate. I loved this when I was last on holiday in France, and brought several bars back with me, which have now been used up now. At first I was very pleased to see that it had finally made its way across the English Channel (or la Manche) but then I saw the prices! Gah, so expensive!

Chocolate plans foiled (not that I am currently supposed to be buying chocolate, mind) I came back home only to discover what has to be the best speedy alternative to a corner shop chocolate bar ever. What am I talking about? None other than the best chocolate mug cake ever! A chocolate hug in a mug – it only takes 3 minutes max from start to finish! Fantastic!

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Because there are no eggs in the recipe, you don’t get the horrible eggy smell when you’re blasting it in the microwave, which is a brilliant added bonus. The cake is dense, and wonderfully open to a variety of tempting additions. I guess you could also try baking the mix in the oven, but surely that would take far too long?

Chocolate Mug Cake

  • 4 tbsp caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 4 tbsp flour (self-raising or plain both work)
  • 3 tbsp milk (water will work as well)
  • 3 tbsp oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence

Put the dry ingredients into the mug and mix them together. Then stir in the oil, milk and vanilla essence and microwave it on a mid-high setting for around 2 minutes. A lot of the recipes state to microwave it on high for 3 minutes or more, but I disagree. It continues to cook a little if you leave it to stand for a couple of minutes. You want to undercook it rather than overcook it. If it’s undercooked it will have a nice gooey middle that you can pass off as a microwave chocolate fondant, but once you’ve heated it too long, all that cake is good for is the bin.

If you don’t have the exact ingredients above, I reckon you can tinker around a bit with them, with no ill effects. For instance, the second time I made it, I didn’t have any milk but I did have single cream, so I used 3 tbsp single cream, 2 tbsp oil, and 1 tbsp water instead. My flatmate wolfed it down in less than 60 seconds flat so I’m guessing it tasted good!

This quick recipe is going to prove lots of fun in future with further experimentation! I’m also going to have a go adding additions such as chocolate chips, marshmallows, or syrups and sauces, and also to find a healthier version that is much more guilt-free!

Omelettenies

Omletteenies = mini omelettes, geddit?

🙂

I saw this recipe on the Blogilates website at the weekend, and they looked so good I just had to make them on Monday. They’re going to form my breakfasts for the rest of the week.

So easy and delicious!!

I adapted the recipe from the Blogilates recipe a little using the ingredients I had around, and also reducing the amount so I made 12 instead of 24.

Omletteenies (adapted from Blogilates)

Makes 12

  • 1 whole egg plus 1 and 1/4 cup egg whites (equivalent to 10 egg whites)
  • a handful of finely chopped up cherry tomatoes, avocado, baby spinach leaves, and a spring onion stalk

Preheat the oven to 200˚C. Line a bun tin with fairy cake cases. Whisk the egg and egg whites together. Pour a little egg just to cover the base of each case. Mix the veggies together, and put a spoonful into each case on top of the egg. Pour the rest of the egg on top of the veggies in each case, and pop into the oven until they are cooked through.

Spicy Prawn Noodles

Another quick midweek supper meal; these noodles are ridiculously easy and flavoursome. There is enough here for 2 servings, but you can upp it, or make it healthier by replacing the coconut cream with coconut milk instead.

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Spicy Prawn Noodles

  • 1 packet of cooked small prawns
  • handful of spring onions, thinly sliced
  • handful of peas (optional)
  • 1 tbsp thai green curry paste (not sauce)
  • 1 small can coconut cream
  • 2 nests of dried egg noodles

Cook your egg noodles according to packet instructions and drain. Get a pan, spray it with oil, and cook the prawns until they are heated through. Add the peas and the spring onions, and cook a little longer. Then mix in the thai curry paste. The amount you put in depends on how spicy you like to go. Add the coconut cream – you might only need some of it. Simmer for a few minutes, then take off the heat, and mix together with the noodles.

Bananarama Pancakes

As a change from my usual breakfast toast, I decided to make the Blogilates banana pancakes.

Attempt 1? Catastrophe. I think it was from using just egg whites and whisking in too much air, but my pancakes resolutely refused to flip and things got messy. They still tasted yummy though. But I wanted to have another go to get them just right.

On my second try I used one whole egg and one egg white, and beat the mixture together with a fork the bare minimum it took for them to combine.

Result? Perfection. They’re soft and fluffy, and taste great with only two ingredients!img-20120922-00246

Banana Pancakes

Adapted from Blogilates

Serves 1 (makes a small stack of 5)

  • 1 ripe banana
  • 1 whole egg and 1 egg white (or 2 whole eggs if you’re following the Blogilates recipe)
  • Spray oil

Mash the banana with a fork. Gently mix in the egg until combined. Put the batter into a jug. Heat up 2 non-stick frying pans on a medium heat, and spray with oil so the pancakes won’t stick. Pour a little batter into each pan to form your pancakes. Flip over gently once the top is no longer gooey.

Eat, whilst contemplating how your neighbour’s washing line  can consist entirely of neon pink boxers. Perhaps he looks like this Korean dude here.

The Courtauld Gallery

Located in the heart of central London, along the banks of the Thames, the Courtauld is an absolute gem of an art gallery.

The gallery is inside Somerset House, which is itself worth a visit. There are three floors, each devoted to an exquisite collection of art. The staircase that leads to the galleries is itself a beauty, and I just wished I’d brought my camera along.

I started on the top floor, and worked my way down. I’m not an expert on art, but there were a lot of heavyweights hung up on the walls.

A whole lotta love

Love.

You hear it being used all the time. I love that, I love this, I love her, I love him. I love you….

I love running?

There’s something so free about pounding the pavements, choosing whatever speed you want to go, where you’re heading, how long you want to run for. The escape from the indoors, outside, exposed to the elements, sweating in the heat, soaked to the skin, face whipped raw with the wind.

Oh my god, it’s just amazing, and I’m not even one of those runners who can claim to be any good at it either.

It keeps me sane, it keeps me happy.

And yet, I used to hate it with a passion. Cross country was one of the most dreaded activities of the school sporting calendar. Then I started exercising in earnest as a way to deal with my increasing stress levels as A-levels approached. Instead of a slow jog around the village, I was heading up towards the hills and hitting the trails. They weren’t long runs but they were just the right length for me. In London I missed the open emptiness that had characterised my previous runs, but I learnt to love running alongside the river, and the parks. I was spurred on by all the other people out there doing exactly the same thing, and I plucked up the courage to enter my first race.

Now I’m still here, running away, marathon training, and does it feels terrifying! There are always days where I don’t want to drag my legs outdoors, where I say I’d rather zombie out in front of the TV. But in the end, the bug always comes back, and the itch needs to get scratched! Because deep down, I know I love running, and I’m so glad for that first day when I laced up my trainers and headed out of the door.

Pancakes, then Mulberry

Woke up ridonculously late today. Yes, ridonuculously.

Oversleeping is a good excuse for having a casual brunch though, so I went for some savoury pancakes, oh yum.

I used to make pancakes quite regularly, but shockingly, today I realised I haven’t made a single one in the last two years! I made a couple of changes to my tried-and-test pancake batter by using half wholemeal flour instead of 100% plain flour, and adding a sprinkling of extra mature cheddar and some chopped ham whilst it was cooking in the frying pan. Delish. Flipping the pancake over caused some of the cheese to brown in a very yummilicious way, and the one pancake that didn’t get a large enough share of ham got a liberal squirting of tomato ketchup. Not particularly refined nor classy, but infinitely tasty.

Then I went shopping. AAAAAAND guess what I bought?

Am so poor now. But here’s a pancake recipe to keep you happy.

Pancakes

Serves 1

  • 1 egg
  • plain flour
  • milk/water
  • a sprinkling of grated cheddar, chopped ham, cooked sliced mushrooms
  • salt and pepper

Crack the egg into a bowl and gently beat with a fork. Add enough flour until it is a thick gloopy mixture and really hard to stir. Then add a splash milk until it has thinned down a bit, add another spoonful of flour to thicken it up. and add another splash of milk. Then add enough milk or water to thin it down to a thin pancake batter consistency. Season well.

Heat up a pan with a splash of oil until hot hot hot, and ladle on a big spoonful of batter. Turn the pan so the batter covers the bottom of the whole pan, then cook for a bit and the top has set. Flip the pancake and cook the other side. Finally dish the pancake out onto a plate, sprinkle on the extra goodies, and fold the pancake in half. Enjoy thoroughly with a squirt of tomato ketchup.

Vogue, Fashion, Dogs

Yes. Today was Vogue’s Fashion Night Out. It was epic. Full of fantastic freebies. I can vouch that the Hotel Chocolat chocolate coated coffee beans were pretty fabulous. I wanted to buy everything, but with incredible willpower, I managed to reign myself in, and stuck to a cute pair of Anthropologie sunnies to go with the fantabulous warm September weather.

We spotted several of the rich and famous including Jameela Jamil DJ-ing away in the Longchamp store.

There were models and fashion bloggers galore everywhere! Just get a look at these cute Radley terriers….

Peanut Butter and Jelly Bars

I was up at the crack of dawn on Saturday, meeting up with some old schoolfriends. We spent a gorgeously relaxing morning – paddling in rowboats along the river, where we accidentally capsized some members of the local kayaking club!

After that we’d worked up an appetite. As a sweet addition to the alfresco lunch we ate, I brought along a box of homemade peanut butter and jelly (jam) bars.

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I’d been lusting after the PBJ bars in Whole Foods, but they turned out to be terribly disappointing. These did not disappoint at all. Yummy yummy yum!