Saturday, 9 November 2013

Learning to eat .....and Raisin and Banana cake recipe

 Hello there, you're my company today as the girls are in their rooms ''not talking'' to mum today and JJ left early this morning and is still working. It's now 20:20 on Saturday 9th November and the firework noises are causing the dogs to bark non-stop. Not exactly ideal study/reading time. But I digress because above is my breakfast at 10 am this morning: tea and toast - wholemeal with a scraping of marg and a layer of Vegemite.
 Now I have to confess that due to the ongoing pain in both feet, I have not been allowed to dance and been unable to walk for 3 months now and I have gained in excess of 22 lbs... From a size 12 to a 16?
And reflecting on the fact that I have ''dieted'' or ''lost weight'' umpteen times over the last 4 decades and always gained it back again and more besides I thought I'd try a different option.
So I have ''installed'' a hypnotic gastric band with Paul Mc Kenna( via a hypnosis CD) on 2nd November and am going to give it 90 days to see if I can change ''forever''?!!!
 These festive scenes by the way are the Christmas White Stuff catalogue I was trying NOT to look at/read at breakfast...... and failing..... I can eat what I want but I have to be hungry to start with and chew each mouthful at least 20 times, enjoying 100's of sensations as I do it, put fork down and slowly choose the next bite etc etc. Then STOP as soon as I feel full?  No TV, no reading, no distractions allowed, no drinking, no soups or smoothies or things you don't need to chew?But above all NO DISTRACTIONS!
 Anyhow, after trying for a week I've discovered that I've developed VERY BAD habits and they are very ingrained so it's been uncomfortable to stop or change them. Stressful even.
( and above is my ideal ''vision'' of myself relaxing on a sofa at X-mas? ) I find I am totally conditioned to ''bolt'' my food as quickly as possible, preferably while answering e-mails or typing up results on the lap-top at work or at home. If not actually typing, I eat while I drive, while I read , while I watch TV or a film....
 I do not, EVER just eat. It's taken me to today lunchtime to actually sit down, with only the radio and my plate of food for company and eat very slowly and consciously. Loving this SPROUT-face picture by the way?
 And singing round the piano is another ideal, dream vision of a prefect Christmas?
 My beloved furry gilet, bought with crochet-class funds but which Miss E says makes me look like a (giant) teddy-bear... So here's lunch: quinoa with puy lentils and pesto sauce...Again this time I succeeded: eating slowly WITHOUT distractions... I found it helps if I close my eyes .mmmmm, aaah, delicious!
 Very chewy and totally scrumptious- it lasted well over 35 minutes?
 Quick and easy?
 And I also added tuna: which I had lightly fried with red onions, garlic, olive oil,and 4 tablespoons of tomato puree. I don't like tuna much, too dry and tasteless for me so the onions and tomato added the delicious touch. I was full after just 2 small plates! Well I think so but after so many years of unconcentrated eating my full/ empty signals have got a bit scrambled on the way... I even often think I'm hungry when actually I am thirsty? And ''peckish'' when I fancy nibbles or am bored or see something like cake, chocolate or a dessert that I fancy the look of and can imagine it's taste and deliciousness? But that's not real hunger?
 Phew , what a subject? So let's digress onto crochet: a topic that always makes me feel better and happier?
 Here's the Pascal in progress? I have to finish his 4 feet and sew them on.

 It was a grey and wet, gloomy cold day and I'm about to go into hospital for surgery so I went looking for some flowers. Did not see any fresh cut ones I liked so this is what I brought home:
 Cheerful Pinkness for the windowsill in the kitchen and
 Purple-blue Calendula prettiness for the dining area.
And I baked two Raisin and Banana loaves to enjoy this weekend:

 This is the recipe:
First soak a bowl full- I didn't weigh them- of raisins in stout for a few days in the fridge under cling-film..
( USA readers this is seran wrap I think?)
Or you can use rum or sloe gin or a liquer of your choice.They should absorb the liquid- about 200ml of it- and be large and plump?You can add some brown sugar to the liquid to taste if you wish.
4 large over-ripe browning bananas
2 large eggs
325-400 g self-raising flour
225 g dark muscavado brown sugar
2 teasp cinnamon, 2 teasp mixed spice
200g of the soaked raisins.
Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit, gas mark 4 or a fan oven to 180 degrees C
Mash the bananas with a potato masher and then add the sugar and spices, sift in 325g of the flour and add the raisins, stirring well. Beat the eggs in a mug or beaker and pour into the mixture, folding it all in well.
Start with 325 of the flour and add just enough so it's not too runny but not too much so it's too dry and thick. Spray two loaf tins with olive oil spray and pour the mixture to halfway up the sides in each.
Bake in oven for 1 hour to 1 hour 15 minutes, checking every 20 minutes for colour and take out at 1 hour to see if thin knitting needle comes out clean? Or tap the top, it should not sink or collapse but be firm to the touch? Voila, turn out and cool. Bon Appetit!

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