Tuesday, 9 March 2010



Well, we've begun once more on the path to our personal 'weight management'!

I'm sorry I couldn't stay longer to hear Terry's further ideas on keeping our glycemic indexes level and our metabolism up! I've always thought that my 'weight management' problems have been due to my sluggish metabolism, nothing at all to do with the quantities of rich, fattening food I've eaten!!

The idea of 4 smaller meals is very interesting, although practically, when cooking for other people, that could produce a few little problems. However, it's nothing that can't be overcome by putting an extra potato on my husband's plate!!

Here's an interesting snippet: For every Kg of body weight 1.3 Calories is required every hour. (An athlete weighing 50Kg would require 1.3 × 24hrs × 50Kg = 1560 Calories/day)

Google conversion between kilos and stones and lbs and work it out for yourself!!

I've just worked mine out and it's over 2100 calories a day!! This must be for someone who wants to maintain their weight (and it does say an athlete - which I am obviously NOT!!)

I was always told that if you want to lose 2lb a week (and a lb is equal to 3,500 calories) then you have to eat 1000 calories fewer a day. And working on this information that makes sense.

So all I need to know now is what to eat that will keep my sugar levels level and my metabolism UP!! Come on Terry, pass on this magic information soon.

See you all next week, and happy weight managment!!


Monday, 22 February 2010

A breadmaking weekend

I seem to make bread every Sunday, the afternoon gives me enough time to let the dough prove and then double in size in the tins. Yesterday I forgot to add any butter to the flour at the beginning, and this, I think, is why, when I took my craft knife to slash those all-important slits in the crust, the loaves both deflated like balloons. Very annoyed with myself that I hadn't just put the loaves in the oven without attempting to cut them.

It's all a big learning curve, isn't it. But I'm loving the kneading of the dough, feeling the wet soggy mixture of flour, warm water and yeast come together into a soft, yielding, springy dough.

I don't have very strong hands so I use a rolling pin to knead the dough, rolling it out into an oblong then rolling it up into a cylinder with my hands, then turning half a turn and rolling it out again. I recommend this method for all those who have a twinge of arthritis in their hands!!

Like most experimental cooks I just can't resist altering the recipe. So yesterdays' loaves had some rye flour and some grain flour added to the strong white bread flour. I follow the rule of putting the loaves into a cold oven to begin with and baking them for 40 minutes at the highest temperature in my oven (220 degrees C).

So below is a recipe for 2 x 1lb loaves or 1 x 2lb loaf
It's not definitive - there are a hundred recipes out there - but this is one I like

700 grms strong white flour
5 gr salt
25 grms butter
425 ml warm water (2 parts cold to one part boiling)
15gr dried yeast (2 flat teaspoons)
10 gr sugar

Using a quarter of the warm water, dissolve the sugar and sprinkle over the yeast, cover and set to one side for 15 minutes, by which time the top of the liquid should be bubbling.

Into a large bowl, sift the flour and add the salt
Rub the butter into the flour with your fingertips
Make a well in the flour and pour in the yeasty mixture, followed by the rest of the warm water.
Bring the mixture together with your hands, working and pushing the dough together until the bowl is clean and the dough is smooth.
Flour a worktop and tip the dough out.
Knead the dough (however suits you) for at least 10 minutes until it feels as if it is pushing back at you with a life of its own (which it has!).
Make into a ball
Clean the bowl, pour in a small amount of vegetable oil, place the ball of dough in the bowl and roll it round to oil it all. Cover with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for 3/4 of an hour or a cool place for an hour or two.
Once the dough has doubled in size, tip it out once more onto the floured worksurface and knock it back, and knead for about 4 to 5 minutes.
Divide into two loaves if you are making two 1lb loaves and place in prepared buttered/oiled tins.
Or prepare a loaf basket by lining a shallow round bowl with a clean tea towel, dusted with a little flour and let the dough double in size.
Once the dough has risen over the edge of the tins, or formed a lovely round loaf in the bowl, you are ready to bake.
Place the tins in a cold oven (or swiftly tip the bowl of dough out on to a prepared baking tray) and turn the oven to its highest temperature. Set the timer for 40 minutes and leave the bread to bake.

Best of all have fun baking!