Lots of apples, lots of cake

Lots of apples, lots of cake

I have been given a lot of apples recently by family, friends and neighbours as the crop this year has been fantastic.  I even salvaged a few from my own small tree. Having made apple crumble, apple cake and Eve’s pudding I was keen to do something that didn’t involve peeling – it is so time consuming and I’m sure removes a lot of the goodness. So I searched on Google and found many recipes – called ‘Grandma’s unpeeled apple cake’ or ‘Grandma’s one bowl apple cake’ – each one slightly different. I’m not sure if one grandma invented these recipes or just a generic grandma – however as I was following one of the recipes with my laptop open in the kitchen – I though what a million miles away this scenario was from the one that the ‘grandma’ had been in originally! And as I’m soon to become a grandma, I thought I would make the recipe a new family tradition!!
The cake was great by the way, especially with custard or vanilla ice cream, or both! You don’t even notice that the apples aren’t peeled. If you’d like to try it, here is my slightly modified version with UK units added.

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EASY NO-PEEL APPLE CAKE
4 cups (approx 450g) cored and diced, unpeeled apples
2 cups sugar (approx 400g – I used 350g as trying to cut down!)
1/2 cup vegetable oil (approx 110ml – I used rapeseed oil)
2 cups (approx 250g) plain flour, sifted
2 eggs
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
optional 1/2 cup of raisins/sultanas and nuts if you like

Sieve together the flour, cinnamon and bicarb and mix. In a separate large bowl stir together the apples, eggs, sugar, vanilla, oil – then add the flour mix. Add raisins and nuts if you are using. Pour into a greased and floured tin – a traybake tin is ideal, or two smaller round tins – though any tin will do. Bake at 170°C (350°F) for approx 45-50 minutes. (Since first writing this post I have made the recipe many times – each time reducing the amount of sugar. I have made it with 250g most recently and it was still delicious. I think it depends on how sweet or otherwise your apples are.)

Cool slightly, cut a slice, eat!

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Flight delay – easyJet pay

Flight delay – easyJet pay

So as you know from my last post, our flight from Paris was delayed – it turns out that the actual delay was precisely 218 minutes. I know this because I checked on a handy little website called flightstats.co.uk.

My mum had alerted me to an article written by Paul Lewis in the Radio Times regarding claiming compensation for delayed flights so I checked out his article and realised that I was entitled to €250 per person. I also looked on Martin Lewis’ Money Saving Expert and found a draft compensation claim letter. It was recommended to write to the airline, but I decided to go to the Easyjet website and fill in the online contact form. I amended the compensation letter for my own situation and sent it via this form.This was 24th April and I got a response by 27th April – Easyjet even apologised for the delay! They agreed that I was entitled to the compensation. I was quite amazed because I wasn’t expecting such a quick response and I certainly wasn’t expecting them to agree to the compensation so easily. Result!
If you’re considering claiming for a delayed flight, I suggest you go for it – it’s very easy and providing your delay/cancellation is for claimable reasons, it shouldn’t take too long. You don’t need a third party to do it for you – they will probably take a percentage of your compensation payment.
Links to the rules can be found on the Paul Lewis Blog. Dont worry if your flight wasn’t cancelled (the legislation talks about cancellation) because the courts have interpreted the law so that a delay of at least three hours is considered to be the same as cancellation.
The payment is currently winging its way into my bank account (but for some reason will take 15-20 working days)! Once it’s there I will be extremely happy – I might even book some more flights………..
http://flightstats.co.uk
http://paullewismoney.blogspot.co.uk/2014_11_01_archive.html
http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/travel/flight-delays

Update – money in the bank by May 12th! Happy times:-)

Fabulous Bristol Airport

Fabulous Bristol Airport

I apologise to all my subscribers for the lack of blog posts recently. I have no excuse – it just hasn’t happened.
We did pop over to Paris for the weekend a couple of weeks ago. This was our annual trip to the French capital (4 years in a row now) and its becoming a bit of a habit! Dave was running in the 39th Marathon de Paris – his 4th marathon. Flying from Bristol is so simple. Its just a 50 minute drive from home and you can park right by the terminal. Once though security there is plenty on offer in the form of shops, places to eat and drink and comfy seats. The flight to Paris is just about an hour so by the time the plane has ascended, and you’ve got comfy – favourite tunes playing in your headphones, its time for descent and landing!

I’m not going to tell you about Paris here – except that the brilliant Dave finished the race in under 4 hours. It was a very hot day but around 42,000 runners finished. Amazing:-)

What I would like tell you about is the poor excuse for an airport terminal that is Charles de Gaulle terminal 2D. Once we had travelled across Paris and arrived at the terminal, we found that our flight was delayed by approximately 4 hours. This was not good news but it was something we had no control over so we thought we would get through security and find ourselves a nice evening meal. Upon check-in we were handed a €4.50 voucher each to spend at food outlets, while we were delayed. We proceeded to Gate 67 and looked around for something yummy to keep us going. There was one perfume/gift/chocolate outlet, one drinks/sweets/snack outlet and a ‘restaurant’ called Brioche Dorée. This was an immediate disappointment as we had already eaten many pastry/bread based items at breakfast and lunch, so were hoping for ‘real’ food. Nevertheless, it was all that there was so we had a look – what we saw was this…..

Croque monsier or a mini quiche
Croque monsier or a mini quiche

€6.90 each – and a bottle of soda – €3.95!! We gave it a miss. Despite feeling quite hungry we survived on chocolate nibbles and a bottle of water and spent our vouchers on the flight (which was 218 minutes late) where we got a whole meal deal (bacon butty, drink and chocolate bar) for our €4.50 voucher. I don’t blame Easyjet – it was a technical fault and they have to be safe, I just wish i’d known about the lack of food outlets post security (there seemed to be quite a few in the terminal prior to security). So if you’re ever in Terminal 2D (or probably any of the older terminals at CDG) – make sure you eat before you check in!!

I can now appreciate even more than I did before how great it is that we have Bristol Airport on our doorstep.
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A slightly stressful Saturday

A slightly stressful Saturday

Quite a stressful Saturday morning last weekend – well 5 minutes of stress anyway. It was the morning that tickets went on sale for Nibley Music Festival http://www.nibleyfestival.co.uk – this is a great little music festival that takes place a few miles from my home. Tickets usually sell out really quickly so I had to be on the ball.
The beauty of this festival that it is small (less than 5000 people) yet they manage to book some fantastic music acts. This year I was keen to get tickets as they have Scouting for Girls and Land of the Giants playing – two fun favourites of mine.
Tickets went on sale at 9am, so I was up at 8.10am – made sure all the computers were on, the wifi was working and that I knew my PayPal password! I had a Mac, a MacBook, a PC and my iPhone all fired up and ready.
My pulse increased to 104bpm in anticipation, and then at 9am I clicked on the ‘buy tickets’ link and waited what seemed like an eternity. The first piece of technology to get me to the ticket page was my trusty PC! I wasn’t expecting that as it’s usually so slow that I am yelling at it. My iPhone came a quick second! After a couple of false starts when I failed to tick the terms and conditions box, I managed to secure my tickets by 9.04am.
Now I can relax and I am really looking forward to July 4th – lets hope it’s a beautiful sunny day for this Cotswold music extravaganza and it will be great to have my whole family back at home and sharing the day!

 

 

 

Almond Butter – how do you like yours?

Almond Butter – how do you like yours?

Several years ago I read about the benefits of eating almonds – they didn’t really feature in our lives at that time so I decided to try and incorporate them into our daily routine. We added almond butter to our daily porridge ritual and there has been no going back.
Dave likes his almonds to be roasted before they are made into butter – he likes to swirl it into his porridge to give a lovely roasted almond flavour to his breakfast. On the other hand – I like my almonds to be ground in their raw state – no roasting necessary and made into a more solid ‘butter’ which I can slice up over my porridge – delicious!

Porridge, almond butter and banana

I make the almond butter in my Vita-Mix – an extremely powerful piece of equipment. Just throw the almonds in and blend to the consistency that you require. To make the roasted version all you need to do is pop the almonds onto a baking tray and roast for approximately 9 mins at 170C fan, allow to cool and then blitz to a gooey paste. There is no need to add any salt or oil.

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Almond butter

My his ‘n’ hers versions of almond butter

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Roasted almond butter

 If you are going to keep this for a long time, it should be stored in the fridge. We get through a jar in approximately a week and being sealed, we have no problems keeping ours out of the fridge.

I have also made almond, brazil and cashew butter in the same way (ABC). Its best not to roast the brazils and cashews before blending – well that’s my taste -I find the roasted flavours a bit overpowering. This makes a ‘complete protein’ butter and amazing if you’re building those muscles!

ABC butter

Have you tried making nut butter? How do you like yours?

Sunday run 3

Sunday run 3

Thought I would have a nice warm sunny run this morning after yesterday’s beautiful weather. The temperature was up to 9°C so I decided that I would dispense with one item from my winter running wardrobe. I chose the gloves! This turned out to be the right choice. Just as I left the house it started to rain, just a light drizzle, but very wet nonetheless. I had decided to try an old route which I thought was 6.2 miles, a particularly undulating challenge, mostly on quiet country roads.
The run was considerably wetter than I had hoped, and I was glad that I had worn my jacket and woolly hat – my hands, thankfully were not cold.
One of the most unnerving aspects of this particular run, especially it seems, on Sunday mornings, is the fact that the route goes past several large fields within which are a group of shotgun wielding locals. You can never see them, but boy can you hear them. I always imagine I might be a nice fluorescent yellow moving target, and if one of them was having a particularly bad morning, they might take it out on me! Madness I know but your thoughts do tend to wander when running – the constant boom of the shotguns made me run just that little bit faster!
As it turned out, my 6.2 mile run was actually 6.8 miles.
Now that’s more calories for cake later…….
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Sunday run 2

Sunday run 2

So I’m back up to 6 miles.  I’m very happy! I have been struggling with a problem well known to runners – piriformis pain, and this led to many weeks without being able to run in 2014. I have been working hard with my prescribed treatment of stretching and rolling and have been seeing my chiropractor on a regular basis. I’m sure many people would have just given up running by now, but that wasn’t an option for me. Running is key to my health, fitness and good state of mind. It also means I can eat what I like (within reason). It was very important to me to get back to the 6 mile run as the 10k is my favourite race distance.

Whenever I go for a run I appreciate how lucky I am to live in such a beautiful part of the world, and how I can just run straight from my front door and very soon be in the peace and quiet of the countryside. Don’t get me wrong, I also love to be in the city, but there’s a time and a place for everything. Oh…. and the time for porridge  is most definitely after a run.

Victorian letter box spotted on my run today. 100+ years old and still in use.
Victorian letter box spotted on my run today. 100+ years old and still in use.
Cotswold Countryside
Cotswold Countryside
Porridge, brown sugar, milled linseed, almond butter, almond milk and banana. Delicious!
Porridge, brown sugar, milled linseed, almond butter, almond milk and banana. Delicious!

Sunday run 1

I managed 5.47 miles on my run today. Had an afternoon run which is highly unusual for me (that’s because I had a lie-in this morning until 09.30 then had to eat my porridge as I was hungry!)
I’m well on my way to fitness for the Bristol 10K in May. Dave ran for 3 hours this morning – well on his way to fitness for the Paris Marathon in April!! 🙂
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