A Candid View on Weight-loss…No, Not Candy!

I’ve been ruminating on weight-loss again, dear reader. You may not know how this usually goes, but a basic summation is this: I wonder. I consider. I weigh the good and the bad of sharing. Then sometimes I speak out. Here’s the other part of the equation, summation, whatever: If you think this is a trick. A fad. A magical cure for weight-loss. Then close the browser. It’s blood. sweat and tears. It’s something that never ends until you die. I’m on good terms with the fat-days, but there isn’t a day I don’t have to be mindful. If the fad and miracle cures worked then you wouldn’t need them, would you? Argue all you want, I’ve lost ten stone, kept it off for over fours years. I’ve done and gone through more than I’ll ever share. I know this struggle. I grapple with it daily. I walk the line between the scale and health. So, if you think it’s easy, then, Spanky, good luck and goodbye. Now, if you know this is a piecemeal bit of understand from someone who really wants to help, a puzzle we all have to work through, none of us possessing all the pieces, then let’s try solving this together, dearest Reader. Today I’m looking at how I created a long-term meal plan for myself. Not the plan, but the foundation of what’s been an unbroken, unmitigated success. I’m not even sure why I t works so well at times, but I stick to it. Determination, unflagging, unyielding is an absolute need. Let’s take a light look at some of the steps I’ve taken, a lot I only realise now as steps, I groped blindly a lot, but slowly I’m seeing why I do so well. Arrogant, eh? Okay, this is a bit different, the order might be off and each can be read first then the paragraph can be read.

Understand that food is made too much of.

If food is more than fuel, that can be okay, but if it’s made to be more than you, then it’s a problem. If you don’t want to participate in a holiday binge, eat food you know you shouldn’t because it’s quirky, decadent or just ridiculous, then know that you’re in the right. People enjoy food, that’s great, but they’ll gladly punish you for not wanting to enjoy it too. Swap food for say alcohol, imagine having drink forced on you and then you look at food being forced on you and realise it’s no different. If you don’t want to or shouldn’t: Don’t. Your world won’t end if you can’t eat that bacon-lard chocolate swirled fudge ice-cream float. (I think I just threw up a little) You need to accept that too. As much as other people will be a problem, you’ll be your hardest foe. So know you can’t eat certain foods because they’re inherently bad for your well-being mentally and physically. The former isn’t thought enough of. I could use so many examples, of social media, blogs, all different places, but here’s the best one: Once there was a man, at-least twenty six and a half stone that needed all that food, no arguments could change that view no matter how sensible and what wouldn’t he have given to be better, he just never knew it. I weep for myself, I never knew how wrong I was. Or how ill.

First you find the foods you need to be healthy.

How? Eat everything! That sounds counter-intuitive? Well, let’s expand it: Eat your vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds. Whatever way you can get them, forget the nice foods no natter how much they try to pretend health. You’ll sort those out eventually. Basic is best when starting. Too much added rubbish won’t cut it here. This doesn’t really stop. You go back to foods you hated and learn to love them, over and over again. You ditch foods that aren’t up to snuff. I ate quinoa and hated it, but it was full of good stuff (Note the lack of focus on one single nutrient) I kept at it and now it’s a staple. I loved squash and continue to eat it and even grow it now. I’ve gone from sugary versions of good food to more natural versions. Ditching sugar in my yoghurt, nut butters etc. It sounds simple and is really, it’s in the execution, the long-term execution that is, that you’ll completely screw up. Burn those foods into your routine until you can’t do without them. I started shovelling ground flaxseed into my yoghurt because I needed fibre. Not because of any spurious health claims, just because it was high in fibre, no doubt I reap other benefits, but I started with a simple idea. I needed fibre, vitamins of many varieties so I went to Google and worked at it. I still am, I just know a lot more now. I’ve never felt better either.

Then you find the foods in those you’ll like. Perhaps love.

That first part sounds terrifying, I know, it still is but there is an upside. In exploring all of this you’ll find new tastes for your recovering taste-buds. It can be funny to find yourself almost guilty for eating a plain sweet potato. When you find something that suits it’s a genuine joy. You’ll still have foods that aren’t going to be thought much of, but these beloved foods. To outsiders it’s a strange kind of love, I mean where’s the swirled lard? (Urk!), but you’ll understand the simple joy of taste without the bad. There’s a lot of choice out there, you have to take it slow, but you’ll see that there’s so much to healthy beneficial food than what you might have thought or been led to believe.

Then you collect and craft recipes.

Repeating a dish or a combination of food too often will cause burn out. No matter how beloved you will tire of it. Thankfully there are blogs to suit all your dietary needs, a wealth of information just waiting to be discovered. I’ve talked about this before (Here) so here’s the next part: You’ll have to change them to suit you. Less of the fat, more of the diary, whatever you need. You’ll need to begin crafting versions of the recipes that will work for you. Make them faster to prepare, more flavourful or wholesome or just fill them with all your favourites. Make them yours is what I’m getting at.

You improve your skills and start with variations within the limits.

There are many ways to prepare a sweet potato, say, you can steam, mash, sauté, roast etc, those are skills, well techniques,  quiet you!, so then we use variations to increase those. We add spice blends, we change the fats used or omit them entirely, we cook it quick, or really slow, we push this one ingredient to its limits and then we have so much choice thanks to all that work. It combines with a recipe, a side and suddenly there’s almost too much to choose from. So you pick the best of all worlds, er, recipes, to carry on with. Sure you’ll have limits, you just won’t notice them after a while. Not much at least.

You abandon the rules of others and substitute your own.

Let them eat their swirled…Okay, I’ll stop. Let them eat what and when they will. That ever present them who try to stop us eating cereal for dinner, from drowsing out pasta with seed butters, from adding whatever we can get away with to our baked goods. When your ultimate goal is to eat better you have to accept your becoming a weird food person. That’s okay, there’s  lot of us, you know? And we’re enjoying all that we’re eating. Tradition has its place, but this is ours and we’ll eat what we want, however we want as long as it’s healthy and nutritious!

Shuffle, let go, take back and keep going.

I never want to eat anything but this…and I’m bored with this already. It can happen slowly or quickly, a staple recipe becomes tiresome and you’ll have to reach into your bottomless bag of recipes and ideas and try something new. Or old as it were. Sometimes a recipe left lingering in the background can make a comeback with a few tweaks or just when combined with another set of ingredients, ones you might not have tried when first using the recipe. If you find yourself bored with your meal plan, then change it up. If you have recipes that’ll suit and can be easily used in the place of a current one, hence the advice to collect a lot, then you can get over these bumps on the road. There will be recipes you’ll stick with for a lifetime, those are great, but don’t be scared of the occasional flash in the pan, it’s easy to get discouraged when a seemingly wonderful reliable recipe falls flat.

Understand the pitfalls, the food-hate days and get over them.

This is hard, possibly one of the hardest things you’ll do. Depending on your dietary restrictions it can be a huge burden. There will be days you’ll hate every single minute of food preparation and consumption. You find ways to get over this. You make sure there are days with quickie meals, as few or as many as needed. You spare the really extravagantly prepared meals for a once a week, or once a fortnight, treat. I like a meal with a basic outline, say: Amaranth and Chicken with a vegetable side. That way I know I’m getting something good, but I can spice it up as I see fit or leave it simple as suits. But I don’t end up eating a poor meal because of lack of planning. Flexibility is important as is restraint. Do watch yourself if you find you’re focusing too much on the decadent styles of meals. If a meal contains too much fats, sugars or salt then cut it out or separate the components and spread them over multiple meals. Sweet Chicken, Sweet Sweet Potato and Sweet Amaranth (Not creative, but it works as an example) wouldn’t be a good idea, but if I take out even one part and cut down the rest it becomes better.

Have fun. Enjoy every bite. Be proud of every success, no matter how small.

Today I ate a simple meal of chicken with garlic stuffed inside, amaranth with nut butter, cinnamon, a bit of maple syrup, raw garlic and salt mixed in, with sweet potato with a salt and sugar mix fried in butter and olive oil. It was delicious. More than I ever thought it would be. But that whole meal was in accord with my diet and because I know that I could enjoy it all the more. I’ve learned how to make amaranth a great side, a few simple tweaks between each variation, but it’s meant amaranth is now a staple that will also serve as a break to the monotony of meals. I’m proud of that. But if I’d followed the rules I’d never have tried amaranth that way in the first place. If I hadn’t learned how these ingredients work in other recipes I’d never have tried it. So a meal was a success and I was proud. Then I made pancakes that were nice and thick and fluffy and my arm is sore from patting myself on the back so hard.

I don’t know who this helps, maybe no one. Maybe it makes no sense at all, I don’t know. I just want it out there, I want to take the struggles, plunge my hand into that dark morass (As opposed to a lessass) and pull something bright, however dim, from it. I’ll be back sooner rather than later. With that pancake recipe actually. See you soon.

Rice and Buckwheat Flour Pancakes

 photo WP_20161021_004_e_zpskuel0t4e.jpgI forgot the photo. I had to take them out of the freezer to take this. You can sorta see the thickness. Not massive, but better than flat.

This is so simple and it’s simple when you eat it too. There’s no magic here. It’s not a “You Won’t Believe How it Tastes” recipe. It’s a pancake, a plain pancake, but it makes nice thick, fluffy pancakes that cook fast and ones you don’t worry about the inside being raw or soggy as can happen with some mixes if they’re too thick. I’ve got a lot of pancake recipes, this is an accidental combination of two. The Rice Flour and Buckwheat And Rice Flour recipes come together to make a pancake that makes a really nice sandwich. I often struggle to get consistent results with the other recipes, at least consistently fluffy and spongy. Resting the rice pancakes is time consuming and the buckwheat and rice can flatten too much at times. So when I ran out of rice flour making a quick unrested version of the former I used buckwheat and these were born. The second time was just as good. I left out the oil as it didn’t seem to need it, only in frying of course, and I always leave out any sugar as it tends to burn and you can add it as needed after cooking. This way you can use them as sweet or savoury pancakes. You’ll need a white and brown blend for best results. You have other options on the site, but if you want a nice fluffy, nor rubbery pancake then give this a whirl. Sometimes simple works well.


3 Large Eggs
145g White and Brown Blend Rice Flour
70g Buckwheat Flour
130ml Low Fat or Full Fat Milk
1 Tsp Baking Soda
1 Tsp Baking Powder

Makes 6 large pancakes. Can be frozen.


1. Add Eggs and Milk to a bowl and whisk together, then whisk in Rice Flour, Buckwheat Flour and Baking Soda until a smooth thick batter is formed.

3. Over a medium heat some Olive Oil and swirl it around the pan, then add some of the Batter, just enough to form a small circle. Cook for a minute or two until bubbles start to appear on the edges and the underside is golden brown, then flip and cook the same on the other side. Repeat until batter is used up.

Buckwheat and Amaranth Flour Scones

19th October Update: Just a quick note: They tasted even better after a few hours, which is the reverse of the usual way these turn out. But I didn’t make it a full day because I ate them all, still, I don’t see why they shouldn’t be okay for at least a day. Still testing the bread.

 photo WP_20161018_009_e_zpswdbygzte.jpgTeeny tiny dainty scones.

I feel like that toad enraging butterfly. (Kipling, Google Toad Harrow) Flitting to and fro. Also like the toad. I hope these recipes and posts are alright. The funny thing with a new recipe is sometimes you try a little, carefully planned and executed and end up only with failures, other times you try too much, guessing and flying by the seat of your pants and end up with new recipes. Recipes that you have to type up. I don’t know which to prefer. Joking. At least in part. So, we’re onto the second post (First here) and we have, yet again, a scone recipe! Just pop to the recipe page and control F scone. I’m tired, go, do my work, dearest reader. This is a smaller version, but if I’d doubled it it’d be too big as there’s more flour than the usual half measure. More like the quinoa version, I think.

 photo WP_20161018_014_e_zpsymzgllcj.jpgI made these an hour ago and I’m already forgetting.

So, you’ve possibly seen my scones before. Some are dry, others are crumbly. These, actually, these might be the best yet. I’m getting ahead of myself a bit, but it needs to be stated: These are light, firm, not crumbly and just break into two halves (As opposed to three, yuk yuk yuk). They only contain a small bit of amaranth flour, but it seems to be a flour best used sparingly. I think these might be a little better at saying fresh, but, again, you’ll have to wait for that test. You could probably ditch the sugar here, I don’t think it’ll alter the recipe much, outside of a little sweetness, but you could add that after baking if you’d prefer. These don’t need added liquids. The egg is enough, I’m learning that with amaranth flour that’s the best way to go. Amaranth flour recipes aren’t that common so I’m flying blind here. I’ve found it better as a companion flour, used mostly with dry ingredients and less is more. Not much to go on, but you’ve got recipes to try thanks to my tomfoolery.

 photo WP_20161018_026_e_zps8vx3pfxk.jpgThey even rise! That’s new.

All scones rise? Not when you use dense, gluten-less flours, dear reader. Well, you get a bit, but not much. These almost doubled in size. They became little puffed up scones. The tops just popped off cleanly. Backwards order I know, but the dough came together easily, I had to keep adding buckwheat flour, but the recipe reflects the final amount. The raw dough feels similar to the buckwheat and almond scones in that it feels almost too raw. Hard to describe. It’s as if it hadn’t mixed together enough, but it has, it’s just a strange feeling. You might have to fight your baker’s instincts and just pop it in the oven. They cook fast too. When I pulled one open I was shocked at how soft it was, it’s firm, sure, but it wasn’t that dense dry scone that the buckwheat version is. So, amaranth flour, it might be the best way to softer baked goods. I did find as it cools it firms up somewhat, but it didn’t dry out. It was still the same texture, but the outer crust had hardened. This was true for the bread and the scones. I’m still learning what to do with amaranth flour, but I’m making progress and it’s looking at least interesting. Okay, that’s that. See you again soon. thanks for dropping by.

 photo WP_20161018_029_e_zpspase8wme.jpgYeah, jam and butter scones with chicken and cheese sandwiches. I’m in no way sophisticated when it comes to food.


100g Buckwheat Flour
30g Amaranth Flour
15g Sugar
1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
45ml Olive Oil
1 Large Egg (70g-75g in Shell)


1. Preheat oven to 200c (Fan) and line a baking tray with greaseproof paper.

2. Add all the dry ingredients to a bowl and set aside. Mix the Olive Oil and Egg with a fork until combined, then mix in the Egg mixture into the dry ingredients with a fork. Keep mixing until a dough starts to come together and stops crumbling. Knead by hand when firm enough to work. Dough should be firm and slightly sticky, only slightly. Form into a ball.

3. Lightly dust a work surface with flour and either press the dough flat, about an inch thickness, and cut into wedges or roll out and cut into rounds using a cutter. Then place onto the prepared tray.

4. Bake for 10-12 minutes until scones are firm and a light gold colour. Transfer to a wire-rack and let cool.

Buckwheat and Amaranth Flour Bread

19th October Update: The bread was even better the second day. The crust softened and lost that hard crumbly edge. I wanted to keep it longer, but, you know, I ate it. I still have some in the freeze so I’ll let you know how it freezes. Should be fine. I might try it with apple blended with the egg to give it a bit of a moisture crumb. All things in time.

 photo WP_20161018_002_e_zps8b70okwd.jpgWhen you stir it together it becomes this. That’s helpful, right?

Heya Dear Reader, I’ll preface this with this: Thing are a bit hectic here, I’m blowing off some steam by doing a spot of baking, so if any of this doesn’t seem up to par then I apologise, but I hope you’ll forgive your old pal, Jack. And me too of course (Hazing new readers is fun). So, to start at the end, fun, fun, fun, I’ll be leaving some of this in the freezer and some in a cake-tin left out. I always check the freezeability, but I’ve heard that amaranth has staying fresh power so I’ll test that too. This page will feature an update in a few days when I’ve found out what can be done. It’s probably safe for freezing, but I like to be through.

 photo WP_20161018_003_e_zps27jtsfvj.jpgIt’s battery? That’s not helpful? Oh…

So, I’ve got two recipes today, tonight, whatever, the first I’ve tried, three times, I think. The first was an all amaranth flour bread, it held, but it was gooey and nasty. The second was a half and half split with buckwheat flour, but again too soft and mushy even though it held. So I took the version I do with flax of my Buckwheat Bread and fiddled with it a bit. Changes? Ummm, double eggs, weighed in shell, I’m learning, more olive oil, less water. Half actually, too much water and amaranth is a bad idea and no flax. So a pretty simple tweak. The batter came together the same way as usual, but it had a more, silky or velvety feel. Hard to describe really. That basic recipe  has yielded more bread variations than I can think of right now. A real shining star in my baking repertoire .

 photo WP_20161018_004_e_zpsarvzwavj.jpgI see a person reclining and one by their side, sitting. Maybe I should lie down myself.

So, it all comes together simply. Fast is the word. Even grinding the amaranth into flour is a speedy endeavour. No need to wash and roast like quinoa. The batter is a tad thicker than usual, but don’t add more water. Now, I know you probably haven’t tried the basic buckwheat bread recipe listed above, that’s okay, guilty-ridden Reader, I’m very forgiving, so I’ll lay it out for you. I’s basic, very basic, dry and slightly crusty. Not a bad loaf, but the one I run with regularly is the flax version, it’s bless dry and much better in texture. This one resembles the outer crust, but inside it has a lovely firm, springy, light texture. At odds with the dry outside. Not mushy thankfully. A lovely sandwich bread. I had it with chicken and cheese, which you’ll find revolting in a moment, or next post rather, when you find out what I ate alongside it.

 photo WP_20161018_020_e_zpsftxmgc2y.jpgRest in tin? Hah! My recipe! I cut it hot out of the oven.

You follow the recipe. I can get away with it, because I kind of have to test its limits. I know this look really small, and it is, but you get a better crust to inside ratio with several small loaves versus one huge one. In gluten free baking you don’t get the same kind of textures you do with gluten based baking. Everything can be a bit homogeneous so you look to ways to change it up. Here we have a small loaf, but inside it’s soft, whereas the outside is crispy and dry. That’ll change with time of course, that’s another point: They don’t keep all that well so small, or at least freezeable is best. Though I still have to check out it’s freshness potential. So, that’s it for this recipe. I’ll come back again some time. But as it is now is just fine and dandy. See you in a while.

 photo WP_20161018_028_e_zpsjhlm9s5u.jpgYou can cut it fairly thin too.


170g Buckwheat Flour
30g Amaranth Flour
60ml Water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil
2 Medium Eggs (60g-65g apiece)
1/3 Tbsp Baking Soda
Pinch of Salt

Makes one small loaf.


1. Preheat oven to 175c (No Fan).

2. Grease (With Butter or Olive Oil) and line a 6×3 inch loaf pan.

3. In a large bowl mix together the Eggs, Olive Oil and Salt. Add the Buckwheat Flour, Amaranth Flour and Baking Soda and stir until combined, then gradually add the Water and stir until a thick velvety Batter has been formed.

4. Pour batter into prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, turning halfway if needed, until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.

5. Cool in tin for 20 minutes, then remove and let cool completely on a wire rack.

Pumpkin Curry

  photo WP_20161015_003_e_zpsiyyt3a8b.jpgSo much sauce. Just the way it should be.

You know I sometimes drive myself crazy trying to tell if I should post a recipe. All of these recipes are presented as I use them. I spend way too much of my time thinking of all the possible people using these recipes and I wonder if I should adjust to cater to these imagined dependants. Which is silly, isn’t it? I like sharing the recipes, but I’ve never had a recipe tailored to me. When it came to nightshade free curries I was on my lonesome entirely. I like to think that any recipe is appreciated and if you want to eat you’ll tweak it to fit. If not, well then: Phooey to you from me! Now that I’ve lost half my readership, I hope I’m joking!, let’s see what we’re stuffing into our gaping maws today, dearest of remaining readers.

I said on Twitter I was going o try flat-breads and curry with pumpkin. The bread was a bust, steamed squash doesn’t work like roasted. We have an appropriate recipe already so I focused on the curry. Just adding pumpkin to a curry wasn’t an option. I admit I struggle with flavours, I work better when I have a grounding from a current recipe to work with. So I went by what I already knew matched pumpkin: Warm spices, pumpkin spice, garam masala and sweetness. So I went with my garam masala blend. I added the trio from pumpkin spice, leaving out nutmeg and allspice and with a dash of honey I had an idea of what the recipe would be. All theory at that stage. All my curry recipes come from my original recipe which isn’t all that different from most curry bases. It’s simple, but it works well. the onions have to to soften, the coconut reduces, and in this instance helps almost poach the chicken, and it also times well when cooking rice. That part’s for me mostly.

So I wanted a warm pumpkin curry. Did it work? Yes, it was really lovely if I may say so, no one is more surprised than I. It had a warm, almost a tingly heat, which in nightshade curries is non-existent, I imagine it’s thanks to the cloves and had a lovely taste of pumpkin too. If you can use a good quality pumpkin, mine wasn’t great, but it was decent. The pumpkin is cooked entirely in the curry so you lose nothing as far as taste goes. Don’t panic if it’s lumpy before blending, as long as the pumpkin is suitably soft, hence the need for the boil after adding the coconut milk, it’ll blend fine. This was based on my Sweet Mango Curry, I love how tender he chicken is and even though it doesn’t cook long it’s always cooked through fully, piping hot too thanks to the final boil. There is a lot of sauce, this, with vegetables added perhaps it would be suitable for two people. I work with what I have and it suits me as I like a lot of sauce. It’s really silky too and that warmth was really surprising, you could adjust the spices to suit reducing any of the trio to lessen the effect. When cooking taste can be adjusted on the fly, I still struggle outside the exacting nature of baking, but I’m learning my way. If you have a bit of pumpkin leftover maybe you’ll try this. I’ve gone through three medium pumpkins so far so I might need a break, though there are small ones in stock now. I might have a problem, dear reader. Until later.


2 Chicken Breasts, Chopped
100g Raw Pumpkin, Cubed
160ml Coconut Cream or Coconut Milk
1/2 Yellow Onion, Roughly Chopped
2 Cloves Garlic, Cut in Half
1/2 Tbsp Grated Ginger
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 Tbsp Honey
1 Tsp Garam Masala
1/4 Tsp Turmeric
1/4 Tsp Sea Salt
1/8 Tsp Cinnamon
1/8 Tsp Ginger
1/8 Tsp Cloves
1 Bay Leaf


1. Heat Olive Oil in a pan and when hot add Onion, Garlic and Ginger mix and cover. Let cook for 5-10 minutes, on a medium heat, or until translucent.

2. Add Coconut Milk, Spices, Pumpkin and Honey then stir together, bring to the boil then reduce to a medium heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes.

3. When 10 minutes is up use a stick blender to blend the Curry sauce until smooth or add to Blender and return to pot when smooth. Add the Chicken and Bay Leaf and bring to a boil, then reduce to a medium simmer and cook for 15 minutes. Cook uncovered for final 5 minutes. Increase heat if a thicker Sauce is desired, but be careful of burning. Remove Bay Leaf before serving.

Sorry About Your Buckets

 photo WP_20161013_011_e_zpscpykbpia.jpgI’m sorry about your buckets, you had it pretty rough
Cutting out the bottoms, never deep enough

I’m slowly losing any sense of decorum, we’re now at the parody lyrics stage. I’m afraid it’s fatal, soon enough all posts will just be puns. I’ve been taking advantage of the pleasant weather, well, the snatches of pleasant weather. Which are perpetually giving way to really cold weather, made all the more unpleasant by the heat preceding it. Sweating one minute and freezing the next does not a happy Jack make. So, I came here in the guise of Jack, I’m wearing a novelty moustache, no, not really. To tell you that the tame garden is done, but, er, it’s not. Maybe I should start at the beginning. When I started the idea was to just dig it out and perhaps move some of the plants. Really basic. A clean and weed, but the weeds were really adamant that their tenancy shouldn’t be terminated so easily. So we moved to matting. Which then gave me the idea of sunken planters, bottomless of course,  at the inner edges, which gave rise to an idea of a path made with planks. Happy was the Jack who stopped there, dearest reader. Then the idea of sunken buckets for the out section appeared. So I went to work on that. Filled them around with bark and then realised I want to line the path with pebbles. That should then end it…no, wait, I need to hang some more baskets. Someday I’ll be done. Until then let’s see how it progresses. Oh, the lid on the barrel is to stop birds drowning. I had to cut it by hand, hence the jagged edges.

 photo WP_20161013_010_e_zpsga4jppxo.jpgThe buckets are empty for now. It’s either roses or lilies.

 photo WP_20161013_002_e_zpse35lkbpg.jpgIt’s very dead for now. Next year, well, hopefully less so.

I’m becoming an expert on bottomless buckets. I’m learning as I go and with each repetition it gets easier. I’m happy with how it’s turning out so far. It’s a slow progress, but after this year I know what’s needed where and what works best where. I’ve never done anything like this so I just think, think and think before I act. In my head it’s never far flung castles in the sky plans. Just a real idea of what it’ll look like, flaws and all. So far it’s pretty much what I expected. It’ll mean a low maintenance, high flower garden. I tell you my poor knees will need some maintenance, I’m too tall to bend over so I have to squat down, a lot. I feel like a delinquent in a manga. This side of the garden is almost finished. A lot more bulbs to plant and seeds to start, but that’s a fun thing. The tinkering and planning should be winding down.

 photo WP_20161013_007_e_zps3hvl1pzy.jpgWelcome to squash boulevard!

 photo WP_20161013_008_e_zpsvqzdxky3.jpgSquash Pots pending.

 photo WP_20161013_009_e_zpsy13gntzc.jpgHouse and dog not representative of scale.

You might be able to spot where I removed the plastic. I bought matting as it’s a better fit. The matting will line the planters for strawberries. You can see the component parts in the last photo. You might have seen where the squashes were this year, that’ll be their position from here on out. Now they’ll be lined ten in a row and with a path either side to monitor and feed them.No fences needed this year so I can plan with a bit more permanence. I took a long roll of the matting and slowly cut, bent and hammered the pins in place. Twice. Then I went back, cut around the planters, keeping the scraps of course, and tucked and nailed it in place. I may have to put bark down to protect it from the sun. It’ll be worth the expense. I’ll be able to put planters in any gaps and crevasses. I probably won’t sink any as the weeds here are terrible and the rocks are far too plentiful. I’m not losing any space as it wasn’t usable at all. Now with the planters in place I have a lot of soil to play with. Almost all of it from the squash pots. I put all the top soil and weeds I dug up, yup, the whole area there was dug out, in the compost. No waste where I can help it.

 photo WP_20161013_004_e_zpsw0sxwwkd.jpgWelcome to, no, wait, no name. Er, Not as Crappy Corner!

 photo WP_20161013_003_e_zps8ujpckoq.jpgI can’t figure what angle I took this from. I think this is up.

 photo WP_20161013_006_e_zpsedf2meqe.jpgI need to cut and nails these boards in time.

 photo WP_20161013_005_e_zpscdtiw03h.jpgShhhhhh. The soil is resting for the Winter.

See! The vegetable side hasn’t been neglected either. I had to sort out the weed ridden wall section. It’s been matted and will be bordered with planks. I may sink pots or just place them over. The section under cover is where the ridges will go and so much will grow, with luck, the gardener’s constant companion, ever fickle. The largest planter is placed where a huge ivy bush was and a lot of invasive weeds have taken root. So under there is useless for growing. I’ll bark that and might put pots around. I’ll try carrot in the planter next year. It’s just me doing all this so I want enough to grow in, but not so much that it’ll go wild before I can manage to tame it. I grew a lot in just two thirds of that section this year so next should be even better. This probably has been a bit dull. It’ll be more exciting when I start next year, but it’s a bit fun to look at the way it’s all changing, isn’t it, dear reader? Let’s say so. It’ll make all this work more worthwhile. I can see all that could be, I just have to have patience and wait. I don’t know what I’ll do when this stage of the work is finished. Until we meet again.

Amaranth Flour and Yoghurt Flat Breads

 photo WP_20161012_001_e_zpswoxuogtn.jpgFreshly ground flour. “For freshness?” Nah, I just can’t buy it.

Ah, amaranth flour, or rajgira flour. Favoured in Indian cuisine…Hah! Got ya! You thought I was going into a generic spiel about amaranth flour, with smug overtones when I speak of Indian cooking as if I’m some expert. I tell you I wish I could eat more Indian recipes, but my many restrictions put the kibosh on that, sadly. I have been on a lot of Indian blogs recently because of my many searches for uses for amaranth flour. I ended up going to my own Quinoa Flour recipe and adapting it. I left out the water as amaranth flour and too much water don’t mix, literally and figuratively. So, I hope India will forgive yours truly, dearest reader. The forgiveness, eagle-eyed reader? I’ve, er, never eaten flatbread outside of what I’ve made myself. Today we have a flat bread recipe using amaranth flour. I’m getting a better understanding of amaranth flour, I have another idea in the works so watch this space.

 photo WP_20161012_002_e_zpspnqucdox.jpgFlat bread and…dirty sink. Ah, food photography.

So, there’s not much to say on the preparation. It comes together fast, there’s no need to add water at all. You can get it fairly thin but push it too far and it’ll tear apart, thankfully it can be easily reworked and re-rolled. A quick fry and Jack’s your forever friend. It tastes of yoghurt, that slightly bitter edge that natural yoghurt has and there is an after taste of amaranth. Nothing too much if you’re used it it. They’re best hot. They have a slight crunch at the edge and a chewy centre. Not a raw chewiness, just a pleasant bite. They’d be great with  a yoghurt based curry, I have a couple of nightshade free kormas and one yoghurt curry (Here, here and here respectively) so you have options. The nice thing with this recipe is that you’re getting a serving of amaranth and all its respective worth. Even if you only eat one that still a decent hit of nutrition. That’s it for today. Not much I can really say on it. A simple recipe, but a nice one to have. Okay, I’ll see you later.

 photo WP_20161012_003_e_zpsvahx6k9x.jpgI didn’t eat it before taking the photo this time!


50g Amaranth Flour
35g Low Fat Natural Yoghurt
1 Tsp Olive Oil
Pinch Salt

Makes Three Small Flat-breads.


1. Add dry ingredients to a bowl. In a separate bowl mix together the remaining ingredients and stir into the Flour with a fork until everything has combined. Knead the mixture until a slightly sticky firm dough has been formed. Form Dough into a ball and cover in cling-film and leave in the fridge for half an hour. Dough will be firm to the touch, but slightly sticky when worked.

3. Split the dough into three parts and roll out, between two sheets of greaseproof paper, into rough fairly thin circles. Handle carefully when transferring to the pan.

4. Heat some Oil in a pan and on a high heat cook the Flat-bread for until browned and blistered then flip and do the same for the other side. Repeat for all Flat-breads.