Chilling out

So, the Easter holidays are finally here. Hooray.

I did bring home a boot full of work, but I decided to have today totally off.

I was tempted by parkrun, but my brother was not going, and so I decided to not set the alarm and just head out on a run when I woke up- in the end I was out at about 9am anyway.

I saw these on offer in Waitrose the other week and thought they might be good for a pre run energy boost (or for taking along to half marathons with me). I had the blackcurrant one before I set off as I felt a little hungry. I headed into the fields and did just over 5 miles. It was pretty chilly to begin with and at first I was regretting my t-shirt, but of course after a couple of miles I was warm. It was windy out there though.

Earlier in the week Sainsbury’s sent me a lovely Easter picnic selection, including some hot cross buns. The Taste the Difference ones went into the freezer as their date was imminent (shows they are fresh), so this morning we had a gluten free one for breakfast.

I had one half with coconut butter and (home-made) blackcurrant jam, and lemon curd on the other. It was very tasty, although the glaze was very sticky!

I spent the day pottering about at home- doing the usual Saturday cleaning jobs, plus finally getting around to jobs like sorting out my drawer of running clothes- my clothes are back into neat piles although I am not sure how long it will last! I had to pop to town to get Andy a few bits, and had a chai latte to warm me up- my hands were so cold they had gone all red and itchy.

Andy is out and I had not really thought about dinner- we had some leftover sourdough so I mashed an avocado with some lime juice, basil infused oil and a little salt, and topped it on the toasted bread. That must be one of the best speedy meals ever!!! Could be improved by adding in some chopped tomato, but I didn’t have any (and didn’t think to buy any while I was out). Plus some tomato soup we had in the cupboard. I didn’t enjoy the soup much though- I used to love this soup so I am not sure why.

I then spent the evening re-purposing a Christmas cake for Andy’s birthday (he doesn’t read this!). Basically the other day I was tidying up and found a cake tin on the side- I thought it was empty but I picked it up to move it and it was heavy. Turns out there was a Christmas cake in there, complete with a Christmas tree decoration. I think I baked it to try out a recipe that Sainsbury’s sent me, but then I went ahead and made my normal batch of cakes, so forgot about it. Luckily he had requested a fruit cake for his birthday, so I just had to remove the Christmas tree and find a good way to hide the green stain on the white icing.

I found some cute minibeast cupcakes in the book I was sent, but thought they would look a little strange like that, so adapted them a bit. The ladybirds didn’t turn out too well, so they went in the bin.

But the bees look cute I think.

Well the eyes were very hard to make- the black icing warmed up so quickly and more of it stuck to my hands than the bees- one of them is wearing sunglasses I have decided.

At least now it looks like a birthday cake!

How do you like to spend your chill out days?

Cake book giveaway!

I was recently contacted by Sainsbury’s asking them if I would like to receive a copy of their new book, Cake recipe collection. Well of course I said yes! They also sent me an additional copy which I can give away on here.

The book has basic recipes in the front for Victoria sponge cake, chocolate cake and fruit cake, and then the rest of the book is dedicated to decorating the cakes- for every occasion!

There is an Easter cake- rather extravagant (egg-stravagant) with a chocolate egg on the top, but in fact if you missed that off I think it would still look very pretty.

This pumpkin one looks amazing for Halloween.

My favourite is this monkey one- I love monkeys!

I have not tried any of them out yet, but I will do soon (Andy’s birthday is coming up). They all include step by step guides, with which cakes to use, the dimensions needed, and diagrams of how to cut the cakes to make the right shape pieces. I always prefer recipe books that include photographs as I like to know what the different steps should look like.

The book also has sections for decorating cupcakes, so it would be great for people with children- just for fun or for birthday parties.

If you would like to be in with a chance of winning, then leave me a comment on this post letting me know- before Tuesday 8th April. I will pick a winner at random – UK addresses only please.

Coconut and lemon cupcakes

I could not decide what to make for Sunday tea this week, and when I walked into Waitrose I saw a recipe card for Coconut and Lemon cupcakes. I was sold!

The only extra bits I had to get was some coconut cream and cream cheese (why they make the recipe cards I guess…). The recipe for the cupcakes is the same as this recipe, minus the desiccated coconut, but the filling is different.

Well, it was meant to make 12, but I got 24 out of the recipe.

My kitchen is not built for making cakes on this scale!

Once cool I did the filling/ topping. Not sure it went quite as it was supposed to- you were meant to slice the cakes in half vertically and spoon in the lemon curd, but I had to squeeze the cakes to fit the curd in.

Then on went the cream cheese icing (100g cream cheese, the rest of the coconut cream, and a few tbs icing sugar). I swirled it about a bit to mix it with the lemon curd.

I took them into work on Monday and they were all gone by lunchtime- a good sign!

Luckily I saved one to try!

It was lovely. I have had lime and coconut cake before, but never thought about lemon with coconut, even though they are pretty similar. One I shall definitely make again, or perhaps as one large cake next time.

Jantastic week 12- the final countdown!

I can’t believe that Jantastic has come to an end! At the start I was just easing back into running after having to have time out due to my hip/ lower back problems.

This final week has been a bit quieter than some weeks.

Monday- Rest (quite sore after my 8.5 miles on Sunday).

Tuesday- Gentle 3 miles (which were faster than I thought).

Wednesday- Sweatshop short run- just over 4 miles in the end.

Thursday- Rest

Friday- Rest

Saturday- Parkrun plus a couple of laps of the lake= 5 miles overall. I had aimed for 10 miles for Jantastic, but I was too tired for that and had a lot of work, so decided to be sensible.

Sunday- Walking around Whipsnade Park – this was my treat from Andy for getting all my work done on Saturday (and apart from going to the shops to get something for dinner I worked until the end of Match of the Day so really felt I deserved it!). We walked quite a long way I think!

I did my time trial this week. In the end my sensible guess was 28.59, as my previous off road times had been 30.36 and 29.41, and I felt I could go a bit faster. Although I had such a tiring week with some very late nights (working until 10pm one night, gone midnight another) so I felt almost like I had jet lag by Friday evening. Anyway, I pushed hard and got around in 28.36 so I am pretty happy with that. The idea is to predict how fit you are, so I am pleased I was so close. I do love running on the grass but I am looking forward to the flat course again, although who knows when that will be as the paths are still flooded. Crazy.

Pancakes (lovely buckwheat ones) of course when I got home!

Because I am not working towards any races at the moment (thumbs down to the rock and roll series) it would be easy to think that I have had just a normal running week. But if I look back over the 12 weeks I am really pleased with what I have achieved. Some weeks I didn’t fancy a run, or the amount of miles, but the fact that I had to log my runs persuaded me to go out. I also managed a pb at the Bath half marathon- I found that race tough, but then probably I should find a pb tough? I have also been running slightly further midweek than I have for a while.

Now the clocks have gone forward we shall be going cross country with Sweatshop, which I just love (although have to watch my footing), and I am at the moment perusing race websites to try and find things to sign up for.

Any race recommendations? What races do you have planned at the moment? Jantasticans: what are you proud of achieving?